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.
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.
I haven’t been on here in way too long, this was a long season but in a good way.
We went from 1 win to 6 wins…More than doubled our points scored from last season, made the playoffs for the first time in 8 years, beat our cross town rival for the first time in 7 years, and nearly pulled off a huge first round upset against our most hated rival.
Now that the season is over and we are approaching the winter break I have some free time on my hands again and feel like getting back to writing.
Please email me at
and let me know the things you would like to see future posts about, the more suggestions I get, the more I can write about in the coming weeks/months.
Please flood my inbox!
Last Summer we attended a team camp for Varsity and JV at a High School about 30 minutes away… it cost $75 per kid. With about 50 or so kids total between our two teams we ended up giving that school over $3,000.
There were only 3 varsity teams competing total and 2 JV teams. The drills prior to scrimmaging were unorganized and pointless. The scrimmage sessions themselves were fairly unorganized and there was never a solid schedule set for the day. They gave us a t shirt, and provided meals each day, but nothing special.
After this past season I moved from JV HC, to Varsity Assistant HC. We originally planned on going to a college camp in the Summer, but the one we planned on going to conflicted with Summer School here so it wasn’t an option.
One day I had an idea… why pay someone else for a crappy camp, when I can run one myself.
I brought this idea up to the head coach and he was slightly hesitant at first, I promised that I could handle it all and that we could pull it off and eventually he gave me the green light.
On Monday July 25-Thursday July 28 we are hosting the 1st Annual Battle of the Bay Football Camp at Antioch High School. We have 5 varsity teams in attendance, and 2 JV teams. It is a 4 day camp, 4.5 hours per day, everyone gets a shirt, and everyone gets fed 1 meal per day.
I am more excited for this camp than I have ever been for a camp in my coaching career.
Here are the steps to planning a team camp I used, and that others can use in the future to run their own team camps:
1. Administrative Support
The first thing I did was to speak to the AD about this. He is a former coach and has been very supportive. He presented the idea to the principal and they said as long as we handled all of the legal aspects of putting on the camp we had their blessing. Having an AD and principal who supported this Camp from Day 1 has been beneficial because they helped us in step 2…
2. Secure your facilities
One might think that using your own football stadium for a camp would be pretty easy but our district makes it all difficult. We have to fill out all kinds of forms, get district approval, and then pay for a custodian. Our principal went to bat for us and made sure we got the facility use permit approved, and agreed to pay the bill for custodial over time and getting the field lined.
3. Find Teams!
I knew I had to find teams to attend our camp. I have built up a lot of contacts in my phone from coaching in this area for so long but I got help from an equipment vendor. I received a mass email sent to me by an equipment vendor and I looked through all of the emails he had sent it to as well. They were all coaches in Northern CA. So I copied all of the email addresses, and sent out a mass email to them asking to come to our first annual camp. I received a lot of “No Thanks” and “we are already going somewhere else”… But I was able to get 3 teams committed from this email, it was definitely worth the 10 minutes it took. I called the Head Coach at my Alma mater, and the school I coached at for 4 years… he needed a cheap camp, and I was able to provide that for him. So I now had 4 schools, plus my own making 5 … which is where my HC and myself decided to cut our camp off for this first year.
We were able to hook these schools by offering them tremendous value for the price. 4 day camp, with t shirts, and food everyday for just $40 per kid (compare that to 40 we paid the year before for the same things).
Cover Your @SS… Plain and simple. That was the biggest caveat the principal/AD/District gave us, is that we had to have insurance for the camp since we were bringing in so many outside participants. This step took a while, simply because I shopped around. I must have checked out 100 insurance companies… I finally settled on a company based here in Northern CA, Gagliardi Insurance. They have a football camp package for just under $4 per kid for a week long camp. The great thing about this company is once we have a policy set up through them, and now that they have my credit card on file, I can add participants on to the policy with just an email and it is active. We purchased camp insurance for 150 participants, we low balled it at first, but this was just to have proof of insurance to secure our facility and get district approval. Now that I know the exact number of kids more precisely I just send en email to the insurance agent I dealt with authorizing them to charge another $400 to my card to cover 100 more participants.
5. T Shirts
We told our equipment rep about our camp… told him it would be a great networking opportunity for him, with 4 other programs here, he could talk to head coaches, pass out brochures and attract more business for himself. He agreed to provide the t shirts for our camp at a discounted rate in exchange for us letting him come and set up a booth at our camp. We actually have a very cool t shirt design… Battle of the Bay Football Camp… with a Big Pic of the state of CA on it, with a STAR located over the bay area… I will be sure to post a picture once we have the shirts this week.
I knew I had to find food for roughly 300 people for 4 days… That is a lot of food.
