Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Developing an Offensive Game Plan and Call Sheet: Less is More!

Earlier this year I was speaking at a clinic in Greenwich, Connecticut, when a coach asked me what the biggest issue is with ineffective game planning. The answer was easy. Numerous times I have tried to put too much into the game plan. I tried to run too many concepts from too many formations. We would often have over 100 different calls in our game plan. The problem with this is that we couldn't practice everything we were going to run in the game. We wasted a lot of time practicing concepts we wouldn't end up running. Many of you are probably nodding your head because you have done the same thing!

I decided to take an analytical approach. We had approximately 50 team reps each day, 25 inside run reps, 25 team on air reps, and 25 7-on-7 reps each day. If we had four days of practice, we would get 500 reps a week. These 500 reps were sacred. We had to make sure we used them wisely so we were prepared each week.

The first thing we did was cut down on the number of calls we had in our game plan. In a typical game we are going to run between 70 and 85 plays. We aren't going to run 85 different plays. We are going to repeat plays throughout the game. And often, we are going to find a call that works and repeat it over and over. Once we find a formation and concept that works, we often will call that concept several times.

As we began to build our game plan we started with a menu. Our menu consisted of 24 things we felt would be best on Friday night. When I talk about a menu, I am talking about the entire call. This is how we built our menu. As we watched film of our opponents, we answered a worksheet with 63 questions on it. The answers to these questions helped us to get a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the defense. Below is a screen shot of the first 12 questions of this worksheet.

We examined four areas of the defense. First, we wanted to know how they were going to align. We looked at their alignments to find what formations would give us leverage, numbers, and green grass. Where could we find an alignment advantage?

Second, we examined their personnel. Who were their best players? Who were their worst players? Where could we find a matchup we could win? This is a vital part of game planning that helped us win several games. One season we were playing a team with a great defense. They shut our offense down in the first quarter. However, there was one matchup we knew we could win. Our X receiver was better than their corner. To stop the run they were putting their corner on an island. We scored three times in the first half, all on vertical routes to our X. We ran 35 plays in the first half for 220 yards. 170 of those yards came on 3 long touchdown passes to our X. 

Third, we wanted to know when they blitzed. When did they call 5 and 6 man pressures? This helped us to determine when we would call our screens. If a team blitzed 75% of the time we were 2nd and medium, we were going to call our screens on those downs. 

Fourth, we wanted to know how they handled tempo. Did they huddle? How did they get their call in? What was their answer to offenses playing fast? A few years back we played a team that was much better than us physically. They were huge up front. The one weakness was that they couldn't adjust to tempo. They couldn't get lined up right if the offense played fast. We had no business beating them, but our tempo overwhelmed them. 

Once we analyze these four areas, we begin to build our menu. We want to major in 24 things each week. We then would have 12 things we would minor in. This gave us a total of 36 calls for a game. If we did a great job preparing, we would not have to deviate from this list. Below are two screenshots of showing our weekly menu. This is a simple excel worksheet we could adjust each week. 


Once we have our menu built, we begin to fill in our call sheet. Our call sheet is very unique in that it gives us specific call scripts based on situations we will face each game. What we did each season was analyzed how many times we faced each down and distance situation. We then built a script for each situation with a column for left hash, right hash, and middle hash. For each situation, we would enter the defense we were most likely going to face. This helped us to have a specific set of plays we felt would take advantage of the defense for each situation. The plays on the call sheet came directly from our menu. Many of these plays would be repeated throughout this call sheet. Below is a screen shot of our call sheet with situational scripts. 
The number of plays we had scripted for each situation was based on the number of times we would face that situation each game. We had would have more 2nd and medium calls than we would 2nd and short. By putting together these scripts on our call sheet, we were able to call plays faster on Friday Night. We were able to call better plays based on what the defense was doing against us. Each time we called a play I would make a red mark or a green mark during the game. The red mark meant the play was not positive. A green mark meant it was good. This gave us a point of reference as we went through the game. Typically I would go right down the script each time we faced that specific situation. 

On the other side of our call sheet we had sections designed to for additional important areas of our game plan. We had a section with calls designed to get our best athletes the ball in open space. We wanted to make sure we got our best athletes enough quality touches. We had calls based on each formation. This was similar to our play menu. We had another section with specific coverage beaters. We also had a script built for our last play based on field position. There were several other sections as well designed to help us make better calls in the heat of battle. 


