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How Football Coaches Can Build A Game-Changing Special Teams Unit

How Football Coaches Can Build A Game-Changing Special Teams Unit

A single play on special teams can often spell the difference between winning and losing a football game — and that’s true at every level of football. While it can sometimes seem like that one play either depends on a player making a miraculous effort or a monumental mistake, these outcomes are usually the result of preparation that comes during practice. 

Yet, special teams is easy to overlook when trying to schedule practices, because it seems like there are so many other aspects of the game that need to be drilled meticulously. And for that reason, special teams often gets forgotten — which comes back to bite football coaches once the game begins. 

Many elite football coaches have conducted excellent courses on crafting a solid special teams unit. And we have compiled a few of these lessons, taking excerpts and bite-sized lessons from each one to figure out some of the best strategies when it comes to curating success on special teams. Incorporating some of these lessons should help your special teams unit become a formidable force—which could very well alter the course of your season. 

Justin Lustig - ‘Special Teams Topics and Organization’sson/special-teams-topics-and-organization-justin-lustig/tip-of-the-spear/11983262"> ‘Special Teams Topics and Organization’

Master the Art of Quick Passing for High Completion Percentages

Master the Art of Quick Passing for High Completion Percentages

As the game constantly evolves, plays and concepts come and go, and that’s been true of stand alone quick game.

In my first year as a head coach, we had plenty of issues to deal with and one of those was a very undersized offensive line.  In the run game we made use of plenty of gap schemes to give our guys angles, but the passing game required us to use play action, which we did, and most importantly, get the ball out quick!

At that time I studied Andrew Coverdale’s books inside and out and went and watched him for six sessions at a Glazier Clinic to learn all he was teaching.  It paid off as we led our conference in passing primarily off of quick game.

Quick game is something that Arizona State Tight Ends Coach Jason Mohns believes in.  In an era of RPO, the quick game on its own disappeared temporarily, but Coach Mohns mad his case for putting it back in your offense in his talk at Lauren’s First and Goal. al. 

The Need for Quick Passing Game

Coach Mohns noted that in recent years, they’ve observed a decline in completion percentages, which he attributed to the fact that they weren't calling a lot of quick game anymore. Defenses started to get better at defending RPOs, taking away gift routes and easy completions. This has forced the offense into more shot plays down the field and one-on-ones. 

To counter this, he decided to focus on creating easy throws for their quarterbacks to get into a rhythm and bring back some built-in adjustments to man coverages.

Benefits of Quick Passing Games

#1) Get the ball in your playmaker's hands effectively and efficiently: Quick passing games involve higher percentage throws for your quarterbacks when you're not pushing downfield. This allows you to get the ball to your playmakers more quickly and efficiently.

#2) Great built-in answers to pressure: Quick passing games help you avoid having to worry about picking up six and seven-man pressures. Instead, you can throw the ball to beat the bullets and keep your quarterback in the game.

#3) Simple and easy progressions: Quick passing games have simple and easy progressions for your quarterbacks, making it easier for them to execute the plays.

#4) Versatility: Quick passing games can be easily dressed up and disguised to keep your opponents guessing. You can use window dressing to make your schemes look different while keeping the progression the same for the quarterback.

#5) Ideal for open down calls and first and 10 and second along calls: When building your game plan, quick passing games can show up consistently on your game plan, providing you with more options to outsmart your opponents.

Incorporating Quick Passing Game into Your Strategy

To start incorporating quick passing games into your offensive strategy, focus on creating easy throws for your quarterbacks to get into a rhythm. Study your offense, do some self-scouting, and make sure you have some built-in adjustments to man coverages. Dress up your schemes with the illusion of complexity to keep your opponents guessing, and make sure you have open down calls, first and 10, and second along calls in your game plan.

3 SPO’s to Protect the Passing Game and create opportunities in space

3 SPO’s to Protect the Passing Game and create opportunities in space

The RPO revolution certainly has not ended.  The run game will continue to be protected by the RPO.  The next tool that offenses will focus on is the SPO or Screen Pass Option.  Some coaches also call this the Pass Screen Option or PSO. 

 Either way, it’s a good way to throw the ball downfield to an open receiver OR get the ball to a player who has blockers with the screen.

Why screens in general?  Kevin Morris, offensive coordinator at Penn, explains how the screen game is beneficial to the offense in this video (click image for video):

The Art of Running the Corner Route- Coaches and Players Prespectives

The Art of Running the Corner Route- Coaches and Players Prespectives

Today we look at receiver play, specifically route running, from two different perspectives. We first get some keys to being a great route runner from 

Tony Sorrentino, Assistant WR Coach for the Minnesota Vikings, and then from a player, Will Swinney, former WR, Clemson. 

You may recognize the last name. His father is Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney, so I’m sure he’s picked up a ton from a coaching perspective along the way.

To illustrate the art of route running we will focus on the Corner today is how to win the space inside and create a window for the quarterback to throw into.

The Coach Perspective ive 

To begin, Coach Sorrentino believes there are three keys to route running:

Win at the line of scrimmage. Defenses will press until they believe you can beat press.

Create vertical pressure. Go up the field and make all routes look the same.

Develop the route at the top

Whether it’s for a job interview or in the classroom with his players, these are things that Coach Sorrentino is convicted about and will share in any situation he’s asked to talk receiver play.

Let’s focus on developing the top of the route, especially how it relates to the Corner route. 

Fundamental to any route is the Feet. Everything is about feet: Feet get you out of the break and create separation, especially by staying underneath the body.

Coach believes he can learn a lot about a receiver in preparing for the draft by studying and analyzing the top of the route. He explains the importance of developing the top of the route in this video:

Evolve your Defense with Quarter, Quarter Half to Stop RPO

Evolve your Defense with Quarter, Quarter Half to Stop RPO

Good defenses and defensive coaches evolve, and that’s exactly what has happened for Jason Makrinos and the University of Findlay defense. Having lived in a quarters world for a long time, Coach Makrinos felt that his defense was constantly in conflict. That’s not a good thing in an RPO era where placing players in conflict is a key for offensive success. 

That led him on a search for something better and allowed him to evolve his defense. He found it with quarter-quarter-half coverage. It gave him a run fit of a Cover 3, which allows a plus one in the box, but still allows him to be in a split safety coverage that allows him to play the field and the boundary how he would like it.

5 Core Offensive Priniciples for a Winning Football Formula

5 Core Offensive Priniciples for a Winning Football Formula

When he was 26, Scotty Walden was the youngest head coach in college football.  Now at the ripe old age of 30, and the Head Coach of Austin Peay, he’s still one of the youngest D1 coaches in the country. 

We had the privilege of hosting Scotty Walden as a presenter at Lauren’s First and Goal. He discuss the evolution of his offensive principles, which have led them to three consecutive winning seasons and a conference championshiped them to three consecutive winning seasons and a conference championship. The energy and enthusiasm he has about the game is contagious!

The Five Core Offensive Principles

#1) Ball Security

The first and most important principle is ball security. It's crucial for players to understand that they must protect the football at all costs. Turning the ball over to the opposing team greatly increases their chances of winning, so ball security is paramount.

#2) Tempo

Playing at a fast pace is essential for a successful offense. The team trains to snap the ball every 12 seconds, ensuring that they can wear down the defense and maintain a high level of execution throughout the game. This requires a strong commitment to conditioning and practice, as well as a well-coordinated strength and conditioning program.

#3) Execution

The third principle is all about executing plays at an extremely high level. This means that the playbook must be comprehensive and adaptable, allowing for a wide range of plays to be called quickly and efficiently. The key is to make the game plan as simple as possible for the players while still being complex enough to challenge the opposing defense.

#4) Balance 

A balanced offense is one that can effectively run and pass the ball, regardless of the weather conditions or the specific opponent. This adaptability ensures that the offense can take advantage of any defensive weaknesses and keep the opposition guessing.

#5) Coaching with a Defensive Mindset

Finally, the team believes in coaching offense with a defensive mentality. This means that practices are intense and physical, with a focus on blocking, hard hits, and relentless effort. This approach instills a sense of toughness and determination in the players, preparing them for the challenges of game day.

Win Downfield - Attacking Different Areas Deep with 3rd Level RPO

Win Downfield - Attacking Different Areas Deep with 3rd Level RPO

For teams that are RPO-heavy in their attack, the defense will start to take away conflict by bringing a safety down into the boxbe.com/courses/football/defensive-backs">safety down into the box either pre-snap by alignment or by rotation in buzzing a safety down into the box.

With this move, they effectively equate numbers in the run, and the underneath passing windows are typically left open by a 2nd level player whose run-fits are now taken away.

This creates the necessity of having vertical answers.  An offense can drop back and use seam reads or choice routes, but the objective of any RPO is to run the ball while having a protection answer.

Of course, the RPO can remain the call by simply shifting to a 3rd Level RPO. Most of these are designed with some sort of underneath throws still available with quick routes or key screens.  When the offense is successful with these, then the defense needs to decide if it really wants to bring that extra defender down.

Today, we will take a look at three 3rd Level RPO with the Glance, Bender, and Slot Fade and how each attacks a void in the defense.


If the backside safety comes down, then Glance is a favorite for many programs.  These typically are run as a 5-step break. 

Glance can be run to the field as well. At Alabama, they call it “pop.” The idea is to attack space as Alabama WR Coach Holmon Wiggins points out in this video:



It’s no surprise that Wake Forest has made their way into the top 25.  At #24 they have a chance to continue to improve and rise in the rankings as the backend of their schedule is end loaded.

They are averaging an explosive 430.4 yards per game (242.2 Pass/182.2 Rush) and are 20th in the FBS at 38.8 points per game.

Head Coach Dave Clawson explains their RPO philosophy here:

Adjustments to Defeat the Tite Front

Adjustments to Defeat the Tite Front

Just as the RPO has dominated the conversations and late nights in the defensive staff room, the Tite Front (4i-0-4i) and it’s variations have popped up as an answer to the inside zone and RPO and cause issues for gap schemes as well, and now the offensive staff room is occupied a little later into the night.

Matt Drinkall, now the tight ends coach at Army, was very familiar with this defense and had a solid plan to defeat it to the point that he looked forward to facing the Tite Front.

First, whether it is with tackle over or by adding a Tight End, Coach Drinkall likes creating a three man surface against the Tite front. The issue with using a gap scheme with the tight front is that you will lose a blocker for the backside linebacker as illustrated below:

Attack Defenses with The Versatile Y-Cross Concept

Attack Defenses with The Versatile Y-Cross Concept

The Y-Cross concept is a staple of the Air Raid offenses, dating back to the days of LaVell Edwards at BYU and refined over the years by coaches such as Hal Mumme and Mike Leach.ed over the years by coaches such as Hal Mumme and Mike Leach. This concept involves a deep route or routes to occupy the safeties, and a crossing or over route from either a tight end or a slot receiver. The QB takes a quick look first at the deep route (or combination to the side the cross is being run to,  to find an easy throw or a rhythm shot, then works to the primary route, which is the crossing route. 

While it has its roots in the Air Raid offense, the Y-Cross can be found in all styles of offense playbooks.  

Its versatility in application from a variety of formations allows it to be dressed up in a number of different ways while also being an effective play-action concept.

What it does is create an oblique stretch of the defense with what becomes a three-level flood concept. 

While many early iterations had the tight end or “Y” running the cross, it has application for speedy receivers and has become a favorite of the Kansas City Chiefs-skills">receivers and has become a favorite of the Kansas City Chiefs with the different dynamic slot receivers who were or are a part of their offense.

In addition, the ability to utilize the personnel available makes this a multi-purpose concept that can attack a number of coverages. Packaged correctly with other route combinations, it can be designed and utilized to beat any coverage.

Let’s take a look at both the basics of the route as well as how coaches are utilizing the Y-Cross in different ways within their offenses.

History of the Y Cross

It’s always good to understand how a concept came into use as well as how it has evolved and adapted to attack the defense. Loren Endsley does a great job sharing the history of the play and how it has evolved in this video:

Play Action is a Cheat Code! - 5 Play Action Concepts to Increase Your Expected Points

Play Action is a Cheat Code! - 5 Play Action Concepts to Increase Your Expected Points

One of the most interesting sessions at the C.O.O.L. Clinic was presented by Pro Football Focus.  In a segment of the presentation, the effect of play action was covered and Steve Palazzolo emphasized it by saying “Play Action is a Cheat Code.”  He shared some key numbers that prove that statement.

The impact that play action has on pass production is undeniable. It alleviates pressure rate. It adds to expected points added per play as well as yards per attempt, and done on early downs it creates a massive advantage.

