Pick Your Wrecking Ball
Coach Harrison on the Double Wing and Gun-Wing:
Seeing a Double Wing / Gun-Wing offense is a
pretty rare experience for our numbers are few being the trendy spread-em out
systems are now the fevered rage. When you do, you tend to notice something
a little different about it. My coaching philosophy begins with a football truth,
which is: deficits in talent, size, and speed show up more
obviously when you are on Defense than on Offense. On Defense, any or all
of your weaknesses can be exposed and you simply can't scheme your way out of them.
For instance the opponent having several 4.4 speedsters VS your fastest man of 4.9,
or the twin 6'6" receivers that can catch and run VS your 5'7" corner that is
only fair at both, or the 6'5" 280 lb. linemen that can play VS your 185
pounders that are fair at best.. All the heart and desire in the world can only make up for
just so much! So you have to scheme to put your kids in a better position. You will always be
more exposed on Defense than on Offense. Therefore, controlling most of the game
on offense is your only chance to compete with said deficits.
Well the best way to control the game is to
keep the ball. To keep the ball, you have to have a method of collecting first
downs, maintain possessions, and score when you can, while eating the clock, so as
to limit the possessions of the stronger or more talented team. This keeps you
in the game, which ultimately can give you a chance to beat the big boys.
The offense I run does just that, and better than
any other scheme, including the Flexbone, and without the complex reading and the
ball handling risk. It
also has the capacity to run up massive yardage and scores if the talent is
fairly close. It's not as flashy and prissy pass pretty as the new spreads but if your
priority is winning over the aesthetics, this is the best answer I can give, by
I do, however, find it wonderfully flashy when I'm
beating a team I have no business playing with on a talent level.
Let us all agree, Nothing beats really good
athletes and really good athletes make very average coaches look really
good many times. In lieu of having really
good players all the time, or even some of the time, You can however make up for
a lot by extensive coaching and perfecting schemes that accentuate the talent
you do have. As a High School Head Coach, I AVERAGED just under 390 yards and
over 35 points per game with my Double Wing Offense. That is with teams that
before were having a hard time making a first down much less winning a game.
There has been so much said and written about the "Double Wing Offense"
and I've probably read and heard most of it! What I say about it is first
hand, and is backed by others achieving the same and far more than I have.
There is not a
better example of this great offensive system and it prowess than Paul Benefield and
the Fyffe Red Devils in Alabama. His record to date is 70-3 since he installed
the Gun-Wing. Now Benefield was a really good coach before, but since the
Gun-Wing, he has posted a ridiculous 70-3. One day he's going to figure
some things out and be really good ;-)
* What is this Offense?
FIRST OFF it is an offensive System and philosophy and not merely football's
beloved double wing or Single Wing formations, which many offenses line up in from time to
time...NO, it's a complete system.... ***In it's beginning, A California Policeman turned
football coach named Don Markham developed an offensive system, whether by
accident or just in his own words that I seem to recall, "looking for a good
power play", in the late 80's and early 90's. Coach Markham found himself
coaching in the largest classification in California High Schools at
Bloomington, where in 1994, Don took a 1993, 1-9 Bloomington team, and in 1994,
just 8 months later, went undefeated and set the national all time scoring
record of 880 points in 14 games. 63 points per game I think it works out to be.
that is not how I discovered it.
I was working on my offense one day and on
"goal-line" work, I noticed my team really responding to a tighter scheme and a
harder nosed approach to our Goal line offense and so I thought, "hmmm", hey, Why not run
goal-line all over the field? As I investigated that Idea further, I was looking
around on the net one day at various things and tripped up on this double wing
stuff. My first thought was like so many other's, "NO WAY". I made a phone call
or two and grilled a few coaches and had them send me some info. After watching
film and some clinic footage, I knew very quickly that this was going to be my
offense, being that
it fit my football philosophy to the letter.
After implementing it and running it in a game as a
trial, I thought I may never run anything else and that happens to be the case
17 years later.
