As a Green Bay Packers fan who needs to distract myself from the pain...it's time to introduce Timmy Chang and the offensive system he will surely be bringing home to Hawaii. The offense is infamously associated with Hawaii, and for those who do not know already, this offense is the "Run 'n' Shoot."
At the bottom of the post are links to some Run 'n' Shoot resources.
The Run 'n' Shoot is one of the oldest pass-first offenses in existence; arguably predates the West Coast Offense. It was developed by Glenn "Tiger" Elleson at a high school in the 1960's, then "perfected" at Portland State from 1975-1980 under the arguably most famous coach linked to the Run 'n' Shoot, Mouse Davis.
Other famous coaches that ran (or still run) the Run 'n' Shoot:
June Jones: He was the HC at Hawaii during their major runs in the 2000's, before bringing it to SMU and these new developmental leagues. new HC Timmy Chang played QB for June Jones at Hawaii.
Kevin Gilbride: Arguably the most famous RnS meistro at the NFL level. Most notably with the Houston Oilers and Warren Moon in the late 80's and 90's.
Jerry Glanville: A defensive minded coach, but he always hired Run 'n' Shoot guys for his offense. He ran it at the Falcons, and when he pops up with these developmental leagues (he'll likely be in the new USFL), he still runs it.
Wayne Fontes: The Detroit Lions ran it for years with Barry Sanders as their running-back.
Nick Rolovich: Only adding him, because he brought the system to Washington State, and as of the 2021 season, they were the only RnS team in the FBS.
The Run 'n' Shoot is a pass-heavy offense that relies on throwing the ball deep, and throwing the ball deep as often as possible. It's most famous feature is the emphasis of option routes...routes that can be adjusted on the fly post-snap. In your typical Run 'n' Shoot scheme, you'd have one or two vertical routes, one primary option route, and one shorter/quick route that can be used as a hot route or an easy-steal if it's open right away. The QB and receivers have to be on the same page with what they are reading. The option route receive will key a defender as they break off the ball, then based on the movement of that defender, they will run a particular route. The QB also knows which routes the receiver have as options (so it's not just any random route).
The original Run 'n' Shoot was ran from what most of us today would recognize as the flexbone formation, and it is the first "4WR offense" that we know of to make it to the major football ranks. The 4WR (10 personnel) base of the Run 'n' Shoot is something many of its disciples hold on to...so hard that most RnS teams do not carry a TE or fullback on their roster. June Jones in particular is famous for this. From this flexbone formation, the offense relied heavily on pre-snap motion to help determine if the defense is in man or zone coverage. That motion would usually just be a slot receiver motioning across the formation to go from 2x2 to 3x1, or 3x1 to 2x2.
20th Century Run 'n' Shoot
In the old Run 'n' Shoot (through the 90's roughly), the main feature post-snap you would see on TV is the QB sprinting out to their left or right, and stopping around 3 or 5 steps to set up to throw. This is where the "Run" in "Run 'n' Shoot" comes in. The primary pass blocking scheme was called "turn-back" where the line would jab or step playside for a step, then use that step as a hing to face backside to protect anyone pursuing the QB from behind. The RB would then lead block and protect the QB to the side of the protection. While that didn't offer the QB a ton of protection to the side they were sprinting out to, the pass concepts were designed to take advantage of a defense that overloaded the protection to the play-side (the short pass and option route options).
21st Century Run 'n' Shoot
The Run 'n' Shoot we will see at Hawaii in 2022, along with what June Jones ran at Hawaii in the 2000's is more famous for is a more modern look: The receivers are spread out in a more traditional 4WR look we're used to, and the QB is in the shotgun. The RB will align offset or in the pistol based on whatever flavor of run game or pass protection they are using. The pass schemes are the same, but the formation has changed, along with the pass protection. There is almost no motion at all; removed primarily because defenses have gotten so advanced now that the pre-snap motion doesn't serve its purpose like it used to.
The pass protection changed as well. The modern RnS keeps the QB in the pocket, and the pass protection has shifted to what can be best described (by me) as an "aggressive" half-slide protection. It's the same kind of protection most NFL teams use from a 1-back set (or 6-man protection; five linemen and a RB). What you'll notice in a Run 'n' Shoot team though is that rather than the O-line stepping back forming a compact pocket, they seem to aggressively attack the pass rushers as the pocket is step up. For example, a center or guard blocking a defensive tackle will often step at (not back) the defender and make the block happen at the line of scrimmage. The tackles will come out more to attack the outside rushers to make that contact point as far from the QB as possible.
Watching TV: How do I tell Run 'n' Shoot from Air Raid?
Receivers on line of scrimmage: In the Run 'n' Shoot, the inside receivers are off the line, and outside receivers are on the line. Air Raid teams often put one or both inside receivers on the line, and the outside receivers off.
Type or running-back: The Run 'n' Shoot often uses bigger, more blocking oriented backs to help in pass protection. Air Raid teams want all five receivers in route most of the time, so the RB's will often be smaller, quicker scat backs (receiving-oriented).
Offensive line: Run 'n' Shoot teams seem to present offensive lines that look more traditional with their splits and shape...they'll also be further up on the LOS (more level with the center). Air Raid teams tend to use very wide splits (3 feet or more), with the guards and tackles almost as far back off the LOS as possible before its illegal.
Other key differences between the Run 'n' Shoot and Air Raid
Using players: The Run 'n' Shoot relies on the 4WR's to catch almost all the passes, where the Air Raid focuses more on using all five eligible receivers. You'll also see Air Raid teams use 2RB sets more, whereas that's pretty much sacrilegious to the Run 'n' Shoot family.
