Monday, January 5, 2015

It's a Numbers Game

There is nothing I love more than bowl season! For a two week period there is football on pretty much non-stop on ESPN. If you are a football coach, bowl season is a great time to begin your winter research and development period. I love getting out a pad and paper and taking notes on what teams are doing on offense, defense, and special teams. I record nearly every game and go through each play several times. I firmly believe the inventor of DVR was a football coach!

There were several takeaways from this year's bowl games. First, it's all about numbers. Every offensive team was trying to gain a numerical advantage at the point of attack. If we can get one more blocker to the point of attack, we have a chance at a good football play. If we can get an angle here and leverage there, we can make a big play.

It seems nearly everyone is running some sort of a read or "option" concept. The premise is that it is easier to "read" a defender than to block that defender. By reading a defender, the offense can block a second level defender they normally wouldn't be able to block. 

One great example of the numbers game was UCLA running inside zone read against Kansas State. UCLA is aligned in a 1 back set with both the back and the H back to the boundary. Kansas State aligns to defend the field, putting only 3 defenders to the boundary side. They are going to be a gap short.
UCLA is going to be left a man short to the boundary. UCLA runs the inside zone read with the boundary end being the read. The end takes the QB leaving K State with no one to play the QB. The QB pulls the football and attacks the second level of the defense.
Three things are happening in the above illustration. First, the LG and LT from UCLA are executing a zone combination block perfectly. They are delivering the down defender to the linebacker. The linebacker is working to the A gap, but because the defensive lineman has been driven three yards off the ball, the linebacker is caught in traffic. 

The second thing in the picture is the read key is squeezing to take the dive back. If the read key squeezes to take the dive, Kansas State needs to have a player for the quarterback. Typically this would be the inside backer working over the top. However, the Kansas State linebacker is playing into the A gap. With no QB player, the defensive end should have played the QB.

The third thing in the picture is the outside receiver running a quick hitch route at the LOS, with the H back working to block the corner. The QB is going to attack the second level with the quick hitch essentially becoming the pitch man. The key is the quarterback getting downhill to stress the defense. Because K-State is playing to the field, they have no force player to the boundary. Essentially the corner has become the force player, and he is being blocked. There is no pitch player for K-State.

The QB sees the corner commit inside with the H back riding his hip. He flips the ball out the the #1 WR who sprints up the sideline for a big gain. This is a very simple triple option concept off the base inside zone read play. 

When the offense can get a numerical advantage over the defense, big plays are often the result. Offensive and defensive coordinators are matchup in a game of strategy trying to counter what the other is doing. 

In my career coaching football I have had the opportunity to be both an offensive and defensive coordinator. On offense we are trying to gain a leverage and numbers. On defense we were trying to cancel gaps while making sure we were not exposed in the pass game. With 11 players on each side of the ball there are a ton of factors that come into play on whether a concept is successful or not. It comes down to execution and athleticism! 

A few months back I published a couple of iBooks that can help your program with X's and O's. The first is on Installing RPO's into any offense. Here is a link to the iBooks version: 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.
If you don't have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can order the Amazon version for the Kindle. It has everything except the embedded video. You can order it here:

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:

Order the Amazon Kindle version here:

Coach Vint has authored several books and instructional DVD's with Coaches Choice. His book 101 Pistol Option Plays is actually available now as a 2 volume interactive ibook for the iPad! It is similar to a traditional book, but it contains several hours of video as well!
Order Part 1 Here: 101 Pistol Option Plays Part 1- Traditional Option Concepts
Order Part 2 Here: 101 Pistol Option Plays Part 2- Spread Concepts

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:
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.

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!

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