The 16/17 Disco: Wing-T with a Vertical Passing Game

By Tim Foster   

Originated in 2013, the Reinhardt Eagles offense got its start from Dr. Danny Cronic and Drew Cronic in the wing-T. Since then Danny Cronic has retired and Drew Cronic has moved onto become the offensive coordinator at Furman University. What remains now is the base root of the wing-T but paired with the elements of the gun vertical passing game along with the QB run game.

This article will discuss the play that has made Reinhardt go since the beginning, and that is the basic belly play. We call it 16/17 Disco.

The main reason that this play has been able to put on so much mileage for us is because of the simplicity of the blocking scheme paired with whatever front we might see. I coach the tight ends (Y), Z backs (Z) and wide receiver (X). The complexity for the Y and the Z are probably the most difficult in our offense, so let’s go in depth on those two positions here in this article.

The first example we will use is off a 3-3 stack look with 5 Techniques in our base formation, wing right.

Insert Foster 1-1

The rules that we use for our playside tackle is that he will be gap down backer. The playside guard is responsible for the pull and kick on the first thing head-up to outside the tight end. Center is responsible for reaching or cutting off first thing in playside A gap. The backside tackle and guard scoop through to the front side of the play.

I really love the jet motion that we have with our A during this play and the majority of our plays in the playbook. With as much jet sweep that we run and the speed that we are lucky enough to recruit that we can hold enough eyes and action on the front side of this play for it to hit between the tight end and the playside guard. We have used the A to run his jet motion and kick out as tight to the line of scrimmage outside of the box during this play to help with a corner or safety falling in to make the tackle.

Now we can get into the meat of this article and what the tight end and the Z are responsible for on this play.

Starting with the tight end, presnap he has to identify what technique he has got. His rules are similar to the tackle except he will have to adjust his split accordingly depending on what he has. With a 6 technique, we will widen our split and give our guard a better opportunity to have more space to execute the kickout block. We yell “6” to our guard so he knows. With a 6, we step inside and rip the outside shoulder through to whatever we have that is from C gap to backside linebacker.

There have been games where we have had a 6 and a 5 technique, so that goes back with identifying presnap what we are working with. If we have a 5, we have got to get across to the other side of the defender’s shoulder and a strong upfield hand into the near armpit to get a clean wash to the center where the ball was snapped. If there is no C gap threat, we can get our eyes to that backside linebacker and block the flowing weakside linebacker. Sometimes the 3 technique gets to fighting over top of the down block by the tackle so we have to be careful about leaving the C gap too early because that 3 technique can make the play.

Insert Foster 2-1

In this look, we are working with four down linemen bumped into a 50 with a 6 technique. Notice our tight end with the wide split to allow space for the kickout block of our playside guard. Our C gap will be occupied by the 4 technique, and we always bank on that 4 to step right into us. Now it helps to have a tight end that is 240-plus pounds to handle a 270-pound 4 technique, but you work with what you have. We will be solo on the 4 unless he decides to cross the tackle’s face.

Insert Foster 3-1

In this next shot, you can see the tight end get decent movement with a strong upfield hand but could get stronger across the face of the 4 technique. The kickout block is executed well, and there is a crease for the play to hit between the tight end and kickout block. The A back should be getting inside out of No. 21 to get a better alley for the running back to get downhill.

Now, let’s look at the Z-Back’s responsibilities on this play. This target athlete you are looking for in a strongside wing on this play is someone who is explosive, physical and decently heavy. Those guys are not all walking around on the streets out there, so again, work with who you have. The alignment is one yard back and two yards out from the outside leg of the tight end, down in a 3 point stance. Much like the tight end, you have to identify presnap who your target is and what you have to avoid at the line of scrimmage to get there.

Insert Foster 4-1

This picture gives you the split idea that the Z needs to be at. If there were a 9 technique or an overhang defender, then the Z would have to dip and rip off the inside or outside hip based off the presnap leverage given. Versus this 4-2 look, we step inside and attack the inside shoulder of the frontside linebacker. The key to this play for the Z is the presnap alignment and giving yourself a great angle to hit that frontside linebacker once he scraps to fill the play.

Insert Foster 5-1

In this image, the Z connects with the frontside linebacker, and there is a decent hole for the running back to follow through between the tight end and the kickout block. For us, the simplicity of this play off the gap scheme is what makes it a go-to for us and we like to call it on all down and distances as well in a no-huddle or huddle offensive situation.

Tim Foster is the recruiting and passing game coordinator at Reinhardt University, where he has coached tight ends, wide receivers and Z backs. He also has coached linebackers at Maryville College. Follow him on Twitter @CoachFosterRU.