Friday, December 31, 2004

List of Option Coaches... The Greats

Well, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and is preparing to enjoy New Year's eve as well. I am especially looking forward to The University of Tennessee vs. Texas A. & M. game Saturday at 11 a.m.

While I have been away for the better part of the month, I have been thinking about the next series of articles for Veersite dealing with X's and O's. I am conviced that the next topic at hand will be blocking rules/schemes for the playaction off the veer. I would also like to dabble in 2-back protections and 1-back protection with the other back free releasing into a pattern. So if any of you guys have any ideas- send them in! I am more than glad to give credit to the source of any info I get, and I would love to post complete articles from other coaches if I can get them.

The Great Option Coaches:

Yeoman.... Rice... Osborne... DeBerry...

Everyone knows the "biggies..." the coaches who for one reason or the other are icons in the arena of option football. But who are some of the lesser-known coaches who have contributed offensively to this area of football? I know a few coaches in the smaller college ranks that have won or are winning using the option. I know there are many, many more than the few I have heard about. Please submit your recommendations for notable option coaches past and present and I will compile and post the results.

Coach Smith

*** 06 Jan 05 ***

I have had some really great replies to this over on the Rolling Thunder Message Board. Here are some of them:

"Posted by dbayer66 on January 03, 2005 at 08:09:09
In Reply to: The great option coaches... and others posted by Coach Smith on December 31, 2004 at 15:11:40

Pasqualoni and DeLeone at Syracuse. Even though there has been a change there. many agree that their knowledge of the option is incredible. Pasqualoni turned
Western Connecticut State from lowly backwater to NCAA playoff team in four years with the wishbone."

"Posted by ned on January 02, 2005 at 22:53:25
In Reply to: The great option coaches... and others posted by Coach Smith on December 31, 2004 at 15:11:40

A coach From Michigan that many of you have probably never heard of, but is an extrodinary coach! He ran Triple Option out of split back early in his carrear and now mainly out of double Slot. His team this year was Ranked in the USA Today Top 25 and appeared on ESPN. He is also on of the winningest Coaches in MI, one time leading a team to 9 consective undefeated seasons. If you haven't heard of him yet, trust me, you will.

Tony Coaches at Muskegon High School in Muskegon, MI"

"Posted by WRB on December 31, 2004 at 15:49:41
In Reply to: The great option coaches... and others posted by Coach Smith on December 31, 2004 at 15:11:40

I would like to add Royal, Bellard, Bryant, Bud Wilkinson and Missouri's Don Farout. Without Don, would we have option football? Without Wilkinson and his Okie shutting down the Split-T, would we have the powerful split-back veer and mighty wishbone? Come to think of it, without the Okie would the No Fun League have an undefeated Miami team?

I would also like to add AUTHOR Rodgers, Pepper, 1931-
TITLE Installing football's Wishbone T attack, by Pepper Rodgers and Homer Smith.
PUBLISHER West Nyack, N. Y., Parker Pub. Co. [1974, c1973]
DESCRIPTION x, 224 p. illus.
SUBJECT HDNG Football -- Offense.
ADDED AUTH Smith, Homer, joint author.
ISBN 0134677129. OCLC # 934674. LC CONTROL # 74010522.

Rodgers never won the big championship but he did contribute greatly to wishbone option football with his book. I have read this book cover to cover and think it should be reprinted.


"Posted by Coach Hec on January 02, 2005 at 15:24:57
In Reply to: Re: The great option coaches... and others posted by Larry C. on January 02, 2005 at 12:51:58

The Great Option Coaches:
Yeoman.... Rice... Osborne... DeBerry... (who am I forgetting??)

How about Georgia Southern's Erk Russell, Texas' Darrell Royal, Alabama's Bear Bryant, and even Oklahoma's Barry Switzer?"

"Posted by Larry C. on January 02, 2005 at 12:51:58
In Reply to: The great option coaches... and others posted by Coach Smith on December 31, 2004 at 15:11:40

Coach Smith,
Many great coaches have been mentioned here. I'd like to add two more: Barry Switzer and Kenny Hatfield. FWIW: Both are Arkansas graduates.
Switzer convinced Chuck Fairbanks to abandon the Houston Veer while he was Fairbank's Off Coord at OU. "Veer was a good rushing offense, but you had to pass the ball.." "We need to be running UT's Wishbone." And the rest is history for Switzer and the Sooners!
Hatfield As many of you know, revived Air Force's program with the Wishbone, before turning it over to Fisher DeBerry. Hatfield went to Arkansas where he won alot of close games, Two SWC championships-and they couldn't stand him! Go figure! By the way, Hatfield ran the "I-Bone" at Ark. He's done a good job at Rice with the Triple option, also; including a stunning 1995 upset of UT in the driving rain in Houston.Sorry for writing a novel!
Larry C.
PS: let's not forget Paul Johnson!"

"Posted by BLb on January 03, 2005 at 19:19:22
In Reply to: The great option coaches... and others posted by Coach Smith on December 31, 2004 at 15:11:40

Holtz started running the Veer at William and Mary and continued at NC State and Arkansas. Ran 'I' option (and a little "bone" at Minnesota and ND. Wrote two books on the Veer - "The Grass is Greener" while at NC State and "The Offensive Side of Lou Holtz" while at Arkansas. His 31-6 whipping of Oklahoma in the 1978 Orange Bowl running the Veer, after suspending four starters, is still a classic. And of course he won a national championship with Tony Rice running the option and Tim Brown catching the ball (and occasionally a pitch as HB in bone) and returning kicks."

From the Megaclinic Option forum...

"Re: The great option coaches... and others
Author: greg b (
Date: 01-03-05 10:17

Wouldn't Coach Larry Beckish have to qualify?
How about ...well, forgot his name. Coached at Wofford and Appalachian state during the 70's.... Brakefield. Really started the flexbone that Hatfield gets credit for. DeBerry was on his staff at each stop before he went to Air Force.
How about the Moore guy who was at Kansas during the mid-70's and used the read belly/double dive.
Pepper Rogers.
Charley Taffe.
Emory Bellard.
Pasquloni/Deleone (Syracuse)
Paul Johnson
Greg B"

"Author: Panther98 (
Date: 01-03-05 13:50

Farley---University of Wisconsin at River Falls"

"Author: rlw34 (205.204.242.---)
Date: 01-06-05 08:46

im glad someone mentioned johnson at navy. i also think mike sewak at georgia southern is a good one. also, i must mention a little know coach, ivan jasper. he is the qb coach at navy and does an outstanding job teaching the triple."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

151: The Greatest Streak on ESPN Thurs

******VCR Alert******

Thursday, 16 Dec 04

02:30 pm 03:30 pm 151: The Greatest Streak

Repeat of ESPN "The Season" documentary take on De LaSalle High School's unrivaled 151-game winning streak. DLS, btw, is a splitback veer team. Set those VCR's!!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Option from the Wing T

Very quickly...

Over the past month or so, I have had the opportunity to discuss running the option from a true Wing -T formation and from splitbacks with a TE and wing combo. While I don't own the video, I did notice on the following item:


Two things caught my attention concerning this: first, it mentiond wing T and Option together, and second, it mentioned Permian, TX.

If anyone has seen this video and would like to evaluate it, please feel free to do so.

Coach Smith

***26 Apr 05***

Coach Ed Cook was kind enough to email me some comments concerning the Permian video...

"Coach I couldnt post on your site, but maybe you can throw this on
there...The Permian wing-t video is a waste I took nothing away from
the video...I know the coach used to coach there but he is at
Kingsford or something close to that during the filming...the game
cut-ups are very poor and out of order...complete waste of money..."

Edward K. Cook

So it sounds like the video unfortunately might be pretty aweful. Too bad - I had hoped this would be a good 'un. Thanks again to Coach Cook for giving his opinion.

Coach Smith

17 Jan 05

I ran across an article recently concerning running option from the Wing-T set and wanted to make mention of it. The article is written by a coach who is running outside veer from a Wing-T set. It has nice play diagrams and is well written. If you're into this sort of thing, it is definitely worth the time to read.


New (21 Feb 05): More Splitbacks/Wing-T material from the old B.C.Warrior website-


11Apr05 : Video Cuts

Here are the game cuts from the 1998 State Champs. I am emphasing the plays which were ran either from a wing set or can be found in any Wing-T playbook.

Cut One and Two: OSV to the Wing

First, we always stay in our splitback alignment. We never go to a FB and a HB like a true Wing-T team might choose. The main reason is not to mess with our mesh points. Another might be that you can't get quite as good an angle on the OSV with a true FB as you can with splitbacks. You guys that only see 4-fronts might not care so much about this, but to those of us that see a lot of 5-2 and 5-3 defenses and run a lot of OSV, it's important.

Personnel: After viewing the '98 video and our 2004 cuts where we ran with a wing set, I've come to the conclusion that for the most part, you should sub a true running back in for the wing player. While a reciever can arc to second level on OSV and not cause any problems, he might not have enought meat on his bones to down-block a defensive end on the sweep.

