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.

“Culture Defeats Strategy” Book Review

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

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

  1. Energy
  2. Competition
  3. Toughness
  4. Family
  5. Discipline
  6. Finish
  7. Pay Day

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.

 

Other Positives:

  • Cheap… only $20
  • Easy Read (I finished in under 3 hours)
  • Comes with digital copy and worksheets (emailed to you)

 

Culture Defeats Strategy can be purchases at Coach Randy Jackson’s Website.

 

Pass Protection Drills 3: “Spot Sets”

A Great purchase I made this Spring was a set of a dozen Poly Spots from Amazon.

These flat rubber circles are 6 different colors and I have been using them a lot in place of cones.  They lay flat so kids can step on them without problems and I have used them to color code some drills.

One drill I have been using is what I call “Spot Sets”.

Each color comes in pairs so I will lay one of each color out along a yard line, this is the starting “Spot” for that line.  I use it’s matching color to show a depth and angle I would like us to take on our sets.

So if a kid starts on the Red Spot, he wants to finish at the other red spot.

I spend most of my INDY time working on the run game so I noticed we were struggling in our drop back protection against our scout defense.  Any sort of speed/edge rush and we were toast.  I decided to spend a lot of time this week working for us to get more depth in our pass set.

Spot Sets Drill:

With this drill 6 kids are working at a time.  When we work right side sets they put their right foot on the first spot, and will take 2 “kick slide” sets back and out make it to our just past the second spot.

Having the spots has really helped my kids see the depth and angle I want them setting at.

I have made it a major focus to get them understanding their ability to set comes from the inside leg, not the leg they are flailing in the air trying to kick with.  I borrow a lot from LeCharles Bentley and he phrases it as “Drive – Catch”.  The inside leg is DRIVING you back and out and the “kicking” leg is catching you.

Here are some clips of us working it.

Varying Your Sets

Pass Sets are tools in an Offensive Lineman’s Toolbox.  You need different types of sets for different types of rushers.  Some guys may just need one “drive-catch” or one “kick slide” to get into good position.  If you go against a wide speed rush you may need 2 or more.  I can change the distance between spots to get what i want from the drill.  In the video examples above we were working against a wide speed rush, so I tell the OL to “give me 2”.  This means they will work 2 kick slide back and out to get to or beyond the spot.  Another day I may work a quicker, shorter set and we just work the 1 kick slide or “drive – catch”.

Even though this is a newer drill for my OL and myself, I have seen a pretty immediate improvement in our pass sets during team.

Safer Tackling Made Affordable

Background on Tackling Safety:

If you are not aware of all of the safety concerns with tackling in our sport than you have been living under a rock. A major move over the last few years has been removing the head entirely from the tackle. Most teams in the country are now teaching tackling by bringing the shoulder to the thigh area, wrapping up, and driving the feet. The head is completely removed from the tackle, and we are no longer coaching kids up to “get their head in front”. This old school “putting the head in front” puts all of the stress in the head/neck area and does not actually give you more force. The Seattle Seahawks studied form Rugby teams and how they tackled and created a video tape explaining a technique called “Hawk Tackling”.
Here is a great video showing their techniques.

As this “Hawk Tackling” or “Rugby Tackling” has become more popular, devices have been created to help teach tackling.  Rugby teams have used “Tackling Rings” for years.  They are large foam wheels, you roll them, players tackle them.

tackling ring

You aren’t banging players’ bodies, they get to track an actual moving target, bring their hips and wrap up.  This is a great safe way to teach tackling… but they are usually $400-$500 EACH.  A lot of high schools and youth organizations do not have the resources to buy one, let alone a few for all positions to work on safe tackling at the same time.

Here is a little example of some drills using a tackling ring.

Ballin On A Budget

I do not believe teams with money should be the only ones that deserve to learn how to tackle safely.

I do not believe in paying that much money for something Cavemen invented a million years ago.

So I came up with this idea…  I’d buy an inner-tube on Amazon.  It was cheap, seemed adequate size, and if it didn’t work out… oh well I am not out that much money.  However, if it works, and holds up to getting tackled, I have given my players and coaches a way to safely rep tackling at a fraction of the cost.

I bought an inner-tube from a seller on Amazon.  Link to Inner-tube Seller

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 11.52.25 AM

They offer different sizes and my first purchase was a 40″ inner-tube for just $32.99.  This is a great size for youth and your smaller players.  I felt like I needed a little bit bigger model so I ordered the 45″ for just 36.99. They also offer a HUGE 68″ model that I want to order for $110.

All of these options come with free shipping for Amazon Prime members (you are insane if you are not a Prime Member).

Does it Really Work?

These first purchases were just an experiment.  I wanted to see

  • Will it even Roll?
  • Will it hold up?
  • Will tackling it work like we want?
  • It is probably gonna pop the first time we tackle it, right?

Well after trying them out, they work!  They have held up just fine no matter how much we tackle and throw it around.  The inner-tube itself feels more thick/durable than I would’ve thought.  We are getting the desired result and kids have fun with it.  My experiment showed me this is worth doing, and a much more cost effective way for us to help teach tackling safely.

Again, the link to the inner-tubes I bought is here.

I will post some videos of us tackling the inner-tube in the next couple weeks.

Pass Pro Indy Drills Part 1

A friend asked me for some Pass Pro Indy Drills so I am going to start filming a few that I do.

I do not do these drills every day.  Some of the film I put up will be us actually learning the drill.

Stealing Time for Pass Pro:

In my practice planning I put most of my offensive time into Indy time.  I am an OL guy and I need my Indy time to work through all of our blocks.  We are a run heavy team and that is our identity.  It is what we are good at so we do not spend a ton of our Indy time working Pass Pro drills but I try to steal as much time as I can to make sure I am working it.  Last season I was guilty about not working pass pro enough.  Now I make sure I include at least a little in every single practice.

I also try to steal 5-10 minutes segments pre-practice, and post-practice to get extra work in.  When we start working special teams I will use that time to get extra pass pro work in with the OL since the big guys aren’t usually on KO, KOR, or Punt.

Over the next couple weeks I will be posting video clips of some of my favorite pass protection drills.

Sled Punch:

We work flat down the sled, working to keep a good stagger, base and geenral pass pro demeanor.  As we shuffle through each bag, we get a Right hand punch, 2 hand punch, and Left hand punch on each bag.

We go down the line and can get a lot of kids moving at a time.  We all go right, and then we all come back to the left.

It helps to stay close to the sled so you have to punch, and kids can’t lean forward on the bag.

Medicine Ball Drill:

This is set up similar to a “mirror drill”.  I use cones/bags to make large gaps.  Players partner up across from each other and mirror one another.  The player holding the medicine ball controls the drill and the partner has to mirror/shadow them.  They will keep a good base, stagger, and pass pro demeanor while stepping side to side.  After a few steps they have to shoot the ball forward as powerfully as they can and snap the head back.

Most kids will want to snap the wrist out like a chest pass, or down like theyre shooting a basketball.  This flares the elbow out and weakens their punch.  We want to keep the hands and elbows in tight, and the thumbs up.  I have found that having the kids hold their hands out with thumbs UP for a second at the finish lets them see that they haven’t snapped their wrists and flared their elbows.

More Pass Pro Drills coming later this week!

Sprint Draw

This post is a combination of a few REALLY old posts from my previous blog.

Back a few years ago, when I was still sipping the “have to live in 4 wide spread offense” Kool-Aid.. we ran a lot of sprint out.  Off of that sprint out action our best play was not the sprint out pass, but our sprint draw.

First I will explain the action.  In our sprint out game our QB catches the snap and sprints with depth to the edge, the RB aligns playside and will lead block, helping the tackle seal the edge or pick up any sort of backer free off the edge scenario.  We want the sprint draw to look similar, so our RB will slide 2 steps playside then work back for the mesh.  Qb catches the snap and takes his sprint out, sticking the ball in the RB’s belly on his way by.  Now in the clips you will not see a great slide by the RB’s, and our QB doesn’t sell the sprint far enough or long enough.  We just didn’t emphasize these small details like we should have that year.  Fixing these mistakes will further sell the sprint out look to the defense.

Now to what really matters… the offensive line.

The biggest reason I am so high on sprint draw is the investment I have to put in to it.  There is no new scheme to it.  We block it the exact same way as we would any pass play.  We ID fronts, have a man that we have to block.  We will set, punch, and then drive block the defender whichever way he is going… the biggest thing is to stay engaged.  If say, a guard is responsible for blocking Mike in pass protection, then he would set, show his hands, and then fire out upfield to that LB.

In the case of a 6 man box, where the RB fits into pass protection we keep all of the rules the same.  Generally our RB has a specific LB depending on how we ID the front.  On draw, he is still responsible for that LB, only know he is responsible for making him miss.  I know it doesn’t guarantee a hat on a hat but it allows us to keep our rules 100% consistent and we get so much LB movement from sprint out that it makes the RB’s assignment of making him miss easier.  Really you want to call sprint draw because that playside LB is over reacting to sprint out to disrupt the sprint out game.  This is where the constraint comes in to play.

You can use Half Slide For Everything

I am big on recycling schemes.  You can get away with using your existing half slide rules to block any kind of draw (Rb, QB, or Sprint).  I want the QB calling the half slide away from the RB.  This would typically put the RB on the playside inside LB.  This LB is the most influenced and the majority of teams have a built in sprint rule for this LB to fire off the edge to  help contain the QB when he sees sprint.  The rest of the OL blocks their gaps or their man.  This is what my rules above evolved into, we just began calling our half slide protection away from the RB.  The blocks may change some (which is how this play hit anywhere from near to far B gap for us) but the rule doesn’t change.

Note the movement even crappy fakes create from the defense in a few of the clips, also notice there are many clips where the OL isn’t exactly dominate, but they are able to stay engaged on a defender and let the RBs use their vision and athleticism.

CLIPS:

Cut up of the Day: Outside Zone

Our OZ wasn’t as big of a part of our offense as I wanted it to be.  Part of this was because of the backs we had and some mistakes we made.  We actually had much more success running QB OZ with the RB leading.  This was a great play for us because our QB was fast, ran hard, and it gave us an instant numbers advantage.  One thing that helped us was all of the sprint out we ran… it looks very similar to the defense and puts those force /flat players in conflict.
When we had number advantage to trips we could overload them by running it strong, when defenses brought their OLB over to the trips side and left no #2 defender to the single side we could run it weak.
A lot of the clips you will see my tackle after determining he couldn’t get a reach block turn his defender out giving a CUT UP read (as opposed to a cutback read on IZ) The best clips in my opinion are the ones where QB reads that block turns it up, and then gets back outside.
The final 2 clips are us running speed option.  I included it because we ran it with an OZ blocking scheme.  This wasn’t a big part of our offense, only ran it a couple times on the year.
Since I have now shown cut ups of our whole base run game I can now show this…As a bonus here are some clips of our QB keeps on the backside of our run game.  These are not called runs, but every RB carry involves the QB reading the BSDE, we are still not as good as I want us to be at this but we were better this year than we have ever been with it (mostly because of personnel).  Our backup QB actually did a better job reading it than our starter who was our stud runner.

