On USA Football: create multiplicity with formations

While a team may use only a limited amount of formations during a season, having the ability to utilize different formations while integrating with different personnel makes an offense adaptable. Terminology needs to be flexible as well. As a team adapts different concepts into its structure, it all has to fit logically. Our program was looking to cut down on a huge number of schemes but maintain multiplicity. We needed to build a system that allowed us to do more with less, to be diverse in formations and motions. We needed to create a system that allowed us the flexibility to take advantage of our personnel. We wanted our offense to focus around schemes and concepts that could be used in a multitude of formations, where we could line up in a double wing or with four wide and it did not affect what was going on up front with our linemen….read more

Learn about our formations system using tag words in The Zone Offense: Create a Structured System


Follow-up on Flexible Formations

I had a few questions last night. They were “How would you…” type questions. The first dealt with diamond pistol formations. What we did was create 2 more surfaces. In these surfaces we did not use a number for the adjuster. They are simply 3 back formations. I will cover how we tie in personnel in another post. Here are our diamond formations surfaces:


I also mentioned another surface. This one puts the tight end or h-back in the b-gap, one yard off of the offensive line. I included a picture of the surface and then a couple examples.


In the example, I also moved the back out of Pistol. We do that by adding a 1 or 0 as the second digit. The second digit always speaks to the running back. He is labeled “S” for us because we call him the speed back. We use the letter “J” to represent “Jacket”. He is our Jacket receiver named after our nickname, Yellow Jackets.


Learn more about this formation system and how we use the structure to create an offense from the Pistol in my iBook. 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays provides concepts that can be utilized in any offense, not just the pistol. The interactive multimedia book contains 229 pieces of dynamic content and a total of 30 minutes of game film. I have received some great feedback from coaches who adapted all or some of those ideas in 2013. I was able to consult with several high schools around the country who were interested in this offense implemented this system. If you are interested in consultation on the Pistol, please email me grabkj@gmail.com. Get 101+ PRO STYLE PISTOL OFFENSE PLAYS for your iPad or Mac from the iBookstore.

A Process For Adding A Wrinkle

The full article with examples and video can be viewed on American Football Monthly.

As you progress through this season, there will be parts of your offense that you do very well and rely on. Defenses will gear up to stop those parts of your offense, and this will provide an opportunity to add some wrinkles that give you an advantage.

Points to remember when adding a wrinkle in-season:
1. Focus on what you do best. What personnel grouping and formation could give you an advantage in using a new look to run an effective component of your offense?
2. How do you keep it simple in adding this and what adjustment do you anticipate from your opponent? It may be best to focus on just that one play and any adjustments you will need to attack to implement this wrinkle.
3. What is the tendency after the first game of using this wrinkle? Was it effective? If so, what do you need to do next to break that tendency and bring some balance to this wrinkle? This should be your new addition for the next game.
4. Progress this way in adding to the package, and you will find that you have effectively added a full arsenal of your offensive concepts to this formation or personnel grouping over the course of a few weeks. The added dimension for what your opponent needs to spend time on to defend will be greater than the time you have used to install it. The time you spend in adding these wrinkles will be efficient and effective because at no single point in the process did you try to implement everything at once, and you progressed in a logical fashion.

If you haven’t done so yet, get a copy of 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays. It’s something that you will use as a reference both in and out of season because it’s loaded with offensive ideas and strategies. Get it here.


Thank you to Bill Mountjoy for sharing this information. Finding ways to eliminate rote memorization of formations allows your players to align in many more formations easily and thus makes your offense very multiple. There are several methods of naming formations to accomplish this and Coach amount joy shares his here:

How we use MANY formations by moving only ONE MAN (*”H”).

Below is the THEORY behind our Offense. NOTE: QB may be UNDER, or in “Pistol”:


The easiest approach – and the logical one – is to think of the set-up as you would the “I”. But, now you have the “I” fullback up near the L.O.S. on either side, and he is called the “H” back.







Much of your motion comes from moving your “H” from one side to the other. The movement creates problems for the defense in that they must determine how to support the corner of the defense and at the same time account for coverage on each receiver.

By being close to the L.O.S., the “H” back has a higher percentage block than your ordinary “I” fullback would have. At the same time, the “H” position allows a quicker release if he is to be a receiver. Of course, he is not the running threat that your “I” fullback would present, but most “I” teams do not run the fullback as a feature anyway. In addition, you do not have the versatility (of having strength to either side on the snap) that you have in the “I”. However, the position close to the L.O.S. does compensate for all of this by being a more effective blocker and receiver as a “H” back (and forces the defense to protect an extra gap). And with the created defensive problems (with movement) as an “H”, it more than compensates for the reduced element of surprise. We use our “Counter-Gap” play to keep the defense honest and not over-compensate for the position of the “H” back. A very effective play.

101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays illustrates a similar simple offensive formation system that allows you to move the H-Back or Slot Receiver with a number system. The number system extends into the motions and very little terminology is necessary which means it’s easy for the players to learn. Get it from the iBookstore for you iPad here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/101+-pro-style-pistol-offense/id611588645?mt=11