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Forming Families For Football

Forming Families For Football

When I went to naming concepts, I tried to picture myself as a high school kid trying to learn a new way of doing something. Often times, we lean heavily on previous learning, and are reluctant to try something new. We don’t want to move out of our “comfort zone”. If we don’t have to, we won’t. However, to do something that we’ve never done before, we have to be willing to change. With that in mind, I tried to tie “previous learning with a new way of communication”. Simply put, word association!

Necessities

Whatever the play is called (inside zone, outside zone, counter, trap, etc.),  the word that we use has to start with that same letter. The reason is: kids can relate to that one letter.

The calls have to fit into what I call “families”. A family can be (cars, foods, cities, football teams, basketball teams, baseball teams, whatever works for your kids).

All plays are taught going to the right (reason being, most kids and coaches are right handed). When we wanted a play to be run to the left, we added an “indicator.”

Our first year doing this, our indicator was a number. We didn’t care what the number was (it could be any number from 1 to 1000; if our kids heard a number, the play was being run to the left).

We had to be able to have both a word and a signal for each play (sometimes you slip back into the mode of doing it the “old” way when the ball is on the hash to your sideline), and we thought about it long and hard.

For our first indicator, our signal was “flicking water off of our hands” (like when you go to dry your hands, and there is no paper towels available). It was easy to remember, and it made sense to our kids.

Our first “family” came from our kids at Lower Richland (the school that I was the head coach at).

We put up a list of our run plays, and asked the kids to give them a name, and a signal for each one.

Top 5 Things Coaches Should Strive To Get Out Of Spring Camp

Top 5 Things Coaches Should Strive To Get Out Of Spring Camp

With spring practice just around the corner for many programs, here are a few things that if you teach and emphasize in the spring, it will pay off in the fall. 

Spring football practice is one of the most important periods for any high school football program. I know that in some states, there is no spring practice (I couldn’t imagine). However, here in South Carolina, it starts on May 1st, and it is critical to what we do. It is a time of teaching. Teaching the what, when, where, how, and why of football to high school aged kids. That point (high school aged kids who think like high school kids) has to be considered in all that you do in spring practice. 

Many staffs have been to clinics, studied film pulled from YouTube, and have visited spring practices at colleges throughout the country. From those excursions, staffs have a ton of notes and ideas that they want to implement. Go back to the previous paragraph and note the bold type. Just because it looked easy at Clemson or Alabama, doesn’t mean that it will be easy for your kids. Clemson and Alabama got “dudes” that you probably don’t have. With that in mind, I have created a Spring Practice Checklist. It is not a spring practice guide, but it is a reminder of what spring practice should be about (it’s a little time between spring practice and a real game). Create a timeline, re-examine it daily, and tweak when necessary. 

Ten Best Running Back Drills

Ten Best Running Back Drills

Although this is a simple drill, its a great footwork drill that is a great starting point for getting players to lock in on ball security, keeping their eyes up, and training their feet to work without having to look down.

How To Build Chemistry Between A Quarterback & Receiver

How To Build Chemistry Between A Quarterback & Receiver

Understanding the relationship between quarterbacks and wide

receivers goes a lot deeper than just being familiar with the playbook.

After watching numerous teams from the high school level and up, it’s

quickly become apparent the difference between strong and weak

chemistry. Obviously, the best solution to solving these potential issues

is through practice and getting reps together. After all, doesn’t practice

make perfect? In this article, I’ll take a more in-depth look at this

concept of chemistry between the two vital offensive positions.

How to Master the Punter Position

How to Master the Punter Position

Punters don’t always get a lot of love, but having one that

can provide dividends to your team can create significant

advantages.

Unfortunately, more often than not, the only times a punter gets his

name mentioned is when he makes a mistake. For this reason, punter’s

errors are often magnified, while their successes are viewed as

something that’s expected. Despite this, I urge you to not underestimate

the punter. In this article, I’ll take a deeper look into the qualities of a

punter, as well as the responsibilities associated with the position.

20 GREAT FOOTBALL PEOPLE TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER

20 GREAT FOOTBALL PEOPLE TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER

Twitter: It’s not just for cat pictures and Crying Jordan memes anymore.

As the number of users has grown in the past few years, a thriving football community has sprung up on Twitter, from all areas of expertise.