Our team moms have been great at helping out this. My suggestion is to look for as many donations as possible and buy in bulk. I found someone to donate 600 hot dogs and buns, one day of camp food was done. A team mom’s husband works for a restaurant supply company and got us more hot dogs and hamburgers at a severely discounted price. One of our players mom’s works for a bread company and got us more buns and dinner rolls for free. And Finally we are going to purchase a ton of pasta and pre made sauce from Costco and 2 coaches wives have agreed to cook it all for the pasta night.
We will end up with 2 days of 2 Hot dogs each for everyone
1 day of hamburgers for everyone
1 day of pasta for everyone
7. Get Volunteers!
We have a crew of team moms and coaches wives helping with all of the food cooking and prep work. A dad has volunteered to handle barbecuing, and the entire cheerleading team will be there all 4 days of camp to help out with whatever we need. We have gotten a great deal of support and my goal is for this camp to run without any hitches.
8. Make the Schedule
The last step, and maybe most important from the football aspect of camp is planning the daily schedule. This step took a while because with 5 teams , we will always have 4 teams playing at a time, and 1 team out with a bye. I had to organize the 7 on 7 and scrimmage time so that we all had equal rest periods, played each other equally, and no one got short changed in any one area. It took me a few hours of messing around with the schedule on excel but eventually I found something I liked.
One thing I really like that I am doing is with the OL/DL. When everyone else is doing 7 on 7, the OL/DL will be with me on a practice field doing 1 on 1s. We will have a different challenge type drill each day in which 5 members of each team will compete in events for points representing their school. One event a day, tire flips, obstacle course, farmers walk, tug o war. At the end of the week I will award a Thick Golden Chain for the winning team.
After the competition, OL and DL will do drive block and pass pro 1 on 1s against each other until the 7 on 7s are done.
The rest of the time will be spent scrimmaging and each day will finish with a goal line challenge period.
I am incredibly excited to get this camp underway and see how it goes. I will post some pics/videos and my post camp reflection when camp is over.
I apologize for my lack of posts recently, I have been busy working around the clock.
I graduated in the beginning of June and began the summer portion of my teacher credential program immediately.
I am almost done with this program and have come to develop a love/hate relationship with it.
I hate it because the course schedule is 4:30-9:30 everyday. We get one day off per week to work on online homework instead of in class work so I have only been able to go to 1 practice per week the entire summer. It has been extremely difficult for me to stay away. in the 6 years I have been coaching this is the first time I have ever had to miss practice and it has been difficult. Luckily the guys I coach have been extremely understanding and have organized our practice schedule so that we always work Offense on the 1 day a week I can make it to practice (OL is my primary position).
I love it because I have learned so much about teaching, classroom management, and setting effective routines in place to increase efficiency in the classroom. Many say that the best coaches are the best teachers and vice versa. I truly believe that everything I am learning about classroom management will help me in coaching. Simple things having to do with objectives for each practice, and establishing pre, during, and post practice routines will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of each practice.
Missing a good portion of our summer practices has helped me realize how much I love football, coaching, and the kids. This time of year is often referred to as the “dog days of Summer”. No one really wants to be there, coaches included, and it is a grind. I on the other hand now cherish that one practice per week I get; I look forward to it every week and know it will be the best day of the week for me.
Luckily I just have one week left, and then I am back to full time football mode.
I am very excited for the end of this month… I made my own football camp and this is our first year hosting it. I have 4 other teams coming here for a week of full contact action and it should be a lot of fun. This will also be our first time in full gear against anyone else so it will be our first real test.
I just wanted to share with everyone how fortunate I feel to be able to share my thoughts on football with the world. I have spent the last couple years learning from and looking up to guys like Hoover and Deuce and I feel extremely honored to be mentioned by them on their blogs.
Seriously… I have been reading stuff from these guys for years and to be mentioned by them is seriously one of the coolest feelings I have ever had.
In the last couple weeks I have been receiving phone calls, texts, PMs on HUEY, and emails asking about football and it has been a great experience. I am happy people out there value my opinion and I want to extend the offer to everyone to use me as a resource if I can help you in any way.
I will be pretty busy in the coming weeks, I graduate next week, I begin my credential program next week, and of course summer practice will be heating up soon, but I will do my best to get back to anyone with any questions they might have. I truly love talking about football and I am happy to share with whoever is willing to listen.
A blog post by this week by Coach Hoover got me thinking about KISS, the link can be found here.
Install is something that is often brought up and I have seen install done horribly. The school I used to coach at was about plays… not execution. My final year there, the OC ran every play you can think but we weren’t very good at any of them.
I truly love our offense now… not because Spread is sexy and new but because it is very simple to install with my guys upfront. I do not care how good your team is it all starts up front. I differ from many TFS clients in the fact that I believe in running the ball first, I love the reduced numbers in the box that 2×2 and 3×1 give us, it makes my job as an OL coach easier.
We just wrapped up spring ball and I have 95% of the offense in with the OL.
We have 4 different run plays that can be run out of any formation with either F or Q as the ball carrier. Within those 4 plays I only had to teach 3 schemes because our power G scheme is used for both Power G and our inverted veer play (what TOG calls Dash). I discussed the flexibility of this blocking scheme here.
