Designed to overpower the defense at the line, the I-Formation Offense is a great way to play smash mouth football.
Often credited to Tom Nugent, the exact creator of the I Form is unknown – but it has been a successful formation at all levels of football for more than 60 years, and will continue to be used for much longer.
Named for the similarity between how the three backs line up behind center, the I Form is a classic football formation, with two tackles and two guards aligned to either side of the center in the middle of the offensive line. The quarterback, fullback, and tailback all line up in a straight line, with the other two backs a couple yards further behind the QB, creating an “I”.
Like all formations, there a quite a few different variants, bringing as many as three tight ends in for power running, or as many as three receivers to spread out the defense, and anything in between. Sometimes, the fullback will line up at the same depth but with slight adjustment, 1-2 yards to either side, lining up behind a guard instead of center. This is called the offset I, and would be called either strong I or weak I depending on which side of center the fullback lines up on.
Famous I-Formation Offenses
- Earlys 1970s Nebraska
- 1980s Oakland Raiders
I-Formation Offense Strengths
- Power Running
- Playaction Passing
I-Formation Offense Weaknesses
- Long Range Passing
I-Formation Offense Plays
If you're interested in learning more about I-Formation Offense, make sure you check out our I-Formation Playbook. It's packed with 10 simple, fun and effective plays designed for youth and high school football. All explained with player responsibilities, step by step diagrams, and implementation tips for coaches.
Get The I-Formation PDF Playbook
Below are some sample plays you can check out.
Running Play: Jumbo Right 26 Power
Football is a game of inches, and sometimes, that’s all you need - a couple of inches. Here’s a no-nonsense, power blocking run, great for 3rd or 4th and inches, or anywhere down near the goal line. And if no holes open up quick enough, tell your TB to dive up and over the line!
- LT: Blocks man, seals him outside
- LG: Blocks man, seals him outside
- C: Leads right, stopping any penetration by LBs or DTs
- RG: Leads left, blocking first DT
- RT: Blocks DT any direction
Backs & Receivers
- LTE: Blocks man, seals him outside
- RTE: Blocks DE any direction
- FB: Reads RT’s block, going either inside or outside
- PB: Reads RTE’s block, going either inside or outside
- TB: Follows FB and PB, pacing himself, waiting for a hole he can explode out of to appear
- QB: Hands ball to TB and gets out of the way
- The direction of the blocks for the RT and RTE don’t matter - but sustaining them for as long as possible does.
- If you don’t have an effective power runner, take a page out of Bill Belichick’s book and give an OLB a shot - they’ve got the perfect combination of speed and strength to do awesome in short yardage.
Passing Play: Weak 1 Right 75 Option Flats
While only showing two receivers, releasing all five eligible receivers makes it very tough for the defense to react with exposing huge holes, especially in a zone coverage. Versus the cover 2, look for the SE to get open behind the defense, and against the cover 3, look for the FL to make the correct read on the option.
- LT: Pass blocks man
- LG: Gives up a step, waiting for blitzing LB or LT’s man
- C: Pass blocks man
- RG: Gives up a step, waiting for blitzing LB or RT’s man
- RT: Pass blocks man.
Backs & Receivers
- TE: Runs a corner route
- Y: Runs a fade route
- Z: Runs an option route at about 8 yards
- FB: Runs a flat route
- TB: Runs a swing route
- QB: Takes a 3 step drop, goes through progression
- Z, the flanker here, needs run hard at the CB and make his decision on whether to run the option inside or outside.
The QB’s progression is as follows: Y, Z, TE, TB, FB.
- In case of blitz, the QB can always check down to the hot receiver - in this case, the FB.
For more plays like this, check our complete I-Formation Playbook today!
More Football Offenses
- Double Wing Offense: uses two wingbacks to set up power runs and misdirection plays
- Singleback Offense: a versatile passing offense, which also works well for draws and outside runs
- Spread Offense: spreads the defense horizontally, making it easier to isolate man coverage, as well as find and throw to the holes in the zone
- Pro Set Offense: provides excellent balance, allowing you to get the ball to any area of the field very quickly
- Wing-T Offense: an all-time favorite at the youth level, which emphasizes counters, reverses, bootlegs and short passing plays
Or, if you need help develop fundamental offensive skills, don't miss our drill collections covering quarterbacks, offensive line, running backs and receivers.
Related ArticlesSours: https://www.football-tutorials.com/i-formation-offense-101/
Below are my best 5 Power I Plays youth football that I like to run from my variation of the Power I formation I call Pie in my multi formation Power Wing Beast Offense playbook for pee wee football. The Power I Offense is a great youth football offensive package for any youth football team since its focuses on the run and has great play action passing opportunities.
