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.
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.
Tug of War
Obstacle Course Relay
Partner Wheel Barrow
Over Under Hurdle
Tic Tac Toe
4 x 400 Relay
Water Balloon fight
Below are my tweets through the week that show some of the action.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Use what the DE is taught against him and out leverage him at the snap for squeezing down blocks
Deshaun Watson killed Ohio State in this game with the GH Counter (Guard and H back ) off of toss action.
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.
I have been watching a good amount of Pitt’s 2016 film lately. They did several interesting things under OC Matt Canada (who just got the LSU OC job).
To me, the most interesting thing they do is the way they package Jet Sweep with their Inside Zone (IZ) run game. It is unique to me in that they are executed the EXACT same.
Pitt runs the Jet going one direction, with the IZ going the other way. From looking at several clips of this it appears that Part of the team is blocking IZ, while others are blocking for the Jet.
For example, imagine Jet going Right, with IZ (and the Rb) going left.
Everyone from the RT position over toward the left, will be blocking IZ Left.
Everyone from the Right TE position and/or H back Position will be blocking for the Jet .
Notice I said “position” to describe each spot. That is because Pitt does a lot of unbalanced formations, and often a tackle will be over next to the other tackle, and end up as the 3rd man to that side, or “the TE position”. His follows the rules as if he was a TE.
Below are some diagrams to describe what I am talking about.
The beauty of doing it this way, gives the defense NOTHING they can key on and read to get all of their hats to the football. There is nothing tipping the offense’s hand. Box players have to play/respect the IZ. DBs/Force players have to respect the Jet. DE’s get caught in between, seeing TE/H Backs run one way and OL go the other way, unsure of who has the ball, and still having some responsibility for QB boot if the Jet and IZ were both faked.
Below I will go through some clips of this concept. You will see it really divides the defense as players have to honor their responsibilities and it isolates defenders, forcing them to try to make open field tackles.
My favorite thing about this play series, is that it completely cuts the defense in half. In the 3 clips above you see defenders being fooled by where the ball is and it reduces the ability of the defense to pursue the ball. I think it also makes the Jet Sweep a more viable option than just “hope it gets the edge”. Because the LBs have to honor the Inside Zone action, it removes them from being inside out flow players on the Jet. Even if the defense is able to force the Jet to cut it up, there aren’t LBs sitting there to blow it up… they are trying to tackle the RB on the other side of the field.
Great concept from Pitt, and I look forward to seeing LSU run it next season. I am curious to see the challenge it presents to those NFL SEC defenses.
I don’t do a ton of reading but decided to make a purchase 2 weeks ago. I feel our program has been lacking leadership and we need to make some changes to increase the leadership and improve the buy in within the team. I came across this book from Coach Randy Jackson from his Twitter Account.
Culture Defeats Strategy
Throughout this book Coach Jackson shares his journey as a coach, lessons he has learned, and the way he has run his program at each stop along the way.
This book was exactly what I was looking for. This is not an X’s and O’s book. This book focuses on creating core values to shape the identity of your team. Coach Jackson shares his ideas for building leaders, creating core values, and using those values to improve your team.
Throughout the book he shares stories that help you see the importance of each core value.
The 7 Core Values are illustrated on the Cover
I will be honest, as I read this, I knew I personally, could not use every single idea in this book. However as I read, i jotted down notes. I tried to write notes on every single idea I thought I COULD add to my program. These strategies will help us lay a foundation to build an overall better football program in 2017. It has pushed me to create a “leadership council” within my program where we will meet monthly year round to build a better football program. We had our first meeting the day after I finished this book and we were able to start working on our own core values. Asking the players to work with me on this has helped yield so much more buy in than if I just decided things myself. This helps me see what is important to them and tells me the general pulse of the team.
I don’t do a ton of recommendations on this blog but I recommend this book without hesitation. You WILL find something in here that you can take, and improve your football program.
Cheap… only $20
Easy Read (I finished in under 3 hours)
Comes with digital copy and worksheets (emailed to you)