Some people on this list are coaches, others are former NFL players, some of them are just people who love talking about football, but they’ve all got something interesting to say, and that’s why they’re on the list.

So here (in no particular order) are 20 football people you need to follow on Twitter ASAP.

1. Chris Fore – @CoachFore

Coach Fore is a high school coach located in Southern California who is always giving his thoughts on the game, especially about the high school level. He’s also a good guy to follow if you’re looking for new coaching job opportunities anywhere around the country.

9 Best Defensive Back Drills

9 Best Defensive Back Drills

Backpedal Drill

Purpose: To properly execute the backpedal technique.

Execution: A number of defensive backs can do the drill at once. From a good starting position – knees bent at a 45-degree angle, weight on the balls of the feet, head up, and back straight – a coach will give the command to begin the backpedal. Defensive backs work on pushing off the front foot and continuing the backpedal. Coaches stress keeping the chest over the feet as well as telling players to keep their feet close to the ground. Defensive backs should also use their arms just like they were running forward. The drill can progress from half speed to full speed to help players perfect the backpedal.

Best Mesh Concept Plays

Best Mesh Concept Plays

The mesh is one of the most versatile passing Concepts in all of football

It gives your players the freedom to settle up  against Zone or keep going when it's man-to-man

PLUS, there's different ways you can tag the play to make it look different to the defense but keep the overall Integrity of the play for your offense

But many coaches don't know how or what to run since there are different  variations of the play to run and it causes coaches to be indecisive

Indecisiveness is the death of anything.

That’s why I'm going to go over the three main ways you can run the mesh concept so you can choose the best one you want and start incorporating it into your offense

Hal Mumme Version

Coach Hal Mumme is the Godfather of the Air Raid Offense.

He is also the man who MADE the Mesh concept popular.

Coach Mumme’s version is the simplest version to run because it gives your quarterback a SET progression…

...regardless of the formation and tag.

(Note: Every route drawn up is blocked with the Half-Slide Protection. If you need help with blocking or drilling the Half-Slide protection then check out this great course from CoachTube.)

How to Force More Turnovers as a Defensive Back

How to Force More Turnovers as a Defensive Back

Turnovers have the chance to win or lose a game. Every weekend, I hear coaches from all ranks discuss this concept in their press conferences. They talk about how a certain turnover here and there or the total differential impacted the final result of the game. It’s tough to say one or two plays can decide a game, but the influence turnovers have on momentum put them in that type of place. Throughout this piece, I’ll give young defensive backs an idea of how they can make these game-changing plays.

Importance of Turnovers

After a game, former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck said, “I thought the offense did ok at the start. But the biggest thing is the turnovers, and not protecting the football, whether it’s in the pocket or the interception…it’s tough to win when the defense is scoring off your offense.” One of a football coach’s biggest pet peeves for the offensive unit is turning the ball over. No matter where the ball is turned over, it kills any momentum for an offense. If it’s turned over in the red zone, then points are basically taken off the board. Meanwhile, if it’s given away in your own territory, then points are handed over to the opponent. Essentially, there is nothing good that comes away from turnovers for the offense. However, with this, we’ve seen more and more defensive coaches stress their players to force these turnovers at all costs, whether it be an interception or a forced fumble!

Interceptions

The most common way defensive backs will create turnovers is through interceptions, or INT’s. These not only help in winning that elusive turnover battle, but they also have the ability to get in a quarterback’s head. If the QB throws an INT when targeting a certain receiver, he might be hesitant when the situation presents itself later on knowing the defensive back is looming. An INT can occur anywhere on the field. Throughout the next few sections, I’ll provide drills in forcing the turnover on different routes. Along with this, defensive backs need to work on their pure catching skills. It isn’t their primary responsibility, although it is increasingly necessary to capitalize on your opportunities because you never know when the next one will come. To add on to this, remember that the play doesn’t end when an interception occurs. Rather, try to make something more happen. If you are the interceptor, then begin to look up-field for blocks and get some yardage back. Meanwhile, if you’re just another defensive back on the field, start setting up the blocks and create a lane.

Jump Ball Drill

If you’re going up against some big or athletic receivers, then the quarterback is likely going to trust their ability and toss up a pass for them to go get. This jump ball drill is designed to not only defend the pass, but also possibly nab it out of the air. Start with a QB at midfield with a receiver covered by a defensive back on one side. For this drill, I recommend playing from about the 10 to 15 yard line since jump balls are often tossed in the red zone. Then, have the QB receive the snap and take a one-step drop before lobbing it into the corner. It is the defensive back’s reasonability to backpedal, maintain leverage and then leap to grab the ball at the high point. The key throughout this is to keep the passes high enough where the defensive back has to jump. At the same time, make sure the receivers are making a realistic effort to do the same, while it’s the defensive back’s job to hold position and get there first.

Defending the Deep Ball

Every team loves to try a few deep passes in an attempt to catch the defense sleeping or take advantage of a speedster on the outside. Likewise, the cornerback might not always have safety help in case he gets beat. This puts the corner in an interesting position as he must play off a little to avoid getting beat early, along with staying mindful of the potential short cross. Defending the deep ball is all about body control, which this drill will emphasize. The defensive back will line up approximately five yards off the line of scrimmage. Then, upon snap of the football, the defensive back will backpedal five yards. At this time, he should be reading the eyes of the quarterback. If they stay on that receiver, prepare to turn, drive your feet into the ground and sprint deep at which point you’ll nab the ball at its highest point. While sprinting deep, try to maintain an idea of where the ball is out. Occasionally, the ball will be underthrown, which will force you to quickly halt movement and make a play on the ball. In the end, this drill should teach you the basics of body control!

If you do opt to play bump ’n’ run coverage, I’ve included a link to a course from CoachTube. It is taught by college football coach Grant Cain and goes through a number of different defensive back drills, with the bump ‘n’ run one coming into play with defending the deep ball.

Tipped Pass

In the majority of games, there will be a few tipped passes. These aren’t always the easiest to intercept, but they are still opportunities nonetheless. The core trait to learn here is concentration. Even though the trajectory of the ball might change slightly, try your best to maintain focus on the ball.

The tipped pass drill starts with a defensive back on one specific yard line on the sideline, a coach in the middle of the field on that same yard line, and a tipper in-between the two. The defensive back will start running toward the coach, who will throw a pass. The tipper must get a slight hand to the ball to change the movement slightly. As a side note, try to avoid having the tipper completely bat the ball up or something of that sort. Those situations won’t arise nearly as often in an actual game as a minor deflection would. At the point of the tip, the defensive back should adjust and complete the interception before running it past the coach to complete the drill.

Rip at Ball to Create Fumble

Although interceptions are the more common avenue for defensive backs to record turnovers, forcing fumbles is another possibility. The tip I usually have for this is to urge defensive backs to secure the tackle first. Make sure that you’re confident you can bring the ball carrier down. Then, while they’re going down, get a hand in there and try to rip the ball out. There are many ways for players to practice this, but a lot of it comes from game experience. Based on what I’ve always seen and learned, this is the best course of action. Forcing a fumble as a defensive back shouldn’t be your primary goal. Chances are unless the situation is perfect, it will be a tough task to complete and could even lead to the ball carrier breaking the tackle. So, with this said, remember to wrap up first because you never know if one of your teammates may get in there to help finish the tackle and lead to a forced fumble.

Momentum Shifted!

Throughout the entirety of this article, a common theme I’ve attempted to portray is this idea of momentum. Football is truly a game of changing momentum. One minute, it may seem like your team is in control and before you know it, the opposition seems to have the upper hand. One of the main shifters of this is turnovers. They can disrupt rhythm, confidence and affect a complete game. The key is to capitalize on your opportunities and don’t let them slip away!

10 NFL AND COLLEGE HEAD COACHES WHO GOT THEIR START IN HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

10 NFL AND COLLEGE HEAD COACHES WHO GOT THEIR START IN HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Are you a high school football coach who wants to work at the next level? It’s more common than you might think, and there are plenty of big name coaches who started their coaching careers under the Friday night lights.

Here are ten NFL and college head coaches who got their start in high school football:

1. Tommy Tuberville – Cincinnati

Top 10 Air Raid Offense Plays

Top 10 Air Raid Offense Plays

The Air Raid offense is known to be one of the simplest passing offenses to install. Even if you don't know anything about the passing game or never coached a QB before in your life, you can put this offense in and see results.

Why is it so simple? Because the originators of the Air Raid decided to change the way football passing offenses were traditionally installed and even more importantly, changing how teams practice.

If you go to a typical high school football practice today, you will probably see these old practice traditions still being used - even though they have long been proved a waste of time.