OSV to the Wing, Cut One:

OSV to the Wing, Cut Two:

Inside Veer Weak.

One of the things many Wing-T teams are guilty of are being Tight End oriented in play selection. They stay in a 100 or 900 set and run sweeps strong and the gut strong and only hit the weak side with the crossblock or the waggle. Sometimes they will motion the wing across and toss weak to the FB. Teams I've coached for have been pretty successful loading up the strong side, making sure you get guys in the hip pocket of the guards, put a big guy in a 6 and keep the TE off the ILBs and bring the OLb hard off the butt of the wing. I usually had OLBs key the HB and react accordingly. Flat motion across the formation always brought an outside blitz into the motion... the DB's played a loose-man coverage so we could get a man running with the TE on the waggle... you know the plays that can hurt ya from the T!

Anyway, the ISV weak is a GREAT way to take advantage of guys like me who load up the strong side and dare you to run weak. the last man on the line is the dive read and the OLB will be your pitch... split end stalks and the FS is assumed to have rotated over to the TE/Wing side.

ISV Weak, Cut One:

ISV Weak, Cut Two:

Power Sweep to the Wing.

Think about what the strong side defensive end has seen so far- Option, option, and more option. He's probably not as worried about getting down-blocked by the WB as he might have been initially. I still say that you should put a thicker kid in at the WB if you plan on running the Sweep. It might be a HB, of a FB, or maybe even the other TE. In 2 of the 3 Sweep Cuts, you'll see theWB has a hard time handling the DE (unfortunately you won't see the circus-catch he makes later in the game).

Power Sweep, Cut One:

Power Sweep, Cut Two:

Power Sweep, Cut Three:

The Gut Trap

The last series of clips deals with another play you'll find in any Wing-T playbook, the Gut (or inside) Trap. You don't have to have a true FB lined up straight behind the QB in order to run it, of course. We keep our splitback alignment whether we break the formation or not. We can still run our options from sets, but like many other coaches have discovered, you can run off OLBs or get them to shift by breaking the formation. Or not . ..whatever works the best.

Gut Trap, Cut One:

Gut Trap, Cut Two:

Gut Trap, Cut Three:

Well, that wraps up tonight's post. So while we are without a doubt a Veer team, Coach Roark has effectively borrowed from the Wing T to enhance and supplement our option attack. Of course, any time you are in a three-back set, you have great possibilities for misdirection. Without giving away any family secrets, there's a great potential for using the WB for that misdirection... so use your imaginiation and remember that the sky's the limit!

Coach Smith

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

(De) Motivational Posters

Have you ever seen those motivational posters that feature some awesome event featuring some lone individual overcoming impossible odds? Of course you have. But here are several you may NOT have seen. These posters, available at are slightly different. Okay... they are very different. but if you have a slightly different sense of humor like me, a couple of these up on the wall behind you will give your office guests that perfect blend of indignation and outright confusion you've been after so long but until now have yet to achieve!


Coach Smith

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a quick post during the hectic holidays! Well, we got knocked-off by Belfry... played like a freshman team in the first quarter (2 turnovers inside the 20 in the first 3 minutes). That pretty much put us in a tailspin from which we couldn't recover. Belfry had a bunch of big, thick kids who could play football. They will be playing for the chance to repeat as class AA state champs Dec 3rd vs Owensboro Catholic at Papa Johns Stadium. I with them luck!

Speaking of big, thick football players, I sure hope they allow us to keep our new 4th block weightlifting class (mostly for athletes of all sports) so we can get our players physically up to the next level.

Trade Tapes: I have 3 sets of tapes ready, so those of you expecting tapes - don't give up! I finally got smart and brought a vcr from home so I can dub 2 per day at school and then switch over and dub 2 that night. So even thought the tapes are long, I should be able to get them all done in a timely fashion and mailed before Christmas.

I'm thinking about transfering those tapes to computer and perhaps putting them on CD's. This would require a decent PC for playback and you would have to install a small program (not really a program, but a video codec) to watch them on Windows Media player. It would allow me to spend less time, money, and postage in the process. Let me know if you are "computer video savvy" and I might could do it that way.

Coach Smith

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A Few Pictures

Below are some game pictures posted by our local newspaper, the Middlesboro Daily News.

Coach Smith

ps. Angela is doing fine... but is a little sore.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Gone For A Few Days

A lot is going on this week... Playoffs Week One... and Angela is going to have some out-patient surgery this Monday. This means I'll be taking care of her through the middle of next week- and not answering emails or posting to Veersite until late next week. Feel free to post on the Veersite message board...

Hopefully, I'll be able to get a few tapes out this Monday and Tuesday. I'll email you if one gets sent your way.

Coach Smith

Monday, October 25, 2004

Speed Option and "G" Option Revisited

I have added some new play diagrams...


  • Speed Option

  • and here:

  • The "G" Option

  • Coach Smith

    Midline from Splitbacks

    Every so often we run into a 4-front defense and we get a shaded 3 technique to our TE side. This makes it tough to run our ISV. We could double the 3 tech and hope the psT can release to the MLB in time, OR.... we can run our Midline.

    The diagram above is roughly how we run our midline. We try to make it as similar to ISV as possible so we don't have to re-teach so much. the QB's steps are different; he steps back behind the C and points the ball at the dive read... the psHB steps in at a 45 degree andle and aims just outside the foot of the Center. Everything else is pretty much the same... the psG doesn't have anyone to block on the line, so he inside releases second level... the psT has the psOLB... the TE arcs to force... you can fold or scoop the 1 tech. The Midline is probably better when ran from a set with a true FB... just like the OSV is better when ran from splitbacks. We've found that it serves it's purpose from splitbacks... pulling that 3 tech back in and then we can block him better and run ISV.

    Coach Smith

    Thursday, October 07, 2004

    A quick addition... 2+2=4

    hey, before I get alternately quized and/or lambasted over the last two sets of play diagrams, let me clear up something. I just noticed the path I had drawn for the psG on each set of plays (speed option from the gun and OSV vs a 52). I started off with the double between psG and C (thinking a shaded nose) but drew it with a head up NG. In this case, I should have had the ps guard head straight for the psLB's outside shoulder withthe intentions of intercepting the offside LB at that spot... and picking up the psLB should he decide to try and blow thru A gap. the diagrams show both the double AND the scoop... which is kind of overkill... and leaves A gap playside a little shaky.

    I gotta quit writing this stuff when I'm tired... before you know it I'll be trying to run ISV with the double wing 6 inch splits... Whew!

    See you guys next week!

    Coach Smith

    ps. I went back and corrected the psG path on the last two play diagrams. I left his combo path but changed it to a dotted line.

    Option from the Gun

    alternate title: How to be a He-Man Run-Over-Em Coach while Pretending to "Air it Out."

    Remember the term "sensitive guy?" I sure do. My friends and myself make a lot of jokes about it... until we found out that the girls just weren't going out with you unless you were indeed "sensitive." (Remember, this was high school) So we did like many red-blooded American males of the day did. We swallowed our pride and faked it with the best of 'em. I got real "sensitive" in a hurry!

    Fast-forward to present day. You're running all over every opponent but then IT happens. You know what I'm talking about. Every running team and every option Coach goes through it at some point. Suddenly, the "Fans" think you're not "throwing it enough." (BTW, by "fans," I'm talking about those in the stands who watch way too much SportsCenter, don't know the difference between a pro vs. college vs. high school athlete... who don't know horsesh*t from good applebutter... you get the picture.)

    I don't know what they're thinking. Why not ask us to forgo the usual Khaki shorts and staff shirts and take the field in pink tu-tu's and high heels? It would be simpler, that's for sure... possibly kinder as well But here you are suddenly feeling the heat for not being "progressive" enough, "mod" enough, "smart" enough to join the "moo-ing herd" and go to 1-back shotgun and (say it together, folks) "Air - It - Out!" So what's a coach to do? Should you actually forgo common sense and throw out your offense for the run and shoot? Heck no! I'll tell ya what you do, you pull a page outta Steve's old high school dating playbook and "fake it." Yep, when all is said and done everybody's happy and no one's the wiser. Sounds like a win-win to me!

    So how do you "fake" throwing the ball, you ask? Here's what ya do... take a base set like your "Pro Right" (or whatever you call it) and tag it "Gun." (BTW, this might be a good time to see if your center can actually execute a decent shotgun snap. ...enough coaching points... I'll get on to the good stuff!)

    Now I'm not advocating you do the unthinkable and actually "throw" the ball downfield... I'm just giving Joe Sixpack the proverbial "shiny object" with which he will become mollified and enter that fugue-state where he's much quieter and easier to tolerate. (okay, okay... I'll give ya the definition- fugue state: A pathological amnesiac condition during which one is apparently conscious of one's actions but has no recollection of them after returning to a normal state. This condition, usually resulting from severe mental stress, may persist for as long as several months.)

