Wing-T attack lives on

While many coaches across the state are staking their offensive prowess on varying forms of the spread formation, there are still those in Tennessee milking success out of the Wing-T attack.
In fact, more than 50 high school teams across the Volunteer state used the offense in 2013 with different degrees of success.
None with any more success than Knoxville Webb head coach David Meske, who has directed the Spartans Wing-T attack to capture four state championships in the past five years.
"The Wing-T is an offense that allows being flexible and using multiple backs," Meske said. "It is really more for our smaller linemen than anything else. We have adapted the Wing-T to our personnel. Some years we have been a running team, some years we have been a passing team."
In Knoxville Webb's 28-14 TSSAA state championship victory over St. George's in 2013, Todd Kelly, Jr. (Tennessee) exploded out of the Wing-T to rush for 248 yards on 19 carries (13.1 avg.) and touchdown runs of 62, 27 and 8 yards.
Maryville head coach George Quarles (10 state champions) has played Knoxville Webb and believes the Wing-T is difficult to prepare for because it strays from the norm.
"It is hard for the scout team to give your defense a good look," Quarles said. "The two biggest problems in facing the Wing-T are the deception of trying to find the ball and the other problem is all the moving parts. Backs are crossing, linemen are pulling and it can make it difficult to stay focused."
Siegel head coach Greg Wyant discusses some of the difficulties that come with defending the Wing-T.
"The misdirection in the Wing-T forces defenses to have to play assignment football," Wyant said. "One week is also a really short time to prepare for all the misdirection and different things you have to deal with when facing the Wing-T."
Many of the coaches who run the Wing-T are married to the formation and refuse to stray away from it.
Just one mile across the state line in Georgia, Ridgeland head coach Mark Mariakis has utilized the Wing-T to mold a program that finished runner-up in the Class AAAA state championship in 2012.
The Panthers (13-2) produced more than 5,900 yards in 2012 with Mariakis having the attitude that his team was going to run the football and see if the opponent could stop it.
"It gives us the opportunity for any of our three backs to touch the football on every play," Mariakis said. "More than one kid can be a playmaker and it's hard for a high school defender to read offensive linemen."
The veteran coach said the offense fits with what he is trying to teach his players.
"We want to create a culture of being physical," Mariakis said. "The Wing-T can also be a fit for whatever kind of talent you have and you can use undersize linemen if you have to."
In 2012, Darrell Bridges (Presbyterian) rushed for 2,430 and 39 TDs) and Vonn Bell (Ohio State) produced 1,700 all-purpose yards and 21 TDs for Ridgeland's Wing-T attack.
There have been many innovative offenses to make it to the gridiron since the game originated in 1892.
The Notre Dame Box, T-formation, Wishbone, Flex-bone, Single Wing and Houston Veer are a few that have risen and fallen in popularity.
Nevertheless, while the trend of coaches is turning to the spread-option/zone-read offenses, the Wing-T is still alive and allowing offenses to fly high.
Through research here are six Tennessee prep coaches who have utilized the Wing-T offense to turn programs around. Although the successes were built on more than just what offense the teams used, the Wing-T attacks contributed.
Knoxville Webb in 16 seasons before current head coach David Meske took over the Spartans were 94-66 (58.7 percentage) with a state championship. Now, 29 seasons later, Knoxville Webb has recorded a 228-110 mark (67.4 percentage) and six state crowns under his watch.
Hendersonville was just a step above average in their 57 seasons before the arrival of head coach Bruce Hatfield. The Commandos had a respectable282-279 record (50.2 percentage), but nothing like the past 15 seasons under Hatfield. Hendersonville has posted a mark of 126-70 (64.3 percentage) and four state championship runner-up trophies since Hatfield's arrival.
Crockett County had 15 seasons with a 44-108 record (28.9 percentage) before P.A. Pratt brought his Wing-T attack to Alamo. Since Pratt's arrival the Cavaliers (16 seasons) are 132-58 (69.4 percentage) with a state runner-up finish.
Camden Central was 108-153 (41.3 percent) in the 25 seasons before Kevin Ward was hired. In the past eight seasons while former head Coach Ward led the Lions, they went 76-22 (77.5 percent).
Hillsboro was 227-220 (50.7 percentage) in the 45 seasons without Ron Aydellot. The Burros have turned it around under Aydellot's 12-year guidance with a 101-47 record and a state championship.
Mt. Juliet had a good football program for 42 seasons before Roger Perry arrived to direct the Golden Bears. Mt. Juliet was a combined 227-208 (52.1 percentage) before Perry. However, the Perry regime has produced a 66-21 record in seven seasons. The Golden Bears also had back-to-back state semifinal berths in 2011 and 2012.