Defending the Double Wing
The Double Wing Offense has been around since 1986, but it's roots go back as far as
Football itself. Don Markham premiered this offense in 1972 at LA Baptist HS in
Mission Hills. Since then Many schools have won numerous C.I.F, County, and State
Titles. Eighty percent of California, Oregon, and Washington's rushing and scoring
leaders have come from this offense. In 1994 Don Markham led Bloomington High
School to a 14-0 C.I.F Title and set the national scoring record with a unheard of 65 point
The objective of Double Wing teams is to make you cover 10 gaps. When you spread
your self out to cover those gaps, they get more people to the ball then you have to
defend. This gives them a HUGE advantage at the point of attack. Their base play the
"PITCH" must be stopped to be successful. Double Wing creator Don Markham was
quote as saying, "I have ran the PITCH play 30 times in a row one game. If they can't
stop the PITCH, the game is over."
The "PITCH" play is simple in it's invention, but overwhelming in it's application. If you
don't stack the odds in your favor, you will be ran over. Double Wing teams run up huge
scores against opponents, who either have no idea at what they are facing or too PROUD
to realize their own weaknesses against it.
One coach was quoted as saying that this offense would not work in Division I. Don
Markham took his Colton team to the Big 5 Conference Title game twice with his earlier
version of this offense.
I compare the Double Wing offense to a chess game. They get so many pawns in the
way, my queen and rooks can not be effective. So like in chess, my strategy is to clear the
field and let my queen and rooks play against theirs.
The PITCH's objective is like coach Vince Lombardi's famous Green Bay Sweep. They
want to create a wall by the FB sealing the outside, the TE/OT's double team sealing the
inside and the Offside OT/OG/QB wedging through the hole, giving the Wing back an
alley to run through. Most times this alley is so big, "you could drive a truck through it"
The PITCH play works like this, both Wings line up on the LOS. The QB reads the
defensive set and d bends done under center. At this point the Wings take their place. One
Wing sets up as a Unbalanced second TE. At the same time the second Wing sets up as a
Wing Back. He takes a quick motion back 5 yards behind the Guard.
The QB snaps the ball and pitches a dead, none spinning ball chest to face high at the
motioning wing. He then pulls through the point of attack and seal outside, blocking the
The Offensive line has foot to foot splits to prevent stunting. The play side TE and OT
double team at the point of attack. They are taught to act like Siamese twins joined at the
hip. Even though there are no gaps or running lanes they create them with their double
The unbalanced TE/Wing back gaps down to seal off the LB.
The offside OT/OG pull to the POA. The OG responsibility is to seal inside. The Offside
OT is to seal up any penetration and help the OG seal inside.
The backside TE's job is to seal off backside penetration.
The FB's job is to kick out the man responsible for Force. He takes a banana route,
keeping a inside relationship to the Force man. Because of this banana technique he cant
effectively kick out and never have to read the Force and worry about logging him in.
This technique allows him to concentrate fully on kicking out the force and creating the
seam for the Wing to run in.
The Wing back takes the pitch and reads his pulling OG/OT, many times pushing him
through the hole. This adds deception to power of the play. Many times people are there
to defend but can not see the ball carrier as he hides behind the pulling lineman. The
Wing back has many options as he runs through the holes he can stay on path, kick it
outside, or the most dangerous cut back across the grain. This is devastating because most
of the pursuit is coming at the POA and do not properly defend the cut back.
The five main objectives in stopping the PITCH are,
1. Cover all 10 gaps
2. Stop the overload at the POA
3. Stop the pulling Lineman
4. Stop the cut back
5. Find the ball carrier
The only way to properly cover the 10 gaps and be sound in pass coverage is to run a 9
man front with a two deep secondary. To stop the overload at the POA we have our
defensive lineman cut the Offensive line. Like trading pawns in chess we clear the board
by cutting their line. My DT for your OT, my DE for your FB, etc.… By slanting and the
pile created from the cutting we hope to stop the backside pulling lineman. Backside
pursuit must scrap down the LOS looking for cutback and keep our heads up looking for
the ball carrier. Everyone must play responsibility type defense. One mistake will cause a
hole and give them a big play.
