Posted on

Leadership Council/Captain Application

Like most coaches across the country we are trying to improve our team by building better young men.  Part of this is by building better leaders.

A year ago we began by building a leadership council. We selected a team of 10 returning varsity players to act as leaders, and come up with our team rules and discipline. It started off great but in the rush to get ready for the season at some point in the Summer we lost focus.

We are building our leadership council for next season and I had the idea that our kids should APPLY for a position on the council… and the privilege of being named a captain in the future.

I found some examples online and took from them what I liked and built the following document which i passed out to players this week.

I received a number of messages on twitter and emails asking to see our application so I decided to share it here.

Antioch HS Football Leadership Application

Posted on

Running DUO from BUNCH

This past weekend I had the pleasure of hearing formers Raiders assistant OL Coach Tim Holt speak on Bunch Run Game Concepts. One of the concepts Holt spoke about was “DUO”.  Duo seems to have taken over the social media coaching fraternity in the last year.  I first heard about duo about 2 years ago.  I saw a few diagrams and saw a few cut ups of a play quite often called “Power without the puller”.  I REALLY started to notice it more and more watching NFL games this past season.

At first glance it can appear like just another Inside Zoneplay; I think it is a bit more powerful, with better angles like you get in GAP schemes.

Coach Holt did an excellent job of explaining how they teach it and the key to making it all work.

Offensive Line:

The play starts with the Center “ID”ing the Will LB(#1 LB).  He will work with the BSG to double team on a path to pick up the Will.

The BST can work OUT on the backside DE similar to how he would by himself on an inside zone block.

The PSG and PST can double back on the DT on a track toward MIKE(#2 LB) like how they would on Power. Coach Holt made a very specific point that they ONLY need to worry about the Mike IF he fills A gap.  They don’t need to worry about him if he goes over the top into B gap because the RB is reading him (more on this later).

The Bunch:

The TE and 2 WRs in the bunch are what make the play work.  The TE (aligned off the ball) kicks the DE out.

The 2 WRs in the bunch HAVE to account for the #3 LB(Sam in the diagrams below).  This was Holt’s biggest key to making the play work.  Duo can only work if they are able to get #3 blocked. Their general rule is to “zone it” both working inside to pick up the #3 LB and the next closest box threat (Diagram 1).

Diagram 1

If the defense aligns with a defender heavy on the point man on the bunch, they can also use a fold scheme… having the point man block out, and the other WR go behind him to pick up #3 (Diagram 2).

Diagram 2

The last blocking variation they use is to Push the outside bunch WR to Safety when they see a Cloud Corner… they figure the Corner can’t make a tackle on an inside run so they are better off getting the safety blocked (Diagram3).

Diagram3

 

The success of the play is built around being able to block #3 (drawn above as the Sam).  IF the QB feels the WR can’t get to him because of his alignment (too far inside or too shallow) the QB must check out of the play.  They would most often just check to Stretch to the bunch (Diagram 4), which makes sense if Sam is playing tighter inside or they can check to a pass concept.

Diagram 4

RB READ:  The RB is READING the Mike LB.  This is what allows the PSG/PST to focus on their double team getting vertical push… whichever gap Mike fills, the RB should cut into the opposite gap.

I like this version of Duo from the bunch set.  I have always felt that GAP doubles are more physical than zone doubles and this scheme allows you to get 2 double teams.  By using Bunch you can usually get a consistent alignment from the Defense.

Qb/RB Mesh:

They just opened up and handed the ball off to the back… his aiming point being outside leg of the guard, and let him read the Mike.

Some teams, specifically the New England Patriots work almost counter steps/mesh in the backfield in an effort to freeze the LBs which lets them stay with the double teams longer.

This concept is also often run from 21 or 12 personnel as well.  Using one TE to block OUT on the DE and using a FB or off the ball TE to account for #3.

Below is a clip James A Light posted of Sean Kugler talking Duo when he was with the Steelers.

Here is a solid play action scheme from the New England Patriots (you can also see the counter like Qb/RB mesh in the backfield). This is from Ted Nguyen.

 

 

Posted on

Swing Screen with QB Counter

I spent yesterday, like most football diehards, watching the 2 College Football Playoff games.

In each game I noticed a package play… a RB swing screen to the wide side of the field, packaged with a QB GT Counter to the short side of the field.  Below I will breakdown how Alabama and Oklahoma each ran this play for explosive first downs.

