Monday, January 1, 2018

Part Two of: Power--The Most Versatile Concept In Football

Perhaps the most versatile play in football is the power play. With one blocking scheme the offense can give the defense a multitude of different looks. We are a power run offense despite being based in the gun. We want to be physical and have the mentality that we are going to run the football and create explosive plays. We want to manipulate space and force the defense to have to have to defend the entire field. This helps to open up the box.

We have two main goals on offense. First, we want to find the leverage point. We define the leverage point as the area we have an advantage on the defense. Second, we want to put as many defenders in conflict as possible. Rather than running a concept from one formation and giving the defense the same look, we want to give them the same concept from several different formations with multiple backfield actions. This is why we like the "power" play so much.

The first way we install the power is as the traditional downhill power play. Our frontside is going to block gap away. The center is going to block back, the backside guard is going to pull through the first window, and the backside tackle is going to dig out the backside B gap to hinge. The offensive line is leaving the frontside End Man on the Line (EMOL) unblocked. When we originally ran power in the 90's, we ran it to a tight end. We blocked down on the frontside, kickout out the end man on the line with the fullback, and wrapped the backside guard for the playside linebacker. Here is an example of the two back power play from pistol.

A couple of years later we decided to make an adjustment and change who we kicked out. To marry all of our different looks on power, we began to kick out the first defender outside the offensive tackle. Defensive ends and outside linebackers tend to be dominating players on defense. Because of this, we want to be able to put them in conflict to slow them down. If they know that when they get a down block they will get a kickout block, the will be able to anticipate the kickout and box or spill the player based on the defensive call. However, if the defender doesn't know who is kicking him, or if he is being read, or if he is going to be cracked, he is going to hesitate. It is through this hesitation that we gain a tremendous advantage.

Below is an illustration of power kicking the first player outside the tackle.

When we adjusted the blocking we had a simple rule for the running back. Our rule for the back was to hit the A gap until you can't. We wanted him to get downhill and stay inside the kickout block. Another variation is the have the QB open away from the play and mesh with the back. This forces the defense to hesitate slightly as they don't know if the point of attack is to the mesh side, or away from the mesh side. We can also offset the back to or away from the side we were running power. 


Here is an example of Power kicking the C gap player.



Because we want to keep the EMOL guessing, we can exchange the assignments of the pulling guard and the kickout player. This is a great variation from two and three back sets. In the three back look, the frontside back will block the primary force player. The backside guard will pull and kick out the end man on the line, while the backside back will lead through the window. The quarterback can open to the play, or away from the play.

Another variation of this concept is the power read. The offensive line blocks power. The backs and receivers execute their assignments as if we are calling an outside run. Instead of kicking out the first man outside the tackle, we read him. 
Below is an example of the power read play.

If the backside B gap defender is giving the offense a problem, they can make a GUS call, which means guard stay. Because the backside back can replace the puller, the backside guard can now protect the backside B gap. This allows the center and frontside guard to combo the nose. 


The next evolution was to add RPO, or Run Pass Options, to the power play. By rule, if we call power, we will have quick game concepts to both sides. We will have a stop route to the single receiver side, and a now screen to the twins side. If the QB has no underneath defender to the single WR side, he can throw the stop route. If he has a two on one to the twins side, he can throw the now screen.

Adding this presnap read helps to protect the run. The defense has to honor our skill guys on the edge. If the defense wants to play press man, we can covert the stop routes to verticals. The QB then reads separation. If we get separation, the QB can pull and throw the vertical. If there is no separation he can give the ball. We can also give the quarterback a red light. That means he will execute the run regardless of what the defense does.

Below is an example of power with quick game concepts attached. The QB sees we have numbers to the twins, and throws the quick.

The great thing about power is that we can build any of our pass concepts into the concept. We can take advantage of anything the defense is doing to disrupt power. For example, if they want to creep a safety into the box, we can read the safety and run a post behind him. If the safety flat foot reads or attacks the box, the QB will pull and throw the post. If the safety bails or slow plays, the QB gives the ball.

Below is an example of power with stop routes to the twins side. The QB is reading the corner. If the corner bails, the QB will pull and throw, reading inside to out. If the corner does anything else, the QB will give the ball.

This barely scratches the surface of the new innovations of the traditional power concept. The power has been a successful concept for many years, and with new variations, it has grown to be one of the most versatile offensive concepts being run. 

For these and many, many more concepts of the power and power read, check out my DVD on the power and power read from Coaches Choice. It will give you dozens of ways to put the defense in conflict while getting your best athletes the football in open space! The DVD covers multiple ways to run the power and power read from the pistol and gun! I take you through the mechanics and schematics of of the frontside and backside power read from three backs empty! This DVD will help you score more points!


In January of 2016 I published a couple of iBooks that have been read by coaches at all levels of football. The first is on Installing RPO's into any offense, that will give you a systematic approach to installing RPO's. Here is a link to the iBooks version: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1078061959. The ibooks version includes explanations, diagrams, and video clips on multiple RPO Concepts. It will give you a simple process for implementing them into your offense. It is less than $15!
If you don't have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can order the paperback on Amazon. It is just $12! https://www.amazon.com/Installing-Explosive-Concepts-Into-Offense/dp/1520447485/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

I also wrote a book on Tempo. It will greatly help you build a multiple tempo system with simple communication that will allow your kids to play with confidence. It also had over an hour of video clips! You can order the ibooks version here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1075902270.


Order the Amazon Kindle version here:

One of the keys to our success was tremendous preparation!The key to  preparation was our outstanding group of documents we used for all three phases. If you are looking for fully editable and customizable documents that you can tailor to your program, I have made mine available. 

