College Football

How Mobile QBs Have Brought Back the Waggle

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 15:  Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs from the tackle of Marcus Rush #44 of the Michigan State Spartans during the first quarter at Spartan Stadium on September 15, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterSeptember 18, 2012

There is more duality at the quarterback position in college football than ever before, and because of that dynamism a play is resurrected in many forms: the Quarterback Waggle. A play that was a staple in the now-rarely run Wing-T offense and then grew, with some variation, as a way to use players like Michael Vick, is now rising into prominence.

And for that, we have the evolution of the quarterback to thank.

In general, quarterbacks have been "either/or" players. They were either throwers or runners. Certainly, when forced into action, there were guys who threw the ball out of quarterback-run-heavy offenses, but they were far from accomplished passers. On the flip side, so much was made of the pocket, pro-style or spread and Air Raid-type quarterback—a guy who could stand in the pocket and wing it.

The two very rarely converged. 

Now, in college football, because of better coaching from high school, quarterback gurus and collegiate coaches, we're seeing quarterbacks who are comfortable using their feet but are also high-quality triggermen. That means the run-pass option of the waggle becomes a very real, very paralyzing scenario for the defense.

It must be mentioned that a waggle is not the same as a simple bootleg, a half roll or a rollout pass. Waggles are plays where the offense pulls linemen to protect the edge of the waggle action and lead the quarterback into the flat. As the receiving targets run levels routes, the quarterback sees the field clearly; he can pick his targets as they come open downfield, or he can keep the ball himself.

The waggle is really an old-school play that, with the improvements of quarterbacks' overall skill sets, has been pushed into the modern era. It's a game changer from a "put pressure on defense" standpoint and at times it can prove itself to be indefensible. 

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