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Film Room: The Single Wing Is Alive And Well In The Big 12

The Big 12 has a reputation for newfangled high flying spread offenses, but that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten one of college football’s earliest plays.



When people think of Big 12 offenses, they think of the standard fast paced spread philosophy — one that is relatively new to the college football world. While this conference is one for such a style, many teams still use plays and concepts that have been around since football’s earliest days.

Single wing philosophies, for example, are far removed as a base offense, but that doesn’t mean that they have been completely forgotten. The Big 12 has long been using single wing concepts, often without fans realizing it. Today, we will take a look at the Big 12’s new favorite single wing play: the quarterback power.

Kansas State has devoted a good chunk of their offense to the quarterback run game, specifically the power. In fact, starting quarterback Joe Hubener currently leads the team in carries and is the second leading rusher for the Wildcats. The ‘Cats will often run either quarterback power or counter while tagging route combinations or screens to their base run play, such as a bubble slant or a pop pass. This week, the ‘Cats used a counter power against TCU for a 17 yard touchdown.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys have recently started to use backup quarterback J.W. Walsh in the run game. Walsh has thrived so far this season, already accounting for over 150 total yards and eight touchdowns. The Cowboys often pair a jet motion with the quarterback power, giving Walsh the option to either flip the ball to the motion man or keep it himself. The play below features Walsh scoring a go-ahead touchdown against West Virginia this past Saturday.

The Texas Longhorns have also gotten involved with the QB power with junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. The Longhorns have been using Swoopes in their short-yardage package, as his 6’4, 244 lb frame makes him an ideal short-yardage ball carrier. Coincidentally, the ‘Horns used Swoopes to score this week against the Oklahoma Sooners, the team who started this craze with their Belldozer package in 2012.

Texas scored on both a power play:

And a play action pass:

Here, Swoopes shuffles his feet to show power. The defense bites on the fake which leaves tight end Caleb Bluiett wide open in the end zone for a touchdown.

Many do not realize how much of an influence old football philosophies have on modern offenses. A large percentage of the standard spread offense has been directly influenced by the single and double wing offenses of the 20th century. The quarterback power is a perfect change-up for Big 12 offenses, so keep an eye out for it this week.