Question from Rutgers OC - What does your offense say about your coaching?

Question from Rutgers OC - What does your offense say about your coaching?

Rutgers Offensive Coordinator posed an interesting question at the beginning of his presentation at Lauren’s First and Goal.

“One of the things that I thought about as I was building my philosophy was what would I want an educated person, someone who's educated about football, if they watched our offense play, what would I want them to say about us?”

For Coach Ciarrocca, he wants that answer to be three thingsL

They value the ball

Their execution is fantastic

They’re violent

He explains how he views his philosophy in this video:

Gap Schemes vs. Tight Fronts, Play Action Shots and Misdirection

Gap Schemes vs. Tight Fronts, Play Action Shots and Misdirection

This past weekend really ramped up in college football as the country moves towards having all the major conferences back on the field.  It’s great to see the SEC back in full swing.  A few concepts are trending already, and those are applicable at every level.  

Defensively, the Tight front can be seen in almost every game and has proven to be successful against inside zone teams.  Ole Miss and DJ Durkin leaned on it to try to stop Alabama’s high powered offense.  Notably many of the big plays were a gap scheme (power, counter, and pin and pull) with linemen blocking down on those 4i’s that give zone concepts trouble.  Several of Bama’s big runs were gap scheme variations with a kick out and a wrap through.  There’s definitely a lesson to be learned there in how to defeat the Tight front.

Setting up your young Qb for success

Setting up your young Qb for success

Regardless of the level - NFL, college, or high school, having a plan to set up your young quarterback for success needs to be at the forefront of your planning for the next season.

Two offensive coordinator/quarterback coaches recently shared their thoughts on this at the Lauren’s First and Goal Clinic.  Dave Patenaude is the OC/QB Coach at Georgia Tech, and Joe Davis is the OC/QB Coach at Albany.

Coach Dave Patenaude has a track record of developing quarterbacks over his 30+ year career.  None of these was a bigger task than when he was given the task of converting the Georgia Tech offense from an option-based scheme to a pro-style, spread attack. This included using a freshman quarterback in the first year of their tenure.

In a world of cool drills, complex plays, and numerous philosophies on developing a quarterback, Coach Patenaude has simplified his job down to one simple concept - alleviate stress and anxiety on the quarterback. He uses the analogy of taking a test and that preparation leads to confidence. He explains his philosophy here:

The Hot Gap plus 3 Gap Scheme RPO’s to Stress the Defense

The Hot Gap plus 3 Gap Scheme RPO’s to Stress the Defense

The first wave of RPO saw the inside zone and in general, zone runs as the run portion of the RPO. They were simple, allowed for every gap to be accounted for in blocking responsibilities and fit well for many spread teams who implemented RPO. It was and still is the easiest way to use RPO.

Of course, offense is about innovation, so it didn’t take long for Gap Schemes to find their way into the RPO world. With the use of more 11, 12, and 21 trending, Gap Schemes become more and more prevalent including their use in RPO. 

Gap schemes do require a different approach though. In gap schemes, the pullers essentially move the gaps to a location in a formation. The movement of the pullers certainly induces linebackers to move to fit those gaps which makes it attractive for RPO.

FAU Offensive Coordinator Brent Dearmonentdearmon">FAU Offensive Coordinator Brent Dearmon probably describes the understanding necessary for the QB in his execution of the Gap Scheme RPO by identifying what he calls the “Hot Gap.” 

As Dearmon explains, “You can’t serve two masters.” In other words, each player can only be responsible for one gap. 

With this understanding, the QB can avoid being hit while executing a Gap Scheme RPO. It gives the offense a sound approach to using the gap scheme with RPO. Coach Dearmon explains it in this video:

Unlocking the True Potential of Your Special Teams Play

Unlocking the True Potential of Your Special Teams Play

Do you want to elevate your special teams to a whole new level? At the 3rd Annual Lauren’s First and Goal Clinic, Rob Keys, Ohio State Special Teams Analyst shared some of the insights and techniques used by Ohio State's special teams, which have made them a force to be reckoned with. 

We’ll break down the skills and drills that can help you revolutionize your special teams coaching and leave a lasting impact on your team’s success.

Key Takeaways:

1. Emphasize Effort and Toughness

The first and most crucial factor for success in special teams is playing with effort and toughness. Coaches must demand these qualities from their players, regardless of their experience or position. These qualities are a choice that every player must make, and they should be instilled in them from a young age.

2. Focus on Technique and Attention to Detail

Another critical aspect of special teams success is precision and attention to detail when it comes to technique. Players need to develop their skills and improve their football fundamentals constantly.urses/football/fundamentals">football fundamentals constantly. By focusing on technique, players can win at the junction points in the game when they must engage with blockers or make contact with the ball carrier.

3. Utilize the Unique Makeup of Special Teams

Special teams units are comprised of players from all different levels of experience and positions. This diversity offers coaches a unique opportunity to connect with and develop players in various stages of their careers. By leveraging this unique makeup, coaches can create a more cohesive and effective special teams unit.

4. Instill a One-Play Mentality

Special teams plays can change the momentum of a game in an instant. By instilling a one-play mentality in their players, coaches can help them focus on making game-changing plays and swinging the momentum in their team's favor.

5. Master Proper Positioning for Speed and Power

To be successful on special teams, players need to be able to quickly change directions and create contact with blockers. Coaches should focus on teaching their players to be in a speed or power position, depending on the situation. This positioning will allow players to dominate the field and make significant plays for their team.

Coach Keys covers the keys to the Buckeyes successful special teams play in this video

The Most Important Components of Air Raid

The Most Important Components of Air Raid

Like any successful offense that stands the test of time, the Air Raid has come to mean many things - ootball/air-raid">Air Raid has come to mean many things - it’s Mesh, it’s four and five spread sets, its’s “6.” However, doing some of those things or even all of them doesn’t make your offense the Air Raid.

Air Raid is really a philosophy and the plan behind it.

2023 XFL Coordinator and current Tyler Community College Offensive Coordinator defines the Air Raid in this short video

4 Plays that Benefit from Bunch Formations

4 Plays that Benefit from Bunch Formations

The objective of any offensive coach is to put his best players in positions and match-ups that allow them to make things happen.  The goal is to get your best players with the ball in space.  

Certainly, there are many ways to accomplish this, but one method that has stood the test of time is to condense formations so that athletes can use both traffic and field space created to get open in the pass game, and allow for extra gaps and angles inside as well as the ability to threaten the perimeter faster.

If you don’t have the athletes you’d like, bunch sets become an equalizer.  It creates short throws for the QB.  Receivers with average or less speed can find holes in the defense because man and match coverage becomes tougher with all of the switches and rubs.

Here are three concepts that benefit from condensed sets and create a different set of problems for a defense.

#1 Mesh

Mesh is a known man beater and is definitely helped by the condensed set.  Jason McManus shares multiple condensed set examples in this video (click on images for videos):

3 Third Level RPOs for Explosive Plays

3 Third Level RPOs for Explosive Plays

Defenses are getting better and better in how they defend the RPO.  Having a mechanism to attack their aggressiveness can provide answers and explosive plays.

One answer to RPO is to cover down and allow the safeties to get down into the box for the run fit.  Of course, aggressive safeties expose the defense to big plays and that’s exactly what these RPOs are designed to attack

The Role of the Screen Game in Explosive Offense

The Role of the Screen Game in Explosive Offense

In today's fast-paced and competitive world of football, having a difficult to defend offensive strategy is crucial for success. At the 3rd Annual Lauren’s First & Goal Clinicm/users/johnloose"> Lauren’s First & Goal Clinic, Tiffin University Head Coach Cris Reisert shared insight on building a powerful offensive strategy tailored to your team's unique strengths and goals. 

The Foundation of a Winning Offensive Strategy

Before diving into the details of a successful offensive strategy, it's important to establish the foundation of your team's offense. Coach Reisert builds this foundation on four main principles:

1. Simplicity: Your offensive strategy should be simple and easy for your players to understand. This allows them to focus on executing plays without overthinking or getting confused.

2. Speed: Playing with speed gives your team an edge and puts added pressure on the defense. It's important to communicate and execute plays quickly to wear down your opponents.

3. Physicality: Encourage your players to be aggressive and make mistakes without fear of failure. This mentality allows them to play without inhibition and attack with more intensity.

4. Explosiveness: Remember that it's the players who make the plays, not the plays themselves. Focus on putting your best players in positions where they can make explosive plays and create opportunities for success.

The Chess Match: Win on the Perimeter (Part 1)

The Chess Match: Win on the Perimeter (Part 1)

In an era of spread football, it became common to hear a coach say “Bubble Screen” is my perimeter run game.  Without tight ends or wings on the field, that was definitely a sound way of getting the ball to the perimeter.

With a surge in the use of 11 and 12 personnel, the true perimeter run game is back into many playbooks and has become a staple of getting the ball to the perimeter, especially against even fronts utilizing a 7 technique defensive end, and against the highly popular odd front.

In my own experience, we initially put the play in as an answer to the odd front which was gaining popularity in what was primarily an even front conference.

Today we will take a look at the chess match involved in stopping the pin and pull and utilizing it to pick up yardage on the perimeter when defenses align to shut down the interior run.

Attack the Perimeter with Pin and Pull

Eric Marty has had success on every level, now taking his offense to the professional level for the USFL Michigan Panthers after spending 2021 as the OC at Grambling State.  He explains the rules for how they man block the pin and pull to get the ball to the perimeter here (click on image for video):

Unlocking the Power of Gap Manipulation to Limit Explosive Plays

Unlocking the Power of Gap Manipulation to Limit Explosive Plays

Are offense having their way with your defenders they put in conflict? At the 3rd Annual Lauren’s First and Goal Clinicusers/johnloose"> Lauren’s First and Goal Clinic Shane Direking, Defensive Coordinator at D3 National Champion North Central College, shared his insight on gap manipulation and limiting explosive plays as well as the knowledge and strategies to elevate the performance of your defense. He covered everything from understanding the importance of a tight top-down defense to mastering the art of manipulating gaps.

Defensive Structure and the 30% Rule

Coach Dierking believes the aim of the defense is to make the offense earn their yards by implementing a tight top-down defense while ensuring it never gives up explosive plays. By manipulating gaps, the defense can confuse the quarterback with stems in the secondary, forcing the O-line to adjust tracks, and throw off pass pro communication.

Coach Dierking als wants to avoid giving the quarterback easy access throwsl. By constantly self-scouting throughout a season and implementing a 30% rule. His 30% rule is, when they have an offensive formation and thy’re higher than 30% with a coverage variation against that offensive formation, they look to break the tendency. The 30% rule ensures that they remain multiple in coverage and keep the quarterback guessing.

Gap Manipulation in Football

Coach Dierking utilizes four main techniques to manipulate gaps: gap cancellation, gap call, stunts, and bumping. These tools are crucial for linebackers, Nickel, Mike, and Qill to communicate with the defensive line, and can be based on offense tendencies or game plan by formation.

By mastering these techniques, a defense can effectively manipulate gap fits in the run game and gap cancel tools, allowing them to be more multiple in coverage and keep the offense on their toes.

Here’s Coach Dierking discussing “Why Gap Manipulation?” in his clinic talk:

TCU’s 3-3-5 and facing bigger personnel

TCU’s 3-3-5 and facing bigger personnel

Offensive trends are becoming clear and one thing is inevitable, you will face bigger personnel (12, 21, 22, 23).

There was much skepticism about a defense designed to stop the spread of the Big 12 being able to handle a punishing Big Ten run game. 

The first play momentarily confirmed that, but at least for the rest of the half, the Frogs were able to neutralize the massive Michigan OL and quickly fit their gaps and force the ball lateral where the Frogs’ speed could take over holding Michigan to short gains or losses.

TCU's defense is built for speed and was able to slow down Michigan's power in the first half.

They were a bend but don’t break defense.  While they gave up 221 yards, they were able to keep Michigan off pace holding them to 73 on the ground.  

Of course, the scoreboard went crazy in the second half.

TCU Head Coach Sonny Dykes was pleased with how his team hung in.  He said, 

“Every time we started to get on our heels a little bit defensively, all of a sudden it’d be a three and out. We get the ball back on offense, score and put a little distance between us and Michigan.”

The Frogs were opportunistic in taking two interceptions back for touchdowns and that arguably was the difference. 

Second half aside, there is a lot to learn from this game and the TCU defense.  With a trend back to bigger personnel on offense, many of the defenses that sprang up to stop the spread are being attacked in different ways.

