Monday, December 3, 2012

Cut up of the day: Snag

I love the Snag concept... it was our best dropback pass play in terms of completions.  We need to improve how we run when we see man coverage but against zone it is money.  We did not always pull the trigger, but I was amazed how it opened up almost every single time... It was almost all we could complete when we dropped back yet flat defenders still had to defend bubble and chase it, and the Snag would open up in behind them.

We need to improve our completion % on this next year and I am going to alter the Snag runner's route slightly.  When we ran it ugly they broke their route off too shallow.  In the future I do not want them to break in on their angle until they push vertical to 5 yards.  I want them catching the ball at 8 yards deep not 5.  Breaking too soon often got them coming too far horizontally.  I do not want them coming near the Inside LB.  I want to just pick on that flat defender.

Most of the clips below are hitting the Snag route.  There are a few times we found the back mixed in.  Also a really nice TD to the RB after a jet sweep fake.

video

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cut up the day Finale: Cross/Boot

The last "base play" in our arsenal, and the final in post in my "cut up of the day" series is the cross concept.  It has got to be the most popular bootleg concept in football.  It is essentially the same as our Flood play but from a 2x2 alignment.  This concept is run at every level of football and from any sort of personnel group.

You end up with a Go/Clear out
a quick route in the flat (from spread it is a slow played out to sell the run look)
teams often use a TE, H back, or FB to chip block and then get to the flat

The backside slot or TE runs the deep cross over the inside LBs (who should be biting on play action)

We hit the out very often as the OLB covering him was often out leveraged due to his alignment and initial run read.  We were also able to hit the cross a few times when the OLB jumped the out, and ILBs sucked up on the play action, leaving a void.  Even against man the cross is a great concept because it is difficult to cover a speedy slot WR across the width of the field.

We sprinted to this concept, play actioned with sprint out pass pro
but my favorite way to run this concept was using a "boot" protection featuring a guard pull

I thought this concept worked exceptionally well for us because the guard pull added to the run action and in one game particular (where they had a DE who we simply could not block) this played slowed him up a whole lot.  He could no longer crash down when he read down block and blow up our guard.

Some of the clips feature a QB who began the year as our 3rd stringer! Starter got suspended a game, and he beat out the kid who was our backup all year during that week of practice.  The clips with #12 at QB were his first start at QB of his life.

I didn't include it in the film but he even picked up a huge 4th and 4 conversion on this play with his feet when the defense didn't bite on the run fake and flew out for pass.

video

I see this concept being a bigger part of our offense in the future as we begin to explore the use of some TE/H back stuff.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cut up of the day: Sprint Draw

The Sprint Draw has been a hot topic in the coaching community.  It was a great play for us and was set up nicely by the amount of sprint out we ran, and the fear our QB as a run threat put into the defense.  This was a beautiful constraint play for us.

We got a lot of movement in most cases from the playside DE trying to fight reach blocks, and more importantly we made LBs move, in some clips they SPRINT out of the box to try to get under routes and by the time they realize the RB has the ball it is too late.

OL wise we work to our sprint side and pick up "our man" based upon our pass pro rules and how we ID the front (we use a typical air raid pass pro based on the Center IDing the front each play).

I LOVE this play... there are a lot of times we do not even block it great up front, you will see 1 or 2 guys getting killed, but as long as they remain engaged, the flow gives the RBs enough room to do their thing and be the great athletes they are.

video

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cut up of the day: Sprintout

The sprint out game was a huge part of our offense this year. Our QB was a great athlete and was at his best when he could threaten the defense with both his arm and his legs.

By definition we can sprint to any concept in the play book with a one word tag for sprint, but our main sprint out game was

Curl/flat from a 2x2 set

And Flood from 3x1

I was AMAZED at how often we were able to hit the quick out. It was an easy completion for us especially near the goal line... At times I felt the entire stadium knew we were throwing it but we still completed it. It was a great answer for us when defenses wanted to load the box and bring everyone on the goal line.

Enjoy!

Curl/Flat
video

Flood
video


The best constraint to all of the sprint out passing IMO is the sprint draw...

I have written multiple posts about it in the past.  Tomorrow I will load some sprint draw clips.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Awesome iPad App!!!

I Just got an ipad3 (you can get great deals on them through apple's site on refurbished models. Their refurbished ones are just as good as new. Mine came in looking perfect in a brand new box and packaging.)

Of course I have the "usual" HS football coach apps... HUDL, Dropbox, Evernote, a video camera app, coach me play book app, blah blah blah

But yesterday I decided to download the ESPN College Football App

IT IS AWESOME


There are top stories, score and highlight features but my favorite is the video tab...

You can select which week of the season you want and pick from a number of games... Pretty much every ranked team...

They have every TD and big play (sack,int,long run, long pass)

I was having a blast watching clips and being able to dissect some offensive concepts from a bunch of different games. I was checking out a ton of Oregon and Arizona offensive plays last night.

The only negative I noticed was you manually try to rewind each play to review it the video gets a little herky jerky. I found it is better to watch the play til the end and then just play it over from the beginning.

Overall really cool and something I think any coach with an iPad will enjoy.



Cut up of the day: 4 Verts

4 Verts wasn't necessarily a huge part of our offense but it was our way of backing off corners some and hurting a team when they played single high against or no safety against us.
We hit one of the slots a number of times against cover 0 or 1.  Even on the completions I still think we sailed the ball too much, it needs to come out faster than some of the clips here.


There is also a long TD pass clip from a stop n go we ran.



video

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cut up of the Day: Outside Zone

Our OZ wasn't as big of a part of our offense as I wanted it to be.  Part of this was because of the backs we had and some mistakes we made.  We actually had much more success running QB OZ with the RB leading.  This was a great play for us because our QB was fast, ran hard, and it gave us an instant numbers advantage.  One thing that helped us was all of the sprint out we ran... it looks very similar to the defense and puts those force /flat players in conflict.  

