Part 1 - Historical Perspective
It all started with a fascination of the 3 distinctly different offenses the Wing-T, Run & Shoot and the Georgia Southern Hambone. From there it evolved with specific influence and personal contact with the following coaches, Ben Griffith (Inventor of the Hambone), Glenn “Tiger” Ellison, Darrell “Mouse” Davis and Bill Walsh. As an additional note, Leo “Dutch” Meyer’s book, Spread Formation Football gave me an idea on how to create an explosive rushing attack (albeit, it was not the purpose of his book). Having started American Football QuarterlyÆ in 1993, while waiting to take a job at Kansas State University, gave me access to all of the aforementioned individuals, except coach Meyer.
In the early 1990’s, I was working on my Ph.D. and while finishing my coursework I began a research project, which evolved into the Triple Shoot Offense. The title of the dissertation project was, “The History and Evolution of the Run & Shoot Offense in American Football.”
Development of the Offense
Researching the state of football and developing axioms and creating postulates based on those axioms created this offense. My initial axioms of the game were as follows:
- 1. The game of football has freedoms, purposes and barriers that give spread formation attacks a distinct advantage.
- 2. A systems approach to football has the greatest potential for success over a period of time.
- 3. When players are more knowledgeable about their system than the opponent is theirs they have the greatest potential for success.
- 4. A balanced approach to offensive strategy has the greatest potential for success over a period of time.
- 5. A system that appears complex, yet is simple to execute will stand the test of time.
These following postulates were the results of analyzing the previous axioms:
- 1. Spreading the field with offensive personnel creates mis-matches and distinct angles to attack the defense.
- 2. Utilizing a no-huddle attack enables an offense to control the clock and give the players a better understanding of the defense they are attacking.
- 3. A 2-point stance by offensive linemen gives them better recognition and a lower “center of gravity” at the point of attack.
- 4. A protection based on the principle of “firm: front-side & soft: backside” enables an offense to take advantage of any defensive front by keeping them off balance.
- 5. Run blocking schemes that combine Veer, Zone and Trap blocking enables an offense to run the ball versus any defensive front.
- 6. Pass schemes that adjust routes based on coverage on the run will open up holes in the secondary.
- 7. Quarterback decisions based on looks & reads give the offense the ability to release the ball anywhere from 1 to 5 steps. This will minimize the amount of time necessary for pass protection.
Triple Shoot Offense Defined
The Triple Shoot Offense is a systems oriented, no-huddle, four receiver, one back attack that is balanced in its ability to run or pass the ball at any time during a game. It is predicated on spreading the field and attacking a pre-ordered defense with blocking and route adjustments after the play begins.
Ordering Up The Defense
The concept of “ordering up the defense” is one that I learned from “Tiger” Ellison. His concept was to place a label on each defensive man (numbering), and from that to designate a specific defender that would tell his players what to do, either by the place he lined up before the ball was snapped or by his movement after the snap.
The Triple Shoot Offense took that information and decided to look at defensive alignments based on the way they matched up to a 4 receiver, one-back formation and designated defenses as either Nickel, Dime, Blitz or they were considered unsound. Nickel looks are based on six men in the box with one free safety, Dime looks have five men in the box with two safeties and Blitz is recognized when there are seven defenders in the box and no safety over the top. Anything else is an unsound defense that we hope a team is willing to attempt.
In order to keep defenses in these alignments we utilize a variety of concepts, from widening our inside receivers to calling specific plays that put a bind on any defender that tries to play both the front and the coverage. When we get to the point where we can do this, the offense is at its most optimum in production.
Tomorrow, the run game and play-passes.
- Manny Matsakis