Once our call sheet was built, we began to build our scripts for the week. We scripted everything we did. If a team we played brought a 5 man pressure 75% of the time on third and long, we made sure we ran a 5 man pressure during that situation in our team period of practice. Everything we did was tied to our preparation worksheet and the reports we ran on our opponents. I am not smart enough to call things from the hip, so our preparation was vital to our success on offense.

If you want to improve your preparation, I have made each of our game planning documents available for download. You can click the link here: Offensive Game Planning Documents. There are 9 documents included in this download. Each document is completely editable and customizable to your program. You can order them today and download them immediately. Here are the documents that are included:
You don't have to recreate the wheel! Everything you need is all ready to go for the 2016 season! For less than $15 you will be better prepared and more explosive on offense! Each document is already formatted, saving you hours of work! Simply type in your information and go to work! You will call better plays and score more points. These sheets will also make you look like a professional! If you use code STATE 2016, you can save 20% for a limited time! 

I also have a packet for the defense available for download! These documents helped us post 6 shutouts in 10 games! Everything you need as a defensive coordinator is here for you to prepare to dominate your opponents! Defensive Game Planning Packet

As you build your gameplay, start with a 24 play menu. Remember, you want to be able to give everything you are going to run in the game enough quality reps in practice. You don't want to run a bunch of stuff in practice you may not run in a game! I hope you have gotten something from this article you can use!

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: 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.
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: http://www.amazon.com/Installing-Explosive-Concepts-Into-Offense-ebook/dp/B01B12YSCG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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:



Thursday, July 14, 2016

Building A Defensive Call Sheet

When I first became a defensive coordinator, I thought I would call everything off the hip. I would go by feel and what was happening in the game. Every morning after our game I would say, "why did I make that call?" Or, "why didn't I call XYZ pressure package that we worked all week?" I began to realize I had to do a better job of planning and preparation. As an offensive coordinator I had a very detailed call sheet. I decided to adapt this to defense. This article will give you a couple of ideas that will help you to better prepare for your opponents. You may want to include these in your own call sheet this season.

Our number one goal on defense was to get the ball back. That was the premise for everything we did. We could get the ball back one of our ways.
1. They score. This was the worst way to get the ball back.
2. We get a turnover on downs. This was good, but often meant they had driven into our territory and went for it on fourth down.
3. We could force a punt. This was good, as it usually meant we stopped them on their side of the 50. 4. We got a turnover. This was best as it meant we created momentum, and often would have great field position.

When I put our call sheet together, I did so with the thought of getting the ball back the third and fourth way. But, we were prepared for the second way as well. When we built our call we focused on a couple of areas first. We wanted to make sure we knew who their playmakers were, and when they went to them. One week we faced a team that had a great receiver they would go to every time it was 3rd and 4 or more. We knew we had to take him away. We scripted a couple of calls that were designed to cover him with some sort of a bracket coverage. Below is an example of this column:
Depending how many playmakers our opponent has, we may use 2, 3, or 4 of these columns. Typically we are going to have 2 of these columns, because most teams have 2 playmakers. Some teams may have 3 or 4. Usually each of these guys are go to guys in specific situations. This same team had a big back that they went to on 3rd and less then four. They ran power 90% of the time. We had a call specifically designed to take power scripted. We might have 1 or 2 calls. Sometimes we might have 3 calls we like. The big key is I can look at this column and quickly communicate a call to our guys on the field.

The next column I built was our opponents personnel groups and run pass percentages, followed by the calls they made most often, and what we liked to call against this group. I used these typically on first and 2nd down situations. I had a coach telling me personnel, down and distance, and run/pass percentages. I would then make my call based on the call sheet. We were using concrete data to make calls. Below is an example of what this section of my call sheet looked like:
Most teams are very tendency oriented, and I wanted to know what their tendencies were from each formation and personnel grouping. I also wanted to be reminded of screen downs. We had calls built in to take away screens against teams that were screen heavy. I also wanted to know if there were certain personnel or formation keys that tipped us to what our opponent would do. The stars * are the calls they make most using our terminology. The numbers are the calls I like against these personnel groups. This way I am not trying to guess what to call. I am not smart enough to do that. 

