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View Full Version : Wishbone and Multi-Bone Offense



KT2000
08-18-2011, 03:56 PM
Why have teams stopped using this alignment? The flexbone still has popularity, but its close relative has been the odd man out in the modern era for some reason.

I still maintain the wishbone is the best running formation in football.

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/107434/Wishbone_Formation_medium.png

Though you don't get the motion involved with the flexbone, the misdirection possibilities are endless. It's so easy to disguise in the wishbone as you'll hardly ever offer any clues in the form of pre-snap shifts and motions.

Maybe some of you can help me out here because I can't understand it. Why is no one using arguably the greatest run formation ever conceived?

titus211
08-18-2011, 05:54 PM
We ran the wishbone in HS back in the 80s. They dumped it in the late 80s-90s to run the option from the I, like Nebraska and Colorado were doing back then. The bone and flex bone are the same, but I think you are talking about the spread option that Ga-Tech runs which is a combo-RNS, flex-bone and wing-T. The offense consumes time and with the gun offense being able to score quickly, more bone teams would be trailing and many time taken out of their games. The Oregon offense has many bone principles, especially when Massoli was their at QB, his power at QB was the FB, with Boner and James on the edges, but with a potential to pass that no bone offense ever had. You can run the offense, but it would not fit well in 7 on 7 unless they used the gun for a two minute offense. If you have the players you can run it and kill people, especially with more teams not having TEs or FBs, they would pound some of these new speed defenses that are all finesse.

Favpack
08-18-2011, 07:04 PM
Kingwood kicked our butts last year for about 500 rushing yards. We were completely powerless against whatever they did. A flex/wish/bone thing.

twcpfan1
08-18-2011, 07:27 PM
Kingwood kicked our butts last year for about 500 rushing yards. We were completely powerless against whatever they did. A flex/wish/bone thing.

They rushed for that many against The Woodz too. And then they turn around and were completely shut out by the Oak Ridge defense. It's almost like they did it on purpose to shut the door on College Park. Went for 2 instead of overtime to insure a 1 point loss. Their coaches did the Math. I had to explain to their fans why they did it.

Austin109
08-18-2011, 11:23 PM
I think a lot of teams dont like that if you need to pass from the wishbone its a really slow developing formation and makes things difficult if the defense can stop the run.

Flexbone keeps a few fundamentals in there but spreads the field out a lot more while still keeping the misdirection game going full speed

dragonsdaddy
08-19-2011, 06:13 AM
probably the biggest issue with the demise of the wishbone is the requirement that you find 4 backs who are willing to forgo personal pride and achievements for the good of the team. a wishbone back, even the premier one, has to subvert himself and learn to block the assigned defensive guy. the fb will take hits every play, as will the qb. i was one of the first hs qb to run the wishbone at plano in 69, and it was such a novel offense that dc's had no clue how to defend it. i think if a team had the athletes in the backfield that we had, with the same mindset, it would be successful.

after watching the evolution of option offenses, i am convinced the best is the midline. it puts the least likely to react properly to have to at the snap of the ball. and the rb's arent req'd to be dead solid perfect as blockers. of course it does require a dead solid stud at qb. when lake highlands started it, it was as efficient as i've ever seen.

Favpack
08-19-2011, 07:59 AM
probably the biggest issue with the demise of the wishbone is the requirement that you find 4 backs who are willing to forgo personal pride and achievements for the good of the team. a wishbone back, even the premier one, has to subvert himself and learn to block the assigned defensive guy. the fb will take hits every play, as will the qb. i was one of the first hs qb to run the wishbone at plano in 69, and it was such a novel offense that dc's had no clue how to defend it. i think if a team had the athletes in the backfield that we had, with the same mindset, it would be successful.

after watching the evolution of option offenses, i am convinced the best is the midline. it puts the least likely to react properly to have to at the snap of the ball. and the rb's arent req'd to be dead solid perfect as blockers. of course it does require a dead solid stud at qb. when lake highlands started it, it was as efficient as i've ever seen.

So, should we start calling you the Plano stud?

titus211
08-20-2011, 08:30 PM
I think a lot of teams dont like that if you need to pass from the wishbone its a really slow developing formation and makes things difficult if the defense can stop the run.