 

2012: The Year in Review

Well our season has been over for a whole week now (got destroyed in the 1st round of the playoffs).  After stepping away for a week, relaxing, and catching up on some school work I have finally begun to prepare for 2013.  Before I can really prepare for 2013 with all of the clinics, off season workouts, college visits, online research… whatever… I have to first review this past season.  I am big on self reflection so I have reviewed every offensive snap of the season, looked at what we did well and why, and also what went wrong and why.  We had some explosive games, for example scoring 70 points in one game to break a school record.  We had some games where we moved the ball well but just could not score how we should have (had 3 games with over 400 yards of offense but did not put up nearly as many points as we should have) and then we had 2 games where we simply could not move the ball consistently if our lives depended on it.

This was my first year taking over as the OC.  I had been the JV HC/OC with this group of seniors their sophomore year, and coached the OL and assisted the OC last season.  I was excited and had some fun weapons to work with.  We had a returning utility kid at QB, EXCELLENT runner, but had not thrown the ball at the varsity level.  A stud caliber RB.  A couple Speedy WRs.  And I had the beefiest OL I have had since I came to this school.

Forgive me if I ramble on and drift… I am just going to write about the things that stuck out to me over the course of the season.

We ran the bell well for the majority of the season.  I installed a track style IZ blocking scheme that focused much less on doubles (4 hands 4 eyes blah blah blah) and much more on blocking gaps and attacking.  What I found is it removed some of the hesitation and completely missed blocks we had in the past.  Now this was not a cure all, we still missed plenty of blocks do not get me wrong.  However I felt overall it was vastly improved to how the OL played this year compared to the previous 2.
Our backfield was what I had to showcase, yes we had talent at WR, but our QB was really a much better runner than thrower, and struggled to throw the ball when he wasn’t sprinting out with a clean edge. We ran the ball more often than in the past but also for a lot more yardage.That stud RB ran for 1300 yards even with missing 2 games.  Our QB rushed for over 900 yards even with missing a game and a half due to ejection.  We rushed for almost 2.500 yards as a team.  Our QB through for 1600 yards.  Overall we had a 700 yard improvement in total offense over the previous season.

However we just did not score as much as we should have.  This team had an odd chemistry and personality.  It was next to impossible to get quality reps at practice and to get great effort in any sort of drill.  However they generally responded well and played hard at game time.  While they were gamers, the lack of quality reps greatly affected us in games, we could not throw the ball well enough when teams forced us to.  We had a slight divide in the team, the WRs wanted to catch the ball and felt left out, the OL, RB, and QB wanted to run the ball because we were having success… It was kind of a mess and I wish I had addressed it sooner, or simply gotten rid of some of the WRs and just played in 21 personnel.  I love the fact that we can spread teams out to run in reduced number boxes, however as we began playing better teams, they started blitzing more, and playing more ZERO coverage.  We just could not always beat it when we needed to.

We would have a lot of drives where we moved the ball right down the field, then a key drop, missed read, missed block, or turnover would just kill us and take points off the board.  We had touchdowns called back, dropped balls in the end zone, red zone turnovers, even a pick 6 in the red zone.  It was not the typical case of a spread team who struggles in the red zone because the field is compressed and they have no vertical threat.  We were never a vertical threat team.  Our case was more a lack of execution when we needed to execute most.  Our WRs showed zero interest in blocking at any point on the year and sold whoever was getting the ball out most of the time.  Sometimes the OL would just not man up and be able to let us punch it in.  We had drives running the ball down a teams throat, the defense still made no adjustment, and then its like we run in to a brick wall at the 20… I have never seen anything like it and this was probably the most frustrated I have ever been as a coach in 7 years because of it.

We will miss our QB and his running big time.  His skill and effort made me look a lot smarter than I am at times.  Him and our RB were just tough kids and were able to make a lot of guys miss or just run through tackles.  Our QB was good when we could get an edge for him, but struggled if we couldn’t sprint out or had to drop back.  We were able to hit 4 verts occasionally and he felt most comfortable with Snag he just never got as adept at throwing from the pocket as I would have hoped.