Here is a link to my offensive game planning documents: https://sellfy.com/p/AndN/
It includes everything from a scouting report template, to practice plans, to a two-sided color call sheet, and more! Each of the nine documents are fully editable and customizable! Order today for under $15 and download them tonight!

Here is a link to the defensive game planning documents. It includes 12 fully editable and customizable documents. https://sellfy.com/p/AY1u/

And finally, I put together a special teams resource. This has everything you need, included drill tape, practice tape, and game footage. It includes teaching presentations and scouting forms just for special teams! https://sellfy.com/p/tJwz/

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Three Keys to Championship Special Teams

Nearly every bowl game this year has had at least one game changing special teams play. If you look back at big games of every level, special teams always play a factor. At the high school level special teams can give you an advantage over your opponent with

1. Celebrate Special Teams
Your attitude as a coaching staff is vital to the preparation and performance as a team on special teams. You can tolerate special teams, or you can celebrate special teams. Unfortunately, many programs tolerate special teams and their programs reflect this.

When you celebrate special teams you embrace them as a staff. You have the same passion, energy, and enthusiasm coaching special teams that you have for every other phase of the game. Your players will feed off you. You have to sell your players on the value of special teams, and how great special teams will help you win more games.

We had a special teams player or players of the week every single game. We honored them with something special. At one school we had special shirts for our special teams units. We had a championship belt that a guy got to wear on the sideline if he had a big hit or a takeaway on special teams. We had names for our units that our players took pride in. Again, it starts with coaches being passionate about coaching special teams.

2. Use Wrinkles
During my coaching career I have had the opportunity to coordinate special teams and special teams units at a few different schools. We always wanted to find a way to use special teams as a way to help us win games. We wanted to force people to have to prepare for our special teams. We wanted them to have to take time from offense and defense to have to look at what we did on special teams.

I learned a lesson my first year as an OC. While meeting on Sunday the head coach informed myself and the DC that we were going to take 10 minutes from our offensive and defensive preparation to work special teams. Our opponent was very good on special teams and had a few wrinkles we had to take time to prepare for. I carried this with me, and we made a decision to do some things a little bit different that would force teams to have to prepare.

How We Were Different
The first thing we did was added a cluster kickoff formation. Jerry Campbell, a coaching mentor of mine, introduced us to this in 1999. Coach Campbell had come up from Westwood High School in Round Rock, Texas to help us install some option and zone read concepts. We were talking about special teams, and he showed us the cluster kickoff. Below is a diagram of our cluster kickoff
We would start in the cluster and attack the ball. We would either onside, pooch kick, or break out to our normal kickoff formation. This did not take us much time to teach, but it forced our opponents to spend time preparing for our the different looks we would give. Here is a screen shot from a game showing the cluster.

Another element we added was using a gate formation after we scored. We would sprint to get lined up in our gate formation. After a touchdown teams often have their heads down. We wanted to take advantage of this and have a chance at a quick two point conversion. We had five gate concepts we could run, in addition to shifting to kick. The defense had to take time to prepare for our gate formation. We would install our gate formation during the first three days of camp when we were in shorts and shirts. Below is a picture of our gate formation:

Our punt team would align and shift from one look to another. We would show a shield look from a balanced set and then an unbalanced look. We also would show one or two fakes early in the season. Again, this took time for our opponents to cover. Our punt return team would bring pressure each week. We always had a way to attack the weakness of a protection without having to install anything new.

3. Coach The Details
This is vital. Too often we install our specials in a team setting. There is nothing wrong with this, but at some point you have to teach the individual skills. We had a special teams block and return circuit, and a special teams cover circuit. We worked players through stations to help them to learn how to do their job.

We then worked an individual period, a group period, and a team period for special teams. We coached them just like offense and defense. We had 4 coaches involved in each special teams unit. We coached them on specific details for their position. We didn't just tell two guys they double-teamed L3, we worked it in an individual period. We didn't just talk to our jammers about how to wall off the gunner, we practiced it in our individual period. We taught them how to off hand jam, and what to do when they lost contact. Coaching the details is vital.

Special Teams Change Games
When we took over a program that had not won a game in 3 years, special teams helped us beat people were shouldn't beat. Every time we broke a big return we made it easier for our offense to score. Every time we recovered a kickoff we gained a possession, while taking a possession from our opponent.

We were smart on special teams. We never kicked deep if a team had a big-time returner. We kicked the ball to spaces, not people. When we covered, we covered with the intent to get the ball back. We wanted to be physical when we tackled and try to get the ball out. We never punted to great returner. We wanted to have a 35 yard change of possession.

When we returned our kicks we set up a simple return where we could create a crease and get vertical. We didn't try to bring a ball across the field running laterally. We got vertical and found a crease. Our punt return unit was very good at blocking kicks. We always brought pressure from somewhere, and worked hard to hold up cover guys. If our returner made a guy miss we felt like we could have a big return.

We won games we probably shouldn't have won because of our special teams. We felt like it was simple for us to install, but took time for our opponents to prepare. We were able to change momentum and ultimately win games because of our special teams.

To help you with your special teams, I put together an AWESOME special teams download that has EVERYTHING you need to be explosive on special teams and win more games. Here is a screenshot of everything included:

Coaches tell me this is EXACTLY what they have been looking for to improve their special teams. This has everything from video cut-ups to practice footage, to scouting packets, to teaching presentations. If you want to be more explosive on special teams, this is what you need! For a limited time you can use the checkout code "SPECIALS" to get this compete resource for under $15! Click here to order yours today! Special Teams Resource

Here are a couple of additional screenshots!




Sunday, August 20, 2017

Domination Begins with Preparation

Every team wants to build a program that consistently dominates opponents each week. I believe there are four elements to building a dominating program.