Each section of our call sheet gave specific info that helped us to be able to take away what our opponent wanted to do. We called our call sheet an in-game info sheet because it contained a lot of necessary data. I had a communication coach relaying information to me based on this sheet. We felt like this helped us to put our kids in a position to be successful. A good play call can help your players to be able better do their job. We ended up with 6 shutouts and beat some teams we shouldn't have beaten. We were able to play very well on defense. Adding these columns might benefit you as you build your call sheet this season. 

Many coaches tell me they want to build a call sheet, but they don't know where to start. Many have asked about my call sheet, and I decided to put together a packet of every single document we have used to prepare on defense! This has everything we used, including our 2 sided color call sheet. You will be more prepared on defense and will be able to dominate your opponent! These documents are currently just $14.99! You can click here to learn more: https://sellfy.com/p/AY1u You can order it now and download it instantly! Use code STATE2016 and you will save 20%! 


If you are looking to improve your preparation, take a minute to check out this resource packet.

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: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1078061959. The ibooks version includes explanations, diagrams, and video clips embedded!
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: http://www.amazon.com/Installing-Explosive-Concepts-Into-Offense-ebook/dp/B01B12YSCG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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:

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Game Planning For A More Explosive Offense: GAB Concepts

One of the most important aspects of being explosive on offense is detailed preparation. And one of the best ways to be explosive is to get your best athletes opportunities to touch the football. We have all had games where our best athlete was limited in touches. I learned this lesson early in my career when we had a tremendous athlete who was not getting touches. Kindu Brown was his name, and he was a receiver. We knew he was explosive and could change games, but we weren't getting him enough touches. We had a very good stable of running backs, and Kind was a receiver for us on offense. We were running the ball 85% of the time, which limited touches for our receivers.

One lesson I learned early on is that players win games, not plays. You can have the best play in the world drawn up, but if the best player isn't touching the ball, the play may not work. Average players can screw up well blocked concepts. Conversely, great athletes can turn a poorly blocked play into a touchdown. When our best players aren't getting touches, we are not going to be as explosive as we can be on offense.
"GREAT PLAYERS WIN GAMES, NOT GREAT PLAYS"

We knew if we could get Kindu 8 touches on offense, that he would find a way to turn 4 of those touches into explosive plays. The problem was, we were not getting him those touches. He was getting more touches on defense through interceptions than he was on offense. As a young offensive coordinator I was doing a bad job of getting him the ball.

After three games we were undefeated, but we hadn't gotten Kindu enough touches. We were missing some big play opportunities. As our schedule got more difficult, we knew we had to get him the ball. The answer we came up with was very simple. We added a section to our offensive call sheet we simply titled, "Get Athletes Ball," or GAB. 

This addition of GAB was the most important part of our call sheet. If we have one great athlete, we have selected plays for this athlete. We typically will have 3 to 4 plays that we feel give this athlete a great chance to score a touchdown. If we have 2 athletes we want to get touches, we will list 3 or 4 plays for that athlete. Below is an example of our get athlete the ball column of my call sheet.
In the box I am going to list the plays we like best for the athlete. For example, if left side inside receiver is our best athlete, we might put bubble as a concept to get him the ball. The second play might be a jet sweep to that player. The third concept might be a reverse where he is going to get the football. Whatever concepts you run that ensure that athlete will touch the ball is what you list. Maybe you have 2 plays that guarantee he will touch the ball. Then you put those two plays.

Typically are GAB concepts are pretty consistent week to week. However, if we see something we can exploit against a particular opponent, we will adjust that call. As the game goes on, I will put a check each time we call these plays. Next to the check I write the result in pencil real small. I want to know who many times we got our best athlete the ball and how many yards we gained. 

The result of adding this section to our call sheet was that our best athletes got more touches, and we scored more points. We were much more explosive. I remember we had a concept we called to Kindu that the defense had taken away by alignment. In my head I knew we should call a timeout. As the ball was snapped I said, "this ain't good." Then Kindu got the football. He made the first two defenders miss, broke a tackle, and turned a 1 yard loss into a 60 yard touchdown. Great athletes make great plays, and players win games, not plays.

I know this seems simple. But in the heat of a game cooler heads often don't prevail. We want to be able to be methodical in our play calling without regard to emotion. By adding a section where you have plays ready to get your athletes the ball, you will get them more touches and you will score more points. 

