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wlhs1By Michael Harrison, Head Coach, Wilde Lake High School (MD)

During the 2006 season Wilde Lake HS (MD) made a switch to the Double Wing offense again with the Power as the base play. Since changing to the Double Wing Wilde Lake has averaged 3,000 rushing yards and 31 rushing touchdowns per season. See how they have averaged over 7.5 yds/play with their Power concept.


 By Michael Harrison

Head Coach

Wilde Lake High School (MD)


wlhs1For nearly twenty years, Wilde Lake had run a Bone offense with the Power as the base play. During the 2006 season our coaching staff felt like we had hit a crossroads and made a switch to the Double Wing offense again with the Power as the base play. Since changing to the Double Wing Wilde Lake has averaged 3,000 rushing yards and 31 rushing touchdowns per season. 

For teams looking for a physical style offense, the Double Wing has its advantages. In the base formation, double tight end double wing, a defense must account for 10 gaps on the line of scrimmage creating stress on a defense’s run fits. Smaller, quicker lineman can excel in the offense due to the high use of pulls, double team and down blocks. The Double Wing combines both power and deception in its play series. Where a Spread style offense gets the ball to multiple athletes by throwing the ball; the Double Wing allows multiple athletes to run the ball. Perhaps most important, the Double Wing is not a quarterback dependent offense. The Double Wing thrives with physical quarterbacks, great passers, or great runners. The offense has its critics, but when executed properly it can be very difficult to stop.

There are several core plays in the Double Wing offense, but the Power is always our first install on day one. The play combines a single blocking rule that accounts for multiple defensive fronts and stunts, with a double team block at the point of attack, and mass at the point of attack through the use of several lead blockers. The ability to run Power to every back out of multiple formations has made the Power play the foundation of our Double Wing offense. Our goal is to be able to run Power against any defense at anytime – when in doubt run Power. In fact over the past seven years we have called Power over 40% of the time and have had games where the play was as high as 60% of our plays called.

Power Fundamentals:

Our linemen are split six inches across the front and have their helmets on the hip of the center. We emphasize with our linemen that we want to tighten up our splits and never crowd the ball. The desire is to have more room to adjust and pull at the line of scrimmage. Our experience is that many teams will crawl, dirt dive, or attempt to hold our linemen after the snap; so being backed off of the ball eliminates a lot of the advantage a team gains using those tactics. We do not switch sides with our linemen, so they must all learn the play side and back side blocking assignments and techniques. Early in the season we drill the blocking scheme by presenting different defensive looks to our players. We call this period “Power Hour.” We start in a front and run the Power play to perfection. When the blocking scheme is mastered a coach will add a 12th defender to the defense without informing the offense. When we are successful another defender is added. We have mastered the Power while blocking 14 defenders at a time. Most of the time our players do not notice the extra defenders until there is an unblocked safety on the third level of the defense. This is a great way to prepare athletes for success. Imagine the confidence that your offense will have after successfully executing a play versus 14 defenders. Our Power blocking scheme is essentially a Gap blocking scheme as shown in the table below. 

Power Assignment and Blocking Rule


POA (Point of Attack): Block the most dangerous 2nd level defender inside of the point of attack usually the first linebacker to his inside.


IHP (Inside, Head up, POA): Block any 1st level defender inside (this usually creates the double team), or block any 1st level defender head up, or block any 2nd level defender inside of the point of attack. Remember we are kicking out the last man on the LOS with the FB.


IHOP (Inside, Head up, Outside, POA): Block any 1st level defender inside, or block any 1st level defender head up, or block any 1st level defender outside, or  block any 2nd level defender inside of the point of attack. His eyes must remain inside to prevent linebacker run throughs.


IHP (Head up, Inside, POA): Block any 1st level defender inside, or block any 1st level defender head up, or block any 2nd level defender inside the point of attack. His eyes must remain inside to prevent a linebacker run through.


MOMA (Man on, Man Away): Block any 1st level defender head up, or block any 1st level defender away from the point of attack.


Pull, turn up and block the touchdown alley. This is usually the safety.


Pull, block any penetration, turn up with eyes inside and block any scrapping 2nd level defenders.


Shoeshine block or Seal and Wheel block.


Quick deep motion, receive the toss, attack and downhill aiming for the outside hip of the tackle. The outside hip of the tackle is our point of attack.


Reverse pivot, dead ball toss, fall through the hole, and stalk block the outside most 2nd/3rd level defender at the point of attack. This is usually the CB.


J Block last man on LOS.


Power vs. Odd and Odd Stack Fronts:

We face a lot of Odd fronts and Odd stacks in our league so our teaching progression starts against those fronts. Note that each of the diagrams, the double team block is shaded in grey and that the back side linemen pulls are omitted for clarity. (Diagram 1)


Blocking Scheme Adjustments:

Part of the enjoyment of coaching this style offense is that you never know what a defensive coordinator is going to throw at you on game day. Gaps, stacks, gap stacks, and goal line defenses; Double Wing offenses see it all. As our goal is to always be able to run Power no matter what is in front of us, we must make adjustments on the line of scrimmage to account for certain variables. The most basic adjustment is a “Solid” call. A Solid call will keep one or both of the back side pulling linemen home, if a team is blitzing a back side backer and the tight end and or center cannot slow the backer down. Remember the first priority is to get the wing to the point of attack. Similar to a solid call, a switch call exchanges the pulling responsibilities of the back side tackle and tight end. This occurs if the tackle gets a pre-snap read on a potential run through in the B gap.

