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 helped them improve on defense. They were better prepared for their opponents and were 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: 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:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your post coach. Very insightful for a young coach.