Two Platoon Football | FBCP S09E20


Two platoon football has been a divisive concept in high school football over the last decade or more. Do you specialize players on one side of the ball, or keep the best players on the field at all times?

There’s a lot to the issue. And while there is not as much argument about two platoon football anymore, there is still a lot to consider.

My feelings on two platoon football are not a secret, either. But I see the advantages. And disadvantages. That’s what this episode of The Football Coaching Podcast is all about.

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Advantages of Two Platoon Football

  • Coaching in a two platoon system means that you clearly define your athletes as offensive players or defensive players. They are specializing on one side of the ball.
  • The biggest advantage of two platoon football is that your players are learning less. They can focus on one side of the ball at all times. This lets you expand the playbook faster, too.
  • Another major advantage is getting more athletes involved. You can start 22 players. Plus, you have 44 players that could play in any game. Twice the number of back-ups ready to get in the game at any time.
  • Two platoon football teams can outlast their ironman football opponents, too. Each player only plays on one side of the ball.

The Downsides of Two Platoon Football

  • Despite all the tremendous advantages, many high school football coaches continue to use the ironman approach to the game. Their players play both sides of the ball.
  • The biggest reason most coaches keep using the old way is numbers. Not only the number of athletes on the team, but the number of legitimate varsity players.
  • When you play true two platoon football, you are keeping some of your top players on the sidelines for half the game. The talent discrepancy at the high school level is so tremendous, that might mean having a legit D-1 stud standing next to you while a borderline varsity athlete is on the field taking meaningful snaps.
  • The two platoon football system can lead to divisiveness between the offense and defense. If one side is underperforming, there can be resentment.
  • Selfishly, I like coaching both sides of the football. I hate being in a two platoon football system because I do not like being separated from the other side of the ball. Or from the players on the other side.
  • Many players feel the same way. They like to play offense and defense.

Considerations For Two Platoon Football

  • Ultimately, the decision is based on you as a coaching staff. Answer a few questions to decide if two platoon football is right for your team.
  • Do you have enough players to run a two platoon system? With smaller numbers, you might be able to start 22 different players. But they’ll have to serve as back-ups on the other side.
  • Are you going to be able to keep top players on the sidelines? Many coaches end up running a ‘hybrid’ two platoon system.
  • Are you prepared from some of the issues that come with two platoon football? Potential in-fighting between the sides, or players and parents unhappy about only playing one side.
  • Remember that your staff will be split, too. Can you afford to have top coaches only working with one side of the ball?

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