Enjoying The Rewards

Numbers Do Not Lie

Our Spring Ball has just ended and I am extremely happy with the results.  We scored 49 points in the first half and had 420 yards of offense in the first half.  Our QB was 7 for 7 for 135 yards and 3 TD's.  He also rushed for 102 yards and a TD all in the first half.  We scored on 7 different play calls, and the exciting thing for me and my staff was we only had 8 offensive practices.  Six different players scored TD'S in the first half.  When I evaluate our production I keep thinking about "the system".  I think how we are doing things is way more important than what we are doing.  As a football coach it is real easy to fall in love with schemes.  Everyone wants to talk about the Jet, or QB Power Read, or the Veer, or the Quick Game.  Although I love all those schemes and could talk about them all day I think its our operating procedure and our communication process that is allowing us to enjoy the success we are having.

Looking For Answers
  About 2 years ago I started looking at some of the schools in my state and immediate area that enjoy consistent success.  Of course the first thing I noticed was most of them have 2-5 Division 1 players a year, and that definitely helps.  But what I also noticed was their consistency in schemes on offense and defense.  They played the same things year in and year out with a few wrinkles and got really good at what they do.  I decided I needed to be more consistent schematically, and it has paid huge dividends for us.  We now have carry over from season to season and consistency in our teaching.  Our practices are way more productive because we spend more time teaching the techniques and fundamentals required to make our schemes effective, and less time teaching brand new things.  My coaching staff has increased their productivity because they are comfortable within the system and can teach more effectively.  I am no longer coaching coaches everyday.  Our practices are getting better and better because we are spending more time emphasizing the little things as opposed to teaching new schemes everyday

LONG ISLAND JUNE 10,11, and 12
 I will be at Valley Stream Central High School on Long Island, NY from June 10th-12th doing an offensive clinic.  I am a graduate of Central High School and the Head Coach Frank Chimienti and Offensive Coordinator Joe Delgais were very instrumental parts of my coaching career.  Coach Chimienti and I played against each other in college and Coach Delgais managed to coach me in college without getting fired!!! I will be installing our up tempo packages and communication system with them, as well as analyzing film and finding better ways to attack opponents and their defensive structures. Valley Stream Central has struggled the last 20 years or so and I want to help get my High School back on the map in Nassau County.  My goal is to start doing clinics and consulting work around the country and give coaches a cheaper and more effective alternative to improve their programs.  As a 13 year Head Coach in the state of Florida, building a program at a new High School from scratch, I feel like I have a vast amount of experience in the ups and downs of public high school football and what it takes to run a consistently successful program.  I have been 1-9 and 2-8, and have also been to the Regional Finals and 2 games away from a State Title.  We have been a playoff team 8 of the first 13 years in existence and 4 times since 2008.  Since the change in offensive style and communication 2 years ago we are 18-7 while averaging 39 points a game and over 410 yards of offense per game.  I would now like to share our system with other coaching staffs and show coaches how easy up tempo football and communication can be.


Just wanted to also take some time to thank everyone for following the blog and the you tube channel.  It is going a lot better than I anticipated and I am enjoying all the interactions with coaches across the country and the world.  Talking ball is truly a passion for me and something I really enjoy doing.  I think if more coaches across the country were able to exchange and share ideas we could make youth and high school football a better experience for kids and also help continue to promote this beautiful game we love so much.  Remember, there are no secrets, all of us are just borrowing different ideas and finding ways to incorporate them into our own systems.  The game will still come down to blocking, tackling, turnovers, and penalties like it has for over 100 years.


Spring Installation

Know What You Want To Get Done
We are nearing the end of Spring practice so I thought I would talk a little bit about Installation and understanding how to plan the essential things you need to get done.  When preparing for Spring practices or Summer Camps I think it is really important you understand what the essential components of your offense and defense are.  This time of year is great for emphasizing fundamentals and technique work.  You must always keep in mind though that fundamentals and technique must be applied to be effective, so you must provide the blueprint you want to apply the techniques and fundamentals to.  That is where your base offensive and defensive schemes come into play.  If you talk to lineman about proper stances and weight distribution, eventually they will have to come out of that stance and execute an assignment.  Now you have to start right to end right no question, but you have to have an end if you are going to "END" right.  That is where your schemes come into play.  This time of year it is very important to know what you are hanging your hat on.  I am talking about the base structure of your offense and defense.