I then began really working and studying this new science, and tweaking this
thing to the point that many things are fairly unique to the way I approach it.
Thus due to some YouTube videos I've posted, along with the success I've had, I
find myself being called on to clinic, and be a sounding board of sorts on
this particular offense for many coaches all over the country. So I have, and
will do clinics from time to time.
the Double Wing, I had been a very successful coach with my old schemes but
recognized that this new offense was going to boost my offense's reliability,
and productivity because this thing was doing what I'd been doing for years,
only better and with less risk. I realized too, that it would be very dependent
on good and rigorous coaching, which was my gig anyway. I've always coached as
if my hair was on fire, so this hit me right in my wheelhouse.
The DW offense,
coached up, squeezes the most out of your talent.
The beauty of this Double wing or the "Gun Wing", is that it relies more on a
total TEAM concept, precision, desire, and hard work, than it does actual
God given physical gifts and skills. But like anything, the more skills you have
the better it will be. When you have a group that is low in skills, speed, or
even experience, you can still be competitive in the double Wing by it's low
risk, hard nosed Team oriented design to keep the ball and move the chains and
make the game shorter. What
the Double Wing allows you to do is
to replace the talent gap with hard nosed effort and execution, and less
vulnerability to make up the difference.
You can't do that in other offenses of today spreading your talent thin and in
space. The better players will beat up on the lesser talented kid in space every
time, to the point at times of being dangerous. Space gives the advantage to the
faster more athletic team. So many times my opponents over
the years have had these very strong explosive teams with great speed and talent
and we just kept the ball with 8 to 10 minute drives, limiting their
opportunities to exploit our weaknesses while on Defense, Meanwhile, making every
possession by the opponent critical. This is a big
advantage of the Double wing. The bonuses are that you DO produce big plays and
score BIG as a trade off for maybe looking a little different, when everyone
else in the league is spread all over the field. This offense is for those who
puts winning above fashion and popularity of the "Television football educated".
My relentless desire to win has always been what governs my decisions as a
coach, and not the flavor of the month or coaching trends of the entertainment
world. The "Double Wing" or "Gun Wing", in my opinion, are far more intriguing
and interesting than those trendy, and loose offenses anyway, with it's
consistent output and execution and game control!
Being a series and sequence offense,
it also make play calling a premium art as well.
With all that is different about my offense, some may
coaches may take a pass on it, but the one group that I
find that takes my offense very seriously are the
coaches facing it, or that have faced it. The one thing
I know for sure after running this for well over a
decade and a half, is that coaches hate playing it, and defenses
hate playing it, and what is better than that for confirmation. No matter what the outcome,
when a team leaves the field after playing my double
wing, they usually have had enough, are beat
up, know they have been in a war, and probably rather
not do it again. It's just another day on the grid iron
for us, but it is physically brutal, draining, and
frustrating for defenses to deal with.
years of running and tweaking the DW, I have implemented
something I'd been contemplating since 2005, when my
starting QB broke his arm. That would be the direct snap
Double Wing. I have discovered that it gives you a few
different and favorable options and angles in some areas, and if
coached up, can be as powerful as the the
regular DW. There is very little scheme difference, but
one huge bonus outside the X's and O's, is that with the
direct snap, it gives an illusion of being similar to
what you see on Saturdays and Sunday Television
Football. It is simply the shot-gun version of the
double wing! It immediately knocks down criticism from the
uneducated armchair viewers seeing the Double Wing as maybe
old school, and not
modern, So it's a win win in that way. I call it
the GUN-WING for it's appropriate. The Gun Wing though
be it fantastic, does however have some drawbacks from
the original Double Wing. It attacks somewhat slower,
and It takes a few very trustworthy plays out of the
play arsenal as it was once run, as well as not hiding
the ball quite as well. That is a bit to give up when you're out-manned. Those are the type of tradeoffs you
have to make in going GUN WING. However there are a few
things you pick up with the Gun-Wing such as hitting the
holes more vertically, cleaner pulling tracks, and a few play additions that the
pure double wing would not do as well. You can
also feature a Tailback type kid and feed the horse so
to speak, and also run the QB as an equal to the RB. There are
several teams around the country that make a compelling
case for the Gun-Wing and If I get a team with really
solid kids with some talent and desire, I would consider
Gun Wing full on. With some of the other gains I see
with the Gun Wing, and things I feel I could do from it,
I will probably run the
Gun-Wing version at my next coaching venue.
