A Simple Way to Call
A Multiple Formation Offense

Mike Walker
Coaches Learning Network

In most offensive schemes that I have been a part of, we used words like flanker, pro, twins, wing, slot, heavy, trips, trio, dubs, bunch, spread, Hawk, Miner, C-Wing, Joker, etc., combined with words like right, left, weak, strong, split, tight, wide, flip, switch, nasty, flex, close, double, mirror, etc.

This can lead to confusion, and the potential for alignment mistakes.

All of us have seen coaches frustrated with a player for lining up wrong, which makes us waste time in practice, or waste timeouts during a game.

How many times has confusion over formation alignments cost you a big play because you didnít have enough men on the line of scrimmage, or because an eligible receiver was covered by a teammate, etc.?

Because of the strength of our schedule, and the diversity of the defensive schemes that we see each week, we have to have the ability to line up in multiple formations.

Our opponents are too well coached for us to line up in one or two formations and consistently move the ball. We need to formation them to get the personnel matchups we want, and to force them to make adjustments with their fronts, blitzes, coverages, etc.

In almost every game we played last season we ran a two-back set, a one-back set, a spread shotgun; one, two and three tight end formations; one, two, three and four receiver sets, and unbalanced formations.

When you start running that many backfield sets, and tight end and receiver combinations, it is very easy to become wordy - and potentially confusing - with your formation calls. And this is before you call any personnel groups, motions or shifts, the play you want to run and your cadence.

In over 20 years of coaching at the high school and college level, I have been exposed to numerous formation calling systems. Some featured numbers, some colors, some lengthy descriptions of formations, and some that just relied on the players ability to memorize words.

The one thing that I always try to do is reduce the amount of words and learning that our players have to do. I want the vocabulary we use to be logical and basically self explaining. I want a simple way to call a multiple formation offense.

The following is an overview of a simplified way to call a multiple formation offense. ... To read this article, and for full access to all CLN resources, get your MEMBERSHIP NOW.