Win the Battle, Win the War

A Doublewing team’s heart and soul is the off-tackle power play (aka pitch, toss, blast). Whether you are pure Doublewing, a traditional I-formation, Stack-I or even a new-fangled Shotgun/Pistol, the Power is the bread and butter. The war is winning the game by running the Power over and over successfully. The battle is how you deal with the defensive end. The DE can be referred to as the outside linebacker, the force, the contain, the edge or the 9 technique. It all adds up to the strategy you apply to removing this disruptive threat. Here are several ways to get the job done:

  1. The traditional Fullback kick-out is the most commonly used blocking technique (see Diagram A). The Fullback’s tight set helps him take an “inside-out” (banana) route. He is to put his head in the hole and drive the DE out, creating a seam.
  2. If the DE is in a wide 9 tech and is taught to “wrong arm” or even cut your FB’s legs in order to create a pile, then you must answer with a new approach. One way is “Wings on/window” – this to us, means having the wing step onto the L.O.S. creating a down blocking angle. If the DE does not adjust, the wing can step hard with his inside foot and put his shoulder on DE’s hip to drive him flat down the L.O.S. Now the FB knows to get “next threat” – usually the Corner (see Diagram B).
  3. “Run a designed bounce” – This is done with many reps in practice. If the team is used to a crashing DE (and it should be) then the FB sticks the crashers tight to the line (trying not to lose ground) while the Wingback, QB and pullers “go around” the pile one hole wider (see Diagram C). Note: You can also simply call a standard sweep (aka bucksweep, Doublewing style) and make the 9 tech pay for losing contain.
  4. If the DE is a soft stand up player who is taught not to penetrate but to “feather-out” laterally, forcing things back inside – we will utilize our “tunnel technique”. This can be done with wings on (making the C-gap that much wider). The wing (who is probably your worst blocker) must be taught to tenaciously set a basketball type screen – moving his feet and staying in the chest of the defender. The Fullback knows to go up through the “tunnel” to get “next threat”. The Wing, QB and pullers follow suit. (See Diagram D).

In any one game you may have to employ all of these until you “out-adjust” the opponent. Your spotters should be glued to the perimeter early in the game. You want to know where they are and what they are attempting to do. You may also find that one side is softer than the other. Don’t get frustrated or panic. Have someone recording your play calls and plus/minus yards. You should look at this chart after each series. See what’s working. Don Markham used to call plays after a series or two based on who was making the tackle. He would adjust from there.

Like triple option-running FB Dive, QB Keep, and Option Pitch – the FB Dive sets the hook. Even if you are not gaining huge chunks early, keep running the Toss. Keep seeking ways to blow the DE up. Another Markham trait was to run the power play to the bench side. You can see it perfectly right in front of you as it develops on your hash mark. Rep all the techniques mentioned – be ready with simple adjustments. The bottom line is if you win this battle – you win the war (and the game). Be an expert at this play and these techniques.



Diagram A


Diagram B


Diagram C

Double Wing Play

Diagram D

Leave a Reply