The way we defense the Double Wing is to line up in a 54 defense. 5 down lineman 4
linebackers 2 Safeties. The main cog in the defense is the Nose Guard. He might not
make one play all night but he is vital to the defense. The NG plays head up on the Center
and slants to the play side A gap. We determine play side by motion, best back, or
tendencies. The NG can see the quick motion by the wing back with his perennial vision.
He rips threw the Center trying to get into the backfield. Depending on their blocking
scheme he may come untouched into the backfield. Most likely he will be double with the
OG. Minimally he needs to impede the pulling OG/OT.
Both DT's will cut at the outside shoulder of the OT. This should cut the double team by
the OT and TE. Drive through and cause a pile up. The DT on the pulling side should try
and cut the Pulling DT. If he does not get the cut pursue down the LOS looking for cut
back. Keep an eye out for the TE blocking down or trying to cut you.
The LB to the motioning side should blitz the B gap. If the OG has blocked down on the
NG a lane should open up. The LB away from motion should slow scrap, downhill . Both
LB's should read the FB. If the FB kicks out the DE, PLB should continue his blitz up
field, with WLB scraping, looking for cut back. If the FB pauses or delays both LB's
should go at the FB looking for Trap or Reverse.
The CB to the motioning side should fill C gap forcing the play outside. The strength of
the play is inside so any back running outside is by himself , defeating the purpose of the
play. The PCB uses a OLE' technique, like a bull fighter, avoiding all contact. If the PCB
see more than one block cut the pack and cause a pile up.
The CB away from motion slow reads and looks for reverse. If no reverse. Scrap, looking
for cutback. If reverse comes use the same technique as PCB.
The FS to the motioning side reads his TE. If the TE blocks he becomes an alley player
filling C gap and contains D gap if the PCB forces the play wide. If he reads pass from
the TE he covers the deep ½ jumping a corner route by the TE.
FS away from motion slides to center field and reads his TE for pass or run. If he reads
reverse he now becomes the fill/contain man to his side
If every one does their responsibility two things should happen. First we have a RB that
has no where to go, running into his line. He ends up trying to bounce outside or falls
over his own man. Sometimes the RB bounces out to a open space. While this is usually a
problem it is not. The RB 's in the double Wing are used to running behind people. They
are not open field runners. A usual scenario has our line taking out their line and the CB's
end making the tackle. The Double Wing has many advantages that if left untended will
cause the field to tilt in their favor. By using the 54 and evening the odds we are able to
compete with this explosive offense.
Scouting the Double Wing Team
Double Wing Teams everywhere are running up scores, racking up huge rushing gains
and embarrassing many opponents who have no idea on how to stop this New potent
offense. Here are some new ideas in scouting the Double Wing Team. Hopefully you will
be able to take these new ideas and put them to work within your defensive package.
When scouting a Double Wing Team the first thing you have to take into account is, Who
is the best running back? Even though the offense is design to be evenly spread between
the three backs, most teams tend to have one featured back. The main priority in
stopping the double wing is to stop the featured back. Identifying this back is usually
easy as he comes into the game with some unheard yardage gained and Touchdowns
scored. You have to turn the game into stopping him and worrying about covering the
aspects of the double wing later. Its no different from an featured I back or Option QB.
He has to be stopped and make the other guys beat you. If the team is pretty evenly
spread you still have to play the game as if one of them is the featured back. After going
through this scouting check list one of the backs will stand out more then the others.
The second most important thing in scouting a double wing team is what is their best
play? Typically this is their Toss or Super Power play and is run with their best back.