1. Talented Players
2. Mental and Physical Toughness
3. Disciplined Approach
4. Elite Preparation

All four of these are necessary if you want to build a program that consistently competes for championships. Today's focus will be on the fourth element, "Elite Preparation."

Have you ever walked out of the locker room and gotten into your car after game and said, "why didn't we call XYZ?" Or, "why didn't we get Johnnie more touches? Have you ever faced a situation in a game and your kids didn't know what to do? These are just a few of the many questions coaches at all level pose to themselves after a game. And each of them can be answered through preparation. 

When I first became a coordinator I liked to call things from the hip. Our practices and game plan didn't match up. Because of this, our practices were often inefficient with a lot of wasted time. It didn't look like we were wasting time because each period was planned out and we followed a schedule. We hustled between our segments and our transitions were efficient. If we had such a fast-paced practice, how did we waste time?

It started with the lack of a game plan. We used to say, "we do what we do." There was no need to plan because we were going to run our offense. I had to learn the hard way that a lack of detailed preparation will lose games. We practiced a lot of things we never ran. In fact, we spent more time practicing plays we weren't going to run than plays we were going to run. We wasted a lot of reps. I thought we were doing a good job. I was wrong. 

The reason I didn't prepare is that I didn't have a system of preparation. I visited several college and NFL programs and investigated how they prepared. What did they do to make sure every base was covered. We began to take a all of the information and put it together. 

The first thing we did was put a game plan in writing. It wasn't merely a list of our plays. We looked at every single aspect of our opponents and came up with our favorite calls for each week. A call means formation, motion, and play. We decided to script our openers, and build down and distance scripts for each game. We came up these while we game planned on Saturday and Sunday. 

Once we had our game plan in place, we built our scripts for practice. We scripted every period based on our game plan. We felt we need to practice every call a minimum of 6 times. Our ultimate goal was 12 reps for each call. By scripting our practice segments we made sure every single element was covered.

We then made a list of all the situations we wanted to cover. We came up with a system to teach each situation and incorporate into our practice each week. Below is our weekly list. 
These are the most important situations that we practice week. We work our take a safety as well, which is not on this list. It is vital you teach them why you are taking a safety as well. You don't need to spend a lot of time on each of these. We work our two minute drill for 5 minutes a week. We work our 4th down go for it play 3 times each week. Our players know what we will call before we call it. Below is our overview showing when we work each situation.




Every single thing we did in practice had a purpose. We never had a situation that we didn't cover, and our players were able to adapt quicker during games. When our defense got the ball back, our players knew what we were going to call before we called it. They knew we were going to take a shot, and they knew what play we would call.

Two of the questions above that we often asked were "why didn't we call XYZ?" And, why didn't we get Johnnie the ball more? We solved these by adding a section called GAB or Get Athletes the Ball. I had a couple of calls set up for each of our best players. I knew when we were struggling to "think players, not plays." By having a section on my play calling sheet that targeted our best players, I made sure to make calls to get them touches. 

I also made sure I had some shot calls on my sheet. I wanted to make sure we called enough big plays that we could score fast. These were momentum calls that could change a game. 

When we adjusted our game planning it didn't take more time. We still watched a lot of film and talked as a staff about what we saw. What changed, however, were the difficult conversations with the head coach about why I didn't get XYZ the ball. We scored more points and became more dominating. 

Take the list above and build these into your practice plan. Script them into your regular practice plans and make sure you get them covered. Having a simple system of preparation will help you be more dominating in all phases of the game.

One of the keys to our preparation was our outstanding group of documents we used for all three phases. If you are looking for fully editable and customizable documents that you can tailor to your program, I have made mine available. 

Here is a link to my offensive game planning documents: https://sellfy.com/p/AndN/
It includes everything from a scouting report template, to practice plans, to a two-sided color call sheet, and more! Each of the nine documents are fully editable and customizable! Order today for under $15 and download them tonight!

Here is a link to the defensive game planning documents. It includes 12 fully editable and customizable documents. https://sellfy.com/p/AY1u/

And finally, I put together a special teams resource. This has everything you need, included drill tape, practice tape, and game footage. It includes teaching presentations and scouting forms just for special teams! https://sellfy.com/p/tJwz/

I hope you found something in this post you can use with your program! Good luck this season! 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

5 Keys to Getting a Scholarship Offer

Every time I go on Twitter it never fails that I will see numerous tweets in my feed the start with: "blessed to receive an offer from." More and more colleges are offering earlier and earlier. This is becoming more and more common place. With the advent of social media, there is so much more daily interaction between prospects, coaches, and parents.

Everyone wants to know how they get their offer. I get texts, calls, and emails from parents each week asking what they can do to help their child get more exposure. They want to know how they can increase the opportunities for their son to get an offer. I have had experience on both sides of this as a high school recruiting coordinator and as a college football coach. There are really five keys to getting an offer, but first, let's look at what an offer is.

An offer is simply a college saying we intend to offer you some sort of scholarship to play for us. If a D-1 offers you a scholarship, they are going to pay for your entire cost of schooling. If a D-2 or NAIA school offers you a scholarship, it can be anywhere from $1 to a full ride. Very few D-2 players will get a full scholarship. D-3 schools can't give athletic scholarships, but offer other forms of aid.

An offer is not a scholarship. Schools will offer hundreds of scholarships, but they can only sign 25 players. This means that many players with offers will not get a scholarship. Some will not have the qualifying test score. Some will have a bad year. Others will get into trouble. Everything you do is being evaluated by someone.

A scholarship is an grant-in-aid that will help you pay for the cost of college. College is the key. College is about education. Athletics are important, but you must take advantage of the opportunity you are getting to get an education. Your scholarship can be taken away if you don't take care of business in the classroom. It can also be taken away if you violate school and/or team policies.

