Pistol Formation

Quite simply, I truly believe the Ticats need to employ the Piston Formation much more in their offensive play calling.

Briefly ...

The pistol offense is an American football formation and strategy partially developed by Chris Ault in 2005 while he was head coach at the University of Nevada. It is a hybrid of the traditional shotgun and single back offenses. In the pistol offense, also commonly referred to as the "pistol formation", the quarterback lines up four yards behind the center, which is much closer than the seven-yard setback in a traditional shotgun formation. The running back then lines up three yards directly behind the quarterback, which is in contrast to the shotgun, where they are beside each other. It is argued that the position of the quarterback in the pistol formation strikes an advantageous compromise: the quarterback is close enough to the line of scrimmage to be able to read the defense, as with run situation sets such as the I Formation, but far enough back to give him extra time and a better vision of the field for passing plays, as in the shotgun. The pistol formation is thus very versatile, particularly if the quarterback himself is a threat to run the ball, which makes it difficult for the defense to correctly anticipate the play. This flexibility is enhanced by the Read Option, where the quarterback reacts to the response of the defensive players to the snap, and makes a rapid decision whether to hand off the ball to the running back, keep it and complete a pass to a downfield receiver, or keep it and run himself.
There are a few reasons why I believe the TiCats should employ & emphasize this formation & play-calling set, some of which I've mentioned before in various threads. But I will re-iterate in order to get others' feedback but more importantly, and hopefully, convince current football operations management. (remotely unlikely I realize)

So many times, I see the quarterback handing the ball off while the running back is flat footed. He has no chance. He's flat footed, trying to read the blocking, trying to find the hole, yet he's on his heels only a couple yards from the line of scrimmage. He's dead in the water before it starts.

This formation gives both the running back and the offensive line a decent chance. It allows the running back to receive the ball a little deeper in the backfield allowing him to read the blocks, set up the blocks, and most importantly, hit the hole with momentum and at full speed.

The Pistol or Shotgun I gives you so many options. The quarterback deliver a deep handoff that gives the running back a wide choice of running holes/lanes depending upon blocking. The OLine can execute traps and/or pulls. Or the QB can pitch quickly to the running back for an off tackle run play. He can run an option-pitch play off of it. And once you establish some running off of it, you can execute play action very effectively. Pull the deep handoff and hit the receiver over top of the creeping LB's or the deep pattern because the safety/DB has closed on run support. If and when you establish the pitch option, this will slow down the DE's & keep them from pinning their ears back in pass rush. Have the QB keep the ball off tackle a few times & that'll open up the pitch.

You can still run misdirection like the fly sweeps to Banks/McDuffie. It's a very flexible formation that you can still run a lot of options.

But most importantly to me, is that it allows the running back to receive the ball with his eyes up, momentum forward, reading blocks, and hitting the hole/lane hard and with vision. It lets your OLine set-up blocks. Let's you trap & pull. Let's you run counters.

It allows you to set up play action, which no one in the league respects at this time.

It also uses personnel to the best of their ability. Both CJ Gable & Mossis Madu are more accustomed to receiving the ball deep in the backfield and letting their athletic & football ability produced results. CJ comes from USC, a traditional I formation and shotgun I school. Same for Mossis at OU where they use a lot of traditional I formation & shotgun I & pistol.

This weekend is an excellent opportunity to watch the rest of the teams & see how much they use the pistol/shotgun I. It's the bread and butter of Calgary with Cornish. The Riders use it a lot. Same with Edmonton & BC. You will see all these teams line their QB up about 4 to 5 yards behind centre and the RB about 3-4 yards behind that quite a bit, especially on 1st down. Watch for it and see how successful it is and imagine if Hamilton used, ran & executed that formation more!?!?

And if you have the TiCats games on PVR ... Go back and look at any of the good running plays they've had ... You'll see it comes out of The Pistol many more times than not.

So please ... Please ... PLEASE ... Coach Austin & Condell ... Utilize The Pistol ... much, Much, MUCH More!

3 things
1 have you seen our line? If the ball is handed off even deeper that'll just mean the defender will make a tackle further into our backfield. Or if qb is closer to los get him sacked sooner.
2 rbs are never flat footed as you say when getting a handoff unless you mean when in the shotgun formation. Which would be a draw play and that's the design of the play.
3 at this point with either Zach or Masoli qbing changing play book would be a disaster.

Now if Hank was here I'd agree.

Sorry, but I have to disagree.