Your entire defense must positioned to stop that play. That play has to be taken away
from their arsenal. You have to be sound in your total defensive package and not put
eleven guys on one side but overload your defense with your best players and your best
scheme to side where the best play goes. Typically the double wing team is really strong
running the Toss or Super Power to one side and they run the Buck sweep or Reverse to
the other. This allows you to put your strongest, biggest kids to one side and you’re
faster, more pursuit type kids to the other.
Next you must determine, what is their best pass play? This pass tends to be a play
action pass off their best play and usually has the Tight end or Wings running deep
routes. Double wing teams usually don’t throw the pass unless they see you are
committing most of your men to stopping the run. Whatever scheme you run you must
keep at least two guys deep or their best pass play will be a huge gainer for them. Most
Double Wing Quarterbacks have some of the highest pass completion ratio. This is from
the fact it is easy to play catch with a wide receiver that is wide open. Even though the
pass is not usually an effective weapon for the double wing team, it is an aspect that must
be accounted for when preparing to defend the double wing.
Finally, what is the best counter play? Double Wing teams have a counter play to their
best play. That is the play they will most likely go to when their best play is stopped.
Typically it is the reverse play off the Toss or Super Power. The Reverse play is
probably the most explosive play in the double wing arsenal. The defense has to have a
sound package to hold off the Reverse until everyone can rally back to the ball.
Defenders on the reverse side have to string out the reverse play and make it go wide.
With all this information, a picture should be developing about how the play calling
philosophy of the double wing team. Basically, this should tell you who is getting the
ball and where. This is just the beginning in formatting a sound defensive attack versus
the double wing.
The traditional down and distance tendencies usually don’t work with a double wing
team. The reason being, normal offenses work on a three down pattern to get a first.
Most teams if you can get them in a fourth and two or more will opt to punt the ball.
Most teams are not consistently going to go for it on 4 down. The double wing team
differs because they play four downs to get a first. They will go for it on fourth down
almost every time. They have the philosophy of they can get five yards on every play. A
normal defensive situation of fourth and five, the double wing teams pounds out a first
down because the defensive team was not prepared for this situation. The coach and
players are mentally out of it because they feel like they have done their job (bring on the
punt team) allowing the double wing team the mental edge. A few of the tendencies that
I have seen from double wing teams are Running Back, Linemen, Right/Left,
Field/Boundary, Sideline, and sequence.
The Running Back tendency I have picked up on is on 4th down or other crucial downs
they run the toss or super power to the same back. If you can scout a opponent and get a
percentage ration on how many times a back runs toss or super power to the right side on
4th or crucial downs this will help you in determining what front or blitz to call. One year
a double wing team we played ran the toss right 22 out of 23 times for a 96% ratio. This
was an easy call on defense.
The Linemen tendency is where they flop the line so one side is always blocking and the
other is pulling. This tendency can be a huge advantage. The defense can stack their
strongest, biggest guys on their blockers and put faster types on the pullers side. If you
use automatic blitzes from the pullers side with your Corners you might even run the play
down. Most double wing teams do not flop their lines but some do due to personnel
problems. As a defensive coordinator you must look for this easy tendency.
The Right /Left tendency is another Personnel type of tendency. Like the flopping
linemen tendency the right/left tendency works the same way. One side will block and
the other will pull a majority of the time. We played a double wing team that ran almost
98% of their toss or super powers right. This allowed us to stack that side and put the
faster guys on the other side. After charting the plays this tendency will become
The Feld/Boundary tendency is do they run the wide or short side of the field. Most
double wing teams will fit into a field or boundary type team. This tendency is a little
harder to see, but can be huge advantage for the defense. If the double wing team is a
field team you can over shift your defense or slant to help with the wide side. There is no
need to defend the boundary if they are more inclined to run to the field. There are many
reasons a team runs to the field with a wider area for the defense to defend and more
running room as the two biggest. The boundary double wing teams like to smash it and
cut back to the wide side giving them more room on the cut back. This tendency helps
with the overall tendencies that a double wing is giving away.
The Sideline tendency is a tendency that will not show up on any normal tendency
charts. Do they run the ball to their sideline? A double wing team we played like to run
the ball to their sideline especially on crucial downs. The coach liked to see the play
develop. He thought if he could see the play it would have a better chance of success
instead of the play away from him. This is a huge tendency for the defensive
The Sequence tendency is does the double wing team run plays in a
sequence. A team we played always ran Toss or Super Power right on the
first play and buck sweep on the second play every half. We looked like a
genius at our booster club meeting when we told them to look for those two
plays at the beginning of the game. The double wing team is trying to test
the defense and those are two great plays to test how the defense is
covering them but is a great weapon for the defensive coordinator in his
game plan. We used those two plays to set a tone by over playing them
and creating a loss on both plays. Third down we except a pass or reverse
and the beginning of both half’s we have set a tone by making them punt.
The sequence tendency can be the greatest assets to a defensive
Another crucial part to scouting a double wing team is to scout the defense they are
playing against. There are many crucial tendencies that can be derived from watching
how another team defended the double wing. The first part of scouting a defense is to at
the double wing-blocking scheme. Double wing teams have many different ways to
block defensive fronts. On the scouting sheet I want to determine what defensive front
the team is running. We can determine by this piece of information if the double wing
team is running a certain play more then another, based on defensive fronts.
The biggest part of the defensive scouting section is where is the Point of Attack? The
point of attack will usually determine what blocking scheme they are using no matter the
play. The toss, spin, and reverse run at the off tackle position and have the same blocking
scheme. If we can determine who is blocking whom we have a better shot at defending
the double wing.
Other than trap or wedge most double wing teams have these three basic ingredients to
most of their plays. There will be a Double Team, a Kick Out block and somebody
(usually three) Pulling through the hole. These three techniques gives them an inside and
outside wall with lead blockers coming through the hole.
The double team block is a two on one block with the inside blacker responsible for any
blitz to the inside, this creates the inside wall. The kick out block is usually done by the
full back or guard. This creates the outside wall. Usually the off side guard and tackle
with the Quarter back lead the tail back through the hole.
As a defensive coordinator you must learn the basic blocking schemes to your defensive
front. This will allow you to figure a way to beat it and give you adequate repetitions in
practice. Most practice squads do not give you a game type look when you practice the
double wing, so your defense never gets good quality practice versus the double wing
The last aspect of the defensive scouting is Coverage’s. You need to see how the double
wing team defeats that coverage's. This will allow you more freedom in secondary
support. If the double wing team cannot pass there is no need to cover those areas. We
usually do not cover the flats. We allow them the pass completion and rally to the ball to
make the tackle. Most of the time the double wing team will not take advantage of this
because it is not in the game plan.
Understanding the Double Wing offense
The last major idea of defending double wing teams understands their offense. You
cannot defend an offense unless you have an idea of what it is attacking. Once you have
a plan of what the double wing team is trying to attack you can make a sound judgement
on how to defend that area of the defense they are attacking.
The Double Wing Formation is a compressed double tight end, double wing formation
with tight splits usually foot to foot. This formation makes the defense cover ten running
gaps with huge flank areas. The two tight ends and wings give them a four wide receiver
passing game. The two wings, full back and quarter back give them four running backs
to use in the run game
The Toss/Super Power is attacking the off tackle hole with ten players. Double teams at
the point of attack a kick out block by the full back, and the guard, tackle and quarter
back leading through the hole. The running back follows his lead blockers and is looking
to cut back or kick it outside. The running back usually is hidden behind all the
The Trap is designed to give the impression of the toss and give the full back the ball up
the middle behind the trapping guard. The line does not block down linemen but blocks
the linebackers. This gives them two tackles, a guard, tight end and a wing to block the
linebackers. The running back and quarter back fake the rest of the defense into thinking
it is a toss play.
