I actually finished a book! (Dan Gonzalez – Concept Passing)

I got this book for Christmas, started reading it late Christmas night and finished it in 24 hours.

I must say that I hate reading books.  I am a fast reader, enjoyed it as a kid, but reading books just bores the life out of me now.  The last time I finished a book was 10 years ago when I was in 8th grade.  Once I got to High School I began hating reading, both for school and for pleasure.  I went through HS and my entire undergrad without reading books, even textbooks.

I have started a couple of coaching related books, thinking they would be interesting enough to captivate me but they never are.  I can read threads of coachhuey.com all night but something about sitting down and reading a book is almost unbearable.

The fact that I finished this book, and in 24 hours, speaks to how well written and interesting it is.  I must say that this is the first time I have read this book, but it will not be the last.  The diagrams help to “flesh out” what Gonzalez is saying but there is so much content that I do not think you can truly soak it all in on the first read through.

Gonzalez gives a thorough break down of his passing scheme.  He begins with a break down of his terminology, the importance/use of formations and personnel groupings within the concepts, and pass protections.

Gonzalez then goes in to each of the 9 pass concepts… he refers to them by name and by number.  Each is given a digit number, that when partnered with the pass protection gives the play.  Plays in Gonzalez’s system use a 2 digit number, the first gives the protection, the second the base pass concept.  They have many backside tags and route alterations to add on to the concepts.  To be honest I think there is too much for a high school offense.  The way he offers it up, if you did everything then yes, you could beat every single coverage under the sun, as well as every single adjustment from every single defensive player imaginable.  The problem is I think it is just too much to teach to 16 year olds, and I think it puts too much on the QB.  That said, the base concepts, with a tag or two is definitely doable and would provide the basis for a very effective HS passing game.

I am going to give a very brief description of the 9 concepts within the book.

Drag Concept:

Very similar to Air Raid Shallow, some tags/variations add a mesh look.

Vertical Concept:

4 verts, but Gonzalez teaches a seam read from one slot WR, as well as streak read routes from the outside WR.  I really like the way he teaches it much better than how we have taught it for the last 2 years.

Two Man Game Concept:
This is the stick concept in air raid terms.
Quick Concept:
This is actually multiple concepts.  They have several quick concepts that are called by name after the number
Corner Concept:
This is Smash or Hi/Lo.  Gonzalez offers two versions of this that are similar but have a couple slight difference.  Each is given it’s own number in his playcalling system but they are taught together because they are so closely related.
Horizontal Concept:
This is your standard curl/flat concept.
Numbers Concept:
This concept is designed to isolate WRs in one on one match ups.  Basically you are using a 7 man protection, having your two outside WRs run a deep out or something that isolates them on the corner.  Another WR will run a route to the middle of the field to give 3 vertical routes if you end up going against a cover 2.
Three Level Concept:
This is a flood concept, Gonzalez also includes a variation where instead of flooding the outside 1/3 of the field, the routes flood the middle 1/3 of the field… so you are high/lowing an inside backer rather than flat defender.
Object Concept: This is essentially a way of tagging a specific WR on a route designed to get him open 1 on 1, it is added on to another one of the base concepts (that are called by number) one WR is tagged with an object concept route and only that WRs route changes.
After reading this book I think the Object concept and other tags can be a lot to handle for most kids… I really don’t see myself incorporating them this year.
One thing that I liked is the pass game I have been drafting all off season for us next year lines up very closely to the concepts at the core of Gonzalez pass game.  It lets me know I was on the right track, and I will continue to use this book to help learn how to teach these core concepts better.
I am really in love with the Vertical, 2 man game, numbers, corner, and 3 level concepts in this book.
The Drag concept is a possibility for the future, we ran shallow and mesh this year… I didn’t love either one, but perhaps reading this chapter over again several times will make me value it more.
I highly recommend this book to any of you who think you have something to learn about the passing game.
Now I am off to start working on all of my rules to make these concepts able to work in all of our formations with as simple rules as possible.  I’m also starting to work on our verbal and signal no huddle for next year.

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