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FOOTBHLL
trORtrHINtr
sTHHTEtrIES
ffi
c0]{rE]{rs
Foreword
Inhoduction
Key to Diagrams ix

(rffense
Run Offense
Brcad-and-Butt€r Running Plays John McKaJ 3
Big PlayBFrom the I-Formation Tom hborne 6
Running Options From the I-Forrnation Roy Kidd 8
The Freeze Option Series Dich MacPherson 10
The Wishbone-TTriple Option Daftell RoJal 13
Wishbone Trap and Trap Option Package Charlb Taaffe 15
The Flexbone Offense Fisher DeBerry 17
The Double Wing-T Package Har old "Tubbr' Raymond. 20
Pass Offense
Conbolling the Ball With the PaBs BiLl Walsh
A Simple and Flexible Passing Game Herb Meyer 29
Making Pass Pattern Adjustments Lavell Ed.uads 33
The Three-StepPassing Game 35
Airball SteueSpurrier 37
Spreading'Em Around and Airing It Out 40
Passing First and Passing Deep Jim Sweeney
Identifying Fronts and Coverages 46
Key Indicators for Quaderbacks Ra! Dorr 51
kotecting the Passer Latal Little
Blocking the Blitz Jach Bichnell 57
Run and Pass Ollonse
Mixing the Run and the Pass DaL)id Rdder 60
Keeping the Defense Honest Gary MoeLler 62
The Air Option Otrense Homer Rice 65
Attacking the 46 Defense Homer Smith 69

Situational Offense
Passing on Third Down Pohex Allen 74
Passingin the Frigid Zone Ti Murph! 76
Hang Loose,One ofUs IB Fixin'to Scorc Bobby Bowden
Fast-Break, 2-Minute Offense Phillip Fulmer 80
Pass Plays for the Final Drive Jach EIUaJ 83
iv CONTENTS

Defense
Team Defense
Setting Up a SuccessfulDefense Dich Tomey 87
A Fundamental Approach to Defense Barry AlLtarez 90
Switching From the 50 to the 43 Defense Grunt Tealf 91
Using a Multiple Attack Defense PauI TidwetL 95
The Wrecking Crew Defense R.C. Slocum 98
The Eagl€ Defense BiLLDooler 101
Adjusting the Eagle Defense Rochy Hager 104

Emphasis on Defense
Stopping the Run Witb a 7:6 Advantage 106
Stopping the wishbone Dar)eWanBtedt 107
Getting Linebacke4 lo the Point ofAttack Dennis Green 109
Getting Run Support From the Secondary Hayden Fry t12
The Stunting 4-3 Front Georse Pertes 114
Slanting Def€nse for an Advantage Chuch Broyles 119
Coachingthe Front Sevenin the 50 Defense Ron Schipper 121
Defending Again8t the Pass Jerry Sandusky 124
Making the SecondaryPrimary BiUr Joe \24
Defending Against the Run and-Shoot DeLWiEht 131
Applyins Pressurc Without the Risk 133
Simple CoveragesVeruus Complex Passing
Games Dich Sheridan 135

III
-PARI Special Teams
Kicking for the Winning Edse Spike fuhes 139
Developing a Complete KickoffRetum Package BilU Sexton 143
Protecting and Covering From a Spread
Punt Formation bm Cou€hlin 146
Making a Commitment to SpecialTeams 150
Kickins Game Gimmicks That Work 154
Pressudns the Punter Sparky lYood.s
Blocking Kicks and Punts Chuch Atuato and Jim Gladden 161
CONTENIS !

--TPARI
IU
Pfrilosophy, Motivation, and llanagement
The Value ofFootball Bill Mccartnq
Prioriti$ of Coachrng BiU Cuny l6a
The Gameand Coaching Gro.ntTeaff 114
Taking Care ofthe Game Charlic Mcclznd.on 179
Iffights Into coaching Woodt Hayes 181
Putting Togethera Winning Program Bo Sctumbechler 184
Things I've Leamed From Coaching 188
Fifty-Plus Years of CoachingFootball Ed.d.izRobinson 190
Motivation-The Difference-Makerin Coaching lPe Corco 195
Getting Your Team R€adyto Play I(en Eatfizln 197
Tlming a Progtam Around Glen Mdson 199
CoachingDuties and Opportunities Bill Snydzr 200
CoachingPhilGophy and Objectives Don Nehl.en 20L

Ihe Amedcan Football CoachesA$ociatron 205


FOREWOBD
In 36 years of coaching football I relied heavily on frnding the right kind of
players, a loyal dedicat€dcoachingstaff, and goodinformation about the game
of football. Football coachesare the most sharing group ofprofessionalsI know.
The/re willing to divulge how they achieved successand the fundamentals
they've used to improve the skills of their players and the teaching of leader-
ship and motivational t€chniques.
Coacheslisten to lectures, watch videos,and spendenillesshours talking by
phone and in confidential conversationswith fi:iends in the coaching profes-
sion. But through the yearu,the one constant in disseminating information on
the gameoffootball has been articles and books.
I wholeheartedly recommendthis collectionofoutstanding articles that have
appearedin AFCA publications over the years. In readingthese articles anew'
I have found the information to bejust as pertinent and timely today as it was
the day it was written.

ei4'
Grant Teaff
Executive Director
American Football CoachesAssociation
l1{TB00uGTt01{
Football,like noother sport, combinesa rich his- But successin football isn't achievedthrough
tory $.ith the most recent innovations. Our fond- Xs and Os alone.Proper philosophy,motivation,
est memories of plays, games, players, and and management are equally importani, and
coachessomehowmake the modem gam€ more these subjectsare addressedatlength in Part IV
meanjngful and more enjoyable. The book includes 67 articles contributcd by
What now works on the gridiron doesso becaue many of the greatest football coachestbe game
olthe many lessons Bharedby coachesand playen has ever known, all addrcssing topi€s in shich
from practices, games,and seasonsgone by Today's they hav€ special expeftise or interest. We wanted
sophisticated yideo and mmput€r technology,pl ay- to include th€ most coachesand the most strat€-
els' equipment, training tables, conditioning prc- gjes possible.To do that, we had to ablidge and
grams, and sports medicine services are valuable revise the original adicles-in some cases,con-
only when they co€xist{.ith the oldest football prin- siderably without eliminating the substanceof
ciples of all----organization,t€achin g, blocking, tack- the coaches'messages.
line, t€amwork, etroft, and sacrifice. Among the pdmary consid€rationsin our se-
Innovarionand Iradi(ionr)uung.brighl aspir- lection pmcess werc to
ing coachesa]ld old, wise veteran coaches;upstaft . dirtriburatha arjrclFsacrossrhe25 \ aar r ima
teams breaking irto the top 25, and perennial pow- period (1970 1994),but to emphasizemore
els that seem to never leave it. No other sport is so
recent works;
high-tech and yet so de€ply root€d in the lessonsof . present a variety oftopics within each of lbur
the past; so rcady to chanee with the times and yet
cat€gories:otrense:defense;spocialteams; and
so set in its ways; so ready to hail todals stam as philosophy,motivation, and managementi
the gr€at€st of all time and yet so appreciative of . include at least one coach from the high
the legends who preceded them.
school,junior college,each NCAA divtston.
Rarely do we have the opportunity to present,
and prolessionallevels;
in one book, insights from football's pasi and . feature coachespresenting on their area oi
prosent as we do in ,'ootbaryCoachinsStrateeies.
We get this chanceonlybecausesomanysuccess- . fit as much infonnation in as $e possibly
ful coacheshave taken the time to share their
could, given the book'spage allosance: and
t€aching and practice methods, tactical ap r make the book highly readable,useful. and
proaches, and philosophies duing the pasi 25
entertarning.
The proceedingsftom the American Football Re$ettably, we had to omit many very $ orth)
CoachesAssociation'sannual conventionand ar- articles presentedby bun&eds ofcreat coaches.
ticles for the AFCA Summer Manual sinc€ 1970 Bui all of you undemtand that whcn you're tied.
capture both the crcative genius and the €ndur- and it's 4th-and-goalwith littl€ time remaining,
ing principles that have shaped the mod€r'n same. you have to make the tough call. And together
What Woody Hayes, John McKay, and Darrell with Human Kinetics we had to make several of
Royal told us a quarter century ago is as impor- them during the cou$e ofthe book'sdcvelopment.
tant as what Dick Tomey, Dennis Green, and FootbaLlCodchineStraregi€sis for the teteran
Steve Spurrier have to say today. And you']I be c^achwhoconLinues roaddrohi.Ln"" cdgcoas..
able to read passagesfrom all six of these fine for the less experiencedcoachwho is srill leam-
coachesand many olhcrs in this book. ine many facets of football and hos to coach ii,
FootbaryCoachitugStru,egr"spresentsmuch of for th€ playef who is looking to improve hrs un-
the most important tactical thinking in football- de$tanding and pedomance, for the studont of
From the Wishbone to the Eagle, the book de- the game who wants an inside look at the spo 'g
scribes and illustmtes a wide selectionof popu' nuances,and for the fan who wants to be a more
lar offensiveand defensivefonnatiom, schemes, informed spectatoxFor all ofyou,thebook's blend
and plays.Also inelud"d ar" Limeresrad,Fllec- ofthe best lessonsofthe past with the most cur-
tive attacks for th€ all-important kjcking game. rent thinking in today's game should make next
In all, more than 300 detailed djagrams of for- footbal seasonandtheseasonsthat follow all the
mations and plays are shown.
KEYTODIAGBAMS
players:
Offensive Widereceiver = X,SE,WR,O
Flanker = Z, WB,F,O
T ig h t e n d = Y T E , O
Tackles andguards= O
Center= n
Quarrerback = QB,O
Futlback = FB,B,O
Running back= RB,HB,A,O
players:
Defensive En l= E , V
Tackle= T,Sl G,V
N]qse136l{s= N, V
lnsidelinebacker= M, B, LB,V
Outsidelinebacker = S, W B, 18,8, V
Safeties= S, FS,SS,R, V
Cornerbacks = C, V WC, SC

teams:
Special Kicker= K
Punter= P
Holder= H
Kickreturner= KR
= PR
Puntreturner

and receiver= O
Primaryball-carrier
and receivers=O
Primaryoptionsas ball-carriers
Handotf= +
Pitch= +

Block= ---l /
Optionalpathsto run= -...
continuedpathafterbtoct = 1l >
Motionbeforesnap,lessthanfull speedrunning'or backpedal= -.-.'- or ^^$
Quarterback dropback,lessthanfull speedrunning,or backpedal= u.\-^].or
Quarterback set-upto passor pointof release= L^,.l,.|or -
Quarterback releasepointor set-uppointfor readby defender= '
Defensiveplayercoverageasslgnmenl=

E\d
Q'" w
e e aPABT
I
Offense
Run Offense
Bread"and-Butter Running Plays John McKay 3
Bie Plays From the l-Formation Tom Osborne 6
Running Options From the I-Formation Roy Kidd 8
The FreezeOption Series Dich MacPherson 10
The Wishbone-T Triple Option Danell Royal 13
Wishbone Trup and TIap Option Package Charliz Taaffe
The Flexbone Offense Fisher DeBerry 1',7
The Double Wing-T Package H arold. "Tubby' Ray mond 20

Pass Offense
Controlling the Ball With the Pass Bill Wdlsh
A Simple and Flexible Passing Game Herb Meyer 29
Maling Pass Patt€m Adjustments LaVeII Edwads 33
The Three-Step Passing Game
Airball Stew Spurrier 31
Spreading 'Em Around and Airing It Out Jim wacker 40
Passing First and Passing Deep Jim Sweeney 43
Identirying FrontE and Coverages 46
Key Indicato$ for Quarterbacks Ray Dorr 51
Protecting the Paseer Inrry Little
Blocking the Blitz Jach Bicknell

Run and Pass Offense


Mixing the Run and the Pass Dauid.Rader 60
Keeping the DefeneeHonest Gary Moeller 62
The Air Option Ofense Homer Rice 65
Attacking the 46 Defense Homer Snith 69

Situational Oflense
Passing on Third Down Pokey Allen 74
Passingin the Frigid Zone TinL Murphy 1-6
Hang Loose,One ofUB Is Fixin'to Score Bobby Bowden 78
Fast-Break, 2-Minute OfTense Phillip Futmer 80
Pass Plays for the Final Drive Jach Elway 83
, *$ tr $ 1 }* | ! f ]}{ i x8 t }g * * t i 6 a; r: r r $ ] }i i rt
Bread-and-Butter Running Plays
JOHNMcKAY
i*llt t q$$ {$ $e fr* i;Qll$$ $l{ 1 i. :!i

In all the clinics that I've attended over the years, tackle, to stay up, to never go to his knees. He
when a coach wift anghing, everybody comes should stay up and block him as high as he can,
and take8 the diagrams he puts up and says, keep puEhingon him.Ifthe defensiveman slants
"Thats it." The laBt couple of yeals it's be€n the iNide, our tackle just goes on to the linebacker.
Wishbone. The center'sjob is to reach to the onside,unless
We don't use the Wishbone,but just to get in he is covered,and then take that man. We tell
the s$.ins of things, we changed the name of our the guard to block the onside linebackexWe ask
offense ftom the I to the I-Bone. The offerse rs him to pull amund the tight end for the line-
the same, andjust the name is changed. backer. If the linebacker shoots,the guad just
Foryeam, we wanted to run fight at you with stops and takes him. So it's imperative that the
the blast play and find out wherc you werc, and guard keeps his eyes on the linebacker all the
establish the fact that we were as strong, physi- time (see Figue 1). We tell the offside guard to
cally,as you were.Afler we establiEhedthe blast, pull andgo through the firstopeninghe can find.
we went to our pitch play, or, aB it's also called, The offsidetackle'sassignmentis the sam€as the
"student body lef! or right."This year, we started guardt.
\ .ith the pitch and ran it until you stoppedit, and
th€n we'd go to the blast. We run the pitch awhil€,
then go to the blast, and back to the pitch.
FIGUBE
I Pitch,blockingassignmsnls
We really are pretty simple. Over the years,
we've found out that play€rs win, not plays. Our
attack is based on multiple sets, using motion and
shiiting. We start out \ .ith si.teen different sets,
and by usins motion and shifting, we can add
greatly to the number ofthings we do. It's pretty
complicatedfor the oppon€nt,but ifs simple to
us, and out of it come oul two basic plays, the
pitch and the blast.

The Pitch
.'\-e
start by running the pitch play,.lntil you put
.,r many people outside that we can make our
.:.!ide offensego.We stad everf offensive set to
run the ball outside. If we go outside to the tight Our quaft€rback, at tines, Ieads this play. If
end side, we ask the tight end to block the out- we ask him to lead, assuming we're going to ihe
side man on the line. We don't carc where you right, he should step right with his risht foot, and
line him up, we feel we can block him. We ask then reveme pivot. He shouldn't reverse pivot
rim to block the delensive man high up in his first;ifhe does,he will be behind the play.Then,
ir,:= :nd his main job is to keep the defenderon he just leads arcund the end and lookE inside.
,t:,i.,:. ]nd, if possible,hook th€ man. If the We asL him to fall at th€ feet of t}le dcfende. We
!*-:,ier fights to the outside fast, then we ask don't want him to body block him o. g€t tough
:c: .,rdrivehim to the sideline,but to stay t1pon with other people.Our quarterbacks make a lot
-.:: :nd keep him on the line. ofgood bJocksthat way.
ii::'e are our blmking assjgnments between the We tell our fullback to take a slight step for-
\r'e tell our tackle to hook the defenBive ward, and then go parallel tr the line and annihilate
4 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

the com€rback. We don't want him to body block If p€ople are overylaying this play with an
just run right over him. unbalanceddefense,we will shift, or motion, our
Our Z-back's (flankers) job changes,depend- Z-back to balance up or take advantage of the
ing on where he is set. If he is set wide, we ask defense. This year, for example, we laced a rover
him to crack back on the first man inside, usu- defense,which put two m€n on the line outside
ally the shong safety. If he is sei in th€ Power-I our tight end or Z-back (seeFigure 4). So we put
position,then he leadEoutside the tight end, and our Z-back in motion through tbe backfield, and
helps him with th€ defensiveend.Ifourtight end ran thc pirch a$ay frnm the rorer,as shown in
has his man, then Z leads straight up for the Figue 5.
safety man.
Our taitback'sjob is to open step toward the side-
line, catch the pit h from the quarte$ack, and r.un FIGUBE
4 Foverdet€nseversls pltch
as fast as he can for the oulside. always keeping
hie eyes up the field. Ifhe can get all the way out- vv
side, then we want him to run off the tullbacks VV
block on the corner: If there's a fttnnel there, we B VV V V V
tell him t" tul'rr upfield and go (see Figur€ 2). ll
C I \r
.l -\_-/
ln \/ rL r ll.lr - lr - l
\_/ \_,/ \-/
\
fIOUBE
2 Pirch,assignmentslor backs \@ c
C
C
c
fIOUBE
5 Pirchversusroverdelensewirh

VV>

If the defensive end, or rover (R in the dia-


grams), ever gets upfield or outside too fast, then
our tailback will cut up inside and pick up the
blocks of our backside pullers (seeFigure 3).

FIGUHE
3 Pitch,tailbackcurs inside

The Blast
No\ we get to the blast play (seeFiCue 6). One
coachingpoinr on lhis play is pxlremelyimpor
C tant: We want our backs to stay deep. The full-
back should be at least 4 1/2 to 5 yards deep,and
the tailback should be 6 to 6 1/2 yards de€p, so
that they can option r-unvemus all th€ potential
siuntd $c ma) see.Whereyou line up is as im-
po ant as where you wind up. If you want to
crowd up, it m€ans you're too slow to play in the
backfield.
RUN OFFENSE 5

back stays back away {iom the fullback, there's


an alley between those blocks that he can hit. The
rest of the blocking is pretty simple.
The quarterback gives the tailback the ball as
deep as pos8ible. I don't b€lieve you can run as
hard when you get the ball close to the line of
scrimmage. The frrst thing any back thinks of is
possession,poss€$ion first. "I must have the ball,'
he says,'then I can think about the oth€r things."
So, we ask our quarterback to reverse pivot and
get the ball deep.
This play can be a great goal-line play, plo-
vided th€ back is willing to go "over the top" ver-
sus the gap defenses. Ifwe face a goal-line or gap
set, we tell oul tailback to be ready to dive over
the line. Again, he muBt line up deep to have time
to secwe the ball and then get up in the air He
It'6 impossible for an offensive tackl€ or guard takes off about a yard back and a good diver can
to keep a defender, if he's lined up head-on, from go about 5 or 6 yardB. Now, what you hav€ got to
going imide. If you're stubborn enough to say do is convince the divei We tell the diver this,
) oule going to run the ball though any one hole, "They'Il probably catrh you, and that's the best
lhen certain stunts will wipe this play out. thing that can happen to you. Noq if we block
Someone made the comment to me the other well, you'lt hit the ground, and thatk the worst
day that he was amazed that we kept our tail- thing that can happen to you, b€cause you're go-
back at 7 yards during the entire game against ing to hit approximately right on your head."
Ohio Stat€ in the Rose Bowl. I said, 'Yep, that's People ask, 'how do you practice thiB play?"
Fhat w€ want when the defense stunts on us." We dont. But I'11give you a little stat. In the first
!lt'e want him back where he can see. six games this year and the last two ga]nes, 37
We ask our backs to key the first defensive line- time3 we had short-yardage or goal-line situa-
man to the onBide.As they approach the hole, they tions, and we either made it or scored on all but
lvill run away from the direction the lineman one. Proper execution and the threat ofthe blast
slants. If the defensive lineman slants in. it's ob- play was a big rcason why.
\ious the linebacker is coming to the outside. Our I don't think th€ories win; playe$ win. Down
iackle will ju3t block the defensive tackle the way through the years, we haven't changed much. The
he wants to go, and our tulback will "kick out" things we do best are those things we know best
the linebacker the way he is going. If the tail- and have taught for years.

1973 P@eedinss. Coach McKay uas htud c@ch at tha UniDersity of Southern Cdli.fomia.
6 FOOTBALL COACHING STRITTEGIES

* g 8 g' * i 6t 1} t * B t I' i i l t ]1c e ; i 1 '* E !] * * g :!& $.


Big Plays From the l-Formation
TOMOSBORNE
i $ !1 * $ i $ i i ! : i i r g { * Q ac * *$ a $ t r* $B$ $ * ,d
I tordd like to present the most consistent big la 1 c","",*" *",. *
FIGURE
play we've had for many yeaN, and its compan-
ion pass play. It's important that you consider both s
the run and the pass together, as separately they
won't be nearb as effectiv€.
We've had several seasons wherc the counter c c
sweep haB averaged 7 to 11 yards per carry. And
the counter sweep bootleg has don€just as well
as a companion play. We run the counter sweep
with a variety of runnem from a vadety of for-
mations; however,the basic blocking is always
J ET A-
1.|%T
tro

rBl-i11rr*""Yj
Fi-cnRE
Flanker-Blocks fiIst deep defender.
Tight end-Blocks outside hip of defensive
tackle. If tackle slants inside and clo8sesof-
fensive tackle's face, tight end sclape8to LB
Ifoffensive tackle is uncovercd,TE blocksfirst
LB inside.
Gounter Sweep Right tackle-Steps with inside foot and
Figure 1, a and b, illustrates the basic counter blocks inside hau of defensive tackle. If DT
sweep run Iiom the I-Pm folrnation versus 50 and slants inside, tackle locks on DT. IfDT doesn't
43 defenses. slant, tackle releasesfor outside LB and then
Assignments for each olTensive player are as on tobackside LB ifonside LB flows-If uncov-
follows: ered, tackle blocks inside.
RUN OFFENSE ?

FIGURE
2 1 c.,"", *"," E"r" 3
FIGURE Counter6w€€Pbootleg versus 50
".*p

c
5S

c
to sc

I
E,

Fight quard If uncovered, blocks nose- Ouarterback Opens left, handB ball to I-
guad.lf NG slants away,guad scmpeEto LB back and fakes bootleg around left end
If covered,blocks rDanon.
covercd,pops middle guard and We run the countet sweep from a variety of
Center-If
In Fig-
formation6usinga \ arietj ofbdll-carriers.
turns back for plugging LB or slant tackle lf
ure 2 you can seehowwe might run the play ver
uncovered, blocks back to cover pulling suad
sus an Eagle defense.
Left guad PuIs right and blocks defensrve
end. Losq DE inside if DE remainson linc
Kicks DE out if DE crossesline ofscrimmage Counter Sweep Bootleg
Left tackle Pulls right, getting a little more
depth than left guard, and reads left guard's The counter sweep bootleg puts a ereat d€al of
block. Ifle1t guard logs DE, tackle rcads around stress on linebackers and slows down pu$uit ol
DE and blocks strong Eafety.Ifleft guad blocks th€ counter sweep. S€e Fig:ure 3 for how we run
DE out. tackle tums inside DE and finds strcng tbiB play v€rsus a 50 defense.
safety. Blocking is the same as the counter sweepex-
Split end-Blocks first deep defendex cept for the center who, after popping the nose-
Fullback-Blocks flrst man to show behind guard, releasesto the weakside flat and acts as
pulling lefl tackle. perBonal intederer for the quarterback. The
l.Back-Takes thrce quick steps toward left quarterback s fimt option is to run; his second
I acklearea,I hen couniersright as he rPcci\e" option is to throw to the cmssing tight end; and
handoff. I-back reads block of left euad (not his third option is to hit the split end running a
lefttackle). Both the lelt tackle and I-back rc- deep comebackpatt€In.
act to the block of the left guard.

-1s87 Prccee.linps.CoachOsbornei s head coachat the Uni,e.sitl of Nehrusha


8 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

,li ,'. i
,

Running Options Ftom the l-Formation


ROYKID
'rr : rr t! i*l li
Q
O1lIofibnsehasbeenvar] productiveboth in yard-
ase gained and points scorcd. Much of the suc
flcuRE I l ,".r",i*r,on, 50
"""""
c€sshas been due to th€ athletes we\e been able
to rccruit and becausethese young men are sold
on th€ I-formation and our offensivophilosophy.
We are an option-odented football t€am. In re-
cent years we've utilized our fullback more to
enhance productivity but have not gone away
"5 db
from our basic I-formation principles.
We believe the I-fonnation gives us a mirrored
oflense where $re can run all our plays to either
side. It cuts down on our teaching time because
our fullback is always the dive back or blocking
back, and our tailback is always ihe pitch back
on option plays, allowing both to g€t many more
repetitions in a given pe od of time. We like the
option coume that we get from the I and feel that
we can get on the corner easier than Split Back FIGUBE
2l b.r",b" *,",*hin
or Wishbone teams. The I also allows us to run
"""k
the isolaiion and sprint draw series,which hav€
b€en extrcmely important in our successthe last

6 5d
Th€ past seven yearu we've l€d the Ohio Valiey
Conferencein scoing and six ofthose Eevenyeam
we've also led the conferencein rushing.

lsolation
One ofthe first plays we put jn our offenseeach
fall is the isolation. With it, we're trying to play
one-on-onefootball and give our tailback the op-
porlunity to run to daylight. Figwes 1 and 2 show
the ways we block ihe isolation shong versus a
50 defenseand weak versus an overshift.
The quarterback drop sets to the call side, rc-
verse pivots, and hands the ball as deep as pos-
sible to tbetailback. H€ then fakes a quick scrcen Sprint Draw
pass oppositethe play.
The fullback lead st€ps to th€ play-call side and The sprint dlaw is a change-of-paceplay for us
blocks the linebacker at the point of attack. His and is the basic backfield action for most ofour
keyjsth€ first downlineman pastthe center,and passingattack. ll hai beena big play for us in
he blockBoppositehis charge. passing situations, and becausc of the success
The tailback drop steps with the foot opposita w€'ve had running the play, it helps us hold the
the call side, keys the first down lineman past linebackprswhen re throq nffihrs aclion.Fig-
the center, and runs to daylight opposjte his ure 3 shows our basic manner of blocking this
charge after rcceiving the ball. play versus a 50 def€nse.
RUN OFFENSE 9

- FIGURE
3 The fullback steps with the near foot to the
outside hip of th€ Cuard to the play-call side. He
receivestheball dudng his third step (ifthe dive

? is called), reads the guad's block, and runs to


daylight. There is a possibility versus a 50 de-
fensethat the tuIback may break behind an an-
gling middlpgxard.On the oplionhe remainson
tlack and blocks the first off"coloredjersey that

The tailback lead st€ps and turns hie shoul-


derBto theplay-call side. He sprints to a pointon
the line of scrimmage 10 yads outside ofthe tight
end'B alignment.

FIGURE
4 Divo strong ver6us 50

T-nequarterback open steps at six o'clock and


:::nts, g€tting width and depth at a 4s-deeree ,3 11
Y lr{ Y
:i-ile. He hands o1t to the tailback on his third
.:rp and drops straight back faking a pass.
the fullbacklead st€psto the tail ofthetackl€
6fr 5tO O /,,
:: '-heplay-call side and blocks inside out on the ( )-J,,--"'
The tailback lead steps to the play-call side,
gaining gmund until the third step. On
---:dually
_- : third step he plants hh foot, squares his shoul,
:.rs !o the line ofscdmmage, receivesth€ ball,
::l ruft to daylight opposite the block on the
::.! dolYnlineman paBt the center.

DiYe Options FIOURE


5 Div6oprionslrongv€rsus50

;. run basicallythrce t)?es ofoptions.Two have


::r e plays to the tullback that complement them
a third is our speed or shaight-down-the-line
u u/ It u4uT
--d
Figures 4 and 5 show our dive and dive-option
CCT OH
: and the blocking schemeswe use strons
"ns
..sus a 50 defense.
Our backsuse the sam€ step€on the dive and
--:1€dive option, giving us added rcpetition and
the plays look the same to people who
-aking
T}le quarterback open steps at three o'clockto
::e play-call side and reach$ the ball as deep as
:,rssib1e to the tuIback. He takeB an adjuEtment Tlap Option
-_ppwilh lhe fool nearestto t-heline of scrim.
:.age and gives or keeps the ball according to the The trap and trap option has been on€ ofthe major
:ial called. He st€ps around the tullback with sericsin our o{Tense rhe la€r felr years.Ir gives
::re foot away fiom the line of scrinmase and at- us a misdirection play that helps hold our
:acks the inside shoulder of the defensive end, oppon€nt's linebackeft and enable8 us to get out-
reeping or pitching offthe defensiveendh rcac- side. We block the hap several wayB depending
:r)n ifth€ option has been called. on the fronl and lhe rypeofsrunis we re Eeeing.
10 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATECTI]S

flouBE6 T r,"e*."s,_"""50 FIGURE


7 r r',p_."-**.",r,,,

5 o A o

Figur€ 6 shows how we would block tmp mnning takes an adjustment step with his pivot foot to
strong versus a 50 defense.Figure 7 shows how allow the guard to clear and the fullback to cut
we r-unit to the weak side versus an overshift. back. He hands theballtothe fullback (ifthe dive
The steps for th€ backs are the same for the is called), reverse pivots, and attacks the imide
tlap se es as they are for the dive and dive-op- shoulder of tbe defensive end, keeping or pitch-
tion Beries.The quarterback open steps deep to ing offhis reaction if the option is called.
six o'clocktuming his back to the bole called. H€

-1981 Proc@dings. C@ch nd.l is h.dd c@.lt a! Eastern Kentu<:h! Uniuersit!.

rr : l r l : t t r l , i : r r i t:: tl it i: ! l: ii r l li ll i] lr .. 4!1s
The Freeze Option Series
DICK MacPHERSON
i . . l l rl,ll i:,,:L r*':t'i t,' O ' l,u ] l r , ll

When we need€d to improve our ofiensive pro footbal allow you the luxury of not hanng
ductivity, we choseoption football. We did so for to knock people off the ball on every snap.
these fbur reasons: You can read some defender,qrather thar
block them.Also,the angleblocksand double
. It's the best w@r for us to get the fimtball teams ofoption football help your linemen.
outside the perimeter of the defewe. hl . It makes the d.efense pl&r &$ignrnent
today's football, it has bocomeincrcasinsly foot6@rr. In delending the option on €very
diffrcult to establish a sweepor toss play as play, the defensewill assign a man each to
an oulsrdcpla). Ho$erer. t\e upliun gi\es rhe dire, QB, and pirchphaspofour lprion
us a chanccIo gerour.k:ll peupleul rurning on both sides of our formation. This makes
back and quarte$ark loosein the open field. them play assignment football mther than
. You d.on't need donin@nt offeasite reaction football.
linemen to hate success in an option . The optioo uill help rour p(,ss offense
defence, The frnesseand deceptionof option dram.rticallst because of the delensioe
RUN OFFENSE 11

structures th&t !ou'L, foce. The defenses Fullbeck-Take a lead step and ruD the mid-
we see to stop our oplion include 8-man line. Run otr the block oI tho centex Once cut
blitzes, 2-de€p zones, and tight end rotated is made, get your shouldem square.
tailback-Freeze on the snap of the bau.
Once the QB's second step hits the ground,
Our option offense us€s multiple folrnations spdnt into pitch rclationship.
and motions to run the same options.The l-for-
matjon allows the speedbackat tailback to catch The secondway we'd run the fullback ls the
rhe pitch and run outside, and the fullback to be FB trap ofthe tight dive action.Realizetheback-
rhe inside runn€r We want to make the defense field mechanics are the same as the tight dive,
constrict on the fulback, so w€ try to establish €xcept the FB must now get in phase inside the
the fullback game inside. happing guard (seeFigure 2).
We have a play-action pasBoff all our options
\\'e also employ the dropback game to prevent FIGURE
2
defenses fiom ganging up on the option game
FS

Setting Up the Freeze Option


The heart and soul of our option attack has been
the "freezeoption" seriesthatwas establishedat
WichitaState andreallyrefined and popularized
/
'9,
at East Camlina. This series gave us the inside
fullback game we were looking fo! with an er.cel-
lent option game complementingit. As defenEes
adjust€d to take away our freeze option, we would
immediately go to the other complementaryop-
tions in our package that were now available
One of the firBt ways we'd attack is up th€
mjddle with the tullback. The tight fullback dive The Frceze Option
is a quick-hitting play in which the fr lback can The fteeze option is one of oul favoite option se
r-un off the block of the offensive center veNus ries. It becamethe heart and soul of our offense
the 5-2 delense(seeFigure l). It's a base-block- It's a play that can be run both to the TE side and
ing conceptup front. the SE side (seeFigures 3a, b).

FIGUREI l F"rrb""r,di,. Freeze Option Bu!e9


On3ide tackle lnside for LB.
(tnside guard-Down on nose.
C',
Cenier-Slamnose and blockA gap back side.
,/B
Otfside guatd-Pull and read the tackle area.
/ .- I
ooc Fight to get to LB.
Offside tackle-Gap seal hinge.
Tight end-Option t": Block primary run sup-
port;option away: Gap seal hinge.
Split end Option to: Block primary run sup-
port;option away: Block inside numberofnear
hallback.
Flanket Option to: Block nonpdmary run
support;optjon awayrBlock jnside number on
Quarterback--Step back olfthe midline and near hallback.
stretch the ball back to the fullback. Gather Fullback-Run through the midline of ihe
your second step and hand the ball off to the center.G€t a great mesh and drive to backside
fullback. Continue the option fake oflthe foot- Iinebacker.
ball until you get to the outside l€g ofthe guard, Ouarterback-Step back offthe midline and
then attack downhill. stretch the ball back to the fullback. Gather

:IF
12 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

of cedain covemges that can give you an advan-


3r
FIGUBE Freezeoplionto TE sido tage in the perimeter, without changes {br your
FS peopleup front.

! .-{,
P|ay-Action off of Freeze
Option
The imporlanc€ of th€ play-action pass off the
option action must be noted. It's crucial that the
defensivesupport peoplebe placedin a pass-r'un
bind in order to slow down their option support.
Figurc 4, a and b, shows how we run play-action
offthe option to the tight end and split end sides,
respectively.

c FS FIGUBE
4A l op,i."p"."r"rE
"rd"

J bu: ET
q o^o,,o I
T
-ll
cC
.Drl

llljljlljlt
tlGUnETBl
your second st€p and ride the tullback to your
front hip. Stayoffthebail until the outside leg
of the guard, then drive downhill and option
the No. 3 man.
Iiiilback-Fr€eze on the snap.When the QB's
s€condstep hits the ground, sprint to pitchre-
lationshjp. Keep a 4-yard by 4 yard .elation-
ship with the quafterback.
The use of multiple formations and motions
can provide you with definite advantageE in at-
tacking the perimeter with the fre€ze option se-
ries. The mles for your linemen and backs arc
consistent,regardlessofthe folrnation used-The
motion can changethe defensivesuppod syst€m
4-tL9:ry:.j19
rrGUnE
-1986 Summer ManuaL Coach MacPherson was head coach aI SJra.use Uniueftit!
RUN OFFENSE 13

r l l $ $ $ * $ * i + * 3! * i i t I i 3 e * &i i ; * ; ! s : !t l
The Wishbone-T Tiiple Option
DARRELLROYAL
:]lEt{it&:?*at:11 rrQcrrit;,il1 rtti:it *
The Wishbone-T fonnation is not an original idea we aligned the backs in the positions we thousht
$'ith the University ofTexas. It's a combination would be the most conduciv€ to consistent execu-
of ofensive concepts we pulled together. tion ofthe triple option. Thus, we came up with
Homer Rice fooled around with somethins the forrnation that is commonly refened to as the
similaryears back. Then the University ofHous- Wishbone-T (seeFigurc 1). The line splits are very
ton had lantastic successwith the t ple option. impodant for the triple option to be successful.
And we noricedTe\as A&Ms successrunning a
form of tdple option with a tight fullback. So we flGUBE I r wbhb.""rf"-",i-
took a little bit here, and a little bit there, and
came up $.ith an ofTensethat worked well foi our 36', 36 30' 30' 36'

Somewdters have asked uB what we called it


@@@n@@ @
and we said,"Well, actually we don't have a name @
for jt. We dont call it anything." They said, "Well,
don't you think you ought to call it something?" GD
"Well, I guess it is a good idea to call it some- q9 R9
thing, but I don't know what to call it."Theysaid,
"Why don't you call it a Y Your backfield is like
that." Then someoneelse said, "Why don't you Guards-2 constant split (four-point smncel
call it a Wishbone.It's the shape of a wishbone." Teckles-2' to 4' vadable split (four-point
And I said, "That's good enoush." So that's th€
way the Wishbone-T got its name. Tighi end 2'to 4'variable split (four-point
stance;will flip-flop)
Split end S to 14 yards variable split (three-
Choosing the Wishbone point stance;will flip-flop)
Fullback directly behind centea heels 13'
There are three reaBonswhy we use this forma-
from ball (four-point stance)
tion. Fi$t, we wanted to maintain at least one
Halfbacks 18" ght and left of fullback and
split recei!er at all times.We u anteda player in
15" deep to fulback (thrce-point stance)
the olfense r'ho was a threat to r-un pass routes
and catch the football.Thus, our line of scrim-
mage was to be abalancedline with one endsplit
Variations
and the other end in tight alignment. To supplementoul basicfor:nation we decidedon
The next thing we had to decide was how to what we call the "counter" formation (see Figure
d€velop a sound running game toward the split 2). We know there are times when we'd want more
end side. The play that was decidedon was the than one deployedreceiver Our backs were se-
triple option.
The th d thing we needed to decide was the
alignment of th€ backs. Our pemonnelwas such
FIGURE
2 Counl€rrlghl lorm€llon
that we wanted to utilize the runnins abilities of
the backsthat we had.noneofwhich were wing-
@COTCC @
back types. We also wanted to establish a basic @@
ofense that was mirrored (which poseda constant
thrcat to both sides) and balanced so that the GD
abilities of all our backs could complement one
another. Since the option was to be our basic play, GD-
14 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRATEGIES

lected as rr.rnnersand blockers,not as recervers, Ouartertack-Open step $.ith near foot on


but this alignment forced defenses to honor [nem 45-degee angle. Pick up fullback with split vi-
as r€ceivers, without our having to teach them ro sion, and place ball in fullback's pocket at ear-
run a lot of mutes or be dependent on them as tiest point. Stay down and work with ext€nded
primary receivers. From this formation we could arrn. Filst option takes place on ride w.ith the
still maintain the tdple option to both sides. tullback from right to teft (decision area). Key
We also decided on a third forrnation a pro the first man inside the defensive end and rc-
fbrmation, shown in Figure 3. Against certain act as follows: (a) key doesn't take the full-
defensesthis formation allowed us to get our sptit back-leave ball with the fullback, and (b) key
end on a 3-deep haltoack one-on-oneand still keep tahe6 the fullback-pull ball out and go to out-
our running attack aBa constant threat. side option. The outside option key is the de-
fenBiveend, and react as follows: freeze,rorce,
FIGURE
3 and pitch the ball (see Figure 4) or take the
obYiouske€p.
@C OTCC @ These assignments hold true in most situa-
@@ tions. Diff€rent defenses will force us to block dif-
ferent ways. We'll make catls and adjust at the
line ofscrimmage. Whatever we call, for the play
@ to be successful our linemen must create a lane
@ between guard and tackle.

Our Baaic fiipte Option FIGUBE


4 Wishbonetripleoption

Here are the basic assignmentson our triple op-


tion play:

Ends-Force. Always responsible for No. I (the


man coveringthe de€p third).
Tackle3-Inside.
Guards-No. 1 LOS inside tackle.
Center-Bas€.
Lead halfback-Arc at I or 9. No. 2 from
outside (the man who must take the pitch).
Br€ak straight lat€rally for the tust thee steps
and star.t arc for the outside leg ofNo.2. Takes
as aggressivean angJeas possible.
liailing halfback Break shaight parallel
at ma-ximumspeed,ride the outside hip of the
lead halfback, and cut off his block.
Fullback-Break at maximum speed on di- If we're having trouble reading keys for the
rect path for euard-tacklegap.As ball is placed option, we call the fullback handoff play with
in your stomach,take a soft hold on the balt blockins. Or, if we want the outside optior, we
and continue on veer courBe. If quafterback cail it and go to the outside, faking first to the
leaves ball, run with it. Ifhe takes balt out of tullback, then optioning the outside man with the
pocket, continue on course and becone a keep or pitch. The lullback knows that he will
blocker on inside pursuit. Path must always not g€t the ball, so he should be a key blocker on
be outside the block of the OT. the linebackex

1970Prc.eedinss.Ct6ch Rolal uas head.oach at ttu Uniwrcit| ofTeaag


RUN OFFENSE 15

I i { t g 6g 1} ! 1i$ & t i 3 i } i i g t * I t I } i Ai ; a
Wishbone Tlap and
Tlap Option Package
CHARLIE TAAFFE
; l l l q g**3s$g:llQ *,*t"df * lg6[,
\\te're a Wishbone team on offense, which means
$ e primarily run the football, and appmximately FIGUBE
le1 ,,p"*","
"""*

-'Q
60 to 657. ofour mshing attack is based on the FS
triple option. The tdple option is where our of-
fense begim, but we've also lelt the need to de,
relop a packagethat complem€ntsour base 01-

It's imperative to prevent the defense from


scheming methods to r€move our fullback as a
running threat. In the Wishbone, the fullback \
nrust run with the ball. Over the years, we have
had to devis€ ways for o11Itullback to be a factor
in the offense-the triple option is not enough!
The tlap and tnp-option series has given us a
consistent method of keeping the fullback in-

The Fullback Tlap


If we elect to tlap an A gap defender, we add
The FB trap is a consistentplay that can be ex- the term "goal line" to or]I trap play (see Figure
ecuted against most defenses. Generally, we will 2). This play allows us to tlap most goat-lin€ de-
trap the first delensivelin€man past the center fenses and to asBist th€ tullback in knowing where
and have the ability to change the direction ol the tlap will occur.
the play at the LOS based on the alignment of Tbe fullback aligns with his heels 5 1/2 yards
the defensiveliont (see Figu.e 1, a and b). We fiom the front tip of the ball. This could vary
don't prefer to tlap a four-defender side.

TIOURE
h FIGUBE
2 r c*r{h.r.,e
SE sldelrap versus50
FS

sc
B
\
E. r. /t,
c6 oo c
16 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRATEGIES

Blightly, depending on the speed of the fullback.


I'he tullback should know prior to the snap where FIGUBE
3A
the trap will occur, based on the defensive align- FS -
ments. On the snap, the fullback will run an S
course, putting the play8ide foot in front of the
offside foot (oossover). It's important that the
firllback doesnot step outside the otrside foot. We'd
like the FB to stay tight to any down block-stay
imide out ofthe tlap block and break oflthe block
on the playside LB.
The quarterback executesa full turn (360 de-
grees), or "whirlybird" action. We prefer this ac-
tion because of the holding eff€ct it has on the
linebackersand FS. On the snap, the QB will re-
verse pivot slightly past six o'clock.His second
step (balance step) must insure that his Bhoul-
ders will be perpendicular to the LOS- The thid
FS
step is a ride and follow the fullback-tum to the sc
inside, sinl the mesh, and carry out the option
fake.
\

The Trap Option E

Once the trap has been established and LBs begin


to step up on play remgnition, the defen€e makes
k) 6
itBefvulnemble to the trap option. The QB action
and subsequent mesh with the FB has the pot€n-
tial t lieeze the LBs and FS.When this occus, it s
time to run the option off the trap fake. The
backfield action is ideniical to the trap
everything must look the same (seeFigure 3, a
and b). r1j4lrriIt
Frcunt3Bl
A good coaching point for the QB is to sneak a
peak at the pitch key on the fiIst step. The The Tlap.Option Pas6
whirlybtud action allows the QB to accomplish
this, since he doesn't have his back to the pitch This is an excell€ni seriesbecausethe pass look
key on the fi"st step. This is particularly helpful is identical to the trap and trap option. When we
to the open end side! throw offthe hap-option sedes, we have specific
The pitch back can also assist the QB by rec- ideas in mind-w€ want to control the pitch sup-
ognizing hard pressure and making a call to the port on the option and take advantage of a fast
QB as the stunt is recognized.Tte line blocking flow LB. T$o routeB that accomplish these objec-
is identical to the tlap-on the tlap option, we tives arc shown in Figurc 4, a and b.
"log" the 6ame defender who is happed on the This serieshas beena supplementto ourwish-
trap pla). This has the potential to oeat€ conflict bone triple option attack. The tlap haB kept our
for the defensivelineman. fullback as a threat in the offense; the trap op-
The trap option giv€s us a misdirection type of tion pmvides a misdirection option with hemen,
option play that has an excellent "Iie€ze" effect dous freeze potential on the LB and FS, and the
on the LBs and free safety. It's imperative to es- trap-option pass has taken advantage of a sec-
tablish the FB trap in order for th€ trap option to ondary which aggressively supports against the
option phasesofthe series.
RUN OFFENSE 17

FIGUBE
4r TraFopiionp'33 slrnt lo SE Trapoption Pas throwbackto TE 4s
FIGUBE

.7 ':
ae o c|

1993 Summer ManuaL. C@ch Taaffe is head,cooah at me Citddel.

$ e i { $$ g*E x $ $ { |] 8! t a it }
r Ei g g * * * 1 1 E & ?
The Flexbone Offense
FISHERDnBERRY
4 t:* $ & $ * * 3 B X g$ g * Q !i t A BE $ $ C t& X { s $ * *
Wjthout good players, it makes no differcnce what formation at the Academy, we felt we could incor-
offensive folrnation you line up in. For whatever porate oul mn offens€ ftom itjust aB well as our
successwe'vehad, we're indebted to our players, pass offense.
their execution,and theit belief in our offense. Being an old secondary coach, I've always felt
There's no magic in the term "Flexbone." The that play-actior passing was the toughest to de-
origin of this term came {iom our Sports Infor- fend. Tterefore, the concept was to use this at-
mation Departm€nt two years ago when Coach tack to run our base offense and, hopefully, make
Ken Hatfield remarked at a prcseason press con- the defense a little softer for the run. The offeme
ference that we would try to be more "flexible" in could also make our pass offense look exactly like
our attack from the Wishbone. Actually, the our lunning plays, and give us more opportuni-
Flexbone iB nothing but the 3-back, 2-split end ties on third-and-long (hopefullt running the
wishbone o{fense, with the halfback positioned Wishbone you won't be in this situation too of-
one yard behind and one yard outside of our tack- ten) and in our hurry-up offense.

The Wishbone has been criticized for not be- Reasons for Option Offense
ing a good pass formation, particularly in long-
r-ardage situations. Under my forrner head coach, We believe in the option oITenBebecause it's:
Jim Brakefield, at Appalachian State University, . unique in a pass-orientedleague,
we used this set for our long-yardage and 2-
. difficult for our opponents to gain familiar-
minute ofTense,becauseit gave us four quick re-
ceive$ on the line of scrimmage and it tended to ity with in a week's prepamtion time, and
spread the defense out a little more and diverted . an offense that doesn't require you to knock
their concentration liom the run game to the pass everybody off the lin€ of scrimmage, but al-
game. Therefore, when we started to toy with this iows you to leaaf the defense'scommitment.
18 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

For these reasonsthe olTensegives our play- tion play to look €ractlJ like the run, and we feel
ers an excellent chanceto be srccessful,because this crcatesa lot of one-on-onecoverage,whichis
nolrnally we don't measurc up to the physical all you ever want in any passing game. This at-
standards ofour opponents.We must dependon tack also auo{'s us to use only one pass protec-
speedand quickness. tion, thus rcducing oul practicetime on pass pro-
If you don't "read" the offense almost every
qnap.fhen youre defearingrhc purpo"eofuqing The slotback run-or-passoption complements
it. Repetition isthekeyto beingsuccessfulin the the base option and $.ill rcally put the rover or
€xecution ofony offense,and we don't have a lot corn€rbackin no-manh-land (seeFigure 2). The
of meeting time with our players, due to their slotsimply reads the covemgeand its reaction to
heara academicdemands.Therefore,the offense
suits our limited pmctice time becausewe don't
have to make alotofchanges from weekto week.
FIGUBE
2 Slolbackrun-orpassoprion
The triple option, shown in Figure 1, is our base
pla)r We read the fiIst man outside our guad.
Vercus a 50,6-1, or otrset defense,we'd read the
defensiv€ tackle. Against a 4-3 defense, we d read

/"*i
the defensive end for the handoff key to our FB.
The rcal key to the ex€cution of this play is the
timing of the slotbacksgetting into the same re-
lationship as they would be from the regular
Wishbone.

FIGUBE
I Fl€xbonetripleoption

the suppoit of the option. If the support hangs,


he rum it;ifthe suppod comes,he merely abops
it ov€r his head.You can designatewho to thlow
the ball to by adding the term HB or X to the call,
and that way if the deep coverageis rcleasing
fast on the potential run, you have a deep pass
with blocking support in liont of the paBser
The down-theline frontside hook route in Fig,
ure 3 is one of our favorites. You're almost as-
sured ofhaving one-on-onecoverageon the split

FIGUBE
3 r;*id.h."k
If you ovemhift you. defense, oul QB witl be
alert to run away from your shength, and we
might al6o employ one of our eight-man front
blocking schemes and carry the second option into
the secondary. There are several ways you can
block the front and we adjust game to game.

Play-Action Pass
We want to establish play-action passes from all
our baseplays.becauscwe re goinBlo bc primar-
ily arushingteam, and this type ofpassingis the
toughest to defend if you'rc having to defend the
run so hard- We want the pass from the base op-
RUN OFFENSE 19

end if the defense is supporting the run aB it


should and ifyour ILn game is effective. The key
to the playis a 13 comebackto 11-yardhook,and
the QB must make itlookjustlike the option. He
reads the rover for his release.
The backside hook is t}le next progression when
the defense is overplaying the r-un and reacting
very quickly (see Figurc 4). You should end up
with one-on-onecoverageon the backBidealso,
and the QB will read the drop ofl LB whether to
go to the SE on a 15 comebackto 13-yard post
hook or to the flarc back. This gives you some
misdircction to your offense and Bhould slow the
defensedown so you can get more mileage out ol

Theseare the Bequencesofpassesoflthe base


option. Of courBe, there are many ftontside and
backsideroutes1ou can build off ol The main
coachingpoint is that it all must look like the

FIGURE
4
option running play, and the playels must add a
lot of"acting" and deceptionto their maneuvers.
Also, you will probably want to consider
misdircction running plays, because the defense
will prcbably show the tendency to run with your
motion ftom this set.
You can see that this is a complete package of
the triple option liom a double-slot or Flexbone
set. The defensemust also be ready to cont€nd
with and defend the pull-up and sprint-out pass
game from this alignment. Therefore, you have
the d€fense off-balance in normal situaiions and
still have a good thid-and-long and 2-minute of-
feNe formation.

1984 Sunmer Manual. Coich DeBe.r! is head coach at the Air Fot@ Aedem!.
20 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRATEGIES

t ; l*tllii'.,",t]i I t ll] i: t } : : iit ir : $lll lilr , : ill :


The Double Wing.T Package
(TUBBY'
IIAROLD RAIMOND
ill t* ll ilir:tr ', i: : : . t Q t t : t : , : lr it lr : * l: l ri ,l:1
The Delaware Wing-T has always been senes or
Bequencefootball, thrcat€ning several points of FIGUBE
3 l- p""br"*r"s
r...,,i*
attack as itflows toward a particular flank. This
style of oflense creates defensive conflictB and @ @ @tr@@@
involves packag€sof plays.
Formations create blocking angles as well as
tactically place eligible receivers and, ofcourse,
C C o
every formation has two flanks. Traditionally, our
lormations fell into two categodes: those with C
tight end and wing(se€ Figure 1), and those with
a slot (s€eFigurc 2). ers who have dual responsjbjljties or conflictins
defensiveassignments.For example,a flank that
TIGURE
I Wing-Tforfirtion with iighl end
is suppoded by a defensiv€man who must also
cover the flat, or an end who must seal and con-

@ o@tr@o@ tain, may be padicularly r.uln€rabl€.Plays that


have a reasonabl€chanceofmaking 4 yards are
called primary plays and may become 'short-
OC listed" on our game plan. Short-listed plays that
are related and flow toward a pafticular flank
are called "play packages."
CO At one flank we have the traditional tight-end
wing that proyides excellent blocking angles on
No. 3, while the two receivemat the wide slot on
FI0UnE
2 ffi*r,...",i." the oth€I flank make it difficult for No. 4 !u cre-
"i,h"d ate a hard comer to the wing. We will attack from
@o @I@@ @ this folrnation in thrce ways: with short motion
attacking either flank, with extend€d motion to
CO either flank, or with no motion at all. Now let's
examine the flank d€fense to the wing against a

oo twical s€ven-manfront (seeFig:rue4). Player 3

TIGURE
4 Flankdotense
lo lhedouble-wing
Double-Wing Formation 5
An effective addition for us was the double-wing
formation that bas a strong running,game po-
tential yet encouragesthe use of the pass (se€
Figure 3). This formation gives us a 4-back run- 3 3
ning attack from a 1-back fonnation. It has a
wing at one flank and a wide slot at the other
giving us th€ advantagesoloul other two most @ o @t r @@ @
effectiveformations.
Our game plan is to direct attack flow toward
CCC
a selectedflank orflanks. In the formulation ofa
plan, we selectplays that have a good chanceof
driving the ball in areas that are defended by play- o
RL\ OFFE\SE ]I

rs outflanked by our wing, yet he must be ready the buck sweep.Rem€mber, the end is threatened
ro seal the end's shoulder, protect hims€ll from by the block down from the wingback.
ceing blocked down by the wing, and still con- The tight end "leads down'(i.e., he wili move
lain the quarterback. Player 4 is offthe line. toward the defensive tackle and if he is closing
down with his tackle'B down movement, the end
ooubte Wing-T Package will move up to block the backer). The tackle
blocks down, moving into position to block the
L'sing our "package theory," here is a twical se- defensive tackle ifhe stunts down, the linebacLer
-^sofpla]6toeach nank.beginningrothewing. if he plugs, or the noseman if he charges. The
$p ll run (he two lradiLionalplays lo Lhcwing: guard pulls and traps the end inside out. The
i h€ power sweep and the buck Bwe€P. quarterback hands the ball off to the fullback
The power sweep forces the end to meet slanting over the right tackle's outBide foot (see
:rrength while pulsuit from the defensive liont Figure 7).
!. picked up with the tackle and guard "over block-
rng'and the end's consciousnessof the scraping
linebacker (seeFigue 5). FIoURE
7l o"i"k".P

5
FIGURE

The next play in this package is the "down op-


tion.' The tackle and end start to block down as
blocking the trap, but the tisht end quickly moves
up to block the backer. The tackle blocks down
Blocking for the buck sweep lorces both the again and the onside guard logs 3. The quarter-
defensive end and tackle to be aware of a block back again reverse pivots and fakes the ball to
lown on them while being threatened by com- the fullback, who will carry this fake and block
panion tlap plays (seeFigure 6).
the defensive tackle. The quarterback executes
The next play in this wing package is the quick
the option on 4 of keeping upfield or pithing to
rrap on the end. The presswe ofthe sweepto the the left half(see FiEure 8).
ning makes the defensiveend (3) vutn€rable for
:his quick fullbacL tlap with blocLing related to
FIGURE
8 l-p""..pr*
6
TIGURE

VV V
j-'r/
n
\-/
r1n
\,/
Tt
\_,/ L l

-
22 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

The pass{iom this option play has beenequalb


effectiveas the run. The right halfrcleases with
FIGUBEl0 l wid*"id.i,,"."ii*
width and looks over his outside shoulder.The
endmovestoblockdown, delaysiwo counts,then
releasesinto ihe deep flat at a 4s-desreeansle
(seeFisurc 9).
This passwill be thrown from behind the rieht
tackle at a d€pth of3 to 6 yards, dependingupon
how long the quarterback is able to threaten the
fl ank ex€crting the run-pass option aspectof the
plav.