TCU defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie did some good things throughout the game and as Coach Dykes noted, the Frogs made stops when they were desperately needed.

Maybe “spread defense” is not dead, it just needs to evolve.  The 3-3-5 is still a winning defense on all levels and as all good offenses or defenses are, it intends to maximize the talent available on any roster.

Linebacker coach at Iowa State Tyson Veidt explains why the Cylclones moved to the Odd Stack.  It started with Coach Matt Campbell identifying the best talent that he wanted on the field. Coach Veidt tells the story as well as the benefits they see in playing the defense.

Elevating Your Team: Strategies from Coach Matt Ruhle

Elevating Your Team: Strategies from Coach Matt Ruhle

Unlocking the potential of your players is crucial to the success of your team. 

Nebraska Head Coach Matt Ruhle shared his experience, strategies, and three essential rules for building a strong coaching staff and team at the 3rd Annual Lauren’s First and Goal Clinic/u/johnloose">Lauren’s First and Goal Clinic. 

He points out that he and his coaches focus on the top 10% of your team and recognizing them publicly. By doing this, you can elevate the entire team's standards. 

In looking how a team is built, Coach Rhule sees it as three parts: Roster, Locker Room, and Football. He explains that in this video:

7 RPO’s for your playbook

7 RPO’s for your playbook

The RPO continues to evolve and find its way into every type of offense at every level.  These seven plays are from top coaches at every level who have utilized RPO to bring their offense to the top. For some, the RPO has even helped propel their climb up the coaching ranks.  

Check out these videos, and I am sure it will spark some thought and interest into how you can do more in your offense with the RPO.

Play 1: Bobby Acosta, Head Coach, IMG Academy  

Coach Acosta has experience at every level of the game from FBS to HS and his knowledge of offense is part of his ability to be able to lead top programs.  In this video, Acosta shares his Fungo Storm RPO /coachtube.com/course_lesson/new-age-rpo-system/rpo-fungo-storm/8884017">Fungo Storm RPO which clearly leaves linebackers confused.

Beyond Quarters - The Need For Additional Coverage Concepts

Beyond Quarters - The Need For Additional Coverage Concepts

We all know that Quarters is a sound concept that provides many benefits.

For as good as it is, the Head Coach at Mars High School Eric Kasperowicz believes that a team needs more than quarters or it becomes vulnerable. 

In his recent presentation on Hot Coverage he said, 

“It's a great middle of field closed to complement to quarters, which we need. There's no way you can sit out there and line up and run quarters coverage, in my opinion, every snap of defense. It's too much pressure. Eventually you're going to run into a team or a player or a quarterback or a receiver that's able to take advantage of that. So in my opinion, for as good as quarters is, you have to be able to change it up and close the middle of the field and protect the post.” 

As he points out, one of the most effective methods is the three deep-two under under hot coverage philosophy. This approach, which he adapted from Coach Narduzzi's teachings, can help you level up your defensive game. Note - Coach Kasperowicz spent a year on Coach Narduzzi’s staff so he knows this coverage well.

Understanding the 3D2 Under Hot Coverage Philosophy

At its core, the 3D2 under hot coverage philosophy involves three deep defenders, two underneath defenders, and six Blitzers coming in for the attack. The objective is to close the middle of the field, keep the offense off balance, and allow the defense to play zone coverage. 

The key to this approach is effectively disguising the 3D2 under coverage to create a strong defensive strategy. This includes:

1. Blitzers going hard and fast: Blitzers must attack with speed and intensity to make the quarterback feel pressured and get rid of the football quickly.

2. Edge Blitzer peeling with routes crossing their face: This allows the edge Blitzer to cover any running back that crosses their path while maintaining zone coverage.

3. The tackle wiping out to the C gap: In situations with a three-man surface, the tackle will wipe out to the C gap, squeezing behind the action to maintain a strong defensive position.

Coach Kasperowicz shares those ideas in this video:

Top 10 College Football Players to Watch for in 2022

Top 10 College Football Players to Watch for in 2022

The 2022 College Football season is ready to kick off, and there is a ton of talent to watch out for this season. 

Let’s take a look at the top 10 players this college football season  to keep an eye out to have a breakout year for their teams and build on last season's success. 


Xavier Worthy - University of Texas Wide Receiver 

Xavier Worthy is slated as the Longhorns number one receiver going into the season. He finished last season with 62 receptions/981 yards/ 12 touchdowns. With new quarterback Quinn Ewers set to take the reins at quarterback, expect Worthy to take another step forward and become the leader of this high powered offense. In the clip below, we see Xavier work on the main attribute that makes him one of the most exciting players in the country…speed cuts!

Clemson vs. Syracuse Matchup of the Week

Clemson vs. Syracuse Matchup of the Week

This weeCoachesClinic.com Featured Match-up -up takes us to the ACC in a battle between two top-ranked teams.  One is a usual suspect, and the other is an unexpected challenger.

Let’s dig into #14 Syracuse at #5 Clemson.  We feature five coaches from our clinics and the coaching points which could be key to this game. 

Sprint Out Passing: Move the Pocket for Success

Sprint Out Passing: Move the Pocket for Success

Why Sprint Out?

The sprint out game provides a diverse package that builds upon other components of the passing game.  Overall, the concepts used in an offense can be adapted to fit the quarterback on the move.

Sprint out fits into any offense and any type of personnel grouping.  It’s simple to teach and it gives an offense efficiency in moving the ball down the field.

Kevin Kelley, who spent the 2021 season as the head coach of FCS passing leader Presbyterian,  starts by pointing out a flaw in the thought process that many coaches mention as why to not sprint out...that it “takes away half of the field.” His answer is simple. You aren't taking away half of the field because they have to cover the other half of the field.

The ability to move the pocket and the launch point of the quarterback can help create and attack holes in defensive coverage. 

Moving the launch point certainly is a way to alleviate pressure and get the quarterback cleaner looks.  For the offensive line, the movement will help them as well.


As mentioned, changing the launch point to deter pressure is a big benefit offered by the sprint out passing game.  The protection is relatively simple and doesn’t require the refined technique of the dropback game.  Where the dropback game protection forces an offensive lineman to deal with two-way go’s as well as having to be sound in twists and stunts, the movement of the pocket simplifies both technique and scheme.

Matt Drinkall, TE Coach at Army, begins with the understanding of protection being full-gap 7- man protection.  He doesn’t like to call it turnback. He sets it up so there are two protecting the front side edge.  His version of sprint out allows the QB to get on the move but be set up to throw which he feels gives a higher completion percentage, especially when moving to the opposite side of his throwing arm.  Here’s how he does it.

How to Maximize Tackling Efficiency within Scheme

How to Maximize Tackling Efficiency within Scheme

We’ve gone through the era of the Hawk tackle and various certifications and made a ton of progress in the teaching of tackling in regard to safety.  Since then (2014), not much new knowledge has been shared, especially in terms of how the tackle fits into the scheme and how to be sure technique is married to scheme.

All of those techniques had a foundation in rugby. Rugby players don’t wear helmets so protecting their face and head with proper technique is critical, and the techniques made football safer.  The only problem, and this was said to me directly by a rugby tackling expert, is that rugby is not football. Rugby does not have the dynamic of the schemes which include blockers and fits.  So while the technique of the tackle is an upgrade, you still need to account for scheme.

In that regard, Fordham assistant Vince DiGaetano has put together an approach around a philosophy he calls the 3 C’s which he explains in the video (click on images to watch videos):

Offensive Drills of the Week

Offensive Drills of the Week

This week we share another set of drills to help you develop your position players throughout the season.  

Whether it is footwork, hand placement, vision and decision making, or refining existing techniques, these drills should give you some ideas that allow you to adapt them to the schemes and concepts you utilize on offense to have your players ready to go on game day.

Offensive Line

The Oregon Ducks are off to a hot start and fresh off an upset of #3 Ohio State.  Offensive Line Coach Alex Mirabal.  One of his everyday drills is the “backside knee drill” which works on the power that comes from that backside knee in the run game.  This applies to offensive line play regardless of the scheme.

How a Stoplight Can Make Your Fly Sweep Takeoff

How a Stoplight Can Make Your Fly Sweep Takeoff

He is considered the guru when it comes to the motion sweep and coaches from every level seek his advice on running it.

While he didn’t invent the fly sweep (aka Jet sweep), Mark Speckman, assistant head coach/runningbacks UC-Davis, did study and run it enough to be considered the “Godfather” of the Fly Sweep.  e/football/the-fly-sweep-mark-speckman/11841734?ambassador=325306f59bb543b6883ff4baa"> the “Godfather” of the Fly Sweep.  

Speckman has coached the sweep at the high school, college, and pro levels. He has been running it since 1979 and shares the background and his overall philosophy “beat you with the sweep or beat you with the sweep” in this video:

Keep your Drills Fresh and Your Skills Developing - Offense

Keep your Drills Fresh and Your Skills Developing - Offense

Throughout the season we will be sharing skills and drills that will help you keep practices fresh and your players technique advancing.

Offensive Line

Keeping the hips engaged is a critical skill for the offensive line to develop and it takes ongoing work on the fundamentals.  

University of Findlay OC/OL Coach Korey Allen likes to use his “fight pressure drill” to teach this skill.Open gap in a combo scenario.  

It is a drill that is applicable across every offensive line position.  The idea for the lineman is to keep his hips - hold the line and get 2 steps in the ground.  The drill has application in many schemes but Coach Allen points out that it is especially good for zone read teams. He shares the drill and his coaching points here (click on image for free drill video):

Coach Kevin Kelley, Outside The Box

Coach Kevin Kelley, Outside The Box

I am sure you watched plenty of football this weekend beyond the countless hours of film grading and breakdowns. 

In a weekend full of shake-ups and upsets in college football, one game that many people may have missed was Presbyrterian College Blue Hose vs. St. Andrew’s Knights.


Presbyterian is in their first season as an FCS team, and St. Andrew’s is an NAIA team.  Presbyterian is coached by Kevin Kelley, the 9x state champion head coach of Pulaski Academy also known as “the coach who never punts.”

This was Coach Kelley’s first game as a college head coach and the test of his high powered offensive system and his outside-the-box strategies.  As a reminder of those strategies:

Never punt

Go for two on most tries after touchdowns.

Onside kick after most touchdowns

Never field a punt

So let’s get right to it.  How well did his strategies translate to the college level?

Offensively, the Blue Hose set an FCS record passing for 10TD. The craziest part is QB Ren Hefley threw his tenth TD early in the fourth quarter and could have easily thrown more.  He finished the game 38/50 for 538 yards and 10 touchdowns.  

Coach Kelley explains that what they do is unique.  He describes it as “a defender read passing game with a few progressions in it.” Watch his overview of the passing game here (click on image for video):

Want your defense to get off the field after third down? Sims and Creepers are the answer!

Want your defense to get off the field after third down? Sims and Creepers are the answer!

Having faced a team that used Sims and Creepers myself, I know how effective they can be. I know how much time they can take away from an offense who needs to prepare for them.  It forced us to spend much of our preparation time for our passing game to be sure we could get the quarterback protected correctly, even though at times there were only four rushers.

Perennial Oklahoma powerhouse Jenks High School is back in the state championship again.  Sims and Creepers are part of the defensive package that defensive coordinator Adam Gaylor uses to attack opponents on passing downs.

What is a creeper? Lets’ start with Coach Gaylor’s definition.


Zone replace

Use traditional zone blitz patterns

2nd or 3rd level rusher (non traditional rusher)

Instead of just angling and bringing a Linebacker from the field,  it has evolved into a package for Gaylor. It’s a 4 man pressure that allows them to get an extra hook player, force a hot throw and tackle it for a short gain.  Coach Gaylor explains in this video:

Create More Turnovers with Circuit Training & Win More Games!

Create More Turnovers with Circuit Training & Win More Games!

It’s one of the simplest to understand stats…

Teams that win the turnover battle win 78% of the time. 

Understanding a number and translating that to performance is the challenge. 

Spending time training skills that have the ability to change the outcome of a game is smart coaching. So what’s the best way to do that?

Former Kansas DC DJ Eliot told me once that “player development is a race against time.”  We have to find ways to be more efficient and get reps on skills that matter most.

For the turnover skills and techniques, circuit training is an efficient way to get a lot done in a small amount of time.  

What may seem insignificant in terms of the amount done on a single day can add up exponentially and the cumulative effect of those reps will have an impact.

Two coaches doing that well shared their circuits in their clinic talks.