The Reverse is a counter to the toss play. The running back gets the pitch
from the quarterback and gives an inside hand off to the other wing. The
other wing follows the guard, tackle, and full back on the reverse. The
play is essentially the toss play with a double team, kick out and pulling
The Spin is a counter to the toss play. Like the reverse the running back fakes the toss
play. The difference is the quarterback spins around like he is pitching the ball but gives
an inside reverse to the other wing. This play is blocked the same way as the reverse play
with a kick out by the guard and the full back and tackle pulling through
The Buck sweep is a sweep play that has the fullback going opposite the sweep. This
dive away is supposed to keep the linebackers at home. The play has the quarterback
faking a dive to the fullback and then handing the sweep to the wing back who follow
both guards on the sweep. The tight and wing reach the contain defenders. This play is
effective because most defenses stack the inside to stop the toss or super power. There is
a bootleg off the buck sweep but it is not usually run unless no ones cover the
quarterbacks fake off the buck sweep.
The Play action pass is designed to flood a pass coverage area. When the
double wing teams see a defense commit their secondary to run force they
fake the toss and throw the play action pass at the defense. Usually it’s a
two-man route with the wing running a flat and the tight end running a
Many double wing teams have different pass schemes but they usually attack the same
The Streak is all four receivers running vertical. This is a hard play to defend.
Defensive coordinators must be ready for this pass play when setting up their defensive
structure to defend the double wing offense.
Understanding the Double Wing Offense
The Toss play is simple in its invention, but overwhelming in its application. If you don't
stack the odds in your favor, you will be run over. Double Wing teams run up huge
scores against opponents, who either have no idea at what they are facing or too PROUD
to realize their own weaknesses against it. The Toss's objective is like Coach Vince
Lombardi's famous Green Bay Sweep. They want to create a wall by the Fullback sealing
the outside, the Tight End Tackle's double team sealing the inside and the Offside Tackle,
Guard and Quarterback wedge through the hole, giving the Wing back an alley to run
through. Most times this alley is so big; "you could drive a truck through it"
The Toss works like this, both Wings line up on the line of scrimmage. The Quarterback
reads the defensive set and bends down under center. At this point the Wings take their
place. One Wing sets up as an Unbalanced second Tight End. At the same time the
second Wing sets up as a Wingback. He takes a quick motion back 5 yards behind the
Guard. The Quarterback snaps the ball and pitches a dead, none spinning ball chest to
face high at the motioning wing. He then pulls through the point of attack and seal
outside, blocking the Cornerback. The Offensive line has foot-to-foot splits to prevent
stunting. The play side Tight End and Tackle double team at the point of attack. They are
taught to act like Siamese twins joined at the hip. Even though there are no gaps or
running lanes they create them with their double team. The unbalanced Wing steps
outside at the Cornerback and blocks down to seal off the Linebacker. The offside
Tackle and Guard pull to the point of attack. The Guard's responsibility is to seal inside.
The Offside Tackle is to seal up any penetration and help the Guard seal inside. The
backside Tight End's job is to seal off backside penetration by cutting any defensive
linemen in the B gap out. The Fullback's job is to kick out the man responsible for
Force. He takes a banana route, keeping an inside relationship to the Force man. Because
of this banana technique he can't effectively kick out and never have to read the Force
and worry about logging him in. This technique allows him to concentrate fully on
kicking out the force and creating the seam for the Wing to run in. The Wing back takes
the pitch and reads his pulling Guard and Tackle, many times pushing him through the
hole. This adds deception to power of the play. Many times people are there to defend but
cannot see the ball carrier as he hides behind the pulling lineman. The Wing back has
many options as he runs through the holes he can stay on path, kick it outside, or the most
dangerous cut back across the grain. This is devastating because most of the pursuit is
coming at the point of attack and do not properly defend the cut back.