 

The design of the play is to have 3 lead blockers on the perimeter for your RB swing to block the Corner, Sam LB, and Safety.  Bama ran there’s from a 20 personnel set with my favorite RB in the world Najee Harris, and Josh Jacobs in the backfield.  Oklahoma ran theres from a spread trips formation.

The perimeter players block the screen, and the OL blocks the counter for the QB.  The QB reads the Swing side DE… if he squeezes/chases the pulling tackle throw the swing.  If he attacks the RB, tuck it and run following the pullers.

The backfield action attacking out wide, with the OL blocking counter the other way really stresses the defense and truly cuts them in half.  The box players have to respect the counter, the perimeter players have to respect the Swing screen.

In the Bama clip they’re able to hit the RB swing for an explosive 22 yard play.

In the Oklahoma Clip Baker Mayfield keeps the ball and runs for an explosive 22 yard run.

Posted on

One Back Clinic Notes

Below I have copied and pasted my notes form last weekend’s trip down to the One Back Clinic.

Overall it was a great experience with some great speakers and I highly recommend attending next year.

RPO, streak, air raid vertical – Timmy Chang

Streak vs 6 call

Streak is an RnS backside concept 

Get vertical if they’re not backing off

He squats get deep. If we can’t get deep we hook it 

If safety gets outside of us, widen him  back inside (post)

Wr has to SET the defender

SET means foot, head, shoulder at defenders leverage then go other way

QB starts the throwing motion on the WRs set… so he isn’t waiting 

Outside WR read corner 

If he hitches work back down own stem

Vs cover 2 has to attack aiming 2 yards outside the corners leverage

Uses quick game concept frontside (smash, fade out)

Reading safety alignment to know coverage 

Depth… at or under 10 its cover 0

Width… outside hash cover 2, on hash probably 4

Back shoulder fade coaching point

DB in dominant position, throw the ball at the back of his head, he will never see it 

AIR RAID 6 call

Simplicity and spacing 

Lock one seam, one can bend 

Outsides have option to sit down if corner is bailing 

RPO

RSO/RPO

Run screen option now and bubble screens

Run pass option 

If you block BS DE you can throw the ball RPO

If you leave BSDE unblocked, can only RSO or you’re gonna get QB drilled

RSO screen frontside 

RPO backside , reading OLB

Slants is simple, common use backside 

Posted on

Boot Camp

I wanted to share with all of you, something new we started doing that I think is THE BEST thing we have ever done.

I was inspired by Coach Randy Jackson’s book Culture Defeats Strategy – Book Review Here.
We are doing a week long boot camp for the players this week.
JV and varsity alternate between weight room and field

On field we haven’t done any actual football, it has been all competitive drills.

It has been a blast, and the kids are working harder than I have ever seen.  We are starting to have some leaders emerge. kids are cheering each other on, and finally starting to celebrate each other’s success.

We are by no means perfect, but I  see it starting to bring everyone together.

It is probably the best change we have made… some special moments this week and we are starting to separate the men from the boys… the winners from the excuse makers.

Here are some examples of things we have done this week.

Here is a break down of what our week looks like.

                                                       Weekly Schedule

Monday:

  • Tug of War
  • Obstacle Course Relay

Tuesday:

  • Partner Wheel Barrow
  • Partner Carry
  • Footwork/Agility

Wednesday:

  • Farmers Walk
  • Over Under Hurdle
  • Tic Tac Toe

Thursday:

  • Weight Stack
  • 4 x 400 Relay
  • Water Balloon fight

Friday:

  • Overhead Carry
  • Slosh Pipe
  • Tire Flip
  • Dodgeball

Below are my tweets through the week that show some of the action.

Posted on

Sideline Replay System Update

3 years ago I began using sideline replay technology.  To my knowledge, I was the first person in Northern California to use this type of technology.  That first year I started with a free trial from SkyCoach and I wrote about that experience here.

I had a great experience using SkyCoach so I have continued to use it as my sideline replay system even though there are numerous other companies on the market now. This post is to give a general update on how things have evolved for SkyCoach and how I have used it.

When I first began my free trial I only used the simplest option… use an iphone to film and send it through the cloud.  SkyCoach has made some serious upgrades since then.

To stay ahead of the competition they offer no internet kits (to make your own local network and not have to rely on cell phone signal/data) as well as existing camera set ups to use your sideline and press box angles rather than an iPhone.

This set up costs a little bit more but it was especially helpful this season ( first season using this set up) as it allowed us to almost instantly get 2 angles intercut and send to my iPad on the sideline, which I keep plugged in to a 42″ TV.

If you don’t have the budget or resources to pull this system off, the iPhone method for filming STILL works great.  To keep things easier on me for set up, all away games I used the simpler, iPhone method.  For home games, I would set up the fancier no internet and existing camera method because I had access to power in more locations and a bit more time to set things up.

Pricing information for the different options can be found HERE.

Replay helps the players more than it helps our coaches.  Yes we use it to make adjustments and help in calling plays, but I can not stress enough how HELPFUL it is to our OL in seeing their mistakes and fixing things.

The next step for me, is to begin using SkyCoach as a practice tool.  I envision being able to set up the system, film group periods like inside run and team, and when the second string rotates in, the starters are able to come over to the sideline and immediately watch their last few plays.  I think this will allow us to get things fixed faster and aid in the way that players communicate.

 

Posted on

Ring The Bell

The Off-Season Weight Room grind is not the most glamorous part of HS Football but it is without a doubt the most important.  Getting kids excited about the weight room, getting stronger, and encouraging their teammates is essential to improving as a program.

One new addition to our off season is a concept I refer to as “RING THE BELL”.

Each day we have 1 core strength lift (among other lifts).

The lift protocol in our strength phase is 4 sets of 4-5+ reps.  This means the players will pick a weight they can do 4-5 reps per set.  Their goal each set is to try to get a 6th rep out of that set.  Getting the 6th rep (the plus sign in 4-5+) means a player has progressed past that weight and gets to move up 5 lbs heavier.  This is my favorite strength training protocol and can be used year round to steadily build strength and pace when each player should move up in weight.

This is a big moment and needs to be celebrated.  Whether it is a skinny freshman 5th quarter player, or one of our varsity stars, getting that 6th rep means they have gotten stronger in that lift and they have earned the right to RING THE BELL.

I bought a bell on Amazon, mounted it to a wall in the weight room, and when a player gets that 6th Rep and moves up, they literally Ring The Bell.

Everyone in the room gets loud and cheers on their teammate in recognition of their work and their improvement.

This is a new addition to our off season program since we have most past our introductory phase and in to our Strength Building Phase.

The players are pushing each other to get that 6th rep and RING THE BELL.

I am adding #RingTheBell to my various Social Media posts praising kids’ effort in the weight room to help continue to grow this into our culture.

Check out a video from today’s lift of one of my OL after he gets his 6th rep on Bench Press.

 

Posted on

Tracking Progress in the Weight Room

Just sharing an excel file I created for our Off Season Lifting.

I use this template to give the players the lifts, sets, and reps for each day.  The players use this to enter the weight they lift in each set.  I was able to get 1 month worth of lifts on 1 sheet, and have a spot at the end to record any max testing results.

lifting template pic

Each month I will go in, and make any changes to the lifts or set/rep scheme i deem necessary.

I print these up on heavy card stock so they have held up well so far.

We have a leadership council of 10 players.  Our entire program is divided out so everyone is part of each of the 10 leaders “mini team”.

I hung folders on the wall, and each player stores their workout card in their Leader’s folder.  This has been a great way for us to keep it organized, let kids find their workout card quickly, and track progress.

Here is the link to the file form my dropbox.

Lifting Template

Posted on

Bama’s Offense Heading into National Championship Game

As Monday’s National Championship game draws near, I decided to break down the offense of what has become one of my favorite teams… Alabama.

Yes Kiffin is out and Sark is in, but I do not expect a ton to change offensively.  Coach Sark has been on staff all year and as an analyst I’m sure has had his hand in the game planning process each week.

The offense had some struggles in their playoff game against Washington but I wanted to take a look at the plays that worked well for them against UW and what I think they will use against Clemson in the National Championship.

Below I took a look at several concepts that worked last week and that THEY NEED to work well Monday in order to win.

QB Run Game:

UW did a great job defending the QB sweeps that Bama runs, but Freshman QB Jalen Hurts was much more successful running the ball on some of their read based QB runs.

Toss Read:

I have written about the Toss Read play HERE (Clemson) AND HERE (North Carolina)

RB attacks wide, the DE is left unblocked and the QB reads him.

Bama runs several End read schemes.  They will threaten him with a toss or a sweep path by RB (both with power blocking for the OL).  Look for the Toss Read and the Power Read to be key concepts for BOTH offenses in the Natty.

Inverted Veer/Bash:

Another play Bama uses is the inverted veer or “Bash” concept as some call it.

The OL will block Inside Zone (IZ) leaving the backside DE unblocked.  The Rb runs a wide sweep path toward the DE as the QB shuffles reading him.  If the DE squeezes he gives the ball to the RB around the edge.  If the DE widens with the Rb, the Qb keeps the ball and runs inside.

Zone “Bluff”:

Bama will often use an H back to “slice” across the formation and block the backside DE.  One wrinkle off of this is the “BLUFF” tag.  The H back will now bypass the DE, running around him to block the force player.  This gets the QB an extra blocker outside if the DE crashes and he pulls the ball on the zone read.

Zone Run Game:

Bunch Zone Dive:

I think Coach Sark is going to POUND THE BALL.  Bama can do this in many ways but one particular way to look out for is via the bunch formation.  Bama had several successful runs against UW running a zone dive toward a Bunch Set.  OL looks to be using Zone principles to the right.  In the Bunch the WR blocks the corner and the TE looks to base the defender over him.  As the H back zones right with the Left Tackle (looking to climb if DE pinches inside big Cam Robinson) this creates a natural crease between the LT and the bunched TE.  With the rest of the OL zone blocking, it gives the back options to run to daylight.

Pass Game:

While I believe Coach Sark will pound the ball with Hurts and the stable of backs, they will need Hurts to step up and make some plays with his arm to win back to back titles.

Play Action to OJ Howard:

OJ Howard had his coming out party against Clemson in last year’s Natty catching 5 passes for 208 yards and 2 TDs.  He will be a valuable play action weapon for Hurts in this game.

Play Action Wheel:

One way Bama has gotten hurts the ball is running him on wheels/vertical routes to the boundary.  The play starts off looking like Power Read.  Howard is a great blocker on the perimeter so the defense has to respect the run look.  As the WR releases inside and gets vertical, it clears out space for Howard to settle in the hole.

Sprint Out:

Another concept I look for Bama to use is the Sprint Out Pass.  With an athletic, young QB like Hurts one of the easiest ways to get a completion is to sprint him out to his right.  It cuts the field in half for him, he is moving toward his target and in some ways a sprint out simplifies things for him.  He can roll out, read 1 defender and fire the ball in there.  Sprinting him out also puts stress on the defense to keep him contained because his legs are still his most dangerous weapon and he can take off if everyone is covered.

Here are 2 Sprint Outs Bama hit vs UW.

The second one got called back as a Bama WR covered up his teammate, but look for Bama to use the Sprint out against Clemson.

Conclusion:

I look forward to the National Championship because they gave us such a great game last year.  Both teams are full of NFL talent.  I look forward to seeing how Coach Sark runs the offense and I am sure we will see these concepts in the game Monday Night.

Posted on

Clemson Quick Toss and QB Counter

The Power Read Concept took the football world by storm a few years ago.  The new version of this play is to Toss the RB the ball rather than sweep mesh, to get him outside faster.

I first saw the play last year from a High School Coach and then saw several college use it during the 2015 Bowl Season.

I wrote about North Carolina using it last year here.

The idea is simple… OL blocks Power playside.  The Rb aligns playside and runs a toss.  The Qb catches the snap, shuffles towards the back, reading the DE.  If the DE squeezes or attacks him, toss the ball to the RB now.  If the DE widens to play the RB, keep the ball and run inside.

This is a great way to get the ball on the edge against talented DEs.  It is difficult to reach a great DE to get the RB the edge, but by blocking down with the OT and getting the DE to squeeze that, you can toss it outside and use what he is taught to do against him.

This play became a big part of the Clemson offense in 2016 and they really hurt Ohio State in their playoff game with the QB Counter off of that action.

The Toss:

  • Use what the DE is taught against him and out leverage him at the snap for squeezing down blocks

QB Counter:

  • Deshaun Watson killed Ohio State in this game with the GH Counter (Guard and H back ) off of toss action.

PA Pass:

The next play to look at in this series is play action pass.  Now I will be honest, this play is somewhere in between quick toss and QB power in terms of run action… The Rb path is definitely more vertical than on the toss but it is similar enough that I included it here.  Although incomplete, this is another way to stress the defense.  RB attacks wide outside of the OT and gets vertical down the middle of the field.  A more accurate pass away from the safety and this is a 1st down completion.

Combining Jet And Toss:

Clemson is known for combining their Jet and Toss into one play.  I do not know if the play is called or read but here are 2 ways they did it in the game.  The first from under center with an unbalanced Jet look, with quick toss going opposite.

This other look was not as successful but you will see them going Jet one way, with quick toss the other.  The OL blocks power toward the toss, away form the Jet.