November 6, 2007
Exactly...What is this New A-11 Offense in Football?
The A-11 Offense (All Eleven Players Potentially Eligible) is a new, scrimmage-kick formation based, offensive system in football created by Piedmont Head Coach, Kurt Bryan, Director of Football Operations, Steve Humphries, and the entire Piedmont Football Coaching Staff.
"Respectfully, throughout football history at the high school level, other teams have run a few plays from a scrimmage kick formation. But this is a brand new system in football, and for the thousands of small schools like us nationwide that are forced to compete against much larger schools on a regular basis, it's the only way we can be competitive. The larger enrollment schools have a very unfair size advantage over the smaller schools, and so we had to try something new." Explains Piedmont head coach, Kurt Bryan.
Piedmont High School, in Piedmont, CA, is in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) NCS - 2A East Bay Classification, with a coed, public enrollment of just over 800 students. However, Piedmont routinely competes against schools nearly twice their size. In fact, in their NCS - 2A Classification (the enrollment bracket is from a minimum of 700 students all the way up to a maximum of 1,600 students). Potentially, more than a 2 - to - 1 enrollment size disadvantage for the smaller schools.
And so, the A-11 Offense was born to try and somewhat negate the sheer overwhelming size advantage much larger schools maintain over the small ones.
"In high school athletics, constructing a fair, positive and competitive environment for the student-athletes has always been the top priority, and that should never change." Notes Bryan, "The CIF, the National Federation of High Schools, and all of the Referees that have worked our games throughout California should all be praised and commended for not discriminating against us because we took a chance and tried something new. Their open-minded and diverse approach about understanding the need for us to be competitive by trying this new system has been totally professional. And, the feedback from players, fans, opposing coaches and the officials has been fantastic. For that, we are most grateful. Football is a game that is always evolving and this is just another step forward for high school football."
The A-11 features up to all eleven players wearing an eligible receiver jersey number, either 1-49 or 80-99, with two quarterbacks in the shotgun formation, and with nobody under center - thereby meeting the criteria for a scrimmage kick formation. In their base sets, Piedmont has a center, and a tight end on each side, and three wide receivers to the right, and left respectively. By spreading the potentially eligible receivers across the entire field, it forces the defense to account for every possible receiver on each play. Of course, on any given play, only 5 of those players can go downfield to catch a pass, and the rest remain ineligible to catch a downfield pass on that particular play.
The A-11 was in development for more than a year before being unveiled in the Highlanders season opener vs. Campolindo. After working out some kinks during their first two games, Piedmont has reeled off 7 straight wins, now stands 7-2-0 overall, undefeated in BSAL league play at (5-0), and plays reigning league champion, St. Patrick's (9-0) on November 9th, at 7:00PM for the league title, in Vallejo, CA.
"After our first two games, some people thought we were crazy," said Bryan, "but the players and coaches kept believing in the A-11 and learning about it; and our school's administration has been very supportive too. Now, we have earned the right to play for the league championship against one of the top 5 teams in our state bowl division rankings, and it doesn't get any better than that."
The Piedmont coaching staff is also excited about the excellent safety aspect of the new offense, says A-11 co-creator Steve Humphries. “An unforeseen benefit for us has been a major increase in the safety and protection of our players. We have not had major injuries to our offensive players in a game or practice due to the spread out nature of the A-11, and this is a major selling point. It really helps the players of the much smaller schools stay healthier during the season, which in turn allows schools like us to remain competitive throughout the entire year.”
"We are getting calls and emails from all over the country about the A-11 and how it works; from high schools and college, and one NFL coach too." Explains Bryan. "That is a great compliment to the entire Piedmont football family, from top to bottom: players, coaches, our administration and fans alike."