Friday, December 15, 2006

UFR-Formation Explanation

In the "Upon Further Review" posts, you see under the "Formation" category, things like "Weak I," "Shotgun," "Shotgun Split Backs," and "Standard 2-TE." What do these things mean? In this post, I hope to describe what I mean when I use some of the most-common formation names.

A very basic offensive set. The team lines up with 2 running backs lined up directly behind the quarterback: one fullback perhaps 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage yards back and a halfback 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage. In a "base I," there are 2 WRs, one on each side of the offensive line, and a TE.
Weak I and Strong I
In a Weak I, the fullback is not directly behind the quarterback, but is instead offset to one side or the other. In a "Strong I", the FB is offset to the side where the TE is lined up; in a "Weak I," he's on the opposite side.
2-WR Weak and 2-WR Strong
Rather than being lined up one on each side, both of the WRs are lined up on the same side of the offensive line. I will also use "2-WR Right" or "Left" on a 2-TE set when there is no "strong" or "weak" side.
Standard 2-TE
2 TEs, 2 WRs, and 1 RB are in the game. Both TEs are lined up to the outside of the offensive tackle on the line of scrimmage.
Split Backs or Pro Set
Split Backs is the main alternative to the I-Formation. When backs are split, they're lined up next to each other, normally about 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage. The "Pro Set" is a specific type of Split Backs formation with 2 WRs, one on each side, and a TE.
I need to clarify here. By "Shotgun" by itself, I mean the team is in the base shotgun formation, with 3 WRs, 1 RB, 1 TE. 2 WRs are to one side and 1 WR and the TE are on the other side. In "Shotgun Strong," the slot WR is on the same side as the TE. I will also use "Shotgun" as a marker for other formations run where the QB is in the shotgun. A "Shotgun Split Backs" formation looks like "Split Backs," except that the QB is lined up between the 2 RBs.
3-WR, Slot Strong
A formation with 3 WRs, 2 to one side and 1 to the other. If the 2 are to the same side as the TE, it's "Slot Strong," else "Slot Weak."
4-WR Close
4 players are standing up at the line of scrimmage. Normally, this formation goes OT, Slot WR, FL on the line, with little if any spacing between them. Frequently, this play doesn't involve 4 WRs, but instead 2 TEs and 2 WRs. I call it "4-WR Close" because it's more easily recognizable to me. If the 4 WRs are spread out, then it's just "4-WR."

CLARIFICATION: I'm considering calling what I now call "Shotgun" "Base Shotgun." This would make "Shotgun Strong" "Strong Shotgun," and "Shotgun" by itself at the start of a formation description would just indicate the QB is in shotgun. I believe this would resolve any confusion. I'll play around with it and see what I think.

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