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I have lately become intrigued by the indirect-snap, double-wing offense.
Indirect snap means the quarterback puts his hands under the center's butt to receive the ball. The word "indirect" refers to the fact that the ball is ultimately going to a running back, but it gets to him by the indirect route of going to the quarterback first. A direct snap is like the single wing where the ball is snapped directly to a running back. Historically, the direct snap preceded the indirect snap, thus the convoluted terminology. Also historically, readers should understand that there is also a direct-snap double wing, which I also recommend. A couple of my readers said they used that offense successfully.
The indirect-snap double-wing bears much resemblance to the single wing and wing T. But I am intrigued because of all the stuff I've heard about it. No sooner had my first football book come out than I began getting calls and letters and e-mail from all over the U.S., often with comments like, "Have you run into the double wing? A team using it is tearing up our league."
Finally, an article on the double wing appeared in the 9/96 Scholastic Coach magazine. It was written by Hugh Wyatt and indicated he had produced a video on the subject. I bought it and talked to Coach Wyatt several times. He did the best job I've seen of producing a football video. Most are just recordings of a live clinic or of a couple of players or coaches talking. Wyatt's has graphics and is designed to teach in a thorough manner. I also bought his play book which is extremely thorough.
This offense is the one used by the current all-time high school season scoring record holder: Bloomington (CA) High School, 880 points in 14 games in 1994. In 1993, they were 1-9. Bloomington's new coach starting in 1994 was Don Markham. Users of the offense have also won state titles in the Northwest. When Markham coached at Bandon High School in Oregon (to which school he returned), he scored so many points they adopted a special state association rule that the game is over when one team is 45 points ahead. The rule is informally called the Bandon Rule or the Don Markham Rule. Markham won two national titles with it in Europe as well as a "continental" title (Eurobowl Championship). A team where Wyatt had been offensive coordinator for the previous four years won a state championship in Washington State with the double wing in 1995, as have two other Washington State coaches. Coach Wyatt's Web site is www.coachwyatt.com.
Jerry Vallotton has also written a book about the double wing. It's called The Toss and is excellent.
I have heard reports that opposing coaches have resorted to teaching their defensive linemen to grab the ankles of Markham's pulling linemen to stop his team. That is a violation of the rules and it is unethical for any coach to teach his players to do that. If I were the boss of a coach who did that, I would fire him on the spot.
A high school team in my area, Ygnacio Valley, used to be weak. Now they use the double wing and are dominating. Their coach coached the July all-star game between two local counties. His team won 35-6 using the double wing. Usually those all-star games are 7-6 or some such. On 9/18/99, they played perennial powerhouse Pittsburgh, the last team to beat another powerhouse: De La Salle. YV won 59-13. They rushed for 437 yards on 48 carries and were 2 of 4 for 26 yards passing.
Here's an email I got from a reader about the double wing:
"HI coach, just thought I would drop you a line and share my experiences with this great offense with you. I coach in INDIANAPOLIS for a 7th grade team, I had the pleasure of meeting the legend DON MARKHAM last year and I had a boot camp training course in the double wing! I took everything I learned from coach Markham, and came back to INDY where I installed the offense and wasn't sure what was gonna happen. I remember the second day we were running plays and some of the parents who came to watch their son practice were mumbling in the background, "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!!" They were telling each other that we would not win a game! I was told by my 8th grade coach that we would go 0-9, point blank, he said we were not very talented and don't get upset when we lose every game, just keep the boys interested. We finished the season 7-2 and no team could stop our offense even though they had bigger and faster players! THE double wing frustrated the heck out of the defensive coaches, many games they would use up all 3 timeouts in the first quarter making adjustments, you see in INDIANA nobody runs this offense, these coaches didn't know what hit them! Many times the players from the other teams commented after the game they had trouble finding the ball! I have coached at the middle school level and youth level for 10 years and have run many offenses, there is absolutely not a better offense at the youth level than this offense, kids hate to be double teamed and they hate having a heard of blockers coming at them, and best of all they usually are anxious and get killed by misdirection!! I agree with what you say when talking about this offense, after seeing our team many coaches after the season asked me to help them install it ..." coach sawn Clayton indy..
Here's another email I got about the double wing:
I enjoyed reading some of your articles on your website. First I will tell you about our offense. We switched this season to Coach Wyatt's double wing and it was very successful. We had to adjust the offense to 12-man football for Canadian rules and make a few other adjustments but we had one of the best seasons in school history. Our varsity team went 12-0 and won the Provincial title against a team who hadn't lost a game in 4 years. My team the JV squad lost in the City Final (as far as our league competes) to the only team we had lost to all season. We have always been a competitive team, but our coaches always comment on how it is "what put us over the top". We had excellent stats this season and a lot of press because no one had seen this type of offense. At the beginning of the season many other coaches laughed at us and thought we were crazy. They didn't laugh when we would beat them by 35 points or so. It is a great offense and well worth the credit you gave it. Kyle Wagner