    Now here's the good part- you run speed option at 'em from the Gun. One bonus is that the new angle taken by the QB to the DE keeps him (the DE) from "feathering" and really makes him decide in a hurry who he's gonna take. I've seen a "dead" speed option come back to life from the gun for no other reason than the steep downhill angle of the QB.

    Now here's the REALLY good part. After the game when you're giving the paper a quote or two, work into the mix the following statement; "Well, we were really hoping to air it out tonight when we got in the gun, but the defense, well, the defense just kept jumping into a 'nickel and dime' package (!) forcing us to check-off to the option. We really wanted to throw it deep, but when the defense is just giving you the red carpet to the goal line, you just have to take it!"

    So there you go... you are off the hook so to speak. You really, really, really wanted to sling it all over the field, but that darned ol' defense was so scared of your (obviously) superior game plan, they took the pass away from you and you had to limp along with those old 6, 7 and 15 yard ground gainers. SIGH... Oh, well, we'll get 'em next time!

    You can actually get in the gun ever so often and throw your 3 step game out of it... set up some draws and screens out of it without too much trouble... and all the while using it primarily for speed option. The real laff-riot will be the inevitable comments about how Ol' Coach has really "opened it up..." "gotten with the program," etc.

    Have fun with it,

    Coach Smith

    OSV vs. the 52

    Here are some things which might help when confronted with a 52 defense.

    Try the 2 TE set first and see what they do. One thing I've noticed, a lot of DC's hate a balanced front... they want to shade thier guys this way and that way and need that 'ol tight end most times to get that strength call. All this makes me want to give a dose of two tights and see if they'll balance up for you. If they inisist on treating one side as the strength (to the field, for example) you will just have to "insist" on running weak and having a numbers advantage. It can end up being just that simple. Having two tights makes it so much easier for me as well because it makes the defense easier to read... you can tell what they are trying to do to you. I also like no tight end sets for similar reasons. Put a big defensive end out on an island (Yes, like Gilligan, Coach R!) and watch how unconfortable a lot of 'em get playing out in space. This also allows you to make some easy reads as a playcaller as well... Hmmmmmmmm... eight in the box... better run the bubble screen to the twins... now the hitch to the SE... LB's walking out into the hook-to-flat zone? Now they've loosened up for ISV, Midline, and inside trap. Who sez ya gotta be an offensive genius to move the football? Me, like the song sez, I "Dare to be Stupid."

    The OSV begins with the double team playside between the TE and psT. When in doubt, Double! The perfect block for me harkens back to my Wyatt Double Wing days: Get the DT on roller skates and run his a$$ back into the ILB. This ends the discussion right there. If the TE "sees" nothing but the psT's back, then he releases upfield (but not inside!) to cut off the ILB. Next consideration is the noseguard. If he's shaded to the play, we double and hope the psG can release for offside ILB... no big deal if he can't- it just looks better that way on paper. If your C can handle the NG, then sned the psG on a good angle for the offside ILB and scoop the noseguard with the C and offside G. This will give whoever gets the ball on heck of an escort towards the goal line. Offside T and TE inside release to second and third levels with good cut-off angles. BTW, WE NEVER LET A MAN CROSS OUR FACE UNBLOCKED (or at least we're not supposed to!)

    Backfield coaching points. PsHB is aiming at inside foot of psT and is trying to "beat" the QB to the hole. You must hit it fast or a good DE will play the dive and keep and mess up the play. You gotta make him choose. Failure to do this will cause hats to fly, clipboards to break, and neccessitate (sp?) expensive repairs to headsets. Trust me on this one.

    The QB steps out and up into the LOS and points the ball right at the read. If the DE takes dive, he may have to step around the collision, but preach against "jumping the hump." Keep him straight towards the veer lane. The pitch back keeps his pitch relationship on the way to the CB. 99% of the time, I give the flanker a "crack" call to have him block next DB inside. I think this gives him better timing for the play and helps block for the HB if you're getting a lot of "give" reads. This also makes the CB the pitch read to either side if you're into that symmetry thing.

    Hope this helps your execution of the outside veer... arguably the best play in football! (or at least in the top 100)

    Coach Smith

    Wednesday, September 29, 2004

    My Favorite Combo Route

    When it comes to passing, I'm a simple guy. I like play-action sprint-out with 2 recievers playside (in an easy to read progression) with the QB having the option to tuck it and run. This takes care of a multitude of possible problems and really simplifies protection schemes. I like this when combined with a twins set with the "I" FB offset to the twins. This allows me to stretch the defense horizontally. If the LB's play tight, then here comes the bubble screen to the twins. If they walk the LB out in the flat, we'll run iso at the void he leaves. Bump all the LB's to the twins and here comes counter-trey (with the backfield running sprint-draw action) back to the TE. My favorite combo route is the Curl-Shoot, or Curl-Flat, or Curl-Bench, or whatever you want to call it. I heard a long time ago some coach (P.A., probably) say, "nobody covers the TE in the flat in high school football." Well, excluding man cover teams, I'd have to say ten years later that he was right on the money. I'll never forget that first season at C.C. our second-string freshman QB throwing for 250 yards against Dyersburg using that combination route off playaction in the "I." I bet I called that play in one form or another 25 times. I doubt Quinn ever threw a ball more than 12 yards downfield (to the Curl). Most of his completions were to the Flat route... sometimes to the TE/Z combo and the rest to the Z(motioning)/X combo. It was the same play, but with a different look. It didn't hurt to have one of the best freshman wideouts in the state of TN that year. I saw that same combo work wonders years later in the Sequoyah-Grundy game and also in the Pigeon Forge-Union County game. It's a bit harder angle for the QB in the veer because our playaction keeps him on the LOS and he doesn't get the depth off the line that an "I" QB gets during playaction. Anyway, below are two ways to run that combo route from split backs. I will admit we haven't ran it here at Middlesboro on the varsity team, but I've ran it too long too many places to doubt it's effectiveness for one instant.

    B.T.W. Like any play, if your "go to the well" too many times, you're liable to get burned. With this play, when you sense the defense is catching on to it, have the QB pump the Flat route - who then cuts up and turns the route into a Wheel. Trust me - magic will take place.

    Have fun with it,

    Coach Smith

    ps. Below is the Curl-Shoot from the "I" set and "R" set (with Z motion). If the LB's don't adjust, the "Shoot" (or "Flat") route will be there. If only the psOLB/SS widens, you should have good angles for the iso. If all three LB's bump, then run counter-trey backside. The counter-trey in turn sets up the counter-boot with the FB usually open in the flat. In case you haven't noticed, I'm big on play-action passing!

    And Now for Something Completely Different...

    Just a quick post on the "ain't it a small world" front. My Ol' college roommate from U.T. just happens to be the lead designer for the new Harlan County School over in nearby Harlan County (like they would put it in some other county!) Anyway, he had many meetings with the Harlan Schools Superintendent whose son, by the way, is also a fellow football coach here at Middlesboro.

    Small world, ain't it?

    Here's some (really low-res) pictures of the school.

    Campus Layout for the New Harlan Co. High School

    Lead vs Load

    I recently tried to explain the difference between the Lead Option and the Load Option. Both are a double-option play but aren't at all the same. Well, I guess they kind of do look the same except for the responsibilities of a few players. Most of the linemen block the same for both plays... and the backside HB is still the pitch back. The difference shows up in who on the defense is sealed inside and who is the pitch key. Each Play is diagrammed below.

    As you can see, in Lead Option, the ps HB is getting second-level and sealing off inside LB pusuit. The TE arcs just like OSV and the Z stalks. The QB and pitch back run it just like Speed Option. Lead Option becomes especially handy versus teams that are playing games Xing-up the DE and OLB. If you're running outside Veer and the DE steps out to contain and the OLB steps down into "C" gap, your QB is gonna get a false "give" read and the dive HB is going to start hating the OSV in a hurry. Lead Option helps take care of the "C" gap player and still get the ball on the perimeter.

    In Load Option, the ps HB is sealing a DE which is probably trying to cause trouble by squeezing hard or crashing. The TE becomes the seal for ILB pursuit and is available to double-team the DT should the psT call for it (vs. a 5 tech). In this diagram, I have the Z releasing inside to block the FS and making the CB the pitch read. I believe this times-up the Z's block better with the arrival of the QB or HB on the option. However, you can reverse this without any trouble. If you had a strong safety walked-up, for instance, you would probably go ahead and stalk the CB and pitch off the SS due to the angles being better (and you don't want to give the Z a 4-count stalk to execute, either.) I think the Load Option isn't as popular as it was "back in the day" because the "load" block itself became illegal. A halfback can no longer directly throw at a defensive player's legs and you'll see just that in many older films. The block is still legal in college and is used a lot on the perimeter by just about any option team you can think of. Today, the HB has the harder job of having to log the DE while maintaining contact above the waist.

