Youth Football Offenses – Which is Better, Single Wing Or Double Wing?

The Double Wing- Single Wing Offense Comparison

For youth football, which offense is better, the Single Wing or the Double Wing?

Many of you may not know that I have coached both the Single Wing and Double Wing Offenses with several youth football teams. When I say Double Wing, I mean the traditional Double Tight, Fullback at sniffer offense, not the flexbone The Double Wing has as it’s core series the toss power off-tackle, fullback trap, fullback wedge, wing counter, some type of sweep ( several options) and a play action pass off of toss action.

I’ve Run Both Offenses

After careful study we decided long ago that my then organization of 16 teams would have a choice of running either the Single Wing or the Double Wing. We played in a league of 70 or so teams ages 6-14. As recently as 2004 I was doing Double Wing clinics for the youth coaches in my organization. In 2005 my organization went 100% Single Wing across the board. Personally I’ve been running Single Wing exclusively for the last 8 seasons. Many coaches weighing in on this choice have coached one or the other or sometimes even neither, I have studied and coached both.

Double Wing is a Good Offense

While this article in no way is trying to disparage the Double Wing offense, I just want to share with everyone why we did what we did. I’m in an enviable position of having coached both offenses to multiple teams as well as having taught both systems to 200+ coaches in the youth programs I ran. Again, I’m a fan of all series based offenses that can hit every point of attack while putting defenses in conflict and both of these offenses do that very well. I will always be a fan of excellent execution and offenses that allow teams with average talent to succeed and both of these offenses do a fairly good job of doing just that. This is not meant as a slam to the Double Wing, I think it is a fine system and we ran it years back for just that reason.

Here are some base reasons why I prefer the Single Wing to the Double Wing:

The Single Wing requires just 1 puller, the Double Wing requires 4. In non-select football, even with great coaching I’m rarely if ever going to have 4 effective pullers. If I have several athletic linemen that can pull, my guess is they are 2 way players. Do I really want to tire these 2 way starters out by having them pull on every play but wedge? Most of the base Double Wing plays, toss, sweep and counter require 2 pullers.

The Single Wing snap is MUCH easier and safer. Too many drives die in youth football because of poor QB/Center exchanges. In our version of the snap the “QB” is just 2 yards behind the center and very low, the snap does not have to be perfect to be effective and if there are any problems the QB has a 2 yard cushion to recover. With foot to foot splits, penetration is minimal. It is extremely rare for us to have more than 1 poor exchange result in turnover for an entire season (those with the full season games DVDs can attest to this)/ That’s 1 turnover per SEASON, not game. Indirect snap (QB under Center) teams just cant make this claim.

The Single Wing does not require difficult to execute footwork for the quarterback on most ball exchanges. To give you just one example: On the base off-tackle toss play that is the staple of every Double Wing attack, the QB has to take the snap from under center (already more risky than the Single Wing snap), makes sure he clears deep enough to get out of the way of both the backside guard and tackle pulling right in front of him, tosses the ball making sure to lead the motioning wingback, then gets out in front of the running back running inside the kickout block of the fullback while making sure to make a block on the playside corner. The toss itself often involves a drop step and nimble spin and for the QB to have a chance at getting out in front of the motioning wing, the QB really needs to toss the pitch blind all the while hoping some huge noseguard hasn’t jammed the center into his lap.

What this all means is training your QB takes a lot of time in the Double Wing and you better have at least 2-3 QBs at the ready. Do they have to be great athletes? No, but they need to be smart, like contact, be durable and be well trained, the offense is intricate and requires precision timing, it is not very forgiving. Compare that to the Single Wing “QB”, he rarely has to hand the ball off, doesn’t have to worry about getting run over by pulling linemen and taking the snap takes less than 15 seconds to learn. In 2005 we won a State Championship with a 4th string “QB” at the helm. Our first team kid broke his arm in game 5, our 2nd team kid had a swollen knee and out 3rd team kid pulled his groin at the pool party the nigh before the big game, slipping on some wet tiles. We won the game by mercy rule with a 4th team QB who was out starting right guard, and up to that point had only carried the ball 10-12 times. I doubt many honest Double Wing coaches will tell you they could do the same a 4th team QB in that offense.

In the Single Wing we can get the ball to any player very easily and with very very little time devoted to it. In the Double Wing you have to teach the motion, taking pitches and handoffs etc etc. In the last 3 seasons every one of my eligible players have carried the ball and 36 different kids have scored touchdowns. Once we get ahead it is simple for any player to take a simple direct snap and run the off-tackle hole. Parents and kids love this about our offense.

The Single Wing has unmatched deception. With the Single Wing you can run every play the Double Wing has in its offense, but in every case the play is easier to run out of the Single Wing. But the Double Wing can not run many of the series the Single Wing has, including the most deceptive series in all of football, the full spin series.

The Single Wing plays hit much faster. In the Double Wing many of the plays take quite a bit of time to develop like the off-tackle, You have to wait for both backside pullers to get there, the WB to get his slow motion toss and the QB to get out on the corner. In contrast the Single Wing off-tackle play hits at full speed, the “QB” takes the ball on a dead run in a straight line path to the hole, something we feel we need when playing very fast and athletic teams.

The Single Wing is easier to pass out of, we are already in a short shot gun formation.

The Double Wing requires even its weakest players, the tight ends (in most cases) to “shoeshine” block 2 gaps to the inside, when the tackle and guard vacate to pull. There is no such requirement from the Single Wing ends, although I don’t think that block is as difficult to execute as many coaches do.

The Single Wing offers the unmatched deception of being able to snap the ball to 3 different players on every play. The defense has no clue which of the 3 the ball has been snapped to and has to account for all 3. There isn’t another offense out there that can match that claim or be more of a headache for the typical youth defense.

The Single Wing was more fun for the kids and even for me. I got bored with running 3-4 plays each game and fell in love with the Full and Half Spinner Series in the Single Wing.

In the end, the Single Wing fit our mission better than the Double Wing, was much easier to coach and we had better results with it. That’s why we made the switch.

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