Vols tweaking Wildcat formation

Tennessee plans revamped 'G-Gun'

Derek Dooley considers himself old school about his running game.

Older, in fact, than even his famous coaching father.

So while the Wildcat attack has increasingly become en vogue along with spread offenses over the last few years, the Tennessee coach actually views the single-wing style as something that fits in perfectly with what he values on the ground.

“I would say the Wildcat is grandfather school, not old,” Dooley said after practice Thursday morning. “It’s the Notre Dame shift, it’s the single wing. That’s what they ran back in the ’20s and ’30s and that kind of deal.

“They didn’t have this specialized quarterback. They’d snap it to a guy and he runs it. It’s super old.”

Its gradual return to college football is relatively new though, and the Wildcat package will certainly play an expanded role for the Vols this fall under Dooley.

The Vols originally planned to start installation of the versatile offensive set on Thursday with wide receiver Gerald Jones as the centerpiece, a role he’s already familiar with after taking snaps in the G-Gun two years ago. Dooley delayed that until after the second scrimmage, but not because he’s lost interest in putting it in or is wondering whether he has somebody capable of running it.

A background at quarterback combined with speed and elusiveness makes Jones the ideal candidate for the position since he’s a multi-purpose threat, and running backs Tauren Poole and David Oku also will fit into the plans as well. And with some of his snaps going elsewhere, likely starting quarterback Matt Simms started appealing for a fair trade with Jones as UT sifts through its options.

“I mean, I’m not going to lie. I think I might have the best hands on the team,” Simms joked. “Put me out there at (receiver) and let me run a route, Gerald can throw one to me maybe. He’s got to share the love a little bit with that.

“But really, if we can get Gerald the ball in any occasion, that’s fine by me. Offenses like that, it’s just one more thing that a defense has to prepare for in a week. The more versatile we can be on offense, the more looks we give them, the more shifts and motions and different personnel groups we have, that’s an extra thing a defense has to go in and watch film on to make sure they’re prepared for it.”

The exact personnel is always subject to change, and the Vols haven’t really even started putting together the pieces on the field yet.

But in some way the Wildcat or G-Gun or whatever Dooley might call the package figures to be a regular part of the game plan. The trick is finding the right balance so that it’s neither a gimmick nor the heart of the offense.

“Here’s what I like about it, and I like a lot of things,” Dooley said. “I think the key to the Wildcat is not making it your bread and butter. Once it becomes where you don’t know what you are on offense, it becomes a problem. But what it is good for, if it’s five to eight plays a game, first of all it’s eight less plays of a quarterback. Let’s start with that. So you’ve got 70 plays in a game, now the guy’s got 60. So you’re taking away eight plays of decision-making from him, which helps.

“No. 2, you’re creating more work for the defense, they’re going to have to put in and work on a Wildcat package. No. 3, it gives you a chance to get some of your better skill guys the ball in space. Those three things, it’s good. . . . The more you run, the better the quarterback, the less decisions he’s got to make. Then, I’m just a little old school. I just believe that’s what wins.”

Dooley’s also not opposed to going way back in time to do it.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 58

196SVol writes:

Nukeese is BACK?!!

UTGAMER writes:

I like it a lot

tnsportsman writes:

CDD knows the wildcat and how to use it! Great over-view CDD of the dos and donts!

LETS GET IT UP! ITS FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!

Who wants a crown and 7? LOL, GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

law_vol writes:

Maybe if the coach is committed to the Wildcat, as opposed to throwing it out there in years past, it might actually work. Unlike Eric Locke trying to do it, Gerald Jones trying to do it, and Eric Berry being thrown out there.

BleedsOrangeinMO writes:

If he wants to go OLD SCHOOL - - with the number of running backs we have - - run the wisbone a couple of times. The defenses today have never seen it - - it would certainly give the defenses something to think about. And everyone knows if you are thinking you are not playing as well as if you were reacting to something you know is going to happen.

Classof72 writes:

They should call it "The Single Wing". Tennessee can sell that.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to BleedsOrangeinMO:

If he wants to go OLD SCHOOL - - with the number of running backs we have - - run the wisbone a couple of times. The defenses today have never seen it - - it would certainly give the defenses something to think about. And everyone knows if you are thinking you are not playing as well as if you were reacting to something you know is going to happen.

