College football teams rarely deploy the Wing-T offense. In fact, the scheme rarely shows up anywhere beyond high school, and lots of people don’t know a lot about it. (Full disclosure: I’m definitely among those people.)
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables has now offered the best illustration yet of how little time teams regularly spend dealing with this scheme.
ESPN’s David Hale reports Venables was "tipped" off before Clemson’s win against Auburn on Saturday that Auburn might deploy the Wing-T. So, what’d Venables do?
"I literally Googled, ‘How to stop the Wing-T,’" he told reporters.
This must have worked pretty well.
Auburn could score only 13 points against Clemson, despite Dabo Swinney’s late-game mangling that almost let Auburn score seven more. Auburn didn’t run the Wing-T all the time, but it did work it into its game plan.
The Auburn offense couldn’t get much of anything going, and Clemson held it to a paltry 3.7 yards per play. On running plays, the backbone of a Wing-T scheme, Auburn ran 41 times for 87 yards – a 2.1-yard rushing average for a program that’s recently prided itself on the ground game.
Here’s what Venables saw, roughly, when he Googled:
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has some origins in the Wing-T, as Chris Brown explained for Grantland in 2014. If you’d like to learn more about it, as Venables needed to, here’s an excerpt from The Delaware Wing-T: An Order of Football, a book by former Blue Hens head coach Tubby Raymond. Lots of us could stand to learn a lot about it.
And here’s a cool breakdown of Auburn’s Wing-T play-calling from our Auburn blog, College and Magnolia.