There are several schools of thought on Goal Line offense. Some people believe this is the time to attack the defense and physically impose their will on the other team. These teams are characterized by straight forward offense and tight compacted sets. Other teams believe the defense will be stacking the middle and expecting some sort of inside run so it’s a perfect time to run the ball outside or try some sort of play action pass. In the end both philosophies can be correct, it all depends on the team’s buy in and belief. We will discuss these two schools of thought and some of the different plays that can be effective within each attack.
My high school coach was a believer in the straight ahead philosophy so I was an early adopter of this philosophy. He had the belief that football is a physical game that can be won through a combination of low pad level and strong leg drive. The key element in this philosophy is that the Offense believes that they can score against anyone. When the offense believes that they can drive the ball against anyone for 3 yards this philosophy is dangerous and very hard to stop.
The formations that are prevalent in the smash mouth philosophy are very heavy formations. Many times this will feature two Tight Ends and zero Wide Receivers. The idea is to add linemen and increase the number of gaps that the defense must cover. Eventually the defense will run out of linemen to cover the gaps which will give the offense an advantage. One team that relies on this theory is Stanford. Many times they will lineup in the Red Zone with an additional Tackle. This again forces the defense to account for the added gaps and opens up their favorite run play, Power.
The other philosophy for the Goal Line relies on working smarter than the opposition. This philosophy goes by the belief that by spreading out the defenders the offense can get better angles and numbers to run the ball. While this is similar to the philosophy that many Spread Option teams rely on, there are many teams that run Pro Style or even Wing-T offenses that rely on this theory when they get close to the Goal Line. They rely on putting receivers on the edges to pull defenders away from the box. This can be especially effective if the receiver can beat a defender one on one. In that case by removing them from the box they have pulled one or possibly two defensive players out and made running the ball easier.
In the end both of these philosophies are effective. The true determiner on if they will work for your team is if you can get your team to buy into them. As soon as a smash mouth goal line team believes that they can run the ball into the End Zone regardless of who lines up in front of them they will be successful. On the same note when a team that relies on spreading the defense out believes that they will always have the advantage because of their formations they will be successful. In the end Goal Line offense is defined by an old quote, “the man who thinks he will win and the man who thinks he have lost are both right.”
(See Also) Inside Zone Wham Series
(See Also) Unbalanced Formations in Youth Football