Flexbone keeps a few fundamentals in there but spreads the field out a lot more while still keeping the misdirection game going full speed

Wishbone isn't a misdirection offense, that's the wing-t. The wishbone is a triple option offense that attacks the middle (FB belly), OT (QB keep) and outside (HB pitch). Well blocked and read by a deft QB, that basic 32 belly will kill any team along with the other variations that have changes in blocks and reads but all look like the same play, but are not. To run this offense you need a great defense and we always had that at Reagan.

SV61
08-20-2011, 09:51 PM
They stopped running it, because nobody knows what a fullback is anymore.

ganderif
08-21-2011, 11:53 AM
Kingwood Runs this. Their secret is the have the backs cut block and the run the plays extremely fast not giving the defense time to see it develop. If you back away from what you think is going to be a cut block they give that player the ball. They are looking to be pretty good this year and if their defense steps up could beat anybody.

dragonsdaddy
08-21-2011, 12:19 PM
Kingwood Runs this. Their secret is the have the backs cut block and the run the plays extremely fast not giving the defense time to see it develop. If you back away from what you think is going to be a cut block they give that player the ball. They are looking to be pretty good this year and if their defense steps up could beat anybody.

stopping/slowing the wishbone is difficult, and depends on everyone doing their job, regardless of what everyone else is doing. these duties are very different from most reactive defensive schemes. the optioned players make or break the plays, so de's, lbs, and safeties are critical. while passing is a second option at best, it can be deadly, esp when db's start cheating. wb can neutralize the size inequalities and can make super-aggresive defenders a liability. it will always have its proponents, and will be successful as long as there are enough rb's willing to forgo personal stats for the good of the team. these kids are getting harder to find in the go-go teens, where espin lauds the 7on7 offenses of the day. you will never see a wb offense on the top 10 pod.

Matthew 2000 Eagle
08-21-2011, 12:34 PM
Kingwood Runs this. Their secret is the have the backs cut block and the run the plays extremely fast not giving the defense time to see it develop. If you back away from what you think is going to be a cut block they give that player the ball. They are looking to be pretty good this year and if their defense steps up could beat anybody.

I think A&M Consolidated runs something close to the bone as well.

titus211
08-21-2011, 01:36 PM
I think A&M Consolidated runs something close to the bone as well.

They run the wing-t, which is not the wishbone.

gstope
08-21-2011, 02:34 PM
Unless Kingwood is changing the offense this year, they have been running the flexbone like air force and georgia tech for the past few years. They lineup with a fullback behind the qb and two slot backs with one almost always going in motion. The odd thing about this is they also have two wide outs or receivers but rarely throw the ball. I keep wishing for 7-10 passes a game to really open things up.

ganderif
08-21-2011, 03:46 PM
Unless Kingwood is changing the offense this year, they have been running the flexbone like air force and georgia tech for the past few years. They lineup with a fullback behind the qb and two slot backs with one almost always going in motion. The odd thing about this is they also have two wide outs or receivers but rarely throw the ball. I keep wishing for 7-10 passes a game to really open things up.

Yea that's the norm. In the scrimmage they were doing it like the picture at the top also, but I don''t know how much of a difference it makes. 7-10 passes is actually about what they throw.

Matthew 2000 Eagle
08-22-2011, 09:48 AM
They run the wing-t, which is not the wishbone.

I knew it was one or the other.

KT2000
08-23-2011, 11:23 AM
probably the biggest issue with the demise of the wishbone is the requirement that you find 4 backs who are willing to forgo personal pride and achievements for the good of the team. a wishbone back, even the premier one, has to subvert himself and learn to block the assigned defensive guy. the fb will take hits every play, as will the qb. i was one of the first hs qb to run the wishbone at plano in 69, and it was such a novel offense that dc's had no clue how to defend it. i think if a team had the athletes in the backfield that we had, with the same mindset, it would be successful.

after watching the evolution of option offenses, i am convinced the best is the midline. it puts the least likely to react properly to have to at the snap of the ball. and the rb's arent req'd to be dead solid perfect as blockers. of course it does require a dead solid stud at qb. when lake highlands started it, it was as efficient as i've ever seen.

Your point about RB blocking got me thinking about the Stony Point/North Shore type of shotgun/modified pistol running games we are seeing more of today.