When we had number advantage to trips we could overload them by running it strong, when defenses brought their OLB over to the trips side and left no #2 defender to the single side we could run it weak.
A lot of the clips you will see my tackle after determining he couldn't get a reach block turn his defender out giving a CUT UP read (as opposed to a cutback read on IZ) The best clips in my opinion are the ones where QB reads that block turns it up, and then gets back outside.

The final 2 clips are us running speed option.  I included it because we ran it with an OZ blocking scheme.  This wasn't a big part of our offense, only ran it a couple times on the year.


video


Since I have now shown cut ups of our whole base run game I can now show this...As a bonus here are some clips of our QB keeps on the backside of our run game.  These are not called runs, but every RB carry involves the QB reading the BSDE, we are still not as good as I want us to be at this but we were better this year than we have ever been with it (mostly because of personnel).  Our backup QB actually did a better job reading it than our starter who was our stud runner.

video

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cut up of the day: Counter

To continue with the cut ups of the day theme... today I will be showing cutups of my favorite play in football... Counter GT

This has been "my play" in every offense I have coached and I think it works beautifully out of the spread.
Playside Down blocks (or doubles)
G and T pull for kick and wrap

To our RB we will read the BSDE

you will see a lot of clips running QB GT (I think the best play in a spread formation, great counter to teams keying back) using RB to fill on BSDE

video

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cut up of the Day: Inside Zone

Our best, most consistent run play this year was Inside Zone (IZ)

RB was a stud, he got really good at the Bang or Bend read he was taught on his path.
We were also able to run it as a frontside run play to the Rb (straight downhill dive action) and even as a QB follow type of play.  We got the most mileage out of this play.

I taught it differently than most... focusing on a more track based approach than the usual 4 eyes on LB 4 hands on DL push the vertical double team approach

Here are some cut ups of our IZ scheme in action

video

Cut up of the day: Screens

I have been going through every offensive clip of the season, and picking out clips to include in my presentations at a clinic in the Spring.

Since I now have some playlists saved by play type, they are easy to load on here.

I will start this off with screens, since that has been the most popular of my posts on this blog.

Now I am going to warn you, you are not going to see linemen all over the place lead blocking in the past.  We went away from this some this year because my OL was just bigger than in the past (weight wise) so they didn't move as well, and they struggled when releasing so we OZ'd called screens.  Also we got in to running more screen/run combos as we went along.

My goal with screens was no to exploit the defense any time they gave us the number/leverage advantage.

There is one RB screen where we release the OL in these clips.

Enjoy... new set of cut ups will follow tomorrow.

video

Monday, November 19, 2012

2012: The Year in Review

Well our season has been over for a whole week now (got destroyed in the 1st round of the playoffs).  After stepping away for a week, relaxing, and catching up on some school work I have finally begun to prepare for 2013.  Before I can really prepare for 2013 with all of the clinics, off season workouts, college visits, online research... whatever... I have to first review this past season.  I am big on self reflection so I have reviewed every offensive snap of the season, looked at what we did well and why, and also what went wrong and why.  We had some explosive games, for example scoring 70 points in one game to break a school record.  We had some games where we moved the ball well but just could not score how we should have (had 3 games with over 400 yards of offense but did not put up nearly as many points as we should have) and then we had 2 games where we simply could not move the ball consistently if our lives depended on it.

This was my first year taking over as the OC.  I had been the JV HC/OC with this group of seniors their sophomore year, and coached the OL and assisted the OC last season.  I was excited and had some fun weapons to work with.  We had a returning utility kid at QB, EXCELLENT runner, but had not thrown the ball at the varsity level.  A stud caliber RB.  A couple Speedy WRs.  And I had the beefiest OL I have had since I came to this school.

Forgive me if I ramble on and drift... I am just going to write about the things that stuck out to me over the course of the season.

We ran the bell well for the majority of the season.  I installed a track style IZ blocking scheme that focused much less on doubles (4 hands 4 eyes blah blah blah) and much more on blocking gaps and attacking.  What I found is it removed some of the hesitation and completely missed blocks we had in the past.  Now this was not a cure all, we still missed plenty of blocks do not get me wrong.  However I felt overall it was vastly improved to how the OL played this year compared to the previous 2.
Our backfield was what I had to showcase, yes we had talent at WR, but our QB was really a much better runner than thrower, and struggled to throw the ball when he wasn't sprinting out with a clean edge. We ran the ball more often than in the past but also for a lot more yardage.That stud RB ran for 1300 yards even with missing 2 games.  Our QB rushed for over 900 yards even with missing a game and a half due to ejection.  We rushed for almost 2.500 yards as a team.  Our QB through for 1600 yards.  Overall we had a 700 yard improvement in total offense over the previous season.

However we just did not score as much as we should have.  This team had an odd chemistry and personality.  It was next to impossible to get quality reps at practice and to get great effort in any sort of drill.  However they generally responded well and played hard at game time.  While they were gamers, the lack of quality reps greatly affected us in games, we could not throw the ball well enough when teams forced us to.  We had a slight divide in the team, the WRs wanted to catch the ball and felt left out, the OL, RB, and QB wanted to run the ball because we were having success... It was kind of a mess and I wish I had addressed it sooner, or simply gotten rid of some of the WRs and just played in 21 personnel.  I love the fact that we can spread teams out to run in reduced number boxes, however as we began playing better teams, they started blitzing more, and playing more ZERO coverage.  We just could not always beat it when we needed to.

