The A-11 will be seen on the Gridiron again for the 2009 season and beyond, with some modifications.
Even though a small faction of disgruntled football traditionalists at the NFHS spearheaded a change in the rules in their attempt to ban the A-11 Offense, the numerous proponents of the A-11 across the nation will always be pushing the game forward with A-11 concepts and strategies. A growing fraternity of innovative coaches has sprung up across the country, those who believe in super spread out offensive football as one of the best ways to help their football team win more games.
Exciting A-11 concepts have proven successful for many teams. Hardworking players and bright coaches nationwide have and will be implementing various applications of the A-11.“What bothers old-school football people, and I know because I used to be one of them,” explains Piedmont head coach, Kurt Bryan, “is that some football programs around the country have developed their new A-11 system, and the A-11 has established itself as a successful style of offensive football – without using traditional Offensive Tackles in the game. Instead of having a traditional Tackle next to each of the Guards, the A-11 puts a sleeker/faster and more athletic ‘Game Breaker’ type at those Anchor positions and spreads them out wide, past the hash marks. For two years now, A-11 coaches & players have demonstrated that having more players on the field that can score from anywhere is better for their team. The game of football has changed forever, and it will never go back. Today’s amazing athletes and the wild skills they bring onto the field of play demand it. The A-11 is simply another way to play offensive football.”
For now, teams using the A-11 will have to put those 'Anchor' players in jerseys numbered (# 50-79). The Anchors will not be eligible to catch a Forward Pass beyond the line of scrimmage. However, the Anchors will be allowed to catch a backward pass behind the line of scrimmage, take a handoff or reverse, or option pitch behind the line of scrimmage, and fully engage in the play to advance the football on a hook-n-ladder, or option pitch beyond the line of scrimmage once the football has crossed the neutral zone.
Explains Steve Humphries, "The Genie was let out of the bottle two years ago. Now, even college and pro coaches are looking at A-11 strategies to help their teams win, and it has been an excellent off-season because we have had the chance to meet with collegiate coaching staffs in various parts of the country to share what we have learned, and also listen to their ideas. A few Pro coaches have inquired about some A-11 concepts, and now coaches at all levels are helping the game advance. The (NFHS) had a great chance to be true to the history of football and help the game push forward by embracing a study of teams using A-11 at the high school level. At the same time, the (NFHS) could have helped smaller schools across the country. But, a few key people at the (NFHS), most of whom had never seen or participated in an A-11 game live, were the 'chicken-little-sky-is-falling' ring leaders behind the (NFHS) panicked move. They blew it. However, more teams will be using super-spread out A-11 systems, not only at the high school level and the Youth levels, but also at the collegiate and pro levels too. The game of football is becoming more spread out each year. Soon, A-11 style football will become the norm and not the exception. Imagine a few years from now, having a bunch of superstar, world-class athletes operating in the A-11 Offense? It will be one of the most amazing and breathtaking offenses to watch in full-speed live action. It's already happening...and it's inevitable.”