Bellykeepoptionp.ss

fiap-Option Pass
The trap-option passisth€ next play in th€ pack-
ase. The pmt€ction is simple and ihe options work
risht off the basic play.
The spread end besins his crack path on 4,
anticipat€shis support action against the option,
then turns up field, being carefui not to move into
the coverase ofthe ftee Eafet)'.The slotback flarcs
and immediately looks ov€r hi! inside shoulder.
The left half leaves in motion, developsa pitch
relationship with the quarte$ack, and will ei-
ther get a pitch or continue in the patteln as wide
as the freld will allow, with little depth.
The quaft€rback rcverse pivots with two st€ps
exactly as when €xecuting the tlap option, and
allows his head and shoulders to complete the
Wi.te-Side Flank pivot so he can determine as quickly as possible
what 4 is doing. If4 rea& th€ trap-option threat
Now let's look at the wide-sideflank and a pack- and begiN to support, the spr€ad end should be
age of plays that flows to that flank. We like the open and the quaderback will hit him quickly
option to this flank, as opposedto power sweep (seeFisure 11).If th€ cornerbacksuspech a pass
or blocked sweep,becausewe don't iike the idea
of our wingback having to block a tackle.
When running the trap option to this spread TIGURE
II
flank, the spread end's assignmentis to crack on
,1if he is inveded, and ifnot, releaseoutside and
stalk No. 5. The wing's assignment begins with
checking 4. If 4 rotates quickly and leaves the
area that would allow the spreadend to crack on
him, the wing mr13t block 4. If not, the wing $.i11
flare and stalk 5 (seeFigue 10).
The fullback bends his paih around the
quarterback, fakes the trap aspect ofthe trap
option, and keeps his hands over ar imaginary
ball.After the seconddeliberate step away from
the center, the quarterback complet€Ehis pivot
and runs directly at 3, executing pitch-keep
option.
RUN OFFENSE 23

:nd cove6 the spread end, the flaring right half backer in case he blitzes. The guard traps and
be open. If both 4 and 5 dmp with the re- the offside tackl€ pulls down to seal the front be-
-at
:€a,.e,the quarte*ack may executethe option of fbre blocking back on th€ defensive tackle
.rher pitching the ball or keeping it. The fullback now ha! position pdority as the
lVe've probably used the trap-option pass as quart€rback rcverse pivots. The tullback dives for
ruch as the option itself, {'ith a great deal of the right foot olthe center, and the quarterback
,:ccess. Once we are able to predict the defen- will move acrossthe midline as he hards the balt
!:!e reaction to the tlap option, the passmay b€- off (seeFicurc 12).
rDmean attack all by itself.

fhe fiap Ptay FIGURE


12
The final play in this packageis, ol course,th€
:.ap itself. When the defensive tackle becomes
:n\ious to puBue the option or rush the passer
;nd doesn't closedown v.ithout tackie's movement
rr stunts outside, he becomesvulnenble to the
:rap.
Against €ven spacing, the tackl€ \i.ill lead down
rn the defensivetackle then move up to bJockthe
sackex AgainBt odd spacing,he will take a lat-
oral step inside, avoiding contact with the defen-
.ne tackle,th€n moveup to block the backer Th€
='uardwilJ post even spacing or lead venus odd
:pacing. The center will block the area against
!\en or post against odd. When posting the
noseman,the center must be aware olthe offside

1982Summer ManuaL CoachRa.vmondis hedd coa(h at the Uniue\itr of Detauare


' iiq l t

Gontrolling the Ball With the Pass


BILL WALSH
: : , ).' , i : I li i ; i * ri .i t e Q : 1 i a,, l: t, il ]} 3 !] i i 1 i I
My philosophy has been to control the ball with offensive line blocking. We will go to the play pass
the forward pass.Todo that we have to have ver, as often as we can, especially aB we get to the
satility verBatility in the action and types of opponent's2s-yard line.
passesthrown by the quarterback.
Action Pass
Drgpback Passes
The third category ofpass that most peopleuEe
W€ lik€ the dropback pa33.We use a tbree-step is what we call the action pass,where your quar-
dmp pattern, but more often we will use a five- terback movesoutside.There are a coupleofrea-
step drop pattem oftimed pattems dolvn the field. sons for moving outside. One certainly is to avoid
Frcm therewego to aseven-stepdrcp. Wlen our the inside pass msh. For a dropback passing team
quarlerback takes a seven-st€pdrop, heh allow- we'll sprint or "waggle"as we call it outside to
ing the rcceivem time to maneuver down the field. avoidblitzers who appmach stmight up the field
Therefore, we will use a three-step &op pattem on us. The other advantage is to bring yourself
when we are thrcwing a quickout or hitch or Elant closerto the potential receivex
which, by and large, the defenseis allowins you
to completeby their alignm€nt or by their cover
ag€.
Th€ five-step &op pattern for the quarterback
calls for a disciplined pattern by the receiver.He
runs that pattern the same way eve4. time. He
doesn'tmaneuver to beat the defensiveback.
Too oft€n in college football, either the quar-
rerbacl rs .tandingthere$ aiting for lhc recFivFr,
or the receiver has broken before the quarterback
can thow the ball. These are the biggest flaws
you will see in the lorward pass. Now when the
rcceiver breaks before the ball can be thrown, th€
defensive back can adjust to the rcceiver Any time
the quafterback holds the ball waiting for the
rcceiver to break, the defensiv€back seesit and
breaks on the receiver.So the time pattern rs vl-

Play.Action Passes
You can't just &opback pass.You have to be able
to keep the defensefrom zeroing in on your ap,
prcach. That's why lhe play pass is vital. By and
larga, the play-action pass will score the touch-
down. Th€ dmpback pass will contrcl ihe ball.
For play-actionpassing,we have certain block-
ing fundamentals that we use.We will show dif-
ferent backfield actions with basically the same

24
PASSOFFENSE 25

We'll get outside to throw the ball and get our- By the time we have complet€d 8 to 10 plays,
s€lves closer to the man we want to thruw Lo. we\e forc€d the opponentto adjust to a number
\\'hen you can get outside, the trajectory of the of thinss. We've kept him off balance with the
ball can be flatter becausenormally there isn't a t''pe of thing we were doing, and we pretty much
:]lan betweenyou and the receiver establishedin a given serieswhat we would come
The venatility also includes changing your
' rmarions.We continuousl) changc rF.eiver That's a good approachto offensivefootball.It
'sidth and spacing.We seldom will line up our fo(es you to go into that game with a certain
.€ceiver wiih the same spacing on two or three calmness.You know where you're going rather
:lavs in a mw If we want to throw theball to th€ than having to say, nvlat in the hell do we do
Lrrjidp.$e will reducethe split of the receiver. now?"Occasionallyplanned plays don't work, but
\\'e need running room to the outside. We don't we keep going. We don't change; we don't worry
r ant the ball in the air very long. If we want to about it. We try to create an effect on our oppo-
:hrow inside, we will e).tend the Eplit of our re nent. Th€ effect is that he feels he has to adjust.
:!r!ers, so that there is more maneuve ng room We present different looks and dilemmas.Werun
:, the inside, and spread the defense.Our backs, the bau dght at him. We throw the ball over his
:r many t€ams knoq will cheat to get wherc they head.Meanwhile,becausewe know what the play
.are to be. We know that if we throw to backs, is, we readily seewhat their adjustments are.We
:.€ first thing on their mind is how to releaseout try to get a line on their firBt down defenses, but
:j the backfield.We are quite willing to move the we take it from there.
:ran to get the release and sometimesteleeraph
'i hat we are doing. We are quite willing to do that ,n scoring lefiitory
.. rl^IheideaIhal $hen$cwanl robrFakagiven
I have seen many teams march the ball beauti
udency, we simpiy line them up there and run
fully, but risht around the 15-yad line, they are
! mething else.
already warrning up their placekicker,because
wo will vary tbe splii ofthe receiv€rsaccord-
right at that point defenses cbange, the freld they
:_.gto th€ pattem and the coverageand, ofcourse,
can op€ratein changes,and suddenlythe basic
:. add ve.satility. The biggest problem you will
r:re in the forward pass is when you have to offensegoesall to pieces.
::row the ball a numberoftimes and, with a very My contentionis thar if we arF on their 25,
:nited inventory, you begin to throw the same we'r€ going for the end zone.Failing at that, we
, em over and over.Youger rnlo troublc. will kick a field goal.In an evenly matchedgame,
The a4ument that yon will throw the inter- I don't want to try to take the ball from th€ir 25
to the goal line by trying to smash it thmugh
:.ption has to be qualified with how much you
people,becausethree out offourtimes, you won't
.irotr about the forward passinggame versu€the
make it. Unless you are sup€rior Of couNe, if
:rnning game. In our last game, our opponent
you are vastly superior it makes very little dif-
:rnbled five times, and we threw no intercep-
ferencehow you do it.
::rns. That might have been the differencein the
Why? First, every defensive coach in the coun-
try is going to his blitzes about right there. The
pass coverage,by and large, witl be man-to-man
Play Selection coverage.We know that if they don't blitz one
down, they're going to blitz the next down. Auto,
)re ofthe facto$ involvedwith our srccesByears matically. They'llseldom blitz twice in a row, but
:io with the Cincinnati Bengals was that we lhe;41blitz ererl orhpr down. If ue go a
r ruldbecinto set agame plan for the openingof "eries
where there haven't b€en blitzes on the first two
:ae game. We continued that at Stanford. In a downs, herc comes the safety blitz on the third
.:ren game, say, for instance, against Southem down. Sowe are looking, at that point, to get into
l-ilifornia, we ran the fiIst 12 playB we had the end zone.
r.cided on in ordex Ofcoune, we ran out ollists By the style of our football, we'I] have some-
lcause the first 12 worked and none worked body to get the ball to a little bit late-just as an
-q thal. Bur rhF p^in1i" $e wenr l2 plals in outl€t to get 4 or 5 yards, to try to keep it. tsut
.der. right downtheline.We went eight shaight from the 25 to the 10, w€'re going for the end
::mes scoring the fir8t time we had the ball.
26 FOOTBAI,L COACIITN"GSTR{TEGIES

Midfield and then go to our seven step drop man€uveriDg


patterr on third down. As you can sce, most ol
Betweenouro\!n 10-yardline and the opponeni's
our offense is based on ball-control passes,no
25, we operateourfield offense.We know that on
matter $.hat the situation.
fiIst down our ball control passjngis vital. By and
Figure l showsvou a ball-controlpassthatSid
large, on first and-10 you']] get a 2-decp zone
Gilman may have developodsome time ago.It's
zone-typedefense.Wc can drop the ball off to a
ono of the most effectiv€ fo.ward passeswe'vc
back late and still make.l to 5 vards. Those4 or 5
yards are as impodant to us as somaother team
making the same on an optioD pla):
You often will see us run $'ith the batt ox sec- TIGUBE
I
.rnd-and-10,becausewe lrant 5 yards. Ifyou run
a basic running pla].,you can get vour 5. s
At third-and 5, we arc right back with a ball
controi pass,dunping to a back, and w€'re mak,
ine it.Ifwe can make 30 first downs agame, we'll
s,! >

short Yardage WE B

$'e have standardpassesto throw against a goal-


line defens€.Too often people try to go in there
OCT CC
and buttheads withgood lineba€keN onthe goal
line. Too often they don't mak€ it.
If \l'e got inside that s-yard line, hau the rrme
we are goine to thrcw the ball. Now, if you're
marching through somebody,you can just close
your eyesand hand the ball om Butwhenit's very
competitivej that goal-line pass is vital. So we
have a series of thos€. We never call them any-
$'hcre else on the field.
whpn w" afp arourd 35Jdro lrntsin d
shod-yardagesituation, ilwe 'herrdon't s€csonreDouy 22 Z-tn
standjng deep down th€ rl]iddle, we're probably This is afi1'e-stepdrop pattem. The quarterback
going to go for thc six points. takes five big stcps and a hitch step and throws
To nake it on third-and 1 we will often urow on time. The rccciver splits 12 to 14 yards. The
to a back out ofthe backfield. Third-and,3 is the flanker releascsinside for 5 to 6 yards and then
toughest ofall to make. We have a cerlain list of busts hald to the outside foot ofthe comerback.
runs and a certainlist ofpasses.Whon we ha1'ea Wlrat he wants to do is to get that comerback on
third-and-S, we don't grope.We go to it- his heels.Thenhe'lltum in about thrce stepsand
catch the pass 12 yards deep.
Ball.Control Passing The fullback runs what we cali a scat patt€m.
H€ doesn't havc any pickup, and he releasesto
Donr isolareI hruwingI h^ f^r$ard pds-r. a gi\en the outside.He nover cafthes the ball more urar
down and distance.Ifyou are going to throw the 2 yards past the line of sc mmage, most often
ball, you must be willins to tbro"' on first down, right at the lina of scrimmase. If the backer
not a token pass hoping for the best, but a pdss blitzes, he loohs for the ball early.
that is designedio eet vou a certain amount of OuI tight end picks off the near end back€r
yardage. He'ilput hjs head past that man's shouldor,slow
In ourball-conlmi passins,we wilt usethe five do\,"n,and make contact. He bouncesoff it and
stepdrop pattcrn on first down,becausewa know, gocs to the lar guard position, turns and faces
throueh the drilling ofour quarterback, that we thc quarterback, ard watches his eyos because
can eet 4 or 5 dropping the ball offto a back, \,!ho he's the last outlet.
is an outlet, or to a tight cnd. So we are quite The quarterback throws theball r€latedtothe
willingto throw a ball-control passonfirstdown, sky safety.Ifthe safety gives ground, he'tl throw
PASSOFFENSE 2?

:: :xe fullback. If the safety flattens out, we'


r: .r in behind him, in this caseto the flanker
FIGUBE
3 22 z-in ro iighl end
. ::
:..::.--an-to-man,theflankerr'unsaman-to-man
trying to beat the come. Ifit's man-to-
:.:-. :he safety will often chasethe tight end,
r,: ::.re wilt be a good throwing lane with the
: .!: !-:: comin g out on the fulback.
'.tlLen we throw to the fultback (see Figue 2) \:
\lvl
-: rall should adve to him a foot in front ofhis
WE
: - :=r If thefullbackhas to rcach,he will take
::- :::. oiTlhe ball, slow dowr or break stride,
,r,: -: bably g€t nothing out ofit.

- REUBE
2
s Y7':
Out Pattern

*;I
The out pattem is a timed pattem thrown from a
five-st€pd.op. On atimed pattem, a quarterback
doesnot take a hitch step.
The receivergoesstraight up the field as close
to tull speed as he can. At 10 yads he crosses
over and breaks out. H€ catches the ball at 12
(seeFigure 4).The SP doesn'tcare about the cov-
erage,other than if they roll up, he runs a seam.
He doesnt care wh€fe the delensne baLk i" lo
cated,and he doesnt chansehis angle ofrclease.
Hejust runs the patt€m.

:'-en he catches it, he goes up the sideline.


-i. :el] our backs, "You want the sideline."The FIGURE
4
::rson is that only one man can tackle you at a
::ne, and he often und€restimatesa ball-carner
:i.rng the side]ine.What w€ are after on 22 Z in
:i a ?'to g-yard gain to the fullback, or a 12-yad
1 s
S>
.-:in to the flanker. The fullback gets it about two
::r ofthree timeB.
I ^
Ia the two primary receivers are covered, our
: :ancrback will come back and took at the tieht
.nd. As soon as the tight end sees the
:rarterback's eyes,he slid€slat€raly for the pass I lE
\COT o
] CC
N E B

\?
< Figure 3).
\\'c have seversl other options off our 22 ac-
:i r. depending on the defense.We hav€ a Z-in
"- : : tullback
motion, a circle-out with our flanl(er,
!: i a llout with the tight end. The key to the U{ d- _)

: rss is the fullback. He should average 7 to 8


. :.ds a catch.That's what we mean by ball-con-
:: . passrng.
28 FOOTBAIL COACHINGSTRATEGIES

The quarterback decid€spriorto the snap and


just after the snap whether h€'s soing to thrcw FIGURE
5
him the ball or not. The quart€rback takes five
quick steps.Notice I said five big steps in the Z'
/\
Is
in. Now that we're thmwing out, the QB takes
frve qaicA steps.He can't lead the receiver with
the passbecauseany time you lead a receiverwho \,
is mnning parallel to the ball, he'lI never catch
up to the ball . N
Throw dgbt at the man's hip.Ilyou throw into
his body,the defensiv€back doesn'thave any way
to get to it. What we are trying to get here rs the
)^ cc l
defensiveback giving ground this way and then
losine lateral gound thh way. That'E on single \'.

On this pafticular pattern both receivers do


the same thing, but I would say most often the
I d
flanker gets it. The tight end tak€s an imide re-
lease,goes straight up the field, and runs a fuU
speedcmssing pattern, but never crossesthe ball.
The tight end on his basic crossingpattern is the
oneyou go to on man-underdcfense.If a team is FIGUHE
6 nght end oplion versus
running rnan-under,that kind of an out rs sur-
cide. So ifour quaderback seesinside-out cover-
age on v,'rdereceivers,reasonablyclose,his drop
now goes right to the tight end; he's looking for
the tight end to beat a man-under linebacker.

M Pattem
WE N
The backs play a key rcle. They check the back-
ers on a blitz.After reading for the blitz, the back \oc T t)
r-uns what we call an M pattern .
""
1c--
In the M pattern, the back moves 1 1/2 to 2 \
yards back from his blocking position. When he
is 61ard. deepand 3 yardsout.id. the offen"ite
tackle, he turns upfield looking lor th€ M pat-
b
On the M pattem, the weak linebacker some
callhim a defensiveend-takes away the square Hook Patten
out, we hold the ball, and pop it fisht off to the
hauback (seeFigue 5). Now let's look at the seven-step drop patteln. This
There's also a tight end option off the double is one play that we've almoBt worn out.
lqLare-out patt€m. As you can s€e in Figurc 6, On a seven-stepdrop patterl our receivers will
wh€n both middle lineback€rucoverbacks to the maneuver Werc going to run a blue left for us, a
outside,andblitz one man, thiB isolatesour tight right, which is motion, and we'rc going to r"un a 79,
end on a backex He has a goodchanceofbeating whichr. $ eakflo$ pasqprotFction. NowX rs going
the backer. to run a pattem on the weak side (see Figure 7).
PASSOFFENSE 29

You vary the width ofthe receiver. He m^y be


Blu6.ight rc X-hook l yard split or he may be 12 yards split, depend-
ing on which linebacker we are trying to beat. X
works up the fretd, gets past the man who has
short coverage, and turns in. We tell him to get
past the W and beat the M.
On this pattern we tell our receiver thst he
must go at l€ast 12 yards and never more than
18 yads on the hook. Not because h€ can't get
op€n, but because the quarterback can't wait that
OC T C C long to thow. A lot ofit is predicated on pa6s rush.
We say never less thalr 12, because we can'i have
a hook develop at 12 when our quarte$ack takes
sevensteps.

-1979 Prcceed.ings.Coach WdLshis offensiue consultant fo. the San Frcnaisco 49ers.

: ii ,)1 ,,4.ill: t l ] ' :1 1 ::::!.;ii:ti:::t u ,1 l .l i

A Simple and Flexible Passing Game


HERBMEYER
Ei, i
0
i. !e b€en an l-formation team since the mid-
il- utilizingthe pro, slot, twins, and power sets
IIGUBE
lr slor dghl
-.c Frgure 1. a dt. Philosophically.we are pri- C O CNCC C
:=rll a running team but feel thst in order to
:,:re the ball consistently,we must: (a) have of-
i+:-.i'e line communication, (b) be able to trap,
o C
I:l cl be able to tbrow the ball.
ts€1ngsble to thow the ball doesn'tmeanjuBt
'-:.rsing it, but rather being preparcd to ilo so
C
-:-enever
it best complementsyour running at- C

fl8Unt flGUnElGfr,r".,,rh,
OOIC C O ooonoo o
o o
o
o
3i] FOOTBAIL COACHINGSTRATEGIES

The double look in (see !'jsure 3) and the


FIGUBE
ln double quick out (see Fig:ure 4) are just two or

oor o o o the patterns we use. On both plays the outside


receiversmake their brcak on the fifth step. The
quarterback must decide,with a pre-snap read,
which side he l\'ill throw to; he then has a key to
throw off of, lo thai,.qide.

FIOURE
3

tack. It also meansbeing able to thro* \'!hen you


have to in the 2 minure -"iruationsand when
you'rc trying to pla) catch up.
Our emphasison the passinggameva ed from
year to year $'ith the abilitr ofour quarterback.
\1'eused all phases of the passing game drop-
back, sprint out, play actjon, quick passes,and
bootless but ill a haphazardfashion.As dcfonses
becamemore sophisticatedand put grcat€r pres-
surc on the running gamc, it became apparent
that we'd havc to do a betierjob ofcoordinating flouBE 4 T o.,br"
q,i"k
and integrating our passing attack. "*
To pick up some ideas, we spcnt lwo off-sea-
sons contacting collegesthat lan the I and had
successfulpassinc offcnscs. It was during this
timc that $'e flrst bccamc acquainted $.ith Paul
-t I \/
1-
Hackctt, who lvas recruiling our area.Sincethen,
he's had the greatest inlluence on our thinking
o \ oorcoo
as i1 applies lo passing the football. \.-)
\/
Spread Formation d
Paul showedus the virtue ofutilizinsthe sprcad
set (see Figurc 2) in the obvious passins situa- The spread also allowed us to audibilize our
tjon and how it could facilitate both the quick spdnt out at thc linc to takc advantagc ofdcfen-
passinggameand th e sprint out pass.We adopted sive rotaiion lEeeFisure 5).
tbe quick-passseriesfrom the spread bothsidcs
runningthe samepattems offive-step cuts, with
the quarterbackusing a three-stepdrop. Our out-
TIOURE
5 Sprintoui right
side rcceivers always line up with their outside

@
flGUBE2 Tsp".d,rsn

@
OOT C C @
o
@
@ o
OOTCO
I
PASSOFFENSE 31

The USC passing attack philosophy is to bal-


:lce powerrunning \ rith "read passing."The Tro- FIGURE
7 All hook(dghl)lrom r-lormatlon
_ins zerer ask the quart€rback to nrn with the
rall. Since we'd incor?orat€d various option plays
nrth our baBic I-for'rnation running attack, we
jrdn't feel we could spend the necessarytime to
:.rfect a pure leadingJ'pass garne.However, with
::e balance of the spread formation, we could
.\pand the quick-pass theory with a frve,step,
: "opbackgamp.Our prilt]a0 patt€rniq qhownin
a,gure 6.

TIGUBE
6

FIOUBE
8 Sprinto0t righl wirh backsi.le

il1
When the quarterback determines the side we
are going to throw to, the insi& receiver to the
orher side staF in to block, alwayBtringto pro-
tect the quarterback's backside. The tailback's
.""I
I
}{-

assignment is the safte (block or run his rcute)


(hen he is in the l-formation, just as when he is FIGURE
I T sp"" *,*-
in the wing position on the spread(seeFisure 7). ",
-\ny of the receivels can be called into an indi-
\idual route of the basic pattem to take advan-
tage ofan individual defender or defemive weak-

We also refined ourbasic sprint-out pattern to


the liontside with an 8-yard out and seam and
incoryorat€dthe "comeopenlate" receiver on the
backside with a 14-yard post-curl (see Figure 8).
This atlows us to sprint either way and still pro-
rect the quarte$ack's bachide.
Against an overshift or four-man rush on the
frontside, we can get an extra blocker wrth a
-Max" call and pull the uncovered G or C to pro-
tect the backside(seeFigurc 9).
32 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

By applying the same principle to dropback and


play-action pas6es, we can detennine tbe side of
III;
fIGUBE
the play in advance (pre-snap read) so that the
quanerback has only Lorcad hi6 key ro deLermine
which receiver to throw to. Our basic patterns ,''\

1)
that can be used with all actions are the sideline
pattern (BeeFigurc 10), the curl (seeFiglrre 11), '\
and the across(seeFigure 12).

FIGUBEl0 l srd"I""e"."- o ootrccc I


CO
,'t (' C

J ."'..Jt \o c FIGUBE
12I_A"."*
'-'..

r
I
3 ootroc
l"_') o

1982 Pfr@e.lines. Coach M.ler is tuad coach at EI Cdmino (CA) Eish School
PASSOFFENSE 33

&g& * I $ $ $ c : & & * &g ! * * * a $ & p € e $ & $ $ g $ &


Making Pass Pattern Adjustments
I,AVELLEDWARDS
:$ *, ** * r ger r Err Q xrx*$gxttttx$ttt
W€ are committed to the forward pass as our . We looh to tdhe ad.uantage of uhet the
means ofoffensive football. Our passins attack is d.efense gioes us. We guard against being
basically fivefold: greedy and going for the long ball if ith not
there, or for€ing the ball into coverage. We
. We trr to protect the pa$er at aU ttmes.
try to execut€, be patient, and attack the in-
Our eforts are to devise schemes that will herent weaknesses in anv defensive scheme.
prot€ct the passer, leaving little to chance- . We heep it simple. We show the defensive
. We war.t to control the football with the
team as many different looks aB we possibly
foruard pass. We emphasize thrcwing the can while still running the same routes and
ball downfield, but we also emphasize the plays over and over again.
Bhort and intermediate passinggame.
. We rub to eet up the pa,ss, and pass to set My focus here is on t}le specific adjustments
up the run. We nrn t}Je draw to slow dom we make on particular pass pattems. For the sake
the hard upfield pass rush and mn wide to of clarity, let me define two terms for you. Apdss
take advantage olthe soft corners, who are mlrre iB the route mn by an individual. A poss
more concemed about pass coveragethan patrern is the total packageof passroutes run by
about nn! suDDort. the various rcceivers,
The halfback in our offense must b€ a versa-
tile athlete who can block. run. and catch the foot-
ball. He must also be smart and verJ alert, as we
give him a number of pattern adjustments. For
example, Figure 1 shows our halfback read op-
tion from our basic for.rnation. Note that he aligns
as wide as posBible, often directly behind the of-
lensive tackle or at least splitting the inside leg
of the tackle. We also have him in a two-point
stance, as we do with our wide receivers. His
width allows him to release better into the pass
pattem and his stance allows him to seethe line-
backers and coveraEesa little better.

TBOUREI

I\

d \ccn
\a
o1
34 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

Figure 1 ihshates how we att€mpt to verti- lineback€r rtlshes, th€ only thinsthat chansesis
cally sl retch a dpfense.Thp single$ ide receirer that the halfback mtrst now run his mute versus
turns a fly r,eith an outside releas€. The inside of the weak outside lineback€r,rather than the in-
the two receiversrrns 6 to 8 yards upfeld from side linebacker. This same adjustment applies in
an insi de release,then plants and aims for a point anyman-to-man coverage,regardlessif there are
15 to 17 yards downfield in an area that, hope- one or two safeties free (2-deep,s-under man).
tully, has beenvacatedby the sinsle rcceiver.The As the figure illustrates, there is a lot offield to
outside rec€iver on the two-receiversidc runs a work with versus mancoverage,as everyonehas
2o-yard in, a route that's crucial for us aeainst clcared out ofthe area.
man-to-man coveras€.There is a larse void area
becaw€ most of the coveragcis weak, and this
rout€, if run properly, should bo good for a 20- TIGURE
3 HB sdjushenl ro mancoverage
yard advantagein man-to-mancoverage.Thefull-
back runs an armw to facilitate the 2o-yard in to
the outside rcceiver.The quarterbacks progres-
sion is to the halfback, to the crossingrout€, and
then to the clearing route. t
Being the primaryreceivea the hahbackmust
be able to make the appropriate rcads. Ifthe de-
fense is in a 3-,1 alignment and both weak out- 5 T Cc
lvl

?
qidFand insidelincbackcrsdrop in a srronsin-
vert coverase, then he finds an open area approxi-
mately 6 yards deep. Splitting the two lineback-
ers, he turns and readies himselfto catch the foot-
ball (seeFisure 2).

Man blitz coverage presents the problem of


FIGUBE
2 HB adjush€nt ro 34 with wLBs pass protection ifthe defense decides to rush both
weak outside and inside lin€backeru at the snap
and choosesto cover the hauback with the free
tc safety (se€Figure 4). In this situation, the half-
, back breaks hard on a shallow flat, right along
,/ ss' tbe line of scrimmage and, hopefully, the free
rv' safety has a long way to go to tackle him. Ifhe
coo - ^ misses,a big play will unfold. We will throw the
ball immediately,utilizing the "hot" p nciple, as

t,
o
flGURE
4 r M""bri,,".*."""
FS
If the defenseis in some type of man-to-man SS
c
coverage,then the halfback releaseshard, and
utilizes pressure to get as closeas he can to the
defender.He is allowed to go eiiher inside or out- C \ccJFoco C
side, dependingon the position olthe defender.
Figure 3 shows the route ol the halfback ver-
sus a man with a free safety coverase, with the
weak outside linebacker on a blitz. Ifthe inside
?.
PASSOFFENSE 35

lhe quarterback knows that therc will be a de-


f€nder unblockedand that the halfback will look
FIGURE
5 HB squ€ezedby WLBS
immediately.He must deliver the ball beforethe
defenderreachesthe halfback. t
The defense may chooseto take away the half-
back by 'squeezing" him on his route with both
tIt FS

l,
rf€aklinebackeN. In that case,the read then goes
to tho inside double receiver, who should find a
hole in his intermediate rcute (seeFigure 5).
We bave presenled6e\eralcoverages lo gi\e
'iou a feel for our adjustment philoBophtaThis pasB
lattern has been a goodone for us and allows us
tr goodpattem, regardlessofthe type of defense
're anticipate or encounter,

ta8s Pro,pjdrnEs Co6h E.luanls B hpod , @ch at Briehon Young Un,tpRttr

: ] i l l l l l !11| ll:*ti il ]]l$ll {:' lri}l{i$$,


The Three-Step Passing Game
JOHNMACKOVIC
,]i $ ti * { t 3$$t 8: Q 1l] 1i $ $ ? $ i r l l i i i r i r $ i i rl
r complete passing attack has the ability to thow The 9O Series
::e ball long and Bhort, on ffBt aBwell as third
::\rn, and to use the dropback,play-action, and We use the 90 Series to attack defenses by creat
:r€n an occasionalsprint or roll-type action. The Ing one-on-one 6iluationsbe($eenwide receiv
::ree step alropi6 part ofa completepa8soffeme, eru and defensivebacks. These passesare used
.:rether the offense ft primarily for dropback or exclusivelyin run situations where the delenses
::rint-out passing. In thiB article I'll present some are committed to playing both run and pass.We'll
a rhe fundamentals of how we teach the three- also use it a limited amount of time in the 2-
r:ep passinggame and what some ofour stlate- minute offense when we feel that we can take a
:.es are for using it. quick completion to the outside and kill th€ clock.
-L three-steppassing game is used most effec- We use a variety of fomations over the length
: .-h on first and seconddorns when defenses ofthe season,as t€ams look for down-and-distance
::E keyed to play the run as well as the pass. Al- t€ndencies in certain formations. We want to dis-
--:rugh we're known as a passingoflense,we also guise our intentiom as much as po8sible.There-
.lnt to be able to run the bau etrectively and keep fore, on any given day we may thron the 90 Se-
-
::f€nses of-balanc€. This forc€sour opponentto ries from aB many as four or frve formahons or
: :\ cov€ragesthat put them in better run sup- different looks than what a defense may have
:.:( positions,but that may be qrlnemble to the been prcpared to see.

Tle three-steppassing game is predicated on


9O Sedes Protection
;:: !r ng receivers against defensive backs in a one-
_
-rne situation. Ifyou can't run effectively,the The 90 Series is basically a three-st€p drcp se-
:=inse will very likely roll its €overaeesand ries with quick routes and aggressive protectron
::trble cover the wide receivers, forcing all the (seeFieure 1). The backs are re8ponsiblefor the
:,-.Ns to come back to the inside to tight €nds end man on the line of scrimmage and must block
::i backs for less yardage and less success. aegressively b€fore releasing into pattern
il 36 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

!
Hitch
LEGUREI I SOsories veBus 43
This play works best when the corner is lined up
c
l..f
FS deep or gives ground quickly on snap. It's more
often open to the left, due to a slower rcad by the

I WE
5 e d0 elj
\-
o
rMres l

6 o
ght comer. Select a formation that predicts a
safety zone. In a slot formation, key the defender
over the inside rcceiver (Y).
Ball must be thrown on time and with veloc-
ity. This is a no-lead pass, thrown away from de,

?F fender. Use backs as outlets after checking out-


side receivers(seeFigure 2).

2
FIGUBE Hllch

Thnee-Step Quarterback Drop FS


c c

A
The QB should get separationfrom the cenrer on

J
his first st€p with the dght foot, keeping body T
weisht forward over the left foot, and his ]€ft
shoulder pointed downfield or slighdy open. He 0
should shorten the secondand third steps, and
be pr€parcd to pivot and thow as the third step
hils rhPground.
The elapsedtime fromrhc snapro pivor is nor-
mally0.9to 1.0second,and the QB is 4tosyards
from the LOS when he throws. QB-Pick a side and verify on snap. Five-yard
drop.
XandZ Hitch at 5.
Sample 90 Series Plays Y-Release inside. Hook over balt at b/6.
A and B Aggressiveprotection.
We have a few plays in the 90 Series that have
beenespeciallysuccessful.For our purposeswe,ll
distinguish them by the primary pattern being Quick Out
r.Lmby the two outside receivers. Now let's look at a good first down and second-
and-short play. Be alert on pre-snap read for
single covemge. Try to select formations m cre-
ate a safety zone. In slot formation, key the de-
fender over Y This is a no-leadpass,especiallyto
the sho{ side. The ball must be thmwn on tim€
and with velocity and accuracy.Keep the ball
down and in front ofthe receiver. Do not fone the
ball; you can always throw it away (see Figtre S).

FIGUBE
3 I_;I"K.,
FS
c
llwc rt \ , 1 T
t \ -i-
rn \ >v v U 60 I
\6
--rt
>-
0 lz)
(A ) -
t
PASS O!'FENSE 3?

OB Pick a side and verify on snap.Five-yard


drop.
F IG U4BE
I;
XandZ Out at 5. Fake versus kick.
FS
Y ln"ide release.HookovFrball ar 5 6.
A and B Aggressive protection.
"/*,,,,
Srant
A
\:_/
\ A A\_./- A
\ \,-/ Lr \.-./
: this play, the outside receiveN make a fast
'. iase driving at their defend€r.They plant the 160
,:iide foot on the third or fifth step, break in- \<
. r. at a 4o"degreeangle, and arc alert for the
-: . all the way (seeFigurc 4).
@t
The ball must be thmwn between the seam rn
-i:racker &ops. Accuacy is the key, not veloc- QB-Five-yard drop in +20 and verBusman-
:. This is a no-lead pa8s as corner will close to-man cov€rage. Seven-yard drop versus
: -:ilt to the ball. Backs are outlets (shoot)when press,
.:ackers drop inside.Recejversplits are im- X and Z-Slant at 5.
r:::ant: Th€ vrider the split, the more shallowthe Y Releaseinside. Aler.t for pop pass.
: a:i. The clGer the split, the deeper the heak. A and B-Aggressive protection.

)90 ProceedinEs.C@ch Ma.houic is hea.l coach at the UniDersitJ of T4tus.

: $ * i $ $ * { E f & $ {& l: x { B4 $*ggl-|{ t $ €t i


Airball
STEVE SPI,]RRIER
; ' { B ]}C * { g g x * Q €t { gt t } | i i x$ i ic, i I
--::hree most important factom forjudging the in any good passing attack, the backBshould catfh
.
-::::s of a pass-orientedteam are whether it aBmany passesas the wide receiveG.
,- a controltheba[, (b) ma]e first downs,and We also release our wide receiverson an in-
:::v on the field. We've had successfulpass- side angle when running the post and middle
-j :.'ams.seasonswhere we had the ball longer rcute, which is different from most teams. Our
' : i ,:'ur opponents while throwing over 45 times preference for throwing against a 3-d€ep zon€
:-- i:me. We didn't buy the old theory that says would be the wide-field curl (see Fieurc 1). We
j rhrow over 35 times a game,you cant win.
r - i.am Young has been proving that theory FIGUBE
I
'-::: ior manyyeaft.
.. prac ce rime involvesabout75i passing
.- : l;.2 running. ArId still, at times I think we
:!: j too much time on the r-unninggane. So in B
. . :.ricle I'll focus 1007.on our two-back sprint
::r. :nd one-backdropback passing games. E N

Sgrint.DrawPassing Game
o c Ep
I
,-- .:nnt draw passing probably looks like just
,1 i: e\eryone's,but I thinl one
' , : : much successis that we thow to the tail-
' r:r rore olien than other teams.We believethat
38 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

try to hit Z or Y' then back to TB. Z wil} catch the


ball at about 16 yards.
41 2".,*,","""r
flouBE
Our preferenc€for a 2-deepzone would be the
shorl'freld corner (se€Figurc 2). Ifthe coverage
takes away the WRs, we try to immediately frnd
c
C
the TB and get rid ofthe ball. We'll hit X or Z at BE

A
T
20 to 25 ya.&.
T nta) /
FIGURE
2l sh.".fbrd* Eea
o One.Back Passing Game
In our one-backpassing game, we use two pro-
tections.Our slide protectionis desigrcd for only
four rushers but can protect three from eachside.
It is the sane as sprint-draw protection to th€
oftensive line. Th€ one-back has a double read
from rhc injidp LB ro the oulqideLB. Thrs pro-
We also have a "middle" rout€ againsta 3-deep tection is desjgned to get four receivers out quickly
zone (see Figure 3). We look for Z if no safety is with no blocking r$pomibilities.
deep,thenX, thenY orTB. All four receiversare Figures 5 and 6 show pattems agaimt a 3-deep
in Yiew ofthe QB. zone and a 2-depp7one.reqppcri!ell.Again.we
want to throw curls against 3-deepand corners
against 2-deep.
FIGURE
III Middb-,r" Ifw€ get eightrusherE when in aone-backfor'
marion.we go Io rhe 3-decppass.the offpnsi!F
c line blocks the insidc gap arca, the back goes
weak, andY also blocks inside (seeFigue 7). We
allow the wide lushers to come free, expecting
the ball to already be thmwn.

Curl rout€sversus3-deepzone

Our protection scheme,and the rcsults, have


b€er so goodover th e years that we continuewith
the basic tuln-back protection principles. When
expecting a blitz, we like to get into a twin for-
mation and throw Z a post or comer route (3€e
Figure 4). This protection gives us a chance to
block eight rushers.
PASSOFFENSE 39

FICUBE
6

\ iB
"l /. r
@ 1 CO

7
FIGUBE Pickingupeight-manrush in a

s eP r B ss!
-r
\ OYC'i CQJ
)\.)//
These are just a few of oul pass protections
\Y ' and formations.We believe that to have a hishly

b successtuloffense,itmust appeartob€ verycom'


plicated. But it mrct also be simple for the coaches
to t€ach, and easy for the playem to learn.

1989Pro@dinEs. CodchSputier is head coachat the Uniwrsity of Floridd


40 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRA.'ITGIES

i 1l ! 1'''..,..'); i: ! a a:).,,:::: t,:; I i i! i:1:: i I


Spreading 'Em Around and
Airing lt Out
JIMWACKER
,l l:. ..,' r tB]ltt

Why go to the "one-back,no back' passingattack? Blitz.Beating Routes


The fiIst reason is simply that it is a formatjon
nade for the passing game. The more you can Figure 1 shows a pm-risht formation with fly
spread out the defense,the casi€r it is to throw motion, which puts ourB-backin motiontowards
the ball. There are several reasonsfor this. the tight end. We ihen run five-step mutes for a
The first, and maybe the most important rea, quick horizontal stretch and the quarterback
son,is that it is easierto read blitz when you ar€ throws to the guy that he thinks iB going to be
in a one-backor no-back formation. Ifthey hav€ the most open. Ifthey blitz, obviously,he can go
lo covcr lour or fiv. rAcpi\er" un th€ line olscrim- into any one ofthe five recejved becauseit is a
mage, that maans the maxjmum that they can thre€-step route. We wi ll run this same rout€ with
bring is either s€ven or six. Ifour quarterback does corner routes by the No. 2 rcceiver to one sid€
a sood job of recoenizing a blitz, we should mini- ard Ihp No. 3 rccerrerLothe oLher,and thi. now
mize the number ofsacks, and we have a chancc of prts a vedical stretcb on the defenseas well.
rcaliy putting a lot of points up on the board.
W])en they blilz you in the one-back,no-back,
they tum th€ game into high stakes poker. As F]GUHE
I NGback-quick
horizontalstetch
Jongas you have a good t ggeman, you\e got a
good chanceofmaking the scoreboad explode.
The secondrcason we like to spread the de-
fenseis becauseit opensup routes fo} youl short,
horizontal pattems. The simplest patter.nin the
world is to run four or fiv€ receivem, stop th€m
all at 7 yads, and throw to the guy that looks
open.You spreadthem out in the t ps formation
L@f...hr
?
7
lo
onthehash, with three wide receiversto the field
and two into the short side. In the middle ofthe
field you can go two and two, or thrce and two, @
but the defensemust go out and cover them.
It's impodant that you thmw any time you
have anuncoveredreceiver,and w€ motjon toget Figure 2 puts three rcceivers on stop routes
to the no-back olTensea lot of times in oder to and the two inside receiverson corner mutes. It
tahe advantageof mistakesby the defense.If th€y is excellent asainst cover 2 or ona free, and you
makpc misraleand uc geran uncovered receiver, can now reallybum the defenscwith a de€p cor-
it's the sholtest, quickest, easiest throw in toot, ner as longas the quarie$ack has time;ofcoufte,
ball. We'vehad someofthose turn into really big ifhe is feeling pressure,he will take il to one of
plays for us. The fbllowing are some examplesof the shoft stops underneath- Both ofthese routes
the short passing gamo ftom the one-back and are axcollenl against the blitz becausethe quar-
no-backformations. terback can unload the ball in a huny.
PASS OFFENSE 41

FIOURE
2 FIGURE
4I ;

l
lvl
CC!CO

loq Highnand lhke the Top Ofr


If the free safety jumps the A-back, we will take
In spreading the defenBeyou can put rec€ivers
a shot at our Z, who is mnnine the far hash. If
lo\ bigh, and take the top ofTthe coverage."We
either corner overlaps,we will thmw to one ofthe
itructure a lot of oul passing game around this
wide receivers on the outside. If they ar€ playing
particular pdnciple. An example would be 84
a lot of man-to-man, we .!\.ill again try to hit the
Stretch, shown in Figue 3.
A-back against "on€ fte€,"but we will t4. to check
out this pattern ifth€y blitz. Another very effec-
FIOUBE
3 tive complementary route is to run the B-back on
either a B flat, a B option, or a B delay,depend-
\s ing on linebacker undercov€rage.
\ Another version of the v€rtical stretch would
= be 334 Switch (seeFigure 5). We again are run-
ningfourverticals. Ifthe playsidetight end opens
). early, we throw him the ball. Ifhe doesn't open,
6ccf c c we can either thow to the flanker in the side
pocket on the strong side or we can look for throw-
b
? back. Ifwe look for throwback, the X js iunning
the hash marl and the slotback is running the

FIGURE
5 [ $4"*i,"r,
;

The low, high, and take the top ofTthe cover- trl
-rgeprinciple can be incorporat€dinto a number M ^f
l v,/
: differcnt formations and ditrercnt patt€ms, and -t/tY-_l
:J especiallyeffectivewhen you are tryine to at- CCTOC
:trck zone coverage.
On our 334 palern we wi]l run rwo receivers
l.wn the hash marks and two receivers deep
l,rwn the sideline, and basically key the free
itrfety.Ifhe plays in the deep middle, we should
_€ able to hit the A-back underneath, as he is
..rnning a lump route" down near the hash nark
ree Fielrie a).
42 FOOTtsAILCOA'HING STRATEGIES

whe€l down the sideline.Both ofthese are option


FIGURE
6
Ifit b cover 3, the X-rcceiver wiU mn deep down
the hash and look for the ball and try to catch it
"'\ c
in th€ seam betr,\'eenthe ilee safety and the cor-
ner Ifit is cover 2, he will s€t the route down at
about 15 to L8yardsand lonkfor a r hrouing Mn-
"[
1l
dow inside ofthe WiU linebacker.
TheA-backalso runs an option.Ifitis man-rc- b{ ccrci I
man coverage,he will either take the top offthe
coverage,r'unning hard up the sidelin€,or he will @o/ G)
"set it down' on his wheelpattem. The B4-J5play-
action really ties in weli becauseit looks exac y
like o11rbase running play, which is a zone div€.
The quarterback then slmply reads the coverage
and tries to find the open rcceiver.
Another way that we work low, high, and take put us in a no-back formation and the quarter-
the top offth€ covemg€ is with our curl anatspear back can read the same pattem to either side.
route (see Figure 6). This is a frve-steppattern The low, high, and tak€ the top off the cover
and the quarterback will now rcad the Will line- age conceptcan be developedthroughout the en_
backer. If he cushions the curl, we wil thrcw rc tir€ passing game. If you are using this concept
th€ slotbackon the Bpear.If he works through to agaimt zone coverage, the receivers always work
cover th€ Bpea! we will throw to X on the curl. to find a thrcwing lane inside ofthe linebackers.
The tight end will run a post pattern adoss If it is n1an-to-man coverage, the receivers rurn
the face of the lree safety in order to keep him out the pattem into a runaway, which means they
ofthe curl area. Ifthe free safety tries to rob the simply run thei patt€rns across the freld. Run-
curl to X, we will thow the post to the tisht end. ningaqay from thcnparcstdefenderwho s cov-
We will also sometimes motion the B-back iowards ering them is the easiest pattern to hit againEt
the tight end and then r-unhim on a quicL spear man coverage.Thishas been an easymle ior our
to uncover th€ strong side curl pattern. T.hiswould receivers to rcmember.

-1992 PNceedings.Coath Wa.karuas head coachat ttu Universitt of Minwmtl.


PASS OFFENSE 43

t l i i l q it!l.i!11f I ;11;::lli : iiit;;,


Passing First and Passing DeeP
JIM SWEENEY
I ii : !i t n !: i i ! 1 Q ri I I iil ; :: ri i 1 : * | 1 l ] i
I is always int€resting for me to talk with coaches
rvho are mn-oriented in their thinking but, nev-
ln
FIGUBE verticalseamswlih oprion
oltnse vorsus3-deepinverl
ertheless, make statements leading you and
'-emsclvFsro belipveIhal the) are coachinga FS
-balance"between the run and the pass.
I aBk them a question which separates "run_ c
SS
:rers' from "passers"r "How often (percentage-
.\rjp' do you rhro$ on firsr doun? P)ayrngde- wt v
BE N I E S
:enseagainst a t€amthat thows th€ ball onehalf
rrtwothirds ofthe time on firct down makes foot-
3all an entirely difibrent game.
COPTIONCDIVE
OTCDIVE
OC INSIDE
VEER
.) .
crB crR v crF ourslDEvEERv
oPTIoN DIVE DIVE
Pass on First Down
,lur game-planphilosophyis that we'rc going to
CO

",1
:ass on frret down. We believe that our run \..ill
:{ better if the defense is thinldng pass. There-
::re, we packagethe play and "check with me" c
. trsus defenseswhich are stdctly pass stmc-
:rred.
Our coacheBin the pressbox are programmed
:.: rhink passon fimt down and to anticipate their
o
, ENES

C OI C C O
SS

:-\t call as being second-and-10. Ther€fore,


:..! re always thinking about thrc\ 'ing the ball
: i easyto throw a 7- or 8-yard pass completion
o C
I first down and then make a successful r-un call
: ic ause everl' defensive coachnow treats seconal-
::d-short as a long-yardagesituation, and itbe-
CC
::nes almost a gimme to run the ball. In study- Verticalseamswlth pass
:.g game films in college and pro football and n-0iiFEtBl jtr:i15j111
--:rking the same obseNations in watching TV,
. -. our opinion that teams scorc with alanning
We still are going to packagetbe play against
:iaularity when the offensemakes a big play (20-
.:fd gain or more) somewherein its ddv€ to tbe the defense-and we are going to spend as mu€h
practic€ time in picking up blitzing and dogging
. rl line. Teams that try to gdnd it out on the
defensesas we used to spend in pefectine our
.-:rund, with no big plays, seem to scoreless of-
veer tracks and ballhandlins.
our off€nsive philosophy as veer coachesfbr
: :.n1'years was basedon th€ objectiveof attack' Pass Deep
; ihe vertical (un€overed)seans in the defense
. :n as much velocity and quicknessas possible. Our off€nse is predicated on the deep pass, but
r. now base our offenseon getting the ball into almost always we are going to be able to ihrow
:.-.i lertical seams upfreld. Note the companson the ball on two levels according to the dmps of
: .ertical seamsin a veer offenseversus a pass the backers and defensive backs. we arc also go-
,=:1se(seeFiglres 1 and 2). ingto put alateml as well as avertical stretch on
44 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STR.A.TEGIES

FIGUBE
2n Verlical s€afi s with option FIGURE
3 Oeepinsidodropbackpa6! ptay
oflena€ versu6 2{eep hatves

lss
lt
cl lvl
I

I
IR EN ES
r)/-\a
\J\,/L
t] coo
OPTION DrvE/-) DIVE INSIDE VEER
tr C C
CTR C T B \-/ CTR OUTSIDE
VEEB
OPTION DIVE DIVE

C c--'-'
FS ss pattern is high. Il so, he progmms himself to
throw the ball in the seam to the flanker at the

c RE
*' lN ES c
12-yard breaLing point on the fifth step of his
drop.
Ifnot, he works the pattem weak on a seven,
C CCICOC step drop progaession. He keys the weak inside
backer to determine bis depth. Il the inside
backels drop has eliminated the crossing route
by X, then the quarterback thrcws the ball to the
tight end. We expect the tight end to get tackled
and pmbably be short ofthe first down, but it is
hard to gain 8 yads consistenttyon a run play.
verlical s€ams with pass off€nse If the tight end absorbs the backer coverage,
FIGUBE
2e the quarterback throwE the ball to X. The split
should get to a depth ofat least 1b yards, acceler-
ate out ofthe vertical route, and go slightly down-
the defensive coverage (without backs), thercfore field. This last is ofutmost importanceas it keeps
dispersing your "cover" people over as $eat a field hirD from a direct coliision point with the ftee
safety whose attention has been athacted by the
The fiIst pass we'd like to p€rfect is one which flarkea but who is now "clueing"the quade$ack
we work weakside more olten than not, bur we and breaking the ball.
always havethe "z-aled" phaseofthepass active We shol d also look at a pass play desi$red to
ifthe pre-snap read indicates a high probabitity go deep outside (seeFigure 4). Thesestems (out-
ofcompl€tion (seeFigure 3). 6ide route6) look alike on release brt break out-
Our split end (X) runs a deep crossing route side to keep the defensefrom zoning the forma-
(16 to 18 yards). Our weakside setbackruns a 6- tion, thereby lorcing them to zone the field. Our
yard-deep hook pattern in the vertical tlack of X-end mns a post-corner pattern. Our flanker
th€ split end. Our tight end makes an outside runs a post-cornerpatterr. Our tight end (y) runs
head-and-shoulderbobble, releases inside, and a deep dorvn-the-middlercute versus the 2-deep
hooks up 7 yards deep in front of th€ weakside and a deep (17 yards) pull-up in liont of the B-
tackl€. Our Z-back mns a "clearing" post mute deep Bafety or safety rotation.
12 yar& deep and continues through the free Our back r.l]ns what we calt a wide rcute. A wide
safety ar€a, keeping off the strong post side of mute is a s-yard upfietd st€m and a lateral break
the midfield. outward. We usually keep on€ of the backs in and
The quarterback takes his pre-snap reaatand prefer working th€ rout€ weak versus reduced de-
d€tennines ifthe pmbability ofthe strongside posr fensesand strong versu. balanceddefense..

I
t
PASSOFFENSE 45

We also want to r'un two types ofbootlegs from


Ds€poulsidodropbackp6$ Play it, one ofwhich is shown in Figue 6.
We play pass also from our sprint-draw run
play. Figure 7 shows one of two pattems we run
off this action.
We feel that our tlap and weak side "under
sweep" are two ofour best running threats, so we
want to be able to throw ftom that action also.
The best r'un play a dropbackpas6team can have
is the draw play.

frcunEg FB_il"sp*

Versatility at Quartelback
-l
$-hen I was very young, I heard a great coach
..rate that "Your quaterback doesn't have to be
d)
able to do ever,'thing-hejust has to do one thing
$ell." He waBtalking about the quarterback be-
ing a sprint-out or dropback or play-pass type
rhrower. We believe the opposite now. I would
rather have a quarterback who can do a 'little of

We begin our passing attack by being positive


about our methods of protection. We feel that we FIGURE
7 l s".r"!d.".""*
need different types in order to handle differ€nt
problems.One of the beEt ways to keep the de-
fense off-balance iE to change the spot ftom which
:he passerthrows.
We buil d our running attack $/ith that thought
rn mind. We want to run the sweep play reason-
:bly w€ll sothat we can run our "roll pass"action
+om it (seeFigure 5).

FIOURE
5

The best pattffn we run ftom dropback pass


C C TC O action is this one which makes the "Mike" backer
shorten his pass drop and allows uB to hit the
flanler with a high percentage ofcompletions and
for larye gains (see Fisure 8).
We have, aBdo all other dropbackpass teams,
many patternB which we favor in ceriain situa-
tions. We've discussed only the main concepts and
46 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRA.TEGIES

FIGURE
8 Oropb.ckplay-actionpass

shat€gies of our passing attack. I've fornd it ex-


citing and a rebirth, of sorts, to undergo the
chang€ of run coach to pass coach.This switch
can stimulate your creativity and heighten the
interest ofplayers and fans.

-1983 Prcceed,inSs.Coach Su@ney wN head @aoh at nas'! stata Univeftitr.

I il I I : {r i ! I ! t il i i ; c t : g$ $ i t 1 it i : : } : g r ] ]i I
ldentifying Fronts and Goverages
STEYEAXMAN
: ] ] j1 ],r;liiir ;,il .i rQ:Cit;X!iittll ]i ,dl
A young quarte$ack's inhoduction to the wortd ni€kel and €ven dime pemonnelhas allbut shat-
olaIlacking defensp"is uften a rude awakcning. tered those basic t€aching constructs.
He's sometimesov€rwhelmedby all the coachis Wherc does one start? One starts by under-
askinghimto learn: 2-deep,3-deep,combo,blitz, standing that rarely does a front and a coverage
man-under, drop end, rush end, gap control, design exist without an interrelation to ole ar-
nickel, brackets, and on and on. other. Fronts and coverages are almost always
With the name of today's defensivegame be- rclated, complementingone another to help pro-
ing multiplicity and disguise of both front and ducea coordinateddefensive packageof deepcov-
coverage,a coach must find the deht starting emge, curl{lat zonecoverage,undemeath cover,
pointftomwhich to help a quarterback develop a ag€, penmeter support, and gap contrcl fronts.
basis of understanding of fronts, coverages,and As a result, an understanding of the inter-rela-
thei subsequent interrelati on. Therc was a time tion offronts to coverages and coveragesto ftonts
rvhen a coachcould simply start with the concept can help produce what are fairly reliable indica-
ofodd sc!Fn-and eighl-manFronrsand lhFir rp- tom in the €ffort to attack defenses with run, op-
j lat€d covelages.However,the increasedusageof tion, and pass packages.

