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The Traditional Wing-T Offense: The Down Play

Posted by Gavin Southworth on

Coach David Weathersby has been coaching in the Wing-T offense for over a dozen years, including the last five years as an offensive coordinator at Triton High School (NC).

His offenses at Triton have averaged over 30 points per game, have led the conference in rushing every single year, and BROKE the school record for total offense in 2022.

Today we’re going to take a look at coach Weathersby’s Down play that has greatly contributed to this great success over an extended period of time.

This video is just a small part of the incredible series from Coach Weathersby: The Traditional Wing-T 101: The Complete Series.

Watch the video below, or keep scrolling to learn more about the Down Play.

The Down Play Blocking Rules 

The Down play is a strong side (tight end side) run scheme that hits the defense a lot faster and gets downhill quicker than a Belly run scheme which would take a bit longer to develop.

Each member of the offensive line has specific rules that enable this play to be successful assuming that each man gets to their landmark on schedule. 

The play side offensive tackle is going to be responsible for their gap, down, and then getting to the linebacker at the second level of the defense.

The play side guard is going to pull and kick out the last man on the line of scrimmage whether that be a linebacker or defensive end depending on the opposing defensive look.

The combination of the center and three backside players are going to scoop block which is going to serve to protect the play side gap. The center will scoop block to the play side A gap. The backside guard will scoop to the backside A gap, and the backside tackle will scoop to the backside B gap.

Wing-T Down Play Blocking Rules

The Down Play - The Backfield

As far as the ball handlers are concerned, the quarterback is responsible for executing his give fast. The ball needs to hit the running back quickly in order for this play to get downhill as soon as it is intended to. Understanding this, the quarterback reverse opens and gives the ball to the running back at the inside hip of the tackle. In order to speed up this play, the QB does not gain any depth in the backfield on this give and instead takes the ball straight down the line of scrimmage. 

The dive player is going to jet motion across the field and run an arrow route into the flat which adds the wrinkle of a play fake for the defense to pay attention to.

The fullback is going to reach, crossover, and fire. The fire is a 45 degree angle in which the FB runs towards the line of scrimmage and takes the handoff at the inside hip of the tackle which allows the FB to get upfield immediately once he has the ball.  

The wing back is going to work down to the linebacker just like the offense were going to run the guard-trap run scheme. 

Finally, the X receiver is going to stalk block his defender and the Tight End is responsible for gap, down, and then working to a linebacker.  

There’s a couple of different formations that the offense can run this play from. The first is “200” or double wing. The second is 100/900 where the dive back is 7 yards deep to the backside tackle and about 3 yards off to the side of the full back. When lining up in 100/900, the dive back isn’t in motion pre-snap, and just runs his arrow around the formation into the play side (see diagram below)

100/900 Formation - Down Play

100-900 Formation - Down Play

More often than not, the offense is going to opt to run this play from 200 formation because they want to have the advantage of motion incorporated into the run scheme.

200 Formation - Down Play

200 Formation - Down PlayThis again, allows the dive back wing to take his motion around the offensive formation and run the arrow into the play side.

200 Formation - Down Play vs Odd Front

200 Formation - Down Play vs Odd Front

Against the odd front, the wing back is working down to the play side inside backer. It is important that the wing does not make contact with the walked up outside linebacker. The tight end will then work down the line and take care of the play side defensive end in the odd front. 

The tackle can do two different things in this scenario. His rule is gap, down, backer, but if the defensive end is a handful for the tight end to take care of by himself, the tackle can assist and provide a double team to make sure things stay sealed up. If that isn’t the case, the tackle will follow his rules and work to the second level. 

The backside players (including the center) will all follow their rules and scoop block the back side defenders.

The play side guard will trap pull around and kick out the play side outside linebacker who will come downhill at the snap.

The full back will follow his rules as well by reaching, crossing over, and getting straight downhill through the B gap. Once the QB gives the ball, he will reverse out and provide a boot leg fake into the play side.

200 Formation - Down Play vs Even Front

Against an even front, mostly everything stays the same. The only difference is that now the play side offensive tackle is working down to a defensive tackle and the tight end has an easier block getting up to a linebacker instead of being responsible for a defensive end. 

200 Formation - Down Play vs Even

This then leaves the defensive end for the play side guard to pull around and kick out. Across the board, each player seems to have an easier assignment on paper which is why coach Weathersby prefers to play even front teams. This makes the job of attacking the defense just a little bit easier. 

This run scheme is going to be very effective against aggressive defenses. The more willing a team is to try and get into the backfield to blow this play up, the more susceptible they are to getting gashed by a huge run because of how quick this play gets off.

Want More?

See the full presentation from Coach Weathersby on the Wing-T Offense HERE