Most football coaches are like lemmings or sheep. Their strategy or game choices are no different from every other coach in the league. They almost never think "outside the box."
For example lets look at the "shotgun formation" the Cats (and everyone else) use on offense. You have a QB about 5 yards back of centre with one running back standing beside him. If a run play is called, the defense know who it will be assuming the QB doesn't run. So you have Cobb starting from a standstill, 5 yards back with very little deception to throw off the defense. Other times it's just Porter or Glenn back by himself and everyone knows it's almost certain to be a pass.
Here is the solution. We put the quarterback under centre (like the old days) with a 2 man backfield (Cauley? and Cobb) and adjust the import/non import ratio as required. You can use the "I" or "T" formation. This opens up all kinds of possibilities the defense has to watch for. First of all they don't know which running back will get the ball and when he receives it he will already be in motion as opposed to at a standstill. With the QB faking hand-offs for the run game (play action), this will freeze the defensive backs and allow our receivers a better chance to get open as well.
The main reason it would be more successful is the uncertainty it creates for the defense. For 1 or 2 seconds after the snap they're not sure what's happening and that's our advantage!
Fellow posters I would be interested in your thoughts.

If you bring an out side blitz or just good preasure with a plug inside gap's and keep those 2 backs from getting out the hole play blows up .....Now ya got 2 of your 5 targets taken out of the play .....I hear what your saying but we need some funky screens and Tight end drags ....the stuff Lb's fall into ..Let them step up then dump it over the head's .....Use the Qb to roll and get movement make it a cat and mouse game ..
Run the ball allways works for me ....Once ya get the good run inside pounding the ball everything falls into place from there playaction , screens , quick flat pass, even the draws ......The LB's are so fast now i think key audibles at the line come in if you can take that 2 back set your talking about and move one of them pre snap you got a Big on small which is good for us ....That is what we have to try more mismatch pre snap formation changes to get some key guy's up against miss matched defenders ..Its funny you bring this up I HAVE SEEN MORE MOTION PENALTY'S THIS YEAR THEN EVER ...PRE SNAP DURING SNAP ..
so alot of teams are trying the movement trying obtain that key match up ..

I'm no expert (that's quite obvious) but I think what you are proposing is what Kelly was trying to sell in Winnipeg. No shotgun and two backs in the field. Well.....we know where that has taken them. They've gone back to using the shotgun, one back and a five receiver set, which can help account for their last two wins.

What we were doing in the first half against Calgary surprised me. Swing passes to Cobb, PROPER draw plays, shovel passes to Cobb for cryin' out loud, QB zone read options, good passes to AB3, etc...

What I saw was a dynamic offence, Calgary didn't know what to do, and we moved the ball. THAT is thinking outside the box...

In theory I like the 2 back set but it just doesn't work when you need to eventually pass the ball to win, you may as well have an extra receiver who is a bigger target than a 5'7" running back. To keep the lb's honest, one good back does the trick on that anyways, at least for most plays.

Okay, so let's see what this is then.

You would have the QB behind centre.

You would run an "I" formation with two tailbacks (Cobb and Cauley). If you run a "T" formation - which I understand is three backs -- RBs or a RB/TE would still have the QB under centre? Who would the third RB or TE be in that case?

I'm trying to figure out how this would be earth shattering. By having extra personnel lined up behind the QB. wouldn't you be inviting tighter coverage at the LOS to stop the run? Wouldn't it cause the safety to get closer to the LOS, if not cause the "eight in the box" effect?

My issue with this is that even with the play action you point to as a possibility, having a third person aligned someone behind the QB is going to allow someone on the defence to line up closer to the line.

We are not talking NFL line splits here with the equivalent wall of humanity, we are talking wider CFL line splits with CFL-sized offensive lines. In essence, I see eight in the box versus five on the line in position to block. A recipe for backfield penetration, IMHO.

It's one aspect as to why the wildcat has not set the world on fire in the CFL.

Having a QB under centre does not allow for the necessary separation if one or more defenders can shoot a gap on a consistent basis, which is what the design would suggest. A run blitz turns into a QB hunt pretty quickly if the defence simply can follow the ball.

In college, stacked backfields can work with the right personnel in the right context. We are talking professional defences here with pro speed. Running that against the Als and methinks you get something akin to the 1985 Bears defence, northern variety.

I know how most QBs do with pressure in their face, I don't like the sound of not spreading the field enough for the safety having to honour that and having three receivers only as immediate options outside the box. If it's three guys lined behind the QB, it's cover one, drop a safety or DB in the box and let's hunt with zone blitzes and/or overloads.

Play action is only a threat if the QB can set after his fake. I want the defence on its heels too, but not in a crapshoot! Moving the launch point for the QB is also critical. I don't see that happening as much when the defence can exert gap control and contain the QB. Rollouts are most effective when the LBs have to honour their coverage assignments. It takes longer to rollout deep in your scenario -- and someone spying the QB is going to be closer to the LOS in that event.

For me, maximizing the width of the the CFL is a key element of any offensive approach. Influencing the safety BEYOND the box is crucial -- you need perimeter threats in today's game that threaten the middle of the field with crosses, misdirection and stacked motion that will cause the safety to back off. I want space opened underneath by LBs and DBs having to honour coverage depth. Spreading the defence forces the secondary to open up seams in the middle of the secondary and makes it easier for the QB to make reads.

I've seen Mike Kelly run a 1990s-style offense with the I-formation and QB under centre. He's had to implement the shotgun to avoid being run over game after game. The recent success of the Bombers can in part be traced to this change, IMHO.

I don't have a problem with I-formation in certain contexts. My point is to expect this to be a eureka in 2009-model football is not really an issue of scheme as it is of personnel. I'm underwhelmed by the capacity of most RBs in Canada to pass protect against seven-man fronts, so eight-in-the-box doesn't promise much in that area from my perspective.

I don't like the idea of Porter having eight in the box to constrict his scrambling or the possibility of overloads penetrating and knocking him the hell out. Glenn would do marginally better, IMHO.

As a defence-first fan, I'd love to be the DC scheming against a more-constricted formation approach in this league.

Oski Wee Wee,


Wow, Russ. Phenomenal post. You pretty much nailed it. :thup:

I second that.

To amplify one of Russ's points, good CFL coaches use the differences of the Canadian game to their advantage, specifically the wider field and unlimited pre-snap motion. Using those two differences in tandem, a good O.C. can wreak havoc on opposing defenses via confusion (pre-snap motion = who am I covering?), distance (defenses have to cover six players on a wide field), deception (are they running a draw play out of that base set? Play action? A hitch screen?), and execution (LOS rubs that create separation for the receivers, making it easier for them to get open).

Watching Gibson use the same base formation with limited pre-snap motion, little to no rubs, and no apparent audible package for a young quarterback, is quite painful.

It pleasantly surprised me too! Looked like Calvillo and the Als. VERY CREATIVE by the standards set here over the past many seasons. It was great to see.