Heidelberg ranked as high as #11 in the country in turnover margin.  Defensive Coordinator Branden Jakubcin loves how turnovers can change the momentum of a game. He explains it here (click on images for video):

Devastate the Defense with TE RPOs

Devastate the Defense with TE RPOs

In a previous article, we shared how SMU head coach Sonny Dykes, an Air Raid offense coach, believed that in putting together your offense, tight ends and even fullbacks can provide an advantage.  

New Grambling OC/QB Coach Eric Marty is no stranger to this concept.  He’s created a tight end-driven offense which he utilizes to shred defenses.  He’s the California Golden Coast Conference’s 2018 & 2019 Coach of the Year with back-to-back 10-1 seasons, conference championships, and Top-5 Offense Rankings in California JUCO.

One of the concepts that puts extreme stress on quarters coverage is the QB Wrap RPO with TE Pop Pass, “23 Rap Y-Pop.”  

Red Zone adjustments

Red Zone adjustments

Hopefully your team is finding success in the Red Zone.  It can make a huge difference in any game.

The red zone requires some thoughts and adjustments on both sides of the ball.  For the offense, vertical space is decreasing and causes them to adjust their route concepts.  They look for formations and routes that help them get free of tight coverage. In the run game they look to add hats especially as a defense commits more to the run.  

The defense must adjust and stay out of situations where the offense is picking off defenders and getting a receiver wide open.  The defense needs to be able to react quickly and commit to stopping the run.

Both sides of the call must have a plan and execute if they want to win on this part of the field.  Today we share three adjustments for each side of the ball.


#1 Adjustment to aggressive apex player on screen

Many teams like to use the fast motion of the RB into a swing screen to the perimeter because it is a great red zone play to get the RB the ball in space with blockers.  

CoachesClinic.com Featured Matchup: Cincinnati vs Indiana

CoachesClinic.com Featured Matchup: Cincinnati vs Indiana

This week’s featured CoachesClinic.com matchup is the #8 Cincinnati (2-0) vs Indiana (1-1). Cincinnati is coming off two massive wins against Murray State & Miami-Ohio, while Indiana had the harder schedule, losing to now #5 Iowa while beating Idaho by 42 points. Let’s highlight some important aspects on each side to see who will have the edge.

Head Coach

The Indiana Hoosiers & Head Coach Tom Allen brings a one-word mindset to their locker room, “Relentless”. This comes from a team-building exercise where the players & coaches pick one word that will give them laser focus for that season. Creating both accountability & themes for each week throughout the season, the one-word theme is made by the players, for the players. 

Allen says, “I want my players to be like a lion...I want my players to chase greatness every day because we’re chasing after the Big 10 Championship every day….”

To be “Relentless,” the Hoosiers have to stop the high-power offense that Cincinnati brings, averaging 466 yards a game. But Coach Allen & his ball club are bringing their 2020 mentality into the 2021 season, hungry for a bowl game. The full lesson can be seen  here



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.

Sonny Dykes Teaches You How to Put Together an Offense

Sonny Dykes Teaches You How to Put Together an Offense

As your season wraps up, or as you are preparing to get your camp going in early 2021, it’s time to take a look at what you have available with your personnel and put together a plan that best fits them.  Head coach at SMU Sonny Dykes has a detailed plan in how they go about putting together their offense.

A lot of coordinators start with looking at the quarterback.  Let’s face it, he will be a key piece in making decisions and moving the ball down the field.  However, Coach Dykes looks at the QB last.  

For him, it is very important to understand who the guys are upfront, and what they allow the offense to do.  He covers two distinctly different scenarios with evaluation:

Bigger offensive linemen “Road Graders”

- Bigger splits to create 1 on 1’s

- Pass Pro vertical sets and stop bull rushers

- Create lanes for the QB to see/throw through/run through

- Run game - simple and downhill (inside zone and draw)

Smaller and quicker “Athletes”

- Smaller splits allows more double teams

- More athletic/ability to pull and gap scheme (can pull C, G, or T)

- Set more firm - don’t allow penetration and adjust to pass rush

- Allow more run game diversity, set up Play Action, RPO 

- More of a lateral run game (OZ)

The five guys up front are the most important organization on the team.  Coach Dykes calls the “Grinders, leaders, glue guys that allow you to become a tough football team.” They need to be the starting point of determining what you run. The offense always must be adjusted to fit them first.

Next, Coach Dykes looks at skill players starting with the wide receivers. Are they bigger guys or smaller quicker guys?

- Smaller quicker create 1 on 1 options

- Bigger jump balls/be physical

Then evaluate the running backs.

- Downhill guy

- Make people miss guy

- Tailor make plays to their strengths

Finally, he evaluates the Quarterback. Can he run? That’s a game changer.  A running QB opens diversity in offense and makes him the great equalizer.

After evaluating those guys, another critical piece which the coach looks for is tight ends and fullbacks.  Many teams have to “create” these players - borrow them from the defense or move them from another position.  Coach feels everyone has a fullback on their team.  You just have to look for him.  

- A fullback changes everything

- Football was a 21 personnel game

Advent of the spread and Air Raid saw a move to 11 then 10 personnel. Defenses adjusted like they always do to offense: 

- When it’s 10 personnel the defense only has 5 gaps to control

- Defense can get creative with what you are doing up  front

Adding a fullback into your offense can create 6 and 7 man blocking surfaces.  This forces the defense to commit more defenders to be gap sound and therefore can affect their ability to blitz.  The chalk goes back to the offense! Dykes feels that today’s defenses are not designed to hold up against 12 and 21 personnel.

He points out that you must always find a way to get the best players on the field, and a good offensive system has enough diversity in the offense to do that.

His final piece of advice in designing the offense is to remember in critical situations, “players not plays.” Great players make great plays. Design the plan with that in mind.  The game is about fundamentals - teaching guys how to block and tackle and utilize personnel.

Coach illustrates how a single play - what he believes is the best in football, the “Cross,” can provide the versatility to adapt to personnel. He notes that it is difficult to cover if you understand the details.

Here is the play and coaching points:



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.

Getting Your Defense Ahead - 1st and 2nd down Pressures from Noah Joseph

Getting Your Defense Ahead - 1st and 2nd down Pressures from Noah Joseph

We’ve all worked for the offensive head coach that calls “last play” at practice, following a stop by the defense, there is inevitably “one more play.” If they hit a big one, then practice concludes. When does the defense get ahead? (If you do not know what I’m referring to, you may be that offensive head coach.) Coach Noah Joseph is trying to help! Traditionally you wait until 3rd down to call a blitz. Defense is in 3rd and 6+ and needs to throw, so you are comfortable bringing pressure. What about 1st and 2nd down? Coach Joseph is bringing the pressure to get ahead, but staying sound. We’ll be focusing on “Field Samurai Zoro” pictured below. 

Chad Morris Teaches How To Builds an Offense

Chad Morris Teaches How To Builds an Offense

Chad Morris has always been known as a great offensive mind.  It’s propelled him to head coaching opportunities.  Now back as an offensive coordinator at Auburn, he looks to help build a positive impact on the Tigers offense. He shares how he builds the foundation of the offense on the run game.orris-razorback-offense-pass-run-w-play-action-shots/2240415?ambassador=325306f59bb543b6883ff4baa">builds the foundation of the offense on the run game.

Morris is grounded in sound offensive philosophy and he shared that with the Texas high school coaches in this clinic.

One of the predominant beliefs is to keep it simple for the guys upfront. To do that, Morris build a huge chunk of the offense off of four base runs: 

- Power

- Counter

- Inside Zone

- Outside Zone

He carries those into each game plan and builds complimentary plays and answers off of those four schemes. He wants each scheme to have a minimum of one of the following

- Naked

- Play Action


- Reverse

The other aspect which is important really becomes the filter for whether a play can be a part of their plan are the answers.  The play has to have an answer for all the various coverages, blitzes, fronts, etc. If it doesn’t have an answer it won’t work for them.  

They have a board with all of the different problems a defense can present. They build a library for each and know what plays they will go to when confronted by those issues.

Morris explains how he builds the offense in this video:

Get Your Offense a +1 With the QB Run Game

Get Your Offense a +1 With the QB Run Game

“Don’t change the play. Change the presentation.”

It’s something that David Marsh heard often and built in to the philosophy and design of his offense. Marsh is the offensive coordinator at FCS Texas Southern after sebring as the OC at Campbell, and as an assistant at Texas A&M.

Marsh believes in being able to get an advantage for the offense by strategically utilizing the QB run game.  He has systematized that within his offense.

Why the QB Run Game?

- Numbers advantage - Gain a hat - extra blocker or combo

- Schemes can be what you use already

- Simple - snap it to our best player or someone dynamic

- Option - read a different player on every play if you want

- Situational - 3rd and 4th down or scoring zone

- Change-up - present something different - especially a team you see twice in a year 

To systematize the QB run attack, Marsh categorizes the Run Types:kages-creating-a-system/5882137?ambassador=325306f59bb543b6883ff4baa">To systematize the QB run attack, Marsh categorizes the Run Types:

- Direct QB Runs - snap it to him and go

- Bluff QB Runs - fake it to someone and run

- Read QB Runs - read any defender in the box

When game planning, for Marsh it all comes down to numbers, and the QB creates the advantage.

Are You Causing a 14 Point Turnaround...Against Your Team?

Are You Causing a 14 Point Turnaround...Against Your Team?

For many of us, it is the offseason.  It is a time of development for us as coaches and especially for our players.

When I go back through my 30 years of coaching the one physical component I know there never is enough of is SPEED!

Having spent 30 years coaching, I can admit that unless a football coach has experience in track, he really doesn’t know how to train speed. I see the same mistakes made over and over, and utilizing track knowledge would be an incredibly smart decision.

There is a coach who is perfectly suited to learn from and apply his knowledge to your players’ development, and that is Tony Holler.

Tony Holler is the track coach at Plainfield North High School. He has 40 years of coaching experience in football, basketball, and track. He is a member of Illinois Track & Field Hall of Fame and Co-director of Track Football Consortium along with Chris Korfist. Holler created the revolutionary, "Feed the Cats" program in 1999.

If you don’t know Tony, here’s his background and some background on how he developed “Feed the Cats:”

Learn How to Improve Your Offense with USC’s “Harrell Effect”

Learn How to Improve Your Offense with USC’s “Harrell Effect”

Graham Harrell, offensive coordinator has quickly made a positive impact on the offensive production of the USC Trojans.  It’s been referred to as “The Harrell Effect.” He’s orchestrated a quick turn around for the Trojan offense as shown below:

The Power of Influence - Rick Jones, Mizzou

The Power of Influence - Rick Jones, Mizzou

“If our purpose in high school football is not to change the lives of young men through the game of football, then, oh my goodness, we have wasted a lot of time.”

-Rick Jones, Assistant Coach, Mizzou

Coach Jones is truly a favorite as a guest on the Coach and Coordinator Podcast.  There’s always a nugget in what he shares.

At the high school level, Coach Jones was 313-75, winning 9 state championships in Arkansas, and numerous coach of the year honors including the AFCA Power of Influence Award in 2018. 

For Eliah Drinkwitz to hire him as his own personal assistant at Mizzuo was a no brainer.

Here’ one of those pieces of gold  from his clinic “What They Don't Teach You About Football” in which he shares what he learned about how to deal with tough personal situations of your players and others.

Easy QB Runs to Drive Defenses Crazy

Easy QB Runs to Drive Defenses Crazy

To run the QB or not to run the QB? That is the question many coaches face. Should we risk extra hits on our most important position or not? Believing the benefits of running your QB outweigh the risks, Marcel Quarterman presents three easy QB runs to install and score more points.

Quarterman gives 5 reasons to run your QB but his first is best: more ball carriers for the defense to defend. If the defense needs to account for the threat of the QB run, more passing options and running lanes open up. Quarterman utilizes three easy runs: Inside Zone Bash, Pin and Pull, and QB Draw.

Inside Zone Bash

How many different ways can you make the defense cover everyone?

How many different ways can you make the defense cover everyone?

How many different ways can you make the defense cover everyone? This is a question posed by Brennan Marion, inventor of the aptly named Go-Go Offense, during his recent clinic talk for Lauren’t First and Goal. In a demonstration of stressing the defense, Marion employs a novel offset two back formation combined with base concepts to force defenders into difficult decisions on who to defend.

Win Passing Downs with Creepers and Sims

Win Passing Downs with Creepers and Sims

Want your defense to get off the field after third down? Sims and Creepers are the answer!

Having faced a team that used Sims and Creepers myself, I know how effective they can be. I know how much time they can take away from an offense who needs to prepare for them.  It forced us to spend much of our preparation time for our passing game to be sure we could get the quarterback protected correctly, even though at times there were only four rushers.