    I hope this helps clear up some things concerning the differences between these two supplemental plays to the inside and outside veer.

    Coach Smith

    Monday, September 27, 2004

    Speed Option vs. 44 (& the 52)

    There's more than one way to block this on the perimeter. I suggest planning around the best perimeter run defender they have and working from there. Check out the Rolling Thunder web site in the links section for more digrams on blocking the Speed Option versus various fronts.

    Coach Smith

    Below is the diagram for running it to the twins versus a 52 rolling cover 3 "Sky." We are double-teaming the playside 3 tech and the backside 1 tech and scooping off to LB. The crack for the psILB by the inside rec. should insure that inside-out pursuit is cut-off. If the psT can get to the psILB, then the twins rec's can crack S and F instead and everyone is accounted for. Personally, I like the overkill on the ILB... there's a reason he's sitting at 4 yards and the Free is at 10!

    Coach Smith

    Tuesday, September 21, 2004

    The Counter- Trey

    When I was a coach in West TN, we ran a version of the double wing. The best play from that set was the counter-trey. It was a great all-purpose play that you could run (almost) no matter the down and distance. Since switching to split backs, it's the one play I miss the most. Imagine my suprise whan I saw split back veer legend De LaSalle run it several times during the Evengal Christian game. I almost jumped out of my chair to hit rewind. I had seen 80' era NDSU run it off a quick HB motion, but DSL ran it out of splitbacks without any motion at all. I did notice they were setting the heels of the HB's at 5 yards, but that might be thier regular depth to begin with. Below are two diagrams showing the basic play for both DSL and NDSU.

    Monday, September 20, 2004

    More Attacking the 6-2

    I was asked recently what short passes I would use against the 6-2. Well, I always consider my QB when thinking about the passing game... A great athlete makes me confident and throw the deep ball, while the lesser athlete makes me think BootPass and easy combo routes off Play Action. My favorite playaction pass from my "I" days is a 10 yd curl by the Flanker with a 2-3 yard TE Flat route (I've also heard it called a Bench or a Shoot route as well) coupled with play action. It's a little better out of the "I" if you can use the playaction to sprint-out... putting that much more pressure on corner support. The QB looks for the TE first then checks to the FL curling and working towards the middle if the TE is covered. I had a freshmen QB get over 250 yards passing one night running this play to the TE/FL side as well as motioning the FL across and running the same play to the Split End side with the SE running the Curl and the FL hitting the Flat route with a head of steam from the crossing motion. I don't think the ball ever went more than 11 yards down the field, but the yards after catch were awesome.

    Getting back to the Veer, I would first see who's "biting" on the veer action. A Playside CB suckered up warrants a Fade off of ps Play action, while a FS inverting and playing inside-out run support is gonna get hit with the Texas(backside) Post to either the SE or backisde TE. this can be in a regular "Pro" set or in 2 tights. The Boot Pass is also a pretty safe play with an inexperienced QB.

    I'm leaving out the fact that any time I have a CB give 7 or more yards, I'm thinking the 5 yard Stop route until they either walk out a LB/DE or tighten the CB (then "Hello," Fade!). Again, a lot depends on the ability and reliability of the QB. Some inspire more confidence than others!

    Coach Smith

    Thursday, September 16, 2004

    Outside Veer Versus 6-2 Cover 3

    This is just a quick diagram showing one way of running OSV vs. a 6-2 D. I've seen a couple of posts on Megaclinics and Rolling Thunder's message board concerning attacking the 6-2. Maybe this will help if any of those guys make the trip over to Veersite. Who knows? The Trap-Option is also good vs. this defense. Anyway, if you have any hip-boots you can loan a guy, I need 'em. Somebody at practice today wondered out-loud if the football would float off the LOS during this Friday's game at Cawood. The remnants of Hurricane Ivan will be pouring down on us by then. Unless it hooks right at Sookie Ridge and misses us completely. :-)

    Coach Smith

    Wednesday, September 15, 2004

    The Waggle for Split Backs

    If you have ever managed to shut-down a Wing-T offense only to have them convert 3rd down after 3rd down with the boot-action Waggle pass, you can appreciate the Waggle's effectiveness. It's a great play - the TE crossing is deadly versus a cover 3 or cover 2 zone... and the FB in the flat can really give you fits whether you run zone or man. This particular version of the Waggle uses both backs to do the job of the Wing-T FB, which leaves you a little thin on back-side protection should the QB be forced to pull-up short in his boot action. However, when we call this play, our HB in the flat or TE crossing is so open the QB doesn't have to hold the football long. Your mileage may vary. The trap is also pretty good out of this backfield action as well.

    Coach Smith

    Monday, September 13, 2004

    Nebraska "G" Option

    Well, first, let me rename this play as the "former" Nebraska G Option. The new and "improved" Nebraska wouldn't think of running such a "rudimentary" play, I'm sure. Well, the new and improved Nebraska lost to an unranked team this week... I bet by the end of this season good ol' 9-2 Solitch will start lookin' good to the Nebraska faithful. ...Fire a coach after a 9-2 season. They oughtta lose. Just make sure you send moving vans to the genius A.D. that started all this mess, too, Nebraska fans. Don't forget him!

    Well, enough of that. Here is the (former) Nebraska G-Option Eric Couch ran so well. It really isn't an option. It's a QB keeper with the initial look of an option... makes the D account for the option.... notice how the pitch back will suck the CB out of the play in order to contain the pitch which isn't coming. I got this play from the Neb - Colorado game a few years back. Neb ran it from the "I" but it should work just as well from splitbacks. Anyway, its uses wing T "G" or "Down" blocking... which I like since it gives me angle blocking at the point of attack. The Z motions in or aligns tighter (a wing, perhaps?) so he can seal inside.

    Coach Smith

    Below is the play diagram versus a balanced 52 "Cloud" defense.

    Monday, September 06, 2004

    We finally put it together... Win 27-0 Over Pineville

    We put it together in the second half and got our first win Friday. Not gonna say too much, but we started coming off the ball and getting huge chunks on the ground. And I'm becoming a true believer in the two tights veer offense. Looks like we have yet another 5-3 defense to face next.

    Coach Smith

    Tuesday, August 31, 2004

    Ken Sparks Inducted into the TN Sports Hall of Fame

    I am glad to see that Coach Sparks has been recognized for his contributions and accomplishments at Carson Newman. He is a class act and a great coach. Do yourself a favor and attend his next clinic which is held either in Gatlinburg or at nearby Pigeon Forge.


    Monday, August 30, 2004

    J.V. Wins Big!

    Just a quick post. Well, our host of Freshmen and Sophomores took it to Corbin's JV this evening and won to the tune of 26-0. Corbin had a few drives end in turnovers, but, then again, so did we. Many of our 9th graders are seeing a lot of action on Friday night... as are our Sophomores. But as shown tonight against a worthy opponent, the wheel is turning for us in the right direction. It might be turning slowly... but it's turning none the less!

    Nuts and bolts: Corbin runs a 44 but rolls up the OLB's vs a TE to give a 6-2 look vs 2 Tights. Not being brilliant, I ran a lot of 2 Tights (with a flanker) to make 'em balance up the D line and LBs and give me less to look at when calling plays. If they tighten the DE/DT 's then you run OSV... Widen them (and the 2 techniques) and you can go to your ISV and inside trap. Of course, I didn't catch it all the time, but the players know the angles and who to block even if we're not running the "perfect" play... just so long as it's "close enough." We could have ran more speed option at them, but we were doing okay with OSV and it hits faster... so why bother? It wasn't "broke," so we didn't "fix" it. The inside trap worked as well. There's going to a "bubble" in that D line somewhere - you just have to find it! I'm a firm believer that you can win with a small number of plays if your kids know how to fine-tune them to work versus the various fronts you see.

    Now, there's just enough time to savor this victory one last time before bedtime... then it's time to move on to getting ready for Friday night's game vs. Pineville (my high school alma mater, BTW.)

    When It Rains It Pours...

    Wow. In week one we're tied 15-all and suddenly we blow up with mistakes and eventually lose 36-15. Now this past Friday we faced Senior-heavy Bell County (who never fail to hit the off-season weights hard, I might add) and get our hats handed to us to the tune of 56-6.


    When it rains, it pours. Well, when you have a young ball club, you are going to make mistakes. When you aren't physically dominant as a ball club, you have to play near-perfect football in order to win. So we have to take a young ball club and play near-perfect football in order to get this season on the road to recovery.

    Hoo-boy. It can be done, but it's going to be tough. Which reminds me of Coach P.A. Pratt's parable that got us through a couple of really tough seasons. I don't know where he got it from, but it sure was the truth.

    "Tough Times Don't Last - Tough People Do." Simple, direct, and to the point. Sometimes all you can do is survive the rough seas and hang on until the storm has passed. Get better each game in little ways that aren't easy to measure but slowly add up intil you feel it, and know the players, the coaches, and the team itself has weathered the storm, outlasted the tough times, and through stubborn determination has gotten back on track again.