The RBs, QBs and slot players get very aggressive (to the point of being illegal in some cases) as blockers in this offense. The zone read stuff is seen as finesse, but not with the way I've seen certain teams run it. I've seen QBs try and follow the RB through the hole after a give read and throw blocks. The same is true of the slot guys when they don't get a keep off the jet read. They'll immediately turn upfield and take somebody out.

QB intelligence is huge with any option offense, and my guess is we don't develop enough option-minded players any more. However, this could be changing with the popularity of the pistol and the shotgun option game. All of a sudden, teams are looking for thinkers and readers again at the QB position.

NeverIsNow
08-30-2011, 03:50 PM
Your point about RB blocking got me thinking about the Stony Point/North Shore type of shotgun/modified pistol running games we are seeing more of today.

The RBs, QBs and slot players get very aggressive (to the point of being illegal in some cases) as blockers in this offense. The zone read stuff is seen as finesse, but not with the way I've seen certain teams run it. I've seen QBs try and follow the RB through the hole after a give read and throw blocks. The same is true of the slot guys when they don't get a keep off the jet read. They'll immediately turn upfield and take somebody out.

QB intelligence is huge with any option offense, and my guess is we don't develop enough option-minded players any more. However, this could be changing with the popularity of the pistol and the shotgun option game. All of a sudden, teams are looking for thinkers and readers again at the QB position.

The Wishbone is dying because teams figured out a quick way to stop it. The Wishbone relies on a double team block by the center and guard (or guard and tackle) to take one defensive lineman out of the play. Meanwhile, the other gets read and the QB either hands it off or keeps it depending on what they do. The reason teams like Army and Navy run it is because they won't get the better athletes, so they have to execute double-team blocks by necessity because their linemen won't be blowing anyone off the ball. But when it's two on one, it doesn't matter WHO is on defense, the two linemen should be able to take on one.

Well, teams developed a counter for that: having their defensive lineman nosedive to the ground. While he takes himself out of the play by doing this, the offensive line won't be able to block him and drive him out of the hole like they need to, so in effect he's creating a big pileup of bodies where there needs to be an open running lane for the fullback to explode through. Which is why teams are now going for the Shotgun Zone Read plays. Even if the defensive line creates a pileup, that's fine; there aren't any running lanes needed for this play. The linemen just don't need to allow penetration, and if a defensive lineman is nosediving, he's not getting into the backfield.

Another thing that killed the Wishbone (and you can thank Jimmy Johnson for this when he was at the University of Miami) was the overall speed of defenses increasing. In the past, teams could option out and let the QB or RB get to the corner by reading the play correctly and running. Now, even if a QB pitches the ball as he's about to get hit, the RB might have a hard time getting around the corner against a speedy defense who will react and pursue the play quickly.

To execute the Wishbone to perfection, the backfield must be explosive and tough, and the QB doesn't necessarily have to be fast, but he has to be deceptive with the ball and able to make good reads.

Austin109
08-30-2011, 07:39 PM
Are you thinking in terms of a triple option attack out of the wishbone? Because there is far more too it than just the trip op.

NeverIsNow
09-01-2011, 11:22 AM
Are you thinking in terms of a triple option attack out of the wishbone? Because there is far more too it than just the trip op.

Yeah, but if you're wanting to do misdirection and whatnot, the Wing T is better for such plays. Either way, like I said, defensive linemen nosediving really disrupts running formations like the wishbone. The I is different.

Austin109
09-01-2011, 12:18 PM
Yeah, but if you're wanting to do misdirection and whatnot, the Wing T is better for such plays. Either way, like I said, defensive linemen nosediving really disrupts running formations like the wishbone. The I is different.

I've always liked the Flexbone more just because it can be a 4-wide passing set, 3 RB power set, triple option, Zone read, RNS if you get creative, and speed option. Flexibility wise I have to think the Flexbone is about as hard as it gets to stop and minimizes type casting especially at the high school level. Its a lot easier to find 2-3 decent sized recievers/RB/small TE types than it is to find a great FB, TE, and RB that you need to make the I truly effective. If you have the players the I is great but if you dont the Flexbone gives you a fighting chance to get the most out of the tools you do have

KT2000
09-01-2011, 01:52 PM
I was thinking about Lewisville's display in this game when I started this thread:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHAzh_gpfKI

Quality stuff.

NeverIsNow
09-01-2011, 04:46 PM
I've always liked the Flexbone more just because it can be a 4-wide passing set, 3 RB power set, triple option, Zone read, RNS if you get creative, and speed option. Flexibility wise I have to think the Flexbone is about as hard as it gets to stop and minimizes type casting especially at the high school level. Its a lot easier to find 2-3 decent sized recievers/RB/small TE types than it is to find a great FB, TE, and RB that you need to make the I truly effective. If you have the players the I is great but if you dont the Flexbone gives you a fighting chance to get the most out of the tools you do have

Definitely. And that's exactly why you still see the Multi-Flex Offense out there (even in Division I-A) but not the Wishbone. The same style of plays can be run from it, but it's more versatile in the passing department.

NeverIsNow
09-01-2011, 04:49 PM
I was thinking about Lewisville's display in this game when I started this thread:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHAzh_gpfKI

Quality stuff.

Yeah, that's mostly the triple option. Well-executed I might add. Love the 90s stuff... Wish I had more stuff than Longview's 1997 stuff (and a few others like Garland vs Katy for state in 1999).

KT2000
09-23-2011, 02:31 PM
Yeah, that's mostly the triple option. Well-executed I might add. Love the 90s stuff... Wish I had more stuff than Longview's 1997 stuff (and a few others like Garland vs Katy for state in 1999).

The best thing Lewisville did in that game aside from the execution was mix up their looks. The wide splits in the Dead T gave Judson a lot of problems.

I don't see as many teams truly committed to their style of play these days like Lewisville and Judson used to be to their respective styles. There is more emphasis on playing an isolation game today. Most teams I see trying to run the option, either from the Gun or under center, are so limited that you wonder about the thought process.

Talent limits what a team can do, but that's why collective (and flexible) systems were invented.

Raiders09
07-01-2012, 02:20 AM
The best thing Lewisville did in that game aside from the execution was mix up their looks. The wide splits in the Dead T gave Judson a lot of problems.

I don't see as many teams truly committed to their style of play these days like Lewisville and Judson used to be to their respective styles. There is more emphasis on playing an isolation game today. Most teams I see trying to run the option, either from the Gun or under center, are so limited that you wonder about the thought process.

Talent limits what a team can do, but that's why collective (and flexible) systems were invented.

Magnolia in 4A runs the wishbone as their base formation and don't run anything else. True veer offense

dragonsdaddy
07-01-2012, 08:01 AM
as i've stated before, the biggest difficulty in really excelling with the true triple option is finding 3-4 rbs(qb included) who are willing to subjugate themselves to the grunt work when not carrying the ball. too much espin hi-light glory to waste "my" talent blocking/carrying out a fake/ getting hit after the pitch. true option situations are determined by how the defense reacts. if a dc wants to take the ball out of a particular rb's hands, he mostly can. that makes someone else beat you, and disappoints college scouts/recruits. it is all about the schollies, don't you know?

Dawg82
07-02-2012, 11:51 AM
I'm seriously liking the pistol. With motion, Wishbone, Coryell, West Coast, and Pro-Sets are easily incorporated. Misdirection plays are great out of the pistol.

Austin109
07-05-2012, 09:33 PM
I'm seriously liking the pistol. With motion, Wishbone, Coryell, West Coast, and Pro-Sets are easily incorporated. Misdirection plays are great out of the pistol.

I know what you mean. I've been tinkering with a pistoled flexbone where the motions can totally change the set up in a heart beat.

I can literally change it from a strong i, weak i, 2x2, trips, or 2 back 3 wide set seemlessly. It's awesome.

Dawg82
07-09-2012, 08:39 AM
I know what you mean. I've been tinkering with a pistoled flexbone where the motions can totally change the set up in a heart beat.

I can literally change it from a strong i, weak i, 2x2, trips, or 2 back 3 wide set seemlessly. It's awesome.I'm hearing rumblings that LP may be using Wing T along with Pistol sets. Either one could easily transition to the other with motion. Might be an interesting year. Good news is that all OL/RB's return, and this would simply be a build off 2011. 4 or 5 basic sets could turn into 30+ plays in a heartbeat. Especially since LP finally has a QB that can provide an added passing game arsenal along with the normal running.

