Practice Planning

Recently I have received a lot of emails/DMs asking about practice plan structure.

I wanted to write a post breaking down how I break up our practice by scheme as well as by time.

This is what I refer to as an install practice schedule.  We are essentially in install (or learning) mode from Spring Ball all the way until the week of our first game.  We do not have a specific game plan to get ready for or an opponent… we are working on OURSELVES and getting better at our base offense May – early August.

I have written about the 2 DAY INSTALL and 3 DAY INSTALL in the past… I enjoy using both and either one should work well for you.  Having a 2 or 3 day install is important because it sets the rough framework for our practice plan.

Once we understand we are cutting up the offense into pieces it becomes easier to plan out our days.

I will start with the run game.  We have a ZONE DAY (Inside and Outside Zone) and a GAP DAY (Power and Counter).

This helps to frame my INDY time with the OL, the inside Run script, and the run plays I call in team.

We get Practice done in under an hour on each side of the ball.

I believe in practice having a routine so we generally start with indy, progress to group, and finish with team.

Like most teams are doing, practice is broken up into 5 minute segments.

I use GOOGLE SHEETS for all practice plans because it allows me to copy practice plans for future days, and most importantly it allows all of our coaches access to edit the practice plan in our own time.

The template looks like this (save yourself time and use formulas to auto populate the time cells… so you only have to edit the start time and ALL the times auto update).

I leave room at the top to write down the specific concepts we will work that day. We begin practice in INDY.  The OL/TE/FBs always start with run game indy first.  We get 20 minutes.  On DAY A (ZONE day) we will work base blocks, doubles, and reach blocks.  I can tweak this time as necessary.  Some days i give the Doubles 10 minutes, some days I give the REACH blocks 10 minutes, whatever I feel we need more work on.

While we are doing that the skill guys have INDY.  We typically start the QBs/RBs together for mesh.  Early on they get 10 minutes a day. As we progress that goes down to 5 minutes. The WRs start with INDY.  From there the RBs do INDY work and we either do mroe indy work at QB and WR or they group up to begin throwing individual routes.

The next part of practice is in small groups.  The OL and Hybrids do inside run, while the QB/WRs work on our key screen/RPO game.

After that we enter passing phase of our plan.  The OL works pass pro drills. The TE/FBs go with the QB/WRs and begin learning/refining our pass concepts.  As we progress this can transition into 7on7.

The RBs will either continue to work INDY or if we plan to use them in the specific pass concept they will work with the other Skill guys.  I usually bring them back with the OL to work blitz pick up before doing a brief up tempo team period.

During this install phase you can see I don’t believe in working a lot of TEAM time because I feel the real learning and progress are developed in your INDY and Small Group time.  When we get into GAMEPLAN mode we work much more team time than this because we have specific expected defenses and plays we like.

 

The next day would be DAY B (GAP DAY) and would follow the exact same format.  All that would change are the pass concepts repped, and the OL INDY work would be Power/Counter specific.

For example in INDY we would work DOWN blocks, Gap Doubles, and Pulling.  Again here I have 4 time blocks, to work through 3 base drills.  This means I can double up and get 10 minutes on one of those drills per day.  Some days it is DOWN, some days it is Doubles, some days it is pulling… whatever I feel we need more work on.

Here is the link to this TEMPLATE.

2 Day Install

I have been a big proponent of the “3 day install” for the last few years and have written about it HERE.

However this year I wanted to try something new… the 3 day install is great but it just never seemed to “fit in” with our weekly schedule and our concepts.

  1. We practice 4 days/week (Mon-Thurs generally)
  2. We get 10 days of Spring Ball
  3. We use “rule of 4” for selecting our base plays to install
    • 4 Run Concepts
    • 4 Quick Game Concepts
    • 4 Drop Back Concepts

ALL of these things do not divide by 3 well, but they do divide by 2.

Prior to Spring Ball starting I was mapping our install out and realized it all made more sense by fitting it in to a 2 day install plan.

I would then get to work that 2 day plan, TWICE during each week.

Dividing the plays out was simple…Day A and Day B.

Day A would be a ZONE day for the OL/run game… we work Inside Zone, Outside zone, 2 quicks, and 2 drop backs.