We would have a lot of drives where we moved the ball right down the field, then a key drop, missed read, missed block, or turnover would just kill us and take points off the board.  We had touchdowns called back, dropped balls in the end zone, red zone turnovers, even a pick 6 in the red zone.  It was not the typical case of a spread team who struggles in the red zone because the field is compressed and they have no vertical threat.  We were never a vertical threat team.  Our case was more a lack of execution when we needed to execute most.  Our WRs showed zero interest in blocking at any point on the year and sold whoever was getting the ball out most of the time.  Sometimes the OL would just not man up and be able to let us punch it in.  We had drives running the ball down a teams throat, the defense still made no adjustment, and then its like we run in to a brick wall at the 20... I have never seen anything like it and this was probably the most frustrated I have ever been as a coach in 7 years because of it.

We will miss our QB and his running big time.  His skill and effort made me look a lot smarter than I am at times.  Him and our RB were just tough kids and were able to make a lot of guys miss or just run through tackles.  Our QB was good when we could get an edge for him, but struggled if we couldn't sprint out or had to drop back.  We were able to hit 4 verts occasionally and he felt most comfortable with Snag he just never got as adept at throwing from the pocket as I would have hoped.

The good news for next year is we have 2 QBs returning who got some playing time and both show signs of being capable pocket passers for us next year.  They are nowhere near the athlete or runner that we had this season but the playbook will just evolve slightly to fit their skills better.

The thing I struggled with most was the near death of our screen game.  Anyone who has read this blog knows how much I love and value the screen game.  I went away from our solid screen and having the OL release to block for 2 simple reasons.
1. My OL was much bigger and not as athletic as in the past so they were really struggling on releasing and actually getting out there (trade off was that we at least ran the ball better)... we would simply zone it instead
2. We began running more screen/run combos so that we always had the "right" play call

I was ok with my OL OZing the quick screens because we usually had the number or leverage advantage.  If I called screen we had numbers, or if it was thrown on backside of a run it was thrown due to numbers.  But this was the biggest area our WR group let us down.  Getting the ball to an athlete in space was the whole point of us selecting to run the spread 3 years ago, and now it was pointless because if we were in trips, the 2 blocking WRs simply would not hold their block to allow the 3rd WR to really hurt the defense.  Yes we had some successful screens on the season, but we were never anywhere near as good as I wanted to be in the screen game.

We had some injury issues that hurt us offensively.  Lost our best 2 WRs in league play.  Stud RB got hurt in league... so by the end of the season I could not help but feel like I had a really nice shiny GUN but not enough bullets to make it matter.

Moving on to next year I am excited about the following

More personnel groupings... use of TE/FB types
I return the left side of my OL, 2 sophomores who played varsity all season, a junior who would have started all year on the OL but was ineligible, and 3 very good, very big sophomore OL from the JV team

Our JV team wasn't loaded with studs but they had some good quality kids on it who I look forward to building in to varsity players.  I think this upcoming team will "work" more than this past team.  We have to replace the backfield which will be tough.  We return our stat leading WR (although he might have to convert to RB because he needs touches).

Our biggest challenge will be the weight room.  I know I mostly talk schematics and OL play on here but the biggest reason we lost games this year was due to the weight room.  We have got to improve our attendance program wide and it starts in a couple of weeks for us.

Right now we are a middle of the pack team... back to back 6-4 records... squeaking in and then losing in the 1st round of the playoffs

Whether we can turn the corner or not depends solely on the off season weight program.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Perfect Sprint Draw

In the Late Spring/Early Summer the CoachHuey site was all abuzz about the sprint out game, and compliments off of it.  At the time I wrote about a piece on our Sprint Draw Play

We have been running it all year, and running it pretty well for a number of reasons

  1. Our RB is just really good
  2. We run a good amount of sprint out and QB sweep
  3. Defenses have had to really react to try to stop QB sweep/sprint
  4. My OL has done a pretty good job blocking it
Well I wanted to highlight this one time we ran it in our game last week, simply because to me it is the perfect play.  It was cleaner than we blocked it all year long, and our RB literally jogs in to the end zone untouched.  This was the first play of the second half last Friday night on our way to a school record 70 point performance.

Notice how the sprint side inside LB just runs himself out of the play, while the second backer comes directly to my center.  My 4 Covered OL do a good job of engaging their man and maintaining their blocks.  



Friday, July 13, 2012

Camp Highlights

My team camp wrapped up Wednesday night and I have gone through the film about a hundred thousand times.  I have to admit that we are not anywhere near where I'd like to be at this point but at least we know what to improve on.  I put together this video some a few highlights  (grouped by play type) from Day 1 and 3 of camp (Day 2 film was a nightmare, rookie freshman filmer).  In the clips you will see some counter, zone, our screen game, a couple sprint draw highlights, some sprint out pass, 4 verts, and snag.  I have written about these plays on my blog in the past.  Biggest thing that upset me was our screen game, that is the best part of the offense and our WRs did not block for one another, and my OL did not follow their very specific blocking rules.  I went off on them, walked through some things and the screen game was better on the last day of camp... my guys were at least going to the right defender.  We will have the screen game dialed in by game time.

One thing I was happy about was our tempo, you can't see it in film, but we were getting off on average 23 plays in 10 minutes meaning we were snapping the ball every 26 seconds, pretty good considering we were in near 100 degree weather.




video

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Battle of the Bay Football Camp

Months of hard work will pay off starting tomorrow and running through Wednesday.


I have spent the last 7 months or so planning and getting things ready for this camp... It is truly my baby and it has grown into a pretty good sized camp.  One of the biggest team camps in Northern CA.

We are lucky to have a total of 8 very good programs participating this year.

