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.

 

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.

 

3 Day Install and Practice Planning

Each year in Spring Ball or the earliest part of Summer, High School’s across the country begin installing their base offense. More and more teams are beginning to use the “3 day install”. This is a popular way that many colleges (and now High Schools) go about installing their offense. They break the offense apart into 3 total days. I first read about the 3 day install from a Smart Football post by Chris Brown  here back in 2011.  I have used a rough version of this since then but this year was by far my most organized/OCD spring to date.

The basic idea is to put it all in 3 days, and keep repeating that 3 day rotation.

  • Divide offense into days A, B, C
  • on Day 4 start back over with A
  • follow the rotation throughout Spring

Now I will discuss how I broke everything down for my days, how I installed, and how I have continued to use this progression into the Summer.

The Science behind 3 day install.  

Some people might think you are better off mastering one basic skill, or base play before moving on to add more.  This is an “old school” way of thought that is often referred to as blocking… this would be AAA, BBB, CCC learning.

The same skill concept 3 days in a row, before moving on to something new.  On the Surface this makes sense but modern educational research studies have shown that interleaving, “mixing it up” or ABC, ABC, ABC learning (rotating the skills/concepts being taught) is the most effective for skill and concept mastery.

This is applicable to education, learning musical instruments, and sports.  A more detailed article explaining this study can be found here.

Now that we understand why mixing it up works best, we can begin to apply it to an offense.

Deconstructing My Offense

The first thing I did was to make a spread sheet with every single personnel group, formation, motion, and play I wanted to install during Spring.

I had an ambitious install plan for the Spring in which we would install over 90% of the entire possible offense.

I broke the offense up as follows

3 day rotation ( A, B, C)

Each day would include

  • 2 run plays (grouped by family)
  • 2 quick game plays
  • 2 drop back plays
  • 1 “other” pass… screen, boot, power pass

After the 3 day rotation we have the potential for 6 runs, 6 quick concepts, 6 drop concepts, and 3 “other” concepts.  If you do not want to install that many plays… then “double up” on certain plays.  We did this with the quick and dropback game.  Each play actually got included 2x during the 3 days.

Day A: 

This is our Gap Scheme Day.  We work power and counter, as well as play action off of that.  We picked passes from the menu I created.

Day B:

This is our Zone Scheme Day. We work Inside and Outside Zone.  We work screen game off those actions and I picked passes from the menu I created.

Day C:

This is our “other” run game day.  We work buck sweep and toss on this day.  We rotate the passes again.

Formations/Personnel:

We started by teaching all of our 21 and 11 personnel formations during the first 3 days of practice.

Day 4, 5, 6:

Moving on to the 2nd time through our rotation… days 4, 5, and 6 we began adding more personnel/formations.  We added our split back, 12, 10 and 30 personnel groups/formations.

The order of the plays we worked stayed the same… The formations became the new learning.

Day 7, 8, 9:

Moving on to the 3rd time through our rotation… days 7, 8, and 9 we began adding in motion.  With our personnel and formations installed, the various motions became the new learning and how the motions related to the concepts.

Why I love this rotation:

I love this 3 day rotation because it makes scheduling practice… both the drills, and the scripts much easier to manage.  By splitting the offense up like this it narrows the focus down for each day… both in terms of Indy reps, and group/team reps.

I am an Offensive Line Enthusiast!  We have more skill development work to do than any other position.  I can not come close to working all of the various blocks we need in our tool box in a single day.  By splitting up the schemes, it lets me break down the Indy time to work on exactly what they need to do that day.

To put it in perspective… let’s look at just the run game.

On a gap scheme day (A) we work down blocks, gap doubles, and our pulls.

On a zone day (B) we work base blocks, combo blocks, and reach blocks.

On our “Other day” (C) we work different skills, fast reaches, Fb Logs, and perimeter pulls.

By narrowing the focus of what we will run during inside run and team that day, I can narrow what I need to work on during Indy.

It makes my time scripting plays for run, pass, and team periods much easier as well.  I do not have every play to choose from.  I have no more than 2 from each category to choose from, this lets me get multiple reps of the plays in, from different personnel groups or formations.  This also makes my practice planning much easier, and take up less time.  I don’t create a new practice plan each day.  There’s a practice plan and script for A, B, and C.  I can copy and paste these (using google drive for both) and make any small changes I need for that individual day.  I am never starting from scratch.  Having the schedule and script for A, B, C stay mostly the same lets me knock out any small changes or additions in less than 10 minutes, then I am printing it out and ready to roll for practice.

Moving into Summer:

Now that we have moved into Summer I have kept the same basic rotation but I will be tweaking it in one small way.

We practice 4x a week.  Monday – Thursday all Summer long.

So far I have stuck with the exact rotation (adding small wrinkles here and there, but the core is the same).

Mon A

Tues B

Wed C

Thurs A

Mon B

Tues C

Wed A

Thurs B

Mon C

Tues A

Wed B

Thurs C

 

What I will begin doing from Mid July on, is to “test” my players more.  Currently practices are focused on INDY and small group time with very little “team” going on.

