A play or series of plays in football that used the Single Wing formation. In the “Buck-lateral,” the football was directly snapped to the fullback, who had the option to run the ball or lateral it to another back.
The “Buck-lateral” play is a nearly obsolete play or series as the Single Wing formation is no longer viable or common in modern football, but was innovative and effective during the time in which it was used. The Buck-lateral required a big and strong but also athletic fullback who would take the direct snap from the center, then run at the middle of the line of scrimmage. In the Single Wing formation, the tailback, the “wingback” and the quarterback are all behind the line of scrimmage with the fullback, and any of them is an option for a lateral or handoff as the play first progresses. It is the responsibility in a Buck-lateral for the fullback to make a read of the defense and decide whether to continue the play as a rush or give the ball to one of the other three backs.
Although it was more typical for the tailback—the main running back of the team—to take the direct snap, because of his proximity to the fullback, the snap could go to that back instead. The fullback could then fake a handoff to the tailback or the quarterback, or hand the ball off to the quarterback, who could then give it to the wingback in a reverse, or pass the ball himself. In the end, the primary purpose of the Buck-lateral is sleight-of-hand, to confuse the defense and hide which player has the ball.