Why TE Trips is the Best Formation

What’s your favorite formation? 

Right now, mine is TE Trips.

I really like this formation for a number of reasons.

  1. It forces a fairly predictable defensive alignment

The TE forces the front to declare a strength, giving the offense a strong side and a weak side to attack with the run. This gives a bubble somewhere to attack with inside zone, dart, or a gap scheme run. 

With three potential receivers on one side of the formation, the defense will have to honor this unbalanced threat by the offense. Many defenses will roll to the trips, while others will split their coverage to keep the single receiver covered up with two defenders. If Cody Alexander is writing a full post about defending the trips formation, you know it’s something that creates problems for the defense. 

Either way, knowing how a defense will align to a formation helps an offense devise their attack.

  1. It has a 6 man blocking surface for the run game

Most defenses try to keep 6 defenders in or near the box to place conflict on spread offenses.    Without the TE, you have to put one of the defenders in conflict with a zone read or an RPO. The TE gives you the extra guy you need on the line to account for the full front of the defense.

Now your run game really opens up.

Especially if they give you a 6 or a 7 tech against the TE. When I see this, I immediately relish the opportunity to run outside zone against this team. We can block the edge of the defense and give the back plenty of opportunities to make a cut.

Duo with an RPO
Outside Zone


  1. It is versatile to almost all passing concepts

    All 3 man concepts are ready to rock, and you can use a variety of protections from drop back to 

    sprint out. But probably my favorite is play-action off of outside zone. Especially if you run it the

beautiful way it was meant to be run, under center with the ball stretched out, teasing the give to 

the back. Just when you think the back has taken it, the QB pulls the ball back and hides it on his 

backside hip as he plants and boots out the opposite way. He looks first to the Corner route being 

run by the single receiver. If that is covered, then he checks down to the TE crossing underneath. MAGNIFICENT.

  1. It can be personnelled and easily adjusted to take advantage of matchups

    A TE creates opportunity for an offense. If they are reliable blockers and can catch, it adds a

    valuable weapon to your attack. Adjust the formation slightly by bringing the #2 receiver closer to 

    a wing and now you have a 7 man blocking surface, and a very unbalanced defensive box to 

    attack. Flex the TE out just a little and now the defense has to decide how to cover him. Do

    they use a linebacker or commit a safety? It all depends on how you use them within your attack. 

A good formation can make a huge difference in your offense. Find your favorite formations to use and run as much of your offense through all of them. Keep the defense guessing what is coming at them as you line up in the same set over and over again. 

What’s your formation?

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