1. Long lines of players waiting for one player to pass them the ball on a single route run.

2. 20 plus minutes just warming up and stretching before even starting practice.

3. Another 15+ minutes of just running conditioning at the end of practice because "we have to win the battle of conditioning."

There's more but I won't go into it.

If you go to an Air Raid team practice, not only will you not see any of these things, but you will also see the following:

1. Warmups designed to also include skill work like throwing and catching the ball. No more stretch lines and endless high knees and butt kickers!

2. Every receiver in every route catching a ball all thrown in progression from up to 5 Quarterbacks (or coaches) simultaneously. My favorite drill here is called Routes on Air.

3. NO CONDITIONING! Just lots of sprinting all practice. If you have so much standing around a practice that you need conditioning, you need to change the practice tempo and design. Guys should be conditioned within practice...and even then, not conditioned hard every single day! It never made sense to me why coaches would condition every single day...that's a perfect recipe for burnout and slow legs.

So don't just run these plays (or find 11 more awesome Air Raid Plays here). It was the practice strategies as much as the plays themselves that make the Air Raid what it now is today.

Learn more from coaches who have entire game breakdowns you can see diagrammed like Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma.

You’re a captain, now what? 5 Tips to bring your team together and establish yourself as a true leader

You’re a captain, now what? 5 Tips to bring your team together and establish yourself as a true leader

If you’ve been named captain of your team, your coach and teammates are expecting you to be a leader. But what does it even mean to be a leader? And how do you do it? Here are five tips to help you bring your team together.

COACHING THE 4-2-5 DEFENSE VS SPREAD TEAMS

COACHING THE 4-2-5 DEFENSE VS SPREAD TEAMS

The 4-2-5 is becoming the trendy new answer to all those wide open spread offenses out there. So how do you go about coaching the 4-2-5 defense vs spread teams? Well, let’s talk about it.

In this video, Coach Pat Fox talks about using a 4-2-5 system to line up and defend the standard 10/11 personnel spread teams who specialize in the zone read that most teams run some form of out of the shotgun.

Click the link to watch the whole series of videos on the 4-2-5 Defense.

If you’d prefer to read instead of watch a video, check out the notes below.

Strike the pose!

Coach Fox is constantly telling his guys to make sure they’re showing the base alignment before doing anything else.

He wants his different calls to look similar and present as confusing a picture as possible to the offense.

To do this, he’s always telling them to “strike the pose!” or to get into their base alignment before the ball is snapped. He allows them to do some moving around in the secondary before the ball is snapped, but it’s important that each of their base calls look similar to the opponent, which gives them an edge.

4-2-5 Defense vs Spread – 2×2 Formations

This is the standard alignment for the defense when facing a balanced formation on the hash, and it’s worth noting that the calls are split into two separate pieces.

In other words, the “field” side of the secondary gets a separate call from the “boundary” side of the secondary.

This simplifies things for the defenders and narrows their range of vision, giving them fewer things to think about and allowing them to play faster at the snap.

FIVE REASONS TO RUN THE 3-3 DEFENSE

FIVE REASONS TO RUN THE 3-3 DEFENSE

As offenses have become faster and have found new ways to challenge defenses in every area of the field, defenses have constantly needed ways to adapt. Some times they’ve created new ideas, other times they’ve simply reached back to schemes that have already existed, and adjusted them to fit their needs.

The 3-3 defense is as effective a scheme as there is in football today, partially because it’s not as widespread as the more common 4-3 or 3-4 defensive schemes. As a former offensive coach I can tell you that regardless of talent level, the 3-3 defense was one of my least favorite schemes to prepare for because you never knew what you would be seeing from one play to the next.

Coach Grant Cain talks about the 3-3 defense and its many variations and advantages in this video, so let’s discuss some of the key points from his talk.

1. Multiple looks and disguises

The base of the 3-3 defense is a six man box with three linebackers stacked on top of the three down linemen, but the great thing is that you can get as complex as you want with it.

You can easily create all kinds of four man fronts by either putting one your alley defenders up on the line of scrimmage, or if you’re feeling really tricky, you can line up in that base front we just talked about and slant to a four man front at the snap.

Speaking of which…

2. Almost unlimited blitzing options

When you’ve got seven or eight potential rushers on every single play, the offense can get very confused and think too much about all the threats they’re facing.