Here are the five keys to getting to getting an offer...

1. Be An ELITE Player
Only 2% of high school players will get any opportunity to play in college at all. Less than 1% will get an opportunity to earn a D-1 scholarship. Only elite players will get that opportunity. Elite is very rare. I talk to a lot of parents who think their son or daughter is elite, but when I put on the film I see above average. I recently sat down with the family of a defensive lineman who does not have any offers. He has size and strength, but he is average on the field. He doesn't look elite on film. If you want to get an offer, your film has to be very impressive. It has to show you doing things that are elite on a consistent basis. Colleges will not recruit someone who his average no matter how big they are. Big guys who are average players get people fired.

To be a great player starts with talent, but the next aspect is vital...

2. Have An ELITE Work Ethic
As a high school coach I had the opportunity to coach over 100 scholarship players. They all had one thing in common. They worked harder than everyone else. Talent will only get you so far. Talent and work ethic are necessary to be elite. Very few elite players are lazy. There are a few, and they are the guys who are 5 star recruits in high school that get sent home before the end of their freshmen year of college.

College coaches are going to watch you practice. They are going to talk to your high school coaches. They are going to talk to your math teacher, a counselor, and the principal. They want to know if you are a hard worker. They want to know about your attitude. Do you have an elite work ethic? Do you take reps off in practice? If so, they will move one.

The weight room is a vital place to see your work ethic on display. The harder you work in the weight room, the better you will be on the field. In college, the strength and conditioning staff will push you harder than you have been pushed. If you can't handle a high school workout, you will never handle a college workout.

Play Hard EVERY Play
The harder you play, the more recruitable you become. If you take plays off, you will become uncrecruitable. Coaches watch game films before they recruit you. And they aren't going to just watch your best games. They want to see you against great competition. How hard do you play against great players? How hard do you play when you are behind by 3 scores? How hard do you play when you are up three scores?

Here is something vital to remember... You are not just on the film you provide college coaches. You are on everyone's film. Your opponent is sending film to coaches as well. You are on that film. If you send the college coach a great film, but then he gets a film of you playing terrible, it will have a negative effect on your evaluation. Remember that the next time you think about taking a play off.

On the other hand, you can get noticed off another player's film. When I was at the college level we found one of our best players that way. We were recruiting a kid from another team, and were watching film of a game. We were grading it just like we would grade one of our players. There was a kid on the other team flying around and making plays. We found out who that player was and called his coach. We watched two more games and ended up giving him a scholarship. We didn't know who he was until we saw him on someone else's film.

When a coach sees this film-- and they will see this film-- will they be more apt or less apt to recruit you?

*One important note: Your highlight film will get you noticed. Make sure your film has your best plays first. A highlight film is just that. Don't put every play on your highlight film. If it is a great play, put it on your film. Once a college has interest, they will watch your game film. If your highlight film is done poorly, they will not look at your game film.

3. Have GOOD grades and a Qualifying Test Score
Your talent will get you noticed. Your grades will either make you more recruitable, or unrecruitable. The more C's, D's, and F's you have, the less recruitable you become. You must strive to get A's and B's in your classes. Every single year I have been coaching, despite our best efforts, we have at least one player who sabotages their future because of poor grades. Every year one guy who would have multiple scholarship offers does not get to go because they have a low GPA. If you have a 2.5 or below you are sabotaging your own future.

Here are a few keys...
A. Show up to class on-time
B. Smile at the teacher and be polite
C. Complete your classwork
D. Put your phone away during class

If you are a clown in the classroom, you might not get an offer. Everything matters. Colleges are recruiting several players at your position and you are being evaluated on everything. If you are causing disruptions in school and getting into trouble, you are sabotaging yourself.

If you want a scholarship, just passing is not enough. You have to strive to get A's and B's. The higher your core GPA, the lower the score you can have on the SAT/ACT test. If you have a 3.2 or above in your core classes, you don't need a very high test score. If you have a low GPA, you need a high test score. And if your core GPA is below 2.3, you probably will not get recruited. Below is the NCAA sliding scale.


4. Measurables.
Only elite players with the right measurables will get an offer. The measurables are height, weight, 40 yard, vertical jump, shoe size, etc. You can be the best linebacker in the world, but if you are 5-8, you aren't getting a D-1 offer. You have to have ELITE TALENT, ELITE WORK ETHIC, and the RIGHT Measurables. Below is an image showing the average D-1 Recruit.
These measurables are the average of NCAA D-1 recruits. There are very few exceptions to this. The better your talent and work ethic, the more of a chance a team MIGHT take a chance on someone who is missing a measurable.

5. Use Social Media As A Tool
Your Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram accounts can be a tool to get you recruited. And if you aren't careful, they can get you uncrecruited. Every D-1 school is going to monitor your social media accounts. What you post, like, and retweet matters. If you are positing videos and pictures of yourself drinking and smoking, you are going to be less apt to be recruited. Use your twitter to show the best of who you are, not the worst of who you are. Use twitter to encourage your teammates. Use twitter to post highlights from your last game. Use twitter to thank college coaches for visiting your campus. If you see someone do something great, shout them out on twitter.

Numbers Game
Everything comes down to a numbers game. If a college is recruiting two offensive lineman, and they need a guard and a center; they might not recruit you if you are a tackle, and they can't see you playing guard. The If you are a receiver, and a school only needs one receiver, there is less of a chance of you getting a scholarship. If a team has 6 safeties on scholarship, chances are they aren't offering another safety. You can be the best safety in the world, but they are not going to recruit you unless they see you playing another position.

