Howard keeps tradition by using Wing-T offenseHOWARD — Formations like the spread, the one back and the pro set are seen each and every Saturday and Sunday, but in Howard, there is only one that is a necessity — the Wing-T.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
HOWARD — Formations like the spread, the one back and the pro set are seen each and every Saturday and Sunday, but in Howard, there is only one that is a necessity — the Wing-T.
“We have been running Wing-T in Howard for close to 20 years,” said Howard head football coach Pat Ruml, who has used the offense ever since taking the helm four years ago. “We teach it to our third, fourth and fifth-graders, and by the time they get to high school, they already know it.”
The offense itself is designed to use misdirection and deception in order to catch opposing defenses off balance.
Howard used the Wing-T en route to both of its state football championships in 2004 and 2009.
“We have had some of the 2009 guys come back to help during the summer, and they were able to help with the concepts,” Ruml said.
Former Howard head coach Mike Knutson implemented the Wing-T in 1996.
Knutson adopted the Wing-T from former Dakota Wesleyan coaching great Joe Kramer, who won five conference championships in his 14 years at the school.
The variation of the Wing-T that the Howard Tigers use is known as the double wing or Delaware Wing-T, made famous by college hall of fame head coach Harold “Tubby” Raymond at the University of Delaware after he tweaked the version originally created by his mentor David Nelson.
Despite not being overly popular in the NCAA Football Bowl Sub-Division and National Football League, the Wing-T is used by teams like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Kansas City Chiefs.
“The Delaware Wing-T is a lot of deception,” said Howard assistant coach Troy Loudenburg, who played for Kramer at Dakota Wesleyan. “You don’t need a whole lot of size because of the blocking angle. To me, it’s the only offense in the world to run.”
When Howard lined up on the field Monday night, they were not the favorite, but that is nothing new to the Tigers, who bested Kimball White Lake behind their deceptive offense.
Wing-T is used by teams in FCS and at the high school level because it evens the playing field and forces defenses to slow down rather than being able to freely pursue ball carriers.
“Here at Howard there have been few times where we have been evenly matched with teams we are playing, but the misdirection definitely evens the playing field,” said Loudenburg. “You can’t fully stop the double Wing-T.”