Perennial Oklahoma powerhouse Jenks High School is back in the state championship again.  Sims and Creepers are part of the defensive package that defensive coordinator Adam Gaylor uses to attack opponents on passing downs.

What is a creeper? Lets’ start with Coach Gaylor’s definition.


- Zone replace

- Use traditional zone blitz patterns

- 2nd or 3rd level rusher (non traditional rusher)

Instead of just angling and bringing a Linebacker from the field,  it has evolved into a package for Gaylor. It’s a 4 man pressure that allows them to get an extra hook player, force a hot throw and tackle it for a short gain.  Coach Gaylor explains in this video:

Always have a plan to play your best 11

Always have a plan to play your best 11

Always have a plan to play your best 11

You are always in a better situation if you have your best 11 on the field.  


Depth charts are great, and in the course of a single game, a second teamer will most likely play, but what do you do in the case of an injury?  How does the next most dynamic defender get on the field if one of your starters goes down?  

What tools do you have or how does your structure accommodate a change?  

For example, let’s say there is an injury to your starting defensive end and your next most dynamic guy is an undersized outside linebacker.  

He clearly gives you more than the next defensive end. Do you have something structurally that allows you to get him on the field more?  

It’s something to think about now.  Always understanding who your best 11 are trumps a depth chart in many situations.

Four down teamteam

Let’s use the example of a four down team.  

I saw a team using multiple outside linebackers (a 4-3 team).  They were alternating during the course of a game.  Then the defensive end went out.  He was clearly one of their best defenders.  

Just based on watching the next player run in for him, I saw a big drop off and fortunately for them, the injured defensive end was back in the next series.  

The question becomes what can the defense do to adapt and keep the best 11 on the field?


RPI Defensive Coordinator Jeff Dittman had to handle a similar situation. Needing something different in the middle of the season, he found a way to add an odd front into their four down defensive system on the fly.  

This didn’t require major overhauls.  He kept it simple and it proved very effective.

Coach Dittman used various odd front alignments while keeping the thought process the same for his defenders. 

“Bama” allows Dittman to get his defense into the “mint” front which utilizes 4i’s.  Many coordinators like this to shut down inside zone teams because it forces the ball wide instead of downhill. 

Here Coach Dittman shows the change-up: 

Dominate the Defense with Double Teams

Dominate the Defense with Double Teams

Dominating the line of scrimmage means you are moving people and there’s no better way to accomplish this than with combos. It gives the offense the opportunity to put two on one to get level one movement before coming off to level two.  While this seems simple and smart, to be effective you must have a system for doing this, and the teaching progression and drills that create the execution you need.

Level 1 - High Knee

Taking care of level 1 is priority #1. The correct footwork, hand placement is necessary to get the block and the run play going. For Steve Ciocci, offensive line coach at Bryant University, the movement on level one is created with a high knee position which gives his linemen the leverage the need to get movement on level one started.  He explains the five situations for the “high knee mentality” in this video.

Buffalo OC teaches his model for game planning

Buffalo OC teaches his model for game planning

MAC-tion is back on Tuesday’s and the Buffalo Bulls are on top of the MAC at 3-0 with an  impressive offensive stat lines

Scoring 44.3 points per game

Rushing  260 ypg (6.3 yd/att)

Total 467.1 ypg 

Last night, running back Jaret Patterson carried it 31 times for a school-record 301 yards and four touchdowns as Buffalo beat Bowling Green 42-17. Note* 3 weeks later he broke the record again!

No one can argue the fact that players make plays, and Patterson is a special one, but it takes a sound plan not just game to game, but all year round to get an offense performing to its maximum potential.

That’s something that offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki takes great pride in and spends countless hours ensuring that he and his staff get it right and put their players in a position to be successful.

In his clinic on game planning, Kotelnicki starts by defining the word “coordinate”

Put your 3 Deep Coverage in a Better Position with Zone Alert Rotations

Put your 3 Deep Coverage in a Better Position with Zone Alert Rotations

Is your 3 deep zone always in the best rotation?  Or is the offense getting ready to target your static 3 deep zone?

This is something that Chris Lachney, defensive coordinator at Southeast Louisiana feels is important to putting your defenders in an optimal situation.

Sitting in a single version of Cover 3 against every formation or personnel group makes your defenders sitting ducks that the offense can now pick on.

Coach Lachney likes using 3 Deep Zone because of its ability to get 8 players into the run fit quickly. He certainly understands the weaknesses and how the coverage will be attacked, but they’ve added a concept they refer to as “Zone Alert” to get them into the best rotation against the formations and/or the personnel they are facing.

For Lachney it starts with well defined pieces of the puzzle.  The SCIF player has an important job.  Lachney explained exactly why they added verbs for better learning if the SCIF assignment. Instead of teaching just “Seam-Curl-Flat,” Lachney’s players are taught and understand it this way:

Protect the Seam

Cover the Curl

Tackle the Flat

Lachney gives the details of how they coach the SCIF in this video:

5 Keys to Using Trick Plays

5 Keys to Using Trick Plays

The teams that you face now are usually of equal or greater caliber. 

Solid offensive performances are still built around the core of what you do that has got you to this point. However, being able to strategically add an explosive play through the use of some kind of deceptive or trick can provide the spark plug you need to overcome your opponent.

Here’s Five Keys for Using Trick Plays:ps://coachtube.com/courses/football/trick-plays">Trick Plays:

Know your opponent and what players on defense are quick to react to an initial key. Plan your attack here.

Decide when and where are the appropriate time to use these plays. Most of the time these plays are effective when the game is tight.

Set up the play to fit into what you do. Use looks and formations that are already part of your game plan. A formation the defense hasn’t seen sometimes causes them to play less aggressively and could be an indicator that you are doing something out of the ordinary.

Practice your plays but not too much. Give it a few team reps and over the week and that’s all. If there is a key mechanic involved with ball handling or a pass, let the players involved practice it separately.

Have fun! These plays are always fun when they work out and the players love to execute them.

There are many possibilities for the tricks you can design. Here’s three unique trick plays to get your creative juices flowing.

#1) “Tony Disco” from Shawn Liotta

Shawn Liotta has plenty of gadgets that work.  This is one he let his players name and they called it “Tony Disco.”  It’s a variation of Philly Special, and is great in the red zone.  The Speed sweep action gets the defense flowing immediately and leaves them exposed on the opposite flank for the TD.

Learn from

Learn from 'Juggernaut' Offense

What is a “juggernaut?”


Noun - a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force or institution.

The word “juggernaut” gets thrown out there every now and then, but by definition it fits the Morningside College offense under offensive coordinator Lucas Luders’ guidance.

After leading Morningside College’s offense to back-to-back NAIA National Championships in 2018-19, and a nod as the Football Scoop NAIA Coordinator of the Year, Lueders has moved on to Central Missouri bringing his high power offense with him.  

Unfortunately, with a pandemic canceled 2020 season, there’s no stat line from Central Missouri, but you can bet they will be at the top of NCAA D2 when they return.

Lueders is one of those coaches currently flying under the radar of some of the big schools, but don’t expect that to stay that way long.

Utilizing the Hybrid Linebacker to take away Offensive Advantages

Utilizing the Hybrid Linebacker to take away Offensive Advantages

In today’s world of dynamic tight ends, use of hybrid offensive skill players, and personnel groups that stay on the field, the defense must respond in like fashion.  Enter the hybrid linebacker.  He is a fast and aggressive player and could play inside linebacker, yet physical enough to play defensive line. In the 5’10-6’ and 185-200 pound range, this is a player who can stay on the field and effectively match the different formations that the offense may throw at the defense.  

Many high school teams struggle to find defensive linemen, especially if they desire to be two platoons.  The hybrid linebacker allows for flexibility in the defensive structure.  Week to week at the high school level, a team might face a three back offense one week and a no back offense the next.  

Chris Wolfe, two time state champion head coach at Louisville Male High School knows first hand the advantages of utilizing this type of player.  Not only is it an advantage, but in many cases, a necessity.

Wolfe lists the following as benefits of utilizing a hybrid linebacker:

1. Flexibility

2. Match number and personnel

3. Can kick the font

4. Better screen recognition

5. Better block recognition

6. Better Drop Angles

7. More effective blitzes

8. Better pass rush position

9. Athletic players making plays

Always have a plan to play your best 11

Always have a plan to play your best 11

You are always in a better situation if you have your best 11 on the field.  

Depth charts are great, and in the course of a single game, a second teamer will most likely play, but what do you do in the case of an injury?  How does the next most dynamic defender get on the field if one of your starters goes down?  

What tools do you have or how does your structure accommodate a change?  

For example, let’s say there is an injury to your starting end and your next most dynamic guy is an undersized outside linebacker.  

He clearly gives you more than the next end.  Do you have something structurally that allows you to get him on the field more?  

It’s something to think about now.  Always understanding who your best 11 are trumps a depth chart in many situations.

Let’s use the example of a four down team.  

I saw a team using multiple outside linebackers (a 4-3 team).  They were alternating during the course of a game.  Then the defensive end went out.  He was clearly one of their best defenders.  

Just based on watching the next player run in for him, I saw a big drop off and fortunately for them, the injured defensive end was back in the next series.  

The question becomes what can the defense do to adapt and keep the best 11 on the field?

RPI Defensive Coordinator Jeff Dittman had to handle a similar situation. Needing something different in the middle of the season, he found a way to add an odd front into their four down defensive system on the fly.  

This didn’t require major overhauls.  He kept it simple and it proved very effective.

Coach Dittman used various odd front alignments while keeping the thought process the same for his defenders. 

“Bama” allows Dittman to get his defense into the “mint” front which utilizes 4i’s.  Many coordinators like this to shut down inside zone teams because it forces the ball wide instead of downhill. Here is the change-up:

Coachesclinic.com Featured Matchup: #6 Oklahoma vs #21 Texas

Coachesclinic.com Featured Matchup: #6 Oklahoma vs #21 Texas

The University of Texas

All gas. No Brakes. You know how Texas is coming into this game.

Steve Sarkisian, head coach for the Longhorns, has had this motto since he’s landed the coaching job this year. But what exactly does this new belief look like

They want to be the best attacking, most physical and compete with amazing energy. The Longhorns are the 20th ranked overall offense so far this season and have no thoughts of letting off the gas against the Sooners, a program with a defense ranked just inside the top 50.

All-star wide receiver Xavier Worthy & offensive guard Junior Angilau look to have breakout games this week, both with draft implications on the line. 

Easy for You - Difficult for Them Adjustments

Easy for You - Difficult for Them Adjustments

As we head into the last quarter of the season, finding adjustments or wrinkles to what you already do with little change to what is already in can pay huge dividends.  To your opponent, it’s something that they haven’t seen yet so when it is used they will not have prepared for it, but for you, the wrinkle was easily implemented.  That’s an efficient use of your time.

Let’s take a look at some adjustments and wrinkles that might make sense to you.  Even if they don’t fit exactly what you do, the thought process or strategy can be helpful.

Coachesclinic.com Featured Matchup: Davidson College vs Presbyterian

Coachesclinic.com Featured Matchup: Davidson College vs Presbyterian

After a close game in March, the Presbyterian College Blue Hose face-off against the Davidson College Wildcats once again. Kevin Kelley, the coach that never punts, clashes with Scott Abell, the triple option perfectionist.

Presbyterian College Blue Hose

Presbyterian College is in its first season as an FCS team, manned by Kevin Kelley, the 9x state champion head coach of Pulaski Academy also known as “the coach who never punts.” In their first game, Presbyterian QB Ryan Hefley threw for 10 touchdowns using a combination of empty and quad formations with play-action screens and vertical combinations. 

Going into Davidson week, Presbyterian is the #1 Passing Team in all of college football averaging 461 yards per game. They also are the #4 scoring team in the FCS at 45.0 points per game.

Kelley is a great example of a small program coach coming who is breaking the constraints of play calling.

Imagine a team that:

- Always goes for two

- Does not punt

- Never fields a punt

- Always executes an onside kick

When asked about his special team’s philosophy, Kelley said. “... since 2001, over 48% of NFL teams have converted a 2 point conversion, surpassing the point total of the 94% that just executed a 1 point PAT.” 

Following analytics has been a recent trend in football, with more and more teams going for 2 and converting, like the Baltimore Ravens and the University of Mississippi.

Kelley gives you his favorite 2 point play, the Sprint-Out by a single receiver out of a 4x1 formation, spreading the defense out and making the opponent make split-second decisions.