I am excited both as the camp director and as a first year offensive coordinator.  We have a lot of new players and I am excited to see how they step up to the challenge.  I have faith that our kids will compete and that we will move the ball offensively.  My number 1 goal for camp is tempo... I am warning every other team before hand that we go fast and sorry, I know it is camp but you're going to have to catch up.  Last year at camp was our first time experimenting with fast tempo and we started killing teams we otherwise couldn't gain a yard against.  I truly believe that tempo is a great equalizer and  will be our key to success this season.

I know I will not be sleeping much tonight as I feel like a little kid the night before Christmas.

Ill definitely be writing next week about how camp went and what plays were working well for us.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Spread Quick Pitch - My new toy

I want to share with you all my new toy I have been playing with at practice.  Now when I saw playing with this I mean I have invested zero offensive time in to it.  I have had our scout team O run it and run it very successfully without putting any practice time what so ever in to it.  Every single part of the play is already taught because we use our quick screen terminology.

It is a quick screen to our RB from the backfield which is not uncommon in spread offenses, especially ones that use TFS screen system.  My OL hears the call for quick screen right or left, they do not need to know who is getting the ball, we block our quick screens like OZ.  My thinking is this, if I am calling quick screen it is because I either have  a numbers or leverage advantage I want to exploit now.  I do not release my Ol to lead block on the perimeter on quick screen anymore simply because I have found that I do not need them and instead I would much rather have them seal the box off to cut off pursuit as well as occupy the DE from getting anywhere near a throwing lane.

What is different is that I have changed how we deliver the ball to the RB.  We ran this RB swing screen some the last 2 seasons, and I have used it at my previous school and do you know what all stops had... we fumbled it more times than we caught it and never gained a yard off of it!

I have found that the distance was so short that an overhand throw was tough on the QB to guide in there and if he zipped it, it was almost impossible for the RB to catch.

During spring ball I told our back up QB (scout Qb) to catch the ball, turn to the play and underhand pitch it as far as he could.  I told our RB to open up and run a swing being ready to catch the pitch.  Again my OL required no new teaching whatsoever as they just OZ'd it.


What I love about it is that it gives us a great same side run play.  Often defenses will adjust strength or a better player away from the RB because he usually comes across the Qbs face to get the hand off.

I love that it requires no new teaching whatsoever.

One thing I noticed, it gets to the edge FAST.  It hits outside much faster than our regular OZ, literally if my tackle touches the DE we are already around him.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sprint Draw

The topic of the Sprint Out Passing game came up on coachhuey this week, and with that the idea of running Sprint Draw as the primary constraint play.  We had a lot of success with our sprint draw last season, and didn't really sprint out all that much.  The sprint out will be a much bigger part of our offense this year and I predict Sprint Draw will be even bigger for us in 2012.

First I will explain the action.  In our sprint out game our QB catches the snap and sprints with depth to the edge, the RB aligns playside and will lead block, helping the tackle seal the edge or pick up any sort of 2 off the edge scenario.  We want the sprint draw to look similar, so our RB will slide 2 steps playside then work back for the mesh.  Qb catches the snap and takes his sprint out, sticking the ball in the RB's belly on his way by.  Now in the clips you will not see a great slide by the RB's, and our QB doesn't sell the sprint far enough or long enough.  We just didn't emphasize these small details like we should have last year.  Fixing these mistakes will further sell the sprint out look to the defense.

Now to what really matters... the offensive line.

The biggest reason I am so high on sprint draw is the investment I have to put in to it.  There is no new scheme to it.  We block it the exact same way as we would any pass play.  We ID fronts, have a man that we have to block.  We will set, punch, and then drive block the defender whichever way he is going... the biggest thing is to stay engaged.  If say a guard is responsible for blocking Mike in pass protection then he would set, show his hands, and then fire out upfield to that LB.

In the case of a 6 man box, where the RB fits into pass protection we keep all of the rules the same.  Generally our RB has a specific LB depending on how we ID the front.  On draw, he is still responsible for that LB, only know he is responsible for making him miss.  I know it doesn't guarantee a hat on a hat but it allows us to keep our rules 100% consistent and we get so much LB movement from sprint out that it makes the RB's assignment of making him miss easier.  Really you want to call sprint draw because that playside LB is over reacting to sprint out to disrupt the sprint out game.  This is where the constraint comes in to play.


Another interesting wrinkle that I picked up this off season that I can not wait to work on (because our QB is as good a runner as you will see at QB) is QB draw off of sprint action.  It is pretty simple and we could probably run it tomorrow with no work/reps just by telling them the play name.

RB will do his 2 slide steps and now attack the LB he is responsible for.  QB will catch and sprint out for 3 steps, then plant his foot cut back and follow the RB through the hole.  It gives us an additional blocker and should be a very inexpensive, quality constraint to our sprint out game.  Below are a few clips of us running sprint draw last season.  These aren't the best clips of it last season, just the first ones I was able to locate.  Note the movement even crappy fakes create from the defense in a few of the clips, also notice my OL completely block no one, but we still manage to pick up yards.


video



The next step would be adding in a throwback jailbreak screen from a sprint look.  It is on the back burner for now as we have a lot we need to improve on, but it is definitely something we will add mid season as one more wrinkle teams have to defend.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Install/Practice Plan

Installation and practice plans are popular topics with coaches and everyone has their preference.  if you have something that works for you, awesome, keep doing it, but I would like to share what I have done this year as a suggestion to others.

SPRING BALL

For our 10 days of spring ball we decided to use a 3 day install plan that is the new rage with many coaches, especially us spread guys.

Day 1 was all about teaching formation, stance, how to line up... the most basic elements that are required before you can even snap the ball.  We focused on this in team, and used the indy time to teach the drills that will be worked daily.

Days 2-10 were where we began the 3 day install plan.  If you are unfamiliar with the 3 day install it is quite simple... you take your entire offense, divide it up into 3 days, and cycle through the 3 days over and over again.

