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HH: Pioneers: Explaining The Pistol, The Air Raid and The Redskins


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There's been a lot of talk about the offense this year but not a lot of clarity on what exactly the philosophy is. It has been described as a "pro-style spread option" but that over-simplifies and understates the innovation built into the current scheme.

I'll probably be the first person to tell you that the Redskins are running the Air-Raid offense out of the Pistol in order to use the run game to set up favorable match-ups on the outside.


To really get the best grasp of the fundamentals on how this works, one needs to look no further than Morgantown, West Virginia on Saturdays.

The "Air Raid" concept-- popularized by Hal Mumme and Mike Leach in the late-‘90's-- was designed as a hybrid Run and Shoot/West Coast offense with the chief concept being to create "space" by splitting linemen wider and WR's further in their routes. West Virginia Head Coach Dana Holgorsen was a quarterback's coach at Valdosta State in the early ‘90's under both Mumme and Leach before following Leach to be at Texas Tech until 2007. Holgorsen evolved the "traditional Air Raid" by not "throwing just to throw" in his words and running the ball more traditionally.

Air Raid teams like to attack the perimeter with short passing routes in lieu of a traditional rushing attack. Key plays of the Air Raid like the Mesh combo route, triangle concepts, as well as basic crossing patters were popularized by (interestingly enough) Mike Shanahan.

Cont'd at link

Thought this was a good article. I know it may not be earth shattering to most of you, but for those of us that are a "little slow in the X's and O's department" I thought it might be of some help.

If anyone has any other thoughts that they could add to help in explaining our offense, it would be appreciated.

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My best friend is a huge WVU Fan (Lets Go.....) and so starting last year I've been watching a fair bit more of their games to chat with him about it since my college team is rather meh (poor, poor UVA).

All season I've been noting the similarities in the Washington offense to WVU's. It's part of why I wouldn't be too opposed to grabbing Austin if he's still there early in the draft. I had to text him to turn on the TV when we started busting out the Diamond formation early in the season.

Can't tell you how much I love our Pistol offense and hope we continue to make big use of it. I don't see it anymore of a "gimmick" then the Spread is for New England.

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