Youth Football Online

The Promotion & Instruction of Youth Football
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Youth Football Online

The Promotion & Instruction of Youth Football
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Youth Football Online

The Wishbone Offense

The Wishbone Offense

The wishbone offense is a traditional offense that has been around for a long time. This formation has a long history and is still used by many teams today. This offense is used by some teams at the high school level as well. The wishbone offense is a power running offense, which makes it popular on the youth football level.

The wishbone offense consists of two tight-ends, one fullback, two half backs, and the quarterback under center.  This is a power based offense, much like the I formation and double wing offense. It uses double teams at the point of attack.  Having a three man backfield will allow your offensive linemen to execute double teams on defensive linemen. The running backs will lead block and execute kick-out blocks. This is know as a power offense, but there are very good counter and traps out of this formation.  Having the half backs go in different directions or crossing on counters plays will make the defense look, rather than just attack. Counter plays are great complements to the power plays and are very deceptive.  Speed and deception is the key to success on offense.  This offense offers both speed and deception.

Counter Play 

Having two tight-ends really makes the wishbone offense very powerful.  Having double tight-ends will create major conflict for the defense.  Tight-ends make this a powerful formation that has flexibility. You can have the TEs block down or double team a defensive tackle. They can also block down on those annoying c gap (wide DTs) defenders.  You can have the TE block out on a wide defensive-end or even have the TEs work onto a linebacker.  Let’s not forget that tight-ends can be a dangerous pass catching threat as well. There are plays that can utilize a pass catching tight-end.  Plays like WAGGLE .

The wishbone offense is a running offense, which will allow you to set up nice play-action passing plays. The play-action passing game can be very explosive out of this formation, but only if you are running the football successfully. Consistently pounding the football will make the defense sell out to slow down the run, leaving them open for a play-action passing play.


Waggle Pass Play


Waggle Tips

  • Pass blocking, secure inside gap-block any head up defender.  LG pulls and blocks defensive end.
  • QB (1): Fake power to the 4 back, 4 back blocks, looks for leakage through A gap. 3 back blocks left defensive end.  If you do not want to pull the guard, that is fine. You can just have the 2 back block the right defensive end, instead of going into the flat. QB needs to get a nice deep drop back, has to be quick.
  • All players need to carry out their fakes. The defense must think run.  Keep an eye on the defense throughout the game and if you see they are selling out on run or blitzing crazy hit them with waggle.

Whiteboard Video Series Wishbone
Video Playbook Screenshot

The Wishbone Video Playbook! 

  • 18 Whiteboard Videos.
  • Blast, Trap, Dive, Lead X, Counter, Sweep, Waggle, and Post-corner .
  • Videos hosted on Vimeo for high quality video, sound, and load speed.
  • Blocking Scheme and Numbering System videos included.
  • Easy to install, great offense for youth football.
  • Visually teach your coaches and players the offense.


(Learn More): Wishbone Video Whiteboard Video Series 

Another aspect that can make this offense successful is it is a balanced formation. Balanced formations make the defense defend the entire field, stretching them out horizontally. Line splits are 1 foot.  But, you can execute this offense with any line splits. I usually use 2 foot splits. This will help create some natural running lanes. 2 foot splits will also spread the defense out horizontally.

The wishbone offense is a commonly used offense in youth football. If you want to take this power offense to an entire new level,  you can throw an unbalanced formation at the defense and really pound it down their throat.  Most youth football coaches have used or thought about using the wishbone at some point during their coaching career. This offense is easy to implement, and if blocked properly you can really pound the ball. I would also suggest mixing up your snap counts consistently. Make the defense have to watch the ball, rather react and time your snap.

(See Also)  Wishbone Playbook for Youth Football PDF