Coach Johnson at Georgia Tech (and Navy) won an ACC championship doing basically that. cdd might be smart to get it in the playbook without saying anything. It was good enough for Bear and D Royal.

jawbreaker writes:

in response to bigorangegoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Goon, I agree with you and GeneralNeyland96. If you go by old single-wing terminology, the Vols have only run the tailback out of this formation. This has to have some passing, reversing and trickeration to it to be successful.

nola_vol writes:

This also helps when recruiting "athletes." Now UT recruiters can honestly tell that athletic QB (who's truly too short to play the position in the SEC and destined to play cornerback or slot receiver) that his unique abilities on offense will not be relegated to high school youtube clips.

(...if we ever do it successfully, of course.)

RandRams writes:

Love it!! CDD not afraid to mix it up, expand and explore play formations & the multiple options that they create.
GJ, DO, & TP in the same backfield at one time?? AH! Talk about mismatches...a nightmare for opposing DC's. Have fun defending it!

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

Holds possibilities of fake reverses and laterals to the true qb to throw downfield too.

TommyJack writes:

in response to UTGAMER:

I like it a lot

I like it very little.

BleedsOrangeinMO writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agent Orange;

That's what it is called. Rockne changed the single wing a little and it was called the ND shift.
Go to Wikipedia and look up "single wing" it has a lot of info. The wishbone is really just a modified single wing.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

pl3, I got so tickled when I read your response to him..He is the most popular poster on here in a negative way...I think he has the most responses out of any other poster, and he is getting the attention that he wants..It's definitely not the good attention.

Mobbdeep4life writes:

Teague may have gotten some snaps if not for the injuries in the secondary. I wonder how effective Hunter or Rogers would be in the Wildcat......

FLAVOLS writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It is?? You are all knowing. Thank you.

tn_rockytop writes:

love it mix it up

oldschooltye writes:

in response to BleedsOrangeinMO:

If he wants to go OLD SCHOOL - - with the number of running backs we have - - run the wisbone a couple of times. The defenses today have never seen it - - it would certainly give the defenses something to think about. And everyone knows if you are thinking you are not playing as well as if you were reacting to something you know is going to happen.

I don't see why more teams won't run the wishbone more.Texas,Bama,Oklahoma ran it with great success for years.It would give opposing defenses fits.

SoddyVol writes:

in response to jawbreaker:

Goon, I agree with you and GeneralNeyland96. If you go by old single-wing terminology, the Vols have only run the tailback out of this formation. This has to have some passing, reversing and trickeration to it to be successful.

And bring in the great single-wing player, Coach Majors, as an adviser.

d_ray writes:

Change of subject .... Coach, have you heard about this 6ft. 11in. 400 lb. guy and how you will play against him when you meet Ole Miss?

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football...

tdvol1989 writes:

I have sifted through the 3 star griping and stood by Dooley. I trust him to sign HIS players. I stand by his press conferences and handling of the Nightclub Follies. Many of you think the stupid Wildcat is great. But, for me, finally, this is STRIKE 1 on Coach Dooley. I was feeling good until this article.

Chastise me if you want, but the Wildcat Win, Lose, or Draw is something I hate. It sickens me and haunts me by giving me flashes of Matt Mauck and his QB Draws in the SEC Championship Game where LSU thumped the Vols into our current slide.

Anytime a defense lines up against the Wildcat and doesn't put 11 in the box, somebody should be fired. Have the guy lined up at QB throw at least every now and then and ok. But, I hate it no matter who runs it.

I rank it right up there with Johnny Majors own favorite play...the Quick Kick Punt on 3rd Down.

VolsINFan writes:

Honestly I am not a big fan of these offenses, but I want any offense being run that will win games.

Go Vols!

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

in response to 196SVol:

Nukeese is BACK?!!

You're an idiot.

HtownVol writes:

in response to bigorangegoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

uh oh...watch out. I got my Vol card taken away 2 days ago for saying Bray would get killed this year cuz of the inexperience on O-Line.
I also said I only ask Simms to "just dont throw it to the other team".
And according to some smack talkers on here that makes me a non-Vol fan.
Why cant most others just talk about facts? I know our Line is very questionable, and I am able to admit it. I also want Simms to be a "game manager" and just not turn the ball over.
I have stated numerous times that on offense I love every position other than the line. Although we have very good young players there (Stone, James, Schofield(havent heard much from him though...) That includes QB, because I am excited about Tylers cannon, and actually Woorly (?) looks even better from the clips I have seen.
So why do people bash me when I mention the teams weakness? Can we comment on the good and bad areas of our favorite team?

tovolny writes:

in response to jawbreaker:

Goon, I agree with you and GeneralNeyland96. If you go by old single-wing terminology, the Vols have only run the tailback out of this formation. This has to have some passing, reversing and trickeration to it to be successful.

