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By Adam Hovorka, Managing Editor, X&O Labs

William and Mary (VA) offensive coordinator designed most of his triple option offense around what he calls a “Go-Go” formation by placing two backs in near proximity to each other, creating three-eligible (with QB) in the backfield without losing anyone in the passing game. It’s an offense predicated on tempo, spacing, multiple formations and personnel groupings.

By Adam Hovorka
Managing Editor
X&O Labs



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Coach Marion has been using the Go-Go offense for the last 8 years with a ton of success.  First at HS, then Howard University and now William & Mary with great results. The offense is predicated on, tempo, spacing, big plays, a multitude of formations, motions, personnel groupings, and triple-option principles.  Coach Marion says he wants the defense to cover multiple plays on every play.  Coach says he watched the old Navy films with Roger Staubach films and started thinking if he can attach reads to every single run game this would be difficult to defend. So, he began figuring out how to make every run in the offense a triple-option concept.  Coach says that his offense is triple option football and everything in the run game is dictated by two-or three-man surfaces.  Any two-man surface they see will be a triple-option run with the QB knowing whom his pitch key is based on the call. 

Coach Marion says he will have at least two options on every run play and sometimes there as many as four options on any given play.  One of the new ideas that Coach Marion is employing is the use of 20 personnel formations with both backs to the same side of the quarterback. Coach Marion, says he favors this alignment, “because it creates a three-headed monster in the backfield, without losing anything in the passing game. You know are dictating to the defense when you have three eligible guys that can touch the ball at any given time and you still have to cover the WR's and TE on the outside"   There is no difference in the two backs that play those two spots, they both are asked to do what they need to do in any play in the offense.  It is important to know that both backs are threats to run and catch the ball on any play

Diagram 1

Diagram 2


There is a myriad of ways Coach Marion will build his two back formations:  Pro with a TE and WR to one side opposite a solo WR. Twins, with two WR’s to one side opposite an On the Line TE, slot, with two WR’s to one side and a solo WR opposite.  The splits of the WR’s will also be constantly changed to take advantage of angles and certain play calls.

Just like any other spread offense the backs can be moved all over the formation based on the play.  Coach Marion uses the term "performance alignment" to explain where the backs will align.  Coach stresses that the backs will know their alignment based on the play call.  Another popular alignment is both backs in an I to one side of the Quarterback, with the depth changing based on the play call. 

Diagram 3

Diagram 4


The Backs will also align with one back in Pistol behind the QB and another even with the QB to the right or left. 

Diagram 5

Diagram 6


Coach Marion will also utilize some 30 personnel formations.

Diagram 7


Here you can see the deep back in pistol and two up backs behind the tackles but turning their bodies perpendicular to the line of scrimmage.  Coach Marion likes this formation to give defensive players false keys and mess around with their eyes when those guys start going across the formation.  Another popular formation will be the use of two split backs on both sides of the QB and using an off Y as a sniffer back. 

Diagram 8


The offense is also very series-oriented meaning; there is the base play that sets up the rest of the plays in the series.  Coach Marion will have his base play, multiple tags for the third phase of the option, a reverse with the option to pass the ball, a Play Action Pass with various routes structures, and screens with all the same actions. We will look at the outside zone/stretch series first.



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The Wide-Zone series is just one of many, explosive series that Coach Marion utilizes in the Go-Go offense. The series will always turn into a variety of triple options with easy tags to determine the third phase of the play.  The Wide Zone series also has built-in Play-Action passes, reverses with built-in passes off those reverses, and a multitude of screens.  This is an easy to install concept that puts defenders into major conflict.  To learn more about the entire Go-Go offense  go to http://footballgameplan.com/gogooffense/



Meet Coach Brennan Marion: Coach Brennan Marion just completed his first season as William & Mary Offensive Coordinator and QB coach. Before that Coach Marion was the OC at Howard University for two years leading the Bison to numerous offensive records. Before his time in the college ranks, Coach Marion led massive turnarounds at two high school programs. At Waynesboro HS in PA, he led the team to a Division title after the school being winless before his hire. Before getting into coaching, Coach Marion played collegiately at Tulsa for the legendary Gus Malzahn. At Tulsa, Coach Marion averaged a whopping 28.7 yards per reception on 87 career catches. Coach Marion is married and has two children Mariah and Brennan.





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