Football 101: Two-back offense

Updated: November 7, 2003, 1:55 PM ET
By Bob Davie | Special to ESPN.com
Over the past 10 years in college football, we have witnessed the evolution of the spread formation and one-back offense. Every team now has some spread one-back or no-back scheme in their playbook -- and many use it as their base attack. With so many teams stretching the defense by using three or four wide receivers at the same time, we are seeing less of the old, conventional two-back sets. There is no question that one-back spread offenses have revolutionized college football, but there is still a place for the two-back attack utilizing the fullback as an extra blocker in the backfield.

In fact, over the past year we have seen several predominantly one-back teams add two-back packages to their offensive systems to gain balance. Florida State and West Virginia are great examples of teams that have evolved from exclusively being in one-back sets to more two-back sets, taking advantage of their personnel.

Balance is the key to any offensive system, and unless a team is going to run the quarterback out of the one-back set, that system is limited in the running game without a fullback in the backfield. The trend is starting to swing back to a little more balance between one- and two-back sets in base offensive packages.

Bob Davie

College Football
Bob Davie, a veteran college football coach of 25 years, most recently as head coach at the University of Notre Dame, serves as an analyst on college football game telecasts and select studio shows.