See contact page if you would like
to order Double Wing Game footage CD's.
** So in wrapping up this bit on
The Double Wing and Gun-Wing Offense, I'll just say for those very few who have
the inclination to go a bit unique and run this "Wing Thing", I salute you
and "I Understand", for you are a coach that gets the wisdom, the
soundness, and the brilliance that is the DW. For those who think it's simply not for you, to that I
say, "I also Understand". This Thing is not for everyone, and definitely not for
the "try it and hope" coaches. It takes someone who can think and operate with
sound conviction, within the DW philosophy and structure, as well as
implement it properly. All without selling it out to a hybrid interpretation of
it. A coach also must
have a really good knowledge of the DW finer points, to work it, and to
experience it's full value. "It has certainly served me and my philosophy very
and it is by far the biggest part of my winning formula these
"PS": I've had to play the Double
Wing a few times myself.......Not Fun, Not Fun at all. I'd rather have to defend
anything else, quite honestly! LH
/ GUN-WING... IT'S THE NEW MODERN OFFENSE
Brigham Young using the DW on goal line VS Utah for a walk in TD. WE can't keep
anything sacred can we?
A Letter to the Headmaster:
"I have to
share a letter written to my Principal at NGA written by a
relative of a player who happened to make our State
Championship Game. These are the rewards outside of the ring
that we never expect nor seek, but it's wonderful and quite
rewarding when it happens, and reassures us coaches that
occasionally, we may be doing something right". I give
the credit to the great kids I had the privilege to coach
there at Nathanael Greene Academy.
The evening of Friday 11-19-2004 is an experience I will
never forget and one that I will always cherish. It was a
thrill and a pleasure to be on the sidelines with my family,
old friends, new friends, and those determined Patriot
football players. I have had a career in orthopedic
surgery in sports medicine that includes 35 years on the
sidelines with teams under my care in Virginia and Dalton,
GA. 32 of those years have involved being the Team Physician
for the Dalton High Catamounts. That allowed me to
witness first hand, numerous exciting regular season games,
playoff games, 2 trips to the GEORGIA DOME, and 4 state
championship games with the Dalton Catamounts. This exposure
has resulted in my taking care of athletes from close
to 25 high schools in Northwest and North Central Georgia.
Some of these I treated after they made it to college teams
and even to the NFL. During my training in orthopedic
surgery at the U of Virginia, I had the opportunity to be
the Team Physician for the Roanoke Buckskins in the Atlantic
Coast Football League. I have played the game and know what
it feels like to hurt someone, and get hurt, physically and
reason for the above diatribe is to express to you, Coach
Larry Harrison, and the Patriot Football Team,
the impression made on me during my visit to Rhodes Field.
I have never been more impressed with what I saw on and off
the field of play. The team gave all they had and more, and
no one who saw the game could think otherwise. The fan
support was incredible. The community and surrounding area
turned-out in a manner that created a championship
atmosphere. Regardless of the final score, The
Nat-Greene Patriots are Champions. Their opponent had the
size and the numbers, but they did not have the heart of the
gutsy team from the village of Siloam. I
have followed the Patriots all year via Coach Harrison’s
website, The Herald-Journal and through calls from my
family. I have bragged about the team to my Dalton friends,
and after the championship game, I have bragged even more.
The misty rain that fell throughout the game did not dampen
the spirits of all those present, players and fans alike.
Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of such a
Congratulations to the Patriots for their fine season, and I
look forward to your having additional exciting times.
C.H.E. , M.D.