Confuse Defenses with the Duo Package

Sep 9, 2016 | Offense, 12/21 Personnel Concepts, Personnel


CaptureBy Jake Olson

Offensive Coordinator

Loras College (IA)

Editor’s Note:  Jake Olsen is the Offensive Coordinator at the University of Dubuque entering his third season on staff.  He will explain one formation and a package of plays that have been very successful for them over the past two seasons. 

Over the past two seasons, the University of Dubuque has achieved considerable offensive success.  We are a pro-style, huddle offense averaging 2.33 plays per minute.  Over the past two seasons we have averaged 40 points a game and over 470 yards per game by using a balanced attack.  We have had one Gagliardi Trophy winner (Division III National Player of the Year), eleven All-IIAC performers, and back to back Iowa Conference Offensive MVP’s.

Using two WR’s to one side and a Tight End with a wing (TE or FB) to the other creates a very difficult formation to defend.  We call this formation ‘Duo’. [Diagram 1]  Typically we use 12 personnel (2 WR’s, 2 TE’s, and 1 RB) but any offense can utilize this formation with multiple personnel groupings; 11 (3 WR’s, 1 TE, and 1 RB) or 21 (2 WR’s, 1 TE, and 2 RB’s).  The following report and information outlines the plays that have been efficient for us in the past using the packages we have entered into games with and why we like using them against certain defensive looks. 


Advantages of the Duo formation:

  1. It tends to force a LB to leave the box and support the pass OR force a Safety down eliminating the ability to play 2-High coverages.
  2. The Pistol backfield allows the threat of QB run options
  3. We still have the threat of a four receiver route immediately off the snap.
  4. We can use short H-Back motion to change the formation into a 3x1 quickly.
  5. We create an additional run gap on the TE side forcing a defense to play with a CB or DB as immediate run support as well as possibly gaining a man advantage in the leverage.


The last advantage is quite possibly the most powerful for us as it puts the defense in an uncomfortable situation.  With the added run gap created on the Tight End side, some of the questions for the defense are:

  1. “How will we align to the Tight End side?”
  2. “Who will become the immediate run support player?”
  3. “How will we maintain box integrity and still play with the two WR’s to the other side?” 
  4. “Can I still play my base coverages without changing who I am?” 

Each week we try to enter a game with a handful of plays out of this formation, based upon what we know our opponent will line up, or has shown on film to this look. 

“Window Dressing”

In our offense we actually run very few plays.  We have a lead group of plays that we use each week because we can hang our hat on these plays.  The key for us is to ‘window dress’ or throw up ‘smoke and mirrors’ to disguise the play.  This is accomplished through our multiple shifts and motions (shown below 

Shifting (‘Bounce’)

Our shifts move one (or both) of the TE/H-Backs can create a simple change in advantage for the offense.  It possibly forces the defense to change their call entirely or put certain defenders in positions/responsibilities they are not accustomed to.


Motioning (‘Zoom’/’Zig’)

Our motions change the formation from a standard 3x1 or 2x2 into a ‘wing’ set.  It possibly forces the defense to slide and/or adjust defenders out of position even completely changing their responsibility or coverage

Any time you can disguise your end formation and give the defense less time to align and recognize the advantage can go to the offense.   Throughout the course of a season, any time you can force a defense to prepare and spend time on multiple movements and adjustments; it takes critical time away from prepping the actual plays.


To see more of Coach Olsen's Bounce and Motion concepts, click the video below: