highschool football

Fixing High School Strength and Conditioning.

My name is Deerick Smith and I am the Director of Strength and Conditioning at Southside School District in Southside Arkansas.  I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and am currently in the Masters of Exercise Science Program at Concordia Chicago. I am the owner of Smith Performance specializing in online training programs for schools and individual clients.  In my daily job, I work all the male and female athletes at the school 7-12th grade.  There are many programs throughout the country doing a fantastic job with strength and conditioning however there are also many programs unknowingly putting athletes at risk.  The three biggest problems I see with Strength and Conditioning at the High school level are:

1-Programs that are too far advanced in terms of the athlete’s abilities.

2-Lack of understanding of Olympic lift programming.

3-Overuse of brutality to create mental toughness.

I cannot count the amount of times I have heard an athlete or coach say “we are following the University of _________ Strength and Conditioning program”.  The problem with this is the fact that they have no understanding of the progressions that led up to the exercises in that program. Many of the exercises being used could have had three years of progressions leading up to them. They also do not have the athletes at their school that are using that program at whatever university it may be.   Any division 1 even division 2 school is full of the best athletes from various High Schools across the country. What can be done with them is far different than what can be done with most athletes at the High School level.  A quote from Strength Coach Dan John resonates with me in terms of programming for High School athletes “anything works but not everything works” If you stick to a simple program then you will see results. If you bounce around from different method to different method then you will not achieve the results you could.

There is also a lack of understanding of the programming of Olympic lifts into strength and conditioning programs. Clean and Snatch variations can have a huge impact on the development of the High School athlete if taught and programmed correctly, they can also put the athlete at an increased risk of injury if they are not taught or programmed correctly.  When programming Olympic lifts, I never program more than five reps per set and usually do no more than three reps per set.  This is because the Olympic are so dependent on proper form, all lifts require technical abilities but with the Olympic lifts and their variations this greatly increases.  The more reps programmed the more stress on the CNS and the more the athletes form breaks down. I simply live by if you cannot do or coach an Olympic movement yourself, then don’t have your athletes do it! There are many progressions that go into learning the Olympic lifts and their variations. You don’t just simply program cleans into your workout without taking your athletes through the process of learning the different aspects of the clean.   There are many ways to achieve the stimulus that Olympic movements provide without doing the Olympic movements.

Lastly and one of the biggest problems I see are coaches trying to create mental toughness through brutality in the weight room or in training sessions.  While many may not agree with it my thoughts are if an athlete shows up every day on time and gives his or her full effort on the task at hand then they are already mentally tough. This world is full of soft individuals who simply cannot show up and do what is expected so to do this they are already ahead of a lot of the population. It is not our place as coaches to grind kids into the ground through brutal workouts that leave them laying on the floor drenched in sweat gasping for air in the name of “mental toughness”.  Special forces, Marines, and the Army and Navy do a lot of these type workouts and are some of the baddest men and women on the planet but that’s the key, they are MEN and WOMEN, not Jr High and High School KIDS.  I look at it through the lens of do my kids respect me or do my kids fear me, while both will get your athletes to buy in the first is the key in truly developing your program.

Below is an example of what a structured day SHOULD look like:

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All of our programs at Smith Performance are designed around a pull, push, squat, dynamic movement and carry every single training day. This allows for variety within the program while still providing a consistent stimulus for growth.  Coaches are wearing many hats and stressed thin as it is, not all districts have the budget to have a certified strength and conditioning coach overseeing the programs. Smith performance provides the ability for all schools to have a program designed by a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  We also offer individual programs and professional development for school districts across the United States teaching coaches how to oversee the weight room and design a proper program. The weight room is the most dangerous place on campus, make sure your athletes are safe and your coaches are educated with Smith Performance.

If you are looking for an online training program for your school or individually let me work for you to design the best program to fit your equipment and abilities.  All programs are CUSTOM made to your goals and strengths. I work to develop the total athlete, mobility, injury risk reduction, increased speed/power and strength. All programs are delivered directly to your phone through the Teambuildr app.  You can contact me by cell at 870-613-0075, on twitter at @coachdeesmith or via E-Mail at coachdeesmith1@gmail.com. Let me help maximize your teams yearly development.

 

A Philosophical Approach for Play Calling

If you have read my latest book “Calling Plays” you will already understand that it does not matter if you’re a Spread guy, a Wing guy, or an Air Raid guy. All play callers will benefit from calling plays using Wing-T principals.  That doesn’t mean you have to get in double wing X over… you can still use the same principles in four and five wide receiver sets.  Its about the philosophy, not the structure of the formation or type of plays you prefer to use.

Wing-T play callers start by using formations that force the defense to spread themselves thin in the middle or risk being outnumbered on the flanks.  That should sound very familiar to the coaches who base out of the spread.  Each formation and play call in the wing-T is designed to put a specific defender into a conflict.  You can also do this in ANY OTHER offense out there.  It is the philosophy that you will use.  The particular offense doesn’t really matter as long as you have the personnel to do the things you want to do.

You are going to be using an If/Then call philosophy.  If the defense does that, then I do this. It is very simple and makes calling plays instinctual.  Now to do this, you will have to go against one of the latest fads in offense.  That being the “Pre Snap Reads”. Don’t get me wrong, they definitely serve a purpose and have proven effective…. But I also believe that “actions speak louder than words”.   Pre snap, the defense can lie to you.  They bluff, and stem and roll and feint and do all kinds of dishonest bull crap pre snap.  After the snap however; they become a patron saint.  They have to tell the truth about what they are doing, or they will give up a big play.  So, that being said, most of the play call decisions you will make will be based on post snap ACTIONS of the defensive players. Also remember, you don’t have to outsmart the DC… you must outsmart the defensive players.

Using If/Then to guide your play calling will allow you to call plays much faster than normal because you will know exactly what to do based on the reaction of the defender that you were attacking on the previous play.  Each formation you use will show you the general idea of how the defense is going to play you, but post snap will tell you EXACTLY what they want to do.  Using this concept also gives the other offensive coaches a stake in the offense as each one can be in charge of watching a spot on the defense to let you know as the play caller where the ball should go next or in the near future.  For example; I always have a coach that oversees the watching the safeties.  As soon as the safety is stepping down hill on the snap instead of back pedaling, he lets me know and the very next play is a play action shot in the area he is supposed to be defending, but has forgotten because he is too concerned with fitting the run.

When using If/Then philosophy each play will target a specific area and the next play will be determined by how a specific defender reacts.  This is where the “Same As” plays come into play, that is, those plays that look like other plays used to place defenders in conflicts.  Examples would be Belly and Belly Option in the wing-T.  If the edge defender is squeezing the Belly, you call Belly Option and now that defender who thinks he is doing his job to stop the belly is getting pinned inside and the ball is outside.  A spread example would be matching the fast bubble with the bubble go or the wheel/sluggo combination.  Both look like bubble pass initially and if that safety is cheating on the bubble the play before, you have a good chance at big play.  This is also why having your entire offensive staff on duty helps.  Each guy will be watching for an If/Then call!  Dress up these “Same As” plays with some window dressing and they get even more effective. We will get into how to If/Then from each offense in their respective chapters later in the book.

Wing-T philosophy also works under the understanding that formations are a weapon.  Your formations need to serve a purpose.  It is my belief that what ever offense you run, your formations should be used to expose the flank of the defense and get more numbers outside than they have.  This can be done in spread or tight sets.  Being multiple with formations can cause confusion in the defense as well. We will cover the use of formations for each offense later on. For now, let’s get onto moving the football.

In all offenses, yes even the wing-T you must get the ball into grass.  One might logically think that spreading out accomplishes this with simple offensive structures… but that leads to a false sense of security.  Space is relative to the number of your blockers to their defenders.  If you line up in five wide and try to run the ball into six defenders you will quickly find that you don’t have that much grass to work with and your quarterback will be more testy than prom date dumped on the night of the dance. So how do we use wing-T principals to find the grass?

Believe it or not, in the passing game it is simpler to do this than the run game, we want to get the ball into the spots with open grass.  There are many ways to do this, but the two easiest will always be: spread the field and find the empty space or use formations that force DBs into run fits and pass the ball to the spot they were supposed to be occupying after a good play fake. Your passing attack should directly reflect what you are trying to do in your run game.  Meaning, if you are going to spread the field, you should be passing to open the run game, if your condensing the field it should be done so your run game will open up big downfield strikes.  The best teams can do both.

To find the grass in your run game, you will always need to adhere to these three simple rules:

  1. Place defenders in conflicts – As stated before, there are several ways to do this. Let’s review:
    1. Have plays that look like other plays. This is the easiest way and EVERY play in your play book should look like another play in your play book.
    2. Using formations that place defensive backs into run fits. Force the DBs to make tackles in the run game and it will open your pass game. (bubble pass counts as a run in my book)
    3. Reading defenders with options and RPO’s. If you got the QB with the wit to do this and make the correct read consistently you will cause the defense a lot of problems.  If he can’t do it with more than 75% correct read ratio… you are probably causing yourself more grief than you need to.
    4. Using motion and misdirection. Eye candy and window dressings take eyes away from what’s really going on.  Especially if the eye candy threatens an area that is supposed to be defended by that player.
  2. Use angles – There is no arguing here. If you give your blockers an angle to their block, they have a significantly higher chance of success.  As long as they can throw a basketball pick then then have a chance.  For example; call a play where the tackle just needs to wall off a three tech inside instead of reaching a loose five tech. Or a play where the tackle can just wall off that loose five tech.
  3. Attack the bubble – Every defensive front will have open spots on the line of scrimmage. That is the bubble.  Attack there, while giving your blockers angles and you should at least get three to four yards before your ball carrier is touched.

The more of these rules you can incorporate the better the call is.  Always aim to have at least have two covered every play call.  Try for all three whenever possible!  If you only have one, the chances for success decrease.  If the call does not use any of the three rules, then most likely you will experience a failure on the play and end up behind the chains. You want to avoid losing yards in the run game AT ALL COSTS.

You also have one more rule you must live by… NEVER RUN INTO MORE NUMBERS THAN YOU HAVE BLOCKERS!  If you have three to one side and they have four, the three rules of the run make no difference.  Even if you are going to option a defender, do it to where the numbers are at least even, so you end up having plus one in the blocking scheme.

Let’s review this section and the philosophies we are going to focus on for play calling: Use If/Then principals. Use formations as a weapon. Find the open space in the passing game and use the two rules to get there.  Use the three rules for the run game. NEVER run into more numbers than you got. Focus on outsmarting the opponents players, not their DC. (that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t scout him up and know what he likes to do when… just that you need to remember, he isn’t the one strapping up.)

Preparing for Your Head Coach Interview! P.1 – The Resume & Letter of Intent

You wake up in the mornings and you have the “itch”.   You know what it means.  You have been thinking about it for a long time.  Most of think about it for years before we the “itch”.   You’ve put in your time.  You have been an assistant, a coordinator and have experienced success.  You know how important building relationships in a program is, and you may not be 100% “ready” (you never will be btw), but you have now decided that it is time to take the next step!  You are going to start applying for Head Football Coach positions at the end of the season.   Congratulations!  This is a big career step and just putting yourself out there for consideration is a big move.

If you are going to do this you need to understand you will have to apply at a A LOT of schools.  Like many jobs, you will have to deal the “good ol boys” that have connections getting slipped into spots.  Most of the “good” jobs have the coach they want in mind before they let the current coach go.  Some schools wont even take applications, they will reach out to the coaches they want.   But don not be discouraged!  That will be you one day!  But for now, you will have to play the numbers game.  Remember, your new, and even if you are not, somebody out there will always be better on paper than you somewhere.  That’s just the name of the game.  What you need to do is:

  • apply at several spots, the more interviews you get the better
  • be aware that you DON’T have to take a job if they offer
    • the right job is better than A job
  • develop a plan of attack

This is going to be a three part series dedicated to the process of attaining the position of Head Football Coach:

  1. The Resume and Letter of Intent
  2. The Portfolio and Interview
  3. The Follow up and the Finalist Interviews

THE RESUME

What it Should Not Be

It is always easier to start with what to avoid with things like this.  Your resume should NOT do the following things:

  • Be a comprehensive life/career documentary
  • just a list of places that you have worked
  • be more than two pages long
  • be flashy and colorful
    • this is hard to read and if information is hard to read it gets thrown out
  • have a lengthy objective
  • list your athletic accomplishments as a player other than where you played
    • no one cares you made 12 tackles in a championship game except you

What it Should Be

The first thing you must remember is the people selecting candidates for interviews are reading a whole lot of material from many different coaches wanting that spot.  Sometimes they get hundreds of applicants that they must go through.  If your resume is too flashy or hard to read it gets thrown out.  If it is too long… they wont read past the first page or too anyways. Here is what it should be

  • Simple, Clear and Easy to read
  • use bullet points
  • ideally only one page long, two pages at maximum
  • clearly show how you IMPROVED the team from when you arrived to the current point in time
    • EX:  -Improved points per game from 17.5 to 28
    • Ex: -Decreased academically ineligible players from 7 to 0 in one semester
  • Structured just like this from top to bottom:
    • easy to read name, email, phone number with a bold line separating this from the body of the resume
    • objective that says exactly this:
      • To Obtain the Position of Head Football Coach at _________ High School
        • NOTHING MORE
    • education, only list the following
      • where you went to school, what your degree is in, when you graduated
        • NOTHING MORE
    • Summary – this is just list of bullet pointed “Proven” abilities
      • Ex: -Effectively increasing student-athlete academic performance via…. yada yada, (you get it I hope)
    • Coaching Experience
      • each TITLE gets a section, NOT each job
        • head coach, OC, DC, position coach, etc…
    • Teaching Experience
      • one section, brief, that shows how you improved students, you don’t need to list every school you taught at
        • remember, this is an interview for Head Coach, the teaching part will come AFTER they decide they like you
        • my coaching resume and teaching resume are two separate documents
    • Certifications
      • just a list of what your certified to teach, they only care about where they could put you if hired

THE LETTER of INTENT

Often call the “cover letter”  the letter of intent declares that you are intending to obtain the open position at their school.   Again, lets start off with what it shouldn’t be.

What It Shouldn’t Be

  • a declaration of your life accomplishments
  • dedication to your family
    • look, nobody is saying you shouldn’t be proud of your family, but when you put it in your LOI, it distracts from your purpose
  • like your resume, it should not be a list of every career stop you ever made
  • sent as an attachment
    • send it as the body of your email and save the resume, portfolio and references for the attachments
  • too long
    • it needs to use the “miniskirt” rule
      • long enough to cover the important parts, but short enough to keep their interest

What it Should Be

As stated earlier, you must remember that the selection committee is getting hundreds of emails.  Yours needs to stand out, so your letter of intent will be the body of the email. The subject of your email will be “Head Coach Position”.  Your LOI should”

  • be like your resume and clearly show how you IMPROVED the team from point when you arrived to the current point in time
    • in your LOI these statements are more of general whole because it will be written in proper format instead of bullet points
  • should clearly state your interest in said school and why
  • should be structured like this
    • introduction
    • what you bring to the table
    • proof of what you bring to the table (bullet 1)
    • restatement of what you bring to the table
    • closing statements
  • the structure should flow and be easy to read
  • make sure you state the beliefs you have on education and the impact you can have on it with football being the driving tool

CLOSING

I hope this is a nice little guide for anybody wishing to start the process of preparing for a head coach position!  Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 which will all come before the end of August!

If you are looking for a jump start, I do offer a HC Interview Package for purchase.  It is 11 total documents, Ill send it in an emailed zip file. Then we can schedule a phone call and I will teach you how to use it and what to do with it before an interview. How to use it in an interview to keep the panel on your plan, not theirs. The portfolio itself is 35 page portfolio that I built over the past 6 years. It outlines your plan as a head coach and covers Mission Statement to fundraising plans. Lifting plans. Philosophy for O/D and ST. Academics. Discipline policy. Every possible question an interview panel could ask is covered. It makes you look extremely organized and you can anticipate questions coming before they are asked. Ability for full customization to you.

The package includes:

  • Portfolio
  • Sample Resume
  • Sample Letter of Intent
  • Entry Plan
  • Off Season Plan for Success
  • Academic Eligibility Tracker
  • and more

DM me on Twitter or Email me for more information

Whip em with Waggle

The waggle is a staple in just about every wing-T offense. It is one of… if not the most effective play action pass ever developed.  A down hill play fake, a horizontal play fake and TWO pulling guards.  The Waggle pass can be a nightmare for DBs that also run gaps to fill due to the unconventional formations that the waggle is usually run from.  While you can definitely run the waggle pass from many different formation sets including shotgun and even four wide sets; I feel it is most effective when the QB is under center so you get the hard play fakes with the QB’s back to the defense.

WHEN TO RUN WAGGLE

You want to call the waggle in similar situations you would a boot pass in, or a keep pass in.  When you see that the DE is not checking the QB, then the QB will be able to get the edge on waggle.  Now, because of what the play side guard is doing, all you have to do is wait for the backside to DE to squeeze just a little and you can get the edge with the QB.  Another good time to call the waggle is when the LBs are chasing motion, or the DBs are no longer back pedaling on the snap.

BLOCKING RULES

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  • Backside Tackle – The backside tackle will have hing protection
  • Backside Guard – The backside guard has two rules:  If the B gap is empty, he will pull play side and gain depth to lead block for the QB.  He must hesitate on his pull step to allow the FB to clear.  Once outside the pocket he will settle for the QB to pick up any bombing LBs. If the B gap is full, he also becomes a hinge blocker.
  • Center – The center will have anybody from A to A.  (he may end up doubling withe the PST)
  • Play side Guard – The play side guard will pull to the play side and pin the outside shoulder of the first defender outside the offensive tackle.  This is a position block, meaning he has to position his body on the outside half of the edge defender.  Waiting till this man is squeezing helps him accomplish this
  • Play side Tackle – The play side Tackle will have any man head up to inside of him.  this means a 5 tech does not count.  His primary rule is to take away the inside gap.
  • Motion Back – after going in motion and faking the buck sweep, the motion back will pick up any backside leakage.
  • QB – I count the QB as a blocker because his play fakes will hold defenders.  The QB will open play side faking the dive to the FB, then fake the buck sweep to the motion back, then will boot to the edge gaining about 7 yards depth.

ROUTES

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The routs for the waggle are very easy no matter what the formation.  Simple use a number system that starts from the play side as follows:

  1. As a default, for me this is a vertical route to clear out any defenders.  Tagging comebacks and double moves is effective too! I have waggle with a comeback tag illustrated above (If running to the TE side, the TE will have a corner route.)
  2. This is usually the fullback, but could be a slot if you run it from gun.  After the dive fake tell the FB to find the easiest path to the flats.  He has a 5 yard arrow.
  3. the third receiver from the play side has a 10 yard drag.
  4. This receiver will always have a post
  5. (Optional) you can always tag the motion back on a backside wheel if you feel the defense is not paying attention to him.

QB READS

After completing the play fakes and booting out, the QB will read:

  1. Flat
  2. Deep
  3. Drag
  4. When in doubt…. TOTE IT!

Number 4 is the most important!  If the QB has any doubts, just tell him to run the rock and get what he can.

CLOSING

The waggle has been around a long time!  It can be run from multiple different looks and sets.  In the film below I have tagged a video of traditional waggle and shot gun waggle for your viewing pleasure!  Be sure to subscribe to the email list to get an update when ever you a new article drops! Follow me on twitter here at @TheCoachVogt.

 

DEFENSIVE IBUPROFEN

“Cover three can solve a lot of headaches.”

With the advent of the spread offense, defense has had to adjust to keep up.  Resulting in changes and adaptations in coverages and defensive fronts and movements.  All this has led to the prevalence of “Palms” and “Match Quarters” coverages.  There is no denying that match coverages have made a huge impact on the defensive football world.  I believe it should be in every DC’s arsenal.  However, people tend to forget about a tried and true coverage that is both simple to teach, and simple to execute.  It relies more on discipline than athletic prowess (yes it helps of course).  This coverage is Cover 3.  For this article we will focus on base cover 3 and its use against spread offenses.  In a future article we will go over “Match 3”.  For now, lets look at some reasons to use cover 3 as your base coverage.

  1. Simple – Cover 3 makes alignment extremely simple since you typically have 1 high safety. It’s a balanced defense for the most part.  The rules are extremely simple, especially for the DB’s
  2. High School Players on Offense – the philosophy for running cover 3 can be reinforced by the players on the opposite side of the ball. Most OC’s will smirk and say, “I’ll just run 4 verts!” when they hear about cover 3.  They forget that very few high school QBs can consistently hit the seams, or that few high school teams understand the spacing.  Or that the QB will typically have to throw under pressure due to numbers in the box…
  3. Numbers – being in cover 3 allows you to put more bodies in the box and force the offense to throw the ball. Most good teams still prioritize running the football, so let’s stop what they want to do!
  4. Impatient OC’s – I’ve only come across one OC that will throw the hitch and stick with it. Eventually they ALL go deep or try to run a double move… that’s when you get your sack, or your pick because they threw under pressure.  Stay the course and be more patient than the OC.

Let’s look at some base alignments vs typical spread sets before we get into the rules for cover 3:

2×2

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Spread tends to be the easiest offense to line up on in most situations.  2×2 is by far the easiest to deal with as far as alignment is concerned.  Your Corners and Free Safety will be 8-10 yards deep and the corners will have inside leverage.  Remember, the most difficult balls to throw are high and outside. Inside leverage is just enough to encourage the WR to stay outside on a deep ball while still playing in “confined” space.  The FS will align directly over the ball when in the middle of the field and over the B gap when on the hashes.

Your OLBS/SS will align head up to an inside shade on the slots.  You can play with their depth; I typically like them about 3-4 yards off.  Most slots are off the ball anyways and can’t be jammed.

3×1

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For 3×1 sets you have a couple options based on being in 2 high or 1 high.  For now, lets focus on being in 1 high.  Your Corners and FS will align the same way. Your SS and OLB will stay on their respective sides.  The SS/OLB to the 3wr side will align apexed between 2 and 3 but will back up to 6-8 yards deep.  (will cover rules later).  If you got a corner that can lock up in man coverage, feel free to bring the other OLB/SS over to the 3wr side, but you will have to slide backer’s vs motion if you do this…

20p

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Against 20p I like to keep 7 in the box.  The alignments for the FS/Corners will not change.  The SS/OLB alignments depends on the following.  To the 2wr side, he uses his 2×2 rules.  The OLB/SS to the 1wr side will align 6 yards deep over the center in the middle of the field or to the field side when on the hashes. if your using an odd front.  If you’re in an even front, have him follow the H around to take away the powerO.

Empty

You can treat it like 2×2 on one side and 3×1 on the other… or you can take a guy out of the box.  If the QB can tote it…. do the first thing I said.

RULES

Corners – DON’T GET BEAT DEEP!  That’s the number one rule.  Nothing gets behind the corner. He is responsible for the deep third of the field.  They play deep and rally to the ball once it is thrown. They don’t leave the deep third till the ball is in the air. If number 1 runs a hitch, then his eyes go to QB as he continues to sink to take away the corner/out by number 2.

Free Safety – Deep third and back pedal on the snap.  Eyes will be on the QB and can drift with the QBs eyes.  We are looking for and deep route across the middle.  Break on the ball once it is in the air.  It helps if the FS is an instinctive guy with some ability to run.

OLB/SS – against 2×2 they will have eyes on the OT to read run or pass.  If pass is read, they will collision anything vertical or inside and then drop to curl. The collision is important to reroute the WR and screw up the spacing.  If 2 goes out they will widen and drop to curl. If number 1 tries to cross face or run a slant, the OLB should clean his clock.  This area of the field where OLBs and slots play are the most under officiated parts of the field… do be afraid to get physical.  After a collision if a back crosses their face while dropping, they will widen.  Break on ball once it is thrown

Against 3×1, they will align back at 6-8 yards.  On the snap they will drop with number 2.  They will jump any flat route/hitch.  If you’re in an even front… hithes by number 3 can be an issue.  Motion back to 2×2 he goes back to 2×2 rules.  Motion to 3×1, he backs up.  If you are facing a team that effectively and correctly runs RPO’s, you will need to get into some man or some Match 3.  I will have an article on Match 3 in the future.

WEAKNESSES

Deep Outs/Comebacks by #1 – these are tough routes.  They force the corner to bail then the receiver is breaking outside.  It’s the toughest route to cover in football.  However, it is also the toughest route to complete.  If you have an offense that can consistently complete this ball, the coverage really doesn’t matter… it can be a long night if you don’t start bringing pressure or have a corner that can lock down the WR in man.

Post Wheel Combo – this route effectively mitigates spacing issues with 4 verts. Undisciplined corners tend to chase the post route leaving the wheel open. Make sure the corner stays in his third and the FS reads the QBs eyes.  Both post routes are coming to him anyways.  Fortunately, this combination tends to take a while to run, allowing pressure to get there.  “A good pass rush is better than 4 Champ Baileys”.

Smash – This is an issue because the corner rout by 2 keeps your corner deep.  Forcing the OLB/SS to take the hitch.  Train your OLB to read the eyes and widen so he can make a play on this.  Quite often a schooled up OLB/SS can break this up or get a pick.   If drops straight back, the hitch can be an issue, fortunately, most OCs wont sit there and throw the hitch over and over as we discussed earlier.

CLOSING

Obviously, there are a lot of nuances and little things you can do with alignments and techniques.  This is meant just to be guide on the simplicity of cover 3 and to show that it is still a very viable defense to use against spread offenses!  I happened to be lucky enough to be a part of staff that won 3 straight state titles, in those three years we got out of cover 3 only a handful times per season!  So, it is effective when you understand its components and limitations.  Subscribe to the email list to be updated whenever a new article posts!  You can follow me here on twitter at @TheCoachVogt and be sure to check out the STORE for the Ebooks: Installing the Wide Zone and The Speed-T Offense.

Adding Air Raid Concepts to Any Offense!

Using a simple quick passing attack in a run first offense can keep the defense on its toes.  This article is an excerpt from my book “The Speed-T Offense”. This concept can be used in any run first offense from flexbone/SBV to single wing, but if you are interested in checking out some wing-T stuff, you can get my book HERE!

The passing game covered here will be to use in addition to your current play action passing attack.  The purpose here is to put in something that is super simple but still effective.  Most of your time will be dedicated to your run game, and play action passes.  This needs to be something that is inexpensive yet will yield good results.  For that purpose, we are going to steal a concept directly from the Air raid offense so frequently seen in offenses today.  So, all that said, let’s dig in.

BASICS

First, and foremost, it needs to be simple. It needs to be simple for the offensive line, and for the skill players.  Both in protection and routes being ran.  Second, it needs to utilize high percentage routes.  Lastly, it needs to get the ball out in three seconds or less, to make it easier on the offensive linemen and the QB alike.  Here is how you will accomplish this.

The play call is going to set the formation AND the protection with one word.  We will use the words “red” and “blue” for the sake of this article, but you can obviously use whatever word you would like. Red will be 3×1 right, with protection set right.  Blue will be 3×1 left, with protection set left.  Next, you will say a number: one, two or three.  This will tell the receivers what to run. THAT IS IT! The play is called.  Here is a look at an example of each one:

BLUE 3:

blue3

RED 2:

red 2

PROTECTION

Red and Blue are your protections and formations.  A simple half slide will suffice for this, half slide is covered in depth in my BOOK.  Big on Big can work, but will require a lot of work fundamentally.  Half slide is easy to do and simple to teach, in a future article I will speak on half slide as a base pass protection.  If you want to get even easier, go full slide, however, you will need to have a fullback that likes to take on defensive ends.  There are not too many of those out there, but if you got one, full slide is the way to go.  But if you already have a base protection for drop back passing…. just use that.

