SBNation Longform: RG3, Kaepernick, and the Emergence of Chris Ault’s Pistol Offense into the NFL

It’s now up:

“There are no gimmicks in our offense,” Nevada head coach Chris Ault recently explained. [source]. “When the shotgun offenses came out, I enjoyed watching those teams move the football. The thing I did not like was the idea of a running back getting the ball running east and west,” he said. “We have always been a north and south running game offense.”

The entire premise of Ault’s pistol attack is to combine the best of the shotgun spread offenses, like Chip Kelly’s attack at Oregon [source], with the traditional, north-south power attack Ault had coached for more than 20 years. The Pistol alignment is merely the means by which to do it; the “Pistol Offense” is this blend of old and new.

It is easy to see why Ault’s vision had more appeal to the NFL mindset than the “east-west” schemes of Chip Kelly or the other spread offense gurus.

Read the whole thing.

  • Ryan Juliano

    Nice post on an offensive set that’s really intriguing to me.

    Especially from that two fullback diamond set, I can see this offense being successful as a kind of inverse of Chip Kelly’s spread-to-run attack. With two blocking backs inside the tackle and only a couple of yards from the line, the offense has tremendous inside blocking leverage. Defenses not only have to throw more men into the box, but they’ll have to bunch them more within the box and bring linebackers closer to the line. This, in turn, puts a lot of pressure on fewer defensive backs to cover more space. Surely, that’s part why New England has had great success in recent year using bunch formations in its passing game. Of course, Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and two cyborg tight ends have helped matters, but similar passing success might come from the more earnest run threat that comes from a mobile quarterback and two fullback.

  • zkinter36

    I think that more and more teams at all levels will embrace this synthesis of college and pro systems. I believe the most important element of the pistol is that it allows for teams to run wide zone in the manner that Alex Gibbs teaches it while still being able to run tight zone read plays out of the same looks. Those two plays require totally different responses from the defensive players, especially the defensive ends. To stop tight zone read, you need to slow play and be patient. To stop wide zone, you need immediate penetration and decisiveness. If the opposing defensive line guesses wrong… Good luck guys. Then you start using multiple alignments, motions, shifts, playactions, snap counts, screens… All with only having to teach two core blocking schemes to your oline… Two blocking schemes that really utilize the same calls. Scary… Having a great admiration towards the systems that Shanahan implemented with the Broncos when they went back to back, it is nice to see him revolutionize the game again with his recent innovations.