I was able to split up our plan quite symmetrically.  We have 3 base run schemes, Zone (IZ and OZ but very similar rules so I put them together), Counter, and Power.

We have 3 types of screens... Quick, Play Action, Jailbreak (also F slip screen)

We have 6 base pass concepts

I was able to make it so each day we covered 1 run, 1 screen, and 2 pass concepts.

For example,

Day 2 - IZ/OZ, Quick Screen, 4 verts and snag
Day 3 - Counter, Play Action Screen, Smash and curl/flat
Day 4 - Power, Jailbreak, Cross and flood

Days 5,6,7 would repeat
Days 8,9,10 would repeat

We used this same format through our first 3 weeks of summer practice as kids are still learning what the play is.

I found this narrowed focus for each day really helped the kids learn the play and get better at the individual role they have within the given play.

Now this week, as we prepare for camp I have switched up our practice plan and focus.  We know the basic rules of each play, but now I feel is the time to prepare for the most common looks we will see by working all of our plays against a given look per day.

For example in our 4 day/ week plan we will execute all of our plays each day.

However each day will have a specific focus from the scout defense.

Monday: 4 man front, 1 high ... cover 1/3
Tuesday: 4 man front, 2 high... cover 2/4/2 man
Wednesday: 5 man front or 3-3... 1 high... cover 1/3
Thursday: 5 man front or 3-4... 2 high... cover 2/4/2 man

Therefore each week we will have seen essentially every look we will see from a defense in a game and run all of our plays against it.  I think it enhances learning because our kids have to execute ALL of our base plays rather than just a few for the day.  I wouldn't force this upon them in the beginning, but after 5 weeks of practice between spring and summer if they don't understand the backside guard and tackle pull on counter they never will.

It makes it easier on the scout defense as well because they only have to learn 1 look for the given day, and we run all of those coverages so the DBs and LBs have it easy.  The defense can get aligned faster which means my offense can practice faster.

I am a big believer in the 3 day plan for install... and this 4 day plan for practice.  It is a slight change up from the way we did things as a team last season but I see it paying off already.  At the end of every week we will have seen every front, box count, and coverage we will see in the season.

YES, I'm Still Alive!!!

To clear up any confusion yes I am still alive.  I know I have been MIA here for a while now and I apologize.  I have just been swamped with new developments in my life.  The biggest of which has been changing credential programs as my district no longer accepts the internship I was going to use.  I have been frantically trying to transfer to a new program and should find out by the end of the month if I will get my first full time teaching job here at the HS I coach at.

Since I last wrote

Made it though my first spring ball as a Varsity Offensive Coordinator

We have had a couple weeks of summer practice and 2 passing tourneys

The 2 things I am most excited about:

1. My football camp is in exactly 1 week.  Last year I decided rather than pay someone else for a crappy team camp and deal with travel and everything else, I could put together a better product, a cheaper product, and host it at my school to actual generate a profit for the football program.  The first year was a success but it was relatively small.  This second year got much more attention and next Mon-Wed we will be hosting 7 other programs (Varsity and JV) at our school from 3-8.  Everyone wins, all of the kids get a team camp that is the cheapest I have ever seen in Northern CA.  Everyone gets a shirt and we feed everyone daily.  It should be an awesome experience and I love that I can call this camp "my baby".  I have done a ton of work on it over the last 6 months to put it all together, and we have some wonderful volunteers helping us put it all together.  It is now one of the biggest team camps in Northern CA.

2.  I will be speaking at the 2013 LA Glazier clinic for 3 sessions next spring, I am BEYOND excited for this opportunity.  Spread run/screen, spread pass, and ol play/coaching in the spread.


I hate that I have been away for a while but now that I have my summer practice schedule set, and my summer credential classes set, I at least now know when I will be able to have the free time needed to get back on this blog.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pass Protection for beginners

This post is designed to answer the many emails received recently regarding drop back pass protection.  I have been asked by several coaches from schools that have been traditional pound you on the ground offenses, that are no switching to spread offenses.

There are various types of protections I am going to go through the most common ones from a schematic point of view, as well as the actual fundamentals of pass protection that I believe in regardless of scheme.

Pass Pro Scheme:
First one must decide on a scheme to use, here is a brief run down of the most common schemes.

B.O.B. - Big on Big, some also use it to mean Back on Backer... either way this is a 6 man protection scheme.  This is the protection scheme that I use.  From Day 1 we teach the kids how to ID fronts, we teach how to block each front.  We can really simplify anything we see down into one of 3 base calls, Nic, Box, and 5-0.  Anything else might be a variation off of one of these but our base rules for each front work however the defense is aligned.  The center makes the front call and we go with whatever the Center says... it doesn't matter if the defense is running around carrying signs saying "WE ARE IN A 4-2 NIC", if the Center calls it a 5-0 that is what we go with; he is ALWAYS right.

After the Center makes his call the RB will declare where he fits into the protection... it doesn't have to be the side he is aligned to, he can cross to the other side but it is important he declares this so the OL know which LB he is responsible for.

We call the front, and the RB declares a side every single snap, so that the defense can never pick up when we are throwing a pass, or running the ball.

Here are pretty standard BOB protections vs common fronts.

The BOB protection might be slightly more complicated than the others I am about to detail but if you work the fronts and blitz pick up throughout the summer then the kids pick it up and you would be amazed at how goof they get at sorting things out.  I have a large binder filled with just about every blitz/stunt you can draw up, all separated out by front call and I have an injured kid or assistant coach hold it up, I can get 2 groups going in a drill I call blitz pick up and we get a lot of reps in just 10 minutes.  I like it because I think it gives us the best match ups, we never have a RB blocking a defensive lineman.