Because today’s spread offenses rely so much on reading certain defenders on option plays and certain passing concepts, the more uncertainty you can create in the quarterback’s decision making, the better. This is a great way to get the offense back on their heels, especially if they don’t see this scheme a lot from other teams they play.

Besides the amount of blitzes you have at your disposal, equally dangerous is the threat of the blitz. Even a standard four-man rush can be extremely effective in this defense because the offensive line can never be too sure who’s coming after the quarterback and who’s dropping into coverage.

It’s also a whole lot easier to disguise the coverage on the back end of the defense because of the flexibility you have in the secondary. Depending on your alignment, there could be anywhere from 3-5 defensive backs in a position to play deep coverage zone, to where you’re never giving the offense a clear read on what to expect once the football is snapped.

3. Almost unlimited coverage adjustments

Building on #2, because you have the ability to move so many people around before the snap, it’s equally confusing for the quarterback, especially with so many quick throws and bubble screens built in to today’s offenses.

The quarterback can never be too sure about who’s rushing and who’s dropping to cut off the throws underneath, and if he’s worried about throwing a pick, all of a sudden he’ll be far more indecisive and playing back on his heels, which is exactly what you want as a defense.

4. Better utilization of players’ abilities

The great thing about the 3-3 defense is that it’s got room for people of all sizes.

Maybe you don’t have those giant defensive lineman walking the halls at your high school that a 4-3 is built around, or maybe you’ve got a lot more speed than size on your roster.

With the sheer number of different fronts you have the ability to play in this defense, you’ve ways to plug in guys with different abilities into the scheme and they’ll still have a great chance at success.

The bottom line is, it’s really tough to find big guys who can put their hand down in the dirt, take up two gaps, and still run a respectable 40 yard dash.

As a coach, you’ve gotta take advantage of what you have, and this scheme gives you the ability to maximize the personnel you’ve got on your roster.

5. Aggressive style of play

Coach Cain talks about taking the game out of the heads of his players, and that’s exactly what this style of defense excels at.

A lot of what we talked about in this post has to do with forcing the opposing offense to start over thinking and second guessing themselves, which turns them into a far less effective unit.

The goal here is to do the opposite for your own players. Put them in a position where they can use their natural abilities and energy to fly to the football, attack the offense, and run around and have fun, and do a lot less thinking about their assignments or tiny details that keep them from playing fast.

You want your players on defense flying around as fast as possible while the offense is still chasing it’s tail and trying to figure out what’s coming next. The 3-3 defense is an excellent way to accomplish this goal.

Watch the whole course here.

3 NFL ZONE RUN PLAYS FROM WEEK 7

3 NFL ZONE RUN PLAYS FROM WEEK 7

Learning the ins and outs of the run game is a big part of learning how to coach offensive line, so lets take a look at three examples of zone run plays from the past week of NFL games.

1- Dolphins vs Bills

The offense takes the field with 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) and puts both receivers to the left side. This forces the defense to show their hand and “declare” for one side or another.

The strong outside linebacker starts to widen and try to split the difference between the tight end and inside receiver, which in turn gives the tight end to that side #48 Marqueis Gray plenty of room and a good angle for his kickout block on the front side of the play.

How to Get Recruited for Collegiate
Sports

How to Get Recruited for Collegiate Sports

The dynamics of recruiting in the collegiate sports landscape has

changed greatly over the years. In today’s world, many college coaches

travel all around the United States and sometimes into other countries

looking for talented individuals to add to their team. For a high school

athlete, this whole process can seem a bit overwhelming. This article

will ensure you are in a perfect position to get recruited without any

trouble.

NCAA Eligibility

Long before you even step foot on a college campus, you’ll want to make

sure there won’t be any issues when it comes to eligibility. The

eligibility standards tend to fluctuate, so you’ll want to keep up on these

to prevent any surprises later on. The solution to this is a rather simple

one: listen to what your high school academic counselor tells you. Take

the classes that they say you must take to put you in a position where

eligibility issues won’t be an issue.

Once you’re in the right spot in regards to classes, you then need to

register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. In order to complete this

process, you’ll need to fill out the online registration, pay the fee and

submit ACT/SAT scores and an official high school transcript. Don’t

make the stupid mistake of failing to achieve this certification as it can

cost you the opportunity to play collegiately.

