Be Who You Are, Protect Who You Are


One of the biggest problems in coaching today is that there is more information than ever before.  With the internet and social media a coach can get his eyes and hands on almost any piece of football knowledge he craves.  All you have to do is go to you tube and search "inside Zone", or "zone blitzes", or "3-4 Defense" and a world of knowledge is at your fingertips.  While I love to study the game of football and it's constant evolution, this information can set you back more than it can actually help.  You can get flooded with information and lose sight on the techniques and fundamentals that your Offense and Defense need to succeed.  Remember every scheme needs to hang its hat on something.

We have all used the term Bread and Butter before.  It is your go to move.  For Mariano Rivera it was the cutter, for Drew Brees and the Saints its the spacing game.  Joe Gibbs had his 1 Back Counter Trey and Stone Cold Steve Austin has "The Stunner".  When in doubt this is what you do.  The same is true for running an offense or defense.  You have to know exactly who you are and what you are trying to accomplish.  There are so many great ways to move the football on offense, just like there are so many ways to stop people on defense.  But in an attempt to do them all you just water down your system and end up ineffective.  The offseason is a great time for Football Coaches,  you have clinics and webinars and college visits.  There is a wealth of information out there just waiting for you to explore.  The problem is if you explore it with the idea of using it all, you will end up hurting your production more than helping it.

So what is the point of all this?  It's simple, figure out who you are on offense and defense and do things to protect your scheme.  Now keep in mind that doesn't mean running brand new schemes, just wrinkling your own schemes to keep teams off balance.  I'll give you an example of this.  I use an Up Tempo offense that never ever snaps the ball on 2.  We snap the ball on 1 or first sound all the time.  Now you may ask why in the world would you do that?  Well its simple, of the times we snapped the ball on 2 we went offside 25% of the time and the defense only jumped 10% of the time.  So i thought to myself why snap the ball on 2 if there is a greater chance of a penalty on my offense?  With that being said I also need something to slow down the defensive line and their get off.  So what i do is I use freeze tempo as a way for the offense to "Check With Me" and I try to screen and draw real early in the game.  This way i never snap the ball on 2 but i also protect my offensive line. I live in an up tempo world.  That is how I like to play offense.  So I need to know my limitations and where I should invest most of my time to be effective.  We are going to work a ton on Pre and Post Snap reads for the QB and his decision making process.  All of our answers need to be built into the play if we truly want to be up tempo.  That means I can't spend a ton of time on shifts and motions to out leverage the defense.  I also cant try and run Power, Counter, Toss, Trap, Dart, Belly, ISO, Zone, Stretch, and Scissors.  To truly be a Tempo team you will cut down your playbook, formations, motions, trades and shifts but you will protect yourself by varying the tempo and building multiple options into each play call.

The same can be said for defense.  It really does not matter if you are 4-2-5, 3-4, 3-3-5 or "46" just play the scheme that you know best, that fits your personnel, and that you can fix.  But with that being said be able to protect the things you do with other things.  The easiest example of this is watching even front teams use an odd front on passing downs or Vice Versa.  These teams do not magically morph into the other system, they just use the fronts as a protection to their Base Defense.  It adds to the preparation of the offense during the week and makes them a little less effective VS. the base front.  You see the same thing with Single High Defenses having some sort of 2 High coverage structure in their defensive package.  Offenses are going to prepare to beat all the 1 High looks so having a 2 High look protects your 1 High package.  With that said you probably will not be a great 2 High coverage team so use it only as a changeup.  If you are a pressure team then by all means pressure.  But figure out if you are a zone pressure team or a man pressure team and live in that world.  Which ever it is get really, really good at it then use the other as a changeup for protection purposes.  

At the end of the day figure out who you are and get really good at the things you do.  Your kids will respond better and you will understand how to prioritize your time better to be more effective.


Sequence Series For Tempo Teams


Today we are going to talk about sequencing plays to start a drive and individually attack certain defenders on the field.  This idea can be used in any offense, but it can be really effective in Up Tempo Offenses.  A sequence is basically an order in which events are going to occur.  Many people think of sequence play calling when referring to the Wing T.  Usually Wing T play callers will have an understanding of who is making plays for the defense on a play and then have a play to counter act the player making the play.  What I want to talk about today is using a sequence of plays in an Up Tempo philosophy to attack 1 player on the field.


There are many reasons to run an up tempo offense.  For me the biggest reason is my practices are extremely more effective with way more reps.  I really got tired of stopping after every play to coach or huddling up after every play and only running 8 plays in a 15 minute period.  The second determining factor for me was my schedule.  We were playing a lot of defensive lineman and linebackers that we just couldn't consistently block.  So my mindset was if I try and wear them out early, we can block them later in the game.  Lots of people talk about conditioning being a factor and 4th quarter strength and conditioning programs.  I was smart enough to figure out if I was losing 35-0 in the 4th quarter, conditioning won't be a factor so let's make it a factor early.  When going up tempo you have to buy into the whole mindset.  For example, screens for us will never be a bad call as long as we do not turn the ball over.  We want to make interior lineman and linebackers have to run early and often, and then limit their rest time in between plays.  If we can get a screen play to the perimeter we feel it serves it's purpose for us.  Even if we do not gain substantial yardage if we make the big guys run we feel good.  Early in the game we will also try and get the ball to the perimeter as much as possible to make the interior guys run side to side.  This combined with running plays as fast as possible was part of the plan to mentally and physically chop down our opponent.

In a sequence you are now going to focus on one particular player and attack him on consecutive plays if we can.  It will usually be a secondary player and generally a corner, but you could attack multiple players this way.  For example if you were facing an even defense you could decide to attack the 3 technique if you know where he will be set.  Your first play will be a physical double team like a power play.  Your second play can be a quick throw with your lineman aggressively cut blocking him.  Then you can finish the sequence by reading him on a midline.  The sequence could also be a screen first to his side to make him run.  Then come back and run power at him with a physical double team.  Then finish the sequence with a quick game concept and cut him.  The idea behind all of it is taking advantage of your tempo and play calling knowing that the offensive coordinator controls it.  

The corner is a player that can really be affected using the sequence theory.  You can get him isolated, you can control the distance he has to run, and you can make him make tackles.  The best thing about attacking the corner is you can attack the corner to the boundary and bring in fresh receivers while he stays on the field.  Keep in mind these sequences are only going to be 3 plays maximum and usually start a series.  It is something you will do along with your tempo to try and create a competitive advantage.  As more and more defenses are trying to play more people up front to stay fresh, the back end stays relatively consistent.  At our level of football we do not have to worry about substitution rules, we can play as fast as the referees will let us.  If we can get a corner to our sideline exposed we can exploit him with fresh legs on offense.  The typical sequence would probably look like a run play to the perimeter with crack blocking trying to make that corner have to tackle.  Then come back to some type of vertical route down the field to force him to cover a lot of grass.  Then end the sequence with a quick game or screen concept to a fresh receiver.  Now keep in mind you can stop the sequence at anytime.  If you get a penalty on first down or its 3rd and 12 and you don't want the quick game or screen you can kill the sequence and get into a good play.  If the sequence is successful you can come right back at that cornerback with other play calls.

If you truly plan on being an "Up Tempo" team and not just a No Huddle team you will have to incorporate different ways to maximize your ability to play fast.  Remember that part of your offense is wearing down your opponent mentally and physically.  You are going to use the pace of the game to do that.  Having multiple ways to use your tempo will only help the process.  Using ideas like repeat plays, or automatic fire calls, or sequences will help accentuate your up tempo package.  Keep in mind you control the tempo and can speed up or slow down the pace of the game at any time.  If you are choosing to be Up Tempo make sure you use all the tricks of the trade to make your offense as effective as possible.