Tuesday, November 12, 2013

GIr's Weekly Column: Volume 90

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GIr's Weekly Column: Volume 90

By Gir Todafunk
Special to the Daily Magi
October 27, 2056


Hey, hey, hey, readers of the Daily Magi and the Magi Football Blog! I am Gir Todafunk, with another wonderful Weekly Column for you wonderful folks to check out. Well, another unbeaten has bitten the dust in the form of Oklahoma. However, we're still No. 4 in the polls. Now we just need Alabama, Miami, and/or Mississippi State to also falter in November and we're back in business, so it seems. Stay tuned.

This week, I want to talk about the wildcat formation, which is an essential part of our Puella Magi Option attack. The Wildcat formation is a variation on the single-wing formation, is an offensive American and Canadian football scheme that has been used since the late 1990s at every level of the game including the CFL, NFL, NCAA, NAIA, and many high schools across America. It was invented by Billy Ford and Ryan Wilson, originally called the "Dual" formation. The general scheme can be implemented in many different offensive systems, but the distinguishing factors of Wildcat are a direct snap to the running back and an unbalanced offensive line.

The wildcat is an offensive formation rather than an overall offensive philosophy or offense (for example, a spread option offense might use the wildcat formation to keep the defense guessing, or a West Coast offense may use the power-I formation to threaten a powerful run attack). When the wildcat formation is deployed, it uses the same pre-snap motion coming across the formation on every play and every play initially looks like a sweep behind zone blocking. However, after the snap several things may happen once a player in motion crosses the position of the player receiving the snap.

One possible precursor to the wildcat formation was named the "wing-T", and is widely credited to being first implemented by Coach Tubby Raymond and Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens football team. Tubby Raymond later wrote a book on the innovative formation. The wildcat's similarity to the wing-T is the focus on series football, where the initial movements of every play look similar. For example, the wing-T makes use of motion across the formation as well in order to draw a reaction from the defense, but runs several different plays from the same look.

Another possible precursor to the wildcat is the offense of Six-Man Football, a form of high school football, played mostly in rural West Texas and Montana, that was developed in 1934. In six-man, the person who receives the snap may not run the ball past the line of scrimmage. To bypass this limitation, teams often hike the ball to a receiver, who then tosses the ball to the potential passer. The passer may then throw the ball to a receiver or run with the ball himself.

The virtue of having a running back take the snap in the wildcat formation is that the rushing play is 11-on-11, although different variations have the running back hand off or throw the football. In a standard football formation, when the quarterback stands watching, the offense operates 10-on-11 basis. The motion also presents the defense with an immediate threat to the outside that it must respect no matter what the offense decides to do with the football.

The Wall Street Journal credited Hugh Wyatt, a longtime coach in the Pacific Northwest, with naming the offense. Wyatt, coaching the La Center (WA) High School Wildcats, published an article in Scholastic Coach and Athletic Director magazine in 1998, where he explained his version of the offense, which relied on two wing backs and two backfield players directly behind the center alternating who would receive the snap. Many other high school football programs across the United States adopted Wyatt's Wildcat offense.

I'll talk some more about the proliferation of the wildcat offense next week. I'm Gir Todafunk, Mr. Wonderful, signing off. You are not alone.

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