Full Slide
Full slide protection is a gap based protection rather than a man based protection.  As the name suggests every offensive lineman is involved in the slide.  The slide direction can be called in the huddle or the QB can call it at the line.  Let's say the pass pro is designated as Slide Right, each offensive lineman is responsible for anything in his gap to the right.  

The RB will pick up the first thing outside of the Left Tackle, the RB always works opposite of the OL to account for all 6 gaps (C,B,A,A,B,C)

The positive for this one is the simplicity of this scheme... no matter how exotic the defensive structure might get, you are protecting gaps and therefore you should be solid vs anything... you are letting the defense come right to you.
The downside is you are putting a RB on a DE, not many RBs can handle this blocking assignment on an every down basis.  Also I have seen teams bull rush head up and cause OL problems because they are attacking the man rather than a gap and this can be hard to decipher for the OL.

Half Slide

As the name suggests this involves 1/2 of the OL sliding.  It is a zone/man combination and essentially combines the BOB and full slide.  I have to say that I am a fan of half slide, I think it might be the most common pass protection scheme used in HS football.  Our BOB rules essentially turn into half slide is a team is sending guys.


The RB is critical in half slide, whatever side they declare, they are responsible for the LB to that side (like they would be in BOB) Let's say the RB designates he is protecting left.  Now this tells the Left side they are in man to man protection, and the Center-RG-RT are sliding left.  The LT will definitely be locked on with the  DE, if the LG has a guy head up or a 3 tech then he has him BOB.  Now if it is a 1 tech, or we just have a nose (3-3 stack or something odd) the LG will also be a part of the half slide, he would slide to his right gap as well, the LT will still stay locked on 1 on 1 vs the DE.

I don't really see any risk in the 1/2 slide, I recommend it for most teams, and like I said our pass pro ends up looking very similar to this because although we are man to man, there are some zone ideas built in.

MAX

This last protection is a 7 man max protection with 2 RBs in the backfield.  Each OL steps inside to sure up the inside and each RB blocks the edge on his side.  This is very strong if you are seeing a lot of inside pressure, and you get your middle 3 OLWRs and you are potentially putting 2 RBs on DEs.  This is not ideal and I would only do this if guys were just coming absolutely free up the middle on a play to play basis and my guys were getting destroyed.  If that's happening, it is probably going to be a very long Friday night for you. 

5 Wide

The advantage of BOB and half slide protection is that it gives you the possibility of releasing all 5 eligible WRs into the play.  Because they are responsible for a player who is aligned at depth, the QB should have enough time, even if they rush free (at the snap not aligned on the los) to get the ball off.  It is easiest to have the OL block their regular pass pro when RB is releasing, but it is important that your QB understands your drop back protection just as well as the OL and backs do so that he knows  who the potential free rusher is.  Having the ability to release 5 at times can be very beneficial because you can get a great mismatch or blown assignment with your RB out of the backfield.

My Advice:
I definitely recommend using B.O.B. or 1/2 slide protection.  I think they are the 2 most sound 6 man protection schemes.

Pass Pro Fundamentals:
Now that we have some elementary understanding of pass protection schemes we can go over basic fundamentals.

1. Stance - Everything in football begins with a proper stance.  Without a well balanced stance you will never be able to get back and into proper pass pro position.  We have used a 2 point stance the last 2 seasons but are going to be in a light 3 point stance this year.  Very little weight on our hand, we pull and have a lot of lateral movement plays (down blocking and reach blocking) so getting off balanced going forward would just hurt us. 

2. Set - The initial movement of an offensive lineman is his set.  The set must gain depth off of the LOS, this allows the OL to get into proper body position, buys him time before contact and helps the OL see any stunts or twists.  There are 2 basic schools of thought for pass setting, the kick slide and the vertical set. The kick slide is the "traditional" approach to pass setting.  It is still used by probably every NFL team and any pro style NCAA team. Here is some video of kick sliding...
It is a backwards kick of the outside leg while sliding the inside leg back... hence the name kick slide.

Vertical setting is more of a backwards run, where the OL steps backwards with his inside foot first then his outside foot.  Vertical setting is what all of the spread air raid colleges are either already running or moving towards.  I have done 2 posts on vertical setting in the past they can be found here...Vertical Setting & Vertical Setting 2.0 . The first post is the standard way vertical setting is taught, the VS 2.0 I wrote recently is more adaptations that I have found work best for us.


The next thing we must do is get into proper body position.  We need a good stagger, outside foot should be back, inside foot should be up.  I call the inside foot our power foot, and the outside foot our slide foot.  We should have good bend in our knees and hips, we should be fighting to keep our head back, and our arms should be up, ready to punch, elbows in.

The set can also have some horizontal movement... if my defender is inside of me, I need to take that leverage away at the snap... if he is aligned outside I may need to drift outside at a slight angle as I get my depth so to widen his path to the QB.

3. Mirror - The OL must mirror the steps of the defender, he might work inside, outside, loop, there could be some twist on, he might bull rush, the offensive lineman needs to mirror the steps of the defender.  I preach to my kids about always working to split the crotch of the defender.  We can NEVER get beat to the inside.  I use a drill to reinforce this daily. MIRROR DRILL. When mirroring the defender any move to the inside is cut off with what I call a power step with their post leg, cutting off the inside gap.  An outside rush move can be combated in a more passive manner using a slide step of the slide leg.  I believe the slide step should get both depth and width in an effort to widen the rusher so that if beat the OL can run the defender around the QB , wide around the "pocket". It is important while mirroring that the OL move in a step-step manner, and do not hop around, this creates a loss of base, a loss of balance, and a loss of power.

