*********** I am taking the advice that I give to my kids at the start of every season. "There is no such thing as a dumb question at football practice, if you're confused, then there are probably 5 others that are confused as well." I played football for 15 years and have coached for 6, been to high school and college clinics throughout Illinois and read hundreds of football books in my life and I still don't understand exactly what VEER means. I always hear people talk about running the veer, or veer blocking or that they run a split back veer or the veer option. I don't want to sound ignorant, but is there a specific VEER OFFENSE or is this a generic term used by coaches across the country for different schemes they use. Don't want to waste your time, but I was sincerely curious and always trying to learn. Thanks

This is not a stupid question. The veer is an offense, a formation, and a play, or, actually, a couple of plays.

It was invented by Bill Yeoman, in 1965, while he was head coach at the University of Houston, and it is still often referred to as the Houston Veer.

It introduced to the game of football the concept of a triple option - the idea of reading (eliminating the need for blocking) two different defensive people, and doing one of three possible things depending on what those two defensive people did.

The Houston Veer is now often referred to as the "split-back" veer, because in the original "veer" formation, the two running backs were split - one behind each guard.

There is normally one tight end as shown above, but sometimes two. Sometimes the wide receivers are deployed in a "pro" set as shown above, but sometimes both wide on the side opposite the tight end, in a "twins" formation.

It attacked the 5-2 defense so in fashion back then by taking large line splits, widening the defensive tackles and then diving a back inside one of them.

For example, in its simplest form, running the "true triple option" or "Inside veer" play to a tight end side...

The back on the playside would dive, and the far back would sprint to playside as an option pitch man.

They would double the nose man, and the playside offensive tackle would release inside to block the inside LBer, much as he would on our trap play.

The defensive tackle was left unblocked out there, and the idea was for the QB to extend the ball into the dive back's pocket while "reading" the defensive tackle. That dive hit fast! Unless the DT crashed down to tackle the dive, the QB had a "give" read, and he gave the ball to the dive man (Option "1" in the diagram). If defenses couldn't stop this play, it was lights out. They would see an awful lot of that dive for the rest of the game. It was not uncommon in the early days of the veer to see a dive back run a long sprint to the end zone untouched.

But if the tackle did close down to stop the dive, that took care of him without anyone having to block him, and the QB pulled the ball out of the dive back's arm-over-arm pocket and kept it, continuing on down the line to his next "read", on the defensive end.

The defensive end had also been widened by a rather large split by the tight end. The defensive end was left unblocked, just like the defensive tackle, The Tight end would release outside the Defensive End, and "arc block" (the "arc" describing his path) whoever was responsible for tackling the pitch man (the strong safety - "SS" - in the diagram) should the QB pitch the ball.

The wideout on the playside would "stalk" block the corner back. That means he would release hard off the ball, "pushing" the corner (who was responsible for covering him in the event of a pass) until he "broke down" (showing that he recognized that it was a run) and then the wideout would break down, too, and "stalk" the corner, or as Darrell Royal liked to put it, "play cutting horse", staying between the defender and the play.

The QB, meanwhile, would option the DE. If the DE attacked him, he would pitch (option "3"), but otherwise he would turn up in the seam created between the defensive tackle and the defensive end (option "2").

The backs line up behind the guards because if they were to line up any wider, it would be difficult to get into a good pitch relationship with the QB on an option play to the other side.

The line play of a veer team is aggressive. The linemen are up on the ball with a lot of weight forward in their stances. Many veer coaches have advocated four-point stances.

A good veer attack is obviously quarterback-intensive, with all the risks that implies, and even with the talent, it takes a lot of work. There is a lot of precision involved - precise line splits, and precise "tracks" for the dive backs to run (since the QB never looks at the dive back - right from the snap he is watching that defensive tackle, and he has to be able to depend on that dive back being at the precise place at the precise time). You won't be successful running the veer if you are not a detail person.

The play shown and described above is very basic. As defenses adjusted to cope with the threat of the triple option, veer teams had to devise all sorts of blocking schemes to cope with them.

It is a series offense, in which a defense stacked to stop one particular play can find itself vulnerable to another play that starts out looking exactly the same as the first. Some of the plays that complement the inside veer and make up the total veer attack are:

1. Called dive

2. Outside veer

3. Lead option

4. Counter dive

5. Counter option

6. TE dump

Coaches have been successful running the triple option out of I-formation, which they called the I-veer, or I-back veer.

About 1968, a University of Texas assistant named Emory Bellard (pronounced Bell-ARD) came up with the idea of lining up three backs in tight and running the triple option, and the wishbone was born.

Coach Bellard "broke the bone" when he coached at Mississippi State and introduced the "wing-bone", moving one of the halfbacks up to a wing formation and frequently sending him in motion.

The wishbone concept is still alive, and still effective where it is run. It pops up occasionally in the form of a Stack-I, and a sort of Power-I formation called the I-bone. Air Force and Georgia Southern still run it, but mostly from a spread formation and mostly with motioning wingbacks.

The triple-option from the wishbone was hurt at the high school level by legislation outlawing blocking below the waist. At the college level, it has been hurt by a number of factors, including the tipping of the game's rules in favor of the passing game, and the same pro influence that drives high school and youth Double-Wing and Wing-T coaches crazy.