Power vs. Even and Even Stack Fronts:

The next diagram shows a Down call that is made when a down block is needed across the entire front. The Down call sacrifices the double team at the point of attack for the angles of the down blocks. The tight end usually will recognize the need for this call when he does not have a first level defender to block. This occurs against even stack fronts, double eagle odd fronts, split/wide tackle six fronts, and seven-man goal line fronts. (Diagram 5) 


The emphasis placed on running Power in the Double Wing offense leads defenses to put their best athlete or defender over the tight end at the point of attack. If tight end is out manned in this matchup then a Wing Down call is required. Instead of blocking the backer at the point of attack, the wing will block down creating a double team with the tight end. The backer at the point of attack will be accounted for by one of the additional lead blockers. (Diagram 6)


Formational Adjustments:

After varying the blocking scheme, look to a formation variation that will lead to an advantageous position. We are only going to change the formation if it forces an adjustment by the defense that gives us a numerical superiority at the point of attack. Instead of switching to another play or play series we keep the Power viable by making the defense adjust to our formation. For instance line up in an End Over formation if it takes the cornerback off of the edge for run support. Lining up in an End Over Tight formation will often cause a defense to put an extra defender outside of the point attack making our blocking easier at the point of attack. (Diagrams 9 & 10)


In an effort to create more space to maneuver at the point of attack, employ a Nasty formation. The tight end lines up split four to six yards from the offensive tackle with the wing lined up in this gap. The defense must determine where they want to play their defensive end. If the defensive end plays inside the tight end, then block him down and get outside. If the defensive end lines up outside the tight end, then kick him out and use the bigger lane. (Diagram 11)


Teams that play their defensive end or outside linebacker in man coverage on a wing can be left without an edge defender versus the wide formation. Split the wing out into a traditional slot alignment to the side with a wide receiver. If the edge defender walks out with the wing then there is an advantage of not having a defender to kick out so the fullback becomes another lead blocker. If the defense adjusts with a deep safety to our wide wing a seam/pop route or a quick arrow route to this player is very effective. This formation has been effective in forcing the some odd stacks into a more traditional odd front with two interior backers on the second level. The double team is lost in the wide formation. In order to have a double team, an End Over Wide formation can be employed. (Diagram 12)


Perhaps the easiest and most often used formation wrinkle at Wilde Lake is the unbalanced line. We have unbalanced our line by overloading with a guard or a tackle, but most often use two tight ends on the same side to unbalance a formation. We have found that this causes less issues with our blocking schemes and keeps the majority of assignment same as they were in a balanced formation. The tight ends make the most adjustments to their blocking assignments so this is a natural progression for them to play side-by-side and adjust their blocking schemes. We will also unbalance our formations by playing a third guard or tackle and removing a tight end. The goal is to tailor the personnel to fit the play and situation. If you need the extra blocker, then why not use your next best blocker. The advantage for us when running unbalanced formations is that we will run the Power to the weak side just as much as we do to the strong side. We attack the defense based on their adjustments to the unbalance formation. (Diagram 13)


Motion Adjustments:

The Double Wing is a motion driven offense. We are in motion 90% to 95% of the time. This is certainly a tendency that defensive coordinators try to expose. To combat this, vary the motion tendencies so that a defense has trouble predicting the play based on the motion. Our first motion key breaker is the freeze play. We line up and run deep motion, but on our usual snap count the only player that is moving is our motion wing. Everyone else is frozen. Defenses that bring automatic blitzes to the motion jump off sides most of the time. If they do not jump we run a silent snap quarterback sneak with wedge blocking. We can also run a Power with no motion at all. Have the wing stay set through the snap of the football then run his Power path. No motion Power will slow down the play, but this is offset by the advantage gained in a slower reaction of the defense. The final motion key breaker is to run opposite motion. Send the play side wing in motion away from the play. This draws the attention of the defense away from the point of attack, while this is happening run a no motion Power back to the side where the motion originated. This is a counter like wrinkle, but the backer at the point of attack must be accounted for by the lead blockers. (Diagram 14)




Coach, don’t miss this…

X&O Labs Insiders members, please click here to login and get the full-length version of Coach Harrison’s clinic report. Here’s a short list of what Coach Harrison reveals:

  • How Coach Harrison combats odd fronts with his “Up” call
  • Drills that help Coach Harrison’s team install and perfect their Power play for ultimate efficiency
  • Checks that can be used against teams that play wide defensive ends
  • Specific tactics that allow you to run the power concept with ANY BACK
  • VIDEO: Watch Coach Harrison’s game film of his Power vs. Odd fronts, Even fronts, formation variations, Freeze, and many more!

Get Full Access: Join X&O Labs’ exclusive Insiders membership program and gain full access to Coach Harrison’s clinic report and game film… Click here to join now.




The Power play is run in virtually every offense, however in our Double Wing scheme it is the base play. As with every offense there are alternate or complementary plays built in to take advantage of the opportunities that the defense is giving us. We instill a sense of pride in our players that we can run the Power in any situation and against any defensive structure at any point in the game. Our goal for Power is four yards on each play and our athletes have taken it to heart averaging 7.5 yards per power play over the past seven seasons. When in doubt run Power!


Author’s Bio: Coach Harrison joined the staff at Wilde Lake High School, his alma mater, in 1987. He served as both defensive and offensive coordinators during his tenure as an assistant coach. In 2009 he was named the head coach at Wilde Lake and has compiled a 28-17 record in four years, including winning both a Regional title and the Class 3A Maryland State Championship in 2010. Coach Harrison was honored as the All-Metro Coach of the Year by the Baltimore Sun newspaper in 2010.




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