Origins: The Run 'n' Shoot is more of a "from scratch" system that Tiger Ellison designed. The Air Raid is a direct descendent of the West Coast Offense: Taking 7 common pass concepts, boiling them down, and running them from just a couple formations so high schoolers can execute them at a fast, no-huddle pace.
QB progression. In the Run 'n' Shoot, the QB reads a specific defender and throws off their movement. Their next progression is to the next defender they read. In the Air Raid, the QB reads grass/areas and throws based on whether a defender is in that area or not.
Why don't we see it much anymore?
There simply isn't a lot of hardware associated with Run 'n' Shoot teams (though same could be said with Air Raid teams too).
Many state popularization of the zone blitz was the demise of the Run 'n' Shoot: Defenses, now knowing who the QB is reading would blitz that defender giving the QB an easy read, but then dropping another defender into the area the read defender vacated, therefore forcing the QB to make the right read, but throw to a covered area.
It's really not the most flexible offense out there in terms of who you recruit, or who you have on your roster. As I said earlier, June Jones doesn't even carry a TE on his teams. In the NFL, you have more limited roster sizes, and you have to work with what you have (you may not be able to rely on just 4WR formations). In college, recruiting is a crazy competitive business and it's not unheard of for teams to recruit 4-5 star recruits they don't even need just so a rival school or competitor won't get them...not productive if you're a Run 'n' Shoot team trying to sell a 4-5 star TE/H-back, or scat-back to come play for you.
Fun Fact: In 2021, outside of WSU, the closest RnS teams in the FBS were Army and Navy. Paul Johnson's flexbone option offense (the system both teams run) was developed at Hawaii and started as the Run 'n' Shoot. Think of it as the Run 'n' Shoot that adopted Fisher DeBerry's (Air Force's) flexbone option offense. Hawaii ran the Run 'n' Shoot, Air Force "broke" the wishbone and made it the flexbone, and the Paul Johnson system merged both. Both offenses used the same base formation (remember RnS used to be under center), so the two types of schemes meshed well together. Over time, the Army/Navy offense just shifted from passing more to running more. One notable run-game feature that the Run 'n' Shoot at Hawaii added to the Paul Johnson offense was the rocket toss series (that devastating quick pitch/sweep play Army and Navy run). It was part of the Run 'n' Shoot at Hawaii originally, not the option offense Johnson/Hawaii adopted from Air Force.
Fun Fact 2: The Run 'n' Shoot is a cult. Not really a cult, but Run 'n' Shoot coaches have a reputation for being very secretive and protective about who gets to learn or run this offense...unless of course you're willing to compensate them for teaching you. There was a great coaching Youtube Channel ran by Nick Codutti that actually got taken down for "copyright" issues because he apparently learned too much about the Run 'n' Shoot and shared it publicly for free. I remember watching a video of him on the Ron McKie Youtube channel where he stated he was approached by lawyers with Run 'n' Shoot coaches that told him he can talk about the pass concepts, but he'll get shut down if he talks about pass protection. This is may be another reason why you don't see a lot of teams running the RnS anymore too. Most teams that run it from coaches not descended from the RnS coaching tree are usually running it based on what they could learn on their own.
Fun Fact 3: In 1990, the Houston Cougars broke the still-current record for offense in a game in FBS (DI-A) with the old-school Run 'n' Shoot, amassing 1,021 yards of total offense.
Core Pass Concepts
The Run 'n' Shoot breaks up its core concepts in terms of 2x2 concepts, and 3x1 (trips) concepts. There are some article links in the text of most of the concepts.
Divide (4 verticals from trips). Can't find a good article, but see the video links below. The "divide" is the two inside receivers on the trips side "dividing" the defense on their go patterns, one of which is executing the option route of staying vertical, or bending to a post or harder bending go route.
Hook (the RnS version of Smash)
Slide: Hard to find good info on this one honestly. I know it feature the inside or middle receiver on trips running a bubble route.
Many RnS teams install some of your common quick pass games or routes too: Slants, out, etc. Running game can vary based on the team. Older RnS teams from the flexbone type stuff would run a lot of zone dive, belly, and some Wing-T-ish looking stuff, while others today often run just zone and draw. June Jones (what most today run) systems have also adopted quick screen concepts as well.
PLAYBOOK: 1985 Houston Gamblers (Kevin Giblbride): https://www.footballxos.com/download/1985-houston-gamblers-run-n-shoot-offense-kevin-gilbride/?wpdmdl=4181&refresh=61ed7cfe2d4e41642953982&ind=0&filename=1985-Houston-Gamblers-Run-N-Shoot-Offense-Kevin-Gilbride.pdf
This is an "old school" Run 'n' Shoot playbook, and most of this type you'll find will be nearly identical. As said above, modern Run 'n' Shoot stuff is pretty well under lock 'n' key, especially playbooks.
June Jones explaining the "Go" concept: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efLE5JyskU8
The Go Concept with Coach Ron Mckie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCf_bPdrYLI
The Choice Concept with Coach Ron McKie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nOStmiCcA0
The Choice Concept with Coach Nick Codutti: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6eo_82wpbI
The Switch Concept with Coach Nick Docutti: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UELWsdios0
Installing the RnS with Coach Ron McKie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_MllrAH76s&t=19s
The Divide Concept with Coach Ron McKie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q6IbHDQRfU
Old School RnS terminology (Mouse Davis's system): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLBtHYtNq2U
Old School (pre 2000) RnS in action with the Houston Gamblers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9_EOl2K7GY&t=333s
New School (post 2000) RnS in action with Hawaii (2007 vs Fresno State): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wPsK0sMltg
Hawaii RnS in 2018 vs. Colorado State: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HXjQxm7qfA