    We're not there yet. but we're getting close.

    Tough Times Don't Last - Tough People Do.

    Wednesday, August 18, 2004

    48 Hours...

    Its roughly forty-eight hours until we open the 2004 season. As usual, I'm getting a little nervous as the season opener nears. Today we ran our inside drill and it looked good. Until now, it kinda didn't - look good, that is. I really think we can move the ball and put some points on the board if we keep the penalties down and hold on to the football. But we're young, and in my experience that translates into mistakes. Not much time to worry about it now. All you can do is coach 'em your best and hope for the best.

    I'm very proud of the ones we have left... the ones tough enough and dedicated enough to stick with the team. Those special players that have had the guts to stick it out through camp, through the heat, and being thrown in the mix without much playing time... well, my hat is off to those guys. We may lack experience, but we are in no short supply of heart, and guts, and "want-to". I know we're gonna struggle at times this season, but I know that we will prevail. Every season I find renewed respect for those I coach... that shrinking number of young men drawn to a sport not because it is easy but because it is hard. (and I have no idea why I'm paraphrasing JFK...!)

    Coach Smith

    Thursday, July 29, 2004

    Going to Camp!

    Well, we're heading off to camp this weekend and I'll be leaving tomorrow afternoon. I won't be back until the 5th, so no more posts until late next week! Have a great week and "stay in the veer lane!"

    Man that's corny. Here's a Norman Rockwell football grapic to make up for it. It's small, but it's cool

    BTW, be sure to check out Coach Wyatt's News You Can Use this week. He's got the first inside scoop on the Kerry-Soccer Scandal!!! :-)

    Coach Smith

    Adding Different Looks To Your Inside Trap

    Most teams run the inside trap. Depending on what you want, you can add some differing looks to it by simply tagging the play call with some word to tell the remaining backs what to do. for instance, once school where I coached called the inside trap left "2 trap at 3." To have a bootleg fake, we would say, " 2 trap at 3 boot." To have a "spinner" option look, we could call it "2 trap at 3 spin." To carry out an option fake away from the trap, call "2 trap at 3, option away." I've seen some teams carry out an option fake towards the trap with the QB and HB faking option similar to the spinner except they turn around facing the LOS instead. That might be called "2 trap at 3 opton to," I suppose. In any case, you could easily add 2 or 3 more looks to your inside trap simply by adding an appropriate tag word that fits in with your team's terminology. Only 2 players need remember anything new and the other players need not worry with it.

    Coach Smith

    Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    Trap Option -- "Spinner"

    I've made reference a couple of times on Veersite and a couple of other message boards about the trap-option we run. I've seen a similar play to this one in Wacker's Veer book. He called it the "Crazy" Option if I remember correctly. His play differed in that the pulling guard made his way past the DE and blocked second level. The DE was the option read. Wacker is correct (in his book) in the fact that you really don't need to have much of a fake to the dive back. The LBs tend to freeze leaving them open to the down blocks. Some time needs to be spent going over Logging a defensive player who squeezes the trap. The QB just goes on around the collision and gets up the veer lane ready to pitch if needed. The QB keeps most of the time, but when you do pitch, it tends to go for big yardage.

    Coach Smith

    UPDATE -- Game Cuts Below -- 31 Jan05

    Cut One: Spinner to Twins

    Cut Two: Spinner to Tight End

    In Cut One, we run it to the Twins and end up trapping the psOLB (44 w/LBs bumped to the Twins). The DE pinched and tried to cross the face of the psOT who then blocked him. The MLB wasn't fooled and makes the play after a 5 yard gain.

    In Cut Two, we are facing a 53 slightly bumped to the twins and run it to the TE side. There is not much puch on the psDT and the psDE does a good job wrong-arming the trap. Our senior guard does an equally good job at logging the squeeze DE and the play just bounces on around into the secondary. The psOLB is not sealed by the TE but ends up over-pursuing the QB. The QB does a nice job running in the broken field and makes a nice gain on the play.

    Coach Smith

    Monday, July 26, 2004

    It's a 4-4 "D" for week one... we think!

    Well, word is that we'll be facing a 4-4 come week one. Is it the end of the world...? No 5-3 or rolling 5-2 cover 4? It's got so we pretty much install everything we put in vs. a 5-3 since we see it so many times during the regular season. Like everybody else, we week-by-week prepare, but we'd be nuts not to realize that we're going to see some kind of 50 front 8 outta 10 games. This is why I'm looking forward to week one: I get to "chalk it up" against a shaded 4o for a change! No "N" for noseguard! :-) Anyway, here's a few specifics. The LB's tend to play lateral and the stong end fights to the outside (i.e. has contain.) The weak side 1 and 5 techniques are about what you would expect. So let me know what you think... what sequence of plays would you use on both the run and pass. I'm tending to think veer weak and trap- option strong. Look for 8-10 yard seam routes off playaction strong as well as the backside post to the X. Run outside veer strong with the psT and psG Duece the 3 tech and seal the ps LB with the TE... that would be my emphasis. tell me what you think.

    Coach Smith

    Tuesday, July 20, 2004

    Test of image hosting site

    Below is a test of the free image hosting site, Photobucket. The only problem I have with Blogger is it's inability to host images. No images, no plays. With Photobucket, I can post jpg, gif, bmp, and png format images and link to them. So, if you want to send me the sketch of a particular play or defense, for example, just scan it in and send it to me. I prefer png format since it is a lossless compression. Jpg is okay, too, but make sure you leave it at a pretty high quality.

    Below is a test of my first Photobucket image link...

    In the next week, I'll be sending out an email to all who have written me this summer... it will contain info on how I intend to use the veersite message board and the Veersite weblog to allow coaches to post questions, answers, and ideas to one another during the season. Stay tuned!

    Coach Smith

    26July2004 -- Well, it looks like photobucket deletes the images after a set time... back to the drawing board... literally! - Smith

    pps. disregard that last remark! I found the inside veer diagram. I'm back on the Photobucket bandwagon again!

    Monday, June 07, 2004

    Coach Homer Rice

    Coach Homer Rice is one of the names you will hear when the Veer offense is discussed. Coach Rice wrote one of the first books on the offense, "On Triple Option Football." It clearly explained the ideas behind the offense and how to implement it. I have his "Air Option" book which is also a good read. The interesting thing about the second book is that it has a few of the West Coast passing ideas in it. It would be a stretch to say that Coach Rice "invented" the West Coast Offense, however! He is often attributed to "inventing" the Veer due to his popular book, although he clearly gives Coach Bill Yeoman credit for the offense in the first page of his book. So don't blame Coach Rice if he's incorrectly credited with the Veer - He gave Coach Yeoman credit with it in the 2nd or 3rd paragraph.

    What's so important about Coach Rice, you might ask. Well, for starters, he's a winner. His Fort Thomas Highlands football teams were as dominant over a 5 year period as any teams before or since. he continued his winning in the college ranks and into the pros. Coach Rice's last job was as Athletic Director at Georgia Tech. where he brought in many of the coaches that are bringing back the winning tradition to Tech. His book, Lessons for Leaders, has gotten great reviews from coaches and others tasked with assembling teams and motivationg people. All in all, Coach Rice is a remarkable man who, as a football coach, was ahead of his time in many aspects of the game.

    Below is some information I hope helps you in finding out a little more about the man who wrote my introduction to the Split Back Veer Offense. If you have other sources, as always, send them to

    Amazon book list :

    Homer Rice Retires as Ga. Tech A. D. :

    Homer Rice Info From Ga. Tech Website


    It wasn't enough that, as a high school coach, Homer Rice won 1961's "Winningest Football Coach in America" Award. It wasn't enough that, as a college coach, he earned 1976's "Master of the Passing Game" Award and invented the triple-option offense. It wasn't enough that Homer Rice came to Georgia Tech and miraculously resuscitated the school's moribund athletic program, culminating in the 1990 National Football Championship. Because for Homer Rice, winning football games was never enough.
    Rice has left an enduring mark on NCAA football, and on collegiate athletics in general, but perhaps his greatest achievement is his creation of the Student Athletic Total Person Program. Instituted at Georgia Tech, this program is now helping young men and women achieve their full potential at close to 200 other colleges and universities. Using his own story as a compelling case study, Rice shows in Lessons For Leaders how his innovative "Attitude Technique Philosophy leads to total success, whether on the gridiron or in any other of life's endeavors.
    After serving in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Homer Rice returned to school and earned All-American honors as quarterback at Centre College meanwhile spending his summers playing catcher in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization. As a high school coach in the 1950's, he compiled a record of 101-9-7 and was named "Winningest Football Coach in American 1961". As a college coach, his development of the (veer) triple-option attack revolutionized offensive football. Dr. Rice served as athletic director at the University of North Carolina and at Rice University before being lured back to the sideline as the head coach of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals in 1979. In 1980 Dr. Rice assumed the post of athletic director at Georgia Tech, where he was soon acclaimed as "the man who saved Georgia Tech athletics." He served as the first president of the NCAA Division 1A Directors of Athletics Association and was the recipient of the James Corbett award, the highest award given in the field of athletics administration. He retired from Georgia Tech in 1997
    Rice's retirement marks a storied career which began in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. At Highlands High School, Rice was a decorated football, basketball, and track star. He played in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization as a catcher before serving in the Navy during World War II.
    Following the war, Rice enrolled at Centre College, where he earned all-American honors as a quarterback. After graduating, Rice began his football coaching career in Tennessee and later ended up back at Highlands High. In 11 years at the high school level, Rice won an eye-popping 86 percent of his games. He parlayed his success into collegiate coaching jobs at Kentucky, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, and Rice…