Highlight Video

When producing your highlight recruiting video, it is important to not

submit a low-quality video. It may even be worth the investment to hire

a videographer to ensure it is of solid quality. Another piece of advice is

to keep it simple, but include enough footage that accurately shows your

designated skills. You need to convince coaches that your skillset can

provide use to their team. As for getting your video out there, you can

post it on YouTube or use a website like Recruit Reels. Many people have

found success in the recruiting process through sites like Recruit Reels.

On their website, they state “Video is the most compelling resource for

recruiters and our videos provide more than simply highlights – we also

include workout footage, player interviews, stats and coach

testimonials.”

Get the Video to Coaches

Once your video is completed, it is time to get your footage out to

coaches and schools. In today’s landscape, you’re likely safe to begin

getting your name out there by the start of you sophomore season. Your

options for contacting the coaches are plentiful as well. You can mail the

DVD to a coach or e-mail a link to them. However, don’t forget to include

contact information in this message. Another possibility for this initial

contact would be speaking with the coach via phone. Some might favor

this more personal approach.

Making Lists

One way to get an idea of various schools you might be interested in is

to create a list of dream schools, realistic ones, and fallback options. This

should likely be done earlier on in the process to get an idea of the

coaches you should contact. It will not be nearly as overwhelming if you

only have about 15 schools to look at rather than a couple hundred. The

list may take some research and possibly change from year-to- year, but

it can definitely serve as a nice basis to go off of when you’re getting

started.

Research, Research, Research

Everything can’t be learned about a college from a simple campus visit.

Sometimes, as the player, you’ll need to do some researching on your

own. There is plenty of ways to do so, particularly with the amount of

information available online. Take advantage of this so you don’t end up

making an unnecessary mistake. Research can be completed in the early

stages by checking out the school’s website and reading reviews about

the school online. It can also be utilized through contacting former

players through social media to hear about their experiences at the

school or with a particular coach. Finally, it may be valuable to get an

idea of how much playing time you’ll receive early in your career. Some

players may be more willing than others to sacrifice playing time early

in their collegiate career.

Get Advice from your High School Coach

For many high school athletes, there is plenty of value that can come

from getting advice from your high school coach. By doing so, you can

get an assessment on what level you’re best suited for this. Do you have

the talent to compete in Division I or is a lower league, like the NAIA,

more appropriate? These are questions a high school coach can provide

assistance in. In addition to this, it wouldn’t hurt to ask your high school

coach for a recommendation or promotion to some of the college

coaches of the schools you have interest in.

Showcase your Talents at Camps

For athletes from smaller high schools, it can be difficult to get noticed

by Division I schools even if you may have the talent. One potential way

to get recognition is through attending sports camps. Not only do they

put you in the presence of college coaches, but they can also serve as a

valuable tool for developing your own personal skills. The key is to

come to these events prepared because you never know whom you’ll

meet or give a first impression to. Just make sure this first impression is

a positive one.

Make the Best Choice for You

For those athletes that receive multiple offers, it is important to make

the choice that fits you best. While the athletic aspect of this decision is

a major one, it shouldn’t be the only one. Think about the financial

aspect. Who’s offering you a full-ride and who’s proposing a partial

scholarship? Keep in mind the type of person you are. Will the academic

and personal development aspect suit your interests? Finally, how will

you respond to the coaching and playing time situation? Going back to

the research, make sure you’re choosing a place that will put you in an

enjoyable place on the road to success.

Stay Focused

The entire collegiate recruiting process can be a lengthy one. For some

athletes, it may span through one’s entire high school career. Through it

all, stay focused and make sure no eligibility will arise during your

freshman season of college. Just keep in mind that there are always

people who can assist you in the process, whether it be high school

coaches, family members, or former players. Take advantage of your

resources!

How Offensive Coaches Win with Pre-Snap Movements

How Offensive Coaches Win with Pre-Snap Movements

Using motion and shifts can be an effective tool for offensive coordinators to

confuse opposing defenses. Motion and shifts on offense can be simple and easy to

implement. The types of motions and shifts an offense utilizes will be greatly affected by

their tempo and offensive style but almost every offensive scheme can utilize motion

and shifts in one way or another. Many defensive coaches despise playing against

offenses that motion and shift every play or very often. Here are the Top Four reasons

why offensive coordinators should implement pre-snap movement into their gameplans.