4. Punch - We will set and mirror and we want to wait for contact as long as possible in the drop back game, we have all seen a kid lunge out and get swam over instantly at the snap now you have someone hitting your QB before he is even at his drop.  We want to wait until we can wait no longer and deliver an explosive punch straight out from out set up position into the defenders chest, this must be an explosive movement.  The OL can not cock back, the blow should be delivered from the OL's throat area where his hands should be waiting to punch when he sets.  It is important the punch does not involve lunging out or stepping at the defender.  As we punch we want to fight to keep our head back, we must always give the defender as little to grab as possible.

5. The fight - Other coaches call this phase "Recovery"  I like phrasing it as a fight because to me that is all it is.  After initial contact it is a constant battle by the OL to continue punching while using his mirror steps to keep his body between the defender and the QB at all times.  If you do the first 4 steps perfectly you will buy your QB 1 to 1.5 full seconds... we always want longer than that to throw and that comes from the constant fight of the OL to stay engaged and in front of the defender.



I hope this article helps with anyone who is trying to learn the basics of pass protection. Be on the look out for a sprint out pass pro article coming up very soon.

Monday, April 2, 2012

5 Line Drill - Steps on Air

I wanted to share this drill, or technique for doing drills that I use in the beginning of practice.  I am trying to  move away from so much schematic talk and really get down to the finer points and drills; I think that is what makes us all better coaches. You can put an infinite number of squiggly lines on a whiteboard but let's be honest, the team that blocks and tackles best usually wins.  

This is great especially in Spring Ball when you have no pads on and you have a bunch of new kids.

5 Lines:
I use 5 lines, spaced out roughly 5 yards apart for stances, steps on air; you can use it for anything you need to work on with many kids at once. 

Day 1, I teach everyone how to get into 5 lines, and then spread out 5 yards each way.... Once I have established this, at future practices I need simply say "5 lines" and everyone runs to line up, really reduces lag and transition time, thus creating a more efficient practice.

I have found this to be the most efficient way to work with many kids at once for our basic things that often get overlooked.

Stance, Initial steps, sets on air, pulling steps, proper body position.  You can really break things down using step by step teaching then progress into working the whole skill at once.

I filmed some kids doing a few step and set drills to illustrate how it works.  Some kids look pretty good in the film, some were visiting me for the first time and looked horrible; you can actually see a kid or two fall down when pass setting.  






You can scan a lot of kids at once and diagnose problems as you go through reps.  I also use any assistant coaches I have there that day to walk around through the lines helping any kids who are really struggling.

I will use this a ton early on, all through the summer.  By the time we get rolling in the season the kids and even myself can get a little bored with it, and by that point if they can't get in a stance and take a step (after 4 months of practice) then they never will.  I usually taper this off when school starts in the Fall and trim it down to maybe a 3 minute refresher/warm up type of thing if we do it at all.

Vertical set 2.0

One of my more popular articles to date  has been my post on Vertical Set Pass Protection.

Now that I have 2 years of experience with it I have decided to write a follow up to share how my feelings regarding vertical setting have changed over time.

First I want to say that I still really like vertical setting and it is something I believe in. However we ran into some problems last year that required a slight tweak to how I teach it.

Our QB last year just don't get enough depth to feel comfortable with vertical setting. Because of the backwards nature of vertical setting there will be some movement of the LOS back on to the QB's lap; our QB was perceiving this as pressure even when there was no one coming free. Most HS kids struggle to throw when there is anything near them and with vertical setting you're likely to have your OL's backs near you.

What I did was shorten all of our sets to 60s protection, 2 steps backwards rather than 4. This is the opposite of what most air raiders are doing at the college level, most of them use only 90s protection (4 step) for everything but we instead use a 2 step vertical protection on all drop back stuff. I found it made us more solid inside, and most importantly it mentally/psychologically/emotionally helped our QB feel more comfortable.

Because initial contact is a little quicker the OL needs to stay engaged longer. I think it actually helps us on our jailbreak screen. That Offensive Lineman can sell pass block, and sell that he's been beaten before releasing. I noticed that with our deeper 90 sets on jail that my guys would really whiff on their man in a hurry to get out.

When you NEED depth:
I still allow my tackles to use a traditional vertical set (4 step) if they have a true speed rush guy coming off the edge repeatedly, but this was rare because we down block a lot (DE is really looking for block down/step down).

The other case where the deeper sets help is for blitz pick up, but I found that teams were limited in the stunts they would use up front and we work blitz pick up so often that we didn't need the extra depth to sort out who was blocking who.

FAQ: Vertical Setting Under Center?
Another issue I want to address is vertical setting while under center. I've been asked this dozens of times by other coaches via emails and PM's. After using this for 2 years it is my opinion that you can not use a 4 step vertical set while under center, I just don't think the QB can get deep enough fast enough. Now I do think a 2 step vertical set like I use exclusively now can be used under center.

Naysayers:
Now some may say, "if you're not getting as vertical why not use traditional kick slide steps?"

I still find the inside-out backwards run of vertical setting to be easier to teach and more natural than kick sliding.

Practice:
In our spring drills I will have them work the 2 step set and dropping anchor about 2.4 million times, I will also have them do 5 yard sets as well so they will be able to set deeper if they need to utilize that skill at a later date I also feel that helps them improve the speed of their 2 step vertical set.



What began in the middle of last season as a band aid will now serve as our base way of teaching things. I was worried when I first made the change just because I didn't know what to expect but I really liked our results and our protection became visibly better after we made the switch.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mirror Drill

Mirror drill is an everyday drill that we begin working in the spring and will do through the final day of the season.

Very simple drill, OL begins in stance, he will execute a quick set on cadence and "get his feet hot".  On my whistle the "defender" will move around, the OL must work his feet and "mirror" the defender so that he is always splitting his crotch.

 It reinforces good stances, quick sets, good anchor position and body position, keeping feet hot, proper stagger, stepping while not hopping, and staying in front of the defender.

