New Grantland Blog: Draw It Up: Army-Navy and the Flexbone Offense

It’s up over at the Triangle Blog:

Niumatalolo and others at the academies, however, have evolved the offense by not just lining up in the same flexbone set and running the veer triple and the midline option 40 times a game. (Although they’re happy to do that, too, if you don’t defend it well.) Instead, they will also mix in formation variations, motion, shifts, and so on to get the matchup that they want. In other words, the service academies are running a pro-style, multiple-formation, heavily game-planned, option offense. Sounds like heresy, but look at Navy’s touchdown in the second quarter on Saturday.

Read the whole thing.

  • Jerry

    Chris, Was at that game..Actually thought Army was going to win for a while..Army did a great job defending them..Navy also came out in some unbalanced looks. 

  • Kevin O’Brien

    Chris, what is your thoughts about Army and Ellerson’s Wing Bone/Broken Bone offense? I know they run a lot of option principles similar to Navy. However, I am still trying to decipher the differences of the offense (though I imagine it’s not a lot)? 

  • Oiler

    It appears to have more spinning and mis-direction/counter action that an old single-wing offense would show. It makes sense since the name Wing-Bone implies some lineage there. Army could not hold the ball this year; they had fumble after fumble after fumble at the most inopportune times. What I can tell is that their run game may be more potent than a Flexbone team–if that is possible– but they are more deficient throwing the ball than GT, Navy, and so on. 

    One of the things giving option people trouble right now is the stack look. 3-3, 3-5, and so on. The reads are much harder to make. Elements of the Wing-Bone might be the answer. 

    The other element that can be a problem for the option teams is the looming stoppage of cut blocking. I keep hearing from friends in college refereeing circles the day of the legal cut is almost over in the name of safety. They have restricted it more and more in the last few years on the college level and Texas is the only state that allows cut blocking on pulling guards and line play at the high school level. If this is outlawed then option teams are in some trouble, in my opinion. It is no secret that GT, Navy, AF, Army, and Rice (when Ken Hatfield was boss) recruit offensive linemen that  run and are normally short too. You have to get to the backers and get them on the ground. If you can’t level them, then you need big guys who may not run as well, and those schools cannot recruit stud linemen to play an option game. Of all the rule changes out there, the rules on line play could do more to eliminate the option than any defense. 

    Of course I could just be a Chicken Little.