A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 24, 2008
Veer (football offensive formation)

The “Veer” offensive formation (also called the “Houston Veer” or “Veer-T") is credited to University of Houston football coach Bill Yeoman (1962-1986), who installed the offense in 1964. Yeoman developed the Veer out of necessity, when a defensive lineman was destroying all his offensive plays. The Veer added a slight misdirection to get around a hard-charging defense line and get the football to players running upfield.


Wikipedia: Veer
The Veer is an option offense in American football, made famous at the collegiate level. It is currently run primarily on the high school level, with some usage at the collegiate and (with slight modifications) the professional level with varying degrees of success. The Veer is an effective, ball control offense that can help minimize mismatches in a game for a team. However, it can lead to turnovers with pitches and handoff option reads.

Formations
The Veer can be run out of any variety of formations, although it was primarily designed to be run out of the split-backed, aptly named veer formation. It has been used out of the I-formation (and its variants, including the Power-I and Maryland I), Split back formation, the flexbone, and the wishbone. It also is used in the shotgun formation. Some variants of the triple option have now made the jump to the shotgun formation. The Shotgun has become a popular option formation since Vince Young and the University of Texas Longhorns used the “zone read” in their 2005 National Championship run.

How it works
The Veer option is generally regarded as a “triple option”. It is designed as a Four back attack with one player taking a dive course, one taking a pitch course and another being a lead blocker on the perimeter of the offensive formation. The QB makes reads on defensive players and then distributes the ball according to the defensive reaction to the offense. A typical play proceeds as follows (we will assume that this is an “inside veer” going to the right side out of the split-back formation): the quarterback takes the snap. He then does what is called “opening up”: the quarterback goes from his two point stance, facing forward, and takes (in this situation) his opposite side, left foot and pivots ninety degrees on his right foot, extending the ball toward the sideline he is facing. The split-back halfback on the right side, who in this situation is the “dive back”, goes forward into the line to where the quarterback is and meets in an area called the “mesh point”. This is where the idea of the Veer begins to take shape: the offensive line has left one man unblocked here, most likely a defensive tackle (although it can be a linebacker). This man is being Read by the QB. The defender is being forced to choose between tackling the dive back or the quarterback. The dive back explodes forward, puts his arms around the ball that is being extended, but does not take it. The quarterback, in his open stance, is reading the man being veered to determine whether he will “pull” the ball from the dive back, or let the dive back take the ball and go through the hole. This is where the name of the offense, the veer, comes from. This is just one part of the Four-part option. If the quarterback keeps the ball, he attempts to cut up the field with the opposite side halfback, who has been running right towards the dive back’s original position. He is the pitch man. He attempts to maintain proper pitch relation to the quarterback, technically a few yards outside the quarterback and moving laterally so that the quarterback may pitch the ball as he goes down the field. This entire action does not take longer than a few seconds. The Fourth Player in the split-veer would be a wide receiver or tight end. His job, depending on the formation, would be to block the Force player who is responsible for the flat to the side they are attacking. The offense relies on the quarterback making the proper reads, and reacting to the read (if he decides to keep the ball), turning up the field and gaining yardage. The dive back must remember to not take the football from the quarterback, rather the quarterback must give it to him. The pitch man must know to maintain proper spacing from the quarterback to ensure that the quarterback can make an effective pitch that can ensure more yardage.

Origin of the Veer
Two different men are credited with the invention of the Veer.

Bill Yeoman is credited with the invention of the Veer in 1964, and he ran that offense with the University of Houston for 25 years. He installed the offense, which led to multiple conference titles and unprecedented success. For further details, see below.

Emory Bellard is credited with the invention of the Veer offense during his High School coaching days in the early 1960s. Originally a high school football head coach, he began experimenting with an option offense using three backs. After being hired at the University of Texas by Darrell Royal, and eventually being named the Offensive Coordinator, he devised the wishbone based veer attack that won a national title in 1969 . Bellard left Texas to take the head coaching job at Texas A&M University. After that, the Veer offense spread quickly.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
veer, n.
Amer. Football. An offensive play which makes use of a modified T-formation with a split backfield, allowing the quarterback the ‘triple option’ of passing to the full-back, pitching to a running-back, or running himself. Cf. WISH-BONE n. 4.
1968 Houston (Texas) Post 5 Sept. XIII. 8/4 Gipson’s 1,100 rushing yards added much to the Houston Veer-T offense a year ago.
1973 Ibid. 6 Sept. DD1/4 The UH head coach, now entering his 12th season as chief of the Cougars, doesn’t plan to junk the Houston Veer, however.
1974 Southeastern Football (Nashville, Tennessee) (Pre-Season ed.) 20 ‘We feel we have the personnel to run the veer,’ says Jordan. ‘Our quarterbacks are able to read defenses and they can execute the option.’
1974 Anderson (S. Carolina) Independent 19 Apr. 5B/4 Jeff Grantz..excelled in the Gamecock veer last fall as a sophomore.
1986 Gridiron UK June 33/2 The Veer, developed by Bill Yeoman..took the Split T one step farther in that it was the first true triple-option offense.

7 December 1969, Port Arthur (TX) News, “Veer Created by Accident” by Jim Walden, pg. 14, col. 1:
IN THE FALL OF 1964, the University of Houston head football coach Bill Yeoman was, to say the least, not the most popular man around campus. The Cougars were losing in a bad way. Students and exes were after his scalp. he was even hung in effigy from the school’s flag pole.

Yeoman had to come up with something.

By accident, he did.

About mid-way of the season something happened in a Cougar workout that has influenced college football from coast to coast.

An offensive tackle missed a blocking assignment. Instead of blocking the defensive tackle at the line of scrimmage, he headed up field, but Cougar back Dick Post, now the leading rusher in the AFL, made a huge gain. Yeoman called his troops back and went through the play again, and again.

Quarterback Bo Burris starting faking and handing off in accordance to the reaction by the defensive tackle. Out of this broken assignment, the famed Houston triple option offense featuring the Veer-T attack was born. Houston has led the nation the past three years in total offense with the multiple option attack.

30 July 1974, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Yeoman and Innovation” by Steve Pate, section B, pg. 2:
Yeoman was an All-American center in 1948 undr Col. Earl “Red” Blaik, one of college’s greatest coaches and an idol to Yeoman.
(...)
His Houston Veer offense remains the nation’s most used offense, according to a survey in Football News, still the Wishbone.

But, Yeoman said, “Blaik had an old Veer play that we rain in 1947. It wasn’t the same, but it somewhat resembled the Veer-T. That man had and discarded more ideas than 99 per cent of all coaches have in a lifetime. he never let up. He tried to relax, but it was hard for him to.”

12 December 1976, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Veer Born in Desperation” by Brooks Tinsley, section B, pg. 10:
Mention the term “Houston Veer” to any college football coach across America and the almost-automatic response is to either sing the praises of—or defame the name of—Bill Yeoman, head football coach of the Cotton Bowl bound Houston Cougars and father of the Veer.

What is this monster Yeoman created back there in the mid-sixties, this nearly unstoppable offensive attack that has found ways to thoroughly confuse defensive coaches while setting record after record after offensive record?

And why the Veer attack over the more conventional triple-option and “T” offensive set? These formations were being used by most folks back in 1965 when the Veer burst out of the realm of what-might-be into a sure-fire way of moving the football and scoring points, direct causes to the effect of winning.

“Just trying to save my job,” Yeoman explained of his invention this week while prepping his Cougars for their Jan. 1 date in Dallas with the undefeated Maryland Terrapins, champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference. “We (the Houston coaching staff) knew we were on our way out, and I wanted the chance to see if the danged thing worked.”

Little did Yeoman or anybody else know just how well it would come to work when the Veer was born that afternoon, in 1964, thanks partly to a player named Gus Brezina. Gus Brezina? he was a big defensive tackle to whom Yeoman gives a lot of credit for Houston coming up with the basic concept of the Veer offense.

“During spring practice in 1964, we were working our power sweeps against an eight-man front,” Yeoman recalls. “Well, that guy Brezina kept messing us up by coming through the line and going upfield to stop our ball carrier before he could get going.

“Finally, I called the wingback and end over and told them to simply release on the play, to just run somewhere rather than block. Then I suggested to the dive back that he dive into the line. The ball was snapped, that tackle Brezina came through, the ball was handed to the fullback inside and he was gone up the middle.

“It worked so well that we went back to running the power sweep the rest of the day.”

Houston (TX) Chronicle- UH athletics with Michael Murphy
December 17, 2007
Because the Cougars want you to know ...
It’s old Cougars week at the U, with Bill Yeoman and Michael Young being recognized for their contributions with the Cougars.
(...)
Yeoman was the head coach at Houston from 1962 to 1986 and is the Cougars’ all-time winningest head coach with a record of 160-108-8. Yeoman led the Cougars to four top-10 finishes and 10 top-20 seasons in his 25 seasons. He guided the Cougars to four Southwest Conference Championships - 1976, 1978, 1979 and 1984 - and a 6-4-1 record in bowl games, including Cotton Bowl victories over Maryland in 1977 and Nebraska in 1980.

He invented the “Veer” offense and used it to lead the nation in total offense for three consecutive years (1966-68)—437 yards per game in 1966, 427 in 1967 and a then-record 562 (and a nation-leading 42.5 points) in 1968. 

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, May 24, 2008 • Permalink