I will begin starting the ABC rotation every Monday, and rather than restart on Thursday… I will use Thursday as a “review of ALL concepts” day.  I will use more team and group sessions, mix all of our schemes, and use this to really test how well things have sunk in with my kids.  This will be my assessment not just of how well they are learning, but more importantly how well I am teaching.  This will act just like a test in the classroom, and let me know what I need to spend more time working on on the white board, and on the field.

Mon A

Tues B

Wed C

Thurs: Review all “test day”

Moving into the season:

Once We begin school and move into the season I will have to get off my this Spring/Summer rotation because we are more limited in the days/time we have to practice.  I won’t be able to give each group of plays it’s own day, and practices will be about the game plan and match ups.  In season the focus shifts more to the opponent, but now… in the Spring/Summer portion of the off season, their is no opponent, it is all about learning for yourself and this system of installing an offense has been the most productive I have ever used or seen.  We were running plays better after 10 days of spring ball this year, than we were to start the season in 2015.

 

 

Get more reps Blocking Power and Counter during Indy

If you frequent my blog or my twitter account you know I LOVE POWER and Counter!

I am often asked how I work the blocks associated within the schemes.  I set up my drills up in a way that I think is efficient and maximizes my players’ reps.

  1.  My TEs and FBs are usually with me during Indy time
  2. I do not pull my tackle on counter, I pull my FB and/or TE as the wrapper(s).  (This comes in to play with efficiency in skill acquisition later)

I work our down blocks and double teams as separate drills.  I have written some about my general blocking progression (that can be applied for down blocks) here and here.

What I am about to share is how I work all of the other necessary blocks on Power and Counter in an efficient way.

Position:

FB:

  • Will practice a good “banana path” to kick out the DE on Power
  • Will Pull and Wrap to LB on Counter

Backside Guard:

  • Will Skip Pull and Wrap to LB on Power
  • Will Square Pull and Kick out the DE on Counter

Backside Tackle:

  • Will Step to B gap and Hinge on BOTH Power and Counter
  • The efficiency in pulling the FB on counter, is the BST’s job doesnt change.  He can master this skill

Center:

  • Execute a great snap and block back
  • he has 1st threat backside, BST has 2nd threat

Setting up the Drill

First I teach the kids the name of the drill so we can move faster (speaking the same language).  I call this “backside pulls”.  They know which line to get into.  We always start off setting up for Power Right.  All Centers are in one line.  All Guards are lined up at LG.  All Tackles are lined up at LT.  All FBs are aligned to the right.  2 players hold bags as DEs.  1 player holds a bag as a LB.  Keep your lines of kids to rotate at least 5 yards deep so the kids getting the reps have room to pull.  Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 6.45.07 PM

The blocker takes the bag and becomes the defender.  The defender jogs around and joins the line for their position.  The other Center(s) catch the snap from the Center getting the rep.

Power Right

The FBs practice their kick out.  The LG skip pulls.  The Center works back.  The LT Works the hinge on the DE.  I let the backside DE play games, sometimes slanting across the face, sometimes changing it up.  This lets them get a variety of looks.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 6.44.33 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-06 at 6.45.53 PM

Counter Right

After a few minutes (can get a lot of reps in 3 minutes) we switch to counter.  I hand signal the new play.  So we do not have to switch lines we just bump our FBs over to the left.  This makes the transition quicker

.  Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 6.47.32 PM

Switch Sides

Now the LG is kicking out the DE.  The Fb is pulling to wrap up to LB.  The Center and LT’s job stay the same.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 6.48.29 PM

Now that we have blocked both plays to the right, we turn around to switch our lines and now we block to the left.

Power Left

The FBs kick out the DE.  The RG skip pulls to LB.  The RT will step to B gap and hinge.  The center will snap and block back.
Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 6.46.14 PM

Counter Left

Again we just bump the FB over to transition quickly and we are set up for Counter left.  The RG pulls and kicks out the DE.  The FB pulls and wraps up to LB.  The Center and RT’s continue to rep the same skills.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 6.48.40 PM

When I first teach this drill I go much slower, and I take more time.  In Spring Ball i will spend probably 5 minutes on each play because they are still learning so much (so 20 total for the circuit).  By the time we hit the season it is roughly 2-3 minutes a play before we switch to the next one.

Advanced Skills

As your players improve you can begin to work more advance skills in.  You can have your bag holding DEs squeeze and wrong arm to get your kick out man practice at “Logging” and get your 2nd puller (wrapper) practice at seeing the log, bouncing around the log, and finding color.

Impact on Player Safety

The biggest changes in football are not RPOs they are what we are doing now and in the future to ensure player safety.  Brain health is no joke and the way society is moving progressive measures to keep players from full contact is reality.  Here in California a rule is about to pass where we can’t wear helmets all Summer, not even for 7on7 because they do not want the risk of players making contact.