Be A Thinking Man
Let's start on offense.  We are a huge tempo, no huddle team.  Everything we do starts there. We must teach our different tempo's and work on them all the time.  From a schematic standpoint we are always going to start our run game install with the Veer/Zeer Read.  If you expect your QB'S to be players that can run read schemes you better get that in first. It is very simple gap blocking up front so it will marry real well with our future run game schemes.  Teaching the QB'S and RB'S how to mesh in the read game will always be our first priority.  In the passing game we will always start with our 2 quick game concepts.  Establishing rhythm in the passing game with relatively easy throws for the QB is a must if you want to develop confidence in your QB.  After we get those schemes in we progress to our Jet Sweep/Power Read concepts.  The gap veer scheme ties in very nicely with our power blocking scheme and is a natural progression. There will also be a mesh and a read on this play so the progression from the Veer Read is a natural fit for us.  From an attacking standpoint now we have a run that attacks the perimeter so we have a nice compliment in our run game now.  We then progress to our first 5 step passing game concept which will be Curl/Flat.  Now we can teach our lineman our Half Slide protection rules while our QB'S have a fairly simply east/west or horizontal read concept that teaches them to use the pocket and develop the necessary footwork to function as a pocket passer.  Our receivers are learning a simple concept that works on spacing and horizontal stretches.  After that we go to our Counter scheme in the run game which is also fairly simple because our kids already understand gap blocking schemes.  We use the counter play off of our outside run plays so we can protect the integrity of the perimeter runs and slow down the flow of the defense.  Next we go to our 3 Man Snag concept in the drop back passing game.  This still gives us a simple spacing concept for the QB that is easy to read, but also adds a vertical threat into the mix.  That will be the main focus of our install and we will finish with some screen concepts and a play action passing concept.  For me, I feel like this teaches our kids the backbone or bread and butter concepts in our offense.  Now we can progress into the summer and try and have 90% of the playbook installed by the time summer camp for fall season starts.  As far as formations go, they will vary from year to year based on my returning personnel.  I think you can be unique in your approach to formations to fit your individual needs.

Installing Base Defensive Concepts
As far as our defensive install we are going to start with our 4 man over front, then try and build in our two Odd fronts to protect the even front.  Again I think it is very important to stress the importance of stances and starts, reads and keys, run fits, and tackling.  Those things will all have to be applied somehow so you need to understand where you want to start.  As a 425 team we are going to start with our base coverage system which means working on Quarters and Cover 2 concepts.  We will start in our over front with a base coverage call and work against 2x2,3x1, and 2x1 sets.  This allows us to apply all our coverage concepts against the possible looks we may get. For the first 3 weeks I focus on defending my own offense because I think it keeps the reps high because it is easier for the scout team than reading scout cards.  The last week of practice during game week, I will look at some potential things the opponent may run but that is really not a priority. After we have our base coverage principles in we progress to line stunts and disrupts.  We will follow that up with a man free pressure and then last we add a 6 man pressure with zero coverage.  After we get our even package for the spring in we progress to our Odd front stuff.  The first thing we put in is our 3-3 Stack front which applies all of our over rules and calls with base coverage principles.  This way we get a change up front in with no new calls or responsibilities.  Then we will add our Dime package stuff which is 6 DB'S in the game while playing from an Okie 3-4 look.  In the Spring we always send a 4th rusher and play base coverage rules behind it.  Now heading into the summer we have about 70% of our defensive package in.  With the 425 we feel like we can line up to anything and our secondary can adjust the coverages accordingly.

I think it is very important to try and stay on your installation schedule unless dramatic developments cause you to change.  This spring we are missing 4 offensive lineman due to injuries and personal situations, but I stayed on track and got everything installed.  There are some new kids and really young kids so it does not always look clean but at least the concepts, terminology, communication, and operating procedure is taught.  Just remember to focus on teaching, developing, and evaluating players during this time of year.  Do not allow yourself to get caught up in winning 7 on 7 tournaments or Spring games because your still 0-0 heading into September.  Have a plan and stick to it.