UNSTOPPABLE: Coach Kelley`s 2pt Plays

Week 5 National High School Football Rankings

Week 5 National High School Football Rankings

We are at about the halfway point and we have plenty of CoachTube high school coaches who are having tremendous seasons. 31 coaches who have courses on CoachTube have made it to the top of the rankings in the country or in the state.

These coaches are sharing their philosophy, strategy, and schemes.  Take a look at some of the key concepts that have helped bring their teams to the top

Protecting Aaron Rodgers (and your own QB)

Protecting Aaron Rodgers (and your own QB)

Does your quarterback not have enough time to throw in the pocket? Are your tackles letting defenders run inside, causing havoc in your backfield? Are you tired of giving up sacks?

The answer to these problems comes in two forms. Of course, better technique from the offensive line is an answer, but so is the running game.

A good running game is a quarterback’s best friend.  That proved to be true in the Packers-Lions Monday Night Football match-up against the Detroit Lions.

The Green Bay Packers’ offense got on track with Aaron Rodgers completing 22 of 27 passes for 255 yards and 4 TD.  Running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon provided an efficient rushing attack.

Defensive Drills of the Week

Defensive Drills of the Week

Finding new ways to teach the skills, fundamentals and decision making on defense can help your players continue to develop over the course of a season.

We’ve put together drills that some of the best coaches believe make a difference for their position players. Here are skills and drills for every defensive position.  


When playing their 3-4 front Andy Buh, LB coach at Illinois loves using the “difference drill.” It simulates the tackle or the tight end to the bubble coming back on the linebacker.  He needs to strike the blocker and get a release to the ball carrier.

Woo Pig - Add a wrinkle with these Arkansas Downhill Run Variations

Woo Pig - Add a wrinkle with these Arkansas Downhill Run Variations

Arkansas is #16 in the country in rushing offense averaging 289 yards per game rushing for 333 yards in a win over Texas.  They have their run game rolling!

Razorback OL Coach Cody Kennedy has been a coach on the rise. After being hired by Southern Miss at the beginning of this year, he was wooed by Arkansas to become their tight ends coach and soon after was moved into the offensive line position.

In his prior seasons at Tulane, he had the Green Wave offense rolling in the ground game with 32 rushing TD (7th nationally) and 217.1 yards per game (17th). 

Watching the first two games the Razorbacks lean on the zone running game and gap schemes. Coach Kennedy loves the variations to these schemes as well.

One way to move the ball downhill is to use the gap scheme variation of Duo. 

Coachesclinic.com Featured Matchup: #7 Cincinnati vs #9 Notre Dame

Coachesclinic.com Featured Matchup: #7 Cincinnati vs #9 Notre Dame

For this week’s College top 10 matchup, the Cincinnati Bearcats travel to South Bend, Indiana to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish! Only meeting for the 2nd time in both schools’ history, can Notre Dame remain unbeaten in this series, or will Cincinnati even it out, giving the Irish their first loss of the year?

At 4-0, Notre Dame looks to surge ahead, knocking the Bearcats out of the top 10 with a win this Saturday. Senior running back Kyren Williams, averaging nearly 4 yards a carry, looks to stay dominant against the Cincinnati defense.

At 3-0, Cincinnati aims to move into the top 5 with a win over the Irish. Quarterback Desmond Ridder, 4th in the Heisman race, looks to remain perfect and bring home a win for the Queen City.

Let’s take a closer look at who will win this matchup.

Offensive Drills of the Week

Offensive Drills of the Week

It’s heading into the last quarter of the regular season, but the development of your players never stops.  

This week we provide some unique drills for each position to work on different aspects of their fundamentals.  As much as possible we found drills that allow you to get maximum reps in a short period of time because usually teams start to cut back on practice time.

Coach Jason McEndoo Teaches #12 Oklahoma State’s Top Running Play

Coach Jason McEndoo Teaches #12 Oklahoma State’s Top Running Play

The outside zone has become a staple run in many offenses and that’s true for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

After defeating Kansas State and Baylor, both ranked at the time, the Cowboys have climbed the rankings to #12 at 5-0 and preparing for a showdown with #25 Texas Longhorns.

Oklahoma State Cowboy Backs Coach McEndoo is a big believer in the outside zone and his position certainly plays a big part in the success of the play.  The “cowboy back” is a hybrid position of tight end and fullback type players who will capture the edge and insert into different gaps to effectively block the outside zone play. The position allows the Cowboys to align in multiple formations to stress the defense as well.

The Cowboys have made an investment in the outside zone scheme because it allows them to distort a defense while being creative in their attack. Over a 3-year period the two variations, outside zone and search, have netted the Cowboys 1,726 yards with nearly a 5-yard average every time they call it.

Coach explains the importance of the scheme and its success in their offense here

Adjustments - Attach Screens to your best plays, defend star receivers, & movement to stop the run

Adjustments - Attach Screens to your best plays, defend star receivers, & movement to stop the run

It’s another week of looking at some possible adjustments, tweaks, and wrinkles to keep your offense and defense rolling.


We are hitting mid-season and teams have gotten a chance to see what you do. They are studying you on film and trying to hone in on your tendencies. The last thing you want is your offense to bog down. 

Finding a way to pick up a chunk of yardage or even a touchdown at a critical time can help propel your team towards its goals.

Adding a screen to what you already do can be a great way to get an explosive play and break a tendency. If you already run screens, you can make your screen game more multiple or add a screen to some of your best runs, passes, or even add to a wrinkle that you have already added.

In all of football, I believe that the Cleveland Browns are the best executing their screen game, and also the most creative. What makes their screen game so good beyond the execution is that they run their screens off of runs, passes, play actions, and even gadget plays that they have run before.

The purpose of any screen is to get the defense focused on one thing, chasing that down, and then getting your blockers on to level 2 and level 3.

We will share some ideas for exactly how to do that.

Joe Davis, the offensive coordinator at the University of Albany, has a solution that can make the screen game an explosive part of any offense. 

Davis has Albany’s offense rolling as they have seen significant improvement in just about every offensive statistical category.  For Davis, designing an offense for player success is a priority.  He’s applied that to the screen game.

Davis likes the screen game for several reasons:

 It creates an extension of the running game

It provides the quarterback confidence with easy completions

It creates momentum and rhythm for the offense while getting the ball to playmakers quickly and without downfield reads for the QB

Touches!  Any player can get a touch in the screen game with Davis’s concept

Consistency for the offensive line - multiple screens with the same rules for OL 

Davis talks about what he looks to accomplish in the screen game in this video (click on image fo video):

Coachesclinic.com Featured Matchup: Army vs #16 Wake Forest

Coachesclinic.com Featured Matchup: Army vs #16 Wake Forest

The #16 Wake Forest Demon Deacons take on the Army Golden Knights Saturday. Coming in at 6-0, the Demon Deacons are off to their best start since 1944, a time when the ACC did not even exist! But don’t count Army out. They come into this game allowing 129 points LESS, a stellar defense coached by Nate Woody, a 29-year coaching veteran. Will the Deacons become 7-0 for the first time since 1978? Or will the Golden Knights have the upset every team dreams of?

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-0)

Wake's Offensive Line is solid as usual and they block what Wake likes to do very well. The offense still relies on their read-option and RPO long mesh and the line does well to sustain blocks as well as getting a big push up front to create running lanes for the backs

Dave Clawson has been leading the Wake Forest football program for the better part of a decade now and even though he consistently gets them to bowl games, people are still surprised when he has his team playing well. 

The RPO isn’t anything new to Clawson. It really opens up your playbook, leaning on the run with a high likelihood of those big gain pass plays. Their main goal is to decrease the amount of time they are in pass protection while maintaining their control of the extra defender in the box.

He gives you an RPO where their QB is actively blocking, becoming the 7th blocker to take the end man on the line of scrimmage. A great way to get everyone involved!

How To Implement A Running-Back-By-Committee Scheme

How To Implement A Running-Back-By-Committee Scheme

In recent years, football has seen an uptick in the awareness of injuries. Football is a difficult game and one that can quickly take a physical toll on players.

This isn’t just at the professional level. Coaches at all levels should be implementing game plans that are designed to protect the safety of all players. In reality, unless you’re a punter or kicker, you are susceptible to the taxing nature of football.

In this article, I’ll break down how a running back by committee scheme can lighten the load at one of the most difficult positions in football.

Bell-Cow Back

The term “bell-cow” is actually most often used in fantasy football circles, but it can be transferred over to actual football matters. In short, a bell-cow back is someone that handles all of the carries.

Obviously, in a committee, this guy won’t be a literal bell-cow as he’ll be splitting carries, but each team needs a guy at the top of the depth chart. Rather than handling the normal three downs, a bell-cow in a committee will take first and second downs.

For this spot, the priority is finding a consistent back who doesn’t fumble and is able to run between the tackles. While hands and big-play ability can help, they are not nearly as important as the capability to pick up tough yards in the trenches.

In terms of current bell-cows, the best professional example has to be DeMarco Murray during his past season with the Dallas Cowboys.


Scatbacks are the smaller backs who possess superior speed and elusiveness.

They may not have the strength of the bell-cow, but what they do have is the ability to make big-time football plays.

Scatbacks are capable of serving in pass protection, as well as being yet another option in the passing game for the quarterback. While the bell-cow is going to traditionally run between the tackles, the scatback will take his carries outside the hashes. Their elusiveness allows them to consistently make tacklers miss in the open field.

Finally, scatbacks can also provide value on special teams to justify their spot on the roster. A perfect NFL example is Darren Sproles. Sproles has carved out a steady NFL career for his exceptional work on third-downs, in the passing game, and as a kick returner on special teams.

Goal-Line Back

The final type of back a coach can add to his committee is a goal-line back, which in most cases will simply be your full-back. The goal-line back can be thought of as a short-yardage specialist. His primary playing time will come on 3rd or 4th and short when the offense finds itself inside the five yard line.

The two most important qualities a goal-line back can have are massive strength, to avoid getting stopped on these short-yardage situations, and a sure-hand grip that never fumbles. A miscue by the goal-line back usually takes points off the board, so you want someone with reliable consistency.

Many players have held this role in recent years, including Mike Tolbert. Even though Tolbert was able to handle additional carries, his primary value came in his ability to convert short-yardage situations and put points on the board.

Minimizing Injury Risk For Your Players

Running backs are inherently injury prone due to the nature of their football position. Handling 20 carries a game puts a significant toll on the body. Furthermore, expecting that same player to assist in pass protection and add a few more touches in the passing game is difficult. There’s no way of getting around the fact that injuries are a definite possibility.

Meanwhile, you can’t abandon the run game completely as a passing-dominant team is easy to plan for. It allows the opposing coach to add in more defensive backs and makes your offense one-dimensional.

The only way to overcome this massive injury risk associated with ball-carriers is to implement a committee scheme. It spreads out the touches amongst three or more players and prevents one player from taking all the punishment. It also allows you to utilize a wider number of strengths on your roster.

Maximizing Yards-Per-Carry For Your Team

YPC stands for yards per carry. It is a key barometer of success in football. While a significant deal of the YPC depends on the ability of an offensive line to open up holes, much depends on the running back’s ability to exploit openings and achieve big gains.

A player may be in top-notch physical condition, but if he is nicked up and has been carrying the rock for three quarters, isn’t it fair to say that he may be a little fatigued by the fourth? To combat this and achieve a higher YPC, the committee will keep players fresher.

The San Diego Chargers experimented with a committee back in 2011 that featured Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert. The duo combined for 1,582 rushing yards, 888 receiving yards, and 16 touchdowns. It is highly unlikely either of these two would have been able to put up those numbers on their own. However, a committee made it doable because they were able to maintain a steady YPC that encouraged the coach to put his faith in the running game.

How To Become The Most Feared Offensive Lineman In Your League

How To Become The Most Feared Offensive Lineman In Your League

While there’s nothing glamorous about being an offensive lineman, it is a position that allows you to be aggressive and physical every single play.

There’s nothing better than dominating another player in a man-to-man matchup, driving him into the ground as your running back sprints untouched through the epic hole you just created.

This position isn’t easy. To be a great offensive lineman, you need strength. You need agility and finesse. And you need more tenacity than every other position combined.

Here are 4 ways to become the most feared offensive lineman in your league.

1. Improve Your Stance

The key to determining who wins the battle between the offensive and defensive lineman is the first step. To achieve the quickest first step, your stance needs to be constructed in a way that allows your body to quickly react.

Since the center is in charge of assessing the defense and snapping the ball, his stance requires feet shoulder width apart and even with each other.

