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October 16, 1955 - Image 13

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Sunday, October 16, 1955


Sunday, October 16, 1955 THE 'MLNIGAN DAILY

A Closer Look at Footbail
1. Offensive Formations Sused much mo ex n ythan
the others.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first discussion of the defensive play. From the stans tle tic wing
in a series of articls esxplaimsome Ten
th0co 01so ot.U The rules require the offensive formation as it i < iolayed at
of the technicalities of football as it team to locate a minimum of
f played at the University.) Michgan looks o nery Im nUt of
seven men on the line of scrim- balance with only two ma oated
By MERRIT GREEN mage. The four men comprising on the weak side of cw dtr.
AN OBSCURE BIGSIDE player the backfield must be one ya rd The backfield is line ad m 'cla-
In 1823 by the name of William or more behind the line of scrim- tion to the unbalasi d L e tine
Webb Ellis defied the convention mage. (A special provision pro- manner described in Fi!, The
of the game by picking up the ball vides for an exception in the case greatest advantage ie
in his arms and challenging his of a T-formation quarterback). wing formation, w'.,,
mates to catch him. That his act The rules also provide that only with the unbalance.un dii
was inspired by a sudden stroke of six members of the offensive team tremendous numericai su 'riorily
genius, as some authorities report, may advance the ball from scrim- that can be brought o ar a
is highly doubtful. Whether moti- mage, the four backs and the two any point in the strong d ofe
vated by genius, an ill-acquaint- men flanking the line, usually the the line.V
ance with the rules, or by horse ends. These six players are also Speed and uikne h i
play, his open field run on that the only persons eligible to receive cutionof eachqu cplayAre n;t so f
autumn day 132 years ago has a direct forward pass. Within these ct apnm0a t 0
been parlayed into one of the most general limitations the offense in the T-formation- thou of
traditional fixtures of the Ameri- must be constructed. course once the ploya hs beerex-
can life. THE UNBALANCED LINE cuted the greatest amour of
In its beginning football was Before examining the details of speed possible is desired. A care-
little more than a contest of the offensive formation it should ful observer will noitice tat thet
strengthl- 11 men attempting to be explained that in most offen- ultimate ball carrier maf't 0 a.
buly hemeles nda ltte bllsive systems the position of the seemingly long pcid uftm tO
through, over, or under 11 other linemen remain the same regard- reach the line of scrimmage. This
men who in their turn attempted less of the formation being used; may be due to a set oL omph-
to do the same. if there is a change in formations cated maneuvers in the ho :kfielda
Over the years however the it is generally executed by the or simply to an effort on ie part
strategy of the game, aided by backs alone. Many teams balance of the backfield man to a110w the
changes in the rules and the n- their offensive line with an end, play to form in front of nim.
genuity of individual mentors, has a tackle, and a guard on each side Because of this lapse time, it
found its greatest emphasis in of the center. is possible to pull -er-i linemen
speed, deception, and wide open However, at the University, as from their origin1 - tion and
play, in the case of most teams using direct them anlon 'ne ';inu:
Football as it is played in the the single wing, the unbalanced scrimmage in ordes t bring more
larger schools today, is an ex- line is used. An end and tackle blockers to the loca mt of the
tremely complex sport, requiring are found on the "short" or "weak" play. Also, if the 0 iy i executed
extensive preparation and played side of the center, while two properly, th^ cxtr- tme lapse will
within a detailed offensive and guards, a tackle and an end bol- allow stronger ar. mon effective
blocks to be placeo nerever need-
It should be nt Lc, chat the suc-
cess of tIe ingl wing depends to
a large exent f pon a consistent
running threat on the part of both
halfbacks am the fullback. With-
) out the a Pit.' of a strong attack
to the weak side of the right half
and the aIlback the defensive
tar y shift their prsonnel
to,' the ;offensive strength.

Therefore the success of the Michigan is not as highly develop-
ingle wing will depend to a large ed as it is in some systems which
extent upon a defensive alignment rely upon it exclusively. However,
which has been forced to spread in recent years it is being used
tself thin across a longer line, more and more extensively. The
inding itself at least numerically alignment of the unbalanced T-
weaker at some point. formation is shown in Fig. 3.
SINGLE WING VARIATION It will be noted that in such a
The single wing variation with system the backfield strength is
he wing back or right half deep shifted considerably more toward
(Fig. 2) retains much of the single the weak side of the line than in
wing power inside the tackle the single wing. This in turn
hough weakening to some extent forces the defense to compensate
he blocking efficiency of plays even more in the direction of the
outside the tackle and end. The weak side of the offensive line.
purpose of this variation is to If such an adjustment is not
allow a stronger and quicker at- made the defense is open to a
tack to the weak side of the line. stronger attack on that side. The
T-FORMATION advantages of the T-formation,
The T-formation employed by See BASIC, Page 15


defensive framework. ster the "strong" ide of t i e
This article has been written in The great advan age of het un-
an attempt to bring forth some of balanced line s the pr,.. it can
the subtler aspects of the game generate in terms of numbers. Any
which are often obscured by the single wing team'L1th an effective
dazzling individual performances threat to the w eak side of the
and emotional overtones of the line will force tI, defense to spread
sport, and with particular refer- their numbers over a greater area
ence to the system utilized at the allowing te. offense to employ
University. two men to blokti one at crucial
We have made no attempt to ,points slong the line.
gear our remarks to those persons THE FORMATIONS
who are completely unfamiliar Upon thIs unbalanced line is
with the game, and throughout we ,uperimped the various backfield
will assume that the seder } formrtins used by the Michigan
aware of the fundamenais a team The term "formations" may
football game. Thus there w-1 be inly several things, but for our
no attempt to explain r detalj purposes it is sufficiently defined
the meaning of such thir r. "theras the positional arrangement of
line of scrinmd" age"fsprmatw ," the offensive team before the ball
"end," haf aek." is put into play, during which time
Our attempt**I' be to expand both the line and the backfield
the knowlede andiunderstanding remain motionless.

FIG.i. - SNGLEI WNGWH A N G W u Da w u.z
of the average football fan through The University employs several
a more intimate examination of different formations; however, four
offensive and defensive structure basic formations are used more
which constitutes the "Michigan than 90 per cent of the time: t he
system." T-formation, single wing, a varia
The present article will concern tion of the single wing with the
itself entirely with the offensive wing back deep, and wing-T, a
system leaving for the future a variation of the T-formation, are

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