The Buck Sweep is an Outside play that is complementary to the Toss play. Taken from
the Wing T offense the Double wing team uses it to be more of an outside stretch play
then a power off tackle play that the wing t uses it for. Defensive teams get caught up in
stopping the Toss that they compact their defense to the Toss, leaving them vulnerable to
the outside. This is where the Buck Sweep play comes in to take advantage of the
defense's compaction. The double wing team gets both guards leading the ball carrier
The Reverse works like this. The wing goes in motion like he does on the Toss play. The
Quarter back turns and hands off the ball to the wing. The Full back dives the same way
as the motioning wing. It looks like the quarter back has faked to the Fullback as he turns
the same way as they full back is diving. This cross buck look gives the play the
deception it needs to spring the wing outside. The front side Tight end and wing reach
block anyone near the line of scrimmage. The center blocks play side to cover for the
front side guard who is pulling outside for the corner back. The full back dive and the
backside tackle seal block inside cover for the backside guard who is pulling and leading
the wing on the sweep. The backside tight end is faking a corner route, while the quarter
back is faking the bootleg. This backside bootleg fake should keep some of the defense
at home to cover them. The ball carrier follows his pulling guards outside and stretches
the defense to the sideline before turning up the field. This buck sweep play is a great
change up to the constant pounding inside of the Toss play.
The Reverse play is a derivative of the Wing T's Criss Cross play. A double hand off
reverse. This play is devastating to over pursuing defenses. The double wing team gets
all the power of the toss play with a misdirection, deception based play. The double wing
team gets the tackle, guard and full back leading through the hole. This play is probably
the second biggest gainer for the double wing team and huge play for them in tight
The Reverse works like this the wing goes in motion like on the Toss play. The
Quarterback hands him off the ball like the buck sweep and continues on a bootleg. The
quarter back is trying to get the defensive end and cornerback to follow him or come up
field. The wing, after taking the hand off, runs toward the other wing and gives him an
inside handoff. The other wing on the snap delays and runs toward the motioning wing
and takes the inside hand off and follows the pulling tackle and guard. The play side
tight end and tackle double team at the point of attack. The guard blocks his inside gap
and the center covers for the pulling guard. The off side guard pulls and kicks out the
defensive end. The pulling tackle leads and seals inside. The full back step like he is
running toss and bends around the quarterback and leads through the whole and seals
outside. This play works great against over pursuing defenses
The Spin is another reverse play off the Toss. The main aspect of the Spin in comparison
to the Reverse is the Quarterback handles the ball unlike the reverse where there is a
double handoff. Another key element to the deception is the full back blocks like he does
on the toss giving the linebackers a false read key. This play can also be ran to the tight
The Spin works like this the wing goes in motion and fakes the Toss. The play side tight
end and tackle double team at the point of attack. The guard blocks his inside gap and
the center covers for the pulling guard. The off side guard pulls and kicks out the
defensive end. The pulling tackle leads and seals inside just like on the reverse play. The
full back blocks the area right off the pulling tackle. The tight end blocks down to protect
the inside gap. The quarterback takes the snap and fakes the Toss pitch and Spins around
and hands off to the wing going underneath him. The other wing on the snap delays and
runs toward the motioning wing and takes the inside hand off from the quarterback and
follows the pulling tackle and guard.
The Trap is the Full backs main run. The Double Wing Trap is more of a delay trap than
the quick hitting Wing T trap play. The Full back trap is a hugely successful for the
double wing team because of the effectiveness of the toss play. Most defense's tend to
over pursue the to the Toss play and forget about the Fullback. The close alignment of the
Fullback to the quarterback, the Toss fake and delay action of the fullback adds to the
The Trap works like this the wing goes in motion and fakes the Toss. The front side wing
blocks the corner back. The play side tight end, tackle and guard block the Linebackers
inside. They create a wall cutting off the backside of the defense. If there is a Nose guard
the play side guard blocks his inside gap and the center covers for the trapping guard.
