I want to start my treatment of the Run-N-Shoot by discussing the offense's diachronic (read: historical) development. (Please pardon some of my jargon. Much of my academic research focuses on historical writing as a type of literary event, thus I loath how "history" as a term is conventionally used) Here, in Part I of this section, I will talk a bit about Tiger Ellison's version of the offense. My purpose in doing so is not to provide an in depth account of his offense, but rather to demonstrate why it is really no longer relevant to the Run-N-Shoot as it is currently employed at the major college level.
Without question, Tiger Ellison's Run-n-Shoot was an innovative and dynamic offensive system, especially for its time (although, in some ways, especially in terms of innovation, I would say that what Dutch Meyer did was perhaps even more so). Tiger's version of the offense is predicated upon a four hot environment. And yes, much like what Mouse would later do, Tiger's offense utilized option routes that he packaged into series that would in time provide a very rough template of sorts for Mouse's system. Tiger also used motion, but not really as a means of decoding coverage, but rather because so much of what he created derived from the Wing-T. In many ways, if we were today to compare Tiger's Shoot to one of Tubby Raymond's later Wing-T teams we would find the resemblances striking. The reason for this is that Tiger still wanted to run the football, just not into an 8 man front. He also wanted take full advantage of the misdirection potential that his double-wing formation afforded him, something that Mouse would use only as a way of controlling the edge and preventing a hard end from crashing his protection from the backside.
Tiger's version of the Run-N-Shoot is still an effective offense at certain levels. In this regard, his offense really is like the Wing-T, an offense that is still very effective at the high school and small college level, but whose trap and cross buck run game is no longer feasible at the higher levels due not only to increased speed, but schematic evolution as well.
Clearly, some Run-N-Shoot purists will not be happy with these comments; especially my equating Tiger's offense to the Wing T. But I wish to stress that these comments are not intended to be dismissive; rather, they are simply predicated upon a close analysis of the deep grammar of Tiger's system.
Tomorrow night I will discuss how Mouse modified Tiger's basic structures and how in so doing he laid the foundation for the modern Run-N-Shoot offense.