When we get pads on the defender will rush the OL at the end of the drill and they have to drop their butts and punch.  If they get lazy on their sets I stop and make them start over.

Here is some video I had a kid shoot today with my Iphone.




First group the kid on the left is doing some crazy rocking thing with his hands, ignore that. The 2 kids in the second group are much better, the one on the left is my graduating 1st team all league RT/DE (he works out with us some days) and the kid on the right started at Center as a sophomore this year, should be very good for us the next 2 seasons.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Double Screen using new screen rules

Now that I have explained my new set of screen rules in a previous article I want to touch on how I run a RB screen using the same OL rules as I use in our WR screen game.

Quick refresher... PST has the unblocked Alley player, PSG has 1st LB in box, C has 2nd LB in the box.

First I believe in doing the RB slip screen as a double screen.  I think at some point in all of our coaching careers we have called a RB screen only to see the DE read it and sit right in the QBs window, or you have that fat DL who just didn't rush that play and is now right on top of the RB ready to kill him.  Well I got tired of seeing this so i believe in running all RB screens as a double screen.  RB slip screen to one side, with a WR built in on the backside that the QB can throw if he has any doubt or cloudiness with the RB screen.

We installed this last year and I really liked that we always had an answer, it was automatic for the QB, drop and throw to F if he is open, if you don't like the throw, plant and throw jailbreak backside.  Clear = F screen, Cloudy = Jailbreak

OL will block it just like Jailbreak, the play side half (including Center) will block using same rules as jailbreak to their side.  Backside Guard and Tackle will block just like Jailbreak to their side.

If we had a RB screen called to the Right it the assignments would look like this

RT: Alley
RG: 1st LB in box
C: 2nd LB in box
RB: Slip Screen Right

LT: Alley (Left)
LG: 1st LB in box (Left)
Backside WRs: Jailbreak

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Contributing on playfullthrottle

Awesome news, I will now be contributing articles to http://playfullthrottle.com/

I'm very excited about the opportunity to work with these guys and it will drive me to write articles more often.

Stay tuned for a new article on my new screen rules within the next 24 hours!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Screen Update!

My blog posts on our screen game have probably been the most popular/asked about of all the content on my blog. The screen game has been the best part of our offense for the 2 years we have been spread but I began noticing a problem with our screens last year. They were still very successful but we began having some "run by" issues with my OL. We were so anxious to get down the field that pursuit would often come right behind us and make the play.  I preached "not running by color" but it didn't help. I decided that a tweak to my "out, up, in " rules was needed. Our entire run game is rule based. I look at our screen game as outside runs so I decided to give my OL steadfast rules to be able to always know who they are responsible for and thus greatly reduce the risk of running past the defender they are suppose to block.

I will explain the specific assignments later on in this post.

We run 4 types of screens:

  1. fast screen = throw it right now
  2. play action = fake run away then throw
  3. jailbreak = sell drop back then throw
  4. slip/double screen = RB slip screen with jailbreak on the backside ( I will explain this one later on in a separate post)


On our fast screen I really just want the ball our there fast... I will call this because I have the defense either outnumbered or out leveraged. I don't need my OL picking guys up down field but what I do need is for them to seal the box and keep the defensive end from getting in the quarterbacks window to throw. On fast we block it just like OZ to the play side.

Our play action and jailbreak screens remain nearly identical as my prior articles. The WRs will always block the most dangerous defender(s). Up front we are either showing run steps away or selling pass set at the snap, we engage, and release flat down LOS ... Now is where the change to blocking rules comes in to play.

OL BLOCKING RULES
(After working flat down LOS)

Play side tackle - Alley defender


  • The alley defender is either the corner or the defenses overhang player. Since the WRs are blocking the most dangerous, someone is left unblocked and this can change depending on leverage and depth of defenders. That's why I describe this rule as alley, he is running the alley thinking 1st LB outside the box... If he sees him being blocked then he knows to keep working flat to the Corner.


Play side guard - 1st LB in the box


  • It's that simple... He works flat down LOS and picks up First LB in the box from the sideline.


Center - 2nd LB in the box


  • It's that simple... He works flat down LOS and picks up Second LB in the box from the sideline.

We ran right past these 2 players a lot last year and they pursued out screens very well from inside out and this change should stop this.

Backside Guard and Tackle have the safeties... Essentially creating a touchdown alley or cutback opportunity for the WR.

I believe these changes to our screens will improve our consistency from down to down in our screen game. We get a hat on a hat against every look we may see and we have a more concrete, definitive set of rules that are much less open to interpretation than my previous screen blocking system.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Peekaboo: The "Look" Concept

I want to outline a very simple, "cheap" concept that I refer to as the "look concept'.  This is similar to a blog post written by @shotgunfball

I look at the field like chess pieces, much of moving the ball is trading pawns for pawns and one of the keys to making this work is making sure the defense displaces the same or more pawns than you do.

The "look" concept is a simple way of taking advantage when a defense doesn't properly align to your formation.  I plan on using this a ton in trips, defenses are balanced, so when the offense unbalances (by going trips in this case) you force the defense to adjust in some way.  If there is no adjustment and they align 2 defenders out over your 3 then you have the advantage and must take it.

Our standard rule on run plays is for our WRs to stalk block.  We also have called screens we can run off of run fakes.  The look concept is a combination of the two.  We are running whatever run play is called, be it IZ/OZ/Counter/whatever.

The only difference is when we call/signal look after the play call it tells the QB to look at the defense over them.  If there are 3 over 3 then the QB sticks with the run play.  BUT if he see 2 defenders over 3 WRs he is throwing the bubble.  When WRs get the look concept they know #3 is running the bubble

Now if the defense doesn't displace someone else from the box you have a built in answer, if they do you can keep with your running play you have called

Please excuse the 3rd grade level artwork below