When many people think of the wishbone the think of the traditional formation that was used in the 60's, 70's, and even into the 80's by many successfull programs. The fact in the matter is that you can vary your wishbone formation to give a different look to the same plays. Some of the formation variations include the Double Tight, Wing Bone, Spread Bone, Double Wing, And Flex Bone. Each of these formations has its own advantage and adds dynamics to the game.
Double Tight - The traditional wishbone offense with two tight ends. The offensive play calls out of the DT can range from power, to deceptive, to option style.
Wing Bone - The wing bone offense was probably originally introduced by Henry Bellard when he was coaching at Mississippi State University, after he brought the wishbone to the University of Texas. The wing bone is the wishbone, with two tight ends, one split and one tight, or two splits, and one of the half backs is moved to a wing position just outside of the tackle or the tight end. The advantage of the wing bone is that the wing is put into a good position to block on either the power or sweep/option plays. It also creates a two receiver set and provides a more dynamic passing attack. Sending the wing back in motion adds another dimension to the offense.
Spread Bone - The spread bone can range anywhere from simply having two wide receivers without tight ends, one tight end and one wide receiver, or either of those two sets with one of the half backs split out to a slot, pro, or twins allignment. The spread bone can be used to establish a passing game and spread out the defense without compromising the integrity of the traditional wishbone power and option games. When the bone is 'broken' and one half back lines up in a slot, pro, or twin position, motion can also be used to make the defense adjust.
Flex Bone - The Flex Bone is an adaptation of the wishbone that usually uses two wide receivers, two slots, and a fullback. This formation offers a combination of the pass threat of a spread set and the triple option attack of the wishbone. The Flex Bone gained popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Ken Hatfield, Fisher DeBerry, Paul Johnson, and Ken Niumatalolo are notable NCAA coaches that have utilized the Flex Bone offense successfully.
Double Wing - The Double Wing, though similar in appearance to the Flex Bone, is quite different. It is an offensive formation with two tight ends and, just like it sounds, two wing backs just outside of the tight ends. Some consider it more closely related to the wing-T than the wishbone but you can run the same basic plays out of the double wing that you can out of wishbone and use the same blocking schemes. Most of the time in Double Wing, one of the wingbacks will go in motion. One of the main concepts of the Double Wing is outnumbering your opponent at the point of attack by pulling multiple linemen and leading backs through the hole.