:l

:l

:i

h
PASS OFFENSE 47

Defensive Flonts and FIGURE


2 3-deepzone(sky)covelage
Goverages
To understand the designsofthe wide vadety of
fronts, it's impoftant to know the conceptEofgap c c
control. In its most basic form, gap control de- ss/'>
fcnse rclates to the assigning of s€ven front de,
lenders to the sevengaps of a lelt and rjght pro
"..Wr l WS
N -r E
ollbnsive fbmation (seeFigurc 1). C {uLx l (rv L ,tl
TIOURE
I
r-\ Y o
field/formation side in the form of the strong
cJiL--'!4 safety. (Field and/or formation strength is, of
w s course,relative to the ofTense's
forn ation.) There-
.)N _r-E r forc, the ftont must provide a flat zone/supporr

lcvcBvcclc defender to th€ weakside of the fonnation


To accomplishthis, the fiont should also work
(angl€/slant)weak to pmvide a contain defend€r
ro allowfor a dropour"idclinebackerln I hi. wJ),
the coverageand pe met€r support €an be bal-
With few exceptions,gap conhol defense al- ancedto both sides.
. r(s fbr one front defender iusually an outsrde Thereforc, the 3-deep,strong oriented coler
.rnebacker)to b€ a flat or curyflat zone defender age allows us to reliably predict that
:,r one side or the other. This is in addition to his
nmctpr supporl rebpon"ibilirics. . the weaksid€ outside linebacker is the drop
Tn rhe previ-
:xs diagram, the oveNhifted, reduced front 5-2 outside linebackerj
:.ignment allows for the tight end side outside . the front will work weak in its gap controt
:nebacker to be that curyflat zone, pedmeter efforts to provide a contain defender *,eak
.trpport d€fender (the weak DT);
There ar€ many vadetie! ofcoverages.Struc- . the defensiveline's A gap defendeaifthere
: :rally, how€\,er,we define frve basic families ol is one (th€ nosesuard),will work weakto the
rerage: weakA gap as in Figure 2;and
. the rush outside linebacker (E) will cone
. 3-deep,4-under zone from the formatiodfield side.
. 2-deep,s-under zone
Thre e-Deep Zone Cov erag e
' 2-deep,man-under tndicators
. blitz man (3- or 4-deep)
B$ides the middle attitude alignrnent olthe free
Three-deepzone,ofwhich strong saf€tyinveft, safety and the oft€n obvjous inverted strong safety
I skt',is the most common,is a strong-oriented alignment, herc are some other helpful indica-
fcrage (1 1/2 deep defendersstrong and 1 1/2 tors that the coverageis 3-deepzone (skyr:
''1dprs seskj lhdr is usuallJea.il] rccogriz-
:: le There is a free safety aligned in the middle Weak Corner arll 7.Prus fardsr The weak
:he formation as shown in Figure 2. (When the corner is usually in more ofan isolated, one on-
: Iis on the hash,how€ver,he may initially align one attitude because he is away frorn the forma-
. the hash in a 2-deep aUgnment to give a 2- tion side.As a result, there is usually less effor1
::.p look.) by him to "disguise."
There are two coners aligned deep, usually Weak Outside Linebacket Atigns Ot,
- r:uds plus. The most distinguishing 3-deepsky LOS; The weak outside linebacker "cheats"his
r-l€nder alignment is usually the invefted shong alisnment to enable a b€tter/quicker drop in his
...lety to th€ formation/field side. flat (c11rl)zone pass responsibilities (seeFigue
The 3-deepshong-o ented coverageprovides 3). Such a cheated alienment may happen late,
: .url/flat zone, perimet€r support defender to the just prior to the snap of th€ ball.
48 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

FIOUHE
3 Weak OLB cheats on droplo FIGUBE
5 2ieep zone coverage
cu /tlat zonecoverage
FS SS
c
tt l t
q ,W
w s. ll c
T N e ;)r.r I t.q y
C T C (CCtrOC)C
C *o c
Detensive Linemen Shade Weak! An Okie backer so that the covemge and the perimeter
noseguard aligns/shades weak to best conhol the support can be balancedto both sides.
weakA gap.The strongsideOkie DT aliFs head It is the squatted weak corner defender that
up or on an jnside shade to best control the B allows us to reliably predict that
gap. The weaksideOkie DT is in a heavy contain
. the stroncsid€ outside linebacker (O) is the
alienment (see Fieure 4).
drop linebacker;
. the front will probably work strong in its gap
41 o.f.."i""ri**""h * ,
FIGURE conhol efforts to provide a contain defender
strong (the BameDT);
. the defensive line's A gap defender, if there

b.E crbo iB one (the noseguard),will work strong to


the strong A gap; and
. the rush outside linebacker will come from
tbe weak shor't side.
B€sidesthe squattedweak comer and the safb
fwo.Iteep Zone Coverage ties alisned on the hashes, here arc some other
tndicatorc indicators that the covemgeis a 2-deepzone:
Two-deep zone, ev€n though there are two bal- . Reduced(Easle) alignment weak
anced secondary defenders to each side, is treated . Less than a reduced (Eagle)look
as a weak-oriented coverage. Field and formation . Drop outsidelinebacker walks out on sprcad
considerationsforce 2-deepcovemgesto get ad-
ditional crrll zone coverageliom the strensth./fi€ld
side ol the ftoni, t€st there be definite coverase fwo-Oee p, M an.U nde r Covetage
weaknesscs lFfr opcn ro exploir.And yel, its a
tilted umbrella coverage structure in that there Two-deep, man-under coverage requires a cover-
are two short zone defende$ covering tbe curl age structure designation ofits own even thoueh
and flat zones under a half-field safety aligning it so thoroughly derived from what may look like
near. or on. the hash to the fonnation/field side 2-deepzone.Tlo-deep zone is pur€ zone with a
(seeFisue 5). structure of 2-deep/halvescoverag€safeties and
The two safeties may do their best to disguise s-under, short zone covemge defenders.Two-deep,
the 2-deeplook. However,by the snap ofthe ball, man-under plays normal z-deep/halves zone cov-
they'll usually be aligned on the hashes. In 2-de€p, erage safeiies, but the s'under coverage defend-
the emphasis ofthe coverage sh'ucture i6 that the €rs arc all mannedto specificreceiversas shown
nain perimeter support defender is weak, away in Figure 6.
lrom field.4ormation side. Therefore. th€ front Two-deep,man-under is still trcaied as a weak
must provide a curl zone defender to the strcne/ orientedcoverage thai is lilled slrong.The main
field side of the formation. To accomplish this, the perimeter supporl defender is weak away ftom
front must also work strong to provide a contain the fieldfonnation side. The ftont must plovide
def€nder to allow for such a drcp Wpe ouhide line- a man coverage defender to the field.formation
PASS OFFENSE 49

FIGURE
6 Man-Free Covarage
Man-free iB a coverage that hae many and varied
uBes.By d$ign, it allows for the rueh offive fmnt
delenderswhile manningon up ro five receivers.
with a free safety left to play centerfield. In itg
most common usage, the ftont will bring the two
outside linebackers and man th€ inside lineback-
ers on the backE(seeFigue 8).

FIOURE
8
FS
c c

side (usually the strong side outside linebacker)


to cover the tight end tme receiver man. The ftont s
must work strong to provide luch a dmp, man &r i N T
outside linebacker Bothat the coverage can man
C I n r-r I CC C
up on all 6ve potential receive$ and so that th€
perimeter support can be balancedto both sides.
In addition, 2-deep,man-und€r reliably allows us
c
to prcdict ihat: (a) The liont will probably work
shong in its gap contlol efforts to provide a con-
o
rain defender stlone (the strong DT), the defen-
siveline'sAgap (the diagram'sright), and (b) the Versus man-liee, we are thinking two rush
rush outside linebacker will come from the weal/ outside linebackers. The A gap defender will prob-
:hort sid€. ably work to shength away from the short €or'
Reduced(Easle) t,"e fonts and &op outside ner, weakside rush ofthe weal outside linebacker
,lebackersalisnedoul on spreadscl recei!€r. and weaksidedefensivetackle. Man-ftee usually
also relate to the similarities of2-d€ep zone and brings both outside linebacken to crcate the five'
2-deepman-under and their rclated front struc- man ftont rush, due to th€ need for contain rush
:ures. The following are some of the indicators assigrmenh since both comers are in a man cov"
:hat ihe coverageis 2-deep,man-under: erage mode.
. Inside.out corner alignmenb-Showing Man-free certainly has a much morc varied use
man rather than head up to outside zone than what waB mentioned above. Multiple fronts
look. This may take the forrn of a tight man and motions will often tip the hand of man-free
or bump €overuge alignment (see Figurc ?). and expose itB structule due to the main aspect
. Strongside outside llnebacke? alignt ofthe coverage.Sometimes, varied formations will
on TE-Showing man rather than a more show that linebackers other than the omide line-
normal zone alignment. The defender might backers are the rushing fmnt defenders. For this
align head up (seeFigtue 7);inside out; or in reason,we must analyze the front as well as the
a tough, bump type alignment. coverageto determine such conceptsas who is
the A gap defender and to what side the A gap
defender and the front are working. The follow-
ing are some of the indicatoG that the coverage
is man-free (all illustrated in Figure 9):
. FEo.s.fety midliold-The free safety will
usually try to play c€nteffi€ld to back up all
<BUI\4P man coverage play. He may not initially align
CCTCCC in the center of the field. However, on the
snap ofthe ball, he will usually work there
quickly
50 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

. Thtee.across man look Of the two . Free safety aligned to cover first
cor:n€rs and strong salety The inside-out 7- rcceiver out ot backtield (the second
to 8-yard deep configuration is olten a r€ceiver to the weak sidel Evenwith
grveaway. disguise,the safety usually works to a 7- to
. Strong salety aligns on TE-Alongwith 8-yard deep man alienment by the snap of
the FS in cente ield. this is often man-free'g the ball.
biggcslgivea$a).The coreragecandrsgrise . FouF.cross man alignment look-Of
3-deep sky very well. However, it's hard to the two corners and the two safeties.
diseuis€ an invefted sky strong safety look
Thrce.Actgss Blitz Man coverege, With
when hi" assicrmpntis 'in"ide.out)man.
. Inside-outside corner alignments 3-acloss blitz man, we're expecting up to an 8-man
blitz rush. The major concern is a fourth poten-
Showins man rather than a head-up to
tial rusher to one side ofthe formation or the other
outside zone look.
ftom the secondary.This might entail a weak cor-
ner blitz, a free safety blitz, a strong safety blitz,
FlcuREI T M"".r**r" i"db",* or even a strongcorner blitz.ID addition to some
of the norrnal man look indicators, the following
FS arp someof rhF indicator"that the .ovaraqeic
C C
8-acros8blitz:
. Cheaied alignments of the cotners or
the safeties-To put them in blitz position.
. lhlee.acaoss man alignment look Of
the non-blitzing defensivebacks.
O C C IC C . The cheating over of the lrce salety

C o ot strcng 3afely-To man cover for tbe


blitzingcorneror srrongsafery.aq shown in
FiEure 10.
Btitz Coverages
Blitz coverage is man-up coverage to cover fbr a flGUBEl0 l;,,."s"",*,brir,_rhft*
blitz. Herc comespr€ssure!The quafterback and
receivers must recognize the blitz if it is to be
handled and beaten. Blitz coveragehas its own <Fc rs ^ --r 449!9!9I-
set ofrules, as do€sthe subsequentdesignofthe
blir/ r'ushofihp fron r and secondary.Ourbic con-
cerns arc no longer which way the front will work,
who and where th€Agap defenderis, or who th€
&op and rush end./outside linebackers are. On a
blitz, the def€nse is gambling-relying on sur- C
prise, disorder,and pressurcto disrupt the offen-
sive design it is facing.
We break down blitz coverage into two catego-
ries: four-acrossand S-acrossblitz man in rela-
tion to the number of defensivebacks bejng used
This is only a beginning. It's a start-a foun-
to cover and,/orblitz.
dation for the quarterback's undeGtanding ofthe
Four-Across Btitz nan Coverage. With. int€nelation oflront and covemge structur€. Such
4'acrcssblitz man, we're expectingupto a 7-man an understanding is a must ifa quarterback is to
blitz rush liom the defensivefront. The following successfullyattack a specificcoverageand its re-
are some of the indicators that the coverageis lated frr-rnr,
or a front and irs relaredcoveragc
4-acrossblitz man:

-1989 Sunmet ManudL C@ch Alman is hed.l.cud.h dt the Uniuercit\ af Narthen Arizona.
PASS OEFENSE 51

:tli:;ifM;: :;: {; iit llli ! 11: : lt i; r ii * $* i


Key Indicators for Quarterbacks
RAYDORR
: : t r it ilr;i ::{ : Q lt : t t ! 1&ii: , ): rt
A football team, or any organization, can be suc-
cessful only with proper leadelship and direction. 1IIGUBE
!!l combinarron-m'ntronr
By the very nature of the position, the quarter-
back is thust into a positionofrcsponsibilityThe FS
coachhas a tremendous rcsponsibility and oppor- c ssc
tunity to educatethis pupil.
We place a premium on a quarterback under- E T NiT L
standing defensivefootball. We rcly on his abil,
ity to recognizevarious d€fensiveftonts and sec, C r\-/- ) fl- - /- l
L----] \-/ \J \,

ondaryal ignmen(s.Durinequa11€rback session6,


r-)
* e discussthesebasicdefensivefront alignments: a r-)
\-/
seven-man,eight-man, and combination Fonts.
Examples ofthese alignments are shown in Fig-
urc 1, a through c.
Once those tbree basic frontal alignments are
undemtood, then the four gaps to the left and right
FIOURE
h of the center are assigned a letter name. Then
different defendersare given numbem based on
where they align against our ofensive lincmen.
These numbers are refefted to as techniques.In
Figure 2 are th€ letters and technique numbers
which help our quafierbacks unde$tand gap con-
trcl, contain principles,and wbich member ofrhe
defensivefront might be involved in undernoath

TIGUBE
2 Unde6tandinEgap contfol

986 54 321 0 123 45 689


FIGUBE
h oo"cuooT oouo"co
C
Recoenizingand b€ing able to anticipate the
responsibility of a particular delensive player's
area is a major lactor in our success.Secondary
coveragesare generally broken down into 1-, 2-,
3-, 4-, and no-deepdefenders.We also find many
secondaries playing fonns of combination cover-
ases,using 1-,2-, and 3 deepzoneprinciples and
assrgningman conceptsto their undemeath de-
fenders.
52 FOOltsAIL COACHING STRATEGIES

Oncea secondaryalignment indjcateBhow the Our primary key is generally the shong saf€r!
deepzoneis defended. ir's essentialto recognize positioning in the defensivesecondaryWe have
the type ofunder:n€athcoveragebeing employed: also found it h€lpful to identify differcnt free
zone,man, or a combination of both. This can be Bafetyalignments irlretationship to the freld dis-
done with a high degr€e of accuracy only after tibution balance chart. Finally, we look for an
hours offilm study, a very completeunderstand- early indicator in alignment that could identi[
ing ofthe route, and how releasesaffect defend- flat rcsponsibilities.
ers when they are playing man or zone principles.
Figure 3 shows a field balanc€ horizontal- Principles of ldentitying
vertical stretch chart and rcceiver distribution
conceptthat helps identify defensiveindicators. Goverages
Early keys are possiblewhen th€ defemive per-
Borizontal-verlical
6tretchcharl sonnel are d€ployedinto their areas ofresponsr
bility pior to the snap.In many cases,a defender
i"ur".", = virtually eliminates the possibility of moving to
3l'ot vrDDL. NL/rvBrRS
SruDTr another area after the snap. These early indica
z-o-,G zoNr - zoNE _ zoNE zoNE toIS €an be affected by formations and the use 01
8 ==3 ofiensivemotions.
DEEP1/2 DEEP112
DEEP1i3 I DEEP1/3 DEEP1/3 Strong Salety tndicatorc
Figure 4, a through c, Ehowsstrong safety indi
UNDER cators in the 7-man front, 4-deep secondart
NEATH scheme.Figurc 4a is referrcd to as a low saf€t!
ZONES
In Figure 4b, the quarterback would think strong
CCT CCC safety 6litz and simultaneously check for movc-
ment from the free safety. The shong safety could
be positionedin any oftheBethree alignrnents.lf
therc is a rign indicator look (seeFigure 4c), the
Keys and Reads quafterback should then look closelyat the field
distribution balance fiom their free safet)
The starting point for identifying defenEivesec-
ondaries begiN with safety alignments. By the Free Salely ,ndicators
very nature ofthe 4-deepscbeme,the strong and
free safetiesshould give you both early keys and Many of thes€ early indicatoN have been in dL
reads on movement. Another area of the defense rcct relationship to strong flat responsibilities
we study is flat coverageresponsibiliiy. It's also The folowing sefiesofdiagrams will demonshate
beneficial to understand receiver distribution and free safety attitudes in rclationshjp to fleld dis-
how it affects the defense,either borizontally or tribution balance.
vertically.
A quaft€rback will oftentimes be able to de-
termine a defender's area ofresponsibility before
4r
FI0UBE
tbe snap by initial alignment. This is rcfened to
as a Aey. Even when he's not cer-tain of the total
coverage,a quarterback might eliminate some
coverages or narrow them down to a couple of
possibilities.
Early keys are difficult be€auseof the constant
poBitioning of secondary personnel before the
snap. When this occurs, quart€rbacks must
read-meaning to evaluate or discover-the na-
ture of defensive responsibilities through close
observations of a particular delender on move-
m€nt after the snap.
PASSOFFENSE 53

FIGUBE
4r FIGUBE
5r Fr€esat€ly/niddle zone allgnn|ent

'A"
Y

N
s TiE
C CC I o
C C
C C
FS.eFS
It_
li|
FS
S
ET NTL
c co E
f )
O C Ci
C I C
OCEC C
F
FlOuRE5gl ""j"dl"""'j'@1""

FIGURT
6
The free saf€ty will position himBelf in one of
:he five zones.These zonesextend firm the line
,f scrimmage to the opponent's end zone. The
rutside zonesext€nd from a sideline to the lunF s
]€rs. Adjacent to the outside zones are number LT N T E
,ones, which continue to the hash marks. Our
:riddle zone is between the hash marks. Now, the
tuarterback must ask himself in what zone the
C CC IC C
C
c C
iee safetypositionedhimBelfand at what depth.
In Figu:r€5a you'lI seethe fiee safety in the mrddle
C o
,one, occupiedat diffeent depths. If he positions
rimself high on either /los,ir, as in Figure 5b, it
r€comesimportant to deternine flat adjustments.
\\-€ak flat reBponsibilities are given a descriptive
FIGURE
7l-;*.df,.,
rame. This name generully indicates how the
iefense iB aligned in that area of the field.

L
Dele naive F rcnt rndic atorc
T T
In Figure 6 is a llormal defensive front. Normal
:s the starting point.
C CC uco
In Fieure 7, you'll Bee that th€ front has
:hanged to a stocAedweakside flat alignment. C
C
C
o
Through closer obseruation, you will see all the
.inebackershave chang€dtheir attitude.
54 FOOTBAIL COACHING STRATEGIES

In Figue 8, you seethe reducedEogrr look. If the play called was a coln€r pattem by the
outsidereceiverswith middleprebsure'sceFjg-
ure 10), this would be our quart€rback s declsron-
FIGUBE8 l R"d,""dE"sb,-,,r making process:

1. Wherc doesthis pattern place the greatest


amount of pressure on any indicator?
S 2. Wlat indicator verifies the defensive image?
i
ET NT 3. Is the early key holding true as I retreat
C CC TCC into the pocket?

o o In this case the quarterback reads the align-


C C ment of either high safety to solidify attacking
the outside zones.

FIGUBEl0 l;; p",r","1"


Putting lt All Together "n""r..."id"
zoneswith middleoplion

The quarterback is now arrned \.ith enough in-


formation to Bt€p out onto the playing field on
Saturday and er€cute the master plan. Figurc 9
showEall three difierent indicators at \{ork. These
indicators will paint a mental imag€ in the
quarte$ack's mind belbre the Bnap.

I l-;"", ."sr,
FIGURE
no
& ?
,s*rrh
""*rr,
FS ss

s i
NT iL
r-\ a r-\ TOC
o C Teaching and coaching quarterbacke in an or-
derly fashion allows them to develop a rht'thm
/-l
\-/ c and eoodjudement in the decision-makingpro
cess. The great quarterbacks can mind-set an
image and react to its changequickly.

-1990 SunMr Ma^uoL Coaah Dor. is ossistant codch at ftw A & M UniDcrsi.tr-
PASSOFFENSE 55

ll li i i t f l i &*!; i 1 1 :,:::::;::i tl , ) :11 , ' :;:lll i...


Protecting the Passer
I.ARRYLITTLE
:t, t ; + t I j1 :''' ::, t :
. . , 1 a'i., Q ll rr : . : lj a t :',:: "
During my 14 yeals in the pros, I had the oppor- . Never crossover,sinc€it is very easy to lose
tunity to play for some outstanding offensive line balance or b€ thown off-balance. Slide your
coaches:Joe Madro for 2 years with the San Di- feet to stay in front of the defensiveplayer
ego Chargers, and the next 12 yeals for Emie just as a basketball player plays defense.
Hefferle, Monte Clark, and Jon Sandusky with
the Miami Dolphins. Teams prot€ct the quarterback differently ac
In the yeals that Ite beenhead coach,I've had cording to the kind of offense they run. Some
Ihree outstanding quaderbacks and some excel- t€ams run all play-actionpasses,trying to get the
lent receivers,but th€ir successcould not have quarterback to roll right orleftto break contain-
been accompliEhedwithout the fine protection ment in order to have the option to mn or pass,
Ihat our offensive linemen pro\.ided. We try to with the offemive lineman run blocking, trying
instill a tremendous amount ofpersonal pdde in to hook or wall the delensivelineman away from
ourlinemen to protect the quafte$ack, not indi the direction the quarterback is mlling.
ridually, but colJectively,as a well-coodinated Someteams use only thrce-step drops by the
quarterback, wherc the oflensiv€ lin€man takes
To anticipate and adjust to any type of defen- on the defensiverusher on the line of scrimmage.
.ive charge or maneuver to do this with any t)"e Other teams use rcgular dropback prot€ction,
ofefficiency requires that linemen know eve4, where the offensivelinem€n sot a pock€t for the
po".ible detail about their opponenr.Offensivp quarl€rback who takes a five- to seven,stepdmp.
linemen should not be interested in physically
punishine an opponent,only in k€eping him off
lpes of Pass Protection
rhe quarterback.
We leach spveralpass proleclionh:firc, fi"" cul,
firrn, and resular protection.
Key Coaching Points in Pass
Protection Fite Protection
These arc the basic instructions I gjve to line, Or1rfire protectionis used for play-actionpasses,
mon for passblocking. mostly for quick out passeswhere the qualter-
back takes very shoit drops.Thesearc the block-
. Set quickly into a good fundamental position ing techniqueswe teach for it:
with both fe€t in contact $.ith the srcund,
body under control and in sood balance. If 1. Fire aggressivelyinto the middle ofthe de-
th€ defensive player makes contact while fensive rushel look eyes in, as ifit's a run-
you're still leaning back to set rp, the defen- ning play.
sive player has the advantage. 2. Beat th€ defender to the punch, strike out
quickly, hit up and throueh the defender
. Know wbere the quarterbackison eachplay.
using the hands to control him. Hit and
Ilnow whjch side to favor as w€ll as how deep
maintain contact and keep him occupied
you can retreat without intede ng with the
with the hands to regain position and bal-
quaft€rback.
ance quickly to accepthis new cbarge.
. Make an initial stand on or near the line of 3. Don't overeJ{tend.Keep your head up-
scrimmage. you're susceptibleto beinggabbed, pulled,
. Unlessit's an aggressivepass,letthe rush€r and thrown off by the defensive rushcr.
comnit fimt.Ifyou'rc ovemnxious and ov€r- 4. Ifyou can't get away,use your hands to con-
aggressiv€,you'll get into trouble. trol the defender and prevent turning.
r 56 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

. Center and guards-Hands in the middl€, Tackles Take one or two steps back on a
fight to keep them there. slight angle to force th€ defender outside or
. ?ocAles Favor outside slight\ never lose upfield. Don't get beat inside. If the defender
head inside. slants inside, use hands to driv€ him into the
pile without retreatjng too de€p.
Firc Cut Protection
This is a variation of firc protection. Here the Regular Protection
blocker is looking to cut down the opponent. Techniques
L Sray lo$ right from stanc".6re into gT"in
Regular protection is used to form a pocket for
to force the defender to keep his hands down.
the quarterback when he tates a seven'step dmp.
2. Look into the middle ofthe man, keep head
This allows offensivelinemen to retreat a little
up, and stay after him while keeping the
deeper.By position;
feet moving.
3. Throw block high €noush and with €nough Centerandguatds Responsiblefor form a-
force so def€ndercan'tjump over you.NeDer tion of the pocket. Must slay paIallel to the
just falt down in front ofthe defender. LOS while reheating. Use hands to keep the
4. Anticipate slant charye €ither way, and b€ defensive rusher from grabbing or pulling and
able to adjust and stay under conhol. to keep from being tumed.
Tackles-Take slight angles;never stay par-
Firm Protection allel to th€ line of scrimmage. Force th€ defen-
Finn protection is used for quick dropback passes sive iusher outside or upfield. Stay in front of
witb the quaderback taking a thrce-step drop. rusher, use hands to conhol, and slide feet to
Instructions are to take the defensiverusher on maintain balance.
at the line of scrimmage,but not to firc out. By
In conclusion, otrensive linemen should remem-
position:
ber that their feet are just as impodant as their
Center and guards Keep head up, set hands. They must keep their feet moving, but
quickly with hands in ftont, stay squared (don't must n€v€r retreat too deep into th€ qualterback's
get turned), and don't retreat more than a yad face. The quarte$ack must have room to thlow
becauseof the quarterback s short drop. the football and st€p up into the pocket-

1989Sunmer ManuaL Cotuh Little it head coachat North Carclina Central Unireftit\.

E
PASS OFFENSE 57

ri i i t : : ! i ll ! : I I I t : illit i; i, ! :,| ; I :, * .
Blocking the Blitz
JACK BICIC\TELL wrrn MIKE MASER ltvo VINCE MARTINO
r ii i r \ 19t I !i Ii 0 i\ ti i x ;$ ; i : ; i; i ;
The key to a succ$sful pa8singgame is protect-
rne th€ passer.We emphagizethis phase of our FIGUBE
I p.ss versus
Play-acrion
rnen8iveBchemewith time allotment in pmctice
:nd with the as8ignmentofour coachingstaff.
wlen we sit down as a staffto talk protectron B B

5b
:chemes,the first thingwe talk about is blitz pick-
:p. We have never had a practice, whether it be E rl
rn spring or fall, $rithout a 1O-minuteblitz pick-
:tp pedod.
Thc kcy to succcss in passprote.lion is assign-
:rent communication;that'swhy we settle on our
.Iaftels as soon as posEibleand don't change very
1uch. By working togethe! your linemen learn
:,) communicatewith one another.Ifwe havc a!
expFrrenced linpman. wp 1r) lo have experi-
inced play€rBon either side ofhim.
We have two basic maximum paBsprotection
ichemes, play-action and straight dropback.As
rn all maximum pasBprotectionschemes,we want
:o solidify the back side of the formation at all
: imes, which means trying to get at least lour men
.oncentrating on the sid€ away from the pattem FIGUBE
2 passversus
Play-acrion
roncentration.This is built into the schemeitself
:iom day one.We believe in teaching the prot€c-
: ion tboroughly and modifying it slightly, and only
E,

Play.Action Pass Protection


\-/
r-\ fl a-)
\,,/ t__,-.1\_-/
(Jur play-action pass prctection is derived iiom
rur sp nt-draw action. It is based on a man
^
.cheme with zone principles built in. Figures 1
and 2 show this protection versus seven- and
eight man fironts.
The man part ofthe pr.otection schemeinvolves
:he fiontside tackle, fullback, and tailback. The
Iher people have man attack points, but zone
irinciplestake over ifthe defensechansesits gap
responsibilities.The backsideprinciple is €mpha-
lized fiom the ftontside suard. If th€ sap that is Secondarystunts are the responsibility ofthe
rssigned is not fill€d, then a 4s-degreedrop to backs, and an alert call is made to the quarter-
rhe backside is now taken. The key here is con' back, either before or after the snap, to al€rt him
: rol and the angl e of drop. We want to take on the that a secondary stunt is comins and the fake
defender as far away from the quarterback as wiU be disrcsarded. The alert call does not chanse
Dossibleso he doesn't"feel" the pressure. the protection up front in any way.
58 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

Dropback Pass Protection The big sinilarity betweenthe play-actionand


dropback protectionsis that it takes both backs
Our dropback pass prot€ction is a man sch€me. and the tine to pmtect in a maximum scheme.
It . direr:t.dfrom a call in thp huddlnand intur The backsmust be aware that when we use these
pomtes the same three ftontside principles and protections,they are blockels first and pass re-
fourbacksideprinciplesthatourplay actionpass ceiversonlywhen their rules and check are fulty
employs.This schcmcis sho\'!nagainstseven-and
eight-man fronts in Figures 3 and 4, respectively.
Hot Protection
FICUBE
3
Our philosophy is to spread them out ol detefte
and not to squoezein and maximum pmtect. We
do notwant the.l"-iraseto drrlale to us where we
need to audible a lot.
Here is one of our most used hot protections.
This hot protection is a directional rcad to the
open end called Lucy/Ricky. The quarterback
must read the defendeN to the frontside for hot.
For example, if our tight end is to the l€ft, we
would use Ricky prctection (seeFisurc 5).

flGURE5 Gr"ky"",","40
BBBB
TIGUHE
4 Dropbackpassversus

F BB bbn6d
.ooE
'. E,7 T7,,: r o\
"''L/O o
-d We would use Lucy if the tight end is to the
rjght (seeFigure 6).
Two tights would give us the ability to so er-
ther direction. One of our linemen is double-
checking.Ilboth delendels rush, it's hot.
Versus both the saven-man or eight man fionts,
!'!etry to incorporatc the check releaseprinciple FIGUBE
6
lbr our backs.Against the s€ven-manftont, they
are tied up with thc guard on checking lineback-
ers to ends.Asainst the eight-nan look, the tail-
backis tied up to the c€nlerin the samerelation-
ship, while the fullback has a true double chcck
F
sequenceto the frontside ol the play. We don't
double-teamthe nosebecausewe don't want our
tailback or fullback blockingan end-oqine rusher
in a normal situation, whcn rhey could get out
and be a salety valve receivcr We help out the
center with either suard after his double check
sives him no onc to block.

t
PASSOT'FENSE 59

$'e also need to have some line calls in case


-:: inside linebackels alignment causesthe back
FIGUBE
8 Fickyvorsus44 0 6lack
I Droblem-T1^,osuch casesare diagrammed in
ar:rres 7 and 8.

- FIOURE
7 Rickyv.r6us TF44 rF qE0d
T TJItr

'i.*l*iJ.J
) r\__./) r\,_/ )L, ltr\__/ )/\_-/ )
J,,
)-"
Shifting the back up closerto the LOS or shift-
ing to the shotgun arc oth€r options for the tough
linebacker alignment. This is an excellent pm-
tection lor the quarterback and allows us to run
our oflense without a lot of audibles.

: !t7 ProceedinAs.Coach Bi.kull is tuad c@ch of the Barcelona (Spain) Dtusons in theworld. Ipaeue ofAmerican
, i::\oll. CoachMartino uds his assistdntat Boston Collepe.CoachMaser is assittant coachfor the JachsonDille
i tr : : i i ll !'t i.. ' : ' : , . . 1 i: ] 1it lr $ * ll i1*11 ; l ! i i l l:
Mixing the Run and the Pass
DAVIDRADER
i.a{,)1 lt i ,I'i r : : t it Q : : i, : . : \ : ; i; ; iI li iiu

We've attempted to combinea good solid ground We want the tight end and interior lin€men to
game with a polished, pressuring air game.We, take the sam€ steps fbr run and play-action.We
like most teams, would like to have a good and try to stay"big onbig," andkeep th€ tight end on
elTecri!pmL\. Follourngare a lew rdeasfor mix- the same path whether we're facing a 50 or an
ing the run and pass. Eagle defense.The interior will show pass and,
ofcourse, remain that way with the play-action.
On ihe run, th€y will try to influence the defender
Play and Play.Action to continue with his pass rush. Wh€n the def€nder
To combine a running play with a pass ofthe sa]ne lets up, the blockermust apply presBureand con-
action, we will try to make every aspect of the tinue at least until the ball canier passesthrough.
two identical up to the point ofball fake or hand- We repeatedlystressthat th€ run and passplays
oll As shown in Figure 1, a and b, we want th€ must be identical.
pass and run to seemidentical. Our most successfulrout€ is the Cadillac pat'
tem (shown in Figure 1b), which was and still is
so very good for Florida State. The individual
FIGURE
la routes stay consistent ve$us 2-deep or 3 deep
B B zones.The split end stayswith ihe 16-yardin cut,
\., the flanker with the deep post, and the tight end

o'ctbto 6
with an 8-yad stop.
The fullback willmn a 6-yard hook as a dump.
The quarterback will set up at his seven-step drop
- depth alter making the play fake. His progres-
\, sion is flanker, split end, tight end, ard fullback.
@< The quarte$ack will seethe safety and lineback'
em for k€ys.
V
Dropback Pass and Draw
Tbe dropbackpassinggamehas been goodlor us.
brt we always are looking for ways to improve
our dropback game. One of the ways is to slow
the rush. Giving the quarterback as much roonr
and time as possibleshould allow mor€ passest.
be completed.Even with the liberalized blocking
rule". pa"s proLectioni. a mosr dimcult as"jgr

The use ofa delay or draw play can be an ef


lective way to slow the pass rush. In addition.
th€ draw piay complementsth€ d.opback game
by attacking along the iine of scrim/I)age. With
Pl.y-aclion pass off ol running the draw being pa.t ofthe dropbackoffense,lhe
€ntire field can b€ threat€ned.The dropbackpass
FIGUBE
h can attack shod and tong,left and rjght. The draw

60
RUN AND PASSOFFEIiSE 61

r r :ilack right at the line of scrimmag€-One of ing the block, the halfback allows the fullback to
-:::dst successfuldraw plays has been thelead break outsidcand awaj from Ihp defendcr.in
:-:i The assignments are the same as for a side.
r::;jde isolation play (seeFieure 2). A pattem that we have used with the dras
action is shown in Figure 3. The interiorlinemen
- FIGUBE
2 will have the same assignmenh as they do on
the dla]r. On the pass,they \.ill have to be more
aggressive since this is a frve-step drop pasB.Th€
initial 6et can be similar to the dmw but not as

W€ want to throw the ball to the weaksidejust

q/
as w€ tdedtorunthe dmrv weakEide.The planis
to influence the inside and ouhide linebackersto
the weakside. If the draw and pass look identi-

-ft
o\ cal, then the linebackers could have houble in
distinguishing th€ difference. Again, th€ backs
must be good actors.

FIGUHE
3 Pas3olf ot drawplay-aciion
Ihe intedor line and tight end pasEset, and
! :',! the rushers to charge in th€il rush lanes
r::!out iosing contact or control. The offEide
:::.d can "help" on the nose,but mu8t notbe too BA
.r:ll or too late on coming out for the linebacker
: :runt of about 1,002).Timing is critical to the iu / v v
h the backfield, the quarterback, halfback, artd
'- lsack must be good actols. We stresB that a
b-b66
C}\
..::! is beingfaked, and the defensemust be sold
,: ::. So before the ball is handed off, all thrce
:.r stlow pass. The two backs set in a pass block-
-i- fashion with their €yes upfreld and on th€ir
,J'
:::r read.They shuflle slighily to build momen-
'.-r and position themselves to carry out their
The routes and quarterback r€ad are simple.
lle quarterback d.ops back with his eyes on a The split end runs a l2-yard out back to 10. He
ir'.i\ or linebacfter for hi6 fir8t two steps away adjusts to a fad€ veru]ds2-deep zone. me hah-
-: cenrerOn thc third stcp.hp drcp. tus eyes back sprints for the near hash and aims for a point
r,:: :ands and makes the handotr with the full' at aboul l5 yards l,ocrossthe hash or to comein
r&'r On }is fourth step, his eyes go back upfield ftont of the safety. He must be quicl. Ite is loolr-
: : rs lrands ia pass catrying position. and he in g ta receive the ball behind the Iinebackers and
'
rr::.ues to his seventh (setup) step. in front ofthe safeti$.
:re backshave the same read. The first read The quarterback takes the same steps aB the
: ::. nose. Sometimes,both backs will run to draw. He makes a draw fake on his third step. I4
(or weak side 2 if no versus 3-deep,the split endis to hisback side,h€
-:- iame side of the nose
r,:- . but that's not often the case. musr quicklylurn hia eyesro lhe $cakside.our-
\ coachinspoint: R€memberthis is a &aw, so side linebacker.If the paBsis to the quarterback's
::: r get in a hurry However,the haffback needs fmntside, hemustmake sure he looks upfield on
; :€ a little quicker in reaching his assignrnent his first two steps and not at the rcceiver.
i :.rle the tullback breaks past the nose and the The ba should be delivered away from the
r.. of scdmmage, he must see th€ block of the outsidelinebackerand ju+ beforethp rpceircr
--:Llback. The halfback sholtld "throw" through goesout ofbounds.Ifon the hash mark, the quar-
:.€ seakside linebacke/s outer thigh. By mak- terback must have confidencethat the split end
62 IOOTBALL COACHINGSTRATEOIES

will come open from behind thc outside line- Duringthe season,we make a consciouseffort
to keep up with our run/pass ration in several
The quarte$ack has the same stcps veftus 2- ar€as.Someofthose areasare fieldposition, down
deep. The thmw to the halfback roquires more and distance, game totals, and personnel. It is
torch than the out cui. Thc ball must be deliv impoftantthatwe have feeling for how a defense
er€d on the fifth step and over or between the
inside linebackers. If thDwn short, the ball is Therefbre,we must often run when we should
picked; if throrvn long, the halfback is laid out. passandvice versa.The play-actionpassand the
The ball must be well thrown. draw are nico complomanh l.othat thinkine. They
can b€ kind ofa "crossover"typ€ play.
PIay Selection Each year we "rediscover"that beti,erp€r3on-
nel makes beli,er plays or belter defemes.Need-
It's been said that lamiliarity bree& contempt, less to Fay,it's important to have the best posi'
and it's been said ihat variety is th€ spiceof life. tion playem, and it's also important to have the
Both ofthese sayingshold lrue in play selection. playem in their best positions.
Wo {'ant to usc plays that are continuously good In mixing the run and pass, an ofiense must
for us, bu1 ar thc samc rime w€ don't want a de- use their bestplayers to executeorto decoySo,a
fcnsc tobe real familiar with our offense.Va ety goodmix would also include mixingpersonnel as
in s€lectionh€lpsus i,okeep a defenseof,balance. trnners, receivers,blockers,and decoys.

1990 Sunner Manual. CoachRader is head cad.h at the UnircNit! of'lLlsa.

: ',,,:,. ::,': ri ri i i lu lt , t l

Keeping the Defense Honest


GARYMOELLER
: t i l t t . : . , ) : . ' . , . ) : : . ..' ::) r
Q
r , il !::' , ::t: il ll i9 : l: I ll i

In oder io have a Coodoffense,you must make is rushing the football. I don't care how you ap-
the defense play hon€st- Take advantage of all proachthe game,passfiIst orrunfirst, you must
the oppoduniti€s that are given the offense.Use find a way to ru8h the football.
the whole fleld; use every down as well as every We employ thrce types ofrunning schemes and
player in the formation.Set the t€mpo ofthe game three twes of passing schemes.We base block,
and play at your pace. lead block, and sap block. In the passing same,
We always want to be able to run the football, we like hard play-actionwher€ we block the run-
becausetbe team who can rush the ball has a ning play,use turn-back pmtection with our fake
gaeater chance of success.But, in order to run draw se es, and pocket pass. What I'd like to
the bau, we must make the defenseplay honest. show you is how we use thepassin order to make
If they don't defendthe whole lbrmation, than we our running game more productive.
must use the pass to keep them honest b€cause
we no longer employ the option.We want lo con- Base Blocking Plays
trol the ball and the clock by using both tbe run
and the pass. In Figure 1, you'll see one of oul base otr-tackle
Ilike to attack and not allow the defensetoset plays against an Easle defense.Althoush ihis is
the tempo and dictate the natwe of the game. a base-blockingschemeplat we use some lead
We must stay away fmm the negottueplay and principles.
not turn the ball over because,as w€ all know, In this s€tup we, hopefully, have a mismatch
the number one stat in predicting victory is the with our tackle blocking a smaller defender(i f he
turnovdmargin. The secondmost important stal can stay with him). The first tbing we'd like to do
RIJNAND PASSOFFENSE 63

would in tum-back protection (sprint draw se-


FIGUBE
I Ofl-lackle.un vercusEagle nesl.
S Along with the fire,out blocking by the line-
man, our backsmust do a greatjob irnitatils ure
off-tackl€ play. The fullback will search 1or rlre

J
S/S linebecker in the same areas as the running play
and will encouragethe linebacker to meet him in

I the LOS. As the linebacker attacks our fullback,


he is rcady to chop the lineba€ker to the ground.
The runuing back haBone assignm€nt,and that's
to "get tackled."

TIGUBE
2 Play-actionpassoptionofiplay I

A
s/s I
: .r\€ our tackle lead his man andforce ]un uo
r .-->

T'6
. . .r ge' hookedso we incr.asprhe running
- , ' ou r g!ard might be al a disadvantage
size- E T
. .:. and therefore our tackle muBt get a great

,ike the tackle, we want our guard to reach


E6 6-
-. outside ofthe defender ov€I him. The guard
. usually get stuffed if he attempts to driv€
-:..Lght into this man, sincethe delendercan use
i rfhis fome. By reachinghis outside,you force
rr = defender to move laterally so you can take
: ,t at s()me of his strength.
The FB must find the LB thrcush either A-B-
japs, and like the guard and tackle, he should Our rcceiverbmust run pxcellcnrroutes,ar-
!:l his man to the outside, which will also add tempting to sirnulate th€ run as much as possible.
.::!tch to the play.We seal o1Ithe back side with Th€ split end (X) will take a proper split (if the
: re backside guard and center combobloc.king the ba\l is on the hash rnark. tre shou\d, be 2 yards
:ose to the backside LB. Th€ tackle and the TE outside the other hash mark) and run a curl route
r-e nofmalcul-off Thc cur-offis ihe mostimpor- at 15 yards deep and bring it back to 12 yards.
:ant part of all the blocking.You must eliminate He should continue to movetowards the quarter-
:he pur"uir wirh your blocking.The ball-carrier back. The inside rcceiver,our flanker (Z), should
xrust option run the block ofthe tackle first and take an alignm€nt offthe ball, splitting the dis-
ihe guad secondand hit the creasequickly Our tance between our offensive tackle and X. He
$ ide receivermust be able to block the pedm€ter should attack th€ defender over him as though
rlayers (every player on every play) eflectively he will blocl him. dgainsimLlrri'lg (\e running
)r he wont play. Our quarterback opens at ,1:30 play He'll actuaily break down into a blockins
rr 7130(lionts out) and gets the ball to oul run- position (quicklyl, avoid contact, and sprint di-
ring back as deep as possible. recUy to the outsido, looking for the ball over his
In Figure 2, you will see what appeaft to b€ outside shoulder In our scheme,h€ is the first
:he sarne basic olf-tackle play, but it's not; it's a chojce ofthe quarte$ack. Our quarte$ack mak€s
:ass. Matre X and Z look tike twins. a goodfake, setUesback three steps offthe fake,
The line must simuiat€ the samekind ofbiock- and throws the ball to the open r€ceiver.
:g as it did in the runningplay rvith a little less The flat curl is one of th€ oldest.outes in foot-
:igressiveness. The linemen should allow the ball and is easy to executeif we can isolate on€
':;(€ of our backBto assist them with their block- d€fender The strong saf€ty will be on an island
rg. Backsideblockers will start for their cutotr as long as we can control the linebackem wrrn
:locks and then tum back somewhat as they the fale- We'v€ now eliminated the strong safety's
64 !'OOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

help. The flat curl has always been a good route,


but it becomes an excellent route versw one-on- Play-aclionpa&roprionofi pl.y 2
on€ coverase ifyou €an control the linebackers.
We want to force the defense to commit more than
ju8t two defenderu to our two receiv€rs.

Gap Blocking Plays


We've always run gap blocking scheme plays.
Many teams have taken this play away by bounc-
ing t-heball outeidewilh rheirend.The defensive
end. when the fullback comeBto block him. crosses
the fiilback's face, forcine the ball-carier to the
outside. T'he inside linebacker scrapes wide and
it becomes very difficult to get a blocker on him
(seeFigure 3).

TIGURE
3 G.p blockingrunningd€fenss start for depth to clear the tullback's block. He'll
forcasrunnorro oulsid. now look outside for the strong safety If the SS
c isn't coming, then the guad should look back to
the inside for the linebacker or anv other inside
pursuit. The guard mustn't go downfield unl$s
he sets a "so" call from the QB, indicating the QB

3' T

.Jl
-t
is runnins the ball.

A defensiveerld Ehouldn't be allowed to play


like this; I refer to this as cheating. Make your
opponent play hon6t and force him to keep the
end outside to contain the QB. Figure 4 sho s
how to force the defensive end to be honest.
The keJ to lhis play.like any goodplay pass.is
that it Bimulates the nrnning play as much as
possible. T.I.relinemen will elecute the running
blocking techniques with two exceptions: They
must be a little morc under control, and, ofcourse,
they can't go downfield.
The fullback should take the 6ame (kick-out)
coulse at the end, and not go upfreld and tip the
pla;r His block may be the most important block
in the play. Many times the block won't be neces-
sary b€causethe €nd, using a bounce technique,
will tale himself out of the play
The pulling guard should take his run coulse
until he reaches the playsid€ B Gap, then he'll
RUN AND PASSOFFENSN 65

The tailback must get tackled; if he doesn't,he The QB should make a gt€at fake, make it look
:, rld dlag in the flat late as an outlet man. Sell like the run, and then continue to roll to the out-
r:n on getting tackled, not on being a recelver. side,lookingfor his fianker ll thc flankeri. cov-
The fianker (Z) should run a 20- to z5-yard ercd, then the QB should run the ball. If the QB
r m€-backmute.The depth dependson the6peed gets to the outside, the flat delender (strong
:rd timing ofyour players. He should keep com- safety)is in a bind. Ifhe comesup, the QB should
:.: back for the ball until he catches it or until he throw over his head; if he staF back, the QB
,:..oss the QB is going to run. If ith a run, the should run the ball.
:'rnker must set a block. On the pass, he must
the deep defender The urderneath cover-
'ar \r ill be contrclled by the fake and the
::! QB.

-1992 Prcceed.in€s.C@.d. MNIbr is an assktant ce.h with th2 Detrcit Li'B

x
The Air Option Offense
HOMERRICE
ir {r ? !i 1 } ,} B x * $ Q $${a* E$t $*&*s$; t
'rr offensive football philosophy is to develop the
gamethat attacks FIGURE
I TWlnset wllh spfir r€c€iv.r
'.it ofbothworlds a running
:... defens€and can contml the ball wh€n needed,
SPLITEND WIDERECE
IV EB
:.d a passing game that exploits a wide-open
,::ack that can also b€ utilized in catch-up tac-
:::: if needed. We achieve this blend with the
o OCICC o
: . pl e option as our running game and the pocket *'"Qo"*
::rs as our passinggame.Since we keep the ball
'hp air via lhc optionpitch and/orrhe passing
::r ne with a variety of option keys, someonecalled
:. offeme the "air option."
If a coach can perfect this combination, then The spacing is highly impoltant. Between th€
-i liill dissectdefensesto his advantage,becom- offensivelinemen we split one yard or wider Be
-< highly successful with his offensive unit. certain you understand what a yard is-measure
\ aturally, talent is needed to execute any off€nse. it. Most people do not adhere to this principle.
:.. the air option, the quarterback must be an We want our offensive lineften off the ball as
i-, erag€ runner with above-average ability as a much as the rule allows. This ties into our timins
for both the running and passing game. It also
In teaching football, we strive to make the as- aids in picking up stunts and allows the offen-
i:gnments as simple as possiblein ord€r to work sive linemen to block an inside gap charge with-
: nma ly on technique.The ba8icelem€ntsmust out difficulty. The two running backs align di-
adhered to before we can add any flail. Our rectly behind the euards 4 yards deep.
-€
:, :al thinhing is simplicitywith soundbasictech- Our wid€ r€ceiveft set one thid of the fleld
from the ball, but are rcstricted by a boundary
r'ule never align any closer than 8 yards from
Basic Formation ihe sid€line. This is impodant in our passing
game. The inside receiver or wingback sets 5
'i. basic formation is the tv/in Bet with a split yards inside the \.ide receiver in the twin align-
'-=eiver (seeFieure 1).
66 FOOTBA],L COACHING STR{TEGIES

Our team rcpolts to the line of s€rimmagein a


prcstance (the receivers ar€ down ready to sprint FIGURE
3 F.e sat€tyalignedin the middte
offth€ line) becausew€ snap the ball on a quick ,/:\
sound for or]I pocket passing game on many oc- !n,

Aft€r the quick sound we use a numbering sys- BB


tem (26 to 29). Ifthe numbers are live, that rep- E T N TE
resentu our audible calls. coing down, we th€n
snap the ball on the first, second,thid, or fourth C OCTOC C
sound.I believ€ the cad€nceshould be an rrDpor.
tant phase of your operation. By varying the
CC
soundsand rhythm. you can keeprhF defensive
charge from ever overpoweringyou. We number
C C
all our plays into double digits to simplily our
audible andplaycalting. The formation, spacmg, triple or a designated pass to compl€ment our
numbering.and.aoencFiniriatF rhe bcginning intentions. Should th€ dircction indicate forxa-
of an exciting offense. tion side, we must count the defenders in the area.
When the defens€ aligns three people in the twin
area, we will call the triple (see Figurc 4).
The Run When only two defenders deploy into the twin
arca, we then call and executea complementary
We never Fxeculptha rriple unril we gpr il pr- pass (seeFieure 5).
actly as we want it. Therefore, it is necessaryto
use our "check-with-me' audible system. We musr
fiIst determine direction. This is det€rmined by
FIGURE
4
the alignment of the ftee safety. If he tines up as
shown in Figure 2, we direct our attack toward
the formation side.

FIGUBE
2 Fressaletyalignedon sptitend

c
o v\=-r L l \_./

B tvl a

C \_-/ \, LJ \_/ \ _/ o
o C Complementarypasa v€rsus two

o C
The nature ofour wide-spacedlormation per-
mita our quarterbaclr to easily identjfl the align-
m€nt ofthe free safetJaShould the safety set up
on the opposit€ side, then we direct our plan away
from formation toward the split end.
When the liee safety set^sin the middle as
shown in Figure S-we can go either wala Ifthe
ball i6 on the hash mark, we favor going io the
formation. When th€ ball moves toward the
Diddle ofthe field, we favor tJresp)it ead side.
Oncewe determine direction, we then ask otrl
quafterback to decide upon calling either the

E.
RIIN AND PASS OFFENSE 6?

The "check-with-me" is a gimple opemtion The flGUBE7 F"e. **"" ,""d*


- ,rnerback
calls only the forrnation in the huddl€ """"""r
to runningback
tr :akes the team to the line. Thev do not have CS
' r: until he calls it on the line ofsc mmage
!,
-- i ieeps everyoneconcentratingon the defen- & 4
- : tr]snment.
Should the dircction take us to

. ll
.': .:lLt end side, the quaderback witl call the
*
- . hen
two defendersplav our split end lf
--. :ne alefendercoversour end, we will imme-
r - . call and executea Pass
- -r^.Ung schem"for rhe Iriple allowqus lo
i'rr-\ :i:as rather than people Versus an even
/
6 6C.1
/ r ""1
-l

5 J
'ra: . . .pproach the handoffarca witb our cen-
.-: _.rs l he stronggap ourstrongglard
'nto oursidelegand the
,..,L - rouehthe defcnder's
..-,.: tackle comesdown on the linebacker'The
lr;:-.erback handles the nerrt defender with his
fIGURE I l-r'ieb oddtrontoBtake3
:r'ruld the "read" take the handoff, then the ""."* lor oFion
ball ourside
n--.rback stepsaround the collisionand sprinie
. .. Lns'deshoulderoflheoutsiderush forthe 4
:,::: or keep (seeFigure 6). c

J
B B
- FIGURE
6 Tripl€versusevenfronl
N

o tl\_- /

Establishing the triple necessitates our spen'l-


g3me
ine 75" ofour precricpI imc on lhe runnrng
ani all rlr" iniricaciesinvol'"d We diride our
s0" in
oracticerime 50-s0:s0'' in passingand
run-
runnine.we don\ add manv supplementary
lesscom-
nine Dlivs to our offen'e Ttrs keep"u"
is plic-ar.d.Wlen you becomediversifiedvou are
The blocking schemeversus an odd-front spreading the offense too thln'
except lhal our rackle does
...itu. ro tt'"
"u"n
rri".f a"*' 'rn" *nter and quick guard lead
".i
' '. f'" .*.g""ta n" guard prvotstnward The Pass
' "tmng
*ith our strong tackle driv-
,i" a"f"""i"* t""t l", or
legoft he defensi\eIsckle' The pessingplan unfoldsfrom lhe drophs'k
rrethroughlhe ours;a' eg"tt *e w'rk for simplicitv Bv
ilin" i"t?'.i* **t" steps ou1. our Lacklewill oo"f.i,
picks up the i"l."Ling -*""p,v. t"* pa.s routes.we can teachrech-
lio"f. rti., .* guard then cor-
"*ne olT to the run- niquc 8nd -f excculion Bv readingcoverages
linebackerThe ball will be handed manv $ a) s ro
(see Fielrre ?). recrly and addinenpxibrlilvon the
nins back
'SioLrld we crcate an awe-
rh. tackle close.the strong guard picks eet the ball to the receivers'
passlng game
r.rimup wirn our tackle on lhe linebackcr'The -some
it'" pa""lng game "ucccssdppcnd"on
read qill take rhe ball oulside for mu"{
""rti"'ttr"t li;ing. lt stafls wirh Ihe quarrerbacl Hn
"nriri
the option rseeFigue 8)
68 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

leam to s€t upjusi short ol10 yads deep in 1.7 thowing lan€. Shouldthis occur,the quafte$ack
seconds.He accomplishesthis by sprintine back dumps the ball out to tho halfback. Th€ harback
in sevensteps.By tuopping his risht foot back on can rclease since tbe linebacker is his blockins
the snap, he is able to spdnt back the required assisnment ifhe rushes (s€eFisure 10).
sevensteps on time. This takes a lot ofdedicated
work by your quarterback.
The receivers learn three basic routes, al- FIGUBE
l0 rP"""t"""rr""d"rd"
though we becomemore sopbisticatedwith sev-
eral combinationslater on. It js imp€rativ€ that
they leam the step counts to perfolrn the basic

The three basic routes stem ftom the release


(four steps),thecontrolledarea (thrce steps),and
?r \IEB
the stick (three steps). The two wide receiverB run
the same mute called in th€ huddle, either tbe
post, bend, or circle (seeFigurc 9). The quarter- .w
6 cqF
back starts his release on the seventh step, t}trow-
ing to the rcceiver before tbe r€ceiver tur.ns his =---b
head. This enablesthe rcceiver to catch the ball,
put it under his arm, and turn and iun beforc the
defendercan hit.
I
FIOURE
9 Shouldthe free safety align in spot No. 1, then
we directourpassto the formationsid€. Now the
,i, \
quarterback must r€ad the strong Bafety on the
way back in the pocket to set becausew€ have
/ Circle Circle two receiverson the formation side and we can-
not ahvays detennine the coveraee. Should the
- .,,""1.r
'):se" "trongsafetj stay $ ith oui"insidei"eceiver,$ ing-
back), we will go to th€ wide rec€iver (because
\
\ this indicates man coverage)unless the outside
\.f
stees linebacker drops deep into the throwing lane. If
\ /.3
M he doesso, we can dump the ball to the halfback
\-
r E B\ ./+sr"o" on that sid€.
o aaE'r do When the strcng safety pelfoms any other
action-roll, invert, drop-we stay with th€ in-
RI 'o
.-------n Bide receiver (wingback) becausethis rcsist€rs
I
I
d zone coverases. We'rc better off if we allow the
winsback to work on the iruide linebacker into
I open ar€a8(seeFisure 11).
Once you're able to establish the basic plan
withits techniques,youcan lockin on one side or
the keyto the passinggame is timing, protec- the other with a variety ofcombinations. We work
tion, and reading the coverage. We asain utilize on the vulnerable areas(shownin Figure 12) ver-
the alignm€nt of the free saf€ty, as indicated in sus 2-deep coverageswith five or Bix defenders
Figures 2 and 3, to deteranine direction. Should
our direction be the split €nd side, then it's a The coachingof the triple-pocket combination
simple matter to drop back and hit our split rc- is a stimulating experience.Your players willbe
ceive( T'his will change only in the event that the excited about playing it, and it's a lot of fun to
outside linebacker drops deep enough into the
RUN AND PASSOFFENSE 69

FIGUBE
II FIGUBE12 | ,v"r"."bb
*""*""" r{*"

t
oo tro Q E

1979 Prc@edinEs Coach Rice b directo. of dthletics at Georsia Tech.

ri c e E] l ] ; ll E * t : ! xx $ $ I 1 1 $3 g &$ t g I * g fi * g *
Attacking the 46 Defense
HOMER SMITH
ra&&*&&&**aa $ € Q * * i gx * * g gc x * {& $ g
\lany teams have had trouble with Buddy Ryanh The defeNe has three prominent featuresl
Double Eagle defenee.Offensive coachesevery-
. When both backs in a 2-back offense Btart to
x here have tried to develop gam€ plans that will
one side, it's difficult for the backside tackle
We use a lettedng system to identify each to block the backside linebacker (see Figurc
player in the defense,as shown in Figure 1. A 2a). Itt alnost as difficult for the backside
itrons safety twe athlete often plays in the K guard and backside tackle to execute a scoop
block on the defenders playing over them {see
Figure 2b).
. In protecting a passe! it's difficult for the
FIOURE
I offensive guards not to take the man over
them and for the cent€r not to be left to block
a noseeuard by himself. Furthermore, it is
exhemely difficult for a center to block a
nos€guard who car ruBh on either side of
him. A pass-protectionblock is made rela-
tively easy when a blocker can deny a de-
COOtrCC lender a route to the inside, invite him to
the outBide,and then ride him to the outside
knowing that the quarterback can st€p for-
ward.
A c€nter cannot deny a noseguard one
route in the same way, and a dropback passer
cannot step folward to h€lp the c€nter when
?O FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

By leaturing a constant
TIGURE
2 Elockingassignmenlproblems it misht b€ possibleto pull ':.aked
bootleg threat,
the outside split end
side d€fenderupfield with a nakedfake andgeta
cut back play outside olthe backside tackle and
euard. The blocking lor both fullback and tail-
back plaSs with bootleg t h rpar6 rs sho$n in Fig-
ure 3.
lvl-- ---\ t\,4-

/. FIGUBE
3 Bootleglhreatversus46:
/ I N, r /N. rulrbsckrun (a),hallbackrun (b)
COT a<r-,l
\JUL]
f

a,_,- r-)
.<'-'',
',
CY -., .' aYt
V x-.' -''

the defender do€s get past him. In oth€r


words, there is no outsid€ rush rout€ to in-
vite a rusher into ifyou are a center andyour
passeris dropping back.
. The W K, M, E, and S are all linebacker-
iype athletes. Working together, the M, E,
and S can make it difficult for pass blockers,
becausemost of the time just on€ of them
rushes.It's diffrcult to assign on€ blocker to
this group when any one ofthe thre€ may be
the rusher
It's also diffrcult to double-read wben three
rushers are working together. A dorble-read by
an offenbivclincman and a back on a defensive The sprizt-drau play works well when tbe full
lineman and a lin€backer normally tells both of- back can block to tbe side of the initial fale, axu
fensive playem to watch the lin€back€r; the line- the tailback can run all th€ way back to the other
man can block the defensivelineman wh€n the side on a backwards s€oopblock. Figure 4 shows
linebacker&ops into the passdef€nse.Obviously, the backsid€tackle and guard attempting ro en-
this is dilficult to do when thr€e defenders are tic€ defend€ft upfield to the outside, while the
taking tulns being rushers and droppers. center and onside guard and tackle executethe
backwards scoopblock to get the tailback a run-
Running Versus the 46 ning lane over the center. This is "uphill" foot-
ball, but there doesnot seemto be another good
As mentioned, plays that have both backs go[rg way to execut€a sprint draw againstthe defense.
to the sameside usually encounteran unblocked The standard coz'rr?/sueep,with a guard and
bachid€ linebacker.Scoopblocks are required to tackle leading a tailback away from the dircction
get full-flow plays started. Scoopsare possible ofan initial fake, is not a good play b€causeit is
when defendersare playing into gaps. diflicultto get a block on the backsidelinebacker.

t
*
RUN AND PASSOFPE\SE
']

bachide tackle a chance to get th€ lin€backcr


The pmblem is in running the basic veer oplion
to set up the counter option. The presenceofthe
strong safety on theline of scrimmagemakes thc
basic option very di{ficult, as shown in Figure 6.

flGURE6 [."",",.",b"""","46

The play that would get everyone blocked


would be an ot:racAle uith counter action. Flg-
ure 5 shows the tailback and fullback starting to
one side, then curling back to the other side. The
idea is ihat the initial action of the play would Conventionaltrop plays have the tmpper mov-
make it possiblefor ihe backsideoffensivelackle ingin the dircction ofthe fake.Ifthe onsidelin€-
ro block the backside lineba€ker. backer would take the fake of a trap option, th€
play could work. The problem is that the trap
option is not practical becauseofthe presenceof
5
TIGUBE the shong safety on the LOS. A backward trap
playis a possibility,however(seeFigure 7).Inag-
ine the outside lineman on the split end side go-
ing unblocked with a trap play away liom the fake
by the quarte$ack and tailback.

