Option Football History: Split-T Stances

In the last post we explored the play sequence developed by Coach Faurot for the Split-T. We discussed how his concepts and ideas were integral to option football development. We will continue to explore the mechanical aspects Faurot named as being important to the success of his scheme. Today we will discuss the backfield players stance’s and alignment.

1. Line Splits
2. Quarterback Path
3. Center/QB Exchange
4. Play Sequence
5. Backfield Stance
6. Ball Handling
7. Position Requirements
8. Flexibility

Faurot believed in putting his backfield players in a three-point stance to eliminate motion penalties while still giving them quickness on the snap count. He accomplished this by emulating the start position of track and field athletes. The primary difference is width of the feet and the placement of the off arm on the thigh.

The Halfbacks’ Stance

Both halfbacks will take a stance where their inside leg is back. This will allow the player to move quickly in the directions necessary to run through Faurot’s play sequence. The right halfback will have his left foot back in order to movie quickly straight ahead for the dive and to the left for perimeter plays. Conversely, the opposite is true for the left halfback. He will have his right foot back, allowing him to move quickly for the dive and for perimeter plays to the right. Both halfbacks will use a fairly deep stagger with the inside foot, but shouldn’t allow the knee to be too low.. They will bend at the knees and hips while keeping a level back.

Once the feet are set, and they have the proper hip and back level, the halfbacks will place their inside hand on the ground. They will keep their eyes up and will rest the off arm on the thigh.

The halfback will us the same stance when aligning in a flanker position. Faurot felt that the stance reduced the number of motion penalties while optimizing the back’s quickness out of his stance without slipping.

Fullback Stance

The fullback’s stance is more balanced because he needs to move in either direction as well as straight ahead. As such, his feet are balanced with no stagger, and will be wider than the foot placement of the halfbacks. He will also have a flat back and keep his eyes up. Faurot preferred to have the fullback in a three-point stance, but mentioned that a two point stance would also be acceptable. If the three-point stance is used, the fullback should also place his off-hand on his thigh and can put either hand on the ground. The photo below shows all three stances and gives an idea of what the alignment will look like.

Don Faurot believed in utilizing three-point stances in his backfield with the left and right halfbacks staggering their inside foot. Photo from Don Faurot’s Secret’s of the Split T.

Backfield Alignment

The backfield alignment is similar to other “T” formations, however, Faurot made a few adjustments to accommodate the play sequence and wide splits of his offensive line. Against most defensive fronts, the halfbacks will align four yards off the line of scrimmage and the fullback will align at four and a half to five yards back. The fullback will be on the midline, directly behind the quarterback, and the halfbacks will be about two yards from the fullback. This will put the halfbacks somewhere behind the guards, but will vary depending on the split of the offensive lineman.

The diagram below shows the backfield alignment in relation to the offensive line.

Split-T backfield alignment. Diagram from Don Faurot’s book Secret’s of the Split-T.



2 thoughts on “Option Football History: Split-T Stances”

Comments are closed.