Good Things Come To Those Who Play Fast

Practicing Your Tempo

One Step At a Time

In an earlier post I talked a little bit about up tempo football and how you need to practice to perfect it.  Now that we are in Spring Ball I have a chance to post some early footage of our team running the up tempo drill that we use all the time.  This drill is not professionally edited, and it includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.  As with any Spring Ball season we are dealing with injuries and position changes, so it slows down the execution of our assignments a little bit, but it gives us a chance to evaluate some other players, especially the younger ones.  This is the first time we have done this drill in the spring so it is a little shaky at first.  What I would like you to look at is what we are actually trying to accomplish.  The first time we do the drill we just want the players to get comfortable figuring out what we are trying to achieve.  I also need the coaches to get accustomed to how the drill should function and what their roles are. The offensive coaches should be on the sideline with all available personnel groupings ready to go.  There is a coach responsible for signaling the plays in while another coach is responsible for getting the right personnel on the field.  We want players running on and off the field to get used to the personnel changes we make in game situations.  Our lineman will execute their assignments on air and then try and locate the next ball put in play. In the early stages with new players we focus on getting them to the next ball and in the next formation.  As we progress through the year or camp we start to stress the importance of lineman hustling to the next spot.  We want the QB looking to the sideline immediately after we run a play to get the next formation.  He should echo the formation he gets from the play caller at least 3 times.  The receivers will get the formation call from the play caller, but if they are not in position to see that they should also listen for the call from the QB.  The running backs will line up in the formation call that they get from the QB, we do not make them take the signal from the sideline but you could if you wanted to. After the formation is in the signaler will then signal the play. The receivers must get the play from the signaler because the QB will not yell the play out for them.  The QB is only responsible for telling the Oline and the RBS the play call.  If you have different tempos and snap counts or snap procedures this is a great time to work on that as well.  We try to change tempo every 2 or 3 plays so the snap count changes and forces our guys to concentrate on the tempo and their individual assignment.  In the fall we mix our "freeze" tempo in as well which is our version of check with me.

Hopefully this video clip gives you a little better feel for the up tempo on air drill.  There are a bunch of mistakes in it and the pace is a little slow for my liking.  I actually think the drill was a little "ugly" today but it was the first one of the season.  We will use it as a starting point and build on it from there.  I was actually more concerned with getting my coaches on the same page for the sake of efficiency in the drill.  Don't ever underestimate how important it is to "coach your coaches" in certain drills.  There is no bigger drill killer than a staff that is not on the same page.  Remember we are talking about tempo and pace here so the role of the coaches is very important.  The role of coaches in your everyday practice as a no huddle up tempo team is crucial as well. Knowing how to coach on the run or on the fly becomes crucial to the effectiveness of your tempo and execution.  Learning how to use online film study as a means for corrections is vital for up tempo success.  Like most tempo coaches I am never satisfied with the pace and always want to go faster.  Watching this drill and looking for ways to clean it up helps me achieve that goal.




 The blog today will be a little different in nature.  Tomorrow May 7th I will be doing my first Live Webinar with Glazier Clinics.  The topic will be Pistol Veer with Key Screens.  This whole thing has gone so much better than I imagined with over 18,000 views in 3 months and over 90 subscribers to my you tube page.  Hopefully it has been informative and somewhat helpful to you.  I have been going to Glazier Clinics for over 16 years and this year was my first opportunity to speak.  I did 5 sessions in Tampa in March, on offense and defense, and now I will do my first Live Webinar tomorrow.  If you are a football junkie like I am then you love talking ball, sharing ideas, and debating schemes and techniques.  My goal with this blog site was not only to discuss some topics that I thought would help coaches get their kids playing faster, but to create a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas.  As with any venture this is only the beginning and I plan on making this site even bigger and better.  Over the summer I plan on visiting some of my High School colleagues and having them share some of their ideas on offense, defense, and special teams.  I would also like to dive into program building and off season training as well.

Benefits of Spring Ball
We are currently in week 2 of Spring Football so I have the benefit of putting some film up here to help gain a better understanding of how we teach and drill some of the concepts I have talked about.  No, I do not coach at Alabama, the picture just reminded me of what Spring Football is all about.  It is a time to teach and refine techniques and fundamentals. It is also a time to install the base structure of your offense and defense while maybe playing around with a few new wrinkles.  We install our Pistol Veer with Key Screens on Offense first, and I would like to share with you the drill we use to teach our aiming points, our mesh, and our blocking scheme with the Pistol Veer.  What we do is we work coming out from the sideline as opposed to up and down the field in traditional fashion.  What this does, is it gives us the ability to use the lines on our field as landmarks and aiming points.  By putting the camera behind the drill we can see the steps our QBS, RBS, and Lineman are taking.  We can see exactly where the mesh is happening and determine if it is where we want it to occur.  If there is a problem with the mesh it is easy to identify and correct. We can also teach our RBS where the ball should hit front side, while trying to eliminate the immediate urge to cut back. The veer scheme is a down gap scheme and not a zone scheme.  With no overtakes and straight down blocks there will be increasingly less cutbacks.  The tape I am going to show is the first day of spring with 3 new QBS, and kids holding bags that don't quite understand run fits yet.  It still is a very effective and productive way to teach the early phases of the Veer Game. The great thing is it utilizes the lines on your practice field without needing 15 props to set up the drill.

I hope you find the drill useful, and I hope you tune into the Live Pistol Veer Webinar tomorrow night with Glazier Clinics.