FIGUBE
7 Trapoptionvarialionversus46

This is an unconventional play, but it should


-nail" the defense.Getting enoughcount€raction
to give the backsidetackle a "downhill" block on
r rn ba,k"idc linebackeri6 e\erJrhingin running It should be possiblelor the backsidetackle to
3gainst the Double Eagle. set the bachide linebacker who has two backs
ye,r.oprion coacheswouldsaythatthe counter faking in his direction. The problem, though. is
dile and counter option should work well. The to get a viable option play to go wilh the fullback
:dea is that the couter action should give the
?2 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

Pass Protecting Versus the 46 FIGURE


9 Tackledouble-read
in Pass
Basically,five defendersrush a dropback passer.
The problern is that it's dilficuit to get the five
NI
linemenon the five rushers.Iftbe cent€r is gorng
tohave help on themiddleguard, one ofthe tack- SETN
les has to be assjgnedto a linebacker or to the
inside. This meansthat one ofthercceivers musr
o o oE
bp ossignedro uneol I hF out$iderushers.teaving
the def€nsewith six pass defendersagainst four
^?
(ri
One of thc ways to protect a dropback passer
rs to assign one tackle to a linebacker and tell
I
him to help to the inside if the linebacker does
not come (seeFigure 8). This gets four tinemen If Khad droppedandWhad rushed,the tackte
on thr€€ most of the time. A back is left on the would have blocked \it At best, how€ver,drop-
two outside defend€rson the tight end side, and back passing has prov€d to be very difficult
the ball must be thftwn "hot" ifboth ofth€n rush. agajnst this defense.
Figur€ 10 shows a strong formation in which
FIGUHE
8 Passblockingversus46,
both backs can participate in a double read on
th€ three potential rushers the M, E, and S-
even though the passermoves.The fullback can

l 'r '
block M but adjust to block E ifM doesn,trush.
The tailback can block E but adjust to S if M
doesn't rush. Either back can proceed into the
patt€rn if bis secondarf target doesn't rush. Al-
\/
/ l" Nr though this protection do€s nothing to get five
/ \" E r N receivers into a pattem, it does get blocking
o A{_QOF EQ
angles on T, N, and P

'\t, FIGUBE
IO
ol Stronglormationbacks

l
You can nevor have great successwith the for-
ward pass using this protection. The pass de-
fende.heceiver ratio is not good, and the tight end
who must be the "hot'receiver can be coveredby
the rcmaining linebackex
Double-readingmust be employedif possibte.
The problern is to do it with two pass btock€rs
against three defenders.Ifthe tight end spljts so
that one defender has to go with him, a double-
read can be executed. The principle in this protection can be used
Although it's not easy,the tackie can blockthe with play-action passes.In Fieurc 11 all eight of
linebackerifhe rushes, and he can btock the out- the pot€ntial rushe$ are accounted for The tight
side defender if the linebacker doesn,t msh. By end releasesil€ith€r E or S drops. The lullback
double-r€ading, the offense makes it difrcult for is assisned to the end, and the tailback to the
the defenseto tie up one ofthe receiverswithjust linebackex One of the backs will almost always
on€ of two lin€backers (€.9., K or W). Fisur€ 9 have to take a rusher
shows K rushing, W dropping, and the backfield The only way to get five rcceiverc out against
receiver rcl€asing. this defense is to do what the run-and-shoot
RUN AND PASSOFFENSE ?iI

TIGURE
II FIGURE
l2 E""b""k"""""rrhr|""

\
i e M r ru p.] w
\,\nAt_r)r)n I TN
\,{:/v r1,J!v/ QA
9, )/
c1
c/\
advocates.and that is to throw an onside screen Gonclusion
pass to the back, who must always block one of
the flve mshers. Maling the A bigger problem than finding plays for the basic
liable threat puts five receivers into six defen- forrn olthis Double Eagle defense is frnding plays
sive backs and makeBthe advantage of pass de- for the vadations ofii. The creatorofthe defense
fendersjust over 17%.Agure 12 shows a dropback usesthe basiclook as a basefmm which to iaurco
pass from a formation with a tight end split. ff all kinds of forays into other designs.
the tailback is in a double-read on the right side, Throughout football hiBtory defemive coacheg
and ifthe tullback is a viable screen threat on the have tried to poBitiontheir playe$ so l,tat block-
leli, the defem€ mu.stdefend against five rcceivers. ing is more difficult than sheddingblockers.The
MouseDavis, th€ leading advocateofthe mn- 46 defense has shut down offenses that had com-
and-shoot,has perfect€d a way to get a blocker parable talent and plenty oftime to practice. Most
on any defender cov€ring a screen rcceiver man- offensivecoachescan defeat defenseBas long as
for-man. The screen is very important in getting they have the chalk, but this defense Beems to
lhe ratio between pass defendem and recervers hold its own on the chalkboard without a defen-
back to where it favors the offense. sive coach in the rcom.

-1988 SummerManual. CocchSnith b offewive coordinato. at the Univercity ofAriz w"


', ::
,.. ,t ,r t:l rl p , :::
' ' ' :' ::' ::" t"

Passing on Third Down


POKEYALLEN
,,,,Q,.,.,,
The week before each game wc devise a ',ready,,
sheet to doal with evary situalion that will con- FIGURE
I Boollegoft counter.crion
front us during the courseofthe game. On Mon-
day nrgl.l we oegin ru cors dp" our pretiminan
game plan. $'€ evaluate what ptays we,re sorng
to mn in each situation and what formarnns
\\e'm going to use on each play. By Wednesday
nighi we finalizo ourgame planandputthe plays
in the order in which they sill be calied.
This planningprocesshelps etiminate thespur
o^ the momnnrdcci"ion"I \dr , an oncn b. i1(on-
sistent with our game plan. It also enlances our
abiiitv to get the play in quickly, alleviatine de-
lay of garne penalties,and allowing the quarter-
back to audible if necossary Decisions pertain-
ing to play-calling arc made more rationalJy dur-
ingthe week mther than on game day under wnai
can often be emotional circumstances.
This arlicle describessomcofthe thinkjns thar ciently from thoil respectiveresponsibility.This,
sucs inlo dptcrm,nrnqho$ $- handl- !arious couplodwith tha crossingaction ofthe backs, is
third down situations in a siven game.We]l fo- very difiicult for lhe LBs to deal with in man-ro-
cus onpass plays,but notethat we don,t.lusrpass
orJust run in theso or any other situatjons.

Third-and-Medium
Third-and.Short
This situation can also be a "pressure,,down for
This is a 70 to 807.mnning situationforus so it,s many defenses.If we're goine to dropback pass,
natural thal when wo decideto throw the balt, it our mentality is to protect and throw quickly.Our
should be off someform ofplay-action. As a serr- hot rcceiver packageis a large part ofour I,uss-
erul r-ule,defensesare more pressurc-orientedin ing gaine, and w€ believe ir can be implemented
this situalion, so in many caseswe,rc looking to in this situation ifnecessary. We'vahad success
mo1'eour quaft€rback from his conventional drop- with the tighl end choicoroute (seeFienrc 2).
back Doi1r.Thc bo^rl"gofTc,,JnlFrr.rion is.n" The tishi end has an inside hoi, release and
will option to drop the first LB inside. Th€ full-
W€ have several variations ofthis ptay fto]n a back has a fr€ereleaseinto theflat. The splitond
multitud€ of formations and situations, but our runs a 10-yard speedout and will run a lade ver-
objectiveis to gct the Willie LB to fteeze or chase sus any roll coverage.The quarte$ack will lake
the pullins tackle. This, hopefully, allows ctear- a five-stcp drop and will "sisht adjust', with the
ancetbr the fullback's path to the nat, and alows tight end.
the quarterback an opportunity to break contain Ifh€ feels tho lane is squeezedby anv two de-
(seeFigurc 1). fend€rlt (i.e., Mike and Sam, stmng safety and
The clossingsuard action can often distortLB free safetyl he will dump the ball to the fullback.
reads and impede their abilily to retreat effi- If, on ihe pre-snaprcad, the quarl€rback seesthe

71
SITUATIONALOFFENSE ;;

receiverwon't have gathercd enoughspeedto iun


IIGURE
2 Tightend choiceroule and get it.
Both wide receiv€rsrun 1o-yard square outs.
The tieht end runs a choice route at 8 to 10 yards.
The hallback checks and runs an option route
oppositethe drop offthefiIst LB inside. The full-
back checksand runs a medium rout€.

FIGUBE
3
COIC C

-l
.'T'5f
L
-i-. safety cheating toward the tight end, he
.: rs therc's a strcng possibility that he has
- i:le covemseon the split end and can go to him

Third-and-Long
i: have a multitude of things we do in this situ-
:::.n. but the pemonalityofthe defensewill gen-
:::i]! dictate which plays we pdoritize. Against On apre-snapread, the quarterback reads the
:::isur€ teams orteamE who don't like to roll or best located safet)aBy this, we mean the safety
: -.is with their corn€rbacks,we'lIrun the doubl€ in the worst position to help on the square out.
.:rare out (seeFigwe 3). Double meansboth th€ As he drops, the quarterback reads the side he
-: :r end and flankor run mirmred routes. Th€ has chosen.Ilhe choosesthe X-side, he will read
.:=ed out is a 1o-yard,out-breaking cut designed the thrcwing lane thmugh the Willie Backer. If
' be thrown on time. tbe Willie Backer is in the throwing lane, ho
It s criticai that the receiver maintains his should look to the halfback.
::ted coming out of his break. W€ use what we It is the responsibility ofthe halfback to beat
i::m a .speed cut." We want to eliminate plant- the inside LB, prcferably on an outside cut. Ifhe
' i rhe in"ide footand lhus slowingthe r"ceivor choosesthe Z-side, he should rcad the thmwjng
r s n. A goodspeedcut will belp the quarterback lane throush the flat defender(i.e.,stmng saiety
::1e the throw and give the defender vidually or Sam linebacker). If this defender is in the
. Iime to closeon the tbrow thowinslane, the quarterback should look to the
The quaft€rback will take fivequick Btepsand tisht end.Its the tisht end'sresponsibilityto beat
:.row on time with the target area beingthe hip the first insidc LB, again. preferably on the out
i the receiver.We don't want him to lead the re- side cut. If both lan€s are squeezed,the ball
::rer becauseif the ballis thrown on time the should be dumped to the fullback.

-1988 Summer Manual. Coach Nlen uas hzad a@h at Bobe State UniDercitv.
?6 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

::.:::.i.il;,'i! :., lll: iliilill irt ;:.t;! iF,::iigill


Passing in the Frigid Zone
TIM MI,JRPIIY
I
The general topjc I'm going to add.ess is how to
mal<pthF mosr uut ol ynur passinggama in an FIGURE
I Play-action
passoll sprinr-draw
extreme nofthern climale. And the specific aspect
that I'11focus on is our pass game phitosophyin-
side the 10-yard line.
Though personnel and climate contribute to an
offensive or delensive philosophy,a philosophy
must have deep enoughrcots so that talent level
and the elements will not dictate a change m
something you don't feel comfortablewith.
"Turf' teams have a little harder time acch-
matizing to grass and changing conditions man
the other way around.
CCTCO
W€ made a point to practice in all types of
weather and field conditions(rain, snow,mud)so
that our kids would feel comfortabte and confi,
dent with changing playing conditions. Our ac,
climatization to inclement w€ather h€lps develop
a $eater degreeofmental toughness.W}Iite this
is not a novel approach, our climate gave us morc
dive$ified opportunities to practice in ,,mugh,' This play is drawn up versus a 3-4 front with
cover 3 behind it. We start with "zip" motion by
We felt that, we needed to have lour lypes of ourZ, who rcl€asesoverthetop oftheFSLB. The
passesin our game plan to be successfulinside frontsid€ Y blocks "softly" down on the S tech-
the 1o-yard line: nique for one count and releases to the frontside
. Play-action pass flat. The backside Y releases over th€ top of the
BSLB andaims for the corner.Basedon the play-
. Dropback pass action,the two Ys should €asily climb over top of
. Sprint-out pass th€ LB6 and attempt to stretch the strongcolner.
The Z will stay on the run veNus man covelase
Since these were all common elements ofour and settle down versuszone.The play-actior fake
upfield off€ns€,we did not need to deviate rrom and the crossingaction puts the defenseirabind
our overall philosophy in this area of the field. in terrns ofptay recognition and getting bumped
We did use motion and movement to a grea@r off This is an excell€nt first-and-goal play from
deereeinside the 10 to cr€ate indecision and ad- the 7-yard line.
vantagesversus man coverage.
Screen Pass
Play-Action Pass Category 2 is a screenpass option. This particu,
lar screenis a glorified running play,butbecause
The first play we will discussis a play,actionpass we will consistenUythrow the ball in this area of
olf a sprjnt-dmw action, which is a fairlv cour the field, peoplemusthonor th€ action andit has
mon play for us around the 1o-yard line. We call been succeBsfullor us (seeFieure 2).
this the Zip Pro RightTight L€e Throwback (se€ Tin Pm Right Up Swing Screen Left is a screen
Fisure 1). pass to the FB that is good against cover S and
3
FIGURE

geat against any weakside coveragewith the


lveak end coming. We will motion inside with our
Sprint.Out Pass
A-back to put him in the best possibleposition to Our last category is our spdnt/mll category, and
pin the inside LB. The X will run a fade and break' we will utilize extensive motion and movement
oown and block lhe comer when he recognize' lo pur ^ur.elvesin lhe mosl advantageous posi-
the dump. Th€ playside tackle will chop the 5 tech- tion (s€eFigure 4).
nique at 5 yards, eliminating him from pursuit
The playside guad wil show pass for one count
and kick-out the first defender. The cent€r will
4l sp.i".."te"*
FIGURE
funnel the nose backside and lead the fullback
up the natuml seam between the kickout and
pinned LB. This soeen grvesus a finesse run from
many formations in an arca of the field where it
can be tough to run the ball

Dropback Pass
From our drcpback category, we will show one of
our basic trips routes that we like to use in this
area of the field, where vertical shetch is not
available.Z T\'ins Rrghl Up Flood241 Choiceis
a five-step route where the QB will attempt to
find the open man by reading the strong safetv
and strongsideinside LB area (seeFiglre 3) Explode Over ftips Risht Spring Right 221
The X will run a choiceroute pushing upfield utilizes an unbalancedformation risht disguised
to the strongsidehook area,curling in or out ver- by motion and movement. Our goal is to get our
sus zone coverage.Versus man, he will continue H-back uncoveredinto tb€ frontside flat. The X
acroBsthe field on the run. will start inside to create congestionand indeci-
Th€ Z witl run a curl route at 13 yards looking sion in the zone arcas and will break sharyly to
for the open area.TheA-back will run a flat route the comer ofthe end zone to stlet{h the frontside
at 5 yards looking for the ball right away versus defender The Z will run a choice route in the
man coverage. The Y will block outside backer frontside hook area turning inside or outside The
and curl over original position. Tbe QB will look H-backwill motion acrossformation to a position
A to Z to X venus cover 3 and A to X in man to sive him a clean release to the flat. The QB
coverage.If used as an up-the-field route' QB's will read H to Z to X, expectingthe H to be open
read wju be X toA versus man coverage. versus man and the Xto be open versus zone.

-1989 Sunmer Manudl- CoachMu.ph! is head c@ch at Hsrudrd Unioersit!


?8 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

r1: r } 1] 1i?$; ; B ! :c $ ]f]ti :* $ * i { c $ g $ 1 1 l t i i t $* &


Hang Loose, One of Us
ls Fixin'to Score
BOBBYBOWDEN
i { r f ! ii! : lt 6:;} 6 $ ;Q:e ' -F trr* $ g * g ,]l ti i t ]]]
I'm not on€ of those head coacheswho can sit back dead," becausehe was getting €aten up. Jerry said
and wait for my team to win with great defense he was afraid to shoot because he thought he
and kicking. Some ofthe great coachesofthe pasr might hit his cousininstead of the cat. His cousm
have done it that way, but my ner.vous syBiem shouted, "Shoot an).way 'causeone ol us needs
wont allow it. some relief" That's the way our offense works-
Therefore, on offense we're coming after you eith€r our team or the opponent is fixing to score
ftom every possible angle. We1l throw from our and get some reliefl
1-yard line, mn a rev€rse an),time from any yard
line, and toss a screen pass lrom our end zone.
We're going to do anlthing and eve4,thing to keep Strategy From the Minus I
from punting. I hat€ to punt!
Every week of the season we go to our minus
This philosophy sounds€xciting, and it is;but
1-yardline and practice coming out ofthere. The
there's a catch. Ifit backfrres,our opponentwill
worst we must do by the time it'B fourth down is
pmbably get some easy points out of it.
to have the ball on our minus 5-yard line so our
punter can stand back 14 yards to punt. But we
doni want to punt, so heres our slrar€g].

First Down
Tb€ Eituation is this: our ball, first-and-lO on our
minus 1-yard line, and we don't want to punt. On
first down, the defenBewill be looking for a run,
knowing we want to get oflthe goalline. There-
fore, I'm going to thmw.
To throw is not a gambl€ ifit's calculatedand
pedect€d. For instance, I'm not going to throw
across the middle or into the flats. The odds of a
deflection are too great. Instead, we,ll rnrow
passesthat have low risk of interception, or, if
one is int€rcepted,will ser-veas a long punt and
give our opponent possessiondeep down the field.
Tlds reduces our choiceB to three primary deep
routes: take off, post, or comer (seeFigur€ 1).
The wolst possibleresult from any one ofthese
route$shouldbe an incomplclcpassor deepin-
lerceplion 40 yards do$nfield. tYour rec€i!er
should be able to tackle the defensive back at the
Do you rem€mber the sto4, Jenf. Clower tells spot ofthe interception.) Comparethat with hav-
when he and his cousin were out hunting, and ingto puntbackedup inside the 1o-yardline. On
his cousin climbed a big oak hee to get a wildcat a punt, the opponent may rush 10 players and
they had treed? Jerry's cousin and the wildcat block it, make you shank it, or huny your punler
got wrapped around each other high up in the into hitting a quick line drive that can be re-
hee, ard it was hard to tell who was who. J€rry's tumed. Their chanceoftaking overinside the 40-
cousin called down to Jerry, "Shoot the wildcat yard line is high, even ifyou have a goodkicking
SITUATIONALOFFENSE ?9

- FIGURE
I
. Throw to the deep receiver only, and jf he's
Fouteslor No.t receivoratthe open, hit him.
. No scrambling or dumpine olTto secondary
POST receive$ by the quarterback. He must hit
-T AKAE.OF
coFNEB
F
the deep receiver or throw the ball away.

Second Down
If you didn't complete the pass and it wasn't
picked otr, it's second down and you're still on your
minus 1'yard line. The defensive coordinator is
safng, "That fool just passedftom his end zone,
what'll he try ner.t? Should I blitz him? Double
him? Play normal?"As offensivecoach,Idexpect
that defensive coordinator to loosen up some, and
that's when I plan to set the ball out to at least
the minus s-yard wiih my best bread-and-butt€r
running plaj,.

Thitd Down
i ::re. Therefore,is throwing the bomb from your Now ith third-and-S or -6, and my next call is
.: r zoneon first down really a high-percentrisk basedon how badwe needto set outofthere. For
. i.n you know the altematives? Ifyoucomplete example, if we're ahead by four or more points,
ii passor get an interference call, you're offthe I'd call a conseNative play that has a chance to
get the fiIst down but little chanc€ of a turnover
or negative yards. A good example would be a trap
eutes lor Throwina or draw. Ifit's third-and-5 or -6 yads to so ftom
Frcm the Minus 7 th€ minus 5 or 6 and we need to mov€ the ball
downfield, I'd use any play that would eet the
. Line up with two tight ends to gile high run fimt down and worylittle about coftequencesof
capability.
. )Iak€ a good fake to the running back to Whatever play we choose,it'llbe ore we've re-
freeze the opponent's rush and Becondary heaBed over and over specifically for this situa-
tion. Therefore,if we don't make it,I don't hav€ a
. Use both tight ends and running backs to guilty consciencebecauseI know we'veprepared
block for maximum pass protection.

:986 P.o@dinss. Coach Boud.n is head coa.h at Florilo Stdte Uni&rsitr.


80 FOOTMLL COACHINGSTRATEGTES

i ; * i I ir $e I i 1 }i ::l 1 } ,€ * ;; t g ; I i l ], $ i i t;,
Fast.Break, 2.Minute Offense
PHILLIP FULMER
$i i 9 r ; tl ,* t!l r f il Q llt r! t ! t st i, ; F ; ri
Whenever you speak of2,minute offense, football as a abaw or screen,and if we make a good gain,
coaches natumtly feel a sense of anxiety or ur- we go into our 2-minute offense.Ifthe screel or
gency,becausemany games arc won and lost with draw is unsuccessful,then we can elect to let the
this aspect of the game. There are other times clock r-un and go to the locker room with the scorc
that you may go into the "hurly-up" offense, but as it stands.
th€y'rc not the same as th€ possessionwhereyou The third tenpo we na]|rrcd sirriply 2.minute.
must scoreto win with the clock winding down. This i. lhe pafl of rhe game where a score is
It's under this kind of prcssure that both the needed and little time remains. It may be a touch-
coachingEtaffand the players developa senseof down or a field goal that you need or want, and it
confidence,if they have rch€arsed the siruaror may be before the haifor at the end olthe game,
many times in practice. To prepare for it, you need but a scoreis needed.
a clear set ofguidelines that have be€n planned When we get into this tempo offense,it ts very
out far in advance, not on the sid€line as the fi- often "do-or-die" time, and that's the rcason w€
nal secondstick away. spend so much time and effort studying and plac-
ticinethis aspectofthe same.It's somethingthat
Differcnt Versions of the you hopeyou never have to 1lse,but when you oo,
you'd better b€ able to execute.
2-llinute Offense
One of the fimt and most useful id€as we came Two.Minute Situations
up with was to have three differcnt tempos for
oul 2-minute offense. The various situatiors we Nothing breedspoiseand confrdencein a team or
faced during the course ol a season d€mandeil a stafflike quality practicetime.I'd like to share
dilYerent reactions from our offensive personnel the various situationE we try to cover during our
and coaches. We gave the various situations playcrmeetings.practiceq. or scrimmagFs. I per-
narnes so that there would be no problems with sonally run the drill by creating various situa-
tiom, marking the ball as ready lor play, dictat-
One of those t€mpos we cal]ledout hurry hustle ing the down and distance, etc. We put our of-
offense.This is u6ed primaril) whpn rhere is fense in the following situations:
plenty oftime to score given our field posjtion and/
or the number oftime,outs, or i n a situation where . Penalty on the offenseor defense
we're down by more than one score and time is . Before halfand must have TD
g€ttiirg short. . End ofgame and must have a TD
In this offense, we continue to huddle after . Various number oftime-outs
every play, but we move as quickty as possibleto . Injury to oflense or defense
lhe huddle and rhen back ro rhp tine of s(rim- . QB sack
mage alter the play is called.We utilize the same . Long gain that doesnot get out ofbounds
basic principles as we would in a despention situ- . Last play ofsame Big B€n Play
ation, such as getting out of bounds whenever . Last play ofgame ftom plus 2s-yard tine to
possible and the quarte$ack laying the ball to- the plus 4-yard line
wards the boundary ifthe throw down the field . Intentionally gounding the ball to stop the
isnl available. clock
Tbe secondtempo is n an.'edsituation huddte. . Playins to set up a FG,
eetting the batt to
This is used mainly beforethe hafwhenwehave the middle ofthe field
poor field position. We stalt with a safe call such . D€sperationFG with no way to stop the clock
SITUATIONALOFI'ENSE 81

Two.Minute Rules ception or turnov€r usually m€ans you lose the


game.
:.tain rules and principles are essentialto suc- If the defensehas dropped deep to take away
::.i in a 2-minute ddll. Number on€, €veryone our primary receivers, then the lay-offs should
- iit know the situation, not juBt the quarter- be even more open and becomebetter gains. When
':.:k. The coachesshould communicate on the we lay the ball off, we prefer for the QB to work
. :.line to oul entire offense:whether we need a into the short side of the field. We've found that
l .rr if we will settle for a FG, exactly how much we have much more success getting the compl€-
::.' is left, how many time-outs we have, and tion and lhen eettingout ofboundsand "topping
. r: :r ofthe thrce tempos we are going to execute. the clock wh€n the throw is to the short side of
- i the QB vrill remind everyoneof the situa- the field.
: : again on the field before rre heak the huddle The QB must also decide when to take the short
- :he frmt play. gain and when to just throw the ball out ofbounds
s€cond, everyone must know it's time tD hurry to stop the clock. In a norrnal 2-minute situation,
r - : io things quickly For this reason, we go on a our goal is to gain 7 yards on eachplay.Ofcoume,
: - :i snap count to try and saveevery secondon we always want the bigger gain, but we don t want
'. rlock.We also want to get in and out of the to force it and increaseour chanceofa tumover:
' -:.le and up to the new line of scrimmage as Ifwe're going to gain only 2 or 3 yards, then we
. , : as rve can. We can't run amund trying to get eiiher need to get the ball out ofbounds or make
-::xized. W€ must execute, be as efficient as a fimt down so the clock stops, at least tempo-
:' i:rble, and waste no plays or tim€ onthe clock. rarily. A gain of only a few yards is not wodh the
hird, receivers should get all the yads they time we lose off the clock.
r: :fter making a catch but still be consciousof We try to use time-outs very discriminatingly,
': :ideline.This may sound elementary,but it's usually taking them only after sacks or short
' .r- sing hou ofien you seeplaycrsrun immp-
: ::.]v out ofboundB. To help our playeN know
!: :l! *'hen to try to get out ofbounds and when
, r.r get north and Bouthup the fi€ld, we teach
L - . {e call the numbels .&le. If they catch the
'| 'n or outside the numbere, they should eei
, :.et can and get out ofbounds. Conversely,if
'.. catch the ball inside the numbers, they
-- rld getupfieldandmakeyards,andnotworry
i- i: the boundary
. i.urth principle is to never take a sack. Sacks
' alt costyou valuableyards,but the time that
. ::.es rvhile the team gets lined up and ready
' ::e next play is usually much $eater than
- ':::al. Also, when you're going backwards in-
.-.:r of forwards, it rcquires more time for the
il.. :o get back and aligned colrectly.
:1e Qts shorld try to get rid ofthe ball ifat all
r rle, but if a sack doesoccur,w€ always con-
. :-ri: :aking a time-out immediately. After a sack,
- :e usually faced with a bad down-snd-dis-
.::.. so the time-out gives you time to get your
. ,:hts together and decide on the next play.
ri.riher key principle is to takejust what the
r,-'i:je gives up. OtrI motto in these situation8
. ' ! needy, not gteedy," and this has to be the
:-. thought olthe quarterback.The QBh
"rling
:- .:rn making processmust remain the same
- 'inything, becomeeven mor€ comeruative
.' ,: :onnal. At this point in the game,an inter-
82 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

gains when we don't make a frrst down orget out


whatever look you may get. Successon the
of bounds. Rarely wju we take a time-out after {irst play is criticat not onlyjust for the yardE
makins a fiIst down unless we have more avail- gained, but for the psychological boost it
able than the situation dictates w€,11need. Wed $ves ine @am.
rather stop the clock with the eB intentionaly
tluowing the ball into the ground, sac ficing the 3. Aft€r th€ first play, w€ arc into our 2-minute
down to save the time-out. When ue do this, the offense,and the coach€scontinueto call the
plays frorn the sideline.We don,t let oul
QB callsr he codeword .or r his ptal and er erl une eB
knowsto gersor.Thp QB ca tbr r he ba a. soon call his own plays dudng the regutar couse
"
as everyoneis set and the official of the game, and we arent going to expeci
marks the ball him to do so when the game is on the line.
as ready for pla)r The line merely steps insjde
while everyoneelse stays in his stanceuntil the The QB will immediately look to tbe side-
whisue blows the play dead. lin€ once the prcvious play is completed.
Becauseofthis, there is no real reason for
us to call two plays in the huddle at one time.
On.the.Field Procedures The signals are short and quick, usuatly only
one or two movements of a hand, and the
Now,let's Iook at a few ofthe procedureswe use
QB stafts relaying the play to the rest of
and how we executeour 2-minute offense: the ofense as the ball is being spotted and
1. We identify which of the three tempos we the oflense is g€tting alJgned for the nexr
want or need to employ,and then we ale1t play. Routes aie usually communicatedto
€veryone on the offensive team that we are the receiversfrrst, then the protectionsare
going into that mode of offense.We atso jn_ directed for the line and running backs.
torn everyoneexac y what our goat for the In addition, we have found that we can
series may be, whether we need a TD or if change the pelsonnel that we have in the
we can setUefor a FG. same by having them right up there besid€
us and sending them in as soon as the pre_
2. Beforc the QB takes the field, we rcview that
vious playends. This has beenbeneficiatfor
week's2-minute plan and confirmwith him
us becausewe can go fuom four WRs to two
how many time-outs we have ard how nmy
RBs and back to five WRs without the de,
plays we should be abl€ to run in the time
fense having time to adjust its personnel.
.emaining. We remind him what the Desr
plays should be for that week, and what to
draws, aDd the FB trap have beel very
expect liom our opponent. W€ try to start a -,Screens,
efibctive ptays for us the last few y€arc, especially
2-minute drill \.ith a ptay that's good ver_ on secondand short down and distances.By calt_
sus a wide variety of coverages,which for ing theseplays during tbe last 2 minutes, we hav€
us may be a curl route, a screen,or a d.aw. an excellent chance to at least pick uD the first
Whatever play you select,it shodd bc ure do$n. The"e plaJ" atjo kFep ino a"r;n.. otr-
that your players know €xtremely well, ex_ balance and slo\^ down the passrush
ecute well, and one that has answers ior

1994 Pro@edinqs Coach Futmer is head coach at rhe Uni\ersitr


ofTennessee.
i ! I { ; 4 i i I t i 6 | i ! !, iIF *,; :
Pass Plays for the Final Drive
JACKELWAY
0
The final offensive poss€ssionis an opportunity marked, we will take the liberty ofplacing it in
:o win the game. We'v€ all been in such sitta- the middle ofthe field. Let's get startedl
:ions, and we've experiencedgreat victories as
rell as gut-wrenching d€feats.These situations 84 Y Delay
always heighten the victory and s€em to inten-
iify the emptiness of a ]oss. The fimt play attempted will be an 84 Y delay,
The situation we'vebeen presentedwithlooks FB read, run from a doubl€s right formation. This
iike this: 30 secondsremaining, on€ tim€-out, play is dmwn up veNus a 3-4 front with cover 3
irst'and-goal from the g-yard line. we need a behind it (seeFigurc 1).
rouchdownto win-no probleml?
Gcrring inro thiq "iluarion is.ne rhing: pre- HGUBEI GYd"t"v
oadng to capitalize on the situation is the task
preparationfor this 6rtuationin-
" hand. Our
cludes the following plan: identifi€ation of our
'clutch" series, practice time devoted to such situ-
ations, and executionof our clutch series.
The offensive staffwil s€lect three or four plays
N
ihat we can "hang our hat on." These are plays
:hat, regardlessofthe defense,we executeto the CtrC
highest d€greeofproficiency.We also prepare for
$ hat we expecta defenseto present. One chang€
ire have Beenin defensive football in these situa-
O
L
rions basbeentheuse ofmorezone covemgethan
rhe heretoforeman or blitz coverage.we will not
I
discount the possibility of the combination de-
fensesthat will be used to make us eam a touch- The fullback is given a "ftee release"thmugh
the inside leg of the strong safety. He'll force the
The last 30 minutes ofThursday's practice is defensive covemge and specifrcally expand the
always set aside for specific2-minute situations. stronssidelinebacker (S) bywidening him to the
The practice tim€ allows oul offetse to developa top ofhis zonedrop.We'll placeour tullback (FB)
senseofpoise, purpose,and executionofthetask at one yard deepinto the end zoneand as wide as
hand. We {,ant to establish a tempo for 2- the strong safety's (SS) original alignmeni. His
^t
minute situations- OuI playeN are inehucted to tunction is to attmct two defendem, S and SS.
get to the line of scrimmage as quickly as pos- Our flanker will rrm his comeback route by driv-
- rhle.Our.kill plarers,WR.TE. RB. QB) are in- ing the corner 17 yards into the end zone and com-
:tructed onmethods to conseNetime and to stop ing back to 15 yards.
the clock without the use oftime-outs. Our QBs The tight end (Y) will "slow-block by inl.iting
$ill hear constantly from us that their best deci- the shongside defensive tackle (ST) upfield. Y will
jion may be thrcwing to row 17. The QB's recos- key tbe dmp of S and occupy the area S has va-
nition ofa "no chance"play alows our offenseto cat€d.Y must be aseressivewhile slow-blocking
remain in control by avoiding a sack,a turnover, and he canDot get held by the ST Our tailback
(TB) will check release offthe weakside linebacker
We will give oul QB two plays to call rn the (W) and milTor the drop ofthe middle linebacker
huddle with respective Enapcounts for each. Since (M). He has an opportunity to occupyorblockM,
rhere was no mention of where the ball has been and we will have a successful play.
84 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

OuI QB will take his five-step drcp and key S. 338 Flood Pass
We have crcat€d a two-on'one situation with our
FB and Y Our objective js to make S wrong and Our sideline conversation will include our next
look to ourTE. There have been instanceswhere two plays. We also anticipate a defensive change
we have fbund our flanker, but that has been the so our third Eelectionis a play we feel has a chance
result ofa gr€at effort by our tdggerman. This is versus any defensewhere w€ need 2 yards. Our
our most successfulplay and we want our TE to QB iB reminded not to lorce the issue, and ifit's
gain a minimum of5. By accomplishingthis we not going to happen, to get rid ofit so we'll have
have kept the football in the middle ofthe field, another opportunitJr.Th€ play chosen is a 338
and we can get back to the line ofscrimmage for flood pass (seeFisurc 3).
play No. 2.
FIGURE
3
93X
The situation is second-and-goalon the 4-yard
line with 22 s€condsto go.We anticipate tbe de,
Ienseto run the same front and cover as tbe fimt
due ro I heir inrbrlir) to huddle.subsri1ure.orsig
nal in a defens€(seeFigure 2).
CCNCO
F I G URE
2I ;

FS

/
We'll bring X to a tight position weak. Oui
S backs align in a near set. This play requires our
T ST
CCo
flanker to motion pre-snap to an area 5 yards
ouhide the alignment ofY On snap, he will oc'
cupy the area S h as vacatedat a depth of 8 yards.
Ywill outsjdereleaseand occupya space5 yards
ouhide hiB original alignment and get to a depth
of 7 yards into the end zone.
Our TB will sprint to the front cone.He must
gain enough li"idth and depth that a simultaneous
Doubles right 93 X is a fade by our sptit €nd hit and reception would break the plane of th€
(X). He will drive throryh the outside shoulder end zone.Our FB must pin the delender respon,
and fade tothebackconeofthe endzone.OurTB sible for'contain." If that defender widens to a
will release thmugh the inside leg of{ and his point where a pin tu not feasible, then he will k€ep
roul€ muar widenW By accomplishing rhis. re him from gaining gound upfreld. We want thls
place the burden on M to get to the TB. block as close to the line of scrimmage as pos-
Our FB will slip releasero the flat. ThiB rEa sible.OUrQB must lorce the issu€by getting out-
technique that enables him to prevent a poten- side, keying the block of our FB. He now looks to
tial passrush ftom an area outsid€ ofour tackle. the TB and thrcws or runs to the front cune ur
He then slips into the flat. Our QB willfirstcheck
the corner.The aligr]ment olw will change his In th€ event h€ throws off-balance, leaning out
fbcusto makingw wrong. Ifhe widens and hangs of bounds, and somehow completes the pass to
with TB, we dump to the FB. IfW widens to the the flanker, trynotto look stunned. Be composed
flat, ourTB is prime. We completeto our FB who and be the frrst to let your booster club know that
is unable togetoutofbounds. Our final time-out you practice this amazing f€at every Thursday.
is used with 12 secondsremaining on the 2-yad
line,left hash mark.

1987Sunner Manual. ConchEluat is a scoutfor the DenaerBrcncos.


i* PARIII ti g x i € 6 $ I n $* g a &; gc x i! gi i

Defense
3 $ xps s *$ s* x x xt Q & x s fi c * x $ g E $ t; * 6i t
Team Defense
Setting Up a Successful Defense Dich Tomey 87
A Fundamental Approach to Defense Barry Aluarez 90
Switching Frcm the 50 to the 43 Defense Grant TelrlF 91
Using a Multiple Attack Defense Paut hdwell 95
The Wrecking Crew Defense R.C. Slocum 98
The Eagle Defense BiIl Doole! 101
Adjusting the Eagle Defense Rockr Hager 104

Emphasis on Defense
Stopping ihe Run With a 7:6 Advantage 106
Stopping the Whhbone Dare Wannsted.t 107
Getting Linebackeff to the Point ofAttack Dennis Green 109
Getting Run Suppod From the Secondary Hayd.en Fry 172
The Stunting 4"3 Front GeorgePerles It4
Slanting DefenEe for an Advantage Chuch Broylzs 119
Coachingthe Front Sevenin the 50 Defense Ron Schipper 121
Defending AgainBt the Pass Jerry Sand.usky 124
Making the Secondary Primary BiIIy Joe 124
DefendingAgainst the Run-and-Shoot DelWight 131
Applying Pressrue Without the Risk Frank Beamer 133
Simple Coverages Versus Complex Passins cameB Dich Sheridan 135

85
Setting Up a Successful Defense
DICK TOMEY wrrn LARRY MACDUF$
RICH ELLERSON, em JOHNNIE LYNN
,l t i , ! : !r'lr ,r r: ,: ir QfI:;ir:::,,,*E'ii.
We believe in playing defensewith grcat efort
and enthusiasm.W€ want a group ofathletes that
FIGURE
I Defensivetronralignmenr
exceljn the areasofhitting and effort. The height
ol a player isn't nec$saily as impodant as his o
ability to run and his desire to get to the ba1l.
In order to developan outstandjng defense,you
oo r
must do the fbllowing: l\ T T
. Recruit players that can run and ha1'e ihe
physical capabilities that fit your system.
. Establish pride in defense-Create oxpecta- to maximize the numberofrepsin a glven stance.
tions of stopping people,holding them to a However,we balance this with the understand-
minimum number ofpoints and yards. ing that a position'sjob description,physical re-
. Be willins to h€lp your defense with the stmt- quirements, and opportunities will change dra-
egiesyou employ on offenseand in the kick- maticallv depending on which way we s€t the
ing game. front. W]]at follows is a summary of alignments
. Have a stmng running game orashortpass- and responsibilities for our front five.
ing gamethat $ill allow you to consumetim€
when necessaryto help the defense. Stud or Cattside End
. Have a defensive plan and schemethat is Align one yard outside iackle or hcad up to TE.
sound,is basedon stoppingthe r-un,and has Cross '.he LOS on the snap of the ball. Defend
enough coyemge vadety to both pressure th e the C gap versus th€ run as dcrrnedby the hip of
quad€rback and stop the undemeath throws the tackle. Spill th€ ball-carder deep and $'ide.
on ea.ly downs. Rush the edge versus the pass.As the front is
OuI defenseuses one front that takes away often Betto the wide side, deny th€ QB the use of
cutbacks,forcesthe ball to the perimeter,and has the field. Attackl Make your mistakes on their
r ery simple coverdown responsibilities agaimt sideofthe LOS andmake them full speed.There's
rhe variety of formations we see. Our coverage somebuilt in margin for error at this position.
packageis a 3-deepcoverageand a man-free cov-
Catt-Side lackte
Align with fcct outsidc thc guard'ssiance,regard'
less otholv iight the splits arc. Crossthe LOS on
Defensive Line the snrp ofthe ball. Defend th€ B sap versus the
\\'e consh'uct our defensive front fbur defen run, as defined bv the hip ofthe guard. Rush the
sjle linemen (two tackles and "'ith
two ends), and a passer! Make your mistakes on their sid€ ofthe
.' nip linebackprGan.rall) rhpccposi LOS and make thern full sp€ed.Aeain, there's
"pFakint. sotnemargin for error at this position.
:ions will cancel all the inside ruIrning lanes, C
,:ap to C gap, and rush the passer,with the pos-
iible exc€ptionofwhip, who may be involv€d in Nose or Backside tackle
:he coveraseifpass shows (seeFieure 1). Alisn on the ccnter $'ith a slisht shadeaway from
W€ play with our inside foot back and p]ace a thc callside.Steppingwiththe inside foot, attack
]eat deal of emphasis on our initial footwork. the middlc ofthc center,win the LOS, and cancel
\\-e play oul peoplelelt-right whenever possible both A saps, on€ \ir.ith his body and one with you$.

87
8E FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

A great deal has been made ofour flex atign-


ment. Int€restingly, this system ofgap cancella-
tion has its roots in the Canadian Footbatl L€ague
where everybody must align a yard otr the ball.
The question thus becamewho to move up. cet-
ting up on the ball helps our pass rush and cre-
at€s the thrcat of quick penetmtion. Playing off
the ball helps us rcact appropriately to a wider
range of blocking combinations and facititates
change-upin assignments liom a single atignment.

Linebackers
Our inside iinebackersarc normaltynottied to a
gap in the tackle box; nther, they are expected
to n]n the alley which our front five has forced
the ba]l to bounc€ into. This requires them to atign
with a $eat deal of variety, depending on the
threat posed by any given for.rnation.
The linebackers align, along with the second,
ary, accoding to strength call that typically indi-
catesthe \.ide set ofthe field. Our rnver,or strong
inside linebacker,r.ill align relative to the third
eligible while Mike, our weak inside linebacker
will align with the second eligible on the weak
side, counting outside in. Our tinebackers(along
Keep the cent€r from getting to tbe LB levet at w'th thc slrongsafpryI will. I herefoj"c.be rheprin-
all cost. Vemus pass, ru6h opposite the callside cjpal adjustem to any shifts or motion. This ftee-
and expectto be double-teamed. dom ofalignment facilitat€s man coverage, keeps
us in proximity to changing refercnce points for
Fe x zone coverage,and is consistentwith ourru! re-
This position can be played by the whip or end. sponsibility.
Align with a slight inside shadeon the def€nsive Versus a balanced 2-back set, our base align-
tackle and flex24" to 36' o1Ithe LOS_Detend th€ ment is 5 yar& deep outside shade ofthe guard
(seeFigure 2).
B gap versus the run, as defin€dby the hip ofthe
guard. From this alignment, we can use our ror-
mal ag$essive footwork and still expect a gTeat
run reaction. Ifpass shows,our end wiU fight for
TIGURE
2 Linebacker
alignmentversus
contain, or if whip is in the flex, he,ll react ac-
cording to the coveragecalled. o
Backside Seven @
Can be play€d by either the whip or end. Align
and defend the run exactly like stud, but we witl o- o
sacri{icesome ag$essivenessto insure conect,
ness.Versus pass,the end will rush contain and
C C tr C C O
whip will react accordingto coverage. R M
We allow our callside people to play "on the
edge"every snap and expect our backsidepeople
to give us the maigin for enor that kind of play If we arc align€d versus a single ba€k behind
rpquiresby beingeractly correcr.By challenging the QB, we deepento 6 yards, with our near foot
the gaps, using consistentfootwork, and rcmov- on th€ ball. wlren aligned on a TE, note that we
ing some fear of the mistake, we tr-uly achieve assumea position (4 x 4) that allows us to force
the attack mentality our defense is known for the run (seeFigue 3).
:'::'....

safety will genemlly cheat his alignme:1l11: ::E


3
TIGURE strongB gap whcn the bal) is on the ha'h or F
split the difference between the widest eligibles
when the ball is in the middle (see Fisurc 5)'

flGURE5 l ;"r"" b""K|"b


"rir","".,
C
o
o C
t.i.,ccIoc{.1,
When aligned on a TE to the weak side, we @
have the option of exchanging gaps with thc end
helping deny the QB the field (see Figure ai c ss' F c
Linebacker allgnnenlveBu6 A major part of otll secordary package is our
righl end on widesido
man-to-man coverage. In our man-to-man cov€r-
aEe.we sbow the same look as we do on every
snap.Thestmngsafely.beingresponsible for cov-
erins No. 2 strong.aligns4 vards outsideand 4
vad; back ftom the tight end, or ifthe No 2rc-
ceiver is a slot, he aligns in a levemge position
between the €nd man on the lin€ of scdmmage
and No. 2.
On the snap, the strong safetv maintains hie
inside rclationship, knowing that he has help over
Our alignment ruleB are the same, rcgardlesB
the top. The free safety is aligned t0 to 12 vards
of the coverage call€d, and often our blitzes will
off the ball in the strcng B gap, and is respon-
adjuet dght along with changing forrnatiom As
sible for deep middle help. The field corner and
a ;esult, it's very difficult to get a pre-snap read
boundarl,cornerline up on No l strongand No
on our intentions.
I weak, rpspectivelyThe field corner aligns 8
A key feature of our svstem is that because yards off the ball with an inside attitude on his
our linebacke$ aren't expected to step up and
olus inside running laneB versus offensive line- On the Bnap, the field comer maintainB his
men, we can sacrificephysical stature for speed
inside attitude on the receiver by using a weave
when rccnriting. The net r€sult is that we have
technique to stay squarc on the inside Bhoulder'
more people on the field who r-un exceptionallv
The boundary corner aliglle 8 vards ofT the ball
well, ire effective blitzeN, can man cover people,
with an outside attitude on his teceiver' On the
anal can make plays in the open fi€ld. This mini- snap, the boundary comer weaves with the out-
mizes the opportunities an ollenB€ nonnallv has side shoulder, knowing that he has deep middle
qhen thpy get a linebackeropposirea running
help.
$hen we feel that we re capablpof pressing
the rcceivers,we use our basic press bump-and-
Secondary
Our secondary aligns along the same guidelines 1 Cro$d the line ofscrimmagewith e)es in-
as tlle linebackers. The shong safetv makes the side to check alignment.
direction call that determines what we'llheat as 2. Key receiver's chest with hands up and
shensth and then aligns relative to the second readv hoPuncb (quick hands)
receiver, much as the Mike does on the weakside' 3. Pou;d receiverontop halfofnumbers and
CornerB align with number one, and we can plav tuln and run with him Punch his frame 3o
them teft-right or fi€ld and boundarv The ftee he can't get his shoulders upfield.

Prn""dir(" Co*|"Tbrnzr is h^on coaghat the Universftv of A'itu&' CoachasE erEonatd lann drc hig
-figa
dii-u*o"f is en assistantcoo'h for th2 Neu vo'k Giobts
^*iiti
90 FOOTBAIL COACI NG S',fr,A.TE(irES

A Fundamental Approach
to Defense
wrrn DAN McCARNEY

I have avery strong beliefin lundamentals. That . Eliminate mental erors. Stay simple and
is an area that is too often overlooked,particu-
larlyonce the scasonstarts ardcoachcs are lnole . Be ph$icdl.
conc€medwith game planning-Alter €nch gane, . Pla! consert'dtilr€b. Play down-and-
our defensive coachcsratc our players on these distance percentages and tendencies. Use
'$n-^1c,1 .lrnt". Zon^ rnd man-lrFe in
secondaryEmploy prcssure as surp s€.
. Squaring their shoulders. . Tahe all the b.rll to reduce blockine
. KeFpinCrhp plalside drm and lFg lrc,
. Maintaininc a base.Don't crossov€r . Giue pktyers a three-way go,
. Usinc crossfaccs.Again, don't crossover.
. Kcepine thcir pads ovcr the toes. Deliver A Dozen Thinas to Stress
on Derense
. Hittingwith their hands and shoulder pads, . Pla) si,h Erpa, pmotion and enthu.'asm
ncvcr cxposing the flcshy part oftheir bod- €ach time j-ou step on the field.
. Developbis play pelsonalitjr.
. Staying in a football positi0n. . Out-hustle the opponent and b€ stronger
We have established a philosophy of control- each snap as the game wears on.
. Believe in yourselfand your buddy lined up
ling the passinggame.We'll give up complctions,
but we shess not allowing the receiver to run af-
. B€lievcthat you and your teammatesare the
ter he catchesthe ball and, obviously,we don't
\,"ant th€ ball thm$'n behind us. toughest $oup on the held.
. Believe you can rvin and cxpect to wir
Finrt, howcvcr,wc must stopthe run andmust
. Play together
commit as many peoploas possibleto do so. The
. Refuse to stay blocked, even though you'lI
fnllo$Ing i. nur phrl...pl^yr pr. u. th" r'un'
get blocked from many angles.
. Eliminate the big plar. Stretch the ball . Developa variety of techniques;have more
east and west, oliminatine the cutback. Use than one way to defeat a block.
proper pursuit angles.Take all the ball to . Ilelieve that you are soing to make the tackle
reduce blocking angles. on every play.
. Disrupt the offensiue rhythm, Play . Don'tuse lackofphysical skills as anexcuse.
multiple fronrs. Stem the front (pre-snap) . Show great character. Overcomeadversity,
and rock tbe flont (on the snapl. injury',and heartache to win.

1991Procce,:1ines. Cad.h Allarcz is h.dd.oa.h at thp Uni.efti6 olw!<nnNn1.(ha(h Mccam<,r i6 hen.l <:oachat
krtd Sktte tlhileBil!.
TIIAM DEFEI-SE 9r

r: i: r 1! lit t 1 i i t I i: ] l l: i i, : r i
Switching From the 50
to the 43 Defense
GRANTTEAFF
1 1 i 1 ;1itll lir*Q i,iia', 1i):,,, rl ll ai:,i
, )ur defensiv€philosophycomplemenh o11Ioffen- reverse. Drop end is responsiblefor pitch on
:Lre approach.We frrst must be able to mn the option and pass defenseversus pass. On op'
rall and defendthe run, and then work toward a tions, the one not responsible for contain should
'.,lan.ewith our passinggamcand defendrng rhe support alley (inside-out pursuit) to the ball.

Defensively,we stressteachingresponsibilities
:nd principles.We believein a base defensethat
flouREI l sod"r""*
:i suitable to our peGonnel, that is balanced in
.€lation to the ofTensiveset, that is based upon
lap control up front, and thai is flenible and ^,.-.1-=__A
irmple to execute.we challengeeachteam mem
:!.r $rith basic responsibilities on every play. When
:reakdowns occlq they're rccognized quickty and o s-]rait
idjustnents are made.
our base defense evolved ftom an odd or 50
o"Q c,o), c
.ook with multiple schemes to an Even or 43 look. Etttr
uon€ln
\W\en \1'efirst went to ihe 43 1ook,we pi ayed only ^^ \ \- wB
the two defensive tackles down. The de{ensive -n
endswere linebacker tlpeB who stoodupin front
of tight ends.We'veput our defensiveends down
in front of the tight end now, although they occa- in Ihp 43 , sceFig-
Our bas,crespon"ibi)itieh
sional)y slide down over the off€nsive tackles and ure 2l are as follows:
play like a defensive tac}le in an odd tuont.
iddle Unit (Mike and Tsl Must control
four gaps (A and B). Mike has both B gaps ei-
Basic Responsibilities in 5O ther on quick flow or count€r flow (dive iheat)'
and 43 Defenses Both Ts must control respectiveA gap.

In the 50 or Odd defens€(see Fisure 1) our rc-


sponsibititieswere broken down in the folowing 2 l-;"*"*
FTGUBE
Middle Unit {Nose and LBsl Must con-
trol four gaps (A and B) Nosehas bothAgaps'
OnsideLB has B gap BacksideLB hetps Nose
with A gaps when ball is awav. Backside LB
must protect his B gap on counter flow and
onsideLB must help Nose withA gaps
Oulside Unit (Ts and Esl-Tackles must
C
control rcspective C gaps outside in veNus base
block- Ball away,cmss face ofoffensive tackle
to control B gap on cutback. Ends contml tight
-wB
end from head-upposition and contain QB (on Culback
option or pass) ball awav hail for bootlegs and

F
92 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

Outside Unit lEs and CBl Must control C 43 Versus Zone Option
gap and contain QB. When ball is away, end
generally has tlail responsibility. The end or The college 43 has some advantages over the odd
LB responsiblefor C gap must squeezeB gap alignment ve$us the split-veer attack and the
outside in when ball is inside. On option, the blocking schemesthat are popular. One of the
one not responsiblefor contain should inside- trends in the veer attack is the zoneoption. This
out pu$uit (alley) to the ball. playhas tused th€ inBideand outside veer plays.
It puts a great deal ofpressue on the nose and
delensivetackle in the odd alignment.
Seven Principles of Defense The QB reads the defensive tackle. If tackle
stays ouhide, QB will give to dive back hitting
Regadl€ss of whether we are basic odd (50) or inside legofoffensive tackle.IfQB thinks he can
€ven (a3), the following principles apply. beat the defensive tackle to the outside, he will
1. Prirr.ar! support-Outside-in suppoft on fake the dive back and option offthe next offen-
wide pl ay Take on lead blocker on sweepsand sive man to sho\r The play is designedto create
options. Norrnaly responsible for the pit{h. a running tane for the dive back, or tie up the
2, ,Force-Widest man in d€fenseby alignment. defensivenose,LB, and tackle on the dive so the
Nercr lct ball.carricr oulside of you. QB can option oflthe end.
RespoNible for the one out pass. Secondary The tight end and flanker are Iead blockers,
suppod outsidein. and the pitch back or QB, dependingupon what
the defensive end does, will have a one-on-one
3, Contain QB on option and spdnt-out or situation on the comex The offensiveline is zone,
roll-out pass. Squeezefrom outside rn rne ar€a blocking to the side olplay to cut offinside-
off-tackle hole on play inside. InBide-out out squeezeby the defense,as well as widen the
support on wire play. defensive tackle to create an inside running lan€,
4. ?rtir-Responsible for bootlegs,reverses, or tie tackle up on dive back and get a one-on-one
and wide cutbacks when ball starts away. situation on the comer (seeFieure 3).
5, Cutbach Responsiblefor cutback when
ball stads away {on't oven-un.
6. Gap rcsponsibility
FIGURE
3 43 vef6uszoneoption
and pursuit-Front
seven given gap rcsponsibility and down the
line of sc.immage punuit.
7. Option responsibilitr
Zinemen-If ball is faked or given inside of

?I
you, squeezefrom outside in, but don't lose
your outside position on bsse block. If
off€nsiveblocker oppositeyou blocks down,
closedown and play ball-carrier outside in.
Keep pads square and get a piece oloffensrve
blocker Ifyou are aligned head-uporinside
of ofTeffive blocker, don't let blocker offLOS c
l SS c
on inside release.Always be in position to
pursue inside out if ball goeswid€. FS
Linebachers Read QB and pitchback lor
option.Keep position ar1ddon't stepupfield.
Baseblock, outside-in squeeze,out or down The 43 makes it more difiicult for the offen-
block,read nesh or shulfle out ifeverfthing sive linemanto area block and cutoffthe inside-
in front ofyor clogsup. Don't overrun QB. out Bqueezeby the defense,thus closing down
Giv€ alley s.lpport versus pitch. the running lane ofthe dive back. The wide align,
Secondory The basic rule is we wanr one ment ofdefensive €nd and the off-the-line play of
more defender on the pedmet€r than the the outside LB makes it hard on the QB and pitch
offensehas blockprs.Thiq iq our premise back to get a one-on-one situation on perimet€x
regardless of the alignment of the ftont The dive back'Eangle gives Mike a quick read to
the ofl-tackle hole. The alisnment of defensrve
TEAM DEFENSE 93

tackles makes it difficult for the center and onside


guard to execute the zone block (seeFigue 4).
FIGURE
6
4
TIGURE

.cDO,llQc
-rl
o ss
(.\ fr<M E
I SB WB c c
FS

43 Vercus Trap Option 43 Versus Outside Veer


Another popular play is the tlap option from split
Another play that the veer teams like is the out-
backs. In the odd alignments, this play putB a
side veer or load option, with the onside guad
great deal ofpressure on the onside LB and tack-
pulling to lead and block alley support. W€ feel
les. The tlap play, a companion to the option,
that covering the ofensive guards and penetlat-
forcesthe defensivetackle to closeinside hard to
ing with our defensive tackles makes it difficult
the omsidpoffensive
"lnp the lmp. This allows to pull the guards on the loaded play and cut off
guard to seal oflinside-out puruuit, and gives the
our delensivetackles with the center or offensrve
QB and pitch back a one-on-on€situation on the tackles on reach or down block (seeFieure 7).
corner (s€eFigure 5).