They May Move Your Position
Colleges will recruit you to suit their needs, regardless of where you played in high school. I once had a kid who played safety in high school get recruited to be a defensive end in college. He was 6-2 195 and ran a 4.7. He was not fast enough to be a college safety, but had a frame that would hold 75 pounds, and he was still growing. He ended up being a 6-4 260 pound defensive end. Be willing to change positions if it will increase your chances to get a chance to have your school paid for.

On the other side of that, play where your high school needs you. Just because a college will recruit you as a corner doesn't mean you can't play linebacker. Dowayne Davis, who I coached several years ago, played linebacker for us much of his high school career. He ended up playing corner and safety in college, and was eventually signed by the Cowboys as a safety. Play where your high school needs you!

At the end of the day, control what you can control. You control your work ethic and your attitude. You control your performance on the field and in the classroom. If you need to make changes in your life, then make those changes. Understand that every decision you make will either help you get recruited, or keep you from being recruited.

For you coaches who are preparing for 2017...

A lot of coaches ask me about my call sheet and how we prepared. We have a very systematic approach that we have developed over a 20 year period. Last summer I made our offensive game planning documents available for coaches to purchase for a nominal fee. The response was outstanding. Coaches from all levels of football in the US and internationally began using this resource. The head coach from one of the top 5A programs in Texas said these documents helped them to be much more prepared.

If you are interested in this resource, click here: Offensive Game and Practice Planning Resource.  Every document in this resource is completely editable and customizable to your program. Everything you need is in this resource. You order it today and you will be able to immediately begin downloading the documents and using them to be better prepared. This even includes our 2-sided color calls sheet! It prints on to 11x14 paper. I also include our weekly and daily practice plans, wrist bands, scouting forms, and much, much more! For just a few dollars you will score more points and win more games with this resource! It is on sale right now, so don't delay!

I also have a defensive game and practice planning resource that can be ordered here: Defensive Game and Practice Planning Resource. It has everything you defensive staff would need to dominate!

I also have a special teams resource available here: Special Teams Resource It is awesome because it includes teaching presentations and video for every phase of special teams!

This year I put out a book on RPO's that will give you a systematic process to build RPO's into your offensive system. The book has an iBooks version and an Amazon Kindle version. The iBooks version can be read on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It is an amazing book that gives you over an hour of video! It has been read by coaches at all levels, and they have all loved it! This book gives you a systematic process for installing and teaching pre snap and post snap RPO's! This book will greatly enhance your offense! It can be ordered clicking here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1078061959.


If you don't have an apple device, you can order the paperback version! It is available on Amazon!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1520447485







Sunday, July 9, 2017

Scripting for Success

When I first became an offensive coordinator I was reluctant to use scripts. I felt like it would lock me into being rigid and inflexible. The head coach I worked for suggested I read Bill Walsh's book, Finding the Winning Edge. The book opened my eyes to the value of preparation and scripting.

When I speak at clinics I get asked about how we script our openers each game. Many coaches already script their openers, but there are a large contingent of coaches who do not. Many of these coaches do a great job. It took me a few years to come around to the value of scripting our opening plays. A few of the reasons were:
1. What do we do if have a run scripted and it's 3rd and 8?
2. What if we get off script?
3. Will the script keep me from making calls based on the flow of the game?
4. Why would I build a script if I am going to be off script before getting through it?

Finally I decided I was going to go all-in on scripting. We decided on a 10 play script. The first play we called was going to be toss sweep from I Right. The 2nd play would be Iso weak in an I Right set. The third play would be play action off our power play, this time in I left. The fourth play would be iso from a 20 personnel look, and the 5th play would be a reverse off toss from I left. We continued our script for 10 plays. We stayed on script and scored 2 touchdowns in the first 6 plays, and our 3rd touchdown on play 10. I was sold. We could use more plays if we wanted as well.

The question is, why did we have success? How did scripting help us?
1. We were thinking clearly on Sunday afternoon when we built our script
It is a lot easier to call plays when your head is clear and you aren't distracted by emotions. By Sunday afternoon we have watched enough of our opponent to have a good idea what we like and don't like. This allows us to build an opening script for the game, as well as develop a call sheet that will help us be more efficient on game day.

2. We were able to have a specific system for setting up plays
We scripted plays that helped to set up explosive opportunities. We might script 3 downhill runs in our first 5 plays, and then on play 6 we would script play action off downhill pass and take a shot downfield. We might run toss sweep a couple of times and then script in a reverse. We were able to set our opponent up for big plays.

3. We made sure we ran a reverse or trick play before our opponent
This is something that is very important. Running your reverse or trick play first doubles your chance that it will be an explosive play. We wanted to make sure we had at least one trick play in our first 12 calls. We also wanted to make sure we actually ran a trick play. How many times have you practiced a trick play and then never ran it in a game? I got tired of having a 5 minute period designed to work our trick plays, only to not run them in the game. Scripting them helped us actually call them during the game.

4. Our kids knew what we were running because we practiced our script each day
We opened our team period running our script on air. This helped our players to know what was coming and in what order. This helped us to play with confidence and develop a rhythm to open the game.

5. We planned what we wanted to see from our opponents
We would script with some variety to see how our opponents would line up to certain formations and personnel groups. This helped us to be more efficient calling plays later in the game. We scripted 3 or 4 different formations in our first 12 plays.

What we found was that the longer we stayed on script, the better we were in the game. The earlier we left the script, the less effective we were. This isn't to say that we wouldn't take advantage of a misalignment or something unexpected from the defense. But the script was well thought out and made sense, giving us a high percentage opportunity to be effective early in the game.