My HS also ran the Power I so I am very familiar with the offensive formation. Although at the youth football level, I am not using the Power I offense formation’s option package. The Pie Power I formation is an excellent addition to the Beast formation or since it adds a tailback into the backfield for great outside run and counter capabilities. With many of the same inside power plays.
In my variation of the Power I Offense, I will move the two blocking backs around in the backfield and closer to the line of scrimmage on many plays to get better blocking angles and timing. At older levels I will run my Pie version and the traditional Power I Formations to confuse the defense. Experiment and see what works best for your team.
#1 Power I Plays Youth Football – Power Lead Dive
The Pie Power I Left 23 Power Lead Dive is the top Power I offense play in youth football in my opinion. I run this play with great success every season since I installed the formation in to my multi formation Power Wing Beast Offense playbook for pee wee football. The play is a quick hitting ISO power Lead play that just works, especially with big OLM. This play made the #10 spot on my Best Offensive Plays for Youth Football article several years ago.
I like to run the Power Lead play Power I formation plays youth football when I find the bubble in the opposing defense. When I get a open gap or gap and a half and a timid pee wee linebacker the power I power lead dive plays shine. Here is some game video of the Pie 23/25 power Lead Dive Plays.
The simplicity of the Power I Inside Power Dive and the effectiveness on weak / MPP middle defensive fronts are the reasons this play was #10 on my top youth football plays and #1 in my best power I plays youth football list. Hit the hole quick before the Defense can react.
#2 Power I Plays Youth Football – Power Counter
If you have a speedy tailback, tough or quick footed, Power I Plays Youth Football Power Counter is a top youth football misdirection play to run against overly aggressive pee wee football defenses. Set the opposing defense up with power leads and let them shift to defend then hit them with the counter play. This play was run against us many times several years ago and was a hard play to defend with their top TB in the league.
Basically the offensive running backs will fake an opposite dive or sweep play with jab steps. The Tailback #2 must really sell the fake. Remember one good fake is worth two great blocks. QB opens to the opposite side and tosses or hands the ball off to the TB. The Fullback #4 will kick out the DE / Contain Man and the WB #3 will lead through the hole or pick up first bad guy to show his face.
This Power I Offense misdirection can be very effective when set up. I like to use it when I need a first down or big gainer. The big play opportunity on this play is why its #2 in my best power I plays youth football list.
#3 Power I Plays Youth Football – Double TE Pass
The TE pop pass is one of my favorite youth football pass plays. I call the TE Pop Pass play Popeye. The Double TE Pass is even sweeter since both TEs are going out on fade routes or seams; whichever your young QB throws better. I like to run the double tight end pop pass from the Power I Offense since I have two RB blockers to fill for the TEs and a good fake sweep run from the #2 TB that can easily turn into a wide screen route. Plus many youth football defensive coordinators see the Power I as a short yardage formation and will not be ready for the pass.
This is one of my favorite youth football pass plays from just about any formation. Here’s some actual 12U game video footage of the Power I TE Double Pop Pass play. In this game footage you can see the defense come up for the Sweep play and leave the TEs wide open. See picture of the pass play below too.
The deceptive play action and maximum pass protection of the QB on this Tight End pass play is why its #3 in my best power I plays youth football list.
#4 Power I Plays Youth Football – WB Counter
The Power I Offense play WB Counter is another misdirection play from the Power I formation. When an opposing Defense is keying your hot shot tailback and following his every move then the WB counter is a great play to surprise them with for long yardage. This works especially well if your #3 Wingback is a good runner and has above average speed. If the FB makes a good kick out on the DE and the iLBs have bailed with the tailback this play will make a big statement to the Defense; Stay at Home!
You can run this play from an overloaded line or an even line. Many times in youth football the opposing defense will not see the adjustment on one or two plays a game. I’ve run it overloaded to the counter side a few times. Since this is a surprise misdirection play from a secondary ball carrier it is #4 in my best power I plays youth football list.
#5 Power I Plays Youth Football – Pie Wide Splits Power Dive
In this Power I Formation play we are running my version of the Power I; Pie. I like to move the blocking backs around and may even cheat over the TB behind the playside guard. This is the Pie 26 Sloppy Nasty which is a wide split at the tackle and a Nasty split by the playside tight end. In this Power I formation alignment I am trying to get the defensive lineman to widen with our Offensive lineman.