To help coaches in preparation, I have created an Offensive Game and Practice Planning Resource Packet. This packet consists of 9 downloadable documents that are already formatted, saving you hundred of hours recreating the wheel. These are the documents I used at the high school and college level to prepare our offenses. Included in this packet is our offensive call sheet in excel format. It is a two sided color document formatted for legal sized paper. It is a very detailed call sheet that will help you be a better play caller on gameday! This resource packet is available for instant download for just $14.99! Click here to order yours today: Offensive Game and Practice Planning Documents  These documents will help you SCORE MORE POINTS!


Additionally, I have a defensive packet available for defensive coordinators. These are highly coordinated with the offensive packet, helping your program as a whole to be on the same page. Click here for the Defensive Game and Practice Planning Packet: Defensive Game and Practice Planning Documents

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: 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.
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: http://www.amazon.com/Installing-Explosive-Concepts-Into-Offense-ebook/dp/B01B12YSCG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Using The Big 12 to Prepare on Defense

Over the last 10 years I have had several opportunities to speak at clinics around the country talking about our success on defense when I was a defensive coordinator. One thing that ultimately comes up is how we game planned for our opponents. While we had good players, we felt like a big part of our success was our guys having confidence going into each game. We spent a lot of time preparing for our opponents which allowed us to be able to anticipate what are opponents were going to do.

One of the most important parts of our game preparation was what we called The Big 12. The Big 12 were the 12 things our opponent did most. We made a list of these 12 things. We found that most teams pull 85% to 90% of their offense from 10 to 12 calls. When we say call we mean formation, motion, and concept. This gives us a lot of insight into what our opponents are going to do. Here is an example of The Big 12 from one of our opponents.
Looking at these 12 concepts, you will see that 1 in 4 plays was going to be stretch. When they got into Trey, we expected a stretch play to the trey side. The other concept they ran off of this was GT weak. This allowed our guys to know we were most likely going to see an if/then. If I am strong side, then I am expecting stretch. If I am weak side I am expecting GT. When you look at this list, you will see these 12 concepts accounted for 86% of their snaps. They had a list of 10 things that accounted for the other 14%. The other concepts were reverses, draws, and a couple of pass and play action concepts. 

When we went into our preparation for the week, we had the last 2 periods of our team vs. scouts to finish practice where we went only against these 12 concepts. We made sure our guys knew these were their bread and butter. In our other 3 periods of team vs. scouts we ran everything else. This helped us to be prepared for everything our opponent ran, with an emphasis on what they did most. During our inside run period and our pass hull we focused on these 12 concepts as well. This allowed us to work these in a small group setting as well. 

The Big 12 list helped us to be much more prepared and we were able to make more plays. One example of this was when we faced a team that ran a screen to the back whenever they brought the flanker in short motion to the formation. This was their 9th most popular concept. Because we had it in the Big 12, we worked it accordingly in practice. When our opponent ran it in a game, we were able to intercept the screen and return it for a touchdown. 

One huge mistake many defensive coordinators make is that they come up with scripts of 100 different plays. They script everything their opponent has done, and they make a scout book. They then roll through that book from start to finish. They end up running things their opponent may have run only twice in 3 games as much as something the opponent ran 24 times. This is not effective. 

Choose one of your opponents from last season and go through two or thee games, and make a report of the 12 things they did most. Typically this will account for a high percentage of what they did offensively. If they run a lot of formations, we may expand this to 16, 18, or even 20 things. We never go above 20. Our goal is to target 85% to 90% of what they do. This will help us to better prepare our players. Our practices are more efficient, and we have less wasted time. 

By targeting our preparation, we were more prepared and our players made fewer mental mistakes. I believe we tackled better because we were in a better position to make tackles. We were able to get more takeaways because our guys were in a better position to create turnovers. Being targeted in your preparation will help you to be much more successful on the field during games.

One thing that will help you greatly in your preparation is having the right documents to game plan and prepare your practices. I have put together a group of 12 documents that are fully editable and customizable for you to use to prepare to be dominant on defense. These documents helped us to produce 6 shutouts and hold our opponents to under 7 points per game. We were plus 24 in turnover margin, and were able to make a deep playoff run for the first time in school history. The Big 12 is included and can be found on the play menu page of the weekly practice schedule document. The documents are available for download for less than $15 by clicking here: Defensive Game and Practice Planning Packet This packet includes everything from an in-game call sheet to weekly practice plans and scripts. It includes an install schedule and scouting report template, and much more. Click here to order yours today: Defensive Game and Practice Planning Packet Here are a couple of samples from the packet:


Every coach who has gotten this resource says it will help them improve on defense. They will be better prepared for their opponents and will be able to coach with more confidence. These documents are already formatted, and are ready for you to simply plug in your information! Everything you need is in this packet! 