 

Day B would be a GAP scheme day for the OL/run game… we work Power, Counter, the other 2 quicks, and the other 2 drop backs.

 

We just keep repeating these 2 days.  Day A and Day B narrow the focus of what we will work on, and through each round of the install plan we will ADD wrinkles.  The wrinkles can be anything you want… personnel groups, formations, motions, screens etc.

Our Spring Ball looked like this

Day 1-2: Just the basics in 11 personnel

Day 3-4: Added 12 personnel

Day 5-6: Added Jet Motion

Day 7-8: Added 21 personnel/Power Pass/Boot

Day 9-10: Added Bunch

 

The core concepts remained the same and we add on to the complexity each “round” by sprinkling in some new learning.

At the end of 10 spring ball days we have worked each concept 5 different days.

Where this really helps me is in practice planning.  I have OCD when it comes to prepping my OL work.

What we do in INDY is directly related to what we will run in INSIDE RUN, which is exactly what I have scripted for team.  We aren’t working pulling on a zone day, or reach blocks on a gap scheme day.  The QB/WR/RB groups are planned out with the same idea.

At first 2 days to fit all the core concepts in seems like it is TOO much TOO fast but it worked out well for us in Spring Ball and I am excited to keep it rolling through out the Summer. The next addition will be screen game 🙂

Meal Prep: Easy Lunch/Dinner

In my last post I wrote about an easy way to PREP BREAKFAST for the week.

Now I will explain how I make my Lunch/Dinner at the same time (i try to be as efficient as I can.

For Lunch I make a CajunAlfredo pasta with ground turkey.

For Dinner a Turkey Burrito Bowl.

 

I make Lunch and Dinner on the stove WHILE my breakfast is in the oven (multi tasking at its finest).

Super Easy,

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Packs of Ground Turkey (I use 93/7)
  • Pasta and Sauce of your choice
  • Black beans/taco seasoning/salsa of your choice

Step 1: Start boiling water for Pasta while you get the ground turkey cooking (I start making my breakfast while I am waiting on water to boil.

Step 2: Cook Pasta and drain.

Step 3: Once Turkey is cooked add half to pasta, add sauce, and add some spices… I like to make it Cajun.

Mix it all together, divide out into tupperware for the week and Lunch is done.

Step 5: Take the rest of the turkey still in pan, add some taco seasoning and black beans. Divide into tupperware and top with salsa and/or whatever veggies you like.

Super simple recipes, easy to cook, and easily adaptable to fit your specific tastes.

 

 

 

 

Meal Prep: Easy Breakfast

I wanted to share how I meal prep my breakfasts each week.

The following is a step by step of how I make what I eat for both breakfast, and a pre practice snack to hold me over until i get home for dinner.

What you need:

  • Egg Beaters/Egg Whites ( i prefer egg beaters)
  • A Protein Source: I use Soy Chorizo now (healthy plant-based alternative) but for years I used bacon, sausage, or turkey sausage
  • Muffin Pans (I like the silicone kind… you just have to put them on a baking pan)
  • Pam/non stick spray
  • Any spices/veggies you might like

First spray muffin pan with Pam.

 

Put your protein of choice in each cup (I put a Spoonful of Soy Chorizo in each).

(I am telling you that once it is cooked you can’t tell the difference between SoyChorizo and regular pork Chorizo…by far the best Vegan protein source I have had. My favorite is the one form Trader Joe’s)

 

Pour in Egg Beaters (1 large or 2 small containers)

Bake at 350 for 25-30 mins (they will be solid when done).

 

It is that easy, let them cool, they pop right out of the muffin pan and you have breakfast for the week.

 

I make 24 each week. I have 3 for breakfast (and a banana) and 2 for a snack each day (except only 2 for Breakfast Friday).

These are easy to make, taste delicious, and help me reduce my Carb intake during the week.

 

I kind of have my meal prep down to a science where I can get EVERYTHING done in 45 minutes or less.  While these are in the oven cooking I am making my Lunch and Dinner for the week. I will explain my easy Lunch/Dinner prep in my next post.

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

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.

 

 

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.

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 

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.

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.