Guards and tackles will have a stance where feet are still shoulder width apart, but slightly staggered, meaning the outside foot will be farther back than the inside foot. The outside foot should be positioned so that the toe is aligned with the heel of the inside foot. This allows for a quick reaction, either backwards for pass blocking or forward for run blocking.

In certain situations, depending on the coaches’ preference, one hand may be on the ground in a 3-point stance, which is used mainly for run blocking scenarios since it allows you to be the “lower man.”  In pass blocking situations, it is common for the inside hand to be on your thigh while your outside hand is in a “ready to strike” position.

Correct stance posture is essential to determine the strength of your base of support. No one will be able to push you around when your base is strong.

Wylie, McNally and Alexander Key Coaching Points on the Wide Zone Play

Wylie, McNally and Alexander Key Coaching Points on the Wide Zone Play

Chances are that you will either be running a wide zone yourself or facing it at some point in the future.  It’s a play that teams use from the NFL through high school because of its ability to distort the defense and create running lanes for the back.  The nature of the movement caused by the scheme makes it one of the best runs to execute RPO and Play Action off of as well.

Three offensive line experts, and original members of “The C.O.O.L. Mushroom Society” know this play better than anyone and continue to innovate their coaching points and techniques on the play.

Let’s start with Jim “Mouse” McNally, long time NFL line coach, now NFL consultant teaching the techniques on the front side of the play.

When blocking a defender aligned outside, the first step is critical.  Done right it puts the blocker on the path to reach or distort that defender to open the running lane. The images show varying alignment techniques and the variations in technique required.  

The first shows a wide aligned defender.  It starts with a drop step that allows the blocker to get on an angle that he can reach the defender or if the defender runs to stay outside, the lineman is in a position to use force to distort him out.

#21 Coastal Carolina’s play that is a whole offense within itself

#21 Coastal Carolina’s play that is a whole offense within itself

Learning an offense is not necessarily an easy task for every player or even coach, so when a single scheme can take on multiple variations within an offense it certainly cuts down the learning and because of the repetition involved, allows for better understanding and execution, especially for the offensive line.

This is an approach used at Coastal Carolina.  The Chanticleers’ counter play is a traditional counter trey with adjustments made to block certain looks.  It’s a flexible scheme, and as offensive line coach Bill Durkin says, “It’s a whole offense within itself.”

The Chants are able to get a lot of mileage out of this play which is the backbone of their highly ranked offense.

For the Chanticleers it is a play that can:

Mess with the fits of the defense because of misdirection

Takes advantage of angles created by formations

Is good into blitzes

Can be a direct handoff, read, or RPO

Utilizes multiple backfield actions for window dressing

The more a play can create multiplicity the more value it has within a system. Coach Durkin explains what the play is to them here(click image for video):

4 Plays that Benefit from Bunch Formations

4 Plays that Benefit from Bunch Formations

The objective of any offensive coach is to put his best players in positions and match-ups that allow them to make things happen.  The goal is to get your best players with the ball in space.  

Certainly, there are many ways to accomplish this, but one method that has stood the test of time is to condense formations so that athletes can use both traffic and field space created to get open in the pass game, and allow for extra gaps and angles inside as well as the ability to threaten the perimeter faster.

If you don’t have the athletes you’d like, bunch sets become an equalizer.  It creates short throws for the QB.  Receivers with average or less speed can find holes in the defense because man and match coverage becomes tougher with all of the switches and rubs.

The benefits of bunch and stacks are numerous. Here’s a few of the big ones:

It breaks man coverage with multiple picks and rubs.

Creates problems for zone coverage especially with floods and trail concepts.

Aids the outside running game by shortening the edge and creating angles.

Provides opportunities to dictate coverage.

Excellent vs the blitz because it allows for seven man protection.

Minimizes lack of speed from receiver positions, but maximizes the speed of fast receivers.

Can narrow a defense's answers to  these formations.  Most defenses carry one bunch check, so if they want more, it will be a game-planned answer which means they had little time to perfect it with their players.

Compressed formations fit with just about every scheme in the running game or passing game. Some of those concepts are even enhanced by utilizing these sets. Here are four concepts that benefit from condensed sets and create a different set of problems for a defense.

#1 Mesh

Mesh is a known man beater and is definitely helped by the condensed set.  Jason McManus shares multiple condensed set examples in this video (click on images for videos):

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.)

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!


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. ch 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. 

10 Tips To Know Before Attending Football Camps

10 Tips To Know Before Attending Football Camps

1) Choose the camps that you attend wisely! If a school has genuine interest, you should definitely attend that camp. The worst mistake a prospect can make is not attending the camp of a school that has interest, while chasing a school that has shown zero interest.

2) When a coach asks your name or you introduce yourself, always say your first and last name clearly, state where you’re from, and what high school you attend. Make eye contact and give and give a firm handshake. Your introduction could be the way you set yourself apart from everyone else.

3) Have your transcripts and test score(s) on your phone, in case a coach asks for it. 

4.When participating in camp drills, be eager to take the initiative to do the drill first. Display leadership!

5. You can’t earn an offer if you don’t take reps or hang at the back of the line. Every opportunity you get a chance to get a rep, take advantage of it. 

6. Follow instructions. Don’t be that guy coming in and forget the drill instructions after 4 or 5 guys that have gone in front of you have done it. 

7. If you get injured at camp, don’t try to push through it to prove a point. 

8. Be sure to stretch and hydrate. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, strains and pulls.

9. Stay on your feet!  Diving for balls is the quickest way to get yourself  hurt or someone else hurt. Great football players can practice and compete at a high level on their feet! If you do fall...get up quickly!

10.  Make sure you eat a good breakfast if you’re attending a morning session camp. Eating is fuel for your body.You don’t want to become sick because you haven’t eaten anything before you start.

Offensive Line Drills

Offensive Line Drills

Pass Protection Drillon Drill

Purpose: To teach offensive linemen to sustain and finish pass blocks

Execution: An offensive lineman goes up against a defensive lineman. Coaches set up a stand-up dummy

to represent a quarterback standing in the pocket. On a coach’s signal, the offensive lineman pass sets

and the defensive lineman uses various pass rush techniques to get to the dummy and record a “sack.”

The offensive lineman will attempt to prevent his opponent from reaching the dummy prior to a coach’s

whistle signaling the end of the drill.

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.



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.

Gifts From Grinch

Gifts From Grinch

When you think of the character “the Grinch,” you think of “stingy.”  That’s exactly what Alex Grinch has done over his career with his defenses.  They’ve definitely been miserly in allowing yards and points at each of his stops, but we do have a gift for you in this email with some great insight from the Sooners’ defensive coordinator.

Alex Grinch is one of the top defensive coaches in the country. He was hired as defensive coordinator at Oklahoma in January 2019 and oversaw a defensive turnaround that included the Sooners leading the Big 12 in total defense in league play.

Grinch was confident in coming to OU that he would help orchestrate a turnaround on defense. It was something he did at Wazzu. He also had the opportunity to learn from Mike Leach.

Learning from Leach

A Package to Help You Win Mid to Late Season

A Package to Help You Win Mid to Late Season

With Digital Video, every team has the ability to study your offense, pinpoint your tendencies, and game plan to stop those plays.  

That doesn’t mean you abandon your offense, but it can mean that you can create a package to break tendencies, give them something that they haven’t prepared for, and put something on film that future opponents will have to take prep time away from their efforts in stopping your base offense.

In a perfect world, you started repping a package like that sometime in camp, waiting for the perfect time to pull it out.  Of course, there is nothing perfect about 2020, and we all know preparation time has been limited.

Well, look no further than one of America’s best high school coaches for the answer.  Kevin Kelley’s “Unstoppable Quads Package” provides you with the details and the fire power to attack the opponent’s defense with something they probably have one check for.

In the package Kelley includes Vertical corner, sprint flood combo, a high percentage clearing route, triple post as well as incorporation of RPO.  These are probably things you have somewhere in your offense.

Kelley gives an overview of the package in this video:

The Future of American Football: How to Run the Spread Offense

The Future of American Football: How to Run the Spread Offense

In recent years, one of the major topics debated across college sports is whether a team should run a pro-style or spread offense. There are obviously pros and cons with running each. We’ve seen teams like Baylor and Oregon take the spread to a whole new level and create some of the most dynamic offenses in the history of college football. While critics may argue it doesn’t prepare players adequately for the next level, I think I wouldn’t be alone in saying the spread can provide benefits at the NFL stage. Throughout this article, I’ll break down some of the interdependencies of the spread offense and show how Chip Kelly and other football coaches utilized it to the max.

Chris Ash teaches Longhorn Tackling

Chris Ash teaches Longhorn Tackling

As Vince Lombardi once said, the game is pretty simple:

“Some people try to find things in this game that do not exist, but football is only two things - blocking and tackling” - Vince Lombardi

 “Texas Tackling Situations”

Teaching tackling has become a hot topic over the last several years.  The typical tackle drills and old technique  have been replaced with methods that better simulate game day situations. 

Of course what used to be simple can be made unnecessarily complex, and cause confusion for a coach learning what he should teach, and certainly a player learning what to apply.

Chris Ash, defensive coordinator at Texas believes in staying on the cutting edge of teaching and practice methods, but he still keeps it fairly simple by identifying a small set of tackling situations that every defense will face:

1. Frontal

2. Profile

3. Sideline

4. Phone Booth

5. One Arm Restricted

6. Last Man

He explains in this video

The misunderstood Yet Powerful Run Scheme - Duo

The misunderstood Yet Powerful Run Scheme - Duo

Duo may be one of the most misunderstood plays in football.  Many coaches identify it as an inside zone, but it is actually a gap scheme.  The rules, footwork, hand placement, and read of the running back are distinctly different than on a zone play.  

The teams that understand it best utilize a certain kind of formation structure that creates advantages and allows them to run the ball against what even appears to be a stacked box.

NFL veteran offensive line coach Paul Alexander explains the duo and how it is different than inside zone in this video.  Alexander explains, “Most call it an INSIDE ZONE play… even many coaches and television analysts have it confused. But it’s not ZONE. It’s GAP.”’s GAP.” If you want to run gap schemes but are not comfortable with your linemen pulling, then Duo is the play for you.



Do you have a backup plan in case your brilliant plan as a coach doesn’t work? It’s something to think about, because it happens to all of us.

As coaches we draw up all these plays where every player executes his assignment perfectly, the opponent still hasn’t caught on to what we’re trying to do, and everyone on your team has the same amount of awareness you do when putting this plan together.

Except that’s not how it works, and you know it.

You need plays to go to when your first choice isn’t getting it done. For example, if you’re a team that runs a lot of speed option, you’d need to have something else in your playbook that can take advantage of the defense focusing way too much on that play.

Speaking of which, in today’s post we’re gonna look at Gus Malzahn’s version of the quarterback counter play.

The Breakdown



Coaching football is hard enough as it is, so the last thing you need is a bunch of complex verbiage that makes it more difficult to teach your players your scheme and to make adjustments within that scheme as the game goes along.

This is especially true if you make your living as a high speed no-huddle offense.

Plenty of coaches out there spend a lot of time thinking about which plays they’ll be running and how to coach up a certain route or blocking assignment, but a lot of times they miss opportunities to make the learning process a lot less complicated for their kids, and as a result they’re not as effective as coaches as they could be.

Gus Malzahn understood a long time ago that the faster and more efficiently a player processes information, the better he’ll play, and so he put a lot of thought into the best ways to put together his scheme as well as the best way to teach it.

Malzahn talks about “choosing a theme” for your offense in this video, and in this post we’ll talk about, and expand upon, the points he brings up.

1. The theme needs to be simple for the players to remember and to relate to.

In other words, it’s probably not a good idea for you to fill up your playbook with calculus or chemistry terms.

You should strive to incorporate verbiage that your players use or are aware of in their everyday lives. You might think that naming your run concepts after characters from the Brady Bunch is a great idea, but let me save you some time: don’t.

2. You need a word association that is easy for your players to understand and remember.

Building on the previous point, the best way for your players to memorize and then recall your system is for them to be able to associate a theme with another idea.

As Malzahn says, things like state capitols or NFL teams are always a great idea, because not only are they terms that have a natural association to one another, but they’re also terms that your players will have heard many, many times and will have a much easier time recalling them during a game.

3. The words need a relationship in order for play action passes to compliment the run plays.

The “relationship” part of this is key. Our brains form much stronger memories about something when that memory is attached to something we already know very well. It’s much harder to remember a long list of unconnected terms and phrases.

