Jeff Herron Proves the Wing-T Offense Works 

Jeff Herron is one of the most successful high school football coaches in the country. Running the Wing-T offense, he has won five state championships at three different schools: three at Camden County, one in his only season at Grayson, and one with Oconee County. He has won 12 region championships with Camden, where he coached from 2000 to 2012. He returned to Camden as the head coach in 2021 and has led the Wildcats the last two seasons. Camden finished 8-4 last season, including 3-1 in competitive Region 1-7A. The Wildcats captured the No. 2 seed, winning their opening-round playoff game at home against East Coweta before falling to Herron’s former Grayson team.

In all, Herron has won 299 games as a head coach in Georgia. He won 25 games in two seasons at T.L. Hanna High School in South Carolina. He inherited an Oconee County team that had won just eight games in the previous four seasons prior to his arrival in 1997; two seasons later he lead them to a state championship.

While no one will question Herron’s success, there are many who still question the offense he has won with throughout his career – which seems odd, doesn’t it? While it is known by several names, including the option, the veer, the wishbone, and the Wing-T, the triple option has the same basic purpose: control the ball with a run-first offensive approach, using misdirection to force aggressive defenses to alter their style while guessing who has the ball.

Herron has been known as one of the few coaches to run the Wing-T throughout his career, and as the coach tells us in this week’s Next Take Georgia podcast, most of the offenses that coaches run today, including the popular spread offense, were all born out of the triple option.

“Every coach is running some aspects of the Wing-T offense,” Herron said. “The RPO (run-pass option) came from the Wing-T. The interesting thing is that if you watch  college football, and even the NFL, everybody is running things that came from the Wing-T 40 or 50 years ago.”

Herron said his first exposure to the Wing-T came early in his career, when as an assistant coach he was able to attend University of Delaware practices.

“My style of offense that I started running as a head coach came from watching Delaware practices,” Herron recalled. “Their offense always had answers for whatever defense they were up against. No matter what or who they were up against, they always had certain plays in their Wing-T offense that would counter their opponent’s defense, and that stuck with me.”

Herron believes that still is the biggest advantage his offense has today.

“We feel like in every game, against every defense, we will have an answer with our style of offense,” he said.

That was never more evident than when Herron’s Camden County team faced the state’s best defense in Valdosta High last fall. The Wildcats entered the game with an 8-0 record, and the bulk of their success was on the strength of their feared defense, which had allowed just 33 total point (an average of 4 points per game) entering the Camden game. In four of those eight wins, Valdosta’s defense had allowed no points. (One opponent, Banneker, ended up with a safety, but scored no points with their offense against the Valdosta defense.)

As Herron described, his style of offense is designed to have an answer against every defense, and it was indeed able to respond to that vaunted Valdosta defense. Camden County won the game 17-14, the most points any offense had scored on the Wildcats all season.

Despite being a run-heavy Wing-t offense, Herron says don’t confuse his offense with an option attack.

“We have certain elements of the option in our offense, but we don’t consider our offense to be an option offense,” Herron said.

He said another misconception about his offense is that they never throw the football.

“We want to be a productive offense, and if that means having to pass, we will,” Herron said.

The Camden head coach references those years of watching spring practices at Delaware, where no matter what their strength was in terms of players, the offense remained effective, year after year.

“I was fortunate to watch Delaware for 17 years, and some years they would have a really good quarterback or a good fullback,” he said. “They never had very big offensive linemen, but they were always able to move the football, because their style of attack never changed. They always had answers for their opponents’ defenses, and that’s the main reason I fell in love with that type of offense. It was a system of football that made sense to me.”

A lot of what makes sense, said Herron, is that no matter what a team’s personnel looks like, it can always have the versatility to move the football.

“There will be some seasons when you don’t have a great quarterback, and for some teams, that means it’s going to be a long year,” he said. “Part of my success as a head coach has been because our offense will always be versatile enough that if we don’t happen to have ‘that top guy,’ then we can do something else to succeed on offense.”

Jeff Herron has proven through the years how to be successful with his offense – whatever you choose to call it.

Hear more from Jeff Herron on our Next Take Georgia podcast.

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