For Danville High School Coach Ed Honabarger, transitioning from five-wide sets into Jumbo sets without changing personnel was a simple adjustment. He moved the slot on the two-man side and the number two receiver on the three-man side into the TE position to create both a favorable run box with five potential vertical threats in the pass game. Influenced by the success New England was having using two tight formations, Coach Honabarger details his “Patriot” play menu including his run package, vertical pass package and screen game he utilizes from this formation.
Head Football Coach
Danville High School (OH)
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Several seasons ago, we wanted to incorporate some TE sets into our 5-wide attack. Depending on the player types we have year to year, we have created different personnel packages to bring more true TE body types into the game. We felt this caused problems for the defense while giving us angles and advantages across the front. We implemented three different TW 5-wide looks that each had their own strengths and we have used them heavily since that time. The formation that we liked the best is our double TE look. It is called Patriot after New England because of the success they were having with two TE’s and utilizing empty variations.
For us this is a simple change. We moved our slot on the 2-man side and our #2 receiver on the 3-man side into the TE positions because we wanted to leave the same skilled players on the field that we had in our 5-wide package. This formation specifically helps us create a numbers advantage in the box or over the field. We felt if teams were going to load the box up to stop our running attack, we would be able to pass at will on them. If the defense was more concerned about the pass, then we would be more than happy to attack them with QB runs. The defense really needs to pick their poison on what they want to give up and then we must be disciplined to attack their scheme.
The greatest thing about the Patriot formation is we are able to run the same plays we run in our zero TE 5-wide package. In practice, we may not cover all of the plays we could possibly run out of Patriot, but the players receive the play reps out of one of our other formations and can easily make the small adjustment to run the play during a game if need be out of this set.
The box will look like a traditional two TE set. Our OGs, OTs and TEs will all maintain three-foot splits. Depending on where the ball is set for play, we adjust our three split receivers. The 2-receiver side will always go to the boundary, and the 3-receiver side will always go to the wide side of the field. Occasionally, we will do the opposite if we see that we can exploit the defense.
We like to create space with our receivers, so we like the split ends to align outside the numbers. The slot receiver will then split the difference between the tight end and split end on the 3-man side. When the ball is on the hash, we have the split end on the 2-man side as close to the sideline as the referee will allow while still keeping the split end on the 3-man side outside the numbers and the slot splitting the difference. This helps create a lot of space for our receivers to run their routes, catch the ball, and let their athleticism take over. You could move the slot closer to the tight end or the split end to create different looks and route combinations.
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- How Coach Honabarger designs his run game against the various front structures he sees defenses present against this formation.
- The check system he uses to teach his QB to get in the right run play based on numbers in the box.
- The quick passing game Coach Honabarger designs to combat the common pressure checks he sees against the Patriot formation.
- The vertical passing game he will use to stretch the field with maximum protection.
- The “Check with Me” screen package Coach Honabarger uses in this formation, which allows the QB to pick on a specific DB or flaw in coverage.
- Plus game film on all these concepts.
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The Patriot formation is just one of several formations we use to try to give our offense a numbers advantage in the running and passing game. Patriot gives us 7-blockers in the box, as well as 5-eligible receivers to attack the defense. Throw the QB into the count and you now are playing 13 on 11. Take what the defense is giving you and this will be a nice secondary formation for your offensive attack.
Meet Coach Honabarger: Ed Honabarger is the Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator at Danville High School in Danville, Ohio. Danville is Division VII (Ohio’s smallest division) and a perennial playoff participant. The Blue Devils have made 7 straight playoff appearances including winning the Regional Championship and appearing in the Ohio Division VII Final Four in 2015 & 2017. Coach Honabarger has been the head coach at Danville for 14 seasons with a record of 126-46, 7 league championships, 12 playoff appearances, 7 regional championship game appearances, 4 regional championships and 4 state final four berths. Since transitioning from the Wing-T to a 5-Wide offense in 2012, the Blue Devils have set numerous team and individual records in scoring, passing, receiving and total yards categories.