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!