Developing Your Two-Minute Offense
By Alex Wood
QB Coach, Minnesota Vikings
FROM: American Football Monthly

Using your two-minute offense as efficiently as possible can really make your offensive unit much more explosive.

Think about what it does to an opponent when you have demonstrated consistently the ability to score from anywhere on the field by driving the ball and using the clock with great management skills.

As we all know, two-minute is a form of hurry-up no huddle procedure that can keep a defense on its heels. On offense,  we are attacking somewhat oblivious to the defense because we are playing against the clock.

What this type of procedure does is keep your opponents very basic and they too are playing the clock and trying to keep you out of the end zone, hoping you are inefficient and will mismanage the situation.

Taking all these things into consideration, what it all comes down to is good sound game and clock management with execution. It is critical as a coach to make sure you have a system in place that will help you achieve this goal.

Teaching the quarterback your two-minute philosophy is a good starting point. It's important that the rest of the offensive unit understand as well.

Situation is an important element that must be constantly on the mind of your quarterback and, hopefully, the entire unit. But make no mistake, your quarterback is running the operation.

The coach and quarterback must understand all situations.


(1)Before the half

(2) End of the game

(3) Time on the clock

(4) How many time outs

What is the objective before half? Score! Touchdown or field goal to gain some momentum for second half, or continue to build a lead.

What do you need to know to close out the game?

    1) How many points do we need to win?

    2) Touchdown or field goal ?

    3) How many time outs do we have and how do we use them, etc. If we use them all, how do we control the clock?

Example: Plays to control the clock, when you have no timeouts left. Call plays that will work the sidelines. Plays that will allow your receivers to make the catch, advance the ball, and get out of bounds to stop the clock.
(See diagrams 1, 2, & 3)

These are simply examples: The plays that you use should be base plays that your players are familiar with and can execute with confidence. Then code the selected plays so your QB can communicate them at the LOS effectively.

Implementation of System

Two-Minute Goals & Objectives

I.Beat the clock and score

II.Score either a touchdown or field goal

III. Get momentum going in at half

IV.Win the game in the fourth quarter


I.Coach your quarterback on situations

II.Script and practice each situation

III. Be sure everyone on the offensive unit understands situation football

IV.Win the game with the two-minute drill

Two-Minute Practice Checklist

The following situations should be implemented into your two-minute drill during the pre-season and regular season.

Only script two or three per session, don't try to attempt too many.


    1.Two-play combo

    2.Measurement for a first down

    3.Incomplete pass

    4.First down (chain advancement) College/HS

    5.Third & long (8 + yards) play selection

    6.Situation code-calls

    7.Clock - call (spike ball)

    8.Fourth down (no time-outs)

    9.Administration of a penalty

    10.Sack (use a timeout immediately to stop the clock)

    11.Live ball out of bounds

    12.Time out by official/injury time out

    13.Team time out

Be sure everyone knows when they can huddle as these situations occur.


If two-minute starts from the huddle on (first down only) we use a two-play huddle call.

    1.Formations = Dbl Rt

    2.Protection = Scat Rt

    3.Play = Double Pump/Double Dodge

The second play can be run from a right or left formation. (See diagrams 4A & 4B)

After the first play has been run and the situation dictates to continue with the second call, the Quarterback immediately must start to call direction Right/Right.

This will get everyone lined up to run the second huddle call, the Quarterback can give a L.O.S. reminder with a code call of the play, if necessary.

Example: Dodge/Dodge
(Remember use plays from your base offense and code names that fit your system). (See diagram 5)

If you want to start your two-minute procedure after a play and the clock is running, we use a code word that the quarterback will call and echo until he gets everyone's attention (Bingo, Bingo, Bingo) Then a direction call Right/Right -Left/Left this will start the two-minute drill.

    Two-Minute Rules

    Snap Count

Our snap count rule in two-minute is using our "go" snap count.

Example: "Set-Go"

On first down, we use a two-play combo call. (Call two plays in huddle) These plays can be any combination: Run-Run, Pass-Run, Pass-Pass, etc.

Run both plays unless clock stops. (Be sure your QB knows what situations will stop the clock). (See diagrams 6A & 6B)

Have an automatic play call when you achieve a first down. Change this call from week to week (First down call) Oscar
(Objective is to conserve time and set the tempo). (See diagram 7)

Have a coded play call for 3rd & short situation (Tank call) (See diagram 8)

Other code call situations.
Try to address as many situations as possible with code calls. Remember to use as much of your normal terminology as possible without compromising your effectiveness. Try to keep your system compact and efficient.

Code call 3rd and long (Steeler) (See diagram 9)

Code call to spike ball (Clock Clock)(Never use this on fourth down).(See diagrams 10 & 11)

Get all players lined up in legal formation

Last Play of Game (Victory,Victory) (See diagram 12)

Two-Minute Reminders

     Use your timeouts in the first half; don't take them to the locker room.

     If your quarterback gets sacked, instruct him to call timeout immediately. STOP THE CLOCK!

     Remind your QB & offensive unit not to panic!!!

     Efficiency and execution are the keys.

     The pressure is on the defense.

     Remind ball carriers and receivers to get yardage and get out of bounds.

     Flip-flop young receivers; avoid alignment errors.


Practice Two-Minute Drill

Equipment Needed: 3 coaches, 2 chain operators, 1 set of chains, 1 football, 1 stopwatch

Preparing a Two-Minute Script

Procedure: You will need referees or designate coaches to run the drill. Either will work.

    A. Coach to spot the ball and wind the clock, enforce timeouts, etc.

    B. Coach to provide info situation and run clock (stopwatch)

    C. Coach to check alignments

First, determine how you want your two-minute drill to start, with a huddle play call or following a play from scrimmage with the clock running. Be sure to change up how you start the drill to get your team used to both situations.

Be sure to coach your QB on what information he needs to know before he steps into the huddle to call the play. Ask him
each time what is the situation:

This is what he needs to know:
1. How much time is left

2. How many timeouts available

3. What do we need to win

a. touchdown

b. field goal

If the situation is just before halftime, your QB still needs to know this information and our objective is to score!

Remember, you don't need to script these man situations in one practice. My objective here is to present a thorough example. Practice time is always a factor as you plan.

Maintain a checklist so you can insert as many as you need per practice to be sure you hit as many situations as possible, if not all of them before you play your first game.

We would practice two-minute twice a week Wednesday for a 7-minute period (allowing time for setup) and Thursday for a 5-minute period when playing on Saturday. Try to have hit them all at least by your third game of the year. Usually your offensive coordinator is responsible to maintain a two-minute situation checklist.

Another reason you only want to script a few for each opportunity you will have to practice this system is that you want to make it as realistic as possible so you will have to let the drill go so it will naturally create these situations. You want your QB and the players on the offensive unit to get the feel for the sense of urgency, hustle, and cerebral execution.

Remind your team not to panic, efficiency, and execution will prevail. This is the coaches opportunity to evaluate performance in a simulated pressure situation before you play the actual game.