Probably the most cost effective way to stress a defense is with multiple formations. This is often forgotten in the world the spread offense and hurry up mentality. Using multiple formations can keep a defense practicing lining up all week instead of practicing your plays. Having multiple formations is a lot easier to accomplish than most coaches think it will be. Just like anything else we do in this game, it is better when it is done as a system.
The Big 100 formation system allows you to use tag words to get into over 100 different formations. The best part of this system is it can be taught to your players and installed in just one day! Paired with a simplified play book you can now focus on running your base plays with the confidence of know that the defense is going to have to spend the majority of their time lining up correctly instead of repping your plays. It is my opinion that you should pair this system with no more than four run plays. I myself only use three. You can learn all about my number one play HERE.
We start learning this system by learning the Tag Words and who they talk to. We will then start going through the formations based on how many backs are in the backfield. For the sake of brevity, all plays will be drawn up to the right, and the count will cover right and left alignments.
Z – wing, double, strong, R, L, H, Plus all one back formation alignments.
T – G, double, plus all one back formation alignments.
F – King, Queen, Empty
Y – Over, Open
X – Over
Tackles – Extra, Over (both tell the offensive tackle to move over to one side)
3 Back Sets
Three back sets look like the traditional Power-I sets of yesteryear. The side in which the z back will align is determined by the play call, so each strength call could have the z to the TE side or the quick side. This causes the DC to draw up an extra card, and counts in the formation count.
The above formation is representative of Rt and Lt, and with the z back on either side for both strengths.
2 Back Sets
Two back sets consist of 21 personnel pro sets. The F can also be tagged in Queen, which puts him in a sniffer behind the left B gap or a King which puts him in a sniffer behind the right B gap. So in reality you could add 2 more formations to each of these sets, we will not add them to the count for this article however.
The Double tag puts the T in a wing to the left side. The F has the option to queen/king himself depending on the play call. We will not add that to the count however.
1 Back Sets
Using extras and overs you can get very creative with your formations in one back! These multiple look one back sets make it very easy to find formations that will out number the defense.
Shot Gun Sets
The shot gun sets never need to be called “gun”. The players know it is gun because there is no wing, and only one tight end or no tight ends. The alignment of the full back is determined by the play call, so for each formation (Lt, Rt) the full back can be on the left side or the right side. Just like in 3 back, with the z, this causes more formations to be drawn up by the opposing DC. You can also tag empty here to add two more formations to each set. we wont count them or draw them up here, but with an empty tag, the fullback will always go to the weak side in a slot.
While this may at first seem like a lot, upon a closer look you will see that it is in fact, quite simple. Will you use all these formations in a game? Of course not! But it will allow you to use multiple looks until you find the formation that gives you what you want to see and the advantage to your offense. I have gone games where we have only used 4 formations! I have also shown over 30! COACHING POINT: the secret weapon of this system is the multiple ways to get into unbalanced!
If you are looking for the perfect play to use in conjunction with the Big 100, then check out “Installing the Wide Zone“. No other play is as versatile or consistently productive, and it matches perfectly with a multiple formation system like the Big 100. If you need a sneak peak at “Installing the Wide Zone” then take a look at “Why Go Wide“. Subscribe to my email list so you can be updated whenever a new article posts, and follow me on twitter here @thecoachvogt. Stay tuned for a future article covering trades, shifts and motions!