You have probably not really seen single wing football. Check out "buck and lateral", "wingback reverse, "quick kick", "double wing (actually two wingbacks)", and all sorts of other deceptions. Pop Warner made the single wing work because it was the first type offense designed to confuse defenses rather than just overpowering the other team with strength. With the wingback and tight end always lined up close to each other on the same side of the line, short passes were usually open. If the old Tennessee teams could have played without so many clipping and backfield in motion infractions, they would probably have beaten every team by 50 points.

There were no Peyton Manning type offenses, because there no Peytons around. If a college had a guy that could throw a spiral, he was considered to be something special. The balls were actually a lot fatter or rounder back in the 40's and 50's adding to the difficulty of handling the ball.

Please forgive me if you already knew this, but I just felt like placing my two cents in the pot. You might not be knocking the single wing, but just knocking the fact that today's UT has never used but one of its plays.

Oh well...anyway, GO VOLS!!!!

abnermc writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I just hope the SEC never has another coach who cheats as much as Paul did.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And we have an idea............why don't you and listentothemusic join hands and gleefully hop and skip off somewhere together. Maybe you can team up with somebody like let's say..........Elton John or Tiny Tim. All of you can relate.

Surely, none of you know anything about football.

sm1 writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I am a Tennessee fan,but I do love to see a well-executed triple-option offense. Alabama's offence in the seventies was pretty to watch, (except for when playing TN, then it was disappointing).

As for the 1977 (mythical) National Championship awarded to Notre Dame, I have always argued that it could just as reasonably have been awarded to UT-Chattanooga:

In 1977, UTC had the same record as Notre Dame, and, that year:

UTC beat Appalachian State, Appalachian State beat Richmond, Richmond beat Georgia, Georgia beat Ole Miss, and Ole Miss beat Notre Dame.

Food for thought.

sm1 writes:

in response to tovolny:

You have probably not really seen single wing football. Check out "buck and lateral", "wingback reverse, "quick kick", "double wing (actually two wingbacks)", and all sorts of other deceptions. Pop Warner made the single wing work because it was the first type offense designed to confuse defenses rather than just overpowering the other team with strength. With the wingback and tight end always lined up close to each other on the same side of the line, short passes were usually open. If the old Tennessee teams could have played without so many clipping and backfield in motion infractions, they would probably have beaten every team by 50 points.

There were no Peyton Manning type offenses, because there no Peytons around. If a college had a guy that could throw a spiral, he was considered to be something special. The balls were actually a lot fatter or rounder back in the 40's and 50's adding to the difficulty of handling the ball.

Please forgive me if you already knew this, but I just felt like placing my two cents in the pot. You might not be knocking the single wing, but just knocking the fact that today's UT has never used but one of its plays.

Oh well...anyway, GO VOLS!!!!

Good post. I enjoyed reading what you had to say. Thanks.

murrayvol writes:

in response to law_vol:

Maybe if the coach is committed to the Wildcat, as opposed to throwing it out there in years past, it might actually work. Unlike Eric Locke trying to do it, Gerald Jones trying to do it, and Eric Berry being thrown out there.

Exactly. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

in response to GeneralNeyland96:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes, I agree! There needs to be the threat of a pass to keep the D honest! I believe Jones is the player that can get it done...heck, take the QB off the field and run it and make the D account for all eleven players! That CB will have to go out there on a WR; not so much if Simms is out there! Can't wait for September! GO VOLS!!!

OrangePsyched writes:

Hey DeLuca don't change your poster name after the season starts. Too late for the bandwagon keep posting under this name during the season or you're a coward. You will see me on here all season. We'll see how this OL does and one of us will be eating crow. ROCKY TOP!

flatrock writes:

Want to see vintage Vol single-wing? go to www.volsvideos.com
and look for JOHNNY MAJORS highlights.
Great stuff!

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I got an ideal, how about you quit molesting that fulmer doll you talked about sticking in another thread.huh...huh

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vicky, ole Phil still unemployeed ? he is and for a reason.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

The only challenge with the Wildcat, wild dog, or whatever you want to call it is that after the first time you run it the defense can pretty much rely that a run is going to happen. if you let the Wild back throw it, it is usually clumsy and is incomplete......Just sayin.....It can be good but is predictable after awhile....

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Still etched in my mind is the quasi-"wildcat" LSU killed us with in the SECCG a few yrs back.

With a 2nd string QB....

The agony.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Still etched in my mind is the quasi-"wildcat" LSU killed us with in the SECCG a few yrs back.

With a 2nd string QB....

The agony.

Damn...After 9 years of intense fermented theropy I thought I forgot about that.

