Spread Formations
Spread Formations

Today you hear the word "Spread" applied to a great deal of offensive formations and offensive schemes. The simple truth to the matter is that there are numerous ways to run Spread Offense as well as numerous formations.

If you want to run the Spread Offense you need to pick the formation or formations you plan to use. You will need to ask yourself what you team's strengths are as well. In The Renegade Spread Offense I have diagramed and explained many of the best ways to attack from these sets. However, below I have listed formations and the strengths that each has.

There is really nothing keeping you from running all these formations and a small variety of plays from each as long as you have a base that your players fully understand. Adding formations and plays is a great way to keep your players interest during the season. Not only does it add something new to practice but your players will view new sets and plays as "secret weapons" and ,as we learned in WWII, it is always good to have secret weapons.

There are, of course, more spread formations than the ones below but these cover most of the popular ones used by many of today's spread offensive schemes. I have listed the names that these formations are referred to in the book The Renegade Spread Offense. I realize that every team has different terminology which you will find even more so with spread formation offenses.
4 Wide
4 Wide is probably the most popular spread formation. It is pretty basic and alignments will vary from one team to the next but most spread teams have some type of 4 Wide formation. Many teams that hardly ever spread run this formation for as a 2min offense formation.


Spreads the defense from one sideline to the other.
Limits the blitz by pulling players wide into coverage.
Great for solid linemen if you have a good blocking back and running QB.
Having 4 receivers wide allows you to attack the defense with a variety of pass plays including the middle with the RB.
Good vs. man and zone coverage.

To get really good pass protection you usually have to use your back which prevents him from being an option on pass plays.
The side away from where you line up your RB is susceptible to the outside blitz.
The number of running plays are effective but very limited unless you use motion and when you use motion you open up the possibility of a motion blitz.
There are a few good short yardage plays from this formation but overall it is not a very good short yardage formation.
Renegade is our basic spread formation. We have been developing it for many years. Several teams have run similar formations to some extent but in it's shotgun form it is fairly unique. Renegade is designed to attack the defense with the run and the play-action pass. Because it also has a three receiver (trips) side it is a formidable passing formation as well. The short slot (nasty slot) side is designed to give us crackback and seal type blocking to use in conjunction with motion by the C or T. The use two slot positions to aid us in routes as well as pass blocking. We can also pull the slots on our GT (guard tackle trap plays) instead of pulling the Tackle.


Renegade is a great formation for running the ball when you combine motion with it.
This formation has a trips side that can be used in many short, medium, and long pass schemes.
By using motion and the Jet game you open up many excellent play-action pass opportunities.
The alignment allows three and sometimes four possible player to use for screens or the short passing game.
Smaller linemen can excel in this formation.
Great for blitz buster type plays.

Because players are closer to the main body of the offense than in 4 Wide it allows the defense more players to be used for blitzes.
Adding motion creates lethal running threats but also creates the possibility of motion blitzes and front blitzed (face blitz).
The "Nasty Slot" naturally brings the CB closer to the main body of the defense and the S can favor the three receiver side.
Renegade Wide
This formation is very much like the Renegade formation. The only difference is that the R (right end) is split wide. This may not seem like a lot but it creates different play options for us. By splitting the R wide the CB is naturally pulled wide as well. This gives us an opportunity to cut inside on our Jet Sweep. The Split also spreads the defense from sideline to sideline much like 4 Wide but keeps the Slots in positions to be equally effective as receivers or blockers. This is a great formation for plays that use run pass options (Zoom Options).


The Wide Formation spreads the defense from one sideline to the other.
The positions of the slots give a great short pass and blocking advantage to the offense.
Motion can easily reset the strength of the formation as well as add run threats.
The nature alignment of most defenses to this formation creates good cutback lanes for the running game.
Great for blitz buster types of plays.
Great for combo and smash plays.

Without motion your rushing plays are limited.
The extra split limits the number of receivers that you can use for play-action.
Ace is a power type formation. It is great if you want to attack the strong side with force or use motion to create an old "three way" cross buck look with the GT trapping game. This is also a really good formation for using the flood and bunch style routes.


Great at attacking the strong side with the running game especially when you use motion.
Great for Flood type routes as well as swings and screens.
With the use of motion a quick hitting cross buck series can devastate.

When you use motion you create multiple run threats for the defense but severally limits the number of passing threats to the backside.
Many defensive fronts are forced to adjust to most of these formations Ace lets most defenses stay in there base front.
Deep passing plays are very limited.
I hope you enjoyed this segment on Spread Formations. Let me know if you have any questions about this. The Renegade Spread Offense has a playbook for each formation diagramed above. All those plays are detailed and explained. That book should is completed and offered on this site.

God Bless You,

Robert B. Babcock

IGWT t 2k8

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