Tony DeMeo

How the triple gun offense increases depth

Every football is painfully aware of how devastating an injury to a key player can destroy a team’s potential for success. The Triple Gun Offense doesn’t provide a miracle cure for a sprained ankle it just provides more ankles.

One of the great advantages of a simple offense is that the players can master multiple positions so you can always have your best healthy eleven on the field. The Triple Gun playlist is very comprehensive but also very small. Our first year at the University of Charleston we were picked last in our conference and had a small group of experienced players so the simplicity of the Triple Gun saved the day. Freshmen learned the system faster and the vets mastered more than one spot. The result was the single-biggest turnaround in conference history.

The offensive line is completely interchangeable. The Wing T requires distinct guards and tackles but the Triple Gun guards and tackles use exactly the same techniques so if an OT goes down in the middle of the 2nd quarter and your next best linemen is a guard – no problem – just slide him in. We also train multiple snappers just in case our center gets nicked.

Though the skill spots aren’t as interchangeable – it’s close. Here are some of our “Hybrids”:
1. OT/TE – Because of scholarship limitations it’s difficult to carry many Tight Ends on a DII roster. So any time we went unbalanced (wing over etc.) with a TE we just used a 6th offensive lineman. He is ineligible anyway so why not use a bigger body and better blocker?

2. WR/TE – A big wide receiver can be used as a backside TE in a 2 TE set just to stretch the flank. We usually did this vs an 8 man front.

3. TE/WR – Conversely you could take a talented TE who has some speed and use him as a WR.

4. TE/Slot – A more natural hybrid is a TE/Slot. The TE’s blocking would be the same as a Slot but you would have a bigger player doing it. We like this when running our Stud Option when we double team the end man on the LOS. My first year at UC we used our TE a lot in this role.

5. WR/Slot – We also did this the entire first year at UC. We took talented WRs and used them as slots. They only had to learn a couple of blocks and if they were struggling we could go to our TE. The upside was the great speed and receiving ability they brought to the dance. Again we always had our best on the field.

6. Slots/WRs – Later in the program we had some slots that had great receiving ability and used that ability by splitting them out as WRs. It took little teaching to widen a slot & throw him the hitch.

7. Slots/TBs – Using a talented slot as a TB is also extremely simple. In our last game in 2005 our outstanding TB was sick & our only backup was a slot. We got by with him rushing for 143 yards. As we evolved over the years and our use of Empty formation increased the slot and tailback position were interchangeable.

8. TB/Slot – This was something my OC Ralph Isernia really liked because we had an outstanding blocking TB so if we were having an issue blocking we moved the TB to slot. If you have more than one good TB this is a way to get them both in the game. Again the evolution to Empty really blurred the lines between these positions unlike the Flex-Bone where the fullback & slots are very different.

So as you prepare for your upcoming season, plan who you need to cross train to always be able to have your best on the field.