FIGURE7 l-;*""r"d"d.P,i-

The trap option does not put the same pres-


sure on the defensive€nd and LB in the 43, be- 43 Versus tfte Pass
causeby alignment the tlap play must hit fur-
ther insid€ than it does in the odd alignment. It's always been our philosophythat a good pass
Again, the outside LB ofT the LOS has a better r'ush is the foundation of effectivepass defense.
opportunity to read the inside fake and play otr In our basic defensivesch€me,we believe that a
the pullins euard, making it hard for QB and pitch four-man rush rrith four men covering under
back to get the desired one-on-one situation on neath and 3-deepcoverageis the optimum ratio
the comer (seeFigure 6). and distribution.
94 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGINS

In our basic43 alignment we have the tackt€s


and€nds always rushinsand the threeLBs ptay- FIOUBE
8I Fronr4 passrushrechniques
ing pass defensc.We are aligred in a balanced
rush and these four get a great deal ofrepetition
in pass rushine techniques.Becauseofthe type oI lc
ofathlete we recruit lor defensiveend, we often
beatoflensivetackl€son th e passrush with speed rt Ai\
andquickness.By moving the €nds down and the
OLBS outside, we can use games with the rour-
man rush that are very efectivevemus the drop
/a)a r-)
t" " Y o
TE
back pass.We t€ach three basicgamesto our front
fbur rusherc (seeFigure 8).
Our basic underneath coveragewith LBs is
B -Qc)MB

man or combination man. This is easy to teach


and very effectiveveNus draws, screens,delays,
and dumps to i,hebacks.We also play somecom- OIC
binationmanand zon€as well as zonedropswith
our LBs. This is a good change-upin lons-yard- tt or,l
lI age situations to tak€ away deep (17- to 1g-yard)
intelrnediate zones.
The r hird phaspofr n pa.! defenFeis,
Cb
a\
r 0/c
a-----
"flpcriv. E ttt
of couNa, the secondary.Thmugh the yea,s, we
have useda number ofcovemgesand chanse-ups.
It's alwaysbeenour philosophythat we must pre,
vent the long or touchdownpass.Becauseofthis,
we usually zone3-de€protating with four second,
ary backs. We havc evolved into a nonrotating clo
li€e safety with man-to man coverage on singt€ I \4 [
i / (\) I \
E On the two-receiverside, our comer witl play
man in a zone. In other words he will play nar
on rhF u,de rercivpr unle"s rhc spcondrecen€r
1oc ilc c)
I . -\ i
:l ETTE
onhis sidethreatens the deepoutside.Our strong
safetywillwork undemeath the wide recervero!
the lwu rc.Fi\pr hidp.By stajang in th . basi.co!- Ihe bali. Wp wFrc nut as FffFcrivepu ing prH.-
erage 857.,of the time, we spend a good deal of surc on the QB with the follr-rnan rush in the
workout time on one-on-onecoveragewith the odd alignment.
wido receivels.This has given our def€nsivecor- We have atso found it easier to organizc and
neft a gleat deal of confid€ncein cover-insore- coodinate our unit drills for both run and pass
on-one.Our free safety has been primarily a c€n- using the,13 instead ofthe 50. Regadless ofthe
terfield€r bmakingon the batl. Duo to the amount alignment, we believe in using a base defense
ofman coveragewe play,the basicbalancedfour concept that is most adaptable tn your person-
man r-ushfrom the 43 alignment has apptied pres nel, and that is basedupon teachingrcsponsibiti-
sure on the QB to rcduce the timc he has to hold ties and sound p nciples.

19E0Sutnmer Manual C@ch Tr.tff is .e.:utiu di^,ctar of the A"CA.


TEAMDEFE}-SE 9;

: !iilrr l: i;::* 1it, liii i; ; qiii: . r ,


Using a Multiple Attack Defense
PAULTIDWELL
t : : : \ it* :IiIi{} t; Q ; I ; it ii{ : ! B* ; ii i r :

We have an aggressive"go-get-'em,"attacking
philosophyon defense.We t€ach,stress,and coach
FIGUBE
I Eaglelront gap responsibilitios
this attitud€ to our players. We want them to have
a defensivementality to go find the football.
Our defensivegarne plan is simple. Fimt, we
o o
try to take away the bread and butter ofour op-
ponent. Wlat are their frve best running plays?
What are their five best passing plays?What do c *
we ne€d to do to stop these?
Second,we want to disrupt their flow, fi'ustrat€ l"c'cc9bic"
r o ' ce (E
r N + E Wp
c
them. By coachingan aggressiveattack defense
Ne'll create confusion, turnovers, momentum, and sr\,s. J=wi
f..
emotion that rdll workto oul advantage.X's and
O's are very important, and we do coacha sound '"\-" ^1 /"
fundamental package, but more than that we
want a swalrning, emotional defensethat has all
7 \FS
11 playels makjng an effolt to get to the ball.
Third, we want an offensethat can put points
on the board. If our defenseis creating turnovers
and establishing good field position for the offensa,
Eagte Defense
lve want to cash in. In our Eagle front, we're able to line up and run a
Following arc a few practice proceduresused var'iety of coverages:zone, madman, and man/
by our staffto str€ss our aggressiveplay; zone combinations and also a va ety of twists,
stunts, and blitz€s. Figurc 2 shows an example
. Perform adef€nsiveteam pursuitdrill daily
of attacking type coverage.
. work each position on sometype oftackling
drill daily.
. Include a five-minute block called our "tum- FIOUBE
2
. During our pass skelly and team periods,
have the defense pursue (sprint) to wherc the
ball endsup, huddJe,breal! and thenjoeback
to LOS. This can tunction as part of their
conditioning, if done properly. c
Defensive Packages
We basically have thrce fronts with reductions
andadjustments offeach one:an Eagle front, the
c
50 ftont, and the 4-6. Our defenseis gap control,
FS
attacking as we read. Figure l showsanexampte
of our gap responsibilities versus a run to tbe
I
sbongside.
96 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

An adjustment otr this is to dmp the Wilie


backer in undemeath coverage (dog the circle) as FIOUBE
4 Atlacklng defen€€ve.sus run ol
a free def€nder He rcads TE, backs out, quick
slants, and looks to take away the intemediate
routes (see Figule 3a). In Figure Bb you se€ how C .-. O"
C/\+^tiitr+.\
this defense reacts to an I-formation or brown
fonnation where both backs rclease out the same \ 1! V V
sid€. We'll double read this with our inside back-
els and switch responsibilities. With both backs lN El w
out the weakEide,Willie backer now becomesa sa Wi
man defender. Sam backer is fre€.
' F5
FIGUBE
3A
FIOUBE
5 Man coverag€of 50 delens€

O O_
O
/Ht,-.
r..\ o

l
\r r \\,/ \L/ i I
c N I E wpr
c Wi .'l
J' c
FS

I c
c
'-
--FREE
c
c
an example ofour 50 defense and a lllan/mm cov-
erage.
Teams that run t ps, doubles, and spread for
mations with single back or no-back offenses will
try to get mismatches(LBs on receivers).With a
few personnel changes and adjuBtm€nts to our
safety position,we'rc still able togetpressure up
front. Figure 6 shows a double-wing with a single
back. In our 50 front, we've reduced down, taKen
Willie out, and put a nickel back in. We catr rur
!rnee this with a man free or shaight mar/man (as rn
Figure 6) fteeing the Sam backer to btitz by put-
d"r"o"ln* s"'tlr"t'""
FIGUBE3s Lyl" ting the liee safety on the fuuback.

Figure 4 shows a more aggressive scheme that FIGURE


6 Doubrowing/singteback
can be called for short-yadage situations or for a
passing down where presBureis desircd. c
'
50 Delenae [ \--l ,t I ]\Y
/.)l rfl1rl\\-./l
{/-\l
Our 50 front also allows us a wide variety of dif- \-,4
N
Ul- l
wPi
O
ferent oplionb and coverages$irh ontJ minor \E,/
adjustments. We stilt have the capabitity to re- Sa i- N
duce, zone, man/man, mar/zone combo,and use
our up-front games. We're still gap conhol and
c
our defense is on the offensive. Figure 5 showB FS
TEAMDEFENSE 97

FIGURE
7 ColnerbliE in 50 deiense IIGUBE
8 Deferue in man-io<nancoverag€

C C
O
c -., ^
tU v\_llv\rl
s. /-\
lr AlrYtA,-.lv
I
.) Y
r N/r wp I
Sir i
cNi ssc
FS
?

A secondary blitz that's used again8t certain up to the RBs with our Btrong safety ifthey stay
teams and in certain situations is a corner blitz in to block, looking for delays and screens.
(seeFigue 7). It is run out ofa CV-2 man under Our purpose on defense is to creat€ diferent
look or a CV-2 zone look. This blitz has been suc- looke, bring different playels, attack one play out
cessful every time we've used it. The two safeties ofa 4-6.thenline up in an Eagle.showblitz again.
will cheat over and cover the X and Z man-to- but then &op back in a 3-deepor 2-deep zone.
man. The two corners will also cheat up and We want to contuse the pre-snap reads as much
slightly in to sive them a greater advantage, but as possibl€ and make blocking schem€s aE diffi-
still not give away the blitz. cult as possible.
Our rules and adjustments on defense arc
4-6 Delense simpie and allow u3 to ke€p th€ per€onnel we
Our third front is a simplified4-6 rhar is primar- want in the game without a lot of Bubstitution.
ily used against a predominantly passing team These defenses also allow us to run nickel and
orin passingsituations (seeFigure 8).We'll close dime packages as well as our zone coverag€.

1990 Prteed.inas. CMh nd.uell is hedd codch at Snow Collzee (UT).


98 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

i * ; i fi B i f + { :; ll l1i1} $r : s$; ; i $ b$ 1 111 ? f t !


The Wrecking Grew Defense
R.C. SLOCUMwru BOB DAVIE
$ l l l ;t:ii rriii ii litQallii:$i+ *19*1|r i l !
OuI playem have nicknamed oul defensiveunit A Dozen Keys to Defense
the "Wrecking Crew."That's becauseour philoso,
phy is not one of "bend but don't break," but Here arc 12 things that lead to succ€sson the
rather "seek out and destmy." We never want to defensiv€side ofthe ball.
line up and try to rcact to all ofthe difrerent plays,
formations, and motions that ofens€a ca! rur. 7. Belieoe that big defense uins big
Instead, we'd rather dictate to them, make inem gom€s. Timing, weather conditions,etc.,
limittheir offense,and challengethem to adjust can really affect your offense, but if you
to our various types ofpressures. havc a sound defensivephilosophy.it is
Every offensive coach has different blocking reasonableto expect the defenseto show
schemes, hot receivers, and blitz adjust type up week after week and play steady
routes which they can, on the chalkboard,use ro comistent defense.You always have to
counter anlthing yorl can do as a defensive coach. coach yo(rl defensive t€am that they ure
We want to see if they can do those things on the the onesthat win ballgames.
field. 2, Set high stand.ard.s. Know what good
defense is. Beforc you can be good, you
must have high standards for youl defense
and notbe satisfieduntil you r€ach them.
3. Get all plarers to proy tdrd, No matrer
what his ability level, ev€ry player that
you put on the field can give all-out effort
and chasethe football.
4. Deoelop an unselfish attitud.e,\ot car\'t
have stars on your defense and be
successful.You're o y as good as your
weakest link. Your coverageis only as good
as your pass r-ush,arrd your pass rllsh is
only as good as your coverage.
5. Use multiple fTonts and. minimvm
technique. We wo[ld like to present the
oflensea number ofdifferent looks but, at
the same time, keep our teaching to a

6, Dictate offense u,ith a pressure


pa.Aage. We do thiB for several reasons:
. It limits opponents' offezse. Offensrve
coachesget concernedthat they can't
block all ofyour fronts or pick up ati of
your blitzes, so they reducethe number
of plays lor th€ game plan.
. A prcssure pachage on d.efensehelps
Jour
of{:nse.By working against each other
your offense becomes accustomed to
pre"sure.t ighr man covprages. etc.
TL!\l DEF1\-.:: J:

. It's fun for the pLayerc. It allows plav€rs Our base defensive package is a 3-4-l ah:n'
to have Bomeperconality andto us€ the ment for three reasons:
abilities rhal they have ro makp big . We like our fourth rusher to be a speedrush€r
plays. (OLB), pitting a smalle4 quicker rusher ver-
7. Maitutain poise, Bad things will happenl sus a big offensivetackle.
You must prcpare your defensive team . It's easier to find four quality LB t}?e play-
that in the coumeofthe ballgame it is not ers as opposed to four alown linemen.
unusual for an offense to tum the ball over. . It's flexible. We're able to play all 4-3 ftonts,
At this time, the defense has the best and yet drop eight in coverage,ilneeded
opportunity to prove theit character. We
often say, "It's not the bad things that Setting the Frcnt
happen to you that arc important, but how We like to be multiple, but try to keep terminol-
you react to tbose things." ogy simpte and easy to undeBtand. We always
S. Doa't oaerload pldyeft mentally. Be tell the front where to align fiIst. We think ifs
surc that all of your adjustments and critical that the front gets aligned quickly and
checks are simple enough that Your properry.
players can execut€ them on the field The front will atign to the strength ofoffense's
g. Treat pl.rters as indiniduala and with
|unning formation (TE side), based on a shong
calt by the inside LB. The first digit of the call
10' Haae fun. Look folward to the big game. tells end to the stiong call where to align; th€
The bigger the game, the bigger the second digit te1ls end away from call where to
challenge, the more your playem should alien. Our noseguard will slide automatically and
look forward to it. shadeto the 5 technique (seeFigue 1).
1 1. Utilize indiaidual t&lzr.ts""situ&tion
prate,"s. It s important to take the talent
you hav€ and to try to use it efTectiv€lyin I t- .."r*s
FIGURE
a gam€ situation. For example, a corner "-
may not know tbe entfue defense,but he C
might be able to go in and play man-to-
man coverage. COCTCC
12. Be flerible in the g.t trz pl&tu.ln realrtv, B E N EB
your game plan is a preliminary game
plan. Itis basedupon what your opponent s
has done in the gamesprior to your game.
Be rcady during the coufte ofyour game
In 44, with both ends playing a 4 technique,
to evaluate their plan and adjust yotus if
there are several things we can do with the nose.
The baseis to playhim heads or in a 0 technique
(seeFig:ure2).
Pressure Defensive
Packages 2 r;
IICURE
In talking about our pressure defens€, manv
people think of our blitz and shaight man cover' C
age package.We feel comfortable using all-out
blitzes and blitz coverage,but probably don't use
CCCTCC
it as much as peopte might think We're alwavs B E NE
lookingfor wa)s to prpssureoffens.sand mir our s
coverages,taking the pressureoffour s€condary,
but keeping it on opposingollenses
We attempt to pressure ofTenses using a tour- Ifwe wanted to play a rcduced defens€to the
man rush and playing zone covemgeb€hind it. split end side, we'd simply change the seconddigit
In our four-man pressurc package with zone cov- putting the €nd in a 3 technique (see Figur€ 3).
erage, we apply pressurc through OLB stunts, The OLB would know automatically to squeeze
line stunts, and ILB stunts. down to a 5 ifthe end is kicked down.
1OO FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRATEGIES

FIGURI
3 $-srronq left
Any motion creating change offormation will
be handled by the secondary and will change the
coverage. The front and rusher will stay locked
C in (seeFigurc 6).
COO!CC gl
BENEB F IGURE L i,3 r "Rr e1
S
CO
Setting the Coveage
Now that we have the front set, the Becondary C
"l;8".. Btw Ns E
a
gets aligned basedon the covemgescalled.In our
package,the numb€red coveragesare zone and
the coloredare rnan.
1
c
To assurc us ofgetting a fourth rusher and lock-
inghim into the op€n end side,well call two cov-
erage calls in the huddle. Il we choose to have
the fourth rusher weak, well play the fiIst digit
vemus a pro formation and second digit versus
slot or twins. A base coveragefor us would be cover Applying Pressure
1/3. We'll play cover 1 to a pro set (see Figure 4).
Once we have our four-nan rush in place and
know where our fourth rusher is coming uon,
TIGUHE
4 it's simple to incorporat€pressule out ofour base
zone coverage concepts. One of our favorites is
called Wk Xit (see Figure 7). In tbis prcssure
C -a) ()
^\--l

ti stunt, the OLB is free to come uJlder all blockers


a) a) a n /-) r-\\
\_-/ \-/ \__/ L r \_,/ L/ \ C
and the defensive end is responsible lor all con-
tain situations.
,-B E
/sw N EB

SS
FIGURE
7
c 1t4 c
1t 4 FS

Ifwe get a twin or slot set, we will play a zone


to the twins allowing the OLB on that side to rush
(seeFigure 5)-

FIGUBE
5 Since we're in our four-man lush package, by
double-digiting our coverageit s simpl€ to rncor-
C CO porat€ line stunts that are good for run and pass.
We\e had a lot ofsuccesswith a twist stunt in-
,lC volving the nose and end. By caling "53 Twist,'
C / CCT C C O we're telling our end (tackle in man fiont) to go
fiIst (see Figure 8). The end wiu run inside on
BENEB\
snap using a dip technique. The nose will read
WS \ the centels block and will twist unless he gets
c reach blocked. The change-up of 53 Twisi is 53
c FS Nest. B€causenest begins{.ith N, it's t€lling the
SS
1t3 113 1t3 nose to go frrst in the weak A and the end ro now
TEAMDEFENSE 101

- TIGURE
8 FIOUBE
9
53 Twist{over-1l3-sirong
|etr 53 will-coveFl/3-si.ongleft

tr rC
CCCF
ft\./a BEN
NE
oo OLB to Will's side replaceshim on his pass drop
(unless sprint-out pass).
We put a premirm on keeping it simple and
::e next four-man presBurewe uBeout of our having all of our terrninology and packages tied
'i.: packageis to plug one of our ILBS. If we togeth€r. But also realize that .r/lo, you play is
- .:.e ro plugwill,we'll simpty call out his name, not as important as lro.u you play it. That's what
: ;3 Will"cover 1/3, shown in Fisue 9. The makes the difference between winning or losing.
-

: ..) Pr@eed.inss.Coach Slocun is head c@ch at Tetus A&M Uniue.sitr. C@ch DaDie is defensiLJec@rd.inator at
' ,tLercit\ of Notre Dame.

,A B $$l] 3{ t i1 ii: 1 } * { i l i l i i !? r-t| l $ } l i i l !i


The Eagle Defense
BILLDOOLEY
: $ e cr i g r $ r l 1$ * Q ilt t ii $ ] t 6 u ! 1ii, ic i t
i - :e a 50 shade defense,but there are some long-yardagepass situations. ThiB is ahigh-risk,
- --:le differencesin bow we play the 50 shade low-percentage situation for the olfense the t]?e
: r:iage as comparedto most progmms. Fi$t, we of situation wh€re the defenseis in control.
, . trls play our strcng safety on the Eagle side. We believ€ in the "gap contrcl theory" of de-
>:rnd, we align the Eagle look where we want fense. We warlt each man in our defensive ftont
to be responsiblefor €onholling one gap. Each
.\'e feel that with these two concepts integrated gap and the correspondingtechniques that our
- :: ou. sc}lem€,we can better deploy our per- front peopleplay are numbered accordingto the
. :1e1 and achieve the defemive look we want numbering system made lamous at Alabama by
=Jnst oul opponenh. With these conceptEand CoachBear Bryant (s€eFieure 1).
.. .re very good athletes, our defeme has been
:.:e to accomplishits objectives.Our defemive
,. .ct;ves atcn't much al;fferentfrofi most prc-
FIGUBE
I Gap nu'',be ng systen

-.-::.. Those objectiveBare:


.
.
Conhol the opponent'srunning game.
Forcethe opponentinto pass situations.
ooorooo
967 54 321 O 123 45 769
. Prevent the long run or pass.
. Scoreor set up a score.
. Keep the opponentfrom scodng. We want simplicity and repetition in every-
thing we do. If we're goine to ask our ftont people
$'e emphasize the first objective-to contml to contuol a gap, then we want to teach them the
: :. opponents rundng game. If we control the simplest and most effective way to control that
-:.nlng attack, w€ can force the oppon€nt into gap. We do this bJ asking our fiont people to piay
102 FOOTBAIL COACHINGSTRATEGIES

with their hands in order to defeat one side of a The Eagle linebacker aligns in the ofiensive
blocker. It'.seasier to conbol one side ofthe blocker tacki€-guad area with one set of key reads and
rather than to play head-up and work to the play- eap responsibilitieE.He never has to take on the
sid€ gap. tackle's block. He's the alley player with flow to
By leaching the use ofhands to deleat a block, him, or he runs to the 1 gap with flow away from
we can play on either the inside oroutside balfof him.
the blocker. This allows us to switch pemonnel The stmng safety is a I gap player with con-
from right to left or vice v€rsa.Also, by teaching tain responsibility versus the iun to him and flat
the same technique, we can improve our funda- responsibility versus pass.
mental techniques and increase our repetitions The T-N-TShave their respectiv€gaps to con-
at recognizingblocking schem€s. tml. Thetackles piay a 5,3, and4 techniquewhite
Besideskeeping our fundamental technitues th€ nosetackleplays a shade 0 technique on the
to a minimum, we align in one basic front-the
Eagle defense.We do this in ord€r to eliminate Our drop end iE another stlong safety cxcep!
miEtakesand the chanceolthe long n]n or pass he must leam to play 9 technique v€$us a tight
(objective#3). Teaching from one basic ftont al end to his side. The drop end will playiust like a
iows us to spend more time in practice def€nding SS when he is aligTledon a splitend side. He has
thos€ plays we must stop, plus it afords us morc contain responsibilityversus run and flat respon,
time to work on adjustments, special plays, sibitity versus pass.
stunts, gam€ situations, etc.

The Eagle Front


Setting Up the Eagle Defense
Every offensehas tendencies.It is our defensile
Our method ofplayins the Easlc or 50 shade de- staf's responsibility to find those iendenciesand
lense is technically the sam€ as most proglams, dcqienour gamc plan ac(ordingly. We dete|-lnrn.
but we differ in our alignment ofthe Eagie-side which defensivelook will present our opponerrL
personneland how we deploy our defensiv€front. with the most difficultt either th€ 50 shade look
We always align our shong safety,Eagle end, or the Eagle look. We then attempt to deploy the
and Eagle-sidelinebacker togethex We then de parrrcularlookthar'.besrsuiredroour opponcnr'.
clare where we want the Eagle side of our de tendencies.Those tendenciescould be to run er,
fense by making a directional call 6uch as,,Field ther to the field or the boundary,to the tight eno
or Sholt Eagl€,""StrongorWeah Eagle,,,or,,Tight or split end side, or to the fomation's strortssror
or Split Eagle."Wealien our Eagle front ve$us a
tight end side and a split end side (s€eFigwe 2).
Fietd or Short Eagte
FIGUBE
2 Eaglealigdmenrsversussptit €nd If wa find that our opponent has a strong terl
side (a),versusrjghtend side (b) d€ncy to run to the fietd orto run into the bounc
ary, we simply call "Field Eagle"or"Short Eagi€'
dependingon which look we want to the field.
CO C TC O In Figure 3 we have declared Field Eagt:
T NT Therefor€,we expect our opponentto attack oL.
EB BA Eagle look.
Ifwe want our opponentsto run at our 50looi
b we ihen call Shorl Eagle as diagramm€d in Frg.

C ETNTA
C Otr OC C
Strong or Weak Eagte
SSEBB
W}len the ball is in the middle ofthe frelo u, :
the hash mark, and we find that the offonseh!.
Our Eagle end will leam to play basically rwo a tendencyto run to the formation side, w€ rhf:
t€chniques-a 7 techniquevcrsus atightend and call either "Strong Eagle" or "Weak Easle,' C..
a 5 technique on an off€nsive tackle on the split pendingon whrchlookw. wcnt on thF strnnq-c
end side. (2'receiver side; seeFisure 5).
TEA,\IDEFE\SE ] ('lJ]

fight or Sp,it Eagte


FieldEaglev€rsuslight end side
(a),versusspritendsitt€(b) Ifwe find that a team lik€s to run the tight end
side, we can call "Tisht Eagle" or "Spiit Easle,"
onceagain dependingon which look we want (see
Figure 6). Just as with the ShongEagl€ or Weak
CO T O CC Eagle cals, we can align the Eagle look or the 50
look to the split end side by making the same
fight Eagle or Split Eagle calls.
In today's game of defensiv€football, everyone
is concemedwith adjustments to motion and to
shilts. We ask only our front peopleto adjust to a
O OCICC tight end or split €nd alignment, while our sec-
ondary handles all changesof strength.

TightEagle(a),SplitEaqle(b)

4
TIGURE Siorl Eagleversusrightend side
C
(a),vsrsussplirendside (b) OC OTC C
ETNTA
EBB
CO T CCC

C OOTC C
c ooo rcc ATNTE
BEB

Eagle Advantages
Let me reyiew with you why we deploy our de-
5
TIGURE StronsE.sle (a),W€akEagle(b)
lensive front as we do:
. Wecall ral{aadvanlaCF ofotrensirer€ndencjps.
. We deterrnine where we want our front to
align;the offensecannot dictat€ to us where
OC C tr C C to align.
. We can get the personnelmatchup we want.
. We can adjust to changing game-situations.
We don't add fronts or stunts to stop an
opponent'sattack. We simply frnd out where
our opponentis tryingto attackus, and then
we make the appropriate directional calls,
CC O tr OC thus getting the 50 or Eagle look where we

Overall, w€'ve derived rnany benefits from


playing the 50 shade d€fenseth e way we do. These
benefitsinclud€ nexibility to make proper adjust-
Obviously, if the offense has a tendency to run ments in personnel, alignments, and coverages.
w€akside,we can make the sarnecalls to get the and the simplicity oflearningthe overall scbeme
50 or th€ Eagle look on the weakside. and particular techniques.

1985 Pr@eed.ingN.Coach Doolc] bas head coach at viryinia Tbch.


10.1 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRATEGIES

r I g I I e':;r. i i g i ]} i i g i !:: ! l ]l ii t $ i f n I C $ *
Adjusting the Eagle Defense
ROCI'TIIAGER
: i i B I -, :' : i: ::: X ! * { 1 Q :: } * I li * { I i :qg ; * f $ $
Our defensivephilosophyemphasizesthe impor-
tance of hustle and pumuit. We grade our play- FIGUBE
2 StrongEagleversusrwins
ers'pursuit with the objectiveol reaching a 907r
grade as a def€nsive unit. W€ want 11 players to CC
the ball on ev€ry play. .) o
When we talk about our defensiveteam s per-
formance,we do not talk about points the uppo-
nent scored-we talk about our pursuit erade. We
(_) ocroo o
ETNTE
str$s great pusuit on every play of €very prac_
tice, and we expect results.
Now, we're not foolish enough to think pumuit c FS c
is the onty thing a defense has to do welt to be a
success.We also drill the tundamentals,the same
as every other pmgram in the country. We are Although we do this for only short periods, it has
very particular about our technical play, and our proven to be most beneficial.
players have devetopedgoodtechnique. To keep this important part oloul package from
We're constantly referring to SAKRA f with the becoming predictable, we always employ move-
defensiveteam. This acronj.m stands for stance, ment in our defensiveline. This is a rcsidue of
alignment, key read,assignment,technique Our our old Okie defensesand has its roots ir the
Eagle package begins with the most basic, the "thrce-way-go" principle.
Stlons Eagle, shown in Fisures 1 and 2 versus Thcsemovemcntshelpro solidifyrhe otTFnsive
lhe pi"oand lwins lormarions.respc.rr!ely line schemesand usually keep them honest in
tbeir design. Our one-man movementsare used
most ft€quently, and obyiously are the founda-
TIGURE
I StrongEaglevorsuspro tion for any multiple movements.Each position
player has several movements to learn and ex,
C C ecute. Knife, tag, and frrc in are examples lsee

c ccc9co Fisure 3).

E TN T
C FIGURE
3 Knile(a),1a9Q),lire ln (c)

E
lrc n /-\ t-
\ /1r\--l L r op
c N- E
FS c

We work this base front ftequently and drili


on a daily basis the techniques for success.We However, movement on our defensive ftoni was
belrevethar rhp dFvelopmenlof lhe techniques not enough to keep offensesliom locking us into
will progr€ssat a late relative to th€ level ofprac, a desirable look. Opporents understood our d€-
t1ce comp€tition. Therefore, early in spring and sign and found ways to attack us. So, we've moved
fall practice periods, we oft€n work our fiIst de- the noseguard from his usual alignment over the
fense against the first offense in group sessrons. center to a shade look over the offensive guard.
TEAMDEFENSE 105

This is a common adjuBtment made by Eagle


teams, and puts us into a 40 defense,which is a
FIGUBE5l ch."k ,_"," Irht ,ip
""r ",d
completely difTercnt part ofour package (see Fig-
ure 4). CO
(-,.' -r}-----,.
:-a I ?
4
FIGURE 4 J( .CCCL-.]CCC
C C E T
B
N>N T>T

CT C
N
cFS'FSc
B B
FIGURE
6 l ch*k"",*"""*",.r_
CC
With this basic adjustment, we have the flex-
ibility to use pro-style lin€ stunts, which have O C C IC C C
be€n effective for us from tim€ to time. This co'r E T N>N T>TE.\
bination of packages has been effective, but ot'
fensive motions and shift.s can still lock us into SSBBE
one look or anothex To comp€te against sophisti-
cated audibl€ syst€ms,we felt we neededto find
a way to keep the chalk in orr hands. C FS--+ C+
Our check system has kept us from being pre-
dictable by alignment and it combats tight end
flip and zeemotion (seeFigures 5 and 6). free play, we nol{ drill the €ntire delense for 25 to
The addition of the check sFtem to our pack- 30 minutes per week on formation recognition
age has been very beneficial. It has enabled our only. We alBoincorporate this same concept when
secondary t play nearly any coveragevenus any we're working or pumuit drills.
formation. We'll change the coverage checks Our coacheswork exceptionallyhard at teach-
sithin this part ofour game plan and underutand ing our athletes our package,the fundamentals,
$e mustbe sharpwilh our recognition oflhe vari- and their tecbniques.This has allowed our de-
ous formations and adjustments. fensive playeD to perform with much confdence,
When we first started this part of our pack- high efrciency, and great puruuit within our team
age,we made frequent mistakes. To inBure ermr-

1989 Prcceed.ihgs.C@ch Hager is hea<l coach at North Ddkota State Uniursit!.


,,,4.,,: :r:';.
.,,':. )..t:,

Stopping the Run


With a 7:6 Advantage
JIMMYJOHNSON

In setting up a defbnsivoscheme,you first need


to analyze what you need to stop offensively. FIOURE
I
Against most t€ams,and in most conferences,the
first thing vou n€ed to stop is the mnning 8a!re.
Our defenseis set up to stop the running tsane
and force the opposingoffenseto throw the foot-
ball. We do this with wbat we call the "hit-man
pdnciple."Wedevelopedthis type of delensefrom
coaching at various univ€rsities through the
years. I'd like to give you a litUe background on
how we go about it.
I was fortunate enoughto work with somoour-
standing athletes at the University ofOktahoma In dll oluur "chemFs.$herhpr il be the 5-2,
during 1970to 1973.We had players such as the the,l-3, or the 6-1, protecting the hit man rs a
Selmon brothers, Sugar Bear Hamilton, and priority. In ord€r to do this we must play basi-
Roderick Shoate, so we could be highly success- cally head-up alignments and must avoid stunt-
fu) by being very basic and takingfull advantage ing or running around blocks.
ofthe talent w€ had. The hit man's only rule is that he operatesup
I In 1973,I wenl to the Univcrsity ofArkansas, and do"'n the line ofscdmmage. He must not be
t

I wheie we didn't have the same type oftalont and


we hadtocome tlp with somethingto support our
committed toward the lin€ of scrimmage until h€
seesthe football. He must be aware that ro ole

I defen"e.For )pars, I had l"r.ned ro.ffen.ive


coachestalk about how th€y wanted to eet a 3:2
will blockhimbecause he'sprotectedandhe is to
make the tackle. Sometimes,as shown in Figurc

t ratio with their option offense;in other words,


they wantad isolation on the come! where the
2, our designatedhit man is the weakside lin€-

quafterback could rcad pitch or keep, depending


on the reaction ofthe defensiveend and second-
ary lun support. Various blocking sch€meswere
set up to veer evertthine to the inside, with the
exceptionofthe defensiveend and the secondary
run support. They felt that any timc they got the
3:2 ratio, they had the advantage.

Seven-on-Six Advantage
We'relookingfora sjmilar advantag€with our
hit-man principle. When applied successfutly,we
ppi a 7 6 rario vprsusrhe rLn nrnBgam. ln FiB We feelthat the hil,-manprinciple encompasse:
ure 1 you can seethat in oor 50 defensowe tre aI the various blocking schemes(veer,zone,hap
arp r situdrion qrt\ si\ olTan"i\pblockpr.,"ix and equalizesthe offensiveoption ratio back to
defende$, and onehit man. Therefore,1\,eget our 3:3. Ir atso gives th€ defensean cxtra man ver
7:6 ratio and hit-man principle. sus the basic running attack. This type ofpdn-

106
EMPHASISON DEFENSE 107

:::.e can be used in whatever d€lensive scheme there is a need to stunt and force something to
: : play as long as the front six read and control happen, but this scheme gives you a sound de-
_.: on-oneblocks and you protect your hit man fense to work from. Prctect your hit man, put
:a=nsivelyyou have to be patient and disciplined somepoints on the board, and you'll comeout on
: i ler rhe offcnsemake the mistake.At times, top.

, !,0 Praceedinss. CNch Jahnson is head coach for the Miani Dolphins

Stopping the Wishbone


DAVE WANNSTEDT
l. ,: ::.:::

:oo many coaches unalerestimate the Wishbone alerstand his rcsponsibility and how the offense
:nack s complexity becausethe ball is not throv'n can attack him. The 3 technique must never get
l0 times a game. Our philosophy against the reached by the guard and must always force the
\fishbone is to slow it down and force the oppo- futlback to cut back inside him (seeFigure 1).
:ren! to drive as long and as far as possible on
:ach possession,forcing the offenseto executeas flcuBE I l-;"h"h".r..*" FBr""rd.
nuch of the triple option as possible.We try to
:rake them run east snd west, not nodh and h==-r'l
.outh. By forcing total elecution, it puts the per_
;entage for negative plays and tumovers to the
idvantage ofthe def€nsiveside.
We play with four down defensive linemen,
--.r'
'{hich gives us the flexibility to slide into difier-
.nt fronts without changing personnel. When
---''C
CCOtr\PC .TI
F
efending the Wishbone out of an even front, we
start by covering the guards and use our 4-3
' !n, t F

rcheme.The 4-3 even front gives us the best ad-


;s .-*
\ antage in taking away the fulback and slowing
down the Wishbone. The 1 technique can expect one of two differ-
It's very important when playing a Wishbone ent blocking schemes.Against man blocking, he
r€am to understand the importance of the full' must be prcparcd to never g€t cut offinside and
back play in correlation to the success of the o{- to help on the lullback winding back. Against a
fense-The fullback is the wishbone's starting Charlie block (see Figure 2), where the center
point,and ir also must be yours as a defensive
FIGURI2 l',;;Io'" b,.*
ch",,,"
""*""
Linemen Responsibilities
r'
+
.-a-
^=-Y-,
Our tackles cover the guards and play 6 incheg
ofl the batl. This allows us to crowd the football
as much as possible and get penetration in the €l
backfieldto disr-uptthe mesh point between the a * )z-
quarterback and tullback handofl By getting this
penetration,youll force the ollense to use block-
C C OIN C
r; Yr
C
ing schemesthat will hetp ftee up your linebackers
E
)
We'll usually play a 3 technique to the tight SM
end and a 1 technique weaksid€;each must un-
108 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIXS

blocks back and the guard pul16for the middte


linebacker,he must not be jn too big ofa hurry m FIGURE
4
cross the face of th€ centex We want to squ€eze
thp centerinru rhc huleas much a" possibte.
thouChrhiqschpmprj rougheron rhe I rechniquc.
AI_
r---- c -c)
its an easier rcad for the middle linebacker and
should put him in a better position to make the
play on the luilback.

Linebacker Responsibilities C
We play our middle linebackera litde tishter ver-
sus the Wishbon€ than we do against a corven,
ti onal r-unning ofense. Nonnally, we have his toes
at 5 yards. V€Nus the Wishbone, we'Il tighten him
up to 3 yards from the ball.
The middle linebacker's only reEponsibility,
and histotal concentration,must b€ withgelung
the fullback. Zuery play.The minute he gets too
concerned about the other phases of the optron
game, the quarterback or pjtch, the defens€suf_
fers.He musr kcyIhefu back.Ifflowgocssrrong
ur to rhc 3 technique.h. musr sr_ep up a r racking
I he-(enter.kpepingh rs oulsidcann fre€.and rry
to lbrce the fullback to commit behind him (see
Fieurc 3).

FIGUBE
3 MLB fofcs al LOS

<-^=- th€ tackle in the B gap.This is somewhattougher,


*4\) ( )
-p" especially if he gets tied up with defeating the
cFnrer'sblock.Its imponanl thaLthe tkchnique
gets lenetration (see Figure 6) and doesn't get
knocked back into the scraping path ofthe middle
linebacker
i\U
9
-t cp ^tr? Q
c The two tackles and middte linebacker n an
€ven front must work togeth€r,not only 6cheme_
$ise. bu1 also rechnrquc-wrse, ro slop rhe Wish-
bone dive effectjv€ly.
sM<-w
FIGUIE6 LB versus weak ftow
Iftheyhandthe balt offstronssjde, he mustbe
in position with his outsid€ alm fr€e to make the
tackle. If he'stoo soft or aligned too d€€p,t}le cut_
back lane becomesfoo big for the 1 t€cl.rniqreto
cover (se€Figure 4).
IfnowgucsrorheSlechniqueand IheyCharlie
..
t)lockrl. he muot sL^ep up and atrack the guard in
tbe same manner as he would the center or a
base block, again forcing the cutback by not get_
ting st.etched (seeFisure 5).
If flo$ gnes wpak or 10 rhe 1 rp.hnique,rhp
middlplinebrckcrmust bearLhecenrerand make

t9u8 Sumtner Manud. CoachWannsterltis head coach


for the Chicaso Beaft.
EMPIIASIS ON DEFENSE 109

: t X : I ; i i i : i : ; i ; I i: : "1 ; t i! ; ; it
Getting Linebackers
to the Point of Attack
DENNIS GREEN
,i i c!t i6ir a; t Q li; t ! ; ! :i F ::!1 1 9
-l-:ting to the point of attac-E-is a phms€ we all Before the outside linebacker €an ef€ctively
-- in discussingdefensivefootball. To me it ap- forcethe quarterback,be m1lsttryto get to a spot
: .:: to every defensive player once the ball is up the freld. Too many times the outside line-
:::pped. In this article I'11show how we try to backer does not aim for a point that is deep
::: the outsideand inside linebackersto the point enough to force the quarterback to step up into
ball will be), and then to attack. the pocket.
'there the
Let's stad with the linebacker responsibilities. The advantage that the weak outside line-
\n outside linebacker has to get out ofhis stance, backer has when rushing against an offenstve
..ad his key, and determine what technique to tackle is that he can get as much $ridth as he
rjc accorahngto his assjgnment and play confron- wants. The width allows him the opportunity to
:.tion. The inside linebacker has to rcad his key, t.y to beat the offensivetackle up the freld with
:ragnosethe play, and get to the point ofattack. quicknessotrthe Jineofscrimmage.I'he wide split
forces the tackle to jump to the outside, which
many times will offset his balance. The backer
Linebackers Versus the Pass crn now rr) b use a swim techniqueand go in-
\orr I want to deal frlst with the ml€ that a line- side or use the inside arm to throw him to the
nackercan play against the pass. One approach outside, as you seein Figure 2.
:s to attack from the perim€ter and rush the quar-
te$ack on his drop. Figurc 1 shows a basic 3-4 HGUBE2 l w"*oLBb.",i.so1
defenBewith a weak outsid€ linebacker pass rush
The outside linebacker to the tight end side hag
the pass rush versus a dropback and sprint-out
t lr -
(A \) r-}
l\
flGURE
ll w""koLB.,"r, f- /-\ /-\ \
| \_-/ \_/
A/-_\ \
t l( ) | r. W
n hnF ah\ The backer must make sule that an]'time he
-Y"t
B E '" Y
N\ EW goes inside of the tackle, he has to get his width
back.HrFpassblil z responsibitiry al$ ayscal-rics
M a contain assigllment. The quarte$ack cannot
be altowedto break containment. Thus, he has to
keep the quade$ack on his inside shoulder as
I don't feel that enough emphasisis placed on he appliee pressurc.
the linebacker's ability to get to the quarte$ack Ifwhen rushine, the weak outside linebacker
Remember, if the defense is facing a pass play, is conlionted by a back, the best technique to use
the outside linebacker has to blitz, drop to an area is to fone, strike a blow with the inside shoulder,
ofresponsibility, or cover a man. I like to ref€r to and squeezetoward the quarteftack (seeFigu€ 3)
a tinebacker'spass rush as a blitz becausethen This can be a probl€m because3(l often thes€
everyoneknows that his responsibility js to make days delensive players are taught to play vith
a maximum effort to get to the quaterback. their hands only,and never learn io strike a blow
110 FOOTBAIL COACHING STRATEGIES

FIGUBE
3 weak oLB beatingFB btock
If the outside linebackers donl apply the pres-
sure in ar Okie defense, th€ quarterbacks are
going to have too much time to throw. There

Itr ob
should be a mismatch with the weak outsideline-
backer rushing againBta halfback,and that,s the
way it should be introduced to the backex
The inside linebacker is rarely involved in a
pass blitz against the dropback pass,unless the
defense is playing some form ofstraight man cov-
erage with the free safety covering one of the .e-
maining backs. When the quarterback is mmmg
a designed pass play to break the contain and
challenge the d€fense at the perimete! the in-
with the forearm shiver. Don,t get me wrors_ side linebacker must now support, get to his point,
Defensive players have to be very proficient at and attack. The sprint-draw passplay is the most
usingtheirhands in this ela offootball. Howeve! efective way to do this, becauBethe fake to the
I believethat the best way for a tinebacker to at- halfback affects both linebackers (see Figure 4).
tack a pass blockff is to let the situation dictat€
htu technique. For example, using th€ hands to fl0uBt 4 r rrBi"""r""d
r"bri'
strike a blow requires a lot ofupper body shength,
whereas a forearm blow can be mor€ explosive
and is definitely morc aggressive.

Ifthe outside linebacker is not able to contain


the quarterback, then he has to get help from the
inside linebackex The inside linebacke. has to
make up his mind to support and then attack the
quarterback. The inside linebacker now becomes
the contain man, and he must force the quarrer-
backwirh in6idFlaverage on rhe batt.tfhc misses
him, the quarterback at least has to cut back in-
side where the inside linebacker shoutd get help
ftom purudt (see Figure 5).
For the inside linebacker to get to the point of
attack, he must precisely read his key and diag,
nose the play. Film study should tell him whether
he is seeingsprint drau or sprint-drawpa6".His
fusr ke) i. Lhegudrd, and his secondkey is rhe
ball. The angle ofthe ball can atso be a facmx
EMPHASIS ON DEFENSE 111

FIGUBE
5 FlcuRE
6 r;;;'."
".i","r,,t"d
o
o
o
h o ro T.
R(
I
I
E:
PW
/
o-rr A otrore\
/ rl N
lvl---->
\

FI0UBE7 l r,,rLBoLB
Linebackers Versus the Run ".d ".,*
So far, I have talked on)y about pass rush, sup-
port, and contain principles. But t€ams that can
consistently win have an effective running attack.
For every r-un play there is a d€termined point
ofattack. This ar€a is where the play is design€d
to go, and all of the oflensive blocking schemes
are designed to get the ball carier thmugh that
area. The team that gets to that arca with the
nost peoplehas the best chancefor success.For
defenseto win ihis battle, they have to have at
least one defender movirg forward to fiIl th€ area. A RW
In Figure 6, the pointofattackis the otr-tackle +|VFi+IJ

area. For a defenseto have success(a) the nose


guard cannot be hook blocked or scoopblocked;
b)the outside lineback€r has to go meet the full- els. It does not matter if it is a quarl€rback thrcw-
back as far in the backfield as possible,attacking ing from the pocketor sprinting out and challeng-
with his insid€ shoulder and keepinghjs outside ing the perimeter.At least one linebacker has to
arm free; and (c) the middle linebacker must be assignedto contain the play and feel that it's
-hum. and alrackthe gxard. not q art lor him. his rcsponsibility io attack with leveraee.
In Fieure 7, both th€ middle and outside line- On r-un plays, you can't be passive and wait
back€rs have to attack in order to turn the play and seehow you are going to be blocked.By g€t-
back inside. ting def€nders to the area wherc the of€nse wants
I view the point of attack as that area where to attack, you have a much bett€r chanceofstop-
the defensehas to apply pressure with defend- ping them.

198:) Pturppdinp. cooth Gppn is J,pod "oo,1, fo hp Mtna.soto vibtFL,


I 112 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATDGIES

r $ ! t,,f & tfi Et {t f i $; , ! $! 8{{ | rNt t ttt,,


Getting Run Support
From the Secondary
IIAYDEN FRY TTTT
BILL BRASHIER
$$*&c$f*xii$$s**xQrtct&,t,t,g,,*$&
It is our belief that the most important thing
ar,out run support is the position that the defen_
Wide Play Run Support
Bivebacks assume and keep on the ball. If thev Obiectives
understandlhe posirionlhat rheymusr haveanl
The two main objectives are to funnel the ball
then-do everything they can do at that position,
into the YES areas, and prevent the ball from
the chances for a long nrn are greatlv minimizeal. getting into NO areas (see Figure 1). AJI eecond_
The following diagrams anal comments illus_
ary coverages will be designed to funnet the ball
t€te the basic principles we try to adhere lo r€_
into areas where the defense wants the ball. T.he
garilJe63oft he covemgewe are using.Atrhough
quicker you can forc€ the balt into t}le desired
\ ere rocusrngon the positionof rhe defensive
areas, the better offyou are.
backs, it's important to understand that the fmnt
peoplemusr remain on their feel and oursue wirh
goodangles to allo\a rhe delensivebacksr,oset ro FIOURE
I O€t€ftive secondary run
lheir desired position. All defensive secoridarv supporl wlde ptay defeme
supporl dependson properpursuit from r,hefronr

Run Support Positioning


In primary run sL,ppon.the ptayer responsiblc
lbr lal{jngrhe pirchor trorcing
any wideplay back
to the inside is a defensive back or a delensrve
€nd. Secondary run support responsibilities ofthe
defensive backs are to:
. Keep the ball from going inside the plrnary
support and back to the outside.
. Keep-inside posir,ionon rhe ball as you
ap-
proachthe stoveDiD€.
. Be the last man io make play, deep
in siove-
pipe or on the boundary (see Figu.e 2).
EMP}IASISON DEFENSE I13

The defensiverun support responsibilitiesand


Delemive
€€condary
run poBition are as follows:

Strcng end For veer call-TE release, you


have pitch; sky according to block you're fac-
ing: if the TE blocks down, play frrst threat in
your area (dive or QB).
Strcng sal6ty-For veer call-TE release, play
dump passfirsr,thensupporlinsidedefcnqive
end for first theat. Ifthe TE block down, you
have pitch. Play accordingto block you're fac-
ing. Play sweep aggr$sively, forcing it iNide
or bouncing outside deep.
Stiong coiner-Secondary run support.
Don't let ball inside the primary run support
(SS or SE) and back to the outside. If ball
bounc€s,support outside on or near LOS.
Freo safety-Secondary run support. Always
keep inside position onba[. Make approachto
ball as you pass the center. You should be able
Th€ desired results of primary and secondary ro rake a QB kecpingand be in stovepipeon
.rn support are to (a) forc€ the ball inside with all wide playB.
eosition on both sides of the stovepipeto make Weak comer-You're the last man. You must
:he ball go perpendicular to LOS; and (b) force make play deep in stovepipeor on the bound-
ihe ball to bounceoutside deep,allowing the sec- arv
rndary run support to make th€ play on or near
:he LOS.
Inside PIay Run Support
Run Support Example Obiectives
\ow let's look athow the objectivesand position- The run support strategy veruus irEide runs ls
.ng for run suppod apply to an acrual play.in much the 6ame, but the positions obviously
rhis case,against the veer run to th€ shongside change. Again, you want to keep the bal rn the
seeFigure 3). lTS area andnever allow it in theNO areas (see
Figure 4).

FIGURE
4 l- r""rd",,"""",.,r,,.*

c
?a
lc
ocQtrQQ oYY
NO YES r NO

Defenden must maintain their initial outBide


position to the ball. The stov€pipe must be
squeezed down as much as possible and defend-
ers must still maintain the proper position on the
ball. Positions move as the stovepipe moves (the
114 FOOTBAI,LCOACHINGSTR{TEGIES

Xs in Figue 5 show how positions move as the


ball moves). FIGUBE
5 Insiderun supporlmovement
Good run support is essential for a successfnl
defense.By keeping the ball in the arcas where
you want it, you greatly reducethe chancesfor a C Q
I L'
^e
long run or a big play.
C C QTQC
Sfs - - - >x xl
STOVEPIPE]
i iv. d
i' ---" \t
F
c<

1991Prcceedings.Codch Frr is head c@ch dr he Uai])ersitr af loud. CoachBrdshi.r is his assistant.

,, ; :l ::,ti .'', i i ; i * I ; ir : ; i l r I 9 ! i i : : : , r $ I i r : l
The Stunting 4.3 Front
GEORGE PERLES
! ll !li Iit 1 lrill lir lQ * iir ; li : 11 ; ' , 1 . 11
: 1g : ; : : , :

We run the same type of defensethat I Ian as outside eye ofthe Btlard, which we call a 2-gap
defensive coordinator of the great Pittsburgh r..hnique.The $ eaksidpcnd js in rhes rcchnjqup,
Steeler t€ams-the 4-3 stunting def€nse.It's dif- with the weaksidelineba€ker on the outside-
Ierent, and I don't know many peoplewho use it. In defense,someonehas to have two gaps. In
Some people will tell you that you can't play the ,{-3, the middle linebacker has two saps. In
the stunt 4-3 without a Joe crcene. We s€idom the odd front, the noseguardhas two gaps.W}tat
have those type of people, bui the defense stitl we try to do is give our down tackles a gap and a
half each. What can hurt this theory is the of
fense continually running the fullback in th€ in
4.3 Alignment side gap. However, th€ offense usua]ly doesn't
have the personnelor the patienceto do it
We take our shongside tackle and put him in the
gap betweenthe center and guard. He g€tBinto a
stancethat allows him to hug the ball. He keeps
Stunts
his inside leg back to a point wherewe don t worry WhFn pFopl.sep$ha' ue are doing.they give ur
aboutliningup offside.Normally,we can hug th€ big splitE between the center and guard. W}len
ball as much as we wani. The c€nter can't back that happ€ns,we can't coverthe inside gapswith
off the ball, so he can't do much about it. our tackles.We go into an automatic stunt called
The tackt€ gets into an angle charge r,\'ith his our "Tom game."In this stunt, we slant ourweak-
rear end in the way of the oflensive guard. The side tackleintoth€ center-guardgap and loop our
middl€ linebacker is also behind our tackle. The strongside tackle into the face of the weakside
strong €nd plays a 5 technique on the outside offensiveguard (seeFieure 1).
shoulder of ihe ofensive tackle. The strong line- People try to run the inside isolation to our
backer eith€r plays head-upor outside the shoul- strcng side. They double down on the tackle,
der of the iight end, depending on the suppod single out on the defensiveend, and jsolate the
responsibility.The w€akside tackle plays on the lin€backer Ourcoaching pojnt for the linebacker
EMPII{SIS ON DE|E\SE lIi

run into the €ven side ofthe def€nse.What tha!


I
IIGURE does is to bring four men into the strong side on a
stunt. This schemeeliminates tlap blocking, rso'
latron,and curbacl running.This delen.ei" ex
cellent against the I-forrnation. The stunt tackle
jsn't stunting upfield. He's stunting into men so
that he csn rcad the down block and play the trap
(seeFieue 3).

FIGURE
3
is to frll the hole, takins on the lullback witb the

r oo
outside shoulder, and making the running back
run into our single-blocked lineman. Il they try
to reach the gap tackle and lead the guard up on
ihe lineback€r, his technique is differcnt. He takes 1
on the fullback with his outsid€ Ehoulder on a
down block. By doing this, he forcesthe back to
M
run into the rcach block of the center or our
tackle-an extremely hard block for th€ center. Another game we run is called"storm." This is
Alsn,we run the thre" game_agarnsrIhe iso- like the four game, exceptthe outside linebacker
lation game.We call it the three game becauseit comeson the inside slant (seeFigwe 4).
is to the weakside.It is run like the Tom game,
except the defensive end also mns an inside slant.
This gives us great penetmtion becauseof the flcuRE
41
reach blocking schemerun by the offensiveteam. ",*
You hav€ to have penetration. There is only one
pmblem with penetration, andthatis the hap.If
you are going to pen€trate, do it on an inside Blant
sith peoplecoming to the outside (seeFieure 2).

FIGURE
2
o We have a number of combination stunts that

o oolbbr >
'--ft
! :,/
can be run. To the open side we r-un e "ram." It
involves the weakside end and linebacker Th€
end and lin€backer stunt to the inside, with the
middle lin€back€r on a scrape olYto the outside
(seeFigurc 5).
We use the "me" call between th€ weakside end
and linebacker. All these stunts are used for
When we were in the pros, the ball was in the
middle of the field all the time. Even \.ith the
ball on th€ hash mark, it was always within a fl GU R5E
l;
few yards ofthe middle. In the colleeegame, we
defrnitely have a short side as well as an open
side of the field. For this type ofgame, we devel- O\\l'
opedthe "open scheme."That simplymeantthat
we stacked and shifted to the op€n side of the
lbrmation.
We still had the Tom game,whjch now was run
oootrooy \ E-h
into the strong side of the defense.We had our M-'-
three game, but now it was called "four game,"
116 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

pen etration; however, you cannot penetrate with_


out being coveredfrom th€ back side, or vou will FIGUBE
8
get bapped.And anltime youinvoJveone ofyour
outside linebackem in a run stunt, then one or
yourshort pass zonesis Ieft uncovered.We try to
set away with that to the short side. Itwe catl
the "open m€," that involves the stronEsideend
and tackle. In the Btunt, he si,epsto the offense
and then loopsto the outsjde while the lineback€r
ddd troo
comeson a dowIl slant (seeFigure 6).