Here are a couple of thoughts on scripting that can help you be more effective:
1. Script inside runs into the boundary and wide runs to the field.
For the most part you know where each play will end. You have an idea what hash you will be on. We wanted to make sure we used the field in the most efficient manner possible. This was a rule of thumb that helped us to be more effective early in the game.

2. Get your playmakers early touches
We scripted our best players go get touches early. We wanted to make sure we got them involved in the first two series. One season we had a great tight end. We made sure we threw at least one ball at him in our first 8 plays.

3. Don't worry if it's 3rd and 2 and you have a pass scripted
Some of our biggest plays came when we threw on run downs and ran on pass downs. It also helps you break tendencies.

4. Script your tempo
This is something we love to do. We will script in a couple of early nascar concepts. We also would script our freeze tempo to get our opponent to jump offsides early in the game. By scripting tempo we were able to use it in advantageous situations.

5. Call the Touchdown Play
If there was a money play, we called it early. If we had a huge matchup advantage somewhere, we exploited it early and often. We built that into our script.

Our script was located at the top of the front of our call sheet. We also had scripts for end of half and end of game situations. We worked these through the week which helped us to be much better prepared on game day.

Our scripts helped us to be more targeted in our practices, and we improved our explosiveness on offense. It was tough to stay on script at times. When things don't go well and you punt twice in your first six plays, it is easy to abandon the plan. We had to remember that sometimes we were not going to have things go our way early. But if you built your script well, you were setting up a big play.

A lot of coaches ask me about my call sheet and how we prepared. We have a very systematic approach that we have developed over a 20 year period. Last summer I made our offensive game planning documents available for coaches to purchase for a nominal fee. The response was outstanding. Coaches from all levels of football in the US and internationally began using this resource. The head coach from one of the top 5A programs in Texas said these documents helped them to be much more prepared.

If you are interested in this resource, click here: Offensive Game and Practice Planning Resource.  Every document in this resource is completely editable and customizable to your program. Everything you need is in this resource. You order it today and you will be able to immediately begin downloading the documents and using them to be better prepared. This even includes our 2-sided color calls sheet! It prints on to 11x14 paper. I also include our weekly and daily practice plans, wrist bands, scouting forms, and much, much more! For just a few dollars you will score more points and win more games with this resource! It is on sale right now, so don't delay!

I also have a defensive game and practice planning resource that can be ordered here: Defensive Game and Practice Planning Resource. It has everything you defensive staff would need to dominate!

I also have a special teams resource available here: Special Teams Resource It is awesome because it includes teaching presentations and video for every phase of special teams!

And of course, I have written a couple of books on RPO's and Tempo. The iBooks version of these includes over an hour of video!






Sunday, June 11, 2017

Five Keys To Explosive Special Teams

Winning football games is hard. If you have coached for more than a week you realize how difficult it can be to build a championship program. One of the most overlooked areas of winning programs is special teams. Special teams often go unnoticed until you lose a game because of a special teams mistake.

In many programs special teams are viewed as an inconvenience. Teams have to stop practicing offense and defense to work on special teams. Coaches sit in the office trying to figure out how much time they need to dedicate to special teams each week. They work their special teams hoping to simply survive when they call each unit onto the field.

We have evolved greatly over the last several years. We went from spending very little time on special teams to spending a great deal of time on special teams. As restrictions were placed on practice time, we found we had to be much more efficient with our approach to special teams. We found that we could be very effective dedicating 10 minutes a day to special teams during the season, and 20 minutes a day during camp.

Over the years we have been very successful on special teams, and found there were five keys to being explosive on special teams.

1. Keep Things Simple
The more complex we are, the more time we need to dedicate to special teams. By simplifying our schematics, we are able to be more efficient with our time. Over the years I have also found the more simple we are on special teams, the more explosive we are. We have less busts and more big plays. Our coverage is better on kicks, and our returns our better when our opponent kicks to us. By keeping things simple it is much easier to keep our coaches on the same page.

One example of simplifying things was with our punt team. For years we had four different punt formations. Each formation had different protection calls we had to communicate. This required a lot of practice time. And, we found that we had more busts and it was harder to prepare our two's if we had an injury. When we went to one punt scheme we were able to get more efficient with our practice time, while getting our 1's and 2's plenty of reps.

The numbers showed we were more successful. We improved our net punt average from 31.5 yards to 37 yards, and our punter wasn't as good. The same proved true with each of our units. We found that we were more explosive on our returns, and better in our coverage.

2. Play To Your Strengths
This was vital as early in my career we were stubborn with some things. If we have punter who is not very good, we are going to rugby kick away from the returner. If we have a coverage unit that lacks speed and the ability to tackle in space, we are going to pooch our kickoffs. This shrinks the amount of field we have to cover. If we have a great punt block guy, we are going to feature him in our block calls. We are not going to call a block to a player that is not effective at blocking kicks. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you be more explosive on special teams.

3. Great Preparation
We want to be very well-prepared each week for special teams and what our opponent will do. We break our preparation into two parts. First, we look at their schematics. Second, we look at their personnel. We want to look at how to attack the schemes, and figure out who their best and worst players are. We want to know who they are hiding. Everyone is hiding someone, and we want to find who that player is.

To prepare each week we divide up our responsibilities among our coaching staff. We spend 15 minutes watching opponent special teams film, and then we meet for 15 to 30 minutes talking about what we saw and building our plan for the week. The more coaches we have, the more targeted each coach can be. If have 5 coaches, we might assign each coach one special team to scout. If we have 10 coaches, we might put two coaches on each special team. One coach might look at every punt fake our opponent ran, while a second coach looks at their protection and coverage.