    Rice molded Highlands winning tradition
    By Terry Boehmker, Post staff reporter
    Thirteen football state championship trophies are arranged in a glass-enclosed case outside the entrance to the Highlands High School gymnasium.
    The oldest ones in the collection date back to 1960 and '61 when the Bluebirds won back-to-back Class AA state championships under an innovative young coach named Homer Rice.
    On Aug. 28, Rice will be honored during halftime of the St. Luke Hospital Champions Bowl for molding Highlands into one of the most successful high school football programs in Kentucky.
    ''He established the winning tradition at Highlands and set the standard for other teams to follow,'' said John Burt, a running back on Rice's two state championship teams. ''I think he had an influence on how the level of play escalated all over Northern Kentucky.''
    Since the state football playoffs began in 1959, Northern Kentucky teams have made it to the state finals 33 times in 40 years and have a 33-17 record in championship games.
    Highlands holds the state record with 13 state championships. And it all began with Rice, 72, who retired as Georgia Tech University's athletic director two years ago and still lives in Atlanta.
    During his eight seasons as Highlands' head coach from 1954-1961, Rice compiled a 71-11-6 record, including three undefeated seasons. In addition to winning two Class AA state championships, his teams claimed five Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference titles.
    ''We didn't have a lot of kids in high school at that time,'' Rice recalled during a telephone interview. ''When I came there in 1954 our enrollment was around 200 students. But the kids we had (on the football team) adhered to the principles we tried to teach and they became champions for it.''
    The eight years Rice spent at Highlands marked the beginning of a remarkable athletic career.
    He was a coach and athletic director at several major colleges before joining the Cincinnati Bengals' coaching staff in 1978.
    After the Bengals got off to an 0-5 start in 1978, Rice was promoted to head coach. The following season, however, he was replaced as head coach after the team finished 4-12.
    Throughout his career, Rice said friends in Ft. Thomas kept him posted on the Highlands football program that will be gunning for yet another state title in 1999, the final season of the century.
    ''Naturally, I'm proud of what they've done,'' Rice said of the Bluebirds' winning tradition. ''They've taken it to a much higher level since I was there.''
    Highlands finished 4-2-4 and 4-5-1 in Rice's first two seasons as head coach. He said the players on those teams had to adjust to his new style of coaching.
    ''A lot of critics were wondering about this new guy and what he was trying to do, but once the kids got into our program it paid off,'' Rice said.
    ''We got into weight-lifting, which no one else was doing in those days, and we ran and ran those kids until they were in great shape. We wanted a team that was lean, quick and fast.''
    In 1957, Highlands won 11 straight games, including a victory over Massillon, a perennial power in Ohio.
    Two years later, Highlands was runner-up in the first Class AA state playoffs. They lost to Henderson, 12-7, in the championship game after quarterback Roger Walz was ejected early in the first quarter.
    Rice closed out his coaching career at Highlands with 24 straight wins and back-to-back Class AA state championships in 1960 and '61.
    ''I'd have to say that was due to the influence of Homer and his entire coaching staff,'' Burt said of the Bluebirds early success in the state playoffs. ''They were just great motivators.''
    Rice said his practice sessions seldom lasted more than an hour, but he made sure every player knew their assignment and how to carry it out.
    ''There weren't any details that weren't touched on in preparation for a game,'' Walz said. ''Even the little points were covered very well.''
    Rice's assistant coach during those successful seasons was Owen Hauck. Together, they designed formations and plays that allowed the Bluebirds to use quickness to defeat bigger, stronger teams.
    ''We did things like spread the (defensive) linemen so teams didn't know how to block against us and we developed some triple-option plays (on offense) that were new to just about everyone back then,'' Rice said.
    ''We just kept putting things together that we thought would work with the players we had.''
    The Homer Rice Years
    The Highlands football team compiled a 71-11-6 record, won two Class AA state championships and claimed five Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference titles under head coach Homer Rice. Here's a look at what the Bluebirds did each season:
    1954 4-2-4 Upset NKAC leader Dixie Heights, 27-26, in final game of season.
    1955 4-5-1 Most losses during Rice's eight seasons as head coach.
    1956 8-2-0 Only losses were to Dixie Heights (21-20) and Newport (20-13).
    1957 11-0-0 NKAC champs; capped first perfect record since 1930 with win over Danville (20-6) in the Rotary Bowl at Covington Holmes.
    1958 9-1-1 NKAC champs; only loss to Louisville Flaget (20-7) in Rotary Bowl at Covington Holmes.
    1959 11-1-0 NKAC champs; lost to Henderson (12-7) in first Class AA state championship game.
    1960 0 12-0-0 NKAC champs; won Northern Kentucky's first state championship with 21-13 win over Lexington Lafayette in Class AA title game.
    1961 12-0-0 NKAC champs; beat Richmond Madison in Class AA state title game.
    Publication date: 08-19-99

    Wednesday, May 26, 2004


    Well, it's that time of the year... all us teachers have finished our classes and are ready for a few days off. I, on the other hand, will be taking 6 hours of graduate classes in order to keep my Kentucky certification current. I'm good in Tennessee until 2010, but my old Kentucky home wants us keeping the grad schools full of students, I suppose. I can get most of it reimbursed through the state, so I'm not complaining.

    Summer weights will begin next week... This will be my first full summer here at M.H.S. and I'm anxious as to our numbers... We're going to be young, but I hope that at least we'll hit 40+ this year and keep them out for the entire season.

    I'm traveling between my home (and wife) in Maryville and my Grandmother's in Kentucky (well, 1/2 mile south of KY, but you get the picture. I may have a few weeks where I don't post very regularly, but I'll do what I can and before too long I'll have a routine to follow.

    Well, time to find a grad school that will have the likes of me... Not an easy task I assure you! Please feel free to send all stories, comments, links, and loose change to

    Thursday, May 20, 2004

    In the Beginning...

    In the Begining, there was the Straight T ... and it was Good. Then the "T" begat Split Backs and the Bone...

    Sorry about that! I've been grading final exams and I'm slap-happy. Aside from my failed attempt at humor, I'm going to go ahead and open up the "In the Beginning" post so I can start piecing together the history behind the development of the Veer. It's sad how little I really know concerning the Veer's roots. Coach Homer Rice, who has written extensively on triple option football, credits Bill Yeoman at the University of Houston as being the first coach to his knowledge to the run splitback alignment and run the triple option. People were already running the triple from the Wishbone and from the T formation. He also attributes the basic inside veer triple option play as a combo of the Inside Belly play and what he calls the Split T Option play - Both ran from the two-Tight Straight (Full House) T formation. His base play at Fort Thomas Highlands High School (KY) was what we would call the inside triple ran from the Straight T formation (pretty much like you would see it drawn up out of a 2-Tight Wishbone). From 1957 to 1961 his teams were undefeated in 50 straight regular season games, State Champs three of those five years and runner-up the other two. The Triple option was his base play and I'd say it was mighty good to him!

    Below are some snippets I have "Googled" from a few places today after searching for "origins of veer offense." they are in no particular order, and I'm just gettin them out to be read and commented on if need be. Organization will come later. I guess it's okay to use them - if not, lemme know! - Smith

    have a great book by Homer Smith, that describes the chess game between
    offensive coaches and defensive coaches throughout the century. The name of
    the book is: Football Coach's Complete Offensive Playbook 1987 by Parker
    Publishing. The first chapter is entitled The Evolution of the Offensive
    Challenge. It takes you from 1955 up to the present---1987. It is a
    historical retrospective to educate the offensive coach how defenses have
    been developed to stop offenses. It is important for any coach to understand
    how this chess game has been played and why. After reading it you will have
    new feel for the game and understanding of the constant battles between
    defensive and offensive minds.

    Anyone who would like to trade for this book let me know as I am interested
    in learning about the veer option game from the I and would trade for some
    good information or tapes. This book is a classic.

