Intro to Football: Offensive Formations


If you turn a football game on on TV, the announcers might be saying something
like, ‘The quarterback is in the shotgun position.’ Or ‘They’re in a double back set.’ And it can get kind of confusing
as to what they’re talking about so in this video I want to take a look at
the most common offensive formations and what they look like. The offensive team can either pass or run
from any type of formation and all of them have eleven players on
the field, so I suppose none of them would be any more ‘complicated’ than any other, but you could probably call the I-formation the most basic offensive formation. The Basic I-formation consists of two
wide receivers, two running backs, and one tight end. The running backs will line up with the fullback
behind the quarterback and the halfback behind the fullback. The tight end is on the end of the offensive line
and the wide receivers are out wide. So you can see how the quarter back
and the running backs form this “I.” There are a few variations you can make on the formation while keeping this “I,” like pulling one of the wide receivers in to be
a second tight end. Or the fullback can slightly shift to the left or the right side and this
would be called an Offset I. One thing to note here is that the
quarterback is what we call ‘under center,’ which means he’s directly behind the
center, so whenever the center snaps the ball he’s essentially handing the
ball to the quarterback. We’ll come back to the alternative
for being under center in a minute. But right now, let’s look at another
formation that is pretty similar to the I formation, and this is called the Pro Set Formation. Which is similar to the I formation,
except that the running backs are positioned to either side of the
quarterback in the backfield and again we can have a variation on this where the
wide receivers are shifted or even lineup one-way and then go in motion before the play. The next formation is called the
Single back set. Which just means that there’s one
running back so again there can be a lot of
variations that are used maybe a team has two tight ends
or two wide receivers, or more commonly, one tight end, and three wide receivers And if there are three wide receivers, then this guy here, who isn’t at the end of the line and he
isn’t out wide he is called the slot receiver or he said
to be ‘in the slot.’ The last formation that will look at what
the quarterback under center is called the Trips formation which also
uses three or sometimes four wide receivers. In the trips formation three wide
receivers will line up on the same side of the field. And possibly there will be a tight end
over here to so we can get pretty crowded too confusing for the defense as
to how they’re going to cover all these receivers. Of course the offense also runs the risk
that these guys could run into each other and could confuse
themselves just the same. You’ll also notice here that there is
nobody lined up behind the quarterback so we would say that this formation has an ’empty backfield.’ And one common variation that we’ll see with the trips formation is that the quarterback will not be
under center and if he’s not under center then he will be in the ‘shotgun formation.’ So when you hear that a quarterback is ‘in shotgun’ it means that he is a few feet behind
the center, rather than right up behind him. So rather than handling the ball to the quarter back,
the center will actually snap the ball back a few feet through the air to him. Here’s a great picture with the Aaron
Rodgers of the Packers receiving the snap from the center in the shotgun
position, rather than being right up behind him. And what this does is give the
quarterback a little more reaction time. If the quarterback is under center, he will
get the ball from the center of a few steps backward really quickly which we would call ‘dropping back.’ So he could take a three-step, or a five-step
drop, depending on how quickly he wants to throw the ball. What moving into the shotgun essentially
does, is removes this need to drop back because the quarterback is in essence
dropped back before the ball is even snapped. So lining up in the shotgun formation
makes it easier to pass, and is often used by teams on passing plays, but it doesn’t have to be so there can be a running back, as he saw
in that photo, or two while he is in shotgun so that after the quarterback gets the snap,
he can just turn and hand the ball off to his running back. Now this isn’t all of the formations that
can be used, there are plenty more because remember the offense wants
to throw the defense off anyway they can. Teams will have their favorite formations
that they use most often But they’re going to be constantly moving guys around,
and mixing things up one way or another. So hopefully that’ll be enough of an
intro to formations to know why the offense is always lining up
differently before every play so now the next time you watch a game, you can
try to identify, “Is the quarterback in shotgun or is he under center?”,
“Are they using I formation rather than a single back set?”
Thanks.

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