Austin109
07-09-2012, 02:35 PM
I'm hearing rumblings that LP may be using Wing T along with Pistol sets. Either one could easily transition to the other with motion. Might be an interesting year. Good news is that all OL/RB's return, and this would simply be a build off 2011. 4 or 5 basic sets could turn into 30+ plays in a heartbeat. Especially since LP finally has a QB that can provide an added passing game arsenal along with the normal running.

You can check out my pistol thread. Kind of along those lines. But check out the link Chhspanther put out. All sorts of crazy opportunity with that if you pistol it and use motions like I talk about on my thread.

ray1301
07-09-2012, 05:44 PM
You can check out my pistol thread. Kind of along those lines. But check out the link Chhspanther put out. All sorts of crazy opportunity with that if you pistol it and use motions like I talk about on my thread.

It does get crazy! We used a form like you are referring to in HS. Our normal offensive set was a complex pro-set (We used tons of variations). But we had one offensive set we call "Sprint Pass" that was basically a pistol formation with an off-set and three motion variations

2A Tiger
09-16-2012, 09:43 PM
I always thought the wishbone died because noone wanted to risk their QB getting hit every play. I know when I played high school ball, option QBs took a beating.

KT2000
09-18-2013, 03:02 PM
I always thought the wishbone died because noone wanted to risk their QB getting hit every play. I know when I played high school ball, option QBs took a beating.

I'd say ddaddy pretty well nailed it above. I wouldn't say the physicality did it alone, but I think it emphasized the need for option teams to be more flexible with their attacks. Ball handling QBs are making a comeback. If you look at what Oregon's done to modernize option offense, it's unbelievable the amount of solutions they have on a given play.

I've been studying the multi-bone offense extensively in the last year plus. Paul Johnson's Georgia Tech, Chris Ault's Nevada, and Chip Kelly's Oregon have been my motivation to study option football. I'm currently reading Air Force's 1998 multi-bone playbook as laid out by Fisher Deberry and staff.

A fully developed option offense is so adaptable that I firmly believe it remains a great offense. The three programs I mentioned above, especially Oregon, are living proof. Oregon's shown how to do it and cater to the modern athlete. And how about Army's tough performance against Stanford last week? No one can convince me the service academies would have a shot at competing in games against the top dogs running any non-option form of offense.

When you run an option offense the way its true proponents run it, such as Paul Johnson, you learn what flexibility really is. You learn that the "basic" triple option is actually EIGHT plays in one. I've been truly enlightened with the more I've read and discovered about the offense and how the great minds taught (and teach) the system.

Austin109
09-20-2013, 08:54 PM
I'd say ddaddy pretty well nailed it above. I wouldn't say the physicality did it alone, but I think it emphasized the need for option teams to be more flexible with their attacks. Ball handling QBs are making a comeback. If you look at what Oregon's done to modernize option offense, it's unbelievable the amount of solutions they have on a given play.

I've been studying the multi-bone offense extensively in the last year plus. Paul Johnson's Georgia Tech, Chris Ault's Nevada, and Chip Kelly's Oregon have been my motivation to study option football. I'm currently reading Air Force's 1998 multi-bone playbook as laid out by Fisher Deberry and staff.

A fully developed option offense is so adaptable that I firmly believe it remains a great offense. The three programs I mentioned above, especially Oregon, are living proof. Oregon's shown how to do it and cater to the modern athlete. And how about Army's tough performance against Stanford last week? No one can convince me the service academies would have a shot at competing in games against the top dogs running any non-option form of offense.

When you run an option offense the way its true proponents run it, such as Paul Johnson, you learn what flexibility really is. You learn that the "basic" triple option is actually EIGHT plays in one. I've been truly enlightened with the more I've read and discovered about the offense and how the great minds taught (and teach) the system.

I agree completely. I actually like taking the Air Raid base passing system and adapting in a shotgun triple option attack to keep it as simple as possible for the line. Combining wide stances, fast level blocking, and a defense that must account for the intermediate passing game is damn near impossible defensively.

I saw a canadian football game that ran a quadruple option that was just flat out dirty. Conventional shotgun triple option but a Y coming across on the slant so as the QB is booting out he has a shot dump off if the safety bit on another WR route. Teaches the players to read holes not players and makes for a more explosive and interesting attack.

Loved reading the articles Chip Kelly put out on his run game and its minimization to maximize the motion/play actions off of it.