    The explosion was Texas in 1968-70. I understand that some high school and
    jr. high coaches were experimenting and this gave Emory Bellard the
    inspiration to start his UT tinkering for Darrell Royal. I have gathered
    that Texas A&M may have actually started the development by using alot of
    triple option out of an I. At this time the Houston Split-back veer was
    becoming the formation/system of choice. When Oklahoma couldn't make that
    work and it appeared Chuck Fairbanks and Barry Switzer (then OC) may get
    fired, Royal and Bellard shared it with OU and the rest is history.
    I have always wondered why (I know the answer) bigger-time colleges do not
    still run Wishbone and Triple Option schemes. On the Megaclinic option list
    one coach quoted John Makovic (a pro-passing guru) that if he had done so
    with his mid 90's Texas teams he would have won a title or two. He didn't
    because if he didn't win big he would get fired and wouldn't have been hired
    by another major school. After the Arizona problems he probably wishes he
    had done so. If he did get fire he would be happy now at a Div II or I-AA
    Greg B
    Bill Yeoman: Vision behind the Veer
    By JOHN WERNER Tribune-Herald staff writer
    Soon after he arrived at the University of Houston, Bill Yeoman organized a meeting with some of the most influential African-Americans in the city.

    It was the early 1960s and racial tension was in the air. Yeoman knew he needed to say just the right thing. The future of the University of Houston football program depended on it.

    "The first thing I want to say is that I'm prejudiced," Yeoman said.

    Heads turned. Jaws dropped. Why would he bring the black community's leaders together to tell them this?

    "I'm prejudiced against bad football players," Yeoman said. "I don't care what the color of their skin is. What matters to me is whether or not they can play."

    With those words, Yeoman became the first coach at a major-college football program in Texas to recruit black players. He opened the door in 1964 by signing San Antonio phenom Warren McVea, who became an all-American for the Cougars two years later. Soon other great black players like Paul Gipson, Elmo Wright and Robert Newhouse followed him to Houston.

    Yeoman built his career on recruiting the best black players and white players overlooked by Southwest Conference schools. The Cougars became such a football power that the SWC finally asked them to join the league in 1971. After a five-year waiting period, Yeoman's teams blitzed the SWC by winning three titles in their first four seasons.

    Yeoman, who will be inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in February, not only put the Houston football program on the map. His success gave the university visibility it couldn't buy anywhere else.

    "Coach Yeoman played a big part in making the University of Houston what it is today," said Deryl McGallion, a former Cougar linebacker and assistant coach. "When I grew up, I didn't know anything about Houston. All I heard about was Texas and Texas A&M. Bill's the guy who put the university on the map."

    If all Yeoman did was break the color barrier and fashion a 160-108-8 record, his 25-year coaching career at Houston would have been a major success. But Yeoman also invented the veer in the mid-1960s, which became the most widely-used offensive formation in college football.

    ----Hard to solve----

    College defenses didn't really catch up with Yeoman's innovation until the 1980s. Yeoman was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001 with former Baylor coach Grant Teaff and former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer.

    "Coach Yeoman was one of the most innovative coaches in the game throughout the years," said Teaff, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. "More than anything, he's known for creating the split-back veer. You had to play perfect defense to stop it, and a lot of people had a hard time with it in the early days. He just did a great job of running that offense."

    Though Yeoman retired from coaching in 1986, he's still active at the University of Houston as a fundraiser. Now 75, he still bleeds Cougar red and white. His blue eyes light up when he talks about the future of the Cougars under Art Briles, who is turning the program around after a tough decade.

    "There's no question Art's going to get the job done," Yeoman said. "He's great with the kids and the alumni. I feel very good about where the program is heading."

    As a fundraiser, Yeoman gets out in the community and sees many of his former players. Though most of his players are middle-aged, he can still see their 18-year-old faces when they arrived at Houston many years ago. Many of them have gone on to successful careers and now give back to the university.

    "The University of Houston will always be a big part of my life," Yeoman said. "I like getting out and seeing all my players. Some of them have done extremely well. When they tell me they got a lot out of the football program, that means a lot to me. I know the commitment meant something."

    Yeoman learned most of his lessons about commitment and discipline from his parents. His father was a superintendent, while his mother was a librarian. Although Bill and his two older brothers were all good athletes, academics came first in the Yeoman household.

    Bill's oldest brother, Wayne, graduated from the United States Military Academy and later earned a doctorate from the Harvard business school. He's retired in Kerrville now after serving as the chief financial officer at Eastern Airlines. Elmer, the middle brother, was a doctor before he died three years ago.

    "Our father was a lot like Army coach Red Blaik," Wayne Yeoman said. "He was very much a disciplinarian. He was a wonderful man, but he expected us to perform as well as we could and behave ourselves. He was always very clear on that point."

    The Yeomans lived in Glendale, Ariz., then a small town of 5,000 outside Phoenix. Much of the community was made up of Hispanics and Russian immigrants, so Bill was always around a diverse group of people. Spending his boyhood in the Depression, he learned the importance of sharing.

    "Growing up in the Depression was the greatest thing that ever happened to me," Yeoman said. "You were judged by what you were and not by what you had. No one locked their doors because there was nothing to steal. About the only entertainment we had in the house was a radio. So we spent every evening talking to mom and dad and learning what made them tick."

    Yeoman developed into a talented all-around athlete who competed in football, basketball, baseball and track. Standing 6-2 and 195 pounds, Yeoman was a dominating lineman who was good enough to be recruited by major colleges. Though he signed with Texas A&M, his goal was to get an appointment to West Point.

    Wayne Yeoman helped his younger brother get through the door at Army.

    "When I was a cadet, I went over to Coach Blaik's office to tell him about Bill," Wayne Yeoman said. "It took a lot of nerve to talk to Coach Blaik because he was very cold and austere. I was scared to death, but I told him that I had just the center for him. I delivered that message as quickly as I could."

    Blaik listened and Bill got his appointment to West Point in 1946 after one year at Texas A&M. During that era, Army fielded some of the best college football teams in the country with Felix Blanchard and Glenn Davis winning back-to-back Heisman Trophies in 1945-46.

    Blaik's coaching staff included Vince Lombardi, who became the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers. But everyone deferred to Blaik during that era.

    "Coach Lombardi was tough," Yeoman said. "But he was like Mary's little lamb compared to Red Blaik."

    Armed with a very small playbook, Blaik drilled his players relentlessly until they got every detail down pat. Repetition was Blaik's formula to great execution. Everybody knew what Army was doing, but they did it so well that few teams could stop them. With Yeoman making second-team all-America at center, the Cadets competed for national championships throughout the late 1940s.

    "I got a chance to help out the coaches at Army when I was finished playing," Yeoman said. "It just amazed me how systematically Coach Blaik got ready for the next team. There was no secret to Army's success. Each man just executed better than the guy he was facing. If you weren't totally committed to Army football, you didn't go on the field."

    ----Back to the gridiron----

    After graduating from West Point in 1950, Yeoman served 2 1/2 years in Europe. But his goal was to coach college football, and he landed an assistant's job at Michigan State in 1953. Following an eight-year stint under Duffy Daugherty, he got the call from the University of Houston in 1961.

    Yeoman took over a program that often had winning records, but never won big. After leaving the Missouri Valley Conference in 1960, the Cougars had taken on a more challenging independent schedule. Beating Baylor and Texas A&M in the first two games, the Cougars finished 7-4 and overpowered Miami-Ohio in the 1962 Tangerine Bowl.

    But after going 2-8 in 1963, Yeoman knew he needed to bring in a stronger recruiting class. Though northern schools had recruited black players for years, major-college programs in the South had shied away from them. Yeoman knew that he could raise Houston's talent level quickly with black players, and the best in the state in 1964 was Warren McVea.

    McVea was a great all-purpose back at San Antonio Brackenridge High School, rushing for 215 yards and scoring 38 points in an historic 55-48 loss to San Antonio Lee. Many people still consider that 1963 game one of the greatest ever played. McVea got national attention from schools like Notre Dame, USC and Nebraska, but Yeoman convinced him to sign with Houston.

    "Coach Yeoman was different than most recruiters," McVea said. "Everyone else was trying to sell me on going to their school. But Coach Yeoman took everything in and didn't overdo it. He talked a lot more to my parents than me. He was one of the smartest men I've ever been around."

    After McVea signed with the Cougars, Yeoman protected him from racism and any other problems he faced. Since McVea went to an integrated high school, it didn't bother him to play with white players at Houston. With his engaging personality, McVea made friends quickly with his teammates.

    "If things didn't go well with me, Coach Yeoman knew he'd have difficulty recruiting black athletes in the future," McVea said. "So he protected me from things. No matter what happened, he always took my side. When I talked to Bill recently, he told me, ‘Warren, the reason I treated you the way I did was because you took a chance on our program when you didn't have to.’ ”

    With inroads to black athletes, Yeoman opened up a whole new world for his football team. During a practice in 1964, Yeoman began devising an offense that would revolutionize college football.

    Yeoman found that by giving his quarterback the option to hand off, keep or pitch the ball to a trailing back, he could create advantages for his offense. The triple-option offense became known as Houston's renowned veer.