The trapping guard traps the first defensive linemen past the center. The fullback stays in
his stance and delays. He tries to hide behind the line of scrimmage. The quarterback
turns and fakes the toss play and hands off to the fullback. The quarterback either fakes a
bootleg or a quick pass. The fullback takes the ball and follows the guard. Some teams
pull both the tackle and the guard on this play. In this blocking scheme the guard traps
and the tackle leads up through the hole. Most schemes have the backside tackle and
tight end block downfield, looking for secondary defenders.
The Play Action Pass comes off the Toss Play. The Play Action Pass is most effective
when the Toss play is gaining big yards and the defensive backs have to step up and stop
the play. There are many route combinations but most tend to be a high/low read
between the Wing and Tight End. Usually it is a two-man route but sometimes it is run
as a four-man route. The Quarterback usually has plenty of time because of the run fake.
The linemen perform an aggressive block so they do not have to pass block. Many
Double Wing teams "lull you to sleep" with a constant, pounding run game and then hit
you with a Play Action Pass. They try to catch your defensive backs "sleeping" and pass
for big yardage.
The Play Action pass works like this the wing goes in motion like the Toss play. The
Quarterback spins, fakes a pitch to the wing and drops back five steps. The wing fakes
receiving the pitch and runs into the line of scrimmage and pass blocks. The Fullback
kicks out the defensive end. Some teams have the fullback run a flat route. The play side
tackle, guard and center block their inside gaps aggressively. The weak side tackle and
guard set up and perform an aggressive pass block. The front side Tight end runs a
corner route, trying to get behind the defensive back. Some double wing teams have the
tight end block or delay before releasing down field. The front side wing blocks and runs
a flat route. Some double wing teams have the wing and tight end switch routes to get a
picking action or they feel they have a better athlete at wing then at the tight end position.
The back side tight end either stays home and blocks or runs a Post route to draw the
defensive backs away from the corner route. Some double wing teams have the backside
tight end run a dig or drag route. There are many passing combination but most come off
the Play Action of the Toss play.
The Double Wing has unlimited potential in its play usage. Many Double Wing teams
have other plays in their arsenal like:
Fullback Off Tackle with Guard Trap,
Quarterback Keeper Toss
Quarterback Spinner Trap
Many different Option Schemes
Fly or Jet Sweep
Passing Schemes from the waggle to the run n shoots all streak play.
Defending the DW -Personnel
In choosing personnel for defending the Double Wing, the coach must look at a lot of
different variables the when choosing a normal defensive team. Many skills of the
normal defensive team are over looked for Team skills of sacrifice, team play and each
position doing their responsibility. Aggressive is needed, but flow to the ball gang
tackling type players usually does not work as smart, do your job types. The personnel
needed for Defending the Double Wing needs to be evaluated before you can start to stop
this potent offense.
The NG needs to be a quick reaction player and is the most vital position in defending the
Double Wing. The Double Wing team tends to put their biggest, slowest, worst linemen
at the center spot. This is huge advantage in defending the Double Wing team as this
mismatch can be exploited. The NG must also be an unselfish, Team player. Many of
the NG's techniques will cause disruptions in the Double Wing scheme but will not show
any statistics for the NG.
The best game I saw a NG play against the Double Wing he ended up with 0 tackles but
he was voted MVP of the game. The NG rammed the center back, causing three fumbled
snaps. He was constantly getting double team from the guard leaving the LB untouched.