More theropy required.

smifrat writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No way man! It is simply a change of pace style of offense that most everyone in college football is doing with their skill players - it in no way means that Coach D does not have faith in his QB's. Early and often is not 8 or so plays per game. Re-read the article!

EMBuckles writes:

in response to sm1:

I am a Tennessee fan,but I do love to see a well-executed triple-option offense. Alabama's offence in the seventies was pretty to watch, (except for when playing TN, then it was disappointing).

As for the 1977 (mythical) National Championship awarded to Notre Dame, I have always argued that it could just as reasonably have been awarded to UT-Chattanooga:

In 1977, UTC had the same record as Notre Dame, and, that year:

UTC beat Appalachian State, Appalachian State beat Richmond, Richmond beat Georgia, Georgia beat Ole Miss, and Ole Miss beat Notre Dame.

Food for thought.

I live near Richmond and have occasionally taken classes at the University of Richmond(whose President is a UT alumnus, by the way, and the UR campus looks a lot like UT's campus). Amazing to learn that UR beat Georgia back in '77. Don't see that happening nowadays, but interesting that it happened back then.

3rdn8 writes:

Bama fan here

just a general comment.......

you've hired the right coach. These NCCA distractions should die down. Kiffin is a virus, and hopefully the NCCA recognizes that.

As a Bama fan, I've been through all-of-the-above

things will get better

have a great season

see you in October

Bigger_Al writes:

I'm glad Jones is back there. He should have been there last year except for recruiting politics.

I don't know why this "formation" discussion is in the media, though. I'm all for surprising people on Saturdays.

smifrat writes:

in response to 3rdn8:

Bama fan here

just a general comment.......

you've hired the right coach. These NCCA distractions should die down. Kiffin is a virus, and hopefully the NCCA recognizes that.

As a Bama fan, I've been through all-of-the-above

things will get better

have a great season

see you in October

Thanks 3rdn8! Class comment from a Bamma fan. Wish more fans were as classy as you.

hueypilot writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

Yes, I agree! There needs to be the threat of a pass to keep the D honest! I believe Jones is the player that can get it done...heck, take the QB off the field and run it and make the D account for all eleven players! That CB will have to go out there on a WR; not so much if Simms is out there! Can't wait for September! GO VOLS!!!

Unlike some here I think the WC or whatever you'd like to call it is fine,but unless and until Jones throws or better yet completes a pass, this formation will face at least 9 in the box and it will go nowhere. Not sure Jones hasever thrown the ball in a game out of this formation and until he shows he can defenses will shut it down.

RollTideJoe writes:

in response to abnermc:

I just hope the SEC never has another coach who cheats as much as Paul did.

Yea, right. Idiot. Jealousy will get you nowhere.

KevDVol writes:

in response to 196SVol:

Nukeese is BACK?!!

No, Johnny Majors.

murrayvol writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Still etched in my mind is the quasi-"wildcat" LSU killed us with in the SECCG a few yrs back.

With a 2nd string QB....

The agony.

If my memory serves me, that version of the "wildcat" consisted of one qb draw after another.

That's really hard to figure out and defend. Almost as hard as figuring out we couldn't block Alex Brown with one slow as smoke off s*#t tackle.

murrayvol writes:

in response to hueypilot:

Unlike some here I think the WC or whatever you'd like to call it is fine,but unless and until Jones throws or better yet completes a pass, this formation will face at least 9 in the box and it will go nowhere. Not sure Jones hasever thrown the ball in a game out of this formation and until he shows he can defenses will shut it down.

The good ones will anyway.

Just like any formation, it's only as good as your players and their execution.

RandRams writes:

in response to hueypilot:

Unlike some here I think the WC or whatever you'd like to call it is fine,but unless and until Jones throws or better yet completes a pass, this formation will face at least 9 in the box and it will go nowhere. Not sure Jones hasever thrown the ball in a game out of this formation and until he shows he can defenses will shut it down.

You make a good point hp.

Given the turmoil over the past 3 seasons Gerald Jones, IMO, has yet to display (at length) his overall talent as a playmeker...QB or otherwise, but CDD seems to have bought in.

Click on the link below, this should provide some encouragement.

http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-foot...

RandRams writes:

in response to murrayvol:

The good ones will anyway.

Just like any formation, it's only as good as your players and their execution.

True. Consider Gerald Jones (OK's Gatorade Player of the Yr 2006), Tauren Poole, & David Oku (Rivals #1 All-Purpose Back 2009, Scout #9 RB Nationally, & #3 prospect in OK 2008) in the same backfield, I'd say the talent is there, as to their execution...we'll soon see.

http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-foot...

http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-foot...

http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-foot...

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features