What I love about this drill is that we can get great work from it, improve our skills, AND avoid beating each other up.  We always do these drills with the defenders holding bags/shields.  We do these drills the same whether we are in full pads or no pads.  We are a smashmouth team every Friday night, but Monday-Thursday we are not risking injury and slamming into one another.  A lot of this comes from our culture as football coaches (and former football players) that drills have to be about “toughness and violence” but they DON’T!  Drills are about making your players better at what they need to do for you to win games.  They can’t win games when they are sitting out for a month on the sideline.

iBook Preview – Jet

Jet is not a huge part of our offense but it can be an effective way to get a speedy WR involved in the run game.  It is also a good wrinkle to add some deception to your offense and help open up your inside run game.  Jet motion puts stress on the defense and forces them to start moving guys to attack it (can be the DE, a LB, or a secondary player) or risk getting torched on the sweep.

For my iBook I have combined the Jet sweep content (write up, cut ups, screen recording of video review) with the “Toss” content to make one iBook that essentially focuses on just our outside runs.

In the past we have done it both from Pistol and with the Rb off set in the gun.  I prefer to have the RB offset, it makes getting to his block much easier.

Here is a clip of jet sweep

This is the last of my iBook previews.  All of the content for the iBooks is done.  It is just a matter of putting the pieces together and making it available for download.

I will keep you all posted about the release date.

iBook Preview – Toss

We added a quick toss to our offense this season.  It became a wildly explosive play for us averaging just over 10 yards per carry.  We try to overload the defense on the perimeter by pulling multiple offensive linemen to the perimeter and using angle blocking for our WRs to stop inside pursuit of the play.  This is a great play for us to get our RB outside and away from the loaded boxes we see.

We will run this play the exact same from Pistol and with the RB off set to the side of the QB.  All of the blocking rules, drill video, and cut ups with my voice over are included in the iBook.

Here is a sample of the toss play I detail in the iBook.

iBook Preview – Buck

In the next preview of the schemes I discuss in my new iBook I will be introducing our RB Buck play.

Our Buck a RB version of the buck sweep.  It was the biggest addition to our playbook this season and we averaged over 10 yards per carry on it.  In the iBook i detail multiple ways we seal the edge and pull our guards to lead block for this sweep that can hit anywhere from the alley to the sideline.  I re use many of the skills we work on in our power and counter schemes and it gives us a great answer for team who are defending those schemes well.

This is a play that has become a huge part of Auburn’s success running the football.

Here is a clip of our buck play that begins looking just like power, and then pops out to the alley for a big gain.

iBook preview – Stretch

In the next little preview for the schemes I am writing about for my iBook I will discuss the Stretch or Outside Zone scheme.  This play is always a big part of our offense and is very simple for us to install and run.

We use a full reach scheme that stays the same for the OL regardless of personnel and formation.  That is what I like about the play… we can run it a number of different ways.  This play can hit ANYWHERE across the front.  We get so much lateral movement that creases can open up anywhere and our RB’s have done a great job at running to daylight on it.  Here is a clip of our stretch scheme from pistol.

iBook Preview- Counter

Once Power is installed the next part of our offense to go in is Counter.  We were actually significantly better running Counter this season and I called it more frequently, with more success, than our Power scheme.  We often see an extra player or two to the side we set our Fullback so being proficient at Counter going back the other way was critical to our offensive success.

The Basics:

Playside down blocks/doubles just like Power.  We pull the backside guard to kick out the end and have different calls to pull our FB, backside TE, a wing, or any combination thereof .  I prefer keeping the backside tackle home to block backside rather than the traditional “GT” or “Counter trey” that uses the backside tackle as the 2nd puller (2nd puller is the player wrapping up to LB).  This keeps the tackles rules and skills consistent between power and counter, helps in mastery of our backside B gap hinge technique, and allows us to pull a better athlete (FB/TE/Wr).

Below is an example of us running it both from our Pro set, and from out double tight set.

iBook Preview – Power

I run a power based offense at my high school.  I am stubbornly committed to running the football and everything is based off of our 2 back Power Scheme.  I have started working on an eBook series detailing how I teach our run game and I wanted to include a little bit on my blog so anyone who might be interested in it can get a glimpse of what they will be learning about.

Power is the foundation of our offense.  I teach a standard 2 back power with down blocking or doubles at the Point of Attack, a Fullback Kick Out on the end man, and a backside guard wrapping through to the playside LB.  Everything else in our offense comes off of us being able to establish our 2 back power play.

Here is a sideline and EZ shot of a 2 back power play from this season.  We get downhill now with everyone inside picked up and put the RB 1on1 with a FS on the Goal Line.  That is going to be a win for the offense just about every time.

Here is the Link to the iBook I made last year that extensively goes over my exact teaching progression and drill work for our 2 back power play. OL Play in the POWER SCHEME

 

Later this week I will be posting clips of our Counter, Bucksweep, Stretch, and Toss plays that will eventually all be part of the eBook series.

Update: here are links to my other iBook Previews

COUNTER

STRETCH/OUTSIDE ZONE

BUCK SWEEP/ PIN N PULL

TOSS

JET

AND I JUST ADDED A BONUS CHAPTER ON OUR EXPLOSIVE PLAY ACTION PASS GAME