FtouBE
6l-; Remember,technique is on€ of the keys in play_
ing tbis defense.The tackles crowd tire ball as
close as possible.The center can do only thrce

opgrpv
t
"O
L things. He can block stlaight. W}Ien the cenrer
has to snap the ball and block the tackle straight,
we
causp'rsually
have the advantage.It is difficutt be_
(hFI acldeis hugerng the balt in alignmenr.
AnolherI hing rheccntercoutddo is I hestipblock.
M In this block, the center slips past the tackle and
blocks the middle linebackex Th€ last thing the
If w€ wanted to run strongside, we caled centercan do is try to r€ach the tackle.To do this,
"open."One goodthing aboutit was it allowed us he has to step, open his hips, analmove down the
to play the I-fomation play pass. When we ran line. We drill these thr€e blocks time and time
the Tom game, th€ guard blocked dorrn and the again unlil our tacklesleam how to.eact to them.
fullback picked up th€ stunting tackle. Coaches The middlc lineba.keris readingrh^ triangte
donl like fullbackspickrnsup racklcq.e"_ ol- lhp cenier.srard. and qB. The suard cani rakp
pccrarryrr'heir
the rackte is qomeonelike Ernie an abnormal splittoblockthe middle lin€backer
Holmes.It hetpsus when we findt€ams thatlike We have stunts wh€re both the tackte and line_
to run the playpass to the strongside(seeFigure back€r comeon a stunt, so it b€comesdanaerous
7). to splir too much.When the glard cur" hib sptil
clownio prot€ctrhe gap.rhe burr ofthe deten"ivc
tackle is in the euardh way and he can,t get the
FIGURE
7 shop on the linebacker.Thath why we angle the
tackle.Al times, we put both tacktesinto Ure
saps

ro and let the middle linebacker move ju6t b€fore


the snap from one sta€k to the other so that it
contusesthe offense as to who's involv€d in the
/-\
\, r'-\\r1-
\-l
stunt (seeFisure 9).
VLIU,U _
ThiE confuses the oflensive line, and we get big
plays in the backfi€td. This screwsup the btock_
t'"--I rng assrgnment.This isn,t something that I

The "open storm" is good against the play_ac-


FIGURE
S Angled lackle in g.p, mtddte
rineback6rswitches sr.ck
lron pass into rh€ strong sid€.you give up rhe
srrongllal zone.bul we get the presqureand ler
the shong salety play both zonesinto the bound_ o
ary (seeFigule 8).
The ram stunt can be run with a number of
other stunts. The Iam can b€ run with th€ Tom,
fo1lr game, and the open me. The middle line_
oooT oo i1
backer in this schemestays liee. M - - ,t
O\ OEFE\SL ..
EMPHASIS

dreamed up last night. This schem€ has been loosensup and the weaksidelin€backer movesto
tested, and very great coache6have had an op- a stack behind the tackle.
portunity to beat this defense and came up light. The adjustment to the split formation involves
some automatic stunts. We don't need to adjust
toward the tight end because we are already
4.3 Versus Offensive Sets Btrong that wa)'. The weakEide doesn't have a
\\hen we face the hallback set, we don't like to stiong running attack, and the only play we look
run the three game. The reason is that the half- for to that Bide is the sprint drsw. On the weak
back can get to the outside too easily and too side, we use a "youf call. The your call involveg
quickly, before the stunt tackle. the weakside tackle and weakside end. It is the
If w€ run the Tom game and the offense runs reverse ol the me call. The tackl€ loops into an
away from the stunt, we're still in good shape. offensive tackle, and the end crosses behind and
The centels rules have him rcaching on that type to the inside (see Figure 12).
ofplaj'. The turther he reaches, the morc penetra-
tion we will get ftom the back side (see Figure 12rY""*""
flGUBE
10).It doe€n'tmake any differ€nceifthe offenBe
runs away from the stunt. Therc isn't a coach in
this room who will coach his offensive center to
t^O
a9nooo
disregard the tackle in the playside gap and block
back. Coaches will not change th€ir blocking
scheme to block a stunt.

IO
FIGUBE E---T
From this defense we have an open Tom, open
four game, storm, Iam, me, and any combination
of these stunts. The "open,ram, Tom" iB a combi-
nation stunt shown in Figur€ 13.

FIGURE13l-oF".',.r....'br""tb.

If we face the halfback in the strong set, we


adjust differently (see Figure 11). The shong
tackle lines up in the gap and comes upfreld. The
fuY^A
yyq{--plul
middle linebacker moves into the stack behind
the shong end. The weakside tackle comes to
head-on the offensive suard. The weakside end We can run the Tom game on formation. The
fa€t that the running back is so deep gives us that
FIGURE
llj."*"," flexibility When the center tries to reach, this

oo
opens the center of the line lor the slant stunts
and eliminates the bubble in the middl€ which
running backs look for in the cutback. Earl
Campbell was a cutback runner. We played him

^ooo
o oortr
ten tim€s while I was with Pittsburyh, and he
avemged 42 yads ru6hing. Our scheme could
ppnclral,eand keephim fiom culling bacl.
B ET TE If a team plays two tight ends, we nake our
M B adjustment with our secondary people. We either
play the rcgular 4-3 and move the weak safety
IT8 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

into alinebacker position or go to the"open"with


the strong safety in the lin€backer position (see FIGURE
15
Fisure 14).

TIGURE
14
o
o
ooo T( o o
B E }T E B
M FS
A big play peopleare running out ofthe l-for-
With the one back backfield and ihe double mation is the counter sweep with the backside
tight ends, we go io a reeular 4-3 and run all kinds guard and tackle pulling (see Figure 16). If we
of stunts with our tackles and ends. If the otre play itstraight, the coachingpointsare the same
back is in the middle, we run the stunt 4-3 and for tbe middle linebacker. However, we aren't
play normal. going to play the I-formaiion shaieht too oft€n.

Problem Plays for the


Stunting 4.3 FIGUBE
16l €,.*,"".,"..""*"
The play that gives u3 some trouble is what we
call 36 power.This is tough on the middle line-
backerThe offenseblocks back and pulls the off-
side guard through the ofl tackl€ hole. The otren-
o\ O
siv€ tackle and tigbt end lun a blocking scheme
on our defensiveend that allows the sht end to
comeoff and seal our middle linebacker.We have
a coachingpoint for the middle linebacker.Ifthe
o o\o
=] ]
no
"r
o
tight end is waiting for the linebacker in the off- '[ '+M
tackle hole, we run the lineba€ker thmugh the
euard-tackle gap (seeFigure 15).

191t8Prcceedings- Caach Perles uas hedd.odch d! Mi.higdn Stdte UnircBity-


EMPHASIS ON DEFENSE 119

. ; ? t ; i i i r 1 t.,:r i;",; iit i ! i t i i ;,r t : i


Slanting Defense for an Advantage
CHUCKBROYLES
,;1 7,8.1l f, i;:tti i--8 arq*:r :ri iii

We like to move our defensivelinemen. In run- backer); and our weakside linebacker is Rambo
ning situations, we may call a s)anting defense (Fifty backer).
almost 507. ofth€ time.
There are a nunber ofreasons to slant. Some Slanting Defenses
teams slant to conlirseblocking schemes,somcto
avoid mismatches,othem to get penetration.We Mostofthe time when we call a slanting defens€,
probably slant for those reasonsalso,but the big- w€ are talking only to our tackles. We play a hearT
gest reason we slant is to gain an advantage. 6 technique.He ib a C gap plaler. and he i" qo
The advantage we wish io gain is slanting our consciousofthe C gap that we usually do not slant
delensirelin"men rhe dirccrionthc offenseis him, unless we would give him a fire call.
'n
running the football. Th€refore, we put a lot of Tbere js one exception:W}Ien we Blant strong,
time and effort into determining the directions we will slant our DE wben he is a 5 technique to
we arc going to slant versus padicular offensrve the shength call. Our call is either Tite/Tield
Slant (see Figure 2), or Tite/field Slant Weak.
We slant only the two tackles,not the 6 technique.

Base Defense FIGURE


2
When we arenotslanting, we baseout ofan Eagle
defense.We hav€ convinced our defensiveline-
men that in our Eagle d€fense,they are role play-
ers.Theirjob is t r keep the LBs free to m ake rack-
les. We play with four down linemen two ends
and two tackles.We usually make only two callg
in our Eagle defens€.W1]enwe are on thebound-
ary, we make a freld call (Field Eagle) and when
Ne are in the middle ol the freld we make a TE
call (Tite Eagle, seeFigue 1). Ve$us twoTEs, our Banditwould be forc€dto
play a loose9 technique.A variation in our Easle
I
TIGURE defenseis to play Tit€r'Field2 (seeFigure 3). The
2 call noves our shade to a 2 technique, so v€r-
sus two TEs we would be in a 6, a 3, a 2, a 5, and
a 9. Fmm ihis alienment, our call would be Tite/
Field 2 Slant or Tite,f'ield 2 Slant Weak.

FIGUBE
3l r!"/Fr.rd
r sr""r
OC
Ourbasic alignments for our down linemen in oo qC
Tite Eagle are a 6, a 3, shade,and a 5. We play
with foul lin€back€n in our scbeme.Our wideside
G
C
E IT
TJ]^C
-T
C
E B
of the field player is named Gorill a (strong safety);
our shortside of the field player is Bandit (dmp SR
end); our strongside linebacker its Sam (Eagle
120 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

Tf we do nor wanr rwo TEs forcing


- praya tooseI rechnrqLre. our Bandrr We^donot acc?prthe excusp.
ro th"n th; ca ,,\ould "Coach,I stanted
o: nt€r'treldG. C rnolesour Ehadc a^\aaytrom theptay.- We expectI heqpr,,\ playerq
ro a z rcch_ o
nrqueand atso dlcrls our DEq versuh ro sranr.as from I he srrenerh calt,
r$o TEs ro :r-rDF^::le 9r
p,"{::"91. 6s. Frorn rhis atisnmenr,
::.:,.1-lil:1.:,i,. bpabrero pranrandptay
our cau nac( acrossthc taceor usp r-Lr j"ou
$outd bpTite FietdcStant,see n_a nd technique
Figurc4,,or.tite
r jct(iU StantWeak.w]lcn c is
lh; calt,wa "tanr
only our iaclles.regardtesqoft he
dirccrionoj the Slant Stack
sranr we $erc In slant theDEs.wewouldha\e
m grve them a firo call A \ ariarion of our Stanr defensers
SIanr Srack,
shown in Fj8ure6. In Slani Slack,
ue pinchour
, .Fcnruquc.and r\e widen ctur RamboLb
to a q
eye. stant slack helps ub prorecr
ihe Rambo
oackcr.It jq 6imply a change_up ofassiqnmenls
oer$een thc 5 tcchniqueand thc Ramb;8.
The
r.erhnrquc bccomesa B gap pta)er,
and Rambo
Decomesa L,gap player.

^,
BF6ide6
sranr
our TiLeT.iptdsjanrs,wF wi run
$rrh_severai
a 5n C
lcnsebjmply.Slanr.
change_ups. We ca thiq de_
Stanl dcfpnseiq usedontt as I^O
a boundary defense.
Ou. basicalignmcntin Stanrdefenhpisarr,a
, /se pF i su i "5F,.ln r h,rdpfFnsa,
1..lll1"g
wncn.we ..r qe
stant are refernngonlyro rhc rack_
res.I hrsctelenseis calledonlJon I he hashiInere_ AJsofromStanrSrack.\acwi run Stanr
.,,i",Fh of rhe de|cnsFis _ Sracl
:",T -lll arua1" c riamoo Loop /see FigrjrF 7,. S,anr Srack4amoo
Loop bnngs the Bandil on a
eB stunr, s rF.n
nlqup ro d gap.ard Rambobecon"E
eB to pit.h
FIOUSE
5 50Sranl(Strnrderense)

o C
o.)
- n /-) z-r F,-=.,-'.
vv,'t,u_^ru
^E r-t_-E
q g c
DH

In Slanr defensc.rr ir impej-dtiverhar


_ our 4
9"1 curoff.Hcbp.omcs
a B ro gap A
:i:l* ?y,
prayer. Hc ib lo rpad rhe grard on rhc morc Rambuonlyloopsiffio$ iFwpak.TheeBs(unr
and ,
adJLr6tto his block. b) Bandjt i,Jon. regardtesq
of direcrinnoi flow il
Our 0 tackh. or nose.doasnur f."r Rambohebecomes
overrap
har" r6 s16r, lg*s:-": "yl{lrkc Slanr
r-lj. w.-teet
q,urlea" hard. We rcfpr r, rhiq Stack and Slanr Std.L
lcchniqlrFas a namDoLoop g:r us rwo goodchange
snave|.echnrque. WF$ant him to crowdrlr" cen_ up" r,, rr.
@r,andqurckty crord his block with weaksrdern the 50 start
a slanring up ro prorecrour srronssrd.15L
mooun.f|e is to rcad rhp cenrer 9r.
un lh. mov,,. maApa"Lr"*:
SlanrNosecalt,seeFrgurcFr.-81caltrn;
EMPIIASIS ON DEF!]NSE 121

FIGUBE
8 FIGUREI l sr,"t1,"*/Fi,"is..
L-e
CO

C
- \/'e^qF c c-Q
\/t\-)
<-/l

r .- -r Et
G\
\gR

Slant Nose,our 4 eye tackle is more consciousol Figur€ 9). Sam would loop and become QB to
the B gap, and our nosebecomesa callsideAgap pitch. He still must be an inside-out player
player. If an off€nse gives a wide slot or twift to the
Sam muBt read flow of the football lf it flows freld, we crash up our DE and bring him on an
his way, he becom€s a scrape LB very similar to automatic fire call.
rhe old ArkanBasmonst€r defenBe.Sam'srespon_ Therc is a lot oftime and preparationthat goes
sibility becomesflow his way C to D gap. Ifsam into our slanting defense.We work prc-practic€
reads flow away, he must check for the counter lour days a week in our stunt and slant period.
and then become an overlap player. In order t be a succesEtulslanting team, you can-
If we want to insule a quick force by our DE, not just slant to be slanting, but must slant for
our call would be Slant NoseiFire/SamLoop (see an advantage.

1gg1 Pr@eeding9 Coach Brolles i8 head @ach at Pittsburg State Uniuersit! (Kg)

. 9 k *X l t *t i 1 X tt ri ; ! $ i i r i t 1 * l ' , :.' :' ) :


Goaching the Front Seven
in the 50 Defense
RONSCHIPPER
ii$ r r i r t$ ;1 ::.i 0 i 9 }: t ! , i l :,' :

I ve been a head coachfor 30 years, and the 50 We begin with the Base 50 (seeFisure 1) W€
dcfensehas been our defensefor each ofthose 30 wanl our player" 1o understandthis defen"ein-
rears. During these 30 yeam, I've tried to rcad side out. W€ must be able to run this defense
every word written about the 50 defense. I've gone against anlthing the offense shows us.
ro clinics acrossthe country to hearpeople speak
rn the defense,and I've attended spring practices FIGUBE
at many ofthe majorcollegesin the country that
lJ 8.""50
..un the 50.
The defense has gone through many mod€l C
rhanges.It'sbeen calledthe 54, 52,50, 34, as well €P C\gC qel
.rs many other special nam€s given to it by coaches E TL N T E
..ho have added difTerent stunts, alignments, and
]
:djustmentB. New secondary cov€rages have BB
idded to its flexibility.
122 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATIGIES

This is a rcad dof€nse.We move on the s,rap,


hit, rcad keys, pmtect our gaps,find tho football, FIGUBE
3n1
ard go to it. ll I lelr wo uere phSsically supArilr """*
WIDE \. f
to all ofoul oppononi,s,I would run this defense
most ofthe time. But that is not the case.We're l')
not going to have the big physical playerin Divi-
sion III, so we'rc going to use multiple alignments, elc,c
E\ N- ,,i r
cJ
E
a variety ot techniques by our front seven, and
vafious covemgesin the secondary. BB
-fcro
Front 7 Techniques WIDE

For us to accomplish th€ multiple-penetrating-


-l.)
r ,a r-(| z--.rii ,--. ,--'.i,--.
ag$essive style of defense,we must teach our \_{-\-rl \-r |t r \-^\_-/ \L-,
front seven a variety of technjques.Just as all E T\ 'N t r,.t E
seven of them must learn the "read technique,"
all sevenmustlearnto "go."Go isveryimportant
to our defensivephilosophy.It means attack, pen-
B - - - - - >B- "
etrate, get to the football as quickly as possible,
and rcad on the run. We still want to have the
tlOUBE3e
correctstance,have pedect alignment, and know
our sap rcsponsibilitjes.This is demonstratedby FIGURE
4l-R"*,+M""c.
our Basic Blitz (seeFigure 2), in which our play-
er" showa base50lnut. but arc in d Cor-chrique.
/
,t +^+
I \.-/ I \ \

FIGUHE
2 l B*50brir. Q C-9 TJO C)
ET N f
C
I BBE
.r' / | o\ \ \ J i\
O E Q T ] Q QC
E r lNlr E
-a)\
Y

B B FIGUBE
5 Fove.SqueezeBangStrong

Any onememberofthe front sevencanbo sent


(-' ,, . A k\
ona go by a simple call.W€ have avadetyofcom-
binations that involve two or three members of
the front seven. In each of these combinations,
6cdlElcd\c
E T\N T {
th e call is desisnated by strong or quick side: tight ;\t
end or spiit end;right or left.
We alsohave a number of defensesthal. involve
all seven men beginning \{ith oul two slant de, /U\BE
ienses:Rover-slant away from stmng safety(see
Figure 3a), andAngle slant to the strong safety We've also had successby moving our slant
(seeFisure 3b). raclle and nospguardro thpir ne$ gap re"ponsi-
With the simple addition of go to any of our bilityinthe Rover and Angle defensesand stack-
defensivecalls, we place emphdsis on attacking, ing the linebackers behind them. For example,
r€ading on the move, and getting to the fooLball. we run Rover Stack 5-Man Go (seeFieure 6).
Figure 4 illustrates Rovor 4-Man Go. Obviously different offensespresent different
One,,foLr rFal favorir.sru ru"h rhFpasserrh problems to the defense. For example, we've
Rorcr SqreezeBdnc Srrnns 6-Man Go seeFig- stoppedth€ option by using a combination ofde-
ure 5). fenses.Using the "choke" on the tight end side
EMPIIASISON DEFENSE 123

6
FIGUBE Rovd Stacks-ManGo flGUBE I r 8""i"p."bbPr""h
5

,.t
'\
\\
t
tA \rA \\ ,/rot \
C C C IIC OQ c/OO
ET
FN O.ea
TE
B B
/ \

7
FIGUBE ChokoTE-ZapOuick FIGUBEI l sr""kc"e
Brir,

/-
col
aC7^
ctr ^l
/occ
E r -N =
BB -./

and the "zap" on the \a.ideend side allows us to Like so many other 50 teams, we also use the
put quick pr€ssureon the quaft€$ack (BeeFigu€ 7) overshift with a hard comer, 2-deep zone, play-
Another schemeused to attsck an inside Iun ing fo11lor five menin under coverage.This type
ning game and give uE a diferent pass blitz look of front seven alignment allows th€ defense to
is the Double Pinch. In the Double Pinch s-Man overload the offense inside and fbrce some
Go, shown in Figure 8, the linebackerswill read, changesin blocking pattems. We also like to use
$ hrlp in t he blitr they wrll go immedialell an inside stack alignment in our overshift scheme
Some of our tackles ar€ very eff€ctive in the and blitz from this alienment. The number of dif-
gap becauseof their quickness.So we put them ferent combinationswe can use isjust about un-
in the B gap, allow our noseguard to play soft limited. We don't claim to be original, but most
and control the cente! and run a Stack Gap important, w€ believe in what e arc doing and
4-Man Go or tuln them aI loose in Stack Gap
Blitz (seeFigurc 9).

-1985 PMdinAs, Coaah Schipper waa hzon cech at CentroJ Co zge Q1^).
124 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STR4TEGIES

r i * ; ! li ;1 d !]i t ! t t t; i : g T;ir t ii i $t ! l | :
Defending Against the Pass
JERRYSANDUSKY
H:f * l!*illi*:]l ,8. $r r!, 6t*+ig
Defending the pass has becomeincreasingly dif- Tackle (Tl-Same explosivenessas the Dose,
fi cult in recent yeam. Liberalized blocking rules, possibly a little bigger and more pass rushing
outstanding skilled athletes, and a greater em skills
phasis on the throwing game have created this
End (El-Bie, active player who is strong
situation for delensiv€coaches. enough to play on an offensive tackle, yet agile
Beforeyou put tog€ther a defensiveschemem and quick enoughto playthe option, contain a
defend the paEs,you must addrcss somep€rson- sp nt out, and rush the pasEer
nel factors that are vital to the development of
any defensivepackage.
Linebackerc
Personnel Willy (Wl Usually the strongest linebacker
v€rsus a tight end and an excellent pass rusher
The fust priority has to be pass rush. Ith vital to Sam ($l-The most active linebacker,an out-
be ableto apply pressue on the quaderback with- standing op€n-fieldplayer and pass defender
out blitzing linebackers.Speedand quicknessare (a combination of a linebacker and a shong
especiallyimportant on tbe outside. Power and satety)
forceare morevitalon r hc in"ide.The ncxr prior Fritz (Fl-The second-mostactive linebacker,
ity is to have at least one excell€nt cover corner. usually a little bigg€r and strong€r than Sam
And becauseofall the spreadformations with one (a combination outside and inside linebacker)
or no backs,the third priority i! to have tineback- Backer (Bl-Solid, aleft player who is the
em who arc capableofplaying man to-max pdss qrarterback of the defense, handles front ad,
justinents in the huddle
Our defensive schemeis a multiple on€ that
involves predominantly a seven-man front with
a four-deepsecondary(seeFigur€ 1).We look for Secondary
pe$onnel with specific qualities to play this Strcng corner (SCI-Th€ best on€-on-one
pass covereron our team
Weak co.ner (WCI A good cover player who
FIGURE
I Slrucluraldelensivealignmenl
is a little bettd at r-unsupport than the strong

C Hero (Hl The strong safety both an under-


O COT CC C neath and deep defender,a very goodmn sup-
5t WT N E W C port player
Salety (Sl The centerfielder,a goodtackler
B F and instinctive playerwho has exc€llentjudg-
H S

Down Linemen Pass Rush Principles


l{oseguard (N} Exptosiveness,probably a The ability to rush the passer is predominantly
little more compact than the other down people, innate, but therc are some general coaching
quick enough to handle the scoop btocking points that we have Jearned through trial and
ellor that can help:
EMPHASISON DEFENSE 125

. Get a great jump on the football.Anticipate,


know the situation, study the stances of the
FIGURE
3
opponents.
. Get on a corner, if possible.
. Be offensive, attack. Get the offensive player
into an awk{'ard body position. Carce hm
to move eitber laterally or forward. Get th€
blocker turned or overcxtended.
. Outside people establiBha speedmsb, and
aq\
inside peopledevelopa ball rush.
. Do not get hooked up with th€ blocker. Keep . Combination fwist. One defender drives
his hands offofyou with slaps, pushes,etc. into a gap on th€ snap. The other defender
Use quick fales, then head upfield. reads to determine run or pass, then
. Keep your elbows closeto your body,and your exchangesruBh lanes versus a drcpback paEs
hands inside the opponent'shands. (seeFigure 4).
. Develop a sense oftiming. I(now when oppo-
nent is ofT-balance,when to push or pull, and
when to accelerat€ by the defender.
flouBE4l-;i"",b"*i"i
. U.e arm and undFror over when appropri-
ate, depending on your height. Develop a
counter offofyour best move (e.g.,club offof
arrn under).
. Ke€p heading upfield, maintain constant
pressure on the quarterback.
. Get your hands up when the quarte$ack is
ready to thow the ball.
. Keep position relative to one another. De- Coverages
velop a feel for one another verEusdropback
pass. Inside rusher should sensewhen the Becauseol the sophistication and the inhrcate
outside rusher has made an inside move. T timing of today's passing games, the two most
and W, N and E align next to each other tn sienificant factors in a coverage scheme are diB-
order to develop familiarity with each other ruption of receiv€rs and disguise. With that in
mind, we begin our teaching with a 2-deep zone
(seeFisure 5).
Pass Eush ti,vists
T$istB are used to take advantageof passprotec-
tion schemesand to keep the offensive block€r
flOuBE 5 l st""d"d
,{*p,.*
"*-"g"
olf-balance-
. Ttnist on the snap. Two defenderc change
o cocfco o
lanesonthe snap (seeFieure 2). This is more WC
effective versus man-to-man protection. FLA I F\
S P
/I
flouBE2 T;br""""4 rv
CURL MID CU
FI S
AA
C\C,lC i li
F1
Both corners are responsiblefor th€ flat zone.
They assume a press atignment slightly outside
. Taoist on hey. Two defenders exchange pa33 lhe wide receiverb,as closelo rhe line of scrim-
rarsh lanes on key (see Figurc 3). Use only mage as possible. Their feet arc paralJel and
ve$us a alropbackPaBs. shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. As a
126 FOOTBALI,COACHINGSTRATEGIES

first pdo ty, they try to jam tbe receiver (clrs_


rupt his releasel.This is accomptjshedby sliding FIGUBE
7 Forcingrec€iverswidelo the
lateraUy and st king the receiver with Lnerr

,r
hands. They must notget overcxtendedorlerrne
rFcaivcrhe!e an easy oursidereledse,sFeFig_ C
ure 6).

FIGURE
6 Cor.iercdedyeasyreceiver

.)-
Y
P I
o\\a
o The backeris responsibtefor the middte zone.
The location ofthe middle zone is 15 yards deep

fr rccr"-'€
in the middle ofihe field, 5 yards insid€ the hash
-ft -==> ifthe ball is on the hash_The fiIst threat to the
middle zone is the number two rec€iver Atten-

v* \
t
tion should be focusedon numb€r two first, then
nurnber three. The hem and safety alien on rne
hashesand retrcat shajght down the hash, read-
ing the inside receivers.W}Ien they,re sure mar
there isn't a deep middle th.eat, they can widen
We want to disrupt orcause a very flat rct€ase and play over top the wideout.
in any direction. If the receiver inside releases,
the corner slides, then opens to the inside and
reheats laterally to a depth of about 12 yards, fwo-Deep Man Coverage
dependingon the situation. Ifnecessary,the cor_ As a complementto the 2-d€epzone,we incu(po_
n€r should be rcadyto sinkto the outside and be rale the 2-de€pman coverage(seeFigure 8).
ready for a corner route. Wlen the defenderhas
gott€n enoughdepth, he shodd be readvlo &ive
off his back foot and attack anv receiver tnar. FIGURE
8 Slandard2-deepmancoverage
shows in front of him.
If the ball is thrown over the defender,shead,
CC
he should turn his shouldeG and sprint at an
angle tu make rhe inrercFplion.If rhp fpcci\er C o
takes a flat outside releas€,the defender should
slid€, then pivot back to the inside. Agajn he re,
OCOICO C
treat! lat€rally and sjnks slighdy outside ro pro c $FC
tect the hole betweenhim and the safety #28#2#1
The Sam andFritz are responsiblefor tle cull #3
pass zones.Ifthe ballis in themiddle ofthefietd, H. S
the curls ar€ 1 yard insjde the hash, 12 yards
d€ep.When the balt is on the hash mark, thc open
i+
fi€ld curl is 3 yards inside the hash, and the
boundary curl is 3 yards outside the hash. Trying to disguise the coverage as much as
Before they go to the curl zone,they must not possible,the comers move to insjd€ alignments
lFl rhc numbFr r$o rpcervprsgo alraight down on th€ wide recoivem. Now th€ corners set and
ihe fieldeasily.They shuuldtorccrhe"Fr.ceivers take away the inside releaseof the rccejver.They
wide to the cnrl zonesas shown in Figure 7. must not overeact to any outside fakes. When
The only peoplF$ ho ( urt are he $ idc r€(ei\ . the receiver has gotten b€yond the defender's
els. Euoute to th€ curl, the defenders '
should r-un outside shoulder, he tulns and runs with him,
larFrallyand gldncafor rhe widesrrecorrerThp, miroring him ftom underneath. He should con_
td ier ric it r h" sngt" h"y h;".;;'.;;"J;; centmte on the receiver, especialty his hands.
"hou
stopping approximately 3 'yards in front ofand to When his hands go up, the defendershould b ng
the inside ofthe receiver threatening the curl. his hand up through th€ receivels hands and tur:n
EMPI{ASISON DEFENSE 127

:o look for the ball. The safeties should shout B- Start to the curl, reading number two. If
-ba1l." number two goes flat, continue to get width to
The Sam and Friiz play the number two re- the curl. Ifhe comesshaishi down,latch on io
:,rilers in the sam€manner Th€ backertu respon- him in the hook area. If number two blocks,
.rble for handling the number three receiver If hang in the middle.
.la],ing a receiverwho is aligned in the backfield, $ Staft for the wide curl, top of the numberu
:he defenderattacks the back through his insid€ in the middle ofthefield, hash mark ifthe ball
:alf, then mirrors him, staying undemeath and is on the hash. Read numbei two. Hang in the
: r his inside (seeFigue 9). wide curl and play up to an)'thing that shows
flat.

In order to get to an 8-man ftont, the weak


corner can move into an alignment 3 yards out-
side the nearest defender at a depth of 3 yards.
G\ Safety moves out to a position slightly outside the

CC A \ C widest receiver on the weakside.The hem moves


closerto his middle on€-third zone.Obvioush the
,,/\ \-->
diseuiseis very limit€d.
B \->
Deep Man Coverage
Havingeight peoplearound the ball providesthe
fhree-Deep Ro Weak Coverage opportunity fbr quick pedmeter pressure. By
Dissuising ftom a 2-deeplook, our next prosres- rushing both Sam and the weah corner, the cov-
:ionis to have the shons correr finess€outofhis erage that is played is 3-deep man-to-man (see
rress alignment, and we roll weak to 3-deep(see Figure 11).
Fisxre 10).
FIGUBE
II 3ieep, man'lo-man coverage
FIOURE
IO Foll w€akto 3.d€€pcoverago

o /\
c
C C C tr OO c $wc
/cccroc\
i #2
H
B

In this coverage,the strons comer and ihe


salety play more cautiously wh€n covering the
receiver. They start to backpedal, then run later-
ally, striving to maintain inside pGition and keep-
SC Back out and play outside one-third zone.
insa cushionof2 to 3 yards. The imide lineback-
H Roll to deep middle one-third zone.
els play the same as in 2-deep man.
S Roll to weak number one recklessly, unless
number two shows flat, then play up to num-
fhree.Deep Botate Stnong
F-Start to curl zone readins number two. If Coverage
number two go€sflat, continue to th€ curl. If In addition to the roll weak to 3-deep,we rotate
number two come8straight down, latch on to to a strong 3-deep(seeFieure 12)-
him in the hook area. If number two blocks or The hero and strons com€r can either roll or
goesstrong, go to the middle. invert. If a roll call i3 mad€, the corner p.esses
128 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGMS

and plays curl to flat, while the herc plays th€


FIGURE
12 strong, 3.deep cov€rage outside one third. If an invert call is made, the
hero plays curl to flat and the Etrong corner has
C the outside on€ thtud. The Sam and backer handle
sf o ccf]o c
c$BFWC
c hook to curl. Fritz plays curl to flat. The safety
has the middle one third while the weak correr
\\l rctr€ats and plays the outBideone third.

t; HcJ
y< :
\ H-c - \" , , V -
Regardlessof t he defensiveschemF.ir is \er)
impodant to have a sound system. Don't trf' to
do any more tban is necessary Successcom€swith
l--H s i good playem, discipline, concenhation, and ag-
greBsiveplay.

1992Sunmer ManuaL Coach Sanduskr it.lzfensiDecoordinator at penn StateLhiue\itt.

t $ $ i 3 A &66A96 * $ g $ ** { i] g e $A f !]d ]i il $ { g g i
Making the Secondary Primary
BILLYJOE
&* t$ $$13$r i$8; ] i' e t Q r; l ]' ,' : $ i r] l l r* i i :
Our base defenseis a variety of the 40 defense, is not certain of their assignmentsand re€ponsi-
which gives us balance with the flexibility to show bilities. By applyine int€nse presBure, our def€nse
diffprenrlooksand makeadJuqt mcnts$ irh minr- will prevent the easy touchdown,obtain posses-
mal coachjngpoints. The pro 4-3 maLes our de- sion of the ball, and score.
femive line play, linebacker play, alld secondary A succ€ssfulmember of our defensive team
play very easy to incoryoratE ilrto the total con- must have t}le knowledge to perform tus tech-
cept of our defensive philosophJr Figure 1 shows niques and duties with ma-timum accuracy and
our basic alignment. perstutence.Proficiencyin the executionoftech-
nique and fundamentals is especiallyimportant
Fl0uREI l P."+3
CC Defensive Back
Responsibilities
CC Our defensivebacks must be excellent athletes.
C C OTCCC Our defensivepressure conceptolten places sec-
ondary personnel on an island. They must be
ET T ES great cover men and hitters. They must be profi,
B M lvlr cient and elfici€nt without requiring a lot of help.
H H Our stunting, dealing, dogging, and blitzins
requirc a secondary that must enjoy the role of
JK the 'lone ranger" They must possessthat un-
canny ability of having great range and must
enjoy o11Ipressure concept.
We present many different fronts within our In most cases,our dogs (seeFigurcs 2-5) re-
sy8tem to cause distraction, misconception,and quire some fonn ofman coverage.However, there
unnec€ssarythinking by our opponents.lt's ex- arc times when we will "zone-up"behind atr up
tremely diflicult to handle presBure ilthe offense front dog.
EMPIIASISON DEFENSE 129

FIGURE
4l B.,,d".l
C oo
t t
\l I' C
\-/ \-/ I o C
D

Mr
H H
JK

Al l d o g TIOUBE
5 K- B blllz

C o
(^\ )l
C \ el
Ac
/T
C
E
tr ocd T E Q\

M B t\4 Mr
H r1

Our secondary deseryes special mention be- backpedal,keeping the weight on the balls ofthe
causeofthe impact and conhibution we askitto feeu do not mck back on the heels. The body
shol d be bent and balanced, with the arrns hang-
ing loosely and the feet approximately shoulder-
Man Coveraga and 7echniques width during the initial backpedal stage.
We coachour players to maintain position by
In our basic man coverage,the d€fensive back keeping a slight cuBhion,which is detemined by
aligns in a 1 alignment facing th€ inside eye of the rcceivels speed. The defensive back must
receivexWe ask him to set up 4 yards deep on keep his leet moving, regardless of how fast or
th€ inside shoulder of the receiver, always con- slow the receiver is moving. Keep in mind that
sciousof the sidelines. most receivers will make their cuts early from
Whenever possibl€,the defensiveback should the LOS and anticipate the pattern tree.
use the sideline as a 12th defender,and in doing When the rpcp,ver"how" a sign ol slouing
so, apply the 7-yard ILle: When a receiver splits down or when he straightens up, he will usually
to withir 7 yards of the Bidelineor closer l€t him enter what we call a "faking stage." When this
gain the outside position and lorce the fade route, happens, the defender should stay low and be
making sur€ to tun to the receivels downfield rcady to sprint once the 6nal cut is mad€. As a
shor ders. g€neral rule, he can ignorc the firut fake.
Tr'sbecnsaidthat 75", ofman co!cragpis ron- As the receiver makes his final break, the de-
centration. A defensiveback must concenhat€on femive back should rcact by st€pping quickly with
the receiverby focusingthe eye on a chosenspot his break. He should ddve off hard with the re-
just at the base ofihejersey number Defenders ceiver,maintair inside leverage on him so that
must leam to discipline th€mselvesto the point he has to makc contacl with the delender in or-
rhal rhe) can ignoreevFW hing bul rhe receiver der to cut back. After the receiver has mad€ his
Ar thc sndp of lhe ball. squaraup b) keeping drjve, the defendershould get in stride with him
the shoulders square to the LOS and begin the lbr.lpp.look for the ball through rhe receiver.
"l€p
130 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

and prepare to turn toward the receiver, antici- the keys show pass,the free safetymovesquickty
pating the ball or the ship. Then, he should rcact to the middle of the zone, while the corners ad-
to the ball. The first thought should be to Dt€r- justto the receivers'mutes. You must make sure
cept ihe ball. If this is impossible, the defend€r your players are at a point in th€ir assignedzone
shorld do the following, in this order: that will enable them to cover all route variations
in that zone equally, and as quickly as possible.
1. Knock the ball away liom the receiver.
Defensivebacks should always locate the deep
2. Strip the rcceiver.
€st route intheirzones. (Attimes, we do not play
3. Tackle the receivex
a h'ue zone; we allow th€ defenders to favor the
4. As a last resod, if a touchdown is rnavoid-
receiveN who enter their zones.)
abl€, take a penalty
We ask our DBs to maintain a slisht cushion
Zone Coverages and Techniquea and skate as fast as the receiver moves down-
field. This helps eliminate the gaps between the
Zone covemge is also a v€ry important coopo- undemeath and d€ep rout€s. We prefer to expand
nent of our defensiv€package.The 3-deep,orstay as ne€ded,and be prepared to turn, cut and run,
zone,providesa true 3-deepwith no rotatror! rc- or break at the BP (breakins point) of the mutc.
gardlessof play-action. Tell your DBs to work to the receivels' ,down-
In zone coverage, the secondary personnel field" shoulders.
muBt align at a specifieddepth in their assigned As a generalrule, ifareceiveris entering your
areas,keying specificreceiversand then the ball. zone,coming straight atyou, do not let him close
They must leal.rl to rccognize th€ fonnation and the gap to more than 3 yads. Ifthe rccelver rs
th€ passing potential of each in order to pick up running a route parallel to the LOS, cut the cusb-
theirkeysquickly, ion about 4 yards and keep the outside Dosition
We use two basic keys in our zone coverase: an on him. The distancebetweenthe passerandthe
initial key to determine the route-when and rec€iver will also be an influencing factor. The
where the ball will be thrown-and the greater the distance, the deeper you must play,
quaderback's release of the ball. Therefore,the while adjusting to the mute and strength ofthe
initial key is usually th€ receiver's rcute, while r.ff
-."'+."h".L'r
the secondarykey is the qua.terback'sreleaseof As tha defensi\p ba.k movpsrh roughhis zone.
the ball. have him locusin on the quarterbackand the ball.
The corne.backs align anil locate their key He shoald tty to rcad his eyes, arms, ard ?read
quickbz They should set up in a position 7 yards fbr a tip that may give away his intent'ions pre-
deep and on the outside shoutder ofdle outside
recci\er, with rhc oulsidp foor ba.k or up, in Tell your piayers that when the ball i6 released,
whichever stance they feel comfortable. They to sprint to a point where they canjump and in-
should drop the hips by bending slightly at the tercept the ball at its highest point, and thint in
knees and waist. Also, they shouid skate when terms of interception ff.st. How€ver, th€re arc
th. ieceiv€r releases across the LOS. exceptions to this rule. ff rhey cannot make the
.:.=,,-, br is nF Lu \ hc * r d e d r d e o t . L h F
^ ll:h.
ncrd / yardstiom the sideline.lhedefcnbive 'nterception.
rheyshouldturn bward the recciver
back andknockthF b€ll awd) lrom him. tfr hc re(erver
must gsin s hcads-uppo"i(ion.Thc tuflhe, uur
a,oc,towardr.the catchFsthe ball €nd rhe defenqive backr" .toser,
6idel;neure receivcralign., the hrm.sirip him of the ball. tf r he reccivorhas
r"4 he r r h. 4eC, . nds r aalu - r " , rae
' 4Fido bur rrerer oarr.rhA delensivebackshouldbrcak
nore tnana I alignment. down and
make the sure tackl€.
I I D o i h " .:tl ; t0 t ' .
U". ih" J"f.nd""y",,. f'o"..r"r r
"lJ.ll"." "" " -ream p'inciptes of pellgnae
. : ^. u' . i- nt ll i n u 'l h r q

;;:t#T-s$*t*lri+i;ffi
*i$:i$i1t;;:
t gg r s u_n-.n * M --.-,
. .-,, tton t ^ot ball.
" B -' oro' (ed but dn, " ,t sral ht . t hpd: You
" ..,.. " ta n L o t o 4 J t9 9 J p,**ai"e".
p ,^." -,.. _
c.*i
^ ,t." i" n";
"*"i "t i"a1" o*;
^.
EMPIIASIS ON DEFENSE T3I

1 g !i i*! $$t li: , $; + lig ;tti * * :i .,


Defending Against
the Run-and-Shoot
DELWIGHT
r t *s $ f &* i i i i$ e ? Q r * r ! $ { q3 ?sti r }i I r
The run-and-shoot off€nse is difficult to defend.
Each team that u6es this offense has difercnt FICURE
I Detensivealignmenrand
movem€nl ver6us hall-roll pe6s
characteristicsand phitosophies.On€ constantis
that the quaft€$ack is the key. If he's a sood
passerand has the ability to run and attack the
containment, this puts add€d pr€ssure on the
defense. ff the option and counter option have
been included in the run-and-shoot package, that
gives defenses still another dimension to defend.
In order to win against the run-and-shoot,a
trC
defensemust stop the aceback draw play. It also
must successfully defend against th€ ace back
screen, another major feature of the run-and- c
7-8 yds 7-8 yds
shoot. The ability ofthe aceback determines how
we deploy our front seven alignment.
Becausethe nm-and-shootutilizes four recerv-
ers with rnotion of a rcceiver on almost every offensive guard. In addition, the outside line-
play the secondaryis rcquired to move and ad- backer away fiom the half-roll must chasehard
just. This can causedefens€smany problems. in a llar angle he also has no containresponsi-
Our approach to stopping this offenseis that bility The defensive end away ftom the half-roll
we will 'shoot' the run-and-shoot.In other words, has contain on the quarterback. The tilt tackle
we'll pressure the passing game and defend the has spy respoffibility for ihe draw and delayed
option, draw, and screen with our front seven. pass rush.
We'll play good man-to-man coverage and folce As indicated in Figure 1, the def€nsivebacks
the quick pass, but at the same time defend align 7 io 8 yards deepand straight acrossin the
against the option, draw, anal screen. invert position. This alows us to move and ad-
just to receiver motion- It also gives us the
Setting the Defense mat{hup or]I secondary coach desires versus the
man-to-manconcept. Wp rry nor ro ha\ p ant mis-
The alignment we d€ploy tu shown in Figure 1 match on fast \.ide receivers;thereforc, we can
man coveragewith pressure concept, adjust easily to the motion from this alignment
The key to pressuring the half'roll pass is for and match o11Icover men against the opponent's
the frontside linebacker to reco$ize pass and to
allow him a free rush. We don't want him to con- The run-and-shoot passing attack can €asily
tain the quaiterback;he has fieedom to force the rcad man-to-man cover,and they also can run
passerin anylane possible.The responsibility ol rcut€s designed to attack the man covex How-
containing the quart€rback is lelt to the defen- ever, with tight man cover and pressure on the
sive end aliened over the otrensive tackle. The quaderback you have at least an equal chanceto
linebacker and defensive end must put quick pres- siop rr,
srLreon the quart€rback- The middle linebacker has the ace back man-
Additional pressure on the quaderback can to-man. He's also responsiblefor the draw play
come from the defensiv€ tackle aligned over the and ace back scre€n. ThiB allows the delensive
132 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

ta€kles to be more aggeEsive on the pasBruBh.


We needthe bonuspressurefrom the defensi.e
flouBE31 o","""k""nr".".r*
mentver5u6acebackdraw
tackle positions.

Versus the lrap and Trap Option


In Figure 2 you see man responsibilities v€rsuE
the trap and trap-option rcads.We have one man
on the pitch back and two men rcspoNible for
the quarterback, so he can't run the football. ff
the uursidelinebackerkFys run ro hrm, his re-
sponsibiJiyi" ro get Ihe pirchla ne and main-
'nto
iain pitch responsibility. The defenBive ends can-
not allow the ofiensive tackle to block the middle
linebacker. The delensive end must play the trap c J- t-,

and try to help on the quarterback keep. The


middle linebacker must then "skate" and make
the quart€rback pitch the ball. In Fisure 4 you1l see a change-up in the back-
side pressue by the outside linebacker When he
FIGURE
2 Oslensivealignmenland move-
reads pass,he'll drop and help the colner.There-
msntv€rsuslrap or trap opllon fore, if slot motion goes away and ball rolls away,
he can drop and help thp corneron lhe cros"ing
or short routes, or look for crGsing rcceivers. This
helps pmtect against the half-mll thmw back pass
and play-action paes.

FIGURE
4 1 i,"""".,","g"""*,"h"r*il

(slow FoLD) (aB)

CCTCC
ET 1 E
c
Defensivetackles play a major role in conceal-
ing the aceback runs ofTtackle. In addition, the
outside linebacker away llom the run action must
read run or pass, and slow fold to help on any
" Y ! it
inside run. This t€chnique is a disciplined and
slow fold assignment; the linebacker must read
the differences between run and pass.
Yersus Ace Back Scteen
Vercus Ace Back Draw To defend against the ace back screen, a common
The defensive tackle away from the ace flow aDd and diftrcult play, we double cover the ace back
the middle linebacker have major roles in stop- with outside linebackers and middle linebacker
ping the aceback draw(see Fieure 3). They have (seeFigure 5). Th e outside lineback€r on the side
the spy rcsponsibility. This isn't dilficult for the of the half-roll starts his pressure move upfield
middle linebackeasincehe has the aceback.The and then reads the FB setting for scleen.On this
defensive tackle must spy if the back flow goes upfield move, he's in position to be behind the
away from him, and will give LBs assistance on screen blocking. In addition, th€ middle line-
backer who is still spying the ace back allows for
EMPIIASIS ON DEFENSE 133

double cover. This i3 much more successful than


relying on the middle linebacker to play the ace FIOUBE
5 Detuns€againsl ace back scre€n
screen,becausehe can be easily blockedwh€n he
has sole responsibility.
The run-and-shoot offense is designed to tbrow
on tbe move.To defend it, we give our ftont people
a very simple and aggressive plan to pressure the
quarte$ack into a huried pasB. However, you
must have a quick and active llont four to make
the man-pressure concept work. By employing
outuide LB preBsure, you can create one-on-one
LB
blocking situations. And always be prepared to
use zone coverageifnecessary,

CS <---.-.'*
s

1984 Summer Manual. C@ch Wieht aas offensiue c@ indtot at gan Diego State Uniuercit! and. the Iasvesas
Posse(CFL).

r s€s* {{8 $ * a a g& g*6 fi $ g $ $€* *6 $s * I a} }


Applying Pressure Without the Risk
FRANK BEAMER wnrr MICHAEL CLAR,K
: fi s * $ { $* srl s ? 6 $ $ Q x r a s s * * g , B * t * s i l e
Pfessurell On the defensiveside ofthe ball, you quickly. When we jet stunt upfield with our line,
can't be afraid to ma]<ethis call. In our basic eight- we assign screen and dlaw €hecks to one of our
man ftont, we will base a game plan on prcssure LBs on the second level, not a lineman. Although
and then react to the ofTense's responseto it. good playen will always react to or feel out these
With pressurecomesrisk, particularly ifprcs- lotrg-yardage change'ups, they'Il be more aggres-
sur€ is always matched with man"to-man cover- sive ifthey know it is not their primary responsi
age.Much ofour attack will entail this risk, but bility.
we try ro keepa mix ofpressurein our delensive In the "80 Look" shown in Fieure 1, t}te W-end
package to keep the offense ofT-balance. is using an under move which he setB up by
To pressure the quarte$ack with four people
requireB a great commitment and a sellingjob on FIGURE
the parl ofthe coach.Four-man pressurc involves
I fsoL".k
a reliance in your people,not in your plan. Put-
ting trust in your people will always pay divi-
(, ,,, c.C
dends,and here is how we help them. ,,' , . a) --1
We maximize our matchups and get out good
people going one-on-one. Winning the indiyidual ^, //rY^ a" hl\-/
i i hL_J
o \_/ C
matchup is the key. Our playen who we get iso- C E B T^J E
lated know their importance to the total defense, +T 1C
and are extremely motivated and individually LB -LB B
coached to win their fight.
We also help our linemen pressureby aligning
pmperly and allowing them to focus on the quar-
terback. We have them crowd the LOS and ad-
just their Btance as n€eded to get off the ball
t
{
134 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRATEGIES

selling a hadjetrush. Whetberhe spins or clubs dropping out. By drawing th€ guard's block, we
under is his call, but taking contain away from a insure that the inside twist has our DTs going 2-
wide DE can compressa pocket and keep an OT on-2 imtead of3-on-2.
off-balance.W€ shade the weak DT and, hope- Th€ stunt has the shong tackle on the snap
fullx dictat€ the double team look by our align- driving under the ofensive euard. His rush lan€
is through th€ backside 2 area. It is important to
On the snap, th€ shadedDT must drive to the sell the fimt man that he also is going to go fiee.
inside shoulder of the OG. Staying square, he The intensity of his rush will increase when he
must dlaw two oflensive linemen to him ro pre- realizes that be is not a sacrificial lamb.
vent them from picking out on the DE,s stunt. The twist tackle steps hard and upfield to the
Onc€ th€ double team is drawn and he feels the weakside.We don't huny X-stunts; we like to X
DE clear,he'li loop out on a lat€ contain. on the offensiveside ofthe ball. The twist tackle
On the shongsid€,we give the DT shadedin a comes tight olY of his partner's tail and gets up-
3 technique the option to beat his guard ov€r or field oncehe clears behind the pick.
under. A change call by our outside LB gives our The strongOLB r ill ride r he TE betorespying
strone DE a widejet rush. This forcesthe OT to off for screen, dra\ or delay. Coverage can be
fan out andblockhimin space,or aRBmust pick matched with a standad 2-deeplook.
hjm up in ihe backfield. In Figure 3 we show a four-nan rush where
Any lime $c can den) or makc rhF oflensive we try to use speedpersonnelto pressure a QB.
line work to keep the "big on big" matchup or tie Ironically, although we are an even front defense,
RBs or TEs into the protection quickly, we then
gain a covemgeadvantage.Also, ftom a techni-
cal point, the DE is No.4 stlong mshing or shong
FIGURE
3
saf€ty blitz. This read in itself can cause pmb-
lems for an offense.Using the 1-Free coverage, C
we use theweahILB toslide andch€ck draw and
scrcen beforc dropping off. rCr
In Figur€ 2, we use the same 80 pre-snaplook ) ftl
but add a defensivelin€ twist to pressure.Much
as an offense will mn th€ same play from diIfer- T
flGUHE2 l soL".k,irh
t"r"r
a
C
"t
C
/.).) )C C
c
E
5 (F
t----
tr2 u
e
c-+ LB

1/2 a
T T
q we get some of our best pressure from odd front
looks. In our 55 front, we remove a DT and re,
place him v,ith a "Jack-Back€r,"who is a strong-
safety type player, to add speedoffofthe corner
and causehavoc.The Jack-Backercan comefrom
the tight or split side, and for a nice two-man
change-up,he tells the D-erd wheiher he is com-
vv ing on a contain or free rush.
In our game plan, we will prcdetermine the
€nt fblrnations aDd motions to cause conlusron, Jack-Backer's rush sid€ and responsibility to
on defense we will try to base rush, twist, and ma-'.imize our matchup, baEedon their protecti on
max blitz from the same look. scheme.Abalanced 55 rush can be matched with
In this simple X-stunt adjustment, the W-end any low risk coverage.
has a true jet contain rush which earli€I had set We hope these simple ideas on defensivepres-
up htu under move. Th€ weak ILB walks to the sure are of some h€lp to you. Remember,good
LOS and will draw the O-enard's block beforc playem who play hard win football games.

1990 Sunner Manual Coach Beomer is hea.l coach dt Vitsinia Tech. Cooch CLarh is detunsne coor(rinator
EMPHASIS ON DEFENSE 135

,r ; : : ; rr .; lt; ii: rr :, r ; li ! { r.:::::'t } ir l r ' r r : ''

Simple Goverages Velsus


Gomplex Passing Games
DICK SHERIDAN wlTttBUDDY GREEN
rr :ll iarl :ttll :i rll . . 1Q : : 1l, : : : , . : ' , . , , :tt',\::1 :' .

On€ of the most important attributes in a defen-


siveunitistobe aggressive.To be aggressive,our
FIGURE
I1
",* "
defensiveplayers must be confident and sure of
their alignment, technique, and responsibi]ities. oc
To achieve that confidenceand aggressiveness
and robesoundasaun ri, it s crr|ical rhar $csim
CO
plily and reduce to a minimum what we teach C C OIOC O
each position.And it's impemtive that we elimi T N TR
ratc confusionand indecrsion, yer includcin our c WM SC
packdgcIhc toolsLhatwe needIobe effFctive.
W€'ve tried to simplify our teaching process,
particularly with our defensive package. For q
many years, our packagehas included FS
. a weakside shad€ 50 defense with 3-deep
FIGURE
2
. a strongsideshade50 defensewith eith€r 2
deep coverageor a weakside roll; and
. a nickel package witb an easily adjusted even
front with 2-deep zone, 2-deep man/robber

Six years ago,we added a stack alignment for


our linebackeruwithout changingth€ alignment
and responsibilities of o1ll defensive line. Our
stack defense,which we call Slide, has been ef-
fective vemus the running game.Vercus the pass
ing game it was OK as far as angles,alignment,
and lev€rage, but certain s€ts-especially on€'
back sets took us out of o11Ibase coverages.
In stack alignment or Slid€ defense,our down
linemen slide (shade) away from the call deep is built into the call. All adjustments arc
lstrength), and our three stack linebackers slide the sameas 21.
lshade)tothe call. We played two base coverages Certain pressurccalls $'ith man coveragcwerc
with this ftont. Both cov€rageshad a doublecall. built into this package. Formation recognition
The first call was our base call, and the second
number gave our perimeter people their auto- In order to stay with a 2 deepperimeter (cover
matic check ve$us shifts, one-back sets, and 2)or a man/robberperimeter(cover 9), w€ would
motjon. Figue 1 shows our alignm€nt in cov€r useour Split (nickel)ftont. Our Split packagewas
21, which is a 2-de€pcoveragewith ihe flexibil- called 5, which signaled five under with 2 deep
ity to checkto 3-deep. (e.g.,Figure 3).
Figure 2 shows our alignment in cover 91, We also had a pressurepackagewith man cov'
rvhich is a man/robber on one side and zore or erage from tbis front. Gaps and alignments var
the back side.Again, the flexibility to checkto 3' ied from our slide front. When we €valuated this
136 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTR{TEGIES

TIGURE
3 FIOURE
5 ComboEagl€versusl-backser

C o o
C C
C CO TOCC
TN T R C C C TC C C
RT NT
M S c <__ s <_M<_W C
WC FS tain sets that we may see.I must admit that we
stole thiE terminology from our olfense, and our
system and had a change to pemonnel lacking players really like it.
experience,we decidedto rcstructure our calls to We called it our "checkwith me'package. Our
simplify oul adjustments.We wanted to keep the huddle call was "check with me." We gave th€
effectivenessof c€rtain ftonts, but improve our initial coveragewe wanted with the fronts, and
effectivenessv€rsus certain one-back sets and all adjustments werc automatic. The huddle call
motion. We wanted to keep each play,s alignment, was quick, and many times a huddle was not
adiustment, and t€chnique as much the s:tlre as needed.This packaeeis game ptanned to match
possible.And we wanted to combine both Fonts our fronts and coverages rdth fornations of our
to maximize oul effectivenessin certain situations opponents. W€ could communicate our Slide,
in the running and passing game. Combo-Eagle, and Split calls and coverages
What we devetopedis o11rCombo-Eaglebase thmugh just one call: "checkwith me" (s€eFigrle 6).
front, shown in Figure 4. Thj6 front is a combina-
tion ofSlide principles with a Spiit adjustment.
FIOUBE
6 Ch4kwith me: EagleveFus
FIGUHE
4 ComboEagleversus2-backsel
l-b.ck, automatic2.de€p

C C _*"Q___*-E)
C
CC
CCt]CCC o C
T N T o C C IC OC
T N< - T R
C M DU
C <-W< M<-S
T
FS *\

Its key feature was that it alowed us [o re-


main in our stack alignment venus two backs,
FS
but gave us the flexibility to adjust to one-back
s€ts,shifts, andmotion(EeeFigure S)while stay- The changes we made in our defensive pack-
ing in our 2deep coverage. age have allowed our younger players to get com-
One phase ofreorganizing our packagewas to foltable with technique and responsibitity W€,.e
have simple rules in the pedmeter so that we also better able to defend comptex passing of-
could packag€ morc than two fronts ano more fenses. whilestill keepingr he rulessimplcfor our
than two coveragesto game plan our calls m cer, pedmeter people.