    "We found that when people tried to defend the triple option, they had to overload somewhere," Yeoman said. "When they overloaded at one spot, they weakened the defense somewhere else. If you executed the offense, it was hard to stop. We were also able to pass very well out of the offense. The triple option was the one major contribution the University of Houston made to college football."

    With quarterback Bo Burris joined by halfbacks Dick Post and McVea, the Cougars fielded one of the most explosive offenses in college football in 1966. They averaged 33.5 points on their way to an 8-2 season. During a nine-year period from 1966-74, the Cougars averaged eight wins per season and finished in the Top 20 eight times.

    "Coach Yeoman did a tremendous job of recruiting guys who fit into his program," said McGallion, who lettered at linebacker for Houston from 1971-73. "He made a living on recruiting guys who were overlooked by other schools. The color of a player's skin just didn't matter to Bill. I know we wouldn't have been nearly as good a football team without black players. Some of my best friends today were the black athletes I played with at Houston."

    ----Big splash in SWC----

    After finishing 2-8 in 1975, many people questioned whether the Cougars would be ready for their inaugural year in the SWC in 1976. The Cougars answered all doubters by finishing 10-2 and tying for the SWC title with Texas Tech at 7-1.

    With quarterback Danny Davis operating the veer and lineman Wilson Whitley leading a fierce defense, the Cougars beat Maryland in the Cotton Bowl and finished fourth nationally for their highest final ranking in school history.

    "Coming into the 1976 season, I remember people saying, ‘Now, Houston's going to see what it's like to play with the big boys,’ ” Davis said. "People were saying we were going to be doormats for the other teams. But we knew we could win the SWC. I wanted to be part of history."

    The Cougars proved that the 1976 season was no fluke by winning the SWC in 1978 and 1979. A string of 1,000-yard rushers like Alois Blackwell, Emmett King and Terald Clark kept Yeoman's veer running as powerfully as ever. The Cougars won their final SWC title under Yeoman in 1984 before he retired from coaching two years later.

    "Players liked to go to Houston because they knew Coach Yeoman was going to give them a fair shot," Davis said. "He was a military man with an Army background. He always said there's three ways to respond: Yes sir, no sir and no excuse sir. But he also had a jovial side. He had a way of making you feel like you were part of the family."

    Besides fund-raising for Houston, Yeoman spends his days with his wife of 53 years, A.J., and their four children and eight grandchildren. In many ways, Yeoman feels like he has hundreds of children. Once a player joined the Cougars, he felt like Yeoman adopted him regardless of the color of his skin.

    "I still call Coach Yeoman all the time," said McVea, who lives in the Houston area. "If I need something, he still works out things for me. He always made me feel like I'm part of his family. He's just such a good human being and a good football coach."

    John Werner can be reached at or at 757-5716.

    Football Books You Won't Mind Reading

    Just a quick post while I'm thinking about it... send in your recommendations for a good football read to me, Coach Smith ( It can be fiction or non-fiction... technical or philosophical in nature. My two-cent's worth is (of course)"On Triple Option Football" -Rice, 1973... and "Winning With The Explosive Veer Offense" - Wacker(?), 19(?). Rice's book is still a great first-read for Inside Veer and the "Explosive Veer" is THE Outside Veer book... At least that I've read. Thanks again to Coach Rick Rice for photocopying the entire book(!) for me (since it's out of print.) Now it's your turn... I'll post your suggestions as they come in.

    Coach Smith

    Wednesday, May 19, 2004

    Origins of the Veer at Middlesboro High School

    Well, I just had the honor of talking with former Middlesboro Head Football Coach "Chalk" Stapleton. I say it is an honor because you'll not find a more courteous and informed gentleman with which to talk football. Coach Stapleton coached during the 70's and 80's and is one of the many reasons Middlesboro has the 7th overall winningest football program in the state of Kentucky.

    Middlesboro has ran the Veer since 1973. There were about three or four seasons where the program went away from the Veer during the late 80's and early 90's... But it has been the main offense with those exceptions. This struck me as a bit unusual. Most coaches who come in as head coach want to bring their system with them. Middlesboro has avoided this as they seem to hire the H.C. from within the pool of assistant coaches or former assistants. The old maxim "don't mess with success" might also contribute with the Veer's popularity as well. After talking with current H.C. (and winningest M.H.S. coach) Coach Roark and former A.D. Wilson, I was able to deduce that the Veer had to have arrived at M.H.S. sometime in the early 70's... And that meant it probably came in during Coach Stapleton's tenure.

    I began the question and answer portion of our conversation by asking him how the Veer found it's way to Middlesboro. As I had suspected, Coach Stapleton had indeed been the first coach to install the Veer at Middlesboro. He said that he and another mountain football great Coach Bill Adams ran the Wishbone with great success for several years while coaching together at Pineville High School (Pineville Kentucky). Later, after becoming the Head Football Coach across the county at Middlesboro High School, Coach Stapleton began looking into the Splitback Veer offense and it's brand of option football for his offensive attack. Coach Stapleton and his staff traveled to and conferred with several high school and college programs which were running the Veer in order to understand it's finer points... I believe this was around 1973 and 1974 (my notes from the conversation weren't the best - I may have gotten that wrong.) He attributed the origin of the Veer to a High School football coach in Texas, although the University of Houston gets most of the credit for it's origin.

    Coach Stapleton said there were two primary reasons behind his interest in the Veer. The first he gave was that it got you to the perimeter without having to pull any linemen. He "wasn't that great" at getting his guards to pull, so the Wing T was out. Second, he liked the fact he could have a strong running game without having big offensive linemen.

    When asked about his run/pass ratio, Coach Stapleton replied "we passed whenever they loaded it up" (the line of scrimmage.) While he had a passing tree like everyone else, he favored play action to the tight end. "We would see if the secondary would run with us, and if they didn't, we would go deep." Coach Stapleton also mentioned an affinity to running screens and draws as well.

    I asked Coach Stapleton what advice he might give concerning the offense. He replied, "find some high school coaches running the offense and swap ideas with them. I had several coaches I used to call twice a week during the season... Find out what they were doing that was working... Tell them what was working for me." He mentioned coaching against Ken Sparks (current Carson-Newman H.C.) while he was at Farragut High School (Knoxville, TN). I am not sure if Coach Sparks was one of his weekly calls, but I did gather they conferred once Coach Sparks was at Carson Newman and several of Coach Stapleton's players went on to play college ball at C.N.

    The conversation drifted back and forth like this for the better part of an hour and a half. After I mentioned that the first coaching book I had bought was Homer Rice's book on the triple option (and that A.D. Wilson knew Coach Rice had some kind of Middlesboro connection), Coach Stapleton informed me that Coach Rice had married a young Ms. Rash from Middlesboro. Several people had mentioned Coach Rice used to visit Middlesboro fairly regularly in the past but weren't sure why. Now I knew that it was to visit family.

    I thanked Coach Stapleton for his time and willingness to share a bit of the history of the Veer at M.H.S. He graciously offered to discuss the topic further at some later date, and you can be sure I'll take Coach up on his offer.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2004

    First Post : Mission Statement, etc...

    Welcome to The Splitback Veer Offense Web Site!

    My name is Coach Steve Smith and I am excited to finally get this project off the ground. This site will hopefully become a tribute and a forum dedicated to the Split Back Veer Offense. In the coming days and weeks the beginnings of this great offense will be listed here as well as is latest innovations and newest wrinkles.

    Almost ten years ago, when I first began coaching football on the high school level, I became fascinated with the option offense. It seemed to be fate... The first football book I ever bought was "Homer Rice on Triple Option Football" published in 1973. I found it by accident at a library book sale while I was in college. You can still make out "50 cents" which was written on masking tape on the upper left of the clothbound gray cover. (best deal ever!) Well, years went by and I coached on teams that ran the straight T... The Wing T... The Pro I... The Tight Double Wing (Coach Wyatt is the Man)... and finally... The Splitback Veer!

    It was a learning experience to say the least. Every offense has differing layers of complexity, and the Veer is no exception. At first, a coach might think that calling inside veer 40 times is all you're going to need for a win. The Veer looks that good on paper! But versus comparable athletes, even an option offense needs secondary and tertiary plays to complement it's base. You begin to learn what defensive technique alignments enable which play... See how they're trying to use the secondary to help with the option. Once you start seeing what the defense is doing and what they're trying to take away you'll find that you're getting a grip on the offense.

    It hasn't been easy. I've learned so many numbering set-ups and play-calling schemes that every so often I'll forget and call a play in some other team's nomenclature. I only notice I've done it when all those eyes looking back at me in the huddle get that "look"... The kids have actually gotten used to it... They just say "wrong team, Coach!" and laugh about it. It ain't easy getting old.. but it sure beats the alternative!

    Well, that's all for tonight... I'll soon be looking to add a forum to this blog as well as collect some quality links relating to our particular flavor of the option game.

    Coach Smith