Motion and Shifts Can Provide Number Advantages

No matter the level of football, motion and shifts will be used from pee-wee all the

way up to the pros in the NFL. There is a reason that this is consistently used, because

it helps offenses gain an advantage by confusing opposing defenses. A motion and/or

shift can change the strength of the offensive’s formation and in many ways can change

how a defense will need to align. Defenses can react a few different ways to these pre-

snap movements and offensive coaches have to be locked into how defenses are

adjusting and take advantage of any opportunities that may be presented by confused

defensive players. If a defensive player is supposed to adjust to a strength change and

they fail to do so, the offense automatically creates an advantage for themselves out of

a sheer number standpoint.

Motion and Shifts Provide Better Blocking and Route Angles

Another advantage of using motion and shifts in an offense is the ability to give

your players a better angle on blocks. A lot of offensives today utilize either an H-Back

or J-Back that motions and shifts very regularly. This player generally is a flexible player

that can play a multitude of different positions with different responsibilities. When an H-

Back motions or shifts, the offensive play-caller is generally using this to try and give

their player an advantage through an angle whether for a block or to leak out on a pass.

Motion and shifts provide a great tool for offensive coaches to put their players in an

advantageous position to block their assignment or create an easier route on a play-

action or pass play.

Motion and Shifts Encourage Defensive Players to Have “Bad Eyes”

Defensive coaches are always telling their players to have “good eyes” whether it

be on their man or a high-safety reading a quarterback’s throwing direction. There are

many aspects of a football game where trained eyes are essential. Motion and shifts

from an opposing offense can confuse defensive players by creating pre-snap action

that calls for attention from the defenders. Many times a motion and/or shift is really just

a decoy to trick defenders into thinking the action is important to their own individual

assignment. If offensive coaches can “trick” defenders into overcompensating for a

motion or shift, they can gain an advantage and potentially take advantage of a big play

opportunity. This is especially relevant in the secondary as defensive back’s that have

bad eyes generally will give up big plays.

Motion and Shifts Can “Slow Down” A Defense

Lastly, one huge advantage that offensives can gain by utilizing motion and shifts

is the idea of slowing down opposing defenses. Offenses that utilize motion and shifts

consistently can provide a headache for opposing defensive coaches by causing them

to be less aggressive with play calls and more focused on simply getting lined up

correctly. When defensive coaches have to worry about just simply getting their

defenses lined up it can slow down a game plan and ultimately cause defenses to

remain stale. When offensive coaches play against an aggressive defense, it can be

advantageous to implement motion and shifts in order to slow them down. Not only will

this potentially slow down coaches but motion and shifts can cause players to second-

guess things and ultimately slow down their pursuit and play because of over-thinking.

Motion and shifts can provide many advantages for offensive coaches. No matter

what type of offense a team is running, they can implement motion and shifts to help

give them an advantage that might not otherwise be there for them. If you want to learn

more about using motion and shifts, check out Mike Rowe’s Using Motion and Shifts.

HOW VAN HALEN AND CHIP KELLY CAN MAKE YOU A BETTER COACH

HOW VAN HALEN AND CHIP KELLY CAN MAKE YOU A BETTER COACH

As coaches, we’re problem solvers. When one problem goes away, there always seems to be a new challenge right around the corner.

Speaking of which, one of the biggest problems in sports right now is keeping players focused on what you’re trying to teach them.

Whether you’re installing the 2 Back Inside Zone, or just going over the mechanics of the quarterback mesh in the run game, player attention spans are at an all time low. No young person can leave the house without being plugged into something and keeping their minds constantly occupied.

(Speaking of which, there’s a good chance you’re reading this on your phone while you’re supposed to be paying attention to something else)

This problem won’t be going away anytime soon, so how do you compete with all these distractions?

You’ve gotta be creative.

Creative people can seem odd, because, well, they are. You don’t get something different by trying the same thing over and over again. So it’s no surprise that what often looks random or chaotic is actually well thought out and serves a real purpose.

Don’t believe me? How about an example?

Brown M&M’s

During their heyday, the band Van Halen got a reputation for having some, let’s say “weird” demands in their rider. The most famous example had to do with a certain flavor of M&M’s:

Buried amongst dozens of points in Van Halen’s rider was an odd stipulation that there were to be no brown M&M’s candies in the backstage area. If any brown M&M’s were found backstage, the band could cancel the entire concert at the full expense of the promoter. That meant that because of a single candy, a promoter could lose millions.

