A-11 Formation – Illegal?

I just learned of another formation with roots in the single-wing and figured I better tell you about it before it is banned. Head Coach Kurt Bryan and Offensive Coordinator Steve Humphries of Piedmont High School near San Francisco, California. Like Pop Warner a century before them, Bryan and Humphries designed a formation to compensate for a weight disadvantage. Like Coach Phil DeMarco at little Windber Area High School in Pennsylvania, Piedmont suffered a size disadvantage when playing much larger schools. The size disadvantage wasn’t just a single-game experience, it continued to present itself as seasons wore on and injuries piled up. Large schools have so many players that they win wars of attrition. By the time playoffs come around, small schools can be pretty short on players. The new formation, the A-11, reduces injuries to players running that offense.

What is the A-11?

High school and college rules require that at least five players wearing numbers between 50 and 79, numbers worn by players not eligible to receive passes, line up on the line of scrimmage – except when in “scrimmage kick formation,” i.e. punt or place kick. Bryan and Humphries found a loophole. They have all their players wear numbers from 1 to 49 or 80 to 99 to become eligible pass receivers. They then line up in a formation, the A-11, that qualifies as a “scrimmage kick formation.”

A-11 Base Formation

A-11 Base Formation

 

The formation’s single-wing roots become obvious when one notices the direct snaps from the center to the 1 and 2 backs (tailback and fullback). Both of these players are ideally triple-threat guys but coaches have to live with what they have. What makes the A-11 unique is how the other two backs and six linemen are positioned (the center is on already on the line of scrimmage). Just before the snap, these eight players shift so that six of them are on the line of scrimmage and two are back of it. The players’ numbers allow all of them to be in either location. The defense has just a second to sort out the eligible receivers and frequently guess wrong. North Carolina has made it illegal and California is threatening to follow suit. Find out more at http://www.humphinternet.com/A11/

The A-11 was declared illegal after this blog was written but before it was published. For more info see: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday

 

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