4. Build A Mentality
Building a mentality starts with each coach being all-in on special teams. Coaches must coach special teams with the same detail and enthusiasm that they coach offense and defense. Coaches must know the responsibility of the position they are coaching and the technical details. If everyone on your coaching staff values special teams, your players will as well. If one or two coaches don't coach special teams with enthusiasm, your players will not value special teams.

To build a mentality you must live what you are teaching. We talk about special teams changing games, and we reward great special teams plays. At a couple of programs we called our special teams "special forces," and we equated each unit to military units. We brought in soldiers and veterans to talk about the brotherhood of the military and the value of special forces.

If you want your players to value special teams, you have to value special teams as coaches.

5. Great Tempo
Special teams cannot drag. We want special teams to have great tempo, just like we would on offense and defense. We want to maximize our reps and make sure the 1's and 2's get quality reps. Again, this comes back to coaching. Our coaches must have great passion and enthusiasm and keeps things moving. We want to keep our coaching points to 8 seconds or less between reps.

These five keys have helped us to build explosive special teams that helped us win more games. There is nothing better than being able to change a game with a big special teams play.

To help you with your special teams, I put together an AWESOME special teams download that has EVERYTHING you need to be explosive on special teams and win more games. Here is a screenshot of everything included:

Coaches tell me this is EXACTLY what they have been looking for to improve their special teams. This has everything from video cut-ups to practice footage, to scouting packets, to teaching presentations. If you want to be more explosive on special teams, this is what you need! For a limited time you can use the checkout code "SPECIALS" to get this compete resource for under $15! Click here to order yours today! Special Teams Resource

Here are a couple of additional screenshots!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Explosive RPO Book Now Available as a Paperback!

It is available here: The paperback version can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1520447485
When I wrote Installing Explosive RPO concepts into Any Offense, I was excited to share a simple process that helped us to greatly improve our offense with RPO's. The first version I published was the iBooks version, because I was able to embed video. The one caveat is that you need an apple product to read the book. This is an awesome format because it combines a book and a DVD into one, single resource.

The next step was to put out a Kindle version for those who didn't have an Apple product. The Kindle was the first e-reader, and allowed coaches without an Apple product to enjoy the book. The Kindle version has the same content, but does not have video. The issue with the Kindle is that it is hard to format the book to look as it was designed.

Many, many coaches asked me for a paperback version. The reason I hadn't put out a paperback is because the cost of printing was prohibitive. I was also concerned about the time it would take to put box and ship the books.

About a month ago I received an offer from Amazon to turn the book into a printable version. I began to rewrite the book to be put into print, and after 30 days, the book was ready. Many people people want to have a physical copy of the book. By having a physical copy the can mark in it and take notes.

The paperback version has everything the iBook has, which the exception of the video. When we figure out how to incorporate video into paperbacks, the world will be a very awesome place.

Here is a look at the table of contents:

The iBooks version is available below. The version on iBooks includes cut-ups to reinforce the application of these concepts. In the book I give you a systematic process for installing 2nd and 3rd level RPO's. Coaches at all level of football tell me this is a game changer! The book can be found for iBooks here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1078061959


RPO's are a great way to force the defense to defend all 53 yards, and each of your skill guys. This book, whichever form you buy, will give you a specific process for installing pre and post snap RPO's. Coaches at all levels tell me this book has helped them tremendously on offense. If you want to enhance your offense, this is a book you want to read!







Sunday, December 25, 2016

Our Evolution to RPO's

Over the last several years we have gone all-in on RPO concepts. RPO's are simply Run-Pass-Options, where you essentially call two plays in one. The play might be a run, or it might be a pass. You don't know until the ball is snapped. The offensive line and backfield will execute the run, while the receivers run a pass concept. The goal is to make the defense wrong no matter what they do.

Over the last 15 years I have had the opportunity to speak at clinics all over the country about offensive concepts. In the last 5 years coaches have wanted to learn about RPO concepts, and how you can adapt them to your offensive system. One of the questions I get asked is how did we get to this point?

Our evolution of RPO's began with trusting our quarterback to be able to make choices. This started with a system we learned from Jerry Campbell in the 90's called "option on me." Jerry came up and helped us install the option game from the ground up, and taught me how the quarterback can call best option at the line. We would simply call a formation and point to our quarterback. That meant the play was on him. He could call midline, load, or veer option based on defensive alignment. Our offense exploded after installing this in the late 90's.

The next step in our journey took us into the realm of packaged plays. With a packaged play you called a run and a pass, and the QB would look at the defense and determine based on alignment whether to execute the run or pass. If he chose to execute the run, he would communicate this with the offense. Typically he would verbalize the call to the line and signal the receivers. Everyone would execute the call.

One of our favorite calls when we were under center was a sprint out concept strong paired with inside zone. In the diagram below, the defense aligns in a Middle Open shell showing cover 2. This means we have numbers in the box. The quarterback would signal to the receivers and verbalize to the line that we are going to run the called run play. As you can see in the diagram, we have numbers for the run game. The Z and H will block the most dangerous secondary force support player.
We have 8 on 6 in the box. Because the defense is playing 5 over 3 with our splits, we are able to run the football in the box. 

If we had the same packaged concepts called and the defense adjusted to bring a 7th man in the box, we could execute the sprint out concept. This is illustrated below. 
When the defense brought the strong safety in the box, we knew we had to leave someone unblocked. Typically this would mean pushing our zone once gap to the frontside, leaving the backside end unlocked. With a packaged play, the quarterback would simply check to the pass called and the offense would execute the play. Below is a video clip of the sprint out strong. 

As you can see in the video, we were able to put the strong safety in conflict. He was in the box to play the run, but he also had to be a man defender on a pass play. We were able to take advantage with our tight end. The safety in the middle of the field cannot get over the top fast enough, and we were able to score. The quarterback looked at the defense and communicated with the offense that we would be running the sprint out pass. 