  1. when you hand the ball off deeper or pitch/lateral it to them, it allows the OLine to set up blocks, to move the defensive player with their momentum to where it takes them. It allows them to run quick traps. Little pulls. It also exploits stunts by the DLine. When they run loops or crosses, the running back can see & exploit such DLine stunts. It gives the running back the time to read the blocks, to see where the hole is rather than getting the ball only a few yards away from the LoS.

  2. Watch. Many of the read-option out of the pro-set has the running back basically flat-footed. Maybe we're splitting hairs and getting caught up into semantics here, so I'll just conclude that the running back in a pistol or shotgun I formation has much more forward momentum than in the "Elbow" zone-read Pro-set where the RB is positioned on the elbow of the QB in shotgun.

  3. It's not a change. They use it. And when they do it works. Just use it more.

Furthered ...

First off, the QB isn't any closer to the LoS in the pistol or shotgun I formation that I'm describing for the CFL game. It's the positioning of the Arab.

Second, how many times have you seen the QB take the snap directly from under centre except for short yardage situations? With the RB positioned at the elbow of the QB, he is basically getting the ball flat footed.

All I ask is that you watch the games this weekend. Especially the teams out west. You will see the pistol/shotgun I formation used quite a bit, especially on 1st downs.

Just watch and if you don't see it or see any success, then I'll eat my hat and words on Monday.

US college ball offence? that's the problem!!

IMO IF a CFL QB, cannot scramble after the blocking has broken down then he should not be a Starting CFL QB.

and by scramble I include passing on the run, or running the ball himself. I E. Zac should watch Flutie game film, he could of avoided that hit had he drawn in the tackler and changed direction, QB,s are faster than DE,s !!
any handoff plays should be scripted and well practiced, no add lib there, accept I think you are referring to the DE read play option. which is not the pistol play set.

Also IMO if they employed a two back I Formation with a solid fullback on second and less than 5 they can establish a dependable running game.

This. Big difference between the skill level in the defence in a pro league.

The successful run teams line up a big fullback and he runs through the hole first and the RB follows him.

our oline cannot do any of those things you are claiming lol. shotgun is best till we get some oline starters back imo

I like what the NFL has pretty much been doing the past years. replace the Full back with a tight end. more options

So the shotgun has the RB beside the QB, and the pistol has the RB behind the QB.

In the 1963 GC when the Lions fell behind the Ticats, they went to a formation where the RB (Nub Beamer) lined up in front of the QB (Joe Kapp) and took a few direct snaps as well as blocking. They called it the shotgun at the time; is there another name for it now?

Nothing to do with nfl, but many CFL team have used fullback at T.E in motion, Lee Knight of the Ticats used to do that a lot.

IMO the CFL is far more innovative, NFl copies US

i was just sharing my likes. why so touchy regarding nfl?

RE: i was just sharing my likes. why so touchy regarding nfl?
I think the NFL is WAY over rated.

The NFL has done a lot of harm to the CFL for a long time, that is another topic, cheers

RE:ryan3434 wrote:" I like what the NFL has pretty much been doing the past years. replace the Full back with a tight end. more options"

Are you saying the T.E lines up in FB position? Or the Full back lines up at T.E?

Hamilton beat Buffalo IMHO because of a superior running game, and hard as Hammers Defence. The Bills were in the same league as all the other now NFL teams, they have no excuses, the TIgerCats beat them fair and square!

If you look up video of 1950,s era you can find clips of various backfield formations, some ended up going to the U.S. (Pop Ivey, I believe from Edmonton is one.)


“Many people mistakenly believe Ivy was the innovator of the “Split-T” formation. At the time, most teams used a straight T-formation, whereby offensive linemen would crouch shoulder to shoulder. The Split-T called for the linemen to line up spaced about four feet apart, thus forcing the defensive line to space themselves accordingly.”

The 2013 Army Navy game in the U.S saw both teams just running the ball in option formations. 4 down college ball :thup:

yes, the TE lines up as a full back.
I agree a lot of ideas come from CFL.

Is the Fullback replaced with a slot back?

you could but doesnt make much sense if its short yardage, you could just use another tight end in his regular formation.

the rest is up to the imagination of the OC

wr T G C G T TE (or OL)
QB wr

edit: this looked proper when I was typing, its a mess just picture QB under centre TE to the right and RB behind QB

the wr would be right side off of the line or could play in tight

maybe give popgun formation a try :wink:

Just asking about the NFL using slot backs , because that's what CFL T.E,s became.

Great idea, to put a string on the ball, great for preventing INT,s :wink: