Tony DeMeo

What Do Miles Davis and Mouse Davis Have In Common?

Miles Davis the great Jazz trumpet player and Mouse Davis the preacher of the Run & Shoot have a lot more in common than their last name. They both used a free flowing style that had freedom within a structure. Miles would take a basic song like “Bye-Bye Blackbird” and take it to new dimensions with his haunting jazz riffs. Mouse would take a simple pass pattern and turn it into a completely new pattern based on the defensive reaction. Miles Davis the Jazz Master and Mouse Davis the Master of the Run and Shoot improvising on the run.

The Triple Gun Offense is an entire offense of “Football Jazz” – an offense that flows from run to pass or pass to run depending on the defensive reaction. Every pass play in the Triple Gun Pass game can become a run without an audible. The run is part of the play.

Conversely every Triple Gun run can turn into a pass if the defense loads the box, again without an audible, the pass is just built into the play.

We call this system of “football jazz”: Strategic Flexibility. Strategic Flexibility is the ability for a play to change after the snap into another play. This makes any play caller one step ahead of the defense. The Triple Gun is an entire offense of strategic flexibility or football jazz.

All of the Triple Gun Runs can turn into a quick screen after the snap. The Triple Gun Pass game can also morph into runs after the snap. For example our Quick game can become a Sprint Out Pass or Quarterback Sweep if the initial pattern is covered. The dropback passes and play action passes can become quarterback if the route is covered.

Sun Tsu said the best attack is formless one that adapts to the battle like water wearing down rock. The Triple Gun Offense is formless and adapts to a defense. A Miles Davis jazz riff is formless and adapting to his creativity.

Other coaches besides Mouse Davis have used strategic flexibility in their attacks. Vince Lombardi, considered a conservative football coach, had The Green Bay Sweep as his core play which gave the ball carrier the ability to “run to daylight” based on the defense’s reactions after the snap.

When Bill Yeomen developed the Split Back Veer Option, the QB could give, keep or pitch based on defensive reaction after the snap. Darrell Royal did the same when he installed the Wishbone Triple Option.

Most recently Rich Rodriguez paired the Zone run with a pass based on what the defense did after the snap. Offenses in today’s game are getting more creative and the game is getting more exciting.

The Secrets
There are two very, very big secrets to creating a successful offense based on strategic flexibility.
The first secret is you team must master the fundamentals involved. Vince Lombardi’s Sweep was so good because the offensive line could block it in their sleep. The only way to master these fundamentals is to limit the number of techniques and then rep them and rep them and then rep them. Reps lead to execution it is as simple as that.

The second secret is to limit your plays. The advantage of a Jazz Attack is that the plays change after the snap so you don’t need many plays because there is a built in answer to defensive reaction. The Wing T was a great offense but was based on plays. The answer to a defensive adjustment was another play. So the Wing T playbook was lengthy. In 1989 Tubby Raymond knew this was leaving them a step behind added the Triple Option to the Wing T and the Wing was flying again. The key is to limit your plays and maximize the ways to run them.

The Triple Gun Offense is an offense built on strategic flexibility so it has a handful of plays, only a couple of blocking schemes and many formations and motions. They all fit together in a comprehensive attack. The Triple Gun has the ability to be a ball control offense or a wide open high tempo offense based on opponent and personnel. It is completely flexible and easily adapts to game situations. The secret is master a few plays that adapt to anything and use them in many different formations and with a variety of motion.

So the next time you hear a little Jazz, think of the Triple gun Offense and the principle of Strategic Flexibility.