The good news for next year is we have 2 QBs returning who got some playing time and both show signs of being capable pocket passers for us next year.  They are nowhere near the athlete or runner that we had this season but the playbook will just evolve slightly to fit their skills better.

The thing I struggled with most was the near death of our screen game.  Anyone who has read this blog knows how much I love and value the screen game.  I went away from our solid screen and having the OL release to block for 2 simple reasons.
1. My OL was much bigger and not as athletic as in the past so they were really struggling on releasing and actually getting out there (trade off was that we at least ran the ball better)… we would simply zone it instead
2. We began running more screen/run combos so that we always had the “right” play call

I was ok with my OL OZing the quick screens because we usually had the number or leverage advantage.  If I called screen we had numbers, or if it was thrown on backside of a run it was thrown due to numbers.  But this was the biggest area our WR group let us down.  Getting the ball to an athlete in space was the whole point of us selecting to run the spread 3 years ago, and now it was pointless because if we were in trips, the 2 blocking WRs simply would not hold their block to allow the 3rd WR to really hurt the defense.  Yes we had some successful screens on the season, but we were never anywhere near as good as I wanted to be in the screen game.

We had some injury issues that hurt us offensively.  Lost our best 2 WRs in league play.  Stud RB got hurt in league… so by the end of the season I could not help but feel like I had a really nice shiny GUN but not enough bullets to make it matter.

Moving on to next year I am excited about the following

More personnel groupings… use of TE/FB types
I return the left side of my OL, 2 sophomores who played varsity all season, a junior who would have started all year on the OL but was ineligible, and 3 very good, very big sophomore OL from the JV team

Our JV team wasn’t loaded with studs but they had some good quality kids on it who I look forward to building in to varsity players.  I think this upcoming team will “work” more than this past team.  We have to replace the backfield which will be tough.  We return our stat leading WR (although he might have to convert to RB because he needs touches).

Our biggest challenge will be the weight room.  I know I mostly talk schematics and OL play on here but the biggest reason we lost games this year was due to the weight room.  We have got to improve our attendance program wide and it starts in a couple of weeks for us.

Right now we are a middle of the pack team… back to back 6-4 records… squeaking in and then losing in the 1st round of the playoffs

Whether we can turn the corner or not depends solely on the off season weight program.

YES, I’m Still Alive!!!

To clear up any confusion yes I am still alive.  I know I have been MIA here for a while now and I apologize.  I have just been swamped with new developments in my life.  The biggest of which has been changing credential programs as my district no longer accepts the internship I was going to use.  I have been frantically trying to transfer to a new program and should find out by the end of the month if I will get my first full time teaching job here at the HS I coach at.

Since I last wrote

Made it though my first spring ball as a Varsity Offensive Coordinator

We have had a couple weeks of summer practice and 2 passing tourneys

The 2 things I am most excited about:

1. My football camp is in exactly 1 week.  Last year I decided rather than pay someone else for a crappy team camp and deal with travel and everything else, I could put together a better product, a cheaper product, and host it at my school to actual generate a profit for the football program.  The first year was a success but it was relatively small.  This second year got much more attention and next Mon-Wed we will be hosting 7 other programs (Varsity and JV) at our school from 3-8.  Everyone wins, all of the kids get a team camp that is the cheapest I have ever seen in Northern CA.  Everyone gets a shirt and we feed everyone daily.  It should be an awesome experience and I love that I can call this camp “my baby”.  I have done a ton of work on it over the last 6 months to put it all together, and we have some wonderful volunteers helping us put it all together.  It is now one of the biggest team camps in Northern CA.

2.  I will be speaking at the 2013 LA Glazier clinic for 3 sessions next spring, I am BEYOND excited for this opportunity.  Spread run/screen, spread pass, and ol play/coaching in the spread.

I hate that I have been away for a while but now that I have my summer practice schedule set, and my summer credential classes set, I at least now know when I will be able to have the free time needed to get back on this blog.