So in the 6 days we have had to practice offense I installed 3 run schemes, 90 pass pro, 60 pass pro, sprintout pass pro, and 3 of our screens. That is a good majority of our total offense for my OL and we did nothing but review the final 2 offensive days to make sure we had these things down.
They key to what I feel has been the most successful installation spring ball of my 6 year coaching career has been
Our run game is gap based and the players are given rules that will work against any front… we have been mixing going against odd and even fronts all spring ball without any problems. Our screens are incredibly simple for the OL because they have a universal set of rules they use for their release on all screens. Our screens are based so that no set player has any set defender, which gives us the flexibility to pick up any Defense on any screen without any changes. Only thing that I have to install once they understand our fast screen is what their first steps are before they release.
60 and 90 pass pro is easy because in terms of scheme they are identical. I teach 90 first because the steps are slightly more difficult, once I have taught 90, 60 is just 1/2 the steps and 60 is installed.
Sprint out is simple enough and that is my install for OL.
The carryover between run plays is what has made this extremely easy for me. We devised our run game with simple block down rules playside, we are leaving the PSDE and PSLB unblocked every play by the frontside… after 2 weeks of beating those rules into their heads the frontside has it down now.
We mess with the defense by altering who picks up the DE and LB, sometimes a kickout by either a FB or G, sometimes we read the DE, sometimes we Log him. for the LB sometimes we have G take him, sometimes WR cracks on him, sometimes RB blocks him. Essentially for my OL we are only changing the backside pullers responsibility… playside stays the same and the backside tackle always executes a hinge block …which I am teaching the same as our backside on sprint out pass pro, so there is even more carry over!
Everything I have installed builds upon what they already know and is so simple, that even my kids who have never played and was really worried about (mentally) have picked it all up.
For example our next play to be installed when we start our summer practice is “Counter”… this will take all of about 30 seconds to install because it is the exact same as our current “Power” (the first play we put in day1) but we add the tackle pulling instead of hinging. Exact same frontside rules! By having these few schemes, that can be run with different variations we get a complex, no huddle offense that is still simple for my guys up front.
I fully expect the decreased thinking to result in increased aggression.
Coaches remember, keep your schemes simple and try to increase inter-schematic carryover as much as possible! It leads to enhanced learning and performance.
This is by far the most confident I have felt about my OL as a unit in 6 years of coaching. By August I will have 2 full offensive lines that can flat out play
I think one of the most often overlooked areas (and most IMPORTANT) of teaching/coaching is being an adaptive teacher/coach.
In my eyes a “good” coach must be willing to adapt not only his playbook but his own coaching personality, not just year to year but from kid to kid.
There are a great number of personality types for kids, and this must be dealt with by being able to communicate with/to them in different ways. I think one of my greatest strengths as a coach is my ability to deal with, relate to, and speak with the kids. This may stem from my closer proximity in age compared to most of the guys i coach with, or maybe it is just my personality. Either way I have always felt I can connect to the kids.
A teacher once told me that what makes a coach a GREAT coach isn’t when a kid listens to you, or fears you, it is when a kid WANTS to do good for YOU. This message struck me and has stayed with me. Many coaches motivate by screaming, yelling, and wagging there finger, but does this make the kid play hard for you, to do well in your eyes? Or is he playing to not get yelled at anymore?
I often see coaches locked into one personality type, either stern, unfriendly, dictator style, some are screamers, some are too nice, an effective, adaptive coach can do it all.
I know for example, there are some kids I can yell at, that yelling motivates them and pushes them to excel, while there are others that if I yelled at them in the same way simply couldn’t handle it. They need to be pulled aside, talked to more calmly, and they will be more successful. Some kids self implode with the pressure/fear that comes from the yelling, and some kids just can not be yelled at, they shut you out, and quit on you.
As a coach, we must learn our kids, just as we ask them to learn our playbooks. Better understanding how each kid works, thinks, and learns will only increase your ability to coach them up to reaching their full potential.
This isn’t true of just football either. I have been a Varsity HC in both boys and girls volleyball.
My knowledge of volleyball is basic at best, but I have had a relatively great amount of success in volleyball because I understand how to motivate my kids and get the most out of them at practice and in games.
If what you do works for you that is fine, but everything I have written above I truly believe in and I think it is something we as coaches all need to look ourselves in the mirror about.
If you are reading this, thank you for the continued support. I want to get back to posting at least once a week. I have been substitute teaching 2 days a week now, and I do not do much during my Prep periods when I teach, so I have decided they will become my BLOG periods.
Now that I have penciled in some time to work on posts, I now need some fuel…
Please write me at
and let me know what you are interested in, I just need some inspiration to get going.
My plan for tomorrow, is to write some stuff up on vertical pass protection
Thanks, and I look forward to the responses