-t 992 Proceedinss. Dich sheridan bas hea.r.coach at North camrina state uniDercity. coach Green is head coach
at the Uniersit! of T.nnesseeat Chattanooea.
ttl III
PABT , t I ttt I l l ,l l l ,l l l !l ,l | |

Special Teams
r r r r r r r r r !tttttQ tlltltlll,!tttl
Kicking for the Winning Edge Spike Dxhes 139
Developing a Complet€ Kickoff Return Package BiIIr Serton ua
Protecting and Covering From a Spread Punt Formation Tom Coughlin 146
Making a Commitment to Special Teams 150
Kicking Game GimmickE That Work Jim Wdlden 154
Pressuiing the Punt€r Spdrhr Wood.s 157
BlocLirre KickB and Puntg Chuch Amato and Jin Gtadden 16l

137

]E
SPECL{LTEAMS 139

r: : 1lt r l i i i 1 r . i : I l ] : i r l l: ;:: !:ll :::1 :: ,) ::,,, :a ) ,,,,

Kicking for the Winning Edge


SPIKE DYXES
, i;a ]ii ii lllr lr :1:r l, r Q : * : : : : : : 1 : : : : : a, t : , : : : l: : : :

The old adage that three to five games per season


arc deterrninad in the kicking gaJnehoids true
Jsr ,h.ck the rpcords.Wp undprstandIha impor-
tance and the value of a good kicking game, so w€
involve o very best p1aye6 in the kicking game.
On punt return, extra point, and field goal
block teams we use defensive players. On the kick-
offand punt'cov€rageteams, we usually enploy
defensivebacks,linebackers,and defensiveends.

Kickoff Coverage
Our kickoffprin.iplesdimerfrom somprhpnries
in that we kick otr from the exact middle ofthe
field. We want a high, straight kick to the goal
line.We use the watedall approachin alienmcnt
so w€ can all hit the line runnins tull spe€d.Our
alisnment is shown in Fisure 1.

The safety (3) oppositethe retum pulls out and


ke€ps outside leverage on the football. The out
side two coveragemen fiD the hole createdby the
saf€ty pulljng out, maintaining the normal cov
erage lanes one gap inside. The safety to the side
We have thrce potential safetieBon each kick- of the retum no longer is a safety he is a lane
off:3,6 (tbe kicker), and 9.We begin coveringthe runner that is totally involved in coverage.The
fieid with each player maintaining his relative Lickprlaccsup $ ilh r he ballat a deprh ofapproKi-
distancebetweenhis teammat€s.The farther and mately 8 to 10 yads behind the coverase t€aln.
oeeperthe ball goes.lhc longer we .(ayin our If the ball comesup the middle (seeFigure 3),
lanes. In the event that we get forced out ofour the kick€r is th€ middle safety,and boih safeties
hne. u e uork hard to get back in our lane Play pull out olcov€rage after the ball has committed
crs should be aware of who is blocking them and to the middlo and maintain ouhide leverage on
then beat or escapethe block. the football.
Onc€ tho ball is fi€lded and starts in a direc- In otll coverage, 5 and 7 maintain the lever-
ri.n rlefi, middle,dghrJ,wF stafl .onvergingon ageontheball, even iftheballis run up the hasb
the footbal (seeFisure 2). This, andbustins our mark. The closer the ball gets to our coverage,
tails downfield, are the two keys to the coverage. the more we convergeto the ba]l. We a]l squeeze
140 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

not allow a linemarl to catch a clean kick and rc_


turn it for a big gain. The remainder ofthe cover_
age attacks! We want to force a mistake bv the
rcceiving Leam.Down through the 1ears, this
onside kick has been highlv successtul for us.

down, maintaining proper leverage on the ball.


Again, the ball should be kicked high and straight. Punt Protection and
We attempt to kick each kickoff io it will be re_ Coverage
turned.
this coverage team has a hemenalous amount The laBrphaseofcoverageis our pLrnrprorec|lon
of pride. Atl of our defensive starteru want to be and co\erage.The quickeslwa) Lolosea football
on the kickoffteam. It s a higbly competitive situ_ game 13to get a punt blocked or a punt rcrurned
ation, and that's h€althy for the whote t€am. tor a touchdown. This phase ofthe kicking
same
must be executedproperly every time. Nolapses.
Onside Kick We use the sprcad punt with zone prot€cnon.
Agam, we work hard to get the balt kicked straisht
Anoth€r option for the kickoffteam is the onside down the field.Our atignmenrand sptjrsare il.
kick. This is something that you us€ only when lushated in Fieure 5.
your 'back is to the wall"; the successor failure
of an unsidekick can be the determiningfacror
rn a rootDa| game.
In ordFrto havea shot ar gaininADossession
offan onsidekicir'.we firsr musr havea perfecrtl
executedkick.W'rhoutrhe properkick,jou have c36'c36 cz'Qr4'036' c36'c
no chance.The kick shoutdnevej"be kicked tesb
than 10 to 12 yards. This is the frrst point of em_
phasisro the kicker We 6rrivero ger Lhebig hop
out of the ball. Our atisnmenron I he oDsidekick
is 6hown in Fieurc 4.
Another key is to not let the kick qo out_ot_
bounds.This i6 I he responsibjliry of ]. He ptays
JU6rrke a shorlstopcoveringrhe bounda4rAn_
other verJ rmporlanrrole is 3. a safctv $ho can_
SPECIALTEAMSIrI

The protection starts with the center.His job


is to make a pefect snap that arrives in th€
punt€r's hands in 0.7 to 0.8 seconds.After his
snap, he pops up with a good base then he starts
thinking about covelage.The guards' split is 2
feet from the center.Each euard hinges 45 de-
g:rees,with a blocking assignment from his in-
side foot to the inside foot of the tackle. If two
peoplepenetrate the gap, the euard shouldblock
though the fimt man to tbe secondone. The hard-
est job lor the euard is keeping his butt in the
hole between himselfand the center
The tackle'sjob is tbe sarneas th€ guard's ex-
cept his butt in the hole js not as strongly em-
phasizedas the guard's.He mustkeep his inside
foot planted as long as possible,witb the Bame
principl€ as the guard with two threats in the
gap.The end hinges the sameasthetackle, keep-
ins his inside foot planted as long as possible.The
end must rc-route the rush of the outside !rux.
The upbacks have the responsibility of the gap
betweenthe center and guard.Two major points
ofemphasis: Make sure the upbackers are lined
up one yard deep and stop any threat (charye)in
the gap.Iftwo peoplecomein thatgap, the upback
must make hirnselfbig and get his headbetween

The pe$onal protector, who we call the "search-


light," lines up 6 yards deep behind the euard
(left or ght dep€nding on left-footed or righi-
footed kicker). The searchlight must be aware of
overloads and must use eood judgment, nover
laking a backwardsl€p.He tale8 on any imme-
diate theats to the kicker, but doesnt go any-
wherc unl€ss th€re is a reason to. Aller the ball
is kicked, the searchlight is a safety to our right.
The kicker's job is to field the snap, know
wheth€r or not there is a rush, concenhate,and
kick the football. Ifw€ have a choice,we will use
a two-step punter We align the punt€r 15 yads
deepand work hard on stepping and fieldingthe
ball simdtaneously. We stdve to get the punt off
in 2.3 secondsor less.Ahans tim€ of3.9 or better
is what we want. After the ball is kicked, the
kicker is a safety to o left.
We changeour contain cov€rageweekto week.
Usuallt and as abasicrllle, theends arc ourcon'
tainmenl. Our basrcpunr .overagFiq shown in
Figure 6.
Specialteams are an jnte$al part ofa football
t€am. Accompanying this article i s a kicking gam€
ch€cklist that we cover with our team at least
onc€ a week. This is a carryover from coach
Darell Royal at Texas.He coveredthis with our
team each Saturday moming of the season.
142 FOOTBAIL COACHINGSTRqTEGIES

Key Points on the Kicking Game


Kickoff Coveragel F. Btockedpmts that do not crossline ofscrim-
A. Be onsides. mage can be advancedby either team. Re-
8. Sprint. cover ball on third down blocked punts.
C, Stay in lanes. (Ifblocker forcesvou oul or a Advanceball on fourth down btockedpunts.
lane, set back in lane.) G. Blocked punts that crossline ofscrrmmage
D. Locate ball. (Rememberbalt is live after it play as any normal punt.
tuavels 10 yads.l H. Two factors that make unsure kicking srru-
E. Conv€rgoon ball and break down.
F. We cover as a team. (1) field position, and
(2) scoreofgame.
(tnside Kick Coveragel l. "Unsur€" is bench catl. We want them to
A, Be onsides. kick. Play defensecalled:
B. Attack! (We want poss€ssion.) (1) Nomal 40,
(2) Sho.t-short defense,or
Kickoff Return! (3) Long-long defense.
A. Knowblocking assignmentsandblock above
the waist. Extra Point (Protectionl!
B. Be onsides. A. Place kickins tee 7 yards ftom balt.
C. Field ball in air. B. BalLrn piay on center'lrsnap.
D, Know depth ofball. C, Lincmpnkcppout"idefoorplantpdandbtock
E. Remember ball is live after it travels 10
yards. D. Upbackskeepoutsidefoot in placeand block
F. You can fair catch.
E. On bad snaps or mishandt€d ba]l ho]ler
Punt Protection and Coverage: "lire." Upbacks and €nds releas€ outside,
A. On center's snap aftor command ofdown. and hold€r or kicker scramble and find re-
B. We must protect. (Your man ,vilt not block
the kick with your head in the middle.j
C. Fan out. Field Goal Pfotectiont
D. Sp.int. A, (Same as extra point.)
E, Locate the ball. B. Releasewhen you hear balt kicked:
F. Converyeon the ball. (1) Fan out.
G. Ends mustcontain. (Aled your tackte when (2)Sprint.
held up, work back to sideline.) (3) Locate ball.
H. Stay on lane. (4) Treat as punt.
l. First man downtake an uncontmUedshot if 15.t-onvergeon ball and breakpoinr
you have shot, but aor ends. (61Endsmushcontain
J. Fullback coversright;kicker cove6leti. (7) Holder left; kicker risht.
l(. We cover as a team. C. Blockedfield goal attemtt may be advanced
bv either team.
Punt B€turnt
A. When we have a retum, be sure ball is Versus Extia Point:
kicked before rouingback for the return. A. Know situation.
B. Don't (1)veEus exha pointformation (call blocked
(1) be offside, direction), and
(2) mugh kicker, (2)versusrun formation (automaticdef€nse).
(3) clip, or B. Be onsides.
(4) block below waist. C. Be ready when center touchesball.
C, Field ball int€lligently. D, Move on center's snap.
D. Call a "block" if opponentsare going into a E. Go for "blocking" zoni.
F. Don't rough kicker or holder.
E. If"block" is caUed
(1) b€ r€ady when cent€r touchesball. Versus Field Goall
(2) charge on snap, A. Anticipate fi€ld goal.
(3) dont be offside,and B. Reninders are same a$ extra point.
(4) go for "blocking" zone C. Trcat 6eldgoslqameaqpunr on btockedkickr.

1986Summer Mdhual. CodchDfies is hea.t coach.ot Ter.,sTechUniuersit!.


SPECIAITEAMS 143

:; i:l i * ! rl l.:: j j i : , ll t t lr i. lt t t ir ; ; , : 9: i; 1r r ::r ,


Developing a Gomplete Kickoff
Return Package
BILLY SEXTON
, 1li 1:ifit;rt :,::i1,, t : ; Q lr r ' : t lit r r i , l 9[ i! ] ll i i

We consider the kickoffreturn an offensive play- weak orhe's kicking into the wind, we may brins
a play that iBintended to scorea touchdown.Our I hc dcepsalclicqup as far a$rhc I 5-)a rd linF.on
attack is basedon the simplest schemespossibl€. th€ hashes.As a rule, you want your returner to
We break the field down into thrce areas (right, catch the kick heading toward the opponenfs goal
middl€,left) and incoryorate a misdirection play line, not catching it going backwards or going side-
(r€verseor throwback).
On our kick rctum team, we want peopletbat E)(trcm€ly wet conditionswill advemelyaffect
can run and hit. Tbe play€rs we use on the tront tho flisht of the ball, makine it heavy and less
lin€ are a wide out, a corner, a fullback, and two likely to travel as far or as high.Adjust your safe-
outBid€ linebackers. The end positions are ties and back wedgepeopleaccordingly.
mannedbytight ends.The fullback positions are The flont I ine people should be aligned 13 yads
a fullback and a corner.The two safetieson our from the ball. If an onside kick attempt is indi
retum are tailbacks. cated by the kicking team's alisnm€nt or the po-
sition of the ball on the t€e, then the front 6ve
should align 10 yards and 3 inches from the line.
Kick Return Alignment We will adjust our ends'alisnment if we antici-
Under normal conditions, our kick return team pat€ a suryrise onside kick, moving them from
will align as shown in Fisurc 1. the 3s-yard line to midfield to back up the five
liont line players.
Ifthe ball is kicked offfrom the middle ofthe
I
FIGURE Slandard kickofi relurn freld, our center wants to offset 2 to 3 yads, 13
yards from the ball, and the tackles to align 8
yads outside the hash. The en& will line up on
the 35-yad line, 5 yards outside the hash. The
fullbacks align on the 2o-yard line on the hash,
and the safetiesalign on thehash at th€ goalline.

Alignment on Kick Frcm Hash


If the ball js kicked ofTfrom the left hash (see
Figure 2) orrighthash, we adjustour alignment.
4 The tackle and guard on the hash being kicked
PA ftom will both move outside the hash on align-
ment. The guard rdll align 2 to 3 yards outside
! the hash, and the tackle 6 to 7 yads from the
sideline.The centerwill slide 2 to 3 yards towads
G $ the hash being kicked from, as do the far guard
and tackle.
The ends' alignment, along with FBs', won't
change;they must maintain position to field the
This alignment can change,dependjngon the bloop kick that is kicked ftom the hash.You may
strength of the kicker's leg. If he's an e(ellent have to adjustthe safeticsifyouface a t€am that
kicker or has the wind at his back, we may drop kicks Fom the hash and has a kicker that is es-
the saleties as deep as the goalline. Ifhis leg is pecially accurate in placing the kickolT 2 to 3 yards
144 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRATEGIES

from the sideline. Since we are in twin deep safe- it's a sideline returar, then the back wedge heads
ties, we moved the safety to the side ofthe kick, I towards the numh€rs to the side ofthe kic\ blocking
to 2 yards alignment liom the sideline. We do this head-upto outside,middle inan to left (seeFigu€ 3).
so the Eafety can freld the kick from th€ sideline
to the middle of field. We've found that this is
better than alignirg on the hash and ruBhing to ll!IEUE!il-F"*u*,"*"
the sideline, worying about going out-of-bounds.
35 v V v v v kvvvv\/
ffi"""
T c GT
v , i v v v k u v vvu 45
35
r.\
45
T G c GT
-- \r{r
t.A/ \rY
45
\
ie\ ip
-y \t/
FA FB i-'-'. 5
I5
\\\\ \\\\\\\\\\\\
5
s s- >s Ifthe ball is kicked to the middle ofthe field
\\\\\\ \\\\\\\\\\ on this call, then the return is predetermined by
the scouting report, baBed on the lane di€bulse-
ment and personnel. If the call is field retum,
Ilrpes of Returns then the back wedge will again set 10 yards in
front ofthe receiver and attack the far hash mark
We have three base returns: sideline, field, and as their aiming point (see Figure 4). Again, ifthe
vertical. On all three of these rcturns, the ftont ball is kicked ofT down the middle. well rcturn
wedgehas the same assignment.The cent€r sers down a predetermined side.
the wedgeon the 3o-yard line in ftont ofthe ball,
never outside the hash. The ftont wedge has 2-
yard spacing between each player in the ilont fIgUEE4f .'."-.-
wedge. Alter setting the wedse on the 30, their
rule is to take the frr8t man head-up to outside.
The cent$ takes the fir6t man head-up or fimt
man t his ight. This liont wedge attacks Btlaight
veftically upfield wherever they set. Tq c G T
The back wedge is s€t by the two fi.rllbackE.
Theirjob tu to always s€t the back wedge 10 yards
", \-\i- /(-
in fmnt ofthe retumer. Forming the back wedge,
you have the tvro tullbacks as the focal point. Next
\ vwf
-/
to them, you have the salety not receiving the \ .r-- ,
\ ri.r',4
">z<//i'
kick, the end to his side, along with the end on 5
the far side. Theil spacingiB also 2 vards. B?*Y."tg"
-Y--- hash
Si.Ietine and Field Beturn a

The back wedge assignm€nt differs depending on \\\\\\ \\\\\\\\\\


the call, unlike the front wedge assignment. If
SPEC1ALIEAMS 145

Vertical Retum
On the vertical r€turn, we are simply trying to
retum the ball north-south, wherever it is kicked.
Here the back wedse sets 10 yards in liont ofkick
rctumer and heads shaight to the oppon€nt's goal
line, blocking head-up to ouhide.

Misdircction Betum
Our main misdirection return fu oul throwback,
shown in Figure 5. As you can see,our fmnt people
attack the coverage people and wheel to 5 yards
outside the hash, setting the wall for the throw
back man. There should be a man every 5 yards
in the wall, beginning about the 1s-yard line. The
ends and fullbacks set the back wedge and at-
tack lhe righl numberslike a right rerurn.
The safetv that is to receive the throwback on
th€ kick should go to a point 5 yards ouhide the
hash and maintain l0-yard depth behind the
thrower The safety that is your thmwer want8 to the 15-yardline or until pressureforceshim to
to rcturn the kick no matter how deep it is kicked throw back to the other safety. The pass is back-
into the end zone. When h€ receives the kick, he wards: therefore. it's a lateral. so the ball can hit
w6nts to run right to the numbem, trying to Cet the eround and be advanced.

1988 Sunme. MdnuaL Coa.h Setton is assistant c@ch dt Florida Stdte Uniuerci -
146 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRATEGIES

I i! ; * * l t$ g itt I g€$ !s $ E 1}i i ! i ${il t{ ii6 $ r !


Protecting and Govering
From a Spread Punt Formation
TOM COUGHLIN rlrrnALAN pAeUET'TE
sli iiiri i;i? grl cl;lQil*i,i rjll igl*]ii{i$
W€ place more emphasis on punt pmtection and In our man prnt pmtection scheme,everyore
covemgethan we do on any other special team from upback to upback is accormtable for block-
unit. W€ devot€ at leaBt S0 minuteB a week in ing a man.There are no free rushers. Convercely,
seasonto our punt team prepamtion. These S0 with a zone punt protection, a rusher may enter
minutes include meetingsand placticetime. The a gray area between two zones and create indeci_
fuubackB will meet {'ith the special team6 coach sion amongthe pi-olection people.rFsuhingin a
individually at least twice, early in the week. blockedpunt.
Whenever the punt team is on the practice fielal, The simplicity of our protection scheme etimi-
we utilize eight coaches (includjng the head nalcs indecistonan.da]lows us ro aggrcssively
coach).We film punt practic€ from b€hind the raKeon rushersand reteaseinto co!erage.This
punt team, as well as from the side. This enables aggreBsiveman pmtection technique is much bet
us to closely evaluate protection (behind) and cov_ ter suited to our cunent personnel herc at Bos_
erase distribution (6ide). ton College.
The capabilityt. consrsr€nrty punr rhe foor- Our zonpprolecrionqchemewa6 run from d
ball well iq a t remendous advantagcin the barile base punt fomation (Figure 2). The protection
lbr field position. The punt team has two big r€_ calledforbigpenonnel who could drop step wrm
sponsibilities. The primary responEibility is to the outside foot and lunge to the outside, keepurg
protect the punter The secondresponsibitity is the inside foot anchored while extending their
to cov€r downfield and deDy the rctum man any arms to pmtect the out€ide gap.
posili!e yardagF.Ir'q for (his purposerhar we
decidedto changpfrom a basp punt formation
wilh a.zoneproteclionschemF1()a spreadpunr
FIOUBE
2 Zoneprotectionand coverage
Iormatron wrLb man protection.

Punt Team Formations \ \ \ +l ^ | | |


The spread formation (seeFigure 1) has allowed
us to maintain our protection and at the sane
\e\g\e#q.tqtvl
tirDe improve our coverag€_Spreaaling the forma-
tion forces the opponent to cover each end with
at least one man, and our ends are often double
covercd.When the opponentis aliened like this,
we can clearly and quickly identify the rush. This
formation also gives us many punt fake opporru_ The two upbacks, aligned in the center-guard
gaps,would Bt€pup into their rcspectivegap anil
aggre$ively protect the arca. Aft€r securing their
gap responsibility, each punt team member would
IIGUREI Spreadpunl formation releas€into coverage.
@ o @tr @@ @ Punt Team Personnel
@ €9
@ Although we had big personnel who were capable
of protecting the punt€r in this fashion, they
couldn't adequatety cover the punt. Our strcng
SPECLAL
TE,d\{S 117

aeeressivep€oplewho could covcr war€ too com- Futlback


pact to provid€ zon€ pmtection. By switching to
The fullbackpositionmusr be asqignFdro an in-
the spread punt fomlation and a man protection
scheme, we were getting the most out of our teuigent and asgressiveleadexHeruns the show!
personnel,peoplewho couldb ngtheirassigned He must be capableof recognizingthe opponent's
rusher to a stop and cover the punt with good rush set and making the protection calls accord-
speed.Ourends are able to releaseonthe snap of ingly. A tullback must be an inteme hitt€r, be able
the ball with no protection r€sponsibility. Our to tak€ on rush€ft, and b€ athlelic enough to er-
punt coverageimpmved tremendouslyl €cute our various punt fakes.
We searchlong andhard to find the be3l play€r
for eachposition on our puntleam.All ofourcov- Punt Procedule
erage drills ar€ laped to find the player who can
consistontly spring downfi€ld under control and The puntteam assembleson the sideline pdor to
maintain proper dislribution on the field in rcla- eachthird down.The specialt€ams coach\ .iUgive
tion to other membels ofthe coverageteam. specialinstructions or plays b€forcsendingthem
To quote Frank Ganz, specialteams coachfor on the field.
the Dehoit Lions: "Open field football is difYer- The punt team will sprint onto th€ field and
ent. Flying down the field to make a tackle is a alisn quickly in punt fornaiion. Unless otheNrse
dilYerentskill than breakingup to make a tackle instructed, ther€ will be no huddle.
on d€fense."Yourb€st tackler on defensemay not As th€ team runs onto tha field, they commu-
be your best coveraseplayer. nicate special insh'uctions to members ofthc punt
team who are presenUyon the field as members
Ends ofrhe offensiveunit.

Our ends must be our best cover peopl€-They Lining Up lor the Punl
musrposs.ssgreal speedand bc vFryaggr.ssiv..
They must be able to r€lease offthe ball with a FB will look amund to seethat the team is rcady
defender or two attempting to ke€p each on the and will count 11.He will call the ftont and aleft
line ofscrimmage.Oncethey ar€ ofithebal1, they the team ifth€re is an overload. He will then make
muql bFal Ihe opponcnlto rhF rFrurn man. the pmtection call.
Alter tho fullback's call, the line $r'i]Imakoany
Upbacks and facktes necessaryline calls and communicateiheir block-
ing assisnments.After the line calls are made,
Our upbacksand tacklesmustbe capableofbrins- the FB rcchech the taam's aligrm€nt and calls
ing rhc rushcr ro d complcre"rop and rclcaqing lbr the ball to be snapped(seeFigur€ 3).
to contain the retum man or maintain lane le-
verase.This calls for a more disciplined player.
(Th€ upbach and tackles may switch coverago FIGURE
3
responsibilities.)

Cuards @r+va" r
@r'@r'Er'@r'@r+ya"
ThF sxard posirionscall lor play.r" u ho are big 2 yds@ @ zvos
ser than the upbacksand tackles to help the cen-
ter in pmtection whenever possibl€.They need
15yds P
not be as disciplined as the upback and tackles,
but they must be hitters to solidify ihe middle of
The line should assume a two-point hitting
stance with hands on thish pads, with €lbows
Center bent. Feet should be slishuy stagsered(to€,/heel
Our center is often involved in protection. He rclationship) with the outside foot back. Shoul-
must be capabloofnot only snappine the ball ac- ders should be panllel to the line ofscrimmage.
curately; he must also be abl€ to step quickly to They will line up with theirbelmets breaking the
block left or risht, dopendins on the protcction plane of the center's belt. They must be able to
call€d. secth€ ball.
I48 FOOTBALL COACHING STR.{TEGIES

Guards Tak€ a one-foot split from the cen- Eagle protection is called when the.e are more
ter: ?h€y are responsiblefor the alignment of lhan six potenlial rushcrs.This protecriunin-
tbe line. Guards muBt be sule that their hel- volves assigning a man to the center,and in all
mets ar€ even with the centels belt. The tack- casesof a ten-man ftont, the FB js assigned a
leE and ends wilt take their alisnment on the man to pick up (see Ficure 5).
euard.
Tackles-Tak€ a one-foot split from the
guard. They align on the guard so their Bhoul- Eagleproleclion,tag' c.tl by
dem are exactly even with the guard'Bshoul, FB s€nds center to .ighi
dem and parauel to the line ofscrimmage. y' tz 3 4 4 3 21\
Ends-Tak€ a split aiignment (14 yards lrom v/ vv v v v v v v vl v
the ball). Shoulders must be parallel to the line
of scrjmmag€,
(9 , (, ag,tefe9 €, €9
Upback.-Line up 2 yards ofl the balt with
their inside foot directly behind the outside foot
ofthe tackle. Assume a two-point stance,with
hands on thigh pads, cocked slighily to the
outuide.
Fullback Line up 5 yards from tbe ball, di, Ends Sarne split and alignment. Go to the
r€ctly behind the right guard. Assume a two,
baU!
point stance,being able to block their assign,
Upbacks-Ignorc anyone on the split end.
Block 1.
Punter-Line up 15 yards from the ball, di- Tackles Block 2.
rcctly behind center
Guads Block 3.
Centet Make a perfect snap. Block 4 to the
Punt Prctection side as dircct€d by the fullback.
Rock Fot€ction is ca[€d when our opponeniishave Fullback-Give th€ center directional call and
sir porcntialru<her<,seeF'e!re 4,. Blockingas- block man not picked up by the center.
si€nments will always be deterrnined by count- Punter-Anticipata r11shFituation, use two-
ing the potential rusherB from outside in. step punt. Get the punt offl Maximize hang
time, but don't outkick coverage.
TIGURE
4 Punt Coverage Examptes
,l i i ?, I i J \" .\ Ifthebatl is caught in the middle ofthe field, the
center, ends, and tullback $.i11go directly to the
(9 u e9 tr.l e9 q, Qg ball. The guads will be 6 yardB outside of th€
(D 'I, 6D ball, the tackles will be 12 yards outside ofthe
ball, and the upbacks wilt be approximately 18
€9 yads outside ofthe ball. The coveragewill then
P squeeze to the ball, convergtne frcm outsid.e.in,
with the inside shoulder on the ball (seeFisure 6).
Similar coverage responsibilities apply when
Ends-Rslease quickljr.Go to the ball! ball is caught outside the hash area. Figure 7
Upbacks-Ignore anyone on th€ sptit end. shows cover responsibiliti€e outside the right
Counting from the outside, block 1. hash.
Tackles-Block 2.
Guardr-Block 3. Right upback---Contain the rctun. Should
Centet Make a perfect snap. Sit back and be approximatelJ Jards oursideball.
"ir
block area solid. Right tackle and right gu.rd-,Co diectly
Fullback-Scan the formation and block the to the ball when itis kicked to their side ofthe
most dangerous r'usher. field (outside the hash).
SPECIALTEA.\IS 1]!

Puntcoverago,ball kickedin Punt cov..age, b6ll kicked


lhe middlsof lhe field oulsid€rhe righrh.sh

Centgr-Adjust coverage to be 6 yards out- Ends--Co to the ball. Maintain lev€rage on


side the ball. the bafl wiih near shou]der
Left guard Adjust cov€rage to be 12 yards Fullback Go directly to the ball.
outsid€ the ball. Punter-Keep th€ ball in ftont at aU times.
Lott tackle-Adjust coverage to be 18 yards Play safety role.
outside the ball. LU, LT, LG, C, Ru-Maintain leverage on
Lelt upback Adjusl coveragetobe approxi- the ball. Squeeze to the ball, converging ftom
mately 24 yards outside the ball. R€sponsible outside"in,with inside shoulder on ball.

1992 Sumher Manual. C@ch Coushlin is hedd coach for the Jdchsonlille Jdguars (NFL) Cod(h Pdquette
sp.cial teams c.ckh at Boston College.
150 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

i : f t I ; ; ;i t i; : l tl iir ; t ii i; ! ili i! i i:i $ I I


Making a Commitment
to Special Teams
JOHN COOPER wnn I-ARRy COYER
; : , ,.,,i; I ; ; i { I I ;, i Q i } rt M i ; li i i i 9 ; i !
Every coachbeJievesin the importance ofthe kick_ Coverage: Work to get in the middle ofthe field.
ing game. Some coaches,especiallythose coach Sp nt in lane. When the ba is caught, closeto
rng wmnmg programs, are committel to thekrck_ the ball fffirst man to the receiver, attack with a
inggame- They are willingto putth€irbesr pray_ high tackle. Force him to commit siatewavs.
els on these teams and spendthe necessarypra€_
trce time on the kicking game. They don.t con_
sider the work of special teams an ,,after prac_
Guards
tice" activity. Two-point stance with the outside foot slighUy
back. Feet sliehtly narrower than shoulders.
Hands onknees. Linedup on the heelsofthecen_
Punt Team
Our defensive staff handles the punting lssign nent: Block outside-the outside edge
same
usmg the very b€st athletes on our team. The onty of protaction responsibility. Responsiblefor the
player we won't ltse is our No. 1 quarl€rback. Fig, man or men in the oursidz gap from his insid€
ure 1 showEour standard punt alignm€nt. shoulder(from noseto nose).Ifthere are two nen

FIGUBE
I
@.'@,@'u'I'u'@.@,@
@@
@ oy os

@ rsyo"

Center
The most important thing about the punt is the
center's snap. It must be pefect. The center's
prime job is to s€t the ball to the punter accu-
rately in 0.7 seconds.He snaps at teast ore sec_
ond after the fullback says ,,ready" He should vary
the delay of his snap, staying aware of th€ Zb_
sccond.lock. lf an opponcnris jumping around.
be 6hould snap quicklJ
Assignmentr Quick setup. Retain wide bas€ and
shufie back one yard (two step6).Foot-to-foot with
upbacks after thi6 shufile back. Be alert to.,over,
load" call from upbacks.
SPECIALTIAMS 151

irrthe eap, bloch the uirrest mon going through Upbacks


the nearest gap. Thrr-rst to outside of protection.
Dragthe inside foot as late as possible.Ilno man T\vo-pointstance,feet balanced,hands on knees
in area, still set, thrust, get $.idth (shutrle), and Align 1 1/2yards deep,betweencenter and guard.
go to lan€. AssigDrtenti Responsibility is to block fion tbe
noseoftbe center to the nose of the guard. Make
Covereger Fan out with rcleaseto coverlane,3
o!prloadcall ro canrerifnece".ar:.Tfttro men in
yards inside hash. Cover lane point is at least 10
gap, stop the fimt, take the second.Fullback \.ill
yards. Sprint in lane until 7 yads ftom ball-car-
take the frrst. Fill the one-footsplit by C-G gap
rier. Then break down and Bhuffle in, keeping
Ext€nd arns like OL in passprotection.Popthem
outside leg free.
g^od.rplpaqe. and co!er Dnn r be ovprlyaggr.-
sive;can't affold to be pulled or thmwn.
Tacktes
Coverage, Fan out on rclease to cover lane. Aim_
Ti'o-point stanc€ with the outside foot sliehUy ing point is the goal post on youl side.At 10 yards
back. Feet slightly narrcwer than shoulders. be at coverpointlane. Sprint in lane until 7 yads
Hands on knees. from ball-callier. Break down and shuffle in,
keeping outside leg free. If first man to the ball,
Acsignt''ent: Block outside-outside edge of attack the receiver with a high tackle.
protectionresponsibility.Respomiblefor the man
or men in the otllside gap ofhis insid€ shoulder
to the next man's inside should€I (from nose to Futtback
nose).Ifbvo men are in the gap, or a man in the
Man in charge.Know down, distance,freld posi-
gap and a man over the end, set st€p and 6lock
tion, time, scor€,and commuaicalcl\Vlren every-
the widest man going though the nearest gap.
one is set calt "ready."After call, center \till snap
Tbrust to outside of p.otection. Drag the inside
ball at his leis11le.Ifdefense is jumping around,
foot as late as posBible.If no man in area, still
we will snap quick, early in the eame.
set, thrust, get wjdth (shuffle), and go to lane
Also responsiblefor audible. Ifopen fbr a run,
Coverager Fan outwithreleas€ to coverlane,4 fullback in dicatesthe directionI "Ringo" lor right
yards outside hash. Cover lane point is at 10 and "Lucky" for left.
yards. Sprint in lane until 7 yards from ball car-
Assignmettr Count teammates four to the
rier. Break down and shulfle in, keeping outside
right and four to the left. Ask punt€r if he is r€ady.
Then call "ready."B)ock the first man to show-
the most dangerous r-usher Ne|er srep 6acA to
Ends 6locA.Watch for twist stunis over the upback,
your 6ide first (especiallyin stack situation).
Two-point stance with the outside foot slightly
back. Fe€t slightly na ower than shoulders. Covetaget Releasedownfield. If it's a sideline
Hands on knees. r€turn, cover between the wall and tbe sideline.
Ifit's a middle rctum, cov€r shaight to ball.
Ascr'gnnrent: Block outside -outside edge ofour
protection rcsponsibility.Responsiblefbr man or
men outside (from nose out). If rnan is lined up Punler
as much as 5 yards outside, set step to a cuto{T Line up at least 15 yards deep.Always be awar€
spot andblock the widestman going through the
ofdown, distance,and field position.Fourth down
neaest gap. thrust to outside ofprol.€ction, get
is must punt. Third down offers another chance
a shoulder orhip on the man. Dmg inside foot as
ifbad snap.Al al,s expectthe bad snap.
lat€ as possible.Pmtcct first, cover second.
Assignmenlr Let the fullback know when rcady
CovetegerARpr a.suring prolecliun.rel.aqc im Aluq,s c.lu the dircction of punt thrce times. GeL
mediately. Fan out on release to cover lane, 6 the punt olTin2secondsorless (1.3 s€condsafter
yads from sideline.At 10 yards be in lane until T rcceivins snap). Get distance and height.
yards from ball-carrier. Brcak down and shumo
in, keeping outside leg fiee. Be contain man. Noth- Covetagee Saf€ty man. Front up the ball at 15
ing gets outside. Evade all blockers. yards.
152 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

Punting Frcm Deep in Own


lenitory TIGURE
3 1o-manfroni punt btock/return
When punting inside ofour own 3-yard tirre, r,ne
punter witl never get closerthan 2 feer from the
back of the end zone. C
The tullback will move up 2 feet closer and then
move up on the punt so that the punt€r do€sn,t
kick him, but neyer closerthan 4 yads from the C
puntingspur.LrnemFnwilt.to6edownqptrlsro I
foot and releaseafter makine goodhit.
CC
OCC tr OCC
Punt Block and Return Teams ArA^
A,,A ,1\,A,A,A,6\/\
Th€ personnelfbr ourpunt block(score)t€am will S
bp the bcsrsrhlpleson our rpam.Our firsr prior_
ity is speed,but beyond that, w€ searchfor play_
eft with a knack for btockins kicks. We try to dis_
cover this knack with a simple kick block d tl FIOURT
4 rosse Jamespunt return
that we do thmughout spring and fall pmctice
(se€Figure2). The pmctice ofthis unittakes pre,
cedenc€over all other ddlls.

flounE 2 l-;;;""dbb"kd,i,l
o
C
C O tI CCC

Tff
,A

.l t l
Our punt btock and punt rctunr t€ams look ex_
actly the same.Our philosophyis to use the block
tn.pl up L,urrorum. Wedo e!eM hingwp cando b S
bluck a h-ickfmm anywhcre nn LhFdctd. Unc" \,,e
Cetour oppon.ntro orercmphasizp prcrpcrion.
we
have a great chance to set up our retum. l-Force or block kick. If ball is purted, peel
We operate from one type offront in our punt around to block punter or FB.
_
defense.In order to simplify our comrnunication 2 and g-Attack #4 using pop technique and
we refer to ou. positions as nun1beru1 10. rctuln position. Releas€him ortside.
3 and 8-Attack #3 using pop technique and
Punt Beturn leam Alignment and return position. Releasehim out6ide.
Issr'gnrrents 4 and 7-Attack #2 using pop tecbnique and
retum po8ition. Releasehim outside.
We call our punt rcturn team ,Jesse James,,,to 5 and e Attack #1 uBing pop technique and
emphasizcrhe need lo -hold Lrp rhe co\Hrage. retum position. R€leasehim outside.
I rgxreJ shoss ho$ wc align in our lo-man.ronr. to-Make sure ball is kicked, then tuln and
Dllring the courseofthe s€ason,we wilt have sprint back to the ball and block firct thrcar.
variations ofthe JesseJames retum to take ait_ You are a 'personal protector,,for retum rrar.
vantage ofouroppon€nt,s peNonnel on punt cov_ Returner-Go nortlvsouth right away. Ger ar
erage structure (seeFigure 4). least 10 yards.
SPE{JIALTEAMS 153

Punt Betum Btocking Principles FIGURE


51 ,G."".,""
. Attack coverer pad under pad on proper aim-
ins point. This enables blocker to control and
releasehim to the side away ftom wall.
C
. The return pGition iB on inside shoulder of

. Don't block unless able to get your head in


o
front.
. Stay on feet. Get up quickly whenever
knocked down.
. If in a wall, scan. Don't allow any penetra-
tion from self to next man in front of wall.
. As ball goes by, tum and run with the ball-
H,xq"trpP S

. Ifable to knock a man down, stay aft.er him.


Don't go to someoneeke. l,2,9, and Io Drive outside of#4 forblock
. If abouttolose ablock,sprirttoreturnman. point; block punt.
3 and a Drive inside of #3 for block point;
PunI Betumer Pfincipies block punt.
4 and 7 Drive inside of #2 for block point;
. Key punter start moving in dircction he block punt.
steps. Don't wait for ball to be in air. $-Finesse center left for block point; block
. Ger undelnearhball, use prcp.r rechnique, punt.
and be in rocker pGition when fieldins the 6-Finesse center risht for block point; block
baI. punt.
. Don,t handle puntu insid€ 10-yad line. On Sal€ty-41 yards dFep;ger to lhc wall.
kill or pooch punts, get on lO-yard line and
don't back up to field the bali. Punt Bush Principles
. Don't fake fair catch on kill or kill pooch
. Align as closeto the neutral zoneas possible.
punts. Instead, fake catch by sprinting up
. Key the ball and get a goodjump on snap.
middle or either sideline in pmximity to the . Stay low on your charge make yours€lf
ball.
. Field all punts in the air unless late in game small. Slice.
. Block point will be one yard in front of the
and own team has lead and freld position.
Then let punt hit eround to consume time. kicker's foot.
. Don't leave your feet to block a kick. Take
CaI will be made ftom sideline.
. Make decision to fair catch €arly and give the ball otr the kicker'E foot.
. Don't turn head. Keep eyes open. Make
the Bignal clearly.
. Get at least 10 yards on ev€ry punt that screammgno1se.
. Ifball is blocked and crossesLOS, call "Pe
doesn'tgo out ofbounds or insid€ the 10.
. Must br€ak tackle or beat fimt cover€rl ter" and get away from the ball.
. Ifball is blockedand do€EnotcrossLOS, pick
it up and Bcore.
Punt Block leam Atignment and . Ifpicked up on charge,stay Bquar€on man,
Assig renls then go to the wall.
The alienment and position rcsponsibilities ofour . If punt isn't blocked,it's an automatic retuln
10-man rush team are as follows (seeFigure 5). right.

-1993 Pmceedinss. Coach Cooper is h.dd .oa.h and Coach Corer is defensiw se.ondar! coach at Ohio State
154 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATECIES

i ! r 1i: i ! i i] 1{ 1 ; i $ { , c t $ t 1 1! ? $ ; } ! I g * e
Kicking Game Gimmicks That Work
JIMWALDEN
r ; 1 i, i r r ii ii i ,* t Q :l t i i s i i l l i I i l l $ t+ i g
When I talk about tricks in the kickins same, th€ past two years, and he knows what to do at
somecoachesr€act with skepticism. That is, un_ that spot.
til they seeth€m work and rcatize these gimmicks We use three formations. We use a no.mal,
arc based on fundamentals and the el€ment of unbalanced,and motion fonnation. Il we pur a
surprise.Certain gimmicks can help a punt team, man in motion, we have him nD his rcgutar cov-
a kickofYt€am,and a PAT teanbe more success- erage. Ifthe wing goesin motion, the eB wiu take
ful. his responsibility on the contain.
The fakes we use are as fotlows. The upback
Punting can thmw the ball to the punter, either end, or
either slotback.The punter can thmw the ball to
We put our best players on the punt team_We the upback, either end, or either slotback.When
have on€ punt where we only use our first offen- is the last time you told one ofyour defensive play-
sive team. A mistake most coachesmake is with els that they had the punter ifthe ball is snapped
the perconnel on their punt coverage t€ams. They ro lha upback?I know.you np! er I houshrof rhar.
tend to play six or seven defensivebacks on the Youd bettcr be rhinkrng abour ir ify;u ptay us,
punt teams, putting those playem in situations becauseI m goins ro throw the ba ro hin-.
they donl se€in the other part ofthe same_ Very seldom do we ever throw the ball to the
What doescoveragemean ifyou do;,t get the split ends.However,som€onewill forget to cover
punt of? Play the peoptethat will a[ow you ro the split end in a game, and the play will be uper
ger thc punr ofl Wc aran r goingro ptaj d those We tell the punter to always look at the ends. If
defen.rre baekshecause rhcy ofrend^n r wanr to the defense tells the rushers not to go until they
block the opponent'slinemen and linebackers. see the ball go by the upback, you can have the
Any good punt team will punter mal{e the pass.
ODe other thing we do is move our players to
. avoid getting kicks btocked,
change the formation. We move the running back
. cover effe(tively, and
up on the line, move the Bplit end back one yard
. maintain possessionofthe ball.
on the oppositeside, ard make our tight end €li-
The third point is where we differ fron most gible It becomFs a trips fonnation sceFisure Ir.
'
teams. There arc two situations when the ball Thib iq a frighreningsight l,omostrerffn ttsdrnb.
can changepossessionduring a live ptay. One is
on a punt and the oth€r is on an interception. So, FIGURE
I T.ips left flare ro punter
we want to put peopleon our punt team that will
be covering a pass interception. Some coaches
don't work on changeofpossessionon the inter_
ception,becausethey arc aftaid they'll get 6ome_
one hurt on the plav

Punt Team AIignmen[ and A\J


Strategy oqi \n

l
l\ -/ \-/]
In our punt alienment, we line up the ends wide R E
to the outside.We typically play our No. 2 eB in B
the upback position. This year well play our start-
ing QB be€ausehe has played that position for
SPI]CIAITEAMS 155

We never want to get the punt blocked Our 3


FIGURE
rrJeB for our punt blocking are simple. We block
Ifwe fac€t{'o men in our gap,
""""*"" e,"".*-.*
to uDback
inside-over-outside.
we catl
the ball.
for
The
help.
Rs
On
have
oul covemgeth€ SEs go to
contain. The rest ofthe team
-;,, o
have lanes to cover the punt retum.
We can make the defense rcspect our kicking
game. I can assureyou the!41cover tbe two $'ide o
men;they'tl coverthe two wingmen;they have to
assign someoneto cover the upback on the pass p ap ro,q
r
or run. That takes carc of five defenders. That R B' Rl
lR I
leavesthem with sixmen. They will putone man YVY
back to field the punt.
Now, they have only five men to rush the punt.
We can find five people to block those frve rush-
em. We can run the ball on the fake punt (see
Fieure 2). We can run the option ftom this set
Who has the pitch man on the fake punt? If you
play us, you better assign someoneto take the becauseit may not work. Don't put youmelfin a
pitch, becausew€ have it in our attack, and it's bind. Dnn r loqc)ourjob ovFrfak,ns punrs
worked. Letme tell you the truth: This approachto the
kicking gam€ is rorgi. on a coach.As soonas the
2 l-;"P,.
FIGURE QB looks at the defenseand calls the fake punt,
"""""k"b.*'o."",
and oprional unblockedhan you may want to cover your eyes. It's hard to
watch. But it's been fun and successtul for us. And
our players believe in what we're doing.

C
,,4 Make the CaIt
I cannot tell you what we use as our keys For-

/ccro c c give me for that. You can comeup with your own
plan. Let me tell you how we get a fake punt

l, '- 'a 'e' e R called.We use a city or state as a key word Mon-
{'.
tana was our hot caU last year.
lf"e rp goingIo ru n our Iake punr lo t he righl.
we tell them to pick any state east ofthe Missis-
sippi River (That's our geosaphy lessonfor the
day!)We tell them to visualizea map ofthe Unit€d
If we face a 10-manrush, we can caUthe fake States.Any state west of the Mississippi River
punt and run one of our trick plays. You may ask, means we are going to our left.
"What do you do against teams that get in a 10- We pick a state that is our live statc lf we call
man front and th€n back out just before the ball a live state, we call a city. This tells the upback
is snapped?"We run a pure fak€ punt on th€rn. which way to go. It is the same setup. East cities
When they turn their back as they back out, we are to the ght and West cities arc to the left
run the screen pass \t ith the punter throwing the This is how it would work. The punter would
ball. Ifyou completeone ofthose scrcen passes, call "Montana-Miami-Montana."Montana means
the,tll think t$dce before they run it again. We w€ are going to run the fake punt; Miami m€ans
can letthe punter throw the ball to the upback to we are going to our dght sid€- If we call "Mon
stop that crap (seeFigure 3, for example) tana-Las Vegas-Montana," we would r-un the fake
They'll no longer fake tbe 10-man lush if we punt to the lelt. Ifwe call "Iowa-Miami'Iowa" in-
burr them a time or two. You need to have a fake stead, w€'re going to punt th€ ball.
punt, regardlessoftheir set. Wben you are going We can call liv€ states or dead states.We can
to run a true fake punt without reading the d€- use cotors instead of states or cities W€ can
fense, make sure you are out around midfield chaDge th€ live state, city, or color at the hau or
156 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRATEGIES

for eachgame.Youcan make up the combinatior


I hrt you wani.We scrrlp on a couptcof li\ e ca q
lorea.h gamF.Ne\r $FFk.wFcanchanserhecall
to something else. We give them a hot state, a
dead state, and a hot city.you need to have a sys-
tem that will tell your upback which side h€ $
going 10take it to.
Tm going ro give you everyrhingon the
bplup.-nor
YoL'can r\ork out the lhrngerhat arc bes{
tbr your situation. I can assurc you that yoru play_
ers will get excited. They, get Jnto it becauselI ir
is fun. They want to get on that punt t€am.

Kickoff Team
Three yearB ago we asked oul team this ques-
tion: "How many ofyou want to eo down on the
kickoffl" No one raised their hand. We had to do
something to change that attitude. k:ck the ball in the right comex This scrcws up
we ha\ e six ryppsof kickoffatignmenrs.Une the blockers.
is d normalkick.WFki.k his frum rhc riehl hash On the popovel we want to get the ball on rne
'
mark, which is wh€re our kick€r tikes to ki ck from. onside kick. We pop the batt over to the sideline
IfwF Mant 10 run rhp onErcle kick. we ca ir and go for the ball. We pop the ball over the top
our cluErerWe havp I I men thar c6n push th. and aim for the l€ft sidetine.We want our our_
ball your face.We jus' bump rhc bait and go side plugger,who is oul t1 or S, to so for the balt
aller'nil Thc loui"insrdcmen btockour the fronr (seeFisure 6).
I ino Io allu$ our two outsidcmen to go aller rne
ball,.ee Figxre4'. Wc wanr t hF kickcr ro qet r he
hell out of the wav FIGUBE
6

-\

We likc ro burlda tirrieanxieryon I he kickoffs


We also have a running cluster sprcaal.shown _.
lhF ruleb slaie we have 25 se(ondsto pur Ine
in Figure 5. We kick it to the goal line. We come
kick in play after the whistle_What happers on
outand sprint down the fietdin oultan€6 and go
most kickoffs?As soonas that whisde biows,mosr
to rhp ball lfanlrhing ge(s in our $at. $c run
kickers start forwad and kick the ball. We like
through rhem: we don r run around rtre btocker
to build the suspense.If our kicker witt hold af_
Th€ plzgg?rs go direcfly to the balt.
ter lhe $histle t5 ro 20 qeconds.the receiving
On switch normal,we sx.itch lourmen oneach
team slarts thinhing what in the hetl is the prob_
side of the ball. We change the 1-2_3_4men on
lem. They los€ their concentration.Our playem
the right with th€ 11-10-9-8men on the teft. We
know we arc going to hesitat€ on the ki.k
SPECIALTEAMS 157

The last thing we do is the split and cl$ter mark and then shift over to the cent€r ofthe field
When the whistle blows, we take the fiont five on our PATS.
and leave them in a cluster. The back row will EverJ year someonewill ask me why we huddl€
come over and line up to the right of the ball. W€ on the hash mark on PAT8. They want to know
have five on the sideline and five in the cluter when we are going to r'un a trick play from that
Now we have 25 secondsto decidewhat we want fonnation. I tell them we'll never run a trick play
to do. fromthat lormation.But theyknos that rhjs ma)
Our coach on the sidelin€ will tell oul kicker be the year I come up with something newl
what we want. Ifyou do not get over to cover th€ When you spend all ofyozr time on tl,e' kick-
areaonthe sideline,wewill bump theball onthe ing game, you're trying to keep from getting beat
top and kick it to the sideline.Weplay trickB like instead of winning in the kicking game. If you
that with the kicking game. want to start having fun in the kicking game, you
tahe control . lf yot\te install€d the type of kick-
ing game that will make the opponent prepare
PAT Teams for your trick plays, it will take a lot oftim€ away
The last thing I want to cover is the extra point. from their regular practice time. You force th€
We line up in a formation that has no beadng on opponents to spend time defending you while
what we'rc soins to run. We huddle on the hash you'r€ being creative.

1991 Sumner Manual. C@ch Wal<len uas head codch at loud Stat UniDe6iI!.

c r l l ? : t ill B *]:il] irr :::;ii;::q1}N;iirll ri


Pressuring the Punter
SPARKYWOODS
1 $ t $ i ! t gi r ii r : ]l i : Q ;: i ,,a ;i ' :6 i 1 )i t t,,

Perhaps more than any other Bingle play, our punt back, linebackers, and defensive ends. This is
return sums up our philosophy towar& the whole positive in two ways: (a) It sives us the speed
game.We beli€vein the importance ofturnove$, and quickness need€d to get to the punter, and
field position, and more critical than anything (b) it involves somenonstarters in a crucial part
else-we believ€ that tough guys win. of the game.
We feel that our punt retum-block teams are We placeour two quickest players on eachside
possibly the most important t€ams that take the of the center. These playeru are $ually defen-
field each Saturday.W€ tell oul playe$ tbat the sive backs who can slip through a small seam.
punt is the only plal in our playbook.and in our We put our fastest players on the outside be-
opponent's playbook, that can average 40 yards. cause ofthe distance they have to cover ifthey
B€cause of that, we put our best athl€tes on the are going to be a factor. We po8ition playeN
field and allow enough pmctice time to execute with the best knack for making the block in
in rhe sampfashionas wc do any ofour d.fenses the offensive tackle area on the LOS. The rea-
or olTensive plays. soninebehind this is that they are closeenough
to get to the punter quickly and far enough
Punt Return.Block Team away so that the p€rsonal protector is uBually
drawn by players closer to the ball.
We block punts withp€ople; a great plan with In our alisnment, we will always take a
the wrong people won't do jt. It's futile to ask a pressur€ approach, whether we have called
huge lineman to get himself into a positjon to o11rreturn or our block. A rush-return co[-
block a punt. When we send our punt block bination has ivork€d b€tter for us than a
tcam onto the field, i( consists of defensi'e hold-up return approach.
158 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

By putting a strong rusher on the punter, we Adjustments Io Punt Prctection


rot only put pressure on the snapper to get the
ball back to the punter quickly, but we also put There are basically two types of punt protections,
pressure on the punter to get the ball off fast. and eachrequires different aiming points for the
The "look ofpressure" also requires the coverage playem attempting to block the punt. It is criti-
team to block belorc theyrelease,giving ourwall cal to detennine which type of protection ]our
time to fol.rn and our punt rcturn€r time to catch opponent is using. The frrst, and most conmon.
the ball and get upfield. iE an outsidpzone.lL an outside zone protection,
OuI punt block team has two defenses,one base the blocken step out, protecting their outside gap
and one blitz, which can b€ utilized accordingto (seeFieure 2). On this particular twe of prot€c-
field position and time remaining in the game. tion, we ask our punt blockers to take a wider
When people talk about blocking punts, the alignment and take an outside aiming point to
first thing that comesto mind is an alt-out 10- create an inside-out stretch. Ifyou werc to take
man block. We calry a 10-man block, but very an inside rushine angle.you would be runnins
seldomdo we send all10 men.In actuatity,it only into the blocker instead of away liom him.
tahes two men to block a punt. The fiISt man must
draw the personal protector's block whit€ th€ FIGURE
2 oursiderone prorecttonby punr
other man mal{esthe block.

Punt Btock.Betum Team


Alignment
o
We lin€ up 10 men on th€ line of scrimmage.Thi s C
makes the punt team account for an all-out block.
We number our positions, 1 through b, on both
Bidesof the center.If we do not want an all-otlt
block, we will simply call out the numben of the
positions we want to fall off. For exampte, we
might call "13," meaning the 1s and Ss dmp off
(see Figure l). We can use any combination ol
numberu we \.ish. It is extremetyimpoftant that RETURNER
the positions dropping out do so as the bary is
sndpped, so that they draw th€ blocker they are
v
aligned over,not allowing thei opponentsto help
out somewhereelse, The secondtwe ofprotection includes both the
man concept and the iDd& zone.In an inside zone
protection, the blockers step down, protecting
FIGURE
I their inside gap (seeFigure 3).Versusth€setypes
of prot€ctions, we ask our blockers to take a
C tighter alignment and to take an inside angle or
aiming point, much like an extra point or field
o goal block, to creat€ an outside-in shetch. Once
again, the reason for the inside angle is to run
CC from where the block is coming and make people
move their set foot.
C ICO C
L4 L5R5R4R3 R2 Punt Btock lechnique
After we have taught our players to clear the
blocker we then t11rn our attention to the punl
I block t€chnique. It is very imporl€nt that we teach
RETUBNER proper technique in blocking punts just as we
teach technique in any oth€r phase of football.
We break our t€aching into six different areas.
SPECIALTEAMS 159

instead of out and to ext€nd their hands in


FIGURE
3 Insldezoneprotectionby punl front oftheir chest,not over their head.
. A.lvanciLe the bloched. punt. Players
should communicate and not fight over the
C ball. The first man calls for the ball and
always scoopsthe ball in front of him, away
C from the line of scrimmage and towad our
opponents goal line. Everyone else should
O^aC turn and find someoneto block, making sure

c/ob /ffi\b\\,
L1 L2 L3 L4L5B584R3R2 Rl
we do not clip, hold, or block belowthe waist.

Delending Against Fakes


We anticipate fakes,and work very hard to make
a fake a dangercus gamble for our opposition. The
most impodant thing in delending a fake punt is
BETURNER to believeyour oppon€ntwill not only fake it, but
will execute the fak€ wel}.
V We have a checklist to prepare for fakes. The
firut it€m on our checklist is for our players to
. Getting off on the baU. we teach ov identify all €ligibl€s, including the fullback (per-
players to key the ball and concenhate only sonal protector), punter, and interior slots. Be-
on the ball. Teamswill jump and shift in an "ides having peopledrop offrhe linp. we assign
attempt to draw us offBides,so we must be an extra player or players to guard against the
disciplined. scle€n. Out of the 10 men on th€ line of scnn-
. Runnina ouer the legs of the blocken. mage at the snap, it is likely that 6 or morc men
Thi. must be empha6i/edr^ avordgFlling are committed to defendine fakes and onty 3 or 4
tripped up. We practice running over to the block.
dummies to insur€ getting our legs up while Someof the fakes to watch lor €ach week are
keeping our feet moving for'wad. quite common, such as the tullback run on a down-
. Tahing the proper anele ,o our aiming block, kick-out scheme.We attack this play ftom
point is our nert step. We teach our outside both sides,and arc quite proficient in defending
players to clear the block, &op th€ir inside the fake. Another fake, less common,is the op-
shoulder, and take an aiming point in fiont t ron.Thp brggpsradvantageol the opLionlrom a
of the punter. The aiming point will vary punt forrnation is surprise, so when we work on
depending on the depth of the punter and jt we assign option r€sponsibilitiesand a second-
how many st€ps he takes. ary to rotate to it.
. ElimirLatinC the persob&l protector On our fake punt checklist, we also consider
(fallbach). We tl'lI the first man who clears other "attacks" not usually considercdas simple
th€ line of scdmmage to attack the personal fakes. The third down punt tops the list here.
protector'sinsid€ number. In doing this. we Becausewe have had so much successat block'
create a shorter angle for the people who ingpunts, sevenl teams have punted the ball on
clear latex third down with a puntins team inEefted-Iiom
. Blarchine the punt. We talk about hands. th€ shadow oftheir goal line.
Our play€rs put their hands tog€ther and In oder to make sure we are ready for a thid
look thrcugh th€m to the ball. This prevents down punt, ourrcgular defensealways has three
the ball from going between their arrm and retums, and they usually get as much or more
emphasizeskeeping their eyesopen. practice time on them as our block team. As well
. Leaaing lour feet is the nert point. We as having a block, a regular wall return, and a
teach our outside people to ext€nd thefu arDs "safe" retuln, we also prepare our defense for
over their head and to jump across the quick kicks. W€ don't spend much time working
punter We teachthe outsideblock€rsto leap on blockingthe quick kick because,ifa block does
towards the foot (leap for distance and not occur it usually happens quickly and with one
height). Inside peopleare taught to jump up
160 FOOTBAIL COACHINGSTXATEGINS

Rather than spending time on blocking quick punts (Beeexample ofrcturn in Figure 4). When
_
kicks, we teach our defense how to retum them. weget a good retum or two, the odds for making
We practice two €lements.FirBt, we try to block a block become much greater
the_"hickchaseru," usualty wide outs, who awempr
to dor n I he ball.Second.we prad icegerringour
ptayers to change from a defensivc to an offen_ FIOUBE
4
sive poinl of vrew Wp reach our players lo lhink
ofa quick kick as an inkrceplio;. Wc betierewe
are_capableofreturning the quick kick for a scorc,
and our playerBare convincedofit.

