GENOA – For years, Genoa-Kingston was your typical power, smash-mouth football team.
The Cogs knew one type of offense, the Wing-T. It’s a typical power offense, featuring a lot of downhill running from the fullback along with mixed motion and sweeps from a tailback or wingback, who starts lined up off the line of scrimmage next to the tight end.
G-K coach Travis Frederick said the Cogs have used the system since the 1970s under Dave Russell, who led G-K to a Class 1A state championship in 1977. Frederick was part of the Wing-T himself, playing guard in the early 1990s.
In 2008, former Cogs coach Bill McCarty decided to go to the spread because of the personnel his team had at the time. The Cogs still ran a lot using that system and showed a lot of zone read.
The spread is everywhere these days. In Maple Park, Kaneland has had no problem keeping scoreboard operators busy since it went to the system.
When Frederick took over the G-K program last season, he decided to go old school, bringing the Wing-T back to Genoa. He wanted to go back to the system G-K was familiar with because Frederick felt like his players knew it.
He said there wasn’t much adjustment because most of the team has ran the Wing-T at some point.
“It’s more of what we knew. Been doing it for 20-plus years. I think I went through that offense as a kid,” Frederick said. “Genoa’s kind of run that offense since the Russell years, ’70s and ’80s.”
Controlling the game
There are different variations of the Wing-T. Some teams use two wingbacks and two tight ends while going without a receiver or tailback. Schools can feature a power running game or an offense in which the quarterback shows off his speed.
Some programs, such as Sterling of the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference, have used the Wing-T to run the triple option.
Every team that runs some form of the Wing-T wants to do two things – run the ball and control the clock.
“I like to be able to move the ball and keep the ball,” Frederick said. “The more we have of it and the less they have of it, the better off we’re going to be.”
There also is the balance in the offense. The fullback dive will open up the outside game as well as the play-action pass.
“I think you’ve got to have balance. Meaning not just run and pass but inside and outside,” Frederick said. “You’ve got to be able to pull and trap teams and get on the outside and outflank them, but then you’ve also got to be able to just drive it right down their throat as well.
“When you’re really clicking with it and you’ve got them on your heels is when you’re doing all these different things. They kind of set each other up.”
Teams running a Wing-T also show a lot of similarity between their plays, something that’s tough for defenses to adjust to and keeps them on their toes.
“Our trap looks the same as our power, looks the same as our play-action pass,” Frederick said. “Patterns that the defense has to key on are similar. It slows down their reads, and if they’re playing slow then that’s to our advantage.”
Last week, G-K fullback Sal Lopez ran for 131 of the Cogs’ 246 yards. He still thought the group didn’t show enough of that balance that’s so key in G-K’s system.
“It’s really important because last week we were kind of a little one-dimensional, just running it up the middle a lot,” Lopez said. “I think that [drew St. Edward] in to let them play a little easier towards the middle, and not have to worry about the outside as much.”
Frederick still thinks his offense is in for some big things in 2012, and thinks last week’s effort was the best the system has looked since he took over in Genoa.
“I think it will be much improved. It looked good at times the other night,” Frederick said. “A couple moments where we had first-game glitches, but that’s about as good as I’ve seen that offense since probably ’07, ’08 when we were running it before.”