This story has been told a million times already by now, but you may not know the other half of it. As it turns out, there was a method to the madness:

In now-departed arenas such as Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens, the original Boston Garden and Chicago Stadium, Van Halen was loading in massive amounts of staging, sound equipment and lighting. Unfortunately, these buildings were never built to accommodate a rock band of Van Halen’s scope. Without specific guidelines, old floors could buckle and collapse, beams could rupture, and the lives of the band, their crew and fans could be at serious risk.

To ensure the promoter had read every single word in the contract, the band created the “no brown M&M’s” clause. It was a canary in a coalmine to indicate that the promoter may have not paid attention to other more important parts of the rider, and that there could be other bigger problems at hand.

Van Halen came up with a very creative solution to a problem they’d no doubt faced over and over again, a lack of focus and attention by the promoters and others they dealt with.

If they got to their dressing room and found brown M&M’s, they knew there were a lot bigger safety issues that needed to be taken care of.

FIVE REASONS TO RUN THE JET SWEEP

FIVE REASONS TO RUN THE JET SWEEP

In football, there aren’t a lot of one-size-fits-all approaches.

Most of what works best has to do with the kinds of players you have, the opponents you’ll face, and what your team is already comfortable with. That being said, there are still traditional wrinkles you can throw into your scheme with little effort, and today we’re going to talk about one of the simplest of them all:

The jet sweep.

Coach Bruce Cobleigh talks about the many benefits of running the jet sweep in this video, but let’s discuss a few of them here.

1. You can add Jet Sweep Motion to all kinds of run and pass plays

Before we talk about actually handing the football off on the jet sweep, let’s talk about something that’s equally dangerous for the defense: The threat of the jet sweep.

Just by putting a guy in motion from one side of the formation to the other while running a completely unrelated concept and you get defenders to freeze or even stick their nose in the backfield while you run a pass concept deep down the field to a now wide open receiver.

Teams have been pairing up the jet sweep with their more traditional run concepts for decades, and do you know why they continue to do it even after all these years?

Because it works.

2. Creates new formation variations

Building on the first point, this has as much to do with scheme and preparation as actual play on the field.

This doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize that defensive coordinators need to have a plan for every single one of them.

If the defensive coordinator doesn’t have a plan to stay gap sound and keep a hat on a hat for every possible way you have to run the jet, then eventually you’ll figure out what it is and gash the defense for a huge gain.

3. Easy way to get the football to your playmakers

So many offenses these days are running the bubble screen and have other quick throws to get the football to their speedsters, but the simplest way is to shorten the distance between the quarterback and the intended receiver as much as possible.

The great thing is that you can very easily add this to your bag of tricks without much effort, and the payoff can be massive.

4. Makes tacklers run and cover guys tackle

Since the jet sweep is a great way to get the football out on the edge in a hurry, what often ends up happening is that the ball carrier gets matched up on the outside with a single corner or safety having to make a tackle on his own.

If that particular defender isn’t such a great tackler, then a quick hand off across the formation can turn into a huge play just because your guy is better in space than their guy.

Like coaches say, it’s not about the X’s and O’s, it’s the Jimmys and Joes, and if you’ve got a speedy and agile guy who can make people miss in the open field, then adding the jet sweep to your offense is a great way to manufacture opportunities for your best guy to match up against their worst guy.

5. Eliminates linebacker run fits

When you’ve got a side-to-side threat like the jet sweep presents, the linebackers can’t simply flow downhill to take away a traditional north and south run scheme.

If they can’t flow downhill, then they can’t build momentum to match the big offensive linemen coming at them to seal them off from the play.

Advantage: Offense

You can watch the whole course here.

THIS GUY’S DESIGNS ARE MAKING NFL HELMETS LOOK LIKE RELICS

THIS GUY’S DESIGNS ARE MAKING NFL HELMETS LOOK LIKE RELICS

Some like the classics. Some like to get crazy.

I think we can all agree that with time, even the best looks become a bit outdated.

Dee Yung, a graphic designer from Oklahoma, has taken upon himself the task of modernizing the NFL via a fresh lineup of helmet designs. Some of these designs hold fairly true to the originals. Some are… fascinating… to say the least.

Regardless, these new designs make some of the NFL’s current helmets look like relics of the past. Check ’em out!