ROUTES

The routes are going to be determined by the number that is called. As a base rule, EVERY receiver will have a five yard hitch.  This means they will run to six yards, turn back in to the QB and stop when they get back to five yards.  Every receiver will assume that they are getting the ball.  If the number of the corresponding receiver is called, he will then have a vertical route. (If your QB is a good one, then your WRs can run option routes. I prefer corner/post for that) On his fifth to sixth step the vertical should be looking for the ball if he is an inside receiver.  If he is an outside receiver, he will look for the ball on his seventh to tenth step.  The number “1” will be the outside receivers.  The number “2” will be the Z.  The number “3” will be the A.  If their number is not called, then they have a hitch.  Your quick screens can be used in this series as well.  This may be the simplest pass game in America right now, Hitches and quick screens… combined with your normal ground and pound offense, you will need no more.

QB RULES

The QB only has three seconds to get rid of the ball.  If he has not gotten rid of the ball in that time he will throw it out of bounds or take off with it.  He WILL NOT throw a pick! If he can help it, he will not get sacked, or at least make it back to the line of scrimmage.  Where the QB will go with the ball is going to be determined pre snap.  He is looking for a hitch to be open pre snap.  When he identifies him, that’s it. That is where is going with the ball, catch the snap and get it out there.  If there is not a hitch open pre snap, or an obvious post snap movement to take it away, he will go to the vertical.  If the vertical is not there, he runs the ball or throws it away.  Very simple, even for young QB’s.

RUN PLAYS

Running the football is NOT what this is for, as sacrilegious as that sounds.  This is a change up for the defense, and something to add some new era flash to your offense.  Your kids will like it and get excited about doing it if you limit its use.  You are going to throw the football in these formations every single time, until you get a five man box.  Once you get your five man box you can call a run play.  Pick just one to use for this series.  Good ones to use are trap, Counter and sally draw.  Trap is obviously going to hit quickest, and sally draw is going to mimic a pass play.  What you choose is up to you.  In my personal opinion, sally draw would be the better choice as you will have a body on body, and the linebackers will most likely bail.

CLOSING

These are simple concepts that can be added to anything that you are already doing!  You can even incorporate them in to your base formations.  Whether that be wing-T or Pro-i.  use the same rules for the OL and WR and you are gold!  Please feel free to reach out with any questions! Subscribe to the email list to be notified when new articles post and be sure to follow me on twitter at @TheCoachVogt

 

11 Signs You Played Offensive Line!

Whether you’ve played it, coached it, or both, you know that there is something special about those that call themselves offensive linemen!  Unsung heroes for those not in the know, and sometimes for those that do know as well.  But that’s OK. Its part of what makes being Hawg so great!  In honor of the trench warriors, here are 11 signs you might have played offensive line!

  1. You might’ve been an offensive lineman if… You know what its like to finish two plates before others finish their first.
  2. You might’ve been an offensive lineman if… You have experienced the spiritual joy brought forth by a clean hitting trap block.
  3. You might’ve been an offensive lineman if… You know that the worst part of practice is always jogging to the next drill spot.
  4. You might’ve been an offensive lineman if… You know that the “lineman trot” is learned skill that not just anyone can master.
  5. You might’ve been an offensive lineman if… You have experienced the anticipation for inside run because you need to shut-up that DL sumbich for all that trash talk during 1 on 1 pass rush.
  6. You might’ve been an offensive lineman if… When you knew it was you that busted an assignment, but you act like you couldn’t hear coach yelling from the sideline.
  7. You might’ve been an offensive lineman if… You understand that a proper jersey tuck under the shoulder pads can determine making it through practice or not.
  8. You might’ve been an offensive lineman if… On Friday nights you know all the other teams DL by name and what they are gunna do just by how they line up.
  9. You might’ve been an offensive lineman if… You used to bring snacks, so you don’t get hungry between final bell and pregame meals.
  10. You might’ve been an offensive lineman if…. You’ve seen the panic in a DB’s eyes because you got a free release to the third level.
  11. You might’ve been an offensive lineman if… You don’t know what words bring more soul crushing dread: “GET EM CHOPPIN!” or “TO THE 5 MAN!”

BONUS:  You might’ve been an offensive lineman if… You know that you have a group of life long brothers that will have your back till the day you die!

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