What is double wing formation in football?
The double wing offense is the paramount of tight offenses. It features two tight ends with a running back positioned a yard behind and a yard outside of the tight end. These running backs are referred to as wing backs. In double wing, the quarterback traditionally takes the snap under center, and there is a fullback lined up five yards behind the quarterback.
Double Wing Advantages
The double wing offense thrives off strong run plays often with multiple pulling linemen or utilizing the other backers to lead block for the backer taking the ball. Because double wing is such a tightly aligned offense, the defense will often load the box with eight defenders, setting up for great off-tackle motion toss plays. Typically the C or B gap is the target hole for the running back, but introducing outside sweeps will often result in successful plays. This is especially true if the ball carrier is particularly fast or the defensive end and corner are slower to react. Straight dives and traps for the fullback are also very effective from this formation thanks to the ability to use a wing back as a lead blocker.
Double wing offenses don't often have diverse passing plays, but their implementation in a team's playbook can prove pivotal. Because double wing is so run heavy, defenses will become susceptible to short pass plays, like tight end pop passes or screens from the wing back. These plays work especially well when the defense is attempting to blitz or brings an extra linebacker down to the line.
Double Wing Disadvantages
The double wing defense is powerful, but can also be predictable. A good linebacker will know to watch for the motion, and then read the tackle from the side opposite the motion. If this tackle pulls to help lead block, then the motion is misdirection and the ball will be backside. If the tackle does not pull then the play will most likely be coming to the play side. Double wing offenses are also easily countered by a good 6-2 defense, thanks to the alignment of defensive linemen. In 6-2, the defensive tackles will cover the C gap, and the ends squeeze tight ends while containing outside runs. This effectively reduces the viability of all off tackle plays as well as sweeps.
The inside run game is traditionally covered by a pair of nose tackles who congest the A gaps. This leaves the only viable play to be inside runs off the B gap such as traps or dives. These plays are then meant to be covered by linebackers, but often a playside wing will block them acting as a lead blocker. The backside linebacker is then responsible for this play, but it is by no means difficult to make the play, minimizing yardage gained.
The pass defense is best covered by the remaining three defenders of the secondary unit. Typically, a 6-2 defense calls for a cover 1 defense with the corners playing man under. This means that the corners are responsible for covering the wing backs in the event of a pass, leaving any tight end patterns to be covered by the linebackers. Because the number of receivers running a route is fairly limited, a well played defense will easily cover all the routes in a pass play out of double wing.