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Multiple Formations in the Spin Offense

by: Dale Weiner
Head Coach, Catholic High School, Baton Rouge (LA)
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Offensive coaches have long recognized the benefit of running a group of plays from a variety of formations. While the adjustments for the offense are usually minimal, the defense often times must apply significant switching of responsibilities. This can result in defensive confusion and breakdowns.

The Spin Offense is no different. While previous articles in American Football Monthly’s series on the Spin have focused on the base formation – the double slot, we do use several sets. We are looking for a way to out flank the defense, and in the process, gain an advantage at the point of attack.

We will examine a few of the formations that have been successful for us over the past several seasons.

One such variation is the Wing-Slot. We will either insert a tight end into the game, or simply designate one of our wide outs to align himself tight. Typically, our tight end will have a three foot split with the tackle. This will provide us an additional blocker when we want to seal off the tackle area. It also forces the defense to make a decision as to what area they are more concerned with. Do they rotate the secondary to our strong side, that is the tight end-wing, or do they concentrate on the open slot side? Once we determine what the defensive strategy is, we can then exploit what’s our best attack.

We really like this set, as it gives us a quick access to the outside running game and play action passing to the slot. It also gives us the benefit of the tight end’s blocking on the wing side. However, we have had much success turning the corner to the wing, as well as a surprisingly good play-action passing game to the same side. When we see teams off-setting the front to the wing, we can go with our spin blast and counter to the slot side (See Diagrams 1 and 2).

Diagram 1: Spin blast into slot side

Diagram 2: Spin counter into slot

If teams try to balance up, we can attack either way and really get plenty of blockers to the wing side (See Diagram 3).

Diagram 3: Spin blast into wing

When we see the coverage is balanced, we can go either way with our Spin Pass. If the coverage declares a side, we can attack the opposite side (See Diagram 4). It must be noted that we work hard on the QB using audibles to call the best play.

Diagram 4: Spin pass away from inverted safety

Based on our game plan, we may go into a game with the idea of running the double wing. I get a lot of questions about the Spin Offense from Double Wing coaches. I think this is a great formation to operate this offense. Like the Double Slot, the Double Wing is a balanced formation. It forces the defense to balance up and defend both sides of the formation equally. Again, sometimes the defense declares a side before the snap. We will go the other way.

The Spin Offense provides a great power game from the Double Wing. In addition to the Spin Blast, which is a mainstay of the offense, the Spin Wham (Iso) is another great inside power play (Diagram 5).

Diagram 5: Spin wham (iso)

Due to the fact that the Double Wing is a balanced formation, we often see rolled up corners and twin safeties. The Spin Pass is a great play action pass against this coverage. The play side end will inside release, just as he does on many run plays. Then he breaks for the deep corner. The wing releases into the flat. This creates a high-low situation for the QB’s read. Meanwhile, we will run the backside tight end on a drag that splits the difference.

The line zones playside as the FB protects our backside. This is an excellent red zone play!

The final set we will examine is our Double ‘Nasty’ Slot (Diagram 6). The Nasty Slot, of course, is a compressed end to the slot side. We can call a nasty to one side or both. I prefer a double nasty look. Again, this has the advantage of being balanced. We like the nasty slot to get great ‘down’ blocks on the end man on the line of scrimmage. Obviously, this is great for the spin sweep and reverse (See Diagrams 7 and 8).

Diagram 6: Double 'nasty' slot

Diagram 7: Spin sweep-zone blocking

Diagram 8: spin reverse

While there are any number of formations from which to operate the Spin Offense, these are among our favorites.


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