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Wildcat Article

Wildcat Article

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Published by CoachHuff

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Published by: CoachHuff on Jul 28, 2013
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Article written forwww.doublewingsymposium.comby Coach Hugh WyattFor more information on Coach Wyatt’s DW see www.coachwyatt.com
The Wildcat… the Best of Both Worlds!By Hugh Wyattwww.coachwyatt.com coachwyatt@aol.com
It’s not exactly double wing… It’s not exactly single wing… It’s theWildcat, and it offers the best features of both.The Wildcat is definitely the Double Wing – but with a direct snap.Nothing terribly unusual about that. Pop Warner beat us all to it morethan 80 years ago with an unbalanced direct-snap Double Wing.And back in the 1960s and 1970s, Jerry Carle at Colorado College wasrunning a direct-snap Double Wing behind a balanced line.But neither of those great coaches was the inspiration for my idea. What Idid was adapt an idea that I’d gotten from a coach in Virginia to the T-formation Double-Wing I’d been running since 1990.It’s been so long ago that I’ve forgotten that coach’s name, but during aphone call he’d mentioned a form of single wing he’d been running, andthe short snap he occasionally made to a blocking back. The center, hetold me, didn’t have to look back between his legs. Now, that got myinterest. After hanging up from that coach, I began madly doodling,certain that there was a way to run my Double Wing as a direct-snapattack.I’d been an admirer of the the single wing since running it when I was inhigh school, and as a coach I’d run it for a few series in the 1980’s, just asa diversion. Now, the notion of running a direct-snap version of my DoubleWing had me fired up.That was 1997. I was coaching high school football in the small town of LaCenter, Washington. There were two games left in the season.When I showed the kids my idea at Monday’s practice, they got asexcited as I was. (Possibly their excitement was for a different reason thanmine - perhaps they’d become bored with the same-old, same-old.)
Article written forwww.doublewingsymposium.comby Coach Hugh WyattFor more information on Coach Wyatt’s DW see www.coachwyatt.com
We began to work things out on the field. Leaving my fullback at thesame depth, I moved him one-half man to the side, and moved myquarterback out from underneath center and right next to him. Their feetwere touching, “splitting the ball.” The Virginia coach had cautioned thatthe center snap had to be low and slow – it was even okay to let it roll onthe ground - so I had the “fullback” and “quarterback” crouch likeinfielders ready to field a low grounder. Their hands were low, nearlytouching the ground, and their eyes were on the ball.Here’s how it looked:We experimented with every play in our bag, and found that with a fewadjustments here and there, mostly to accommodate motion, therewasn’t anything we couldn’t run. Experimentation revealed quite a fewthings that we hadn’t been able to run before, and best of all, since ourquarterback was now more like a single-wing tailback, he became reallyinvolved. In fact, any play that a wingback or fullback could run couldalso be run by our quarterback. All we had to do was add the word“FOLLOW” to the play call (“88 power follow”) if we wanted him to keepthe ball and follow the intended running back through the hole or “KEEP”if we wanted the quarterback to take the place of the intended runner.Just as one example, by using the same “G” blocking scheme up front,we could run a play at “6” or “7” (off-tackle) with at least four differentbackfield actions.Basically, there was no need to change anything about our offensiveterminology or our offensive thinking.Finally, after two days of practice, the big question came:“Are we going to run this on Friday night?”“I don’t know,” I said. “What do you guys think?”It was unanimous: “Yeah! Let’s do it!”Then one of the kids asked, “What are going to call it?”
Article written forwww.doublewingsymposium.comby Coach Hugh WyattFor more information on Coach Wyatt’s DW see www.coachwyatt.com
When I had no immediate answer, somebody suggested, “How about‘Wildcat?’”Made sense to me – we were the La Center Wildcats. And that’s what it’sbeen ever since.We played that Friday’s game on the Washington coast where in the fall –and winter and spring, too - it rains. A lot. A big storm had just sweptthrough, leaving the field like quicksand, but the horrible conditions hadno adverse effect on our ball handling. We never fumbled the ball, andalternating between Wildcat and our conventional Double-Wing, werushed for nearly 300 yards, and we wound up winning the game inovertime.The next week, we won our final game. Running from Wildcat about 75per cent of the time, we rushed for over 500 yards and put 60 points on alarger school.At that point, I knew we had something, and that winter I wrote an articlefor Scholastic Coach and Athletic Director explaining what we’d done.Since then, the Wildcat has been adopted by a number of other schoolsand organizations around the country, and it’s played a part in theoffense of every team I’ve coached.A few basics:Besides the alignment and stance of the backs, the center makes theother big adjustment.He makes a two-handed snap. His hands are on both sides of the ball,thumbs touching on the laces, and he gently tumbles the ball back with avery slight flip of the wrist. To keep from putting weight on the ball and tokeep from snapping high, his tail is down and his head is up (he doesn’tlook back). At the snap, he does not fire out. He does not uncock hisknees. After he’s made his snap, he should be in the same stance hestarted out in, knees bent, head up, tail down.The coach in Virginia with whom I originally spoke suggested practicingsnapping the ball against a folding beach chair laid on the ground just afew yards back. If the ball knocks the chair over, the center’s snapped ittoo hard.

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