Our First RPO
One of the first true under center RPO's we installed was what we called BOZO. We ran it off inside zone. The #1 WR ran a 3 yard stop route while #2 ran a 1 yard stop route. The offensive line blocked inside zone. The QB would determine based on presnap alignment whether to throw or execute the run. If the defense left the inside backer inside the box, the QB would read inside to outside. If he linebacker was outside the box, the QB would give the ball. The offensive line is blocking inside zone. Below is a clip of this concept.
Trips Check 
The next step was having a three play package. We did this from trips, and we called it Trips Check. We would align in a trips formation and have 3 plays called. We would call Inside Zone Read with a hitch to the single and a bubble to the trips. We wanted the quarterback to open to the trips to mesh with the back. 
The QB would first look at the single WR side and find the 2nd defender.  We count 2nd level players within 7 yards of the LOS. If the corner is more than 7 yards off, we don't count him. In the diagram above, the corner is #1 and the LB in blue is #2. If the LB was in the box, the QB could throw the hitch route. If the LB was outside the box, the quarterback would go to his next presnap read to the trips side. The QB would find the 3rd defender to the trips side. If he is outside the box, run the ball. if he is inside the box, throw the bubble. In the diagram above, the quarterback sees the #2 linebacker to the single is outside the box. He doesn't want to throw the hitch based on presnap alignment. 

To the trips side he sees the #3 defender inside the box, so the QB knows he can throw the bubble. We have numbers with 3 on 2. If the quarterback were to execute the run we still have a body for  a body, but throwing the bubble gives us the best chance to be explosive. Initially we had the QB tell the OL when he was throwing with a one word code. We decided this was unnecessary.

With Trips Check, we felt like we had numbers regardless of how the defense lined up. If they bumped a linebacker out of the box to the trips side, we had numbers in the box.

If they aligned in an odd front and stayed in their 3-4 look, we had numbers in the box.
If they wanted to play us in a bear front and load the box, we had numbers on the perimeter.
We felt like we always had an answer. The offensive line would block inside zone read, and the skill players would execute the hitch to the single and the bubble to the trips. The quarterback would make a simple read and be able to take advantage of the defense. We could run any of our inside run concepts from this formation.

What this concept did was took a packaged play concept a step further. Instead of calling two plays and having the QB check to the right play, we built both plays into one call. This cut down on verbiage and helped us to play faster. 

Building A Pass Into Every Run
Our next evolution was simple. We would call our runs and build in passes. We did this through a simple set of rules. By building in a simple set of rules that were consistent every single run play, our players were able to play very fast without thinking. On our inside runs we would no longer have our receivers block for the run. Instead we would run a quick pass concept. 

Have you ever called a run, and come to the line of scrimmage to have the defense loading the box and leaving a receiver uncovered? Or, they have the corner playing 10 yards off your best receiver? Or, have you ever called a quick game concept like bubble, only to have the defense playing man press? 

What I am about to discuss gave us built in answers. We didn't ever want to have to run into a loaded box again. We wanted to be able to protect our run game. We also wanted to be able to have a built in way to throw the ball to our most explosive athletes in space if the defense was giving that to us. We wanted to do these things without adding new verbiage and without having to check a play at the line. 

We came up with a simple set of rules. On an inside run the offensive line would block the called run. The receivers would execute their quick game rules. The rules were very simple.
1. If there is one of you, run a stop route at 5 yards.
2. If there are 2 of you, run "quick."
3. If there are 3 of you, run bubble.
That was it. Any inside run we called from any personnel group used those rules. We didn't need any tags to incorporate these rules. It was built into the call.

In addition to protecting our runs, this gave our skill players more touches in space. Even if we had a quarterback who struggled throwing the ball, we could complete high percentage passes. The first year we built this in we nearly doubled our passing yards with a running quarterback. Not only that, our running game improved because we were able to force defenses to unload the box. 

When we get into a 2x2 set and run inside zone read, we get the quick concept on both sides. The defense must align to stop the quick game or the quarterback will catch and throw. If the defense aligns to take away the quick game concept, we have numbers in the box. Below is an example of our inside zone read RPO from a 2x2 set. 
The defense essentially has to decide what they want to take away. If they take away our quick game, we should have numbers in the box. Below I talk you through this simple concept and talk you through three clips that will give you some insight into presnap RPO's. 


As you can see in the third clip, the quick game action holds the safety and slows him down in run support. We actually were running a quick game variation to the field where we tag a "sucker route" or quick and go. This helps to hold the safeties, allowing the back to gain extra yards. To the boundary side we are running a scissors concept reading the outside linebacker. 

I hope this gives you something you can use with your program. I love being able to build quick game passes into our run game concepts. Since we began doing this we have greatly increased our number of explosive plays. This helps your offense add some balance without an expensive investment. I have helped many schools install these simple RPO concepts, and they have found them to be very beneficial.

This barely scratches the surface with what we have done as far as RPO's. We now run them in multiple ways reading literally any 2nd and 3rd level defender! 

If you want to learn more about installing RPO's, I wrote a book called Installing Explosive RPO Concepts Into Any Offense. I wrote it for iBooks, which includes cut-ups to reinforce the application of these concepts. In the book I give you a systematic process for installing 2nd and 3rd level RPO's. Coaches at all level of football tell me this is a game changer! The book can be found for iBooks here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1078061959


The iBooks version can be viewed on any iPhone, Mac, or iPad. It is a game changer in book technology! This book will give you everything you need to build RPO's into your offense!

If you don't have an apple device, you can order the paperback version! It is available on Amazon!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1520447485



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