Many many times in youth football the opposing defense will widen out and not understand whats going on for a TD or two. Especially if you run this play toward your sideline. This alignment technique has become a standard in this power I formation for me since it is similar in a way to the Beast offense alignments.
You can also run this formation form a short shotgun which I call Cake and sometimes Fat, which it then turns into a ND Box type formation from early Single Wing Days.
This wide spacing power lead dive alignment can be run up and down the offensive line. I usually do not run in the A Gaps holes, since I will usually just run a Wedge in those areas. If a teams starts to stack LBs in the gaps we have play called to, we audible to run one hole wider or call a counter or on the next plays we will run Pie plays in stealth mode which moves Pie back into a traditional Power I formation alignment. The versatility of this plays is why its #5 in my best power I plays youth football list.
I hope you enjoyed this top play youth football article on Best Power I Plays Youth Football. For more go best youth football play / offense lists……
Check out my Best / Top / Favorite Youth Football plays article series.
Check out the the top youth football offensive formations here.
Contact me anytime to chat coaching youth football, I would love to hear from you.
Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!
Fort Worth, Texas / DFW
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Power I Formation Plays & Playbook
The power-I formation, also known as the I-formation is a formation that features two tight-ends, H-back, QB, fullback, and a half-back. There are a bunch of different formation variations. The Power I Formation Plays & Playbook can be installed in just a few practices.
Power I Formation Plays & Playbook
- Easy to Implement-Youth Football Friendly
- Ground and Pound
- Explosive Play-action Passing Play
- Formation Friendly.
Easy To Implement
This formation is very youth football friendly. The power-I formation is simple and at least 2 plays a practice can be installed. The power I will accommodate teams that do not have depth at running back. Most youth football teams only have a handful of kids that can actually run the football. When running this formation you really only need one or two running backs.
Ground and Pound
This power I formation plays & playbook will allow your team to really pound the football inside. This formation will feature two tight-ends, which spreads the defense out horizontally. When you have two tight-ends, it makes the defense defend both sides of the formation. The power-I will allow you to implement various blocking schemes. You can utilize double team blocks at the point of attack when facing big/strong defensive linemen. You can also use a down blocking scheme, where each offensive linemen blocks down. Utilizing cross blocking is also very effective out of this formation.
Explosive Play-action Passing
This formation has such an explosive play-action passing game because it is such a ground and pound offense. Once you are able to pound the football, the defense will commit to stopping the run. Once the defense starts selling out and blitzing to stop the run they will get burnt with the play-action passing game.
This power I formation plays & playbook is a compressed formation, but you can still spread the field as well. You can utilize a split-end or even go with twins (two receivers to one side). Spreading the defense out will allow you lighten up the box. Meaning, you will be taking defenders out of the box because they have to respect/cover the receivers split out wide. The off-set I-formation is also a very good formation. The off-set power-I will add some deception to the offense. Defenses will tend to over shift to the off-set fullback side, which will open themselves up for counter plays.
Power I Formation Plays & Playbook Series
The power/blast play is the base play of this series. Every play will work off of the power play. You can also base block or even cross block on this play. You can utilize unbalanced formations to give you an extra blocking at the point of attack.
The trap play is a quick hitting play that works off of the power play. The trap play does take some practice. The timing on the trap needs to be precise and quick hitting. It will take a couple of reps, but the kids will get the timing down rather quickly. Wedge blocking can also be implemented, rather than trapping.
The counter play is an excellent way to deceive the defense. Once the defense is aggressively selling out to stop the power you hit them with the counter play. Much like the trap, the counter does take some practice reps.
Power Pass Play
The power pass is a very explosive play-action passing play. This play fakes power & trap, then attacks the defense with a corner route and a flat route- a high – low concept. You also have the option to have the backside tight-end run a skinny post.
Additional Power I Formations
When defenses start loading the box, come out in twins. It will make the defense commit defenders to covering the two receivers. This will lighten up the box a bit. There are many different power I formation plays & playbook that can be utilized in youth football.
Off-Set Left Off-Set Right
Wing Left Wing Right
These are the best power-I formations for youth football. I particularly like the off-set formation. The off-set will give your offense more options. I also like the I-formation because it utilizes a wing-back (WB). There are many way you can utilize a wing-back.
These power I formation plays & playbook works very well in youth football. This series of plays all complement each other. These plays can be install in a short period of time. This series can be installed during the practice week as a nice complement to your main offense. You can implement the same plays we that are shown on video out of different formations.
(See Also)3 Ways to Run the Power Concept out of the Spread
Get Your I-formation Playbook
I Formation Playbook for Youth Football
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