You may know the terms Power, Counter, and Zone extremely well, but most of your players probably won’t, at least not to the degree you do. You need to find words that all relate to one another and

Take an example from Malzahn himself

46/47 Power – “Moses”

46/47 Power Pass – “Egypt”

Association: Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt

You can take this approach even further to add related terms for screens, trick plays, etc.

4. The theme must allow the verbal command to be interpreted with physical motion by the signaler.

You can have the best idea in the world for your terminology, but if you don’t have a way to get the information to your players on the field using signals, then it’s useless.

Make sure that whatever terms you decide on can be reasonably paired up with some kind of physical signal that is easy to see from far away, since you’ll often have to signal to your offense in the red zone, or to your players lined up near the opposite sideline.

5. The theme must be flexible enough to expand in the future if necessary.

This is a key point and is something that’s often overlooked by coaches.

You can do all the preparation and scouting you want in the offseason, but there will always be things you didn’t anticipate or haven’t seen before, so you need to have a philosophy and style that is flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances.

Watch the whole course here.



Every now and then, I see a youth sports video showing a massive kid trucking over an entire team of hapless defenders. Parents and coaches are shouting “oohs” and “ahs” as the kid runs through children a third his size.

Personally, I find these videos annoying. There’s nothing to see. Place an 8th-grade sized kid with a bunch of 3rd graders, and yeah, he’s going to run them over. Surprise, surprise. While we’re at it, let’s watch Vin Diesel box a 120 lb high school freshman.

When I began the above video, I was expecting something similar. You can imagine my surprise when the smallest kid on the field trucked the opposing team’s lineman (okay, fine, I know it was actually the linebacker). The would-be tackler was sporting some major size advantage after all.

It’s just one play in a youth sport’s game, but watching the clip, it honestly plays out like your typical, entirely unbelievable Hollywood sports-clip. There is just no realistic chance that small of a kid is going to RUN OVER the other team… not to mention, follow it up with an ankle-breaking juke and a nasty stiff arm.

And yet, somehow, that little dude pulled it off.

Touché little dude… touché.

If you don’t want to be on Youtube getting trucked by our aforementioned little dude, check out this free course on tackling and defensive technique from Don Bosco’s state-title-winning coaches.



Off-Season Mode

It’s winter time and it’s the perfect time to build your game skills. It’s not the time slack off and relax, however tempting it may be. You know that you’re still a football player who has a bright future ahead of you that can easily be crushed by your lack of commitment. You STILL need to keep fit and in-shape for the game every time.

If you choose to spend your off-season by just splashing at the pool all the day long as you eat burgers and play Madden, you’ll certainly regret everything you did when the new season starts. It’ll take some time to be able to regain your form following months of slacking off. Sure. Your experience will be a pain the a**.

What’s the Solution?

There is absolutely no room for complacency on your part as a football player during the off-season. You really need to commit yourself to an offseason football training to make you remain relevant and competitive in the game. This training program will enable you to improve on your game by sharpening your skills come the new season.

A productive off-season football training is the most important thing for you as an athlete.

Let’s get started.

Here are some useful tips for a successful training:

Start with a Plan

Plan your off-season training well for it to be fruitful. A good plan maximizes your football skills and strengths. It’s possible to do some exercises while still having a good time during your off-season training. These can include playing pick-up basketball or hiking with your friends. You should remember that you’re still a football player and you should remain focused on your training.

Set Goals

Apart from just staying fit, you should also set goals on what you plan to achieve at the end of the off-season. Here are two things to do before embarking on your off-season training:

Get the Evaluation from your Coaches (Head Coach, Position Coach)

Coaches are supposed to evaluate the performance of the players they coach. Your position coach is likely to tell you exactly the areas you need to improve on at the end of a season and before the new season starts. Your coach can also share with you training and exercise activities you can employ in your training.

Evaluate Your Own Performance

The fact that you know yourself better than anybody else makes your self-evaluation very important. You know the areas you’re not good enough and you know very well that you can work on to improve on them. Again, the off-season gives you an opportunity to improve as an individual player as you’re able to train alone and focus on improving your skills as a football player. The training sessions you have when the season starts are meant to improve the team as a whole.

Setting Specific Goals

You should keep specific goals which will make a good football player. Specific goals makes it easier for you to evaluate your off-season training performance as well as to pick the right training exercises. An example of a specific goal is aiming to increase the maximum weight of your bench press by like 20 pounds instead of just aiming to get stronger. Another specific goal could be aiming to decrease your 40-yard dash by a second.

You should keep specific goals which will make a good football player. Specific goals makes it easier for you to evaluate your off-season training performance as well as to pick the right training exercises. An example of a specific goal is aiming to increase the maximum weight of your bench press by like 20 pounds instead of just aiming to get stronger. Another specific goal could be aiming to decrease your 40-yard dash by a second.

Without these specific goals, it will not impossible to know whether you have managed to improve on your strength and speed. Your offseason football training may not be fruitful at all and you will not have improved as an individual player.

Create a Routine

Create a training routine once you are very sure of what you want to achieve at the end of the off-season training. A regular routine makes you keep on improving on your performances to enable you to ultimately achieve your goal.

A routine doesn’t imply that you’ll be doing exactly the same exercises all the day. A good routine should incorporate a variety of exercises to prevent your training from becoming boring while at the same time corresponding to your set of goals. This creates a well-rounded training that targets your muscles in different ways.

There are many different exercises that you can choose from. While most of them are good for you as a football player, others are not that helpful. You should only focus on your specific set goals that guides you in choosing the perfect exercises as well as designing your routine for your off-season training.

It is important for you to have a wide variety of exercises for your training despite having set specific goals. For instance, it’s not practical to have a training session that entirely has weightlifting or running exercises. Try to mix it up. You should also include strength, agility and endurance exercises to balance your training plan and avoid making the session monotonous.

An example of such a good routine may include having like three sets of 10-15 reps of dumbbell bicep curls, four sets of 6-10 reps of standing military press, 15 minutes of rope jumping, five sets of 10 reps of maximum speed burpees , 100 sit-ups and many more. This will be an example of a well-rounded training session.

Hard Work Pays

Yes. It does. And you know it’s true. The effort you put in your offseason football training will determine your form and sharpness come the start of the new season. Your own initiative and motivation during training entirely comes from you as there’s no coach directing you on what to do. These sessions are not compulsory like the ones you have during the season and there are not fines for not showing up either. The discipline you show during this offseason will make you a better football player and a better athlete.

Be sure to Sign-Up for our Free Football Training Courses Today!s Today!



Can we just stop and take a moment to appreciate how amazing this last Super Bowl was?

Over the last decade, the NFL has benefited from consistently noteworthy Super Bowl match ups, and last night’s instant classic was perhaps the best of the bunch.

Unless you’re a Seahawks fan, Super Bowl XLIX was an incredibly entertaining sports event.

It was tied at half, and things only got more interesting from there. Throw in a miraculous catch and a clutch, goal-line interception, and it’s hard to imagine how this game could have been any more exciting.

At the end of the day, however, the post-game conversation is focused, not on how great the game was, but rather, how bad Pete Carroll’s last play call turned out to be.

The Toughest Part of Being A Coach

Coaching is rarely easy, and there is perhaps no tougher moment than when you realize you made the wrong call. You will never meet a coach, a leader, or a human being who hasn’t experienced such a moment.

The measure of a man – the measure of a leader – the measure of a coach – is determined by how he responds.

Watching Pete Carroll’s post-game interview, I can’t help but admire his poise. After making what turned out to be a bad play call to lose the second biggest game of his career, Carroll responds in a way that helps me understand why his players love him so much.

“I told those guys, that’s my fault entirely. ‘Why didn’t you just run it?’ That’s a real good thought. But we had plenty of time to win the game, and we would have – in our minds – we thought we would have done it on third and fourth down. We had enough time left and we thought it would have worked out just right, but it didn’t work out that way.” Carroll takes full responsibility, as head coach, even though he wasn’t actually the one who called the play. He acknowledges what fans and players were thinking and addresses what he was thinking while acknowledging it didn’t quite work out as planned.

From a practical perspective, it’s hard to argue with this look:

How to Get Recruited for Collegiate

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


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


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


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


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.



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” 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.



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.



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!

Five Leadership Lessons You Learn Playing Offensive Line Worth More than the Touchdowns You Won’t Be Scoring This Season

Five Leadership Lessons You Learn Playing Offensive Line Worth More than the Touchdowns You Won’t Be Scoring This Season

You may not get to score touchdowns, your name may not be called out for making tackles and you may even hang your head a little when you tell someone you’re “just” an offensive lineman, but there are lessons you are learning now which will last you and help you for the rest of your life.


Lesson #1: You are learning to take joy in the dirty work.

If you’re playing on the O-Line, you may have a rock solid core under a little play-doh, but you probably don’t have a six pack. As O-Linemen, we weren’t put on earth to look pretty, we were put here to make other people look pretty by doing the dirty work and then to take joy in their successes.

In a world full of people with big ideas, it’s the people who are willing to not only do the dirty work, but to learn to enjoy it who actually make those big ideas happen. And if you’re the one with the big ideas yourself, with every rep in the weight room and every snap of practice when you put forth your best effort while everyone else is complaining, you’re becoming someone who can do what’s necessary with the right attitude to make your dreams a reality.

Lesson #2: You are becoming keenly aware of how your decisions impact other people.

If a quarterback and running back miss a handoff exchange, your team could lose a fumble and maybe lose a game because of it. If you miss a block, one of your best friends could end up with a concussion or a broken body part.

One of the attributes which separates an average leader from a stellar one is how well they are able to understand the impact their decisions have on other people. What other sport and what other position can you think of where an athlete’s actions actually impact the lives of his teammates more than an offensive lineman?

Lesson #3: You are developing resiliency.

How many times have you completely taken your man out of the play with a great block only to have a running back cut the wrong way and be tackled by the guy you thought you’d just destroyed? And whose fault is it? If you’re an offensive lineman, it’s always your fault. No matter how well you execute your responsibility, your teammates will still screw up, and you’ll still get blamed. This is part of being an offensive lineman. And it sucks, but it’s also a very powerful, long-term leadership lesson that your glory hound teammates aren’t learning.

As an offensive linemen you are by definition a leader--you are at the very front of the offensive formation. Without the hole you create, there is no glory for any other position. The valuable lesson you’re learning is how to deal with other people’s opinions about you while simultaneously maintaining your willingness to give your best effort on the next play.

The best leaders are masters at resisting the temptation to reciprocate blame when someone first puts blame on them. Rather, they smile when being criticized, listen and learn from the situation, then put it behind them and do all they can to improve on the next play.

You will receive your credit, but only if you learn to do your best and not be stopped while constantly being blamed for things which you aren’t at fault.

Lesson #4: You are learning the ability to work for delayed gratification.

Offensive linemen do receive credit eventually, but it’s after the winning is done. It’s not in the weight room. It’s not on the practice field. It’s usually not even during the game. But when the game is over, when the season is done, and when your glory-hound teammates aren’t walking around with a limp in a decade, they will be very grateful for the effort you put in.

Leaders are faced with the same difficulties. While your backfield teammates are learning to do the best with what’s given to them, and blame you when it doesn’t work out, you are learning to do your personal best.

You must accept responsibility not just for your mistakes, but the mistakes other people blame on you while improving each step of the way. Doing the best with what someone else creates for you and blaming the creators is something employees do.

Entrepreneurs learn to work for “recognition at the end of the season” - exactly what you’re learning as an offensive linemen.

Lesson #5: You learn to listen well and react quickly.

Have you ever committed a false start? One of the loneliest feelings in the world is leaving your stance too quickly only to find yourself finally receiving the full attention of everyone in the stands while the ref twirls his hands like an old-fashioned lawn mower.

Your teammate may or may not give you a pat on the butt, a head nod, or say “good job” after you pancake a defensive end (who never saw the trap coming)... but you can count on feeling like everyone hates you when you jump the snap count.

So what do you have to learn to do?

You have to learn to listen. You have to listen to the snap count when the play comes in from the sideline. You have to listen in case there is an audible. And you have to respond to a sound faster than the defensive line and linebackers can react to a sight.

Learning to listen well while in constantly, changing, pressure-filled situations is a hallmark skill of a leader. And it’s one you are developing each day you play offensive line.


Although you may not receive much glory now for what you are doing, you must remember to form the habit of doing the best you can each day and don’t blame others--including coaches--for not seeing your immediate value. Instead, focus on listening, learning and improving and your rewards for playing offensive line will continue to pay off far longer than the last time you ever take off your cleats.