In addition to this defensive preparation packet, I have a Game and Practice Planning Resource packet for Offensive Coordinators. It can be found here: Offensive Game and Practice Planning Documents. It is what I used to prepare as an offensive coordinator when we averaged over 45 points a game and 450 yards. 

I hope you took something from this post that will help you to better prepare for your opponents this season. 

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: 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.
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: http://www.amazon.com/Installing-Explosive-Concepts-Into-Offense-ebook/dp/B01B12YSCG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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:

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Four Keys To Being Dominant on Defense

After being an offensive coordinator for several years, I had a chance to run a defense a few years back. It was a daunting task as I was taking over a defense that had given up over 45 points a game. The players were demoralized and didn't believe in themselves. The big thing was, everything that had been done was correctable.

We put in a defense that our players bought into and embraced. We ran a 3-3 Stack. It fit our personnel and our philosophy. We coached our guys on the fundamentals. We sold them on our philosophy or culture that we were going to be physical and play very fast. Our number one goal was simple. We were going to get the ball back. There were four ways we could get the ball back. We could give up a score. This was the least favorable. Second, we could get a stop forcing a turnover on downs. Third, we could force a punt. Or, we could get a takeaway. Only the first was unacceptable. 

In ten games we had six shutouts. Only 2 teams scored more than 14 points against us. We had 38 takeaways in 10 games. We gave up less than 7 points a game. Two teams failed to cross the 50 yard line. We were dominant against the run, giving up less than 100 yards a game on the ground. We were also very, very good against the pass. Looking back, there are four things that are vital to success on defense:

1. Be Gap Sound
2. Have a Force Player to Both Sides
3. Be a Great Tackling Team
4. Keep Things Simple

Be Gap Sound
Every single snap we want to make sure we have a player for each gap. We never want to leave a gap without someone responsible for it. We rarely two gap. We want one hat one gap 95% of the time. Regardless of what defense you run, you have to be able to have a hat for each gap.


Have a Force Player to Both Sides
We always want to have a player to force the run on both sides of the formation. We never want our force guy to be a defense end or hand down player. We ran the 3-3-5, meaning our inverts were our force guys on outside runs. We essentially had built in force guys. Most of the time when a team gives up a big play on the edge they either don't have a force player, or the force guy screws up.


Be a Great Tackling Team
We took great pride in tackling. We rarely missed tackles. We also didn't practice full speed tackling in practice very often. What we did do was spend a lot of time working controlled drills to improve our leverage and angles. That's what tackling is all about. You need to understand your leverage and then play very fast. We need to know what are landmark is in pursuit to set up our tackle. If we do miss, we miss to help. When we tackled we wanted to square our shoulders and run our feet. Our goal was to drive the ball carrier back. I like a lot of what is being taught today, but one thing missing is squaring up and running your feet. We wanted to drive the ball career back every time we tackled. 

Keep Things Simple
We didn't have a lot of fancy fire zones. We had our base front. We then had a way to blitz each player on our defense. We typically blitzed in our base gaps. We then could work some gap exchanges. We didn't do a lot of this as we wanted our guys to be very good at playing their gap. We coached our guys on their eyes each and every rep. Most guys who screw up on defense let their eyes go where they are not suppose to. We coached and drilled the eyes. 

These four keys were vital to our success. We were able to play very fast and get a lot of bodies to the football. We worked very hard in practice to be very good at these four things. 

Another key was our preparation. We were very detailed in our approach to preparation. We scripted everything. We worked well as a staff to prepare for each opponent. Our players were confident because they knew what are opponents were going to do before they did it. A lot of coaches ask me how we were so well prepared. I put together a Game and Practice Planning Resource Packet for defensive coordinators. It has 12 documents that will help you prepare each week. These are editable documents that can be customized to your program. They are available for under $15! You can click here to order them and download them today! Defensive Game and Practice Planning Here are screenshot samples of a couple of these documents. You can use code STATE2016 to save 20%!




I hope you have gotten something from this post.

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: 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.
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: http://www.amazon.com/Installing-Explosive-Concepts-Into-Offense-ebook/dp/B01B12YSCG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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: