The Ace Formation (also known as a �Single set back,� �Lone Setback,� �Oneback,� or �Solo�) is a football formation which uses one running back, two tight ends and two wide receivers. The running back is lined up five yards behind the quarterback.
With the increase in zone blocking and more complex defenses, the Ace Formation has grown in popularity in recent years. Offensive coordinators find it attractive because it creates a number of match-up problems in coverage.
Traditionally, this formation works best when utilizing quick receivers, fast linemen, a shifty runner and a quarterback who can complete passes under pressure. Due to these demanding personnel requirements, the Ace Formation is most commonly used in the NFL.
Several popular variations of the Ace Formation also exist. These include:
Spread Formation – Uses four wide receivers and no tight ends. While no longer used on a consistent basis in the NFL, it was the key formation for the Run-and-Shoot offenses of the Houston Oilers and Detroit Lions in the 1980s. In college football, programs such as Texas Tech and the University of Hawaii have used this formation in recent years.
H-Back Formation – Developed by Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, this variation uses a flex tight end called an �H-Back.� This can also be referred to as the �Two Tight End� set. Originally devised to stop Giants� great Lawrence Taylor from blitzing into the backfield, this formation is now used throughout the National Football League.