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Thread: Shotgun Vs undercenter

  1. #1

    Default Shotgun Vs undercenter

    Take the trendiness out of it- does using the shotgun or pistol truly make this offense harder to defend.
    What is more of a challenge to defend- a true undercenter attack or one that utilizes the shotgun?

    All opinions welcomed.

  2. Default

    I do not think it makes the offense harder to defend at the High School level.

    Positives of Gun:
    1. Shotgun/Pistol is great for QB run game. If you remove the FB and place him as a wide receiver, the defense must respect that and remove someone from the interior of the defense. Then you can essentially use the QB as the FB (run QB Belly, QB Trap, QB Down, QB Buck) and you should have fewer people to block. You can also use the FB as an extra blocker/faker and almost run the offense like the single wing.
    2. Shotgun/Pistol is great for throwing the ball. QB generally can see the field better, and he can get deeper sooner on his drop. These things allow for better passing.

    However, I think you lose a lot of the deception of the offense. For example, when the QB turns his back in the 20's series, the defense needs to be ready to defend both flanks (Sweep and Waggle) and the inside (Trap). This is tough on defenses too. I know some pistol teams have the QB turn his back on the defense too, but often in the gun the fakes also happen in front of the QB and are more visible to the defense.
    Also, I think the speed with witch plays can hit from under center makes under center more difficult to defend. The DOWN play is a great play that hits quickly from under center, I don't think it is quite the same as in the gun.

    In my Opinion, an under center Wing-T that fakes well, hides the ball well, and has some plays that hit quickly and others that are slower developing (Ex: BELLY) is the most difficult style of the Wing-T to defend.

  3. #3


    I disagree with the previous statement and believe that being in the Pistol has made us a much more difficult team to defend.

    I came from a background of being in an under-center Wing-T system for 20+ years before we converted to the Pistol four years ago. Being in the Pistol has allowed us to do many things to diversify our offensive attack that has made us a more difficult team to defend. We have been able to diversify in the following ways:

    1. Play action passing out of Jet backfield action.
    2. RPO plays from both Jet and Belly backfield action.
    3. Better ability to run misdirection off of all of our backfield actions.
    4. The Pistol also allows you offense to be ran "out of the phone booth", meaning that everything seems less cluttered as you have moved back a couple of yards from the line of scrimmage.

    While I agree that you lose some deception once you move out from under center, the Pistol has added much more to our overall attack than was lost.
    Hancel Phipps
    Wake Forest HS

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    jersey shore

    Default alot of agreement with the above

    Sorry i'm late to the party fellas,

    We went to the gun in 2014 for the following reasons:

    a) needed to quick pass and sprint out with smaller qbs
    b) we were interested in qb run element
    c) be better or be different: teams we play have played under center wing t teams for years. They all have a stock "wing t" defense.

    since then, here's what I've concluded:

    qb run is vital if you're in the gun. we've used it and it's become the new misdirection element, as well as a way to have a definitive north south runner like the old under center fb

    single wing concepts are really viable because you've added a 4th runner, you can pull tons of people to the point of attack

    you can still run belly, buck sweep, waggle, belly pass just as well

    no more spending 2 weeks in august on footwork with the qb ( I still have the old delaware reel to reels with the guide book, don't make me bust it out!)

    qb is way more comfortable throwing because everything is in front. the back turned element aids in deception, but on 3rd and 6 that qb better haul ass to get away from center, and stand tall and deliver. Found with the gun, he can catch it, roll out and the timing is easier (less sacks, blocked passes)

    you end up missing a well timed and hidden guard trap (the timing is bad unless you do it with qb) and tackle trap (counter)...this year we'll try qb trap and see where it goes

    you can still taylor the scheme to your personnel. GOOD FB? you can run belly, inside zone, joker fb...Good dive/wing? You can get in 2 back looks and pound it with him.

    Alright well i've had a lot of coffee and just thought I'd chime in.

    Andy Cammarano
    Spotswood Chargers

  5. Default

    This might go against what most will say, but I think our offense works best with shotgun as a package. To a defense it may appear we're running 2-different offenses. However, for us, the gun is just a formation tag. Our plays and blocking schemes don't change, but backfield actions might... giving the illusion we're doing something drastically different. Gun allows you to utilize a special RB/athlete at the QB position. We believe it also gives our QB better sight lines when we pass. However, with the gun, you lose some deception, and you lose some great plays, i.e. Bellysweep.

  6. Default

    Shotgun guys....what defensive adjustment has given you the most problems.

    What are the common adjustments you see? I know this is very broad, just brain storming. Do teams like to keep their front the same and adjsut with the secondary or do you see alot of defense of the week type stuff?
    Last edited by Bigmoot; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:46 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Cleveland, Ohio

    Default Corner blitz from the weakside

    When this happens it usually throws off post snap reads but more so the safety that comes over the top to cover that area too. Bubble Go kills that concept or Post Wheel routes out of the backfield.

  8. #8


    I believe you need both. This is a headache for defensive coaches to prepare for Shotgun and UC. My last several years at CMU we were probably 50-50 Shotgun/UC. My last 4 years we had a 5'9 QB who loved being in the Gun. He had a great arm and had great vision and decision making so this was an advantage to having him in the Gun.

    We would be described as a Jet Sweep, Buck Sweep, Belly Slide team and we ran all in Gun and UC. We tried to keep the mesh points the same and naturally the rules were the same. I still believe short yardage should be UC. I see no advantage on 1st and goal at the 3 to putting the QB @5 and a pistol back behind him and handing the ball off 8 yards deep. I see the Patriots on 3rd and 1 sprint to the line with Tom Brady and sneak for the yard. I see the Steelers toss it to Bell 8 yards deep and lose 3!! Drives me nuts. In GL and Short Ydg we ran most of our plays on 1st sound. No trades or shifts. We were not turning 3rd and1 into 3rd and 6 with a penalty! We were not afraid of the flank and ran Jet/Buck/Belly Sweeps in GL situations.

    I agree with a previous poster that Shotgun formations are just that... formations no different than 100/900. The beauty of the offense is our ability to have multiple formations and run our base plays from all of them. When we get in the Gun we still will have the threat of running Jet/Buck/Belly Slide from each formation. We also believed in a Quick Passing Game (1 step & 3 step), Sprint Out Package, and Play Action with all of these UC & Gun.

    You've heard me say this many times...It's only limited by your imagination so use it!

    As always, write or call with questions.

    Rich Erdelyi

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