Eagle formation leads to success
Published: Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 02:09
The Golden Eagle offense has joined a growing trend in the football world: they debuted their version of the Wildcat formation this season.
For the casual fan, it might have been odd to see running back Damion Fletcher lined up in the shotgun formation behind the center to receive the snap – even weirder to see quarterback Austin Davis lined up out wide as a receiver.
What is this madness?
"We call it the Eagle formation," Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora said Saturday. "We got quite a bit of yardage out of that today. We had planned on going into the game and calling it six or seven times and we probably called it about seven or eight, maybe nine times.
The Eagle formation, the Southern Miss variation of what is known as the Wildcat offense, is a continuation of a trend sweeping the football world since Arkansas used it to much success in 2006. The play is based around trying to confuse the defense with the ability to run multiple options out of the formation.
The first option, and the one used most often in Saturday's game, is a direct snap to Fletcher, who then fakes a handoff to the receiver or running back coming around the end and runs the ball himself. Fletcher's longest run of the game, a 15-yard gain, came from this formation.
The second option is to hand off to the receiver or running back coming around the end. This option was seen Saturday when running back Tory Harrison took the handoff from Fletcher for a 57-yard touchdown run, giving the Golden Eagles the winning score.
The third option, which was not shown Saturday, is to pitch the ball out to the quarterback, who can then pass the ball or run with it.
Not knowing where the ball is going or who is going to end up with it can cause nightmares for opposing defenses, and head coach Larry Fedora says that they haven't come close to showing all of the plays the team plans on running from the Eagle formation.
"We will also run it with multiple people, not just Fletcher back there," Fedora said Monday. "We actually have a nice package off of it and we have only shown three plays so far, there are more looks we have yet to show."
If the Golden Eagles continue to show success from the formation, future opponents can expect to see a lot more of the Eagle formation.
"I like the Eagle formation," Fletcher said. "It gets the defense off balance; they have to worry about more than one running back at a time."