The LB that game made 18 tackles. His biggest asset was he stopped the backside
pulling G/T 8 times and had 4 hits on the QB on their buck sweep. The center was called
for holding 4 times as he started to tackle the NG on every play. I have used a 300-pound
Division 1 player to a 119-pound wrestler at NG. The great thing about the 119-pound
wrestler was he was line up across from a 300-pound center. Most of the time you could
not see him on the film but he was creating piles and keeping the pulling linemen from
getting to the POA. The best NG types are 190 pound quick, fast LB's
The DT spot has to be an aggressive type. I like the "Rudy" type of undersized player
with a huge heart. Many times I have put in a back up who does not play much and will
do what you ask 100%. A lot of the times a normal DT wants to pursue and try to make
reads but this does not work. The DT position takes an unselfish player who will make
the cut and will give up his body for the rest of the team. The DT main goal is to cut his
OT every time causing a pile at the POA or stopping his OT from pulling. Either way he
has taken away a hole or someone from the Double Wing attack.
The best game at this position was a guard who did not play defense ever but was very
coachable. He cut his DT and crabbed through him every play. He did his job in giving
up his body and made 6 tackles in the 4th quarter. Another great game was played by a
175 pound back up who made his cut ever time. His CB to his side had game high 25
tackles. My 300-pound stud that would not cut played worst game. He was the best
blocker for the Double Wing team as he was constantly being pushed back on the double
team. He was eventually benched for the rest of the game as he told me "he could not cut
every play and had to play normal defense "
The DE has to be a kamikaze, contact player. He has to "shorten the neck" of the FB and
not get kicked out on the play. The DE must make the play bounce outside so the CB can
make the play. He cannot be too over aggressive and crash so hard inside that they run
the Toss outside of him. The DE must make huge disruptions on the Toss and Reverse
plays. He has to be disciplined and not go up field or he will give a huge lane for the
The best game at this position was our short, squatty 5'5 195 DE. His wrong shouldering
to a cut of the FB bounced the play or caused a pile so many times his CB to his side had
25 tackles. Worst game was the same over aggressive kid who started to bite on the
misdirection and was getting up field too much. This left a huge lane for the Reverse.
He also was crashing so hard inside that the FB logged him in and the backside G/T/QB
pulled around him and triple team the CB on the Toss play.
The LB position needs to have discipline players who will read their keys and not the
backfield motion. They have a lot of misdirection and deception to dechiper and needs to
be smart, heads up players. Quickness and toughness are also needed, as they will take
on many blockers.
The LB's over the years have been pretty consistent in their play. They make their reads
and flow to the ball. The worse case was I had two LB's who were reading the backfield
flow and were totally lost. The Double Wing team we played ran 22 reverses that game
and almost every time my two-LB's run into each other as one read the flow and the other
read the reverse. That game the Double Wing team kept the ball the entire 4th quarter on
The CB position needs to be played by your best open field tackler. The CB spot will be
in a position to make every tackle as everyone is funneling the ball carrier to the CB
The CB can be any type of position as long as he can shed blocks and make tackles. This
is the glory position as this player averages about 20 tackles against Double Wing teams
The best CB I have seen was our leading tackler SS who was a 145-pound wrestler. He
made 25 tackles and only missed 2 times in a 1 on 1 situation. His DT and DE to his side
were unstoppable in their job of sacrificing themselves for the CB. Many of the tackles
the CB had were one on one situation and he made them most of them for no gain or a
loss. Worst case was when I had a cover CB plays here and he either missed the tackle or
was run over. Most times he was avoiding contact and looked like he was playing two-
The FS needs to be a smart player who can make a tackle one on one like the CB. The
FS must be able to come up quick and be a force and contain player but does not get
caught in the play action and gives up the home run pass play. Speed or size is not really
an issue as heads up or smart play is more desirable. Normal DB's or even displaced LB
in the Defending the Double Wing Scheme can man the FS position.
This position has been pretty consistent for me through the years. I have had weaker
cover CB and outside backers play here along with normal safety types. They all have
done a good job of making tackles and covering the Play Action. Their pursuit was good
and the made many Touchdown saving tackles. The Worst case was a hard hitting SS
who kept coming up and making big hits on the Toss play. Even though he was doing a
great job in stopping the Toss he gave up three huge play action passes with two of them
going for scores.