L\
Other elements we work on every week incluale
shifting and substitution attacks. We are always
ready to move out to spread punt formations wrrn
our be6rpersonnelfor coverage. Weaflually pre_
lcr lo seespreadfonnaLionsbpcause$c thinl they 5R4 R3 R2 R1
are susceptibleup th€ middle as well as afford-
ing short comers.
In oder to confuse our substitutions, oppo-
nents sometim€shold their punt team to the last
secondand then rush them onto the feld. Orga_
nizing and wo*ing against this attack ofour punr
team is a priority lor us in practice. The second
possible substitution attack is sendinE ouD ine
second offeNe with the puntea and then shifting
into an offensiveformation.
No one has successfully faked a punt on us
.ince $e ha\e changedlo our aggres"ive RETURNER
srylc.
An opponenldoesnot have much time l.o
tsera
fake off because ol our rush. We believe we can The rctuln and block must go hand in hand.
defcnd rhrough proper.cheme and prc.ti? _ One is not good \ .ithout the other. pressr,l" is the
lhe fake.Wp also know rhar our opponentis go_ key. We believe that the pressure will cause tne
Ing ro rhrnk hardabouta lake $hpn thej seehow situation we want, whether it,s the rctum or Lne
otten we msh the punt. block.
Becauseof our successin blocking punts, we The positive results we've achieved are the con
^ thar
feel our return has also becom"dangerous. sequenceof practice time, our use of personnel,
Teamsoft.enholdrhpir coverage to insurcgerrrng and ou-r ovFrall foorball philosophl. VerJ simp)).
ihp punl of. Mosr coacheqbetiererhat holding rt lakcs praclicetime and peoplero pressurerhe
up rhe coveragei6 hatf rhe barrtein reluming punt€r well.

-1987 Sunmer ManuaL C@ch W@ds is offensiue coordinatar at the Uniu_"ity


A"^pni.
"f
SPECIALTEAMS 161

r * * * * $ I &$ ss € * x * n&&&* I s &$ $ * x $ $ x, * I I


Blocking Kicks and Punts
CHUCK AMI$O ano JIM GLADDEN
$*gH$?$$?sf&ct&xQax*t$i$*&$xt,t!t
The kicking game haB become the diflerence rn
more and more games. We want our playe$ to
FIGUREI l P""rbr*kbft
have an ottitude and beliefthat pmper executron
in the kicking game can produce "hidden" yard-
age as well as points on the scoreboard.
o
A blocked kick can provide the edge needed to
win a game. The team that can conBistently block
kicks haB a big weapon in its arsenal. Coaching
the technique is important, but not nearly as
important as selling players on the value ofblock-
ing kicks. There is no other phate of the game
that gives a team a better opportunity for a big
play Everf kick is a chance for a block or return.
Concentration and effort are essential. Our
system olpunt blocks and field goal blocks is not 8-12yds
that different from other systems. We attribute
our successto drill, practice time, and the atti-
tude olour players;very simply,we attribute our
successto iord u,or&.
Rutes lor kick btocwreturn team, For oul defensive punt unit, we attempt to
. Don't b€ offside. leave as many regulars as possible in the game.
. Don't rough the ldcker or holder on extra W€ want experienced starters in the game. This
points and field goals. is important, especially if the offense decides to
. Don't fall on a blocked kick unless it is third fake or run pattems that an inexperienced player
might not readily perceive.
. Don,t let the ball hit the gtound on retur.ns. In the early fa[, we try to identify who will
. Don't clip. "lay out" to block a kick; then we'll frnd a way to
. Don't block betowthe waist. place thoBeplay€rBon the block units. The "lay
out" is a m&st irgrealient; without it, the entirc
Punt Block blocking procedure can be nullified.
We number our personnel 1 through 10; the
Our punt block schemeis a simple overload.We returneris designatedas R.we number them for
try to have one more man on one side that the alignment pur?oseB and flip-flop them with the
opponent cannot pick up in its prctection, whether call. The number system allows us to show sev"
its a zone or man. we like to disguise our atign- eral different looks, but the players always know
ment and move immediately after the ball iE where they hav€ to end up when the ball is
snapped. We generally align with 10 men on the snapped.
line of scrimmag€ and b ng €ither 1 or 2 men In Figure 1, numbers 1 through 6 are sefling
out to play the pass or run. out to block the kick. We desigrate a visual land-
As a rrle, we pressure all kicks. All punt blocks mark that we refer to as the "spot" for aU ofthem
are automatic retums; we return opposite the to aim for Our number 7 and L0 play the fake on
block. Our base scheme for block left is shown m the line of sffimmage, and 8 and I will normally
Figlle 1. move before the srap to a depth of8 to 12 yards
162 FOOTBAI,L COACHING STRATEGIES

and play the fake, positionedoffthe line of scrxo- ftom the call with th€ end. The contain men musr
mage. TheEeare c/zdal coachingpoints on punt be alert, aB there is always a danger of a high
blocking: snap, a tumbled snap, or the holder pulling the
. Th€ spot for blocks is 5 yards in ftont ofth€ ball up and out.
punter and 2 feet to the right or left.
. See the batl from the snap. Don't take your Drills for Blocking Kicks
eyesoll the ball.
. Block th€ punt with the hands. Take it off Players need to be taught and drilled on how to
block a kick. We usually begin our practice (fiIst
the kicker's foot.
. Lay out for the ball, pla€ing the body paral- 10 to 20 minutes)with kick-blocking drills so our
players appreciatethe importance ofthe kicking
lel to the gound acrossthe spot. game.
. Do not hit the kicker!
. On fouth down blockedpunts, pick the ball The first drill is very elementary We tine lhe
players up 5 yards from the spot in their respec-
up and tryto advance,regadless ofrisk. On
tive blocking position \.ith a coachstationed on
thid down blockedpunts, cover the ball (do
the spot and a mattress next to him. The player
not try to advanceit).
. A partially blocked punt that closses the line takes offand the coachtossesihe balt up at dif
{erent angles. The player simply r.uns through the
ofscrimmage is a punt. It is our ball, so get
spot and bats the ball with 6ot, hands, never leav-
away from it.
ing hiB feet. Through this &i11, the player becomes
accustomedto looking at the ball and redirccting
Extla Point and Field Goal hb hand! to the ball. This also t€aches the blocker
Blocks the proper angle he must take lrom his position
to block a kick (seeFigure 3).
The extla point and field goal btocks are either
right or left. We usually hav€ onty one subsritu- FIGUBE
3 B l ockangl edl l
tion (most of the time our primary block nmr.
When otr best blocker is on the basedefense,we
don't have to substitut€.
Coach t/< BunThruSpot
Our block,sideend is the key to the freld goal
or exha point block.He must draw (orpuldown)
the block of the upback (wing) so that the dis-
tance to the spot is reducedfor our primaryblock
man (comer; seeFigure 2)_

FlcuBE2jFG".Prbr"*
B< 5yds- >
K B
B
B

Our next d ll is similar. We require a player


to lay out on the mattress as he Blapsat the batl.
Alter th€ player hits the mattress, w€ require him
to get up and scoopthe ball toward the goal line.
This creates a situation similar to an actual
blocked kick and allows the playerc to pnctice a
c c quick recovery and attempt to scorc (seeFigurc 4).
V The next drill in our progession requires the
punter to "pooch" the ball. This teaches the play€r
to take the ball off the punter's foot, and how to
The spot for the block is 2 feet in fronr ofthe adjust to the ball as it leavesthe punter's foot.
holder.We will contain to the block side with ei- We're finally ready to put the blocker in the
ther the linebacker or the noseguard and uway exact position he will play. Have hjm go full speed
SPECIAITEAMS 163

To modify this drill, you can (a) add a center


FIGURE
4 and have playerc study the oppoBing center lor a
hirchor bendofan opponeniskneeto gpt a jump
on the Bnap, and (b) tak€ the spot indicator away
so the players automatically know where the spot

In our last drill, we place all our people in their


pmper position on one side ofthe center and have
offensive people in &ont of them. We can now
Bhow our punt blockers the different blocking
Bchemesour upcoming opponentsuse, so thelre
familiar with the players who will likely block
them in the upcomine game (BeeFieure 6).

B< 5 Yds --->


B FIGURE
6
B P
at the proper angle to the exact spot (indicate
with play strip) to block a punt. We use a trailer
in the ddll to teach him to pick up the ball and
rtln for a score(seeFigue 5).

FIGUBE
5 Spot,block,scoredrill
P

Gel up and
blockpunter
eids

We want to €mphasizethe importanceofwork-


ing the kicking game every day and doing these
X B drills religiously. Perhaps the primary ingredi-
entthese drills teach our playeN is that they 6e'
lieu€ they can go for blocked kicks without ever
getting a roughing penalw

1985 Summer Manual. Coach Amdta is dzfensiue line cod.h and Coach Glad.Ien iN outsid. linebacher .oa<.hal
Flori.ln Stdte Unire rcitr.
lt l PABIIU | | | | | | | | | I I tt I I | | tt I | | |

P[rilosophy,Motivation,
and Management
rrrrrr r r r r r r r r r Q rl l tttrrttl tttl
1he Value of Football BiIl McCartney 167
Priorities of Coaching BiII Currl 168
I'he Gal3e and Coaching Grant Tbaff tI4
Thking Care of t}Ie Game Charliz McClendan 179
Imights Into Coaching Woodry Hales 181
Puttitrg Togettrrera Winning Pmgram Bo Schembechler 184
I]lingB fve Leamed From CoechiDg 188
Fifty-Plue Yearsof CoachingFootball Eddie Robinson 190
Motivation-The Difference-Makerin Coachins Iae Corso 195
G€tting Your Tban Readyto Play Ken Hatfiew 197
Turning a hogrdm Around Glen Mason 199
CoschingDuti$ and Opportunitieg BiU Snfder 200
CoachiagPhilosophy and Objectives Don Nehlen 20t

166
PHILOSOPHY,MOTIVATION, AND I\trANAGEMENT 16?

* i; i i 6; t i li t t i * t::! tt:;:t : i;i; ! ! u { rl


'
The Value of Football
BILL McCARTNEY
i g$s *; 9 $ 4 r :r i :: ; Q l: rig: ii iiiri: : qi
We're supposed to be lit)ing in uer! grab one another much like hands gripping on
sophisticated times, uith sophisti&ted all sides.Ourbest lootball teams reflect the sdxre
rouns people. AII uotldl! uise and dependence.A man l€ams to trust and dep€nd
knoulidseable. Hou can the s(rnE of football
still be inlportdnt in thdt conteit? Bill Cuny taught me the smartest definition
I feel it's more important than er)er.What ofleadership. Hecalls ita powedul positivepres-
elsehauewegot to anchor to? Whereelsecan ence. If you arc positive, youl presencewill be
ue walh out there eren auerything the powedul. Thint about it-everyon€ can lead un-
same tnd compare?Looh around..Maybe d€I this concept. You need only to bring a h€althy
the footbaU field.'s the onl.yplace left. Ma.ybe arrirudclo)oursquadFven day andyou areposi-
we'le alreadr Inst it euerywhere else. tively influencins your team.
-Paul "Beal' Bryant There is a verse in the Old Testament,
Deuteronomy 20:8: nYho iB the man who is afraid
Is football the last outpost ofdiscipline? The grind and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to
of the gidiron separates it from other sports. his houseso that he won't make other heartBmelt
Where else in what sport or activity does a like his head."
man line up directly across from another who
couldverywell be bigger,stmnger,smarter,older,
and more talented? Yet, he is expect€dto com-
pete int€nsely for 60 minutes. We ask him to give
no quarter and take none.
It's been said that the most competitive men
play th€ most competitiv€ games. Coachesand
players know the undersized men can win because
nobody has a market on heaft, desire, motiva-
tion, and will to win. Football reveals these quali-
ties in men and rewards them.
Teamwo* is necessary in all group Epofts. Yet,
football digs deepinto the tlue meaning ofteam,
simplyb€cause 11men must coodinate their ef-
fods. Vince Lombardi said the best definition of
team is "on€ headbeat." To gain this requires to-
tal commitment, d€mandss€lflessn€ss.
These qualities are not inlerited and are rarely
demonstrated in a laboratorJ or clasBroom.No,
football develops them through the gind, the dif-
ficulty, the unity necessarf to blend into one.
Have you noticed that a redNoodtree can ma-
tule to a tuIl300 fe€t (the length of a football field)
when tully grown? Did you know that its roots do
not sink deep?Actually, they are very shallow. It
would appear that any sood wind could knock over
any redwood.
Do you know why that doesn't happen? Red-
woo& srow in clusters. Their mots int€rtwine and
168 FOOTBAIL COACHINGSTR{TEGIES

Did you know that when you are weak, you Think about it. Fooibalt has not really changed.
can make othem around you l,veak?Ifyour head Fielding Yost penned this qrote some 80 years
is melting, so will othels. Ifyou are strong, oth- ago.It is still appmp ate today.It is no sacrifice
ers will draw on your shength. Football has a lo play football. In fact, it's a distinct privilege,
unique way olbuilding leadership.The very na- an honor, an opportunity of a ljfetime.
ture ofour gamedep€ndsupon leadersto ernerge. I thinl we can look people in the eye and prom-
ise that iftheir Bonwants to play football, chances
To me, no coach in America clshsa man to are sood that they will see (a) improvement in
mahe any sacrilice. He requests the opposite. his self-esteem,(b) renewed respect for author-
Liue clean, come clean, thith cledn. Stop ity, (c) willingness to cooperatewith others, and
doing at.l the things that destror rou (d) inclination to participate in ever'.thing more
nentoll!. ph)si.all!. ond noroltJ. ond bpgin wholeheartedly
doing those things that mahe you heene4 I beliere lootball devplopscharacl,cnTherc is no
finer, more competent. easy way to pmctic€ football. It is oft€n the most
difiicult thins a man undertakes in his lifetime. It
Fielding H. Yost Feparcs him for the trials and shuggles oflife.

1989 Sunmet ManuaL Coaclr Mccartne! uas head coa.h dt the UniDersit! of Cotora.lo.

! r ililirL :ll 1:$elit i1]l]Ciii,t$ir1 i1i l l lf t r l ;


Priorities of Goaching
BILL CURRY
i i rt i: , iu li$] i: , I$ i t Q a s I i l l i E€ ]} } | ::11 ]1,
Every day you pick up the newspaperor listen to this kind of beer.Here it is. And here'Bthe girl.
the radio or watch teleyision,you arc bombarded Look at her. Whoa!"
with information, a very high percentage ofwhich What do you thinl he'sgonna do?It scaresme
is negative. And not just mildly nesative; but to death. He's a freshman in college.Whatdoyou
fach, statistics, pichres, images, and suggestions think that child's gonna do with that many sug-
that are so horible that they can dominate your gestions? How many times can I say to him,
thoughts. They €an make you into som€thing that "When you ddnk beer, you'r€ taking a risk."
you never intended to be. And they can do it to Maybe 150times in his life? Look what we're com,
yotl without your rcalizing it. peting against.
It's like ifyou run aooss rough ground enough,
your body developsprotective devices,caliuses.
You get blisters the first few days, but aft€r a Learning and, Repetition
while your feet are tough; the callused surface I haue a uery dimcult time learning. It
protects them. Ir the 6ame way, we think we're requiresnany manJ repetitions.I pl.Qyed
immunelo rheslr Trhat!flowingrnroourbrains, footbary until I was 32 years old. I had.
but we arcnt, and we change. the priLtileee of plaring in the National
I have a son whot 19 years old. He is a norrnal F@tball Leaeue for 10 yearc, and.I pLaJed.
American bo). He watches TV He loves to watch on some of the grcatest teams that elter
the National Footbal League.He loves to watch played the game, and I ptaJed in someof
you guy8 coaching. That means he has seen the biggestgamesthat uerc everpldyed. I
100,000beer commercials. One hundrcd thousand plared. in Super Bouls I, III, dnd U so
times it has been said to Bill Curry, Jr., "If you eueryod.d.numberedSuper BouI noo, mr
want to get a good-looking girl, you'd better &ink bod! thinhs I'm supposed to plar.
PEILOSOPHY,MOTIVATION, AND MANAGEMENT 169

I couldn'tplay middle linebacheruhich Until you do that, you are helpless and you'll
uas my d.rean. The peopLe who uere be pulled from pillar to post and you'l] wonder,
naturcrllr quick mentdllr uere the ones "What in the worid's going on? I wonder why I
uho plaJed QB and nid.dle linebather I drink so much?" So many times you're not ev€n
just could.n't thinh fast enoueh. I could aware. It's th€ subliminal influences. The same
play center lfJohnny Unitas or Ban Stc'i thing happens to the kids we work with.
told ne what to do and told me what the I come from an environment where my play-
snap count was,I could.go up there,and I ers have been told, every single day,"YouI coach
cout l. make mr calls becauseI hneu uhere iB not good enoughto coachyou. He shouldr't be
I uas gonna go. I could.hike the ball, and here. He's not qualified. He's not one of us." A1l
I could uin on repetitions. those things.
So, I'xe lecLrrcd the DaLueof qualit! That's nobody's fault. That goeswith the terri-
repetition. If somebodycould teach the tory You may be going through something simi-
driL,eblochwith 150,000repetitions,and. lar. So I'm not complaining. I'm just telling yol1
lou could teach hou to delbat the driue about the €nvironment in which I've lived. What
block with 150 rcpetitions,and that talent it did waB force me to do something that I find
uas equat,uho do you think is gonna uin? ve4', very diffi cult-listen.

My mom grew up on a farm. She walked along Listening and Ledrning


behind a plow and picked €otton,andwas part of
I learned hou to Listenfrom my daughte\
an agrarian society that we had not long ago. Our
uho was then 17 years old.. She did.n't
ancestors in their liferime did not absorb as much
speakto me for 6 months. This chi.ld,uho
inforrnation as you and I absorb in one day.
has al.uaysbeenher own person and.has
Let's not kid ourselvesabout what coachingis
a brilliant nind she'sjust Lihe her
today. It is a lot more than it's ever been before.
mom-4ecided her dad uasn't uorth
And it's a lot toughex Players ar€ exposedto morc
talhing to. I didn't like that. We uent
distractjons and influences outside of family,
thrcueh some heII tosetheL
team, and schoolthan we were at their age.
I went tom being terribLy o/fentled., to
Just think about what you're pumping into
being angry, to pLaing the aduLt roLe-
your hain and whath going into those playem'
the pdrent role. I tried to hammer he.
heads.They're sittins there with those Walkmans
chanee her antl tell her who she wouLd
on the team bus; you'r€ wondering what in the
and uould not see.I tried to loch her up.I
world isgoinginto their brains;yourjob is on the
tried to shut off the telephone.I did. all
line in ftont of a national T\y' audience. You've
the stuff stupid da& do to beautiful
prepared as b€st you can, but the competition-
both from the opponenton the field andfromth€
Until one dar I said.to her, "I loue you
distractions facing your team is awesome.
morc than mr oun litb. I'ue giten you
eoerythingl haue.Whatis it that'surone?"
Personal Responsibility She said, "Youtell me rou loue me,and I
for Actions hnou you thinh you mean that, but I don't
feel it uhen you sal it. WhenI try to talk
Becausewehave so many outside influencesand to Jou, rou neuer lkten. you're onl!
demands,it's easyto passthe buck when you fail. th.inhine about uhat you're gonna sa!
But excusesdon't get you anywhere.I'm talking wfi." I wept.And I almost fell out of the
as a coach in football as well as in life. Under- chai. becauseshe uas sht.
stand this: You ar€ today preciselywhat you had Then, lessthan a ueeh later,I askedour
planned to be up to this point. coaching staff's opinion on a uer!
Bill Curry has deterrnined what ever it is that important matter Ooe of the brightest
I'mgoingtobe today;I'm the onewho has shaped Iootball coachesI'ue euer knoun, Don
that destiny Nobody else.Theinstantyou accept Lindser, is agur who uiLLtett.youhou he
the responsibility lor your life, you have the ca- feels about things. you don't halte to
pacity to start to deal with the forces that are at uond.er about uhat's eoine on in Don's
work on your mind. mind. He'U teII rou e&ctb hou it is.
170 FOOTBAIL COACHING STRATI]CIES

Don uas giting his thoughts on this ted for the phony that you are. You,tl be dis-
subjett antl about halfuar through a counted. You'Il be out the window. And then they'Il
sententehe Just stopped.talhi.ne<nd af be victims on the t€levision-You've eot an awe-
.:on\ersotion.I tbticed it, hut ue uent an somc responsib;lity.
about our meeting.Afteruard I asked.Don Dr. Viktor Fmnkl is a Jewish man who spent
to fuin me in mJ office.I s.jid. "Hey,Don, six yeals in a cerman concentration camp. He
I a.shetlyour opinion, .1ndlou got about lived thmugh that nightmarc-the most brutal
haltual thrcugh rour thoueht an.t the physical, emotional, and spiritual conditons rn
rou stopped." the history ofmankind. He describedth€ actions
He s(rid. "Yes."I said,, "Wh1 uoultJ yu ol someofthe victims: "Thes€towe ng, dignified
clothat?" He saitl. "Ber:auseI (:an tell uhen ligurcs movedthrough rhe helt ofthe Hotocaust,
rau stop listen;n.g. When rou stop giving iheir two-inch-square bread away to the
listeninE, there's no set8e in me cont;nun| weaker inmates, and they draggedus throush it
with theirpowerThey showedus how to live and
I ias11Jearc old.anLl.li.ln't knau hou how to die;my life was never the same."
b listen ta anotherhuman being.Hou are D. Frankl concluded,"Here's what I tearned:
you gonna k:orn anrthing if rau can.t No circumstance,no condition,no gmup olpeopte,
no negative idea, no killing, no nothine can rc-
move from me the lundamental obligation I have
as a human being, which is to choosehow I will
tl andli ng Proles si ona t respond."
Besponsibilities So, ifyou'rc spondingyour time pointing fin,
gers and complaining and trying to decid€ who,s
I \\,ant to encourageyou to be enthusiastic abour
our profession,and help you understand that you t.ying to keep you from succeedingrmaybe you
have determined wherc you are today-not the ought to spend thai time getting your body in
alunni who don't like you, not the press who shape. Maybe you ough t to spend your time ieam-
jngsoma morcfbotball. Maybeyou ought to spend
$'rote an ugly article abotit you, not soma bjg
boosterwho taiks to your presidentand keepsyou your time not fbeling sorry for yourself, but feet-
from having firll suppoft. ing solry for that youngster who lives down the
That's all balon€y.It's 1oe. responsibilitywhat str€et and doesn'thave a mom and a dad. Maybe
you are. It's Bill Cunf,"s rcsponsibility what€ver you need to spend your tim€ doing thoso things,
has happenedto me and my family and myrcam. becausoit is in giving that you receive.
It's absolutelymy doing and no one ctse,sbecause Noi only will you win a lot ofgames but you,ll
I have the capacity,the cod,giv€n gift, to deat win. God knows,you'll win becausethey,ll die for
with that situation, what€ver ir is. The momenr you. You've changed some lives-and txaLs a
you accept that, you beejn to grow and under- privilege.

Wa can make a 6ig diff€r'encebecausethe chii- Integrity


dren who watch our games ure the sum€ ones r,!.ho Be honestevenwhan the other folks are not. Don,t
ar€ bombad€dby beer commercialsand poj,Los- be one to point the finger and say,.We can,t $in
mphy.And they're more interestedin whal Jou re becausethev arc cheating and buying players_,
doins than some ofthe sarbase.You can chanse Just bo, in that moment, tough as nails by being
lives by being what you're suppos€dto be honest when it's not fashionabl€to be honesr.
Those children who watch you, those children You see,the rcal losers are the cheaters.cod
who go overther€ andgo through those oflensrve bless 'em. We've all cheated ftom time to time.
iine drjlls, who've got big old fat stomachs and There's nobody in this room who,s pure as the
are 5-4 and 13 years old, they're eonna be tika drivon snow,least olalt Bilt Cun1. I,m ashamed
you.They'rogonnabe like you fol&. Thoy,resorna oftheyears tbat I lived whenl wasn'twhatl was
be like youare.And they're gonnaknow what you supposedto be.And I'm not what I'm supposedto
arc. So please don't stand therc and tell them, be now, but I know that I'm working toward be-
"Don't drink beer and don't set drunk"when you ing that, and I'm giving eve4'thing I've got to be
so out and dr-ink 14 beers every othcr nighr. that for the first time in my lif€.
They'll know it. They'll find out. Theyll sIllelt I've frnally figured this out:The cheatersdon't
it. They'll feel it. And you wilt instantty be $por- want to find out how th€ game will come out if
PHTLOSOP}IY,MOTIVATION, AND MANAGEMENT 171

they play by the samerules as everybodyelse.So He'd already had keys offered to hin by an-
they don't. And they\e never won a game! And other coach.He said,"CoachCuny,I'm trying to
you know something? Ther€'ll be a day when they make you understand. I want the automobile. You
know it. I look back on every lie I've ever told and hear me? Read my lips." I was so shocked,I was
every deceptive act and every stupid thing I've sittins there $.ith my mouth hanging op€n. I fi-
done out of selfishness, and I've paid many times, nally found an honest kid who told me th€ truth
and I pay today with glrilt and anguish. about {hat he $anted to do with his life. He
I think the worst Bin you commit today ifyou're wanted to drive a brand new car becausehe'd
a coach is to t€ach a youngster that ith OK to never had one.He was poor
break a rule. Wlo's going to help that child 25 The dad took me outside and said, "I'm gonna
years from now when he's sitting across from the do you a favor. l m gonna reopcn this dibcusaion.
IRS and getting ready to go to jail and it crosses I'm gonna go tel my young son that he's off the
his mind, "My coach taught me it was OK to cut wall. Hc mighr rake the car.but I m gonnagive
you a chance to start over."
I don't think I want that on my conscience.And I sold that kid-and I've lost a lot more than
that's tough and that's hard to swallow when I've sold. He bought the idea that he wouldn't sell
you'rc getting your butt kicked in ihe football his soul for that automobile, and he would buy
game and you know you re standingfor a prin- hiB own car. And four yeals later, I swear I'm
ciple. Nobody cares about your principles. They walkins down the street, and I hear this rumble.
only care about that scoreboard,and you'll lose It Bcaredme,and I lookedback and there's about
yourjob or gain youl job- a $40,000black car with about 5,000horsepower,
I hired a coach one time, and we had our meet- and all I could see was teeth when I looked in
ings, and I said, "Men, we want to do this the there.
right wa)aWe're not going to break a single rule." Pat Si.illing smiled at me. He's a star in the
We broke for lunch, and the new coach came up National Football League, and he has a diploma
to me and said, "I need to talk to you, BiI. We'rc hom tbe Georgia Institute ofTecbnology, and I'm
not gonna break any rules?" proud of Pat Swilling. He bought his own car. H€
I said, 'That's right." He said, "You knoq no- didn't let somebodybuy his soul.He's a man. God
body does that." I said, "Yeah, I know. We haven't bless him.
always done it, eithe! but we'rc fir.ing to." He said,
"Every rule? We're gonna get killed. What if we
lose our jobs?"
I said, 'I've never heard it put that way If we
lose our jobs, we'1l go get other jobB. We'll have
our integrity, but we won't be swayed by a sys-
t€m that destroys childr€n."
I don't think that's par-ticularly noble. I don't
think that makes me anlthing geat. I think that 3
the Ame can way, isn't it? Is that what we're
suppoBedto stand for? Is that what Amenca was
at one time? lghere in th€ hell did this happen,
men? Why is it such a big story when somebody's
honest?
Ne\er quit on your principles. I'm not talking
about you never changngjobs or changing direc-
tions. I'm talking about rever quittine on whatt
right.
I sat in a house with a great player one nieht.
I said, "Son, what do you want to do with your
life? I'm here to help you." He said, "I want the
car." I said, "Excuse me?" His mom was sitting
therc, his dad; God was wat{hing, everybodjr He
said, "I want the car."
I72 FOOTBALI-COACHINGSTRATEGIES

Rules and Discipline That's not true. You believe in Bomething.


Maybe money.Maybe coach of the year honors.
Wehaue two basic trai.ninq rules: Or maybeeren winning rhe nationalchampion-
. Tredt other people the uo! lou uant tr) 6hip orthe SuperBowl.Ihope not, becausewhen
you get to all those placesth€re ain'tmuch therc.
. Don't embarrassyour fami.ly,our teanL, When you get there, you look at the world
ar our school. championshipring and say,"Well, is this it? Wlat
do I do now? I've got to win another one."lts not
Thse tuo rutes haL)euortud for w, euen much. Ii's not what it's cracked up to be. But a
uhen we uent into situat;ons where the.e peftonal faitb is the mck in a foundation.
had been a lot of problems. Our pLayers It took me a lot of years to learn that it is in
tahe the responsibilitr to foLlou thde Christ that I have an)'thing significant to con-
sui.lelinesand i.thelped.us hat e d quality, tdbute to anybody. He has r€deemed me and
disciplined proqram. savedme fiom myself.He's my hero,and I thank

Focus on Priorities That's a personal matter. I don't impose that


on my staff or my players. I leave that for them
When I was a child, I used to lov€ to get those to decide, but I want them to understand that
rnagnifying glasses out olCracker Jack boxes and they must make some kind of decision about that.
go out in the woods on a cold day. It fascinated
me. The temperature would be 35 degreesbut I Famity
could take the sun 93 million miles away and get
those Iays to wherc I corld cet a pile ofleaves on The secondpriority is /antry and I leamed thai
lire. from Vinc€ Lombardi. We werc a family on the
I got in a little trouble around the neighbor- Green Bay Packers, and that's how I always think
hood, but it fircd me up. Those Iays that ema-
nated so far away that we can't even imagrne the Lomhardisaid."C reatph)sicdlcondilioninC is
distancocould be brought to a uselul purpose by absolut€ly tundamental to victory Winning is not
focusingthat €nergy.Bi)l Curry can learn by rep- a sometime thing. You don't do things right some
etition, properly directed andfocused,and so can ofthe tim€. You don't win some of the time. You
that young offensi ve center or young quafterback do things fight all the time."
or child whom you're rcsponsiblefor. As soon as Why do you think I learned thosethings? I had
you acceptresponsibility for focus,then you can no choice.I'd say,"If he makes that speechone
begin to make progress. more time, I'm gonna throw up" and a teammate
In our program, or any program, there will be would say, "No, you're not. You'rc gonna sit right
priodties. Now, you may scoff and say, "I'm not where you are and you'r€ gonna listen one more
inruall thar prioril)-setlingandgoal-Aell ing. Yes.
When somebodytoldme that CoachLombardi
Your goal may be to go out and chase women went to church every day, I said, "No way. No-
atter practice. That may b€ what you love to do, body who goesto church every day talks like that."
and that's fine. We've all seenthat, and we've aI His language could really shockyou.
known thai thai's suppGedto be associat€dwith So I went to Bart Star and said, "DoesCoach
our prcfession. You. goal may be to go out and rcallygo to masseverymorning?"He said,"Coach
see how many be€I8 you can drink. But you've is such a devout Christian h€ goes to mass every
got priodties, and those childrcn are going to single moming, but aft€r you\e been working for
minor your priorilies. this man about three w€eks, you're gonna under-
stand this man nedristo go to mass every morn-
ing."
Perconat Faith
Coach talked family, and he meant it. Ifyou
Here are or1l priorities. Number ote, personal came to him with a family problem, he'd always
&it4. It's critical to me that our players and our take time for you. lvhen I went to see him in the
staff undefttand the fundamental realities of bospital when he was dying, he grabbedmy hand.
human €xperience,which is that €ach ofus has I said, "Coach,you've meant a lot to my life-" He
faith. Again, you may scoffand say,"Well,I don't said,'You can mean a lot to mine ifyou'Il pray."
have faitb.I don't believein God.I'm an atheist." He wasn't about to give up to cancer.It was his
PHILOSOPHY,MOTIVATION, AND MANAGEMENT 173

faith in his family that mattercd. All of the re' When I was 8 or 9 yearBold,lik€ a lot ofus herc, I
henlmcnrI had for him the haired lor having was what today they would call "hyperactive." In
made me run so hard, the hard feelings for get- those days,they calledit "problemchild."
ting rid ofme-all dissipatedwhen I rcalized the They sent me home from school- I had one
teacher who tied me to my desk with a rope and
Do you want to know what a great football tap€dmy mouth shut with Johnson and Johnson
coach is and a great man? Vince Lombardi was a because I just had too much energy. I thousht
great man becauseof his punuit of what God since my dad was a boxing coachthat I was sup-
wanted him to be. Tbat'Bwhat made him great. posedto box with any of the kids in ihe class
especiallythe smaller ones.
Education I stayed in trouble all th€ tim€. In the fourth
gladethe teacherput me in the back ofthe class-
Educdtion rs a bte part of the answer today.We room so I wouldn't disrupt things too much. Back
can compet€\rith the pomography and the booze there was this incredible sh€lffull ofbiogmphies
and all the ga$ag€ witb proper €ducation. Any about some of the greatest people ever: Jackie
guy who goes through a major proglam and does Robinson,Babe Ruth, GeorgeWashington,Helen
not get a diploma has be€n ripped off. Kellea Thomas Jefierson,Winston Churchill.
Don't make excusesand say,"Th€ athletes ara I didn't pay much att€ntion to what the teacher
better o{Tthan they would have been becauseth€y was saying,butl memorizedthose books-and it
spent four years with us and helped us win a na- chang€d my life. I decided I want€d to be like thos€
tional champiofthip." peopl€, and I want€d to learn what it took for th€m
That's baloney. They'r€ not bett€r ofT.I've got
too many goodbuddieswho playcd $ilh m" in
the NFL who ended up without diplomas, and Characteristics o, Champions
they're on the rccks becausesom€ collegecoach
abused them and told 'em, "You'll be better off Why was Vinc€ Lombardi such a grcat coach?
whether you get a degreeor not." Becausehe had something that he talked about
That's garbage.That's a lie. Don't believe it. all the time, singleness of purpose. I've never
Don't ever Bay it. It's a li€. I don't want my son known of a ereat achiever without singleness of
ripped off, and I don't want your son ripped off purpose.And singlenessof purposemeanss;ngle-
Don't tell some minority youngster he can come
to your schooland help fill up a stadium and end Thatmeans youliveit, andyoubreathe it, and
up without a diploma and go out in the NFL. you think it, and you leam how to focus,and you
Without an education he's gonna lose whatever bum it into the brains ofthe peoplethat you rep-
money he makes and wind up in a bread line or rcsent in as many ways as you possibly can.
Our purpose iE to teach our young men how to
b€ winners, in their spidtual lives, in therr aca-
Footbatt demic lives, in th€ir famiiy lives, and as football
players.It all goeshand in hand. We want to win
The fouth and final priority is &ot6all. For a guy every single game.We don't car€ what the odds
who wants to be a great football player, there's are. W€ don't care what the press says.We don't
not going to be much time for an]'thing other than care what the oddsmakerssay.
those four things faith, family, education, and We intend 10 win every single contest,do well
football. If he wants to have fun, be in a tiater- in every single class, to graduate every single
njty, and do the party route, then h€ might not player in a neaningful major Thosearc ourgoals.
have a spotin our program,becauseit's hard.And Those are our purposes, and wo will shoot tor
we don't apologizelor that at all. them while we brcathe.We m€anit, and anybody
in our program has got to buy into that.
Summary The second characteristic of rcal champions, as
I studi€d the biogaphies of tbese great people, is
Faith.fami15. educatron.and lootballare our prr- that thelre an sefisfi, which means they know how
orities, and we will live with those.We will pros- to give when it hurts to give. They know how to
per or we will fall with those priorities. love when ifs unconditional. The Master bimself
None of these ideas is original wiih me. But I brought one fundamental principle ofbehavior, a]ld
did comeup with these from studying ercat people. that is loving p€opl€ when thelrc unloving.
174 FOOTBAI,I, COACHIN(i STRATEGlES

The reason I suNived the Nationat Footbalt the 20th-round draft choice from Coliege park,
Leagueis bacauseWillie Davis and Bart Stala and Georgia.Remember,it's 196b.Don,t ask me why
Paul Hornung lovodme when I was unlovaable.I hcdidit.Buth€didn,tiusthetp aterrifr€drookie
waqrhela5rd"dd .huicp.I w"s rh.20rh pickq hen to mako it in the NFL. He changed mv life in a
thFy had 2u round".I hrd nev." bepn;n a kam heartb€at becausehe cared whentberewas nom-
with a black guy. And Willie Davis embraced me. ing in it for hjm.
The captain ofthe croen Bay packels. Ifyou're unselfish, your playem will spot it. If
D:vis from Grambtinsstdte Univeftity your teamis unsalfish,you,Il win gamesthat you
_lffillic
A1l-Pro,Atl-World, great player, decidedto adopt have no businesswinning and that,s a promrsel

1990 Prcceedings. C@ch Currl was tuon cmch at the UniDerritr of Kentuchr.

.:

The Game and Coaching


GRANT TEAFF
:l:ri i,:' ,' ,r ,' i : t 1 i i:: I t' I i ) I t t : I
Q
T am e prear 'uver
^fhi"ro.) I Dafl,cLtartJlikc drivesthe machineofour profession.I would hav€
rhp .'ivil \Iar and the SecondWortdWlr. I nover beena player had there not been a game; I
a lot of time studying genemts, and I think "pcnd
for would have naver had the opportunity to selve
you young coacheswho aspire to be fielo gener_ the playem in these nearty 40 yearc. Had there
a'". ir i" impundrr ro know the rhrnUng uf thp nol bc.n a gdmc.lharpwouldbc noprofe"sion.
realgenprals.OnFihar h;d an inrerpsring
bark_ a p.ofessionof which I am very proud. No game,
ground and that you have to admire, wharever and th€re is noAmerican Footbatl CoachesAsso-
your political pemuasion,is DouglasMacArthux cil]lion. Nu wa) of gcthcring our thoughrs.our
DouglasMacArthur accomptishedan awful lot drcsms.and lhe idpal. tor our protp.si.n
in his lifetime;howover,he touchedme as lte edlre
ro and of hiq tife aa he madc rMu protound
,hF
,rno rrsprrrrrundtsldtcmenls on. lo the con- Boots of Love for the Game
$ess of the United States, ,,Otd soidiers rever
die, ihey just fade away."I don,t intend to fade There was a)ways a cloud of cotton gin srnoke
away,I can t€il you that right now;I want to se e hanging over Snyd€.,Texasin the fall.It was cool
until I die. and we would play the game.To this dav.when I
Th€ second statement he rnade has trecome smeli the cotton sin smoke,I think offootbau.
very large to me in recent weeks, as I have Have you ever been in a town of2,000, where
thought of this, my last vear in coaching. cen they shut all the dools on game dav? Ifwe were
eral MacAfthur went to Wesr point Academy m going to Roscoeor Roby to ptay,all businesswork_
addr."i I hc aorp" in rl-p$ dnrnsdar of hi" , ife. eIS and all those who owned stores woutd shut
" the doors a.d get in a car caravan and lollow the
He a'^ud balorFrhp r-^rps rhar ho ioved.rn rhe
haliowed halis that he admired so grealt] as a yellow schoolbussesto tbe opposingtown.Snyder
young man, and he said to them r,hat as his life was a place where a young heart and mind was
would cometo an end, his last thouchts would be rcadytobe ripened,andthe changethat occurred
ofthe Corys, the Corps, the Corps. i would sayro in my life was when two coachescame to rown.
you as a coachwho tovesthe game that my last
thoughts will be my familx my maker, and tho Speedy and MuIe
game, the game, the gamo. I had known Tommy Beane as the hish school
Wil hour I h. !am^. l $ould nor bc h.rF,sl and_ coach,and he influenced me to a degree,but I
ine in lronr ofrou. The game
^fiootball is $har was too young andjust watch€d him a little bit.
PHILOSOPHY,MOTIVATION. AND MANAGEMENT 175

Then, wh€n it came time for me to be of age to have. Sit in that class and listen instead of day
want to play the game, two men cameto Snyder: dreaming +rror Iiee.
SpeedyMofat and Mule Kizer. Both had played What a fantastic piece of advice. H€ said one
at TexasTech. day, 'You arc tough, Gmnt, you ar€ real tough,
When they came in, I immediately began to but you need to be aggressive,otrthefield as well
idolr7ethem. becausethey talkedaboutwinning as on the field." I said, "What do you mean?" and
and the importance of winning. I knew how to he said,'Well,just apprcach everything with the
work, but they knew what was important, and same aggressionthat you have on the freld. You
that was to win, not only on the field, but off the will stick your nose and face on ant'thing that
freld.I mg-taggedaround as a student, butwhen mov€s. You are not afraid of an]'thing out there.
they came there,I rag-taggedno more. Dont be afraid of anlthing offthe field. Approach
The last day I played hooky,Mulewhipped my it like yor are going to rob a banl: plan, discuss,
rcar from one end of the dressing room to the drcam, plan, discuss,dream, visualize, and com-
other Pieces of paddle were flying everywhere.
He wore me out and taught me a lesson about I b€gan to use film like probably no other guy
the importance ofeducation.As long as I was go- from Snyder Texas ever used it. The film wasn't
ing to be a part of that team, I was going to be a v€ry good,but as they would g€l a film or two in
disciplined member of that team, on or otr the on our opponent,I would sit for hours and study
fieid. the way my opponent moved, how he lined up,
Mule said, "Be disciplined, Grant, be disci- and what he was going to do on the snap of the
plined in everythins you do." Be disciplined in footbell. It allowed me to understand the game of
your study ofth€ game, in your approachto the football.
game, and in th€ tundamentah ofthe game. Be Finally, one day, I got into a fight on the foot,
disciplined, be tough. ball field.Mule didnl m,nd had fish( in us.
He also said, "Grant, Speedyand I believe one but he pulled me asid€ again'rwe and he said, "Look,
ofthe most important parh ofwinningis effort. I it's okay to be willing to fight; there is nothing
know you are slow,and I know you are little, but wrong with that, but you lose if you are not in
ifyou give u3 effort eve4. down on eve4. day, in contml."Be in control ofyour rnind and your body
every way, we're gonna find a place for you to That was pretty hard to ask ofa guy tobein
play." control ofhis body when he had a had time run-
Artd they did, and I n€ver left th€ field fiom ning-but it was a point well made. He said,fur-
that day.I played both ways and was captain of thermore, to be in control ofeverything. Don't let
€very team I waF ever on, becausethey taught somebodyhit you in the back out on the lootbali
me the fundamentals of success discipline, freld, pmvoke you into a fight, and destmy what
toughness, and effort. Then they began to teach you have already gajned. The secondguy always
more. They began to tak€ me, as a child, to mold gets the penalty.
me in a way that would change my lif€ forcver. It's a simple thought and a simple prccess,but
Not only did they say discipline, not only did be in contrcl. Be in contlol as a fathea be in con-
they say effort, they said toushness-mental and trol as a husband, be in contml ofyour physical
physical toughness combined with carins. Care body,be in control of your natural instincts-be
enough to be loyal to your teammates, care in control ofyour mind.
enough to b€ loyal to family and to yourseu, but If you don't want to end up with an alcohol
be tough. Be toush mentally, be tough physicalbr problem,bein control and don't drink.Ifyou don't
You don't hav€ to tak€ a back s€at to anybody;be wantto die ollungcancer, dontsmoke. B€ in con-
tough.
And then one day Mule Kizer pulled me aside It was a revelation that changed my life- It
and said, "Ifyorreally wanttobe successful,you cameliorn a high schoolfootball coach.B€ in con-
got to be error free." I Baid,"W})at do you mean, trol I am the one in contlol. I conlml mJ owI
erlor fr€e?" He Baid,"You can't make mistakes. destiny.IfI am going to control my destiny,I need
Other guys with more talentwill make mistakes, lo set goals.T nepd ro know wh.fe I am going.
and if you don't make mistakes you can win." How amI going to get there jfl don't know where
Yeah,enor free,no mistakes on the football field, I am soing?
no mistak€s otrthe footbatl field, seizeyour op- Conhol ofyour own destiny it's mine, it's not
portunity, take advantage of the time that you anybody €he's. I can be wbat I want to be;I can
176 FOOTBA],L COACHING STRATEGIES

do what I want to do. Control-what a fanrasuc their rivalry is just as intense as that of Michi-
revelation. I said when I g€t to be a coach,I am gan and Ohio State,Texas and TexasA&M, and
going to teach my guys that, too, becarse it all olthe other big rivalries that you hear about,
changedmy life. and so it was with McMurry andACC.
Whar a runderfirl Fxpprience.ptayrnghigh When I saw the game, I was smitt€n. I loved
school football in Snyder, Texas, lor men whom I that college game. They ivere bigger, they were
loved and admircd. My life changed because I faster The coachhad a strong influenc€ and im-
wanted to dedicatemy life to the game,to coach- pact, so I decided on that day that's what I am
ing. I wanted to b€ just like them, so I made up g,,ingto do. I m gornglo be a collegpcoach.
my mind I waE going to coach. That's what I
want€dto do.I didn't know how I was going to do
ityet, but Ihadtoplaythis gam€ to do it. I had to The Goaching llail
be dn Fducaledp€r"on.I had to ger a degrep,he-
Leaving Snyder High Schooland going to college,
causeI was gojng to coach.
I cameunder the influenceofsome oth€rcoacheE.
Max Baumgartner was at San Angelo College(it
Attracted to the Game
was ajunior coll€ge).He was a guy that had fun
I remember th€ first football game I ever saw. with coaching,ard I l€anled a lot from him. Max
That was in ColoradoCity, and I was about 6 or 7 loved life and was a good kind man, y€t wanted
years old. I might have been to a game before ro win and belipvedIn winnins,and did q in
then, but I don't remember it. My dad liked high I was with Coach Baumgartner for two sea-
schoolfootball,though he didn't play.He took me sons.We seldom put on a pad except on game
to Colorado City, becauEeSnyder was ptaying day He beli€ved in havins fun, but I tell you,I
Colomdo City, and I remember vividly being on learned something. When we st€pped on that foot-
the sidelines. ball freld, we were ready to hit somebody.
In those dayF, the men of the town always Then I went to McMurry College where I
walked the sidelines.They didn't sit in the stands; played for Wilfred Moore. He wasjust out ofthe
rhFywalked the "idclinp follosing the chain,"o military. This was in 1953 when I started play-
they could see what was going on. They could ins for Willied Moore. In 1947,he had suys out
holler at the referces and the guys on the field, ofthe military,and many were older than he was,
and all the way across the field to the fellows so he was tougher than the back end of a shoot-
walking down the other sideline. ing gallery. Fotrl hour workouts were nothing;
I rcmember &iving over there and going out head-on tackling at 20 yards apart was daily fare.
on the field, and there was a pretty good crowd. I mean to tellyou,I learned so much from that
They evidently had a good garne, and I kind of man that I couldn't eve. expressit today. I also
Iiked it, you know. First tim€ I had ever seen it: leamed a lot ofwhat not to do.I learned also that
Two guys line up and hit each othe! then go tackle it is important to tell your players that they are
the suy with the football. I said this is good,and doins a goodjob.
after the game we were on the side ofthe field. Coach Moore didn't say much, but what he said,
When thefinalwhistle bleweverybodyran tothe you listened to. I thought he did not like me; I
middle ofth€ field. My dad ran, and he is drag- played every down for him, and h€ never said a
gingme along.He's got me by the hand, andl am word to me. He wouldjust look at me. Then, on
hangrng on, the last gam€ that I played, we won. I'm in the
We eet out to th€ middle ofthefield, and I look dressing mom trying to get my stuff offand I feel
around, and everybody is squared up. They are somebodybehind me, and a slap on my dbs.
all swinging away The playen fighting the play- I tumed around, and it was CoachMoore. H€
ers; coachesfighting coaches.These folks out of hadjust this little smile on his face, and he said,
the Colomdo City stands frghting the guys from "Good job, Grant." Momma, Momma, Coach
Snyder. It was about thrce years before I real- Moore said, "Goodjob!" I'm telling you, I would
ized that wasn't a part of the game offootball. have run through a brick wall for him that day. I
Lat€I my dad took me to see my first college learned the impodance oft€lling peopl€ that they
same in Abilene;McMuny andACC-what a rF did a goodjob,that they are doinggood,that they
valry We hear about aI the big rivalries, but there are doing what you ask.
arc m€n in this room tbat coach at some of the I think one ofth€ things you soonunderstand
schoolBthat many of us never hear about, but when you decideto go into coachingis to deter-
PHILOSOPHY, MOTryATION. AND MANAGEMENT 17?

mine what you want to do, devisea way to do it, work hard in the NCAA, and I \.i11continue to do
and then do it.I'm a freak in the coachingprofes- it in whatever capacity I am in, but we hav€ been
sion by many people'sstandards. I never played under attack, and you muBt recoglize it. The
for Bear Bryant or Bo Schembechler.I didnl coach Knight Commi6sionhas pointed out football ae
lor Frank Broyles or Dar-rell Royal. something that needs to be changed.They say
I came up thmugh small colleges,worked hard, there neealsto be refor'm in all areas of our ath-
dedicated my life to the coaching profession, and letic world and, pafticularly, in footbal and in
applied those v€ry simple principles that those the coaching profession.
high school coacheBtaught me-discipline, etrort, Football players are the most Bcrutinizedseg-
tough caring, being enor free, aggre$iveness, and ment of our society.Any one year, on my football
contml. It allowed me to reach a measure of suc- team, a footbal player can be drus tesied eight
cess.I can say that I have done it my way,which times, ifhe falk into the right catesory to be se-
is usually the hard way. lected. Eisht times! I know of no other stud€nt in
any university that has to be drug tested.
Game Undel Attack The NCAA, under the ursins ol the Knight
CommiREion,has attackpdacademics wirh a vigor.
Nev€r in the history ofthe game, even in the dark There is nothing in this wodd wrong with stress-
tim€s when they threatened to expel the game ing academics,but my fear, my concern fu for those
from th€ college scene,has our game and our pro- young people with a poor backgornd who strive
fessionbeenunder gr€atff attack.I tbink I have for an education, particularly ot young African
the backsround and the knowledge to be believed
when I say that. I served on every lrles commit A 5-year review showed about half lhe recruits
tee that has Bhapedolrr game.I have been chair- at Baylor would not have qualified. A high per-
man ofthe Ethics Committee for a long, long tim€. centaee of those have graduated ftom Baylor
I am a trustee of the Am€rican Football Coaches Univemity. Mike Sineletary is a very good repre-
Association,a trustee ofthe Fellowship of Chds- sentative, I think, of oul progmm, the game, our
tian Athletes. I worked on legislative committees profession, and football itself. Mike Singl€tary
for our association, for the CFA, and lbr the couldnot gel in schoolunder thesener require-
NCAA. I now serve on a task force called th€ ments. He gaduat€d in four years.
Gender Equity Task Force that $ril afiect every I had a PIop 48 student-athlet€ that I let jn
penon in this room. becauseI fell concernedabouLhim having an
opportunity to get an education.H€ graduated in
,tedia three and one-halfyears. Arc we the onesto say
to those young people that because you have had
The media in difiercnt areas and in difTerent ways
a weak background,you no longer have a chance
have choBento attack our game, the peoplewho
to becomean educatedman and to have a degree
coachit, and the players who play it. Someofthose
so that you can do something lor your family? I
attacks are prcbablyjustified, but I am concerned
am deeply concernedabout that.
that everywhere we t11fn a1l you rcad about rs
I am one ofthe on€s who has for a long tim€
the bad thingB that happen. There are hundreds pushedfor stronc academics,tutorialhelp, work-
ofgoodrhingEthar happenon a dailybaqisin our
ins $.ith the young people on campus.We lead
professionand with the young peoplewe coach
the Southwest Conference in graduation rates,
that nobody ever hears of because the media
and it is not by accident. It is becausew€ $.i11
choos€snot to publish it.
take a youngster that qualifies, and we will do
Another thing is that our radio and TV sta-
everything in our power to motivate and to assist
lions arc filled llnh talk sho*s. We I ir e in a soci-
him to get that education.
ety where everybody expresBeBtheir opinion, and
I see even our conferencecommissionersget-
they may not know beans about ourj ob, but there
tine in this, by setting up ways and means by
they arc, on the air spouting their opinion.
which we can cut back. There is even a proposal,
gpr lhis, ro pliminate $a)k-ons.Can )ou imag-
Academic Standards ine? I sur€ wouldn't be herc, as I w€nt to college
The NCAA in its infinite wisdorD, in tryine to do as a walk-on, to get a chance to coach. Max
what is right for young people,the game, and for Baumsartner save me a scholalship,but I had a
all athletics, has been a part of those attacks. I chanceand I earned it.
178 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

If we start eliminating walk-ons from this op_ ers arc there, and we tak€ great p de in our play_
portunity to b€ successful that's not the Ameri_ ers being there, but I have been around tons
can way.That's not the way this country was buiit. enough to teli you that we are under attack. We
have bandedtogether as a professionthis year m
Gender Equity make aloud statement to tbem. Som€didn,tstay
The G€nder Equity Task Fofte that I serve on rrith it, but the majo ty did, alld they heard us.
wrll allecrproloundlye\en man in rhis room in Now is the time to let th€m know we mean
the uext few years. cender Equity is above the business.We are in the education business,nor
law. There are proposals to cut scholarships to in the businessofprovidins tutorial help for the
g€t everything €qualized,without recognitior of prolessional ranks.Wc wanr our youngpcoptero
the importance ofthe sport and the qame offoot, ha\e lhe chancAro pla) pro luotba and male
ball. I am scared.I am concemeal. thos€ millions of dollars, but th€y must become
The kesidents' Conrmissionthat I,ve had the educatedmen with degees_
privilege to speak to on two occasionshas done We need help in this area; we need to band
some good things. Unfortunately, presidents have together.We can't be splintered. We have sone_
shorter term6 than most coaches.Iget concemeal thing we have to do, and we have to do it i,ogether
when peoplein high placesmake decisions\.ith_ Thats what an associationis-it is thegathenng
out communicating with those in the field who, togetherof men ofa like purposeand a tike cause,
on a daily basis, have to fight the bat es and have eoing forward with those ideas and goals that are
positive for the profession and the game.
I beggedthe Presidents, Commission otr Lwo
occasionsto listen to the coaches.you can trust
us. We are men of inte$it),. When we tell you Representing the Goaching
that we need "x" amount of days for phone calls, Profession
that, we n€ed "x" amount of days for recr-uiting,
that we r dll do this or we will do that, you can We are the only professionI know who has very
count on us doing it. We have the Ame can Foot_ little control ADd I say to alt of you, loudly and
ball Coach€sAssociationthat is mad€ rp ofDen clearly,we need to gain control. The only rray we
can do that is to recognizewho will frght for us,
I hav€ served on the Ethics Committee for a who will make a stand for us as coaches.your
long time. I can tell you that my case toad has high school adminishators, youl Boad, wher€
gonefrom 15 .r 20 .ase" to I rhis year I was In_ will ihey be when the heat gets hot?
lormcdju"r tha orhFrday thar over t00 mcmbers W}Io will stand tall and took them in the eye
ofthe coachingprofessionare no longer in it be_ and say, "This is the way it needs to be.,,Who?
causclhe) decidcdrhp\ didn r wanr to go I he $ay Nobody,that's who. Nobody wi]l stand, excepi you.
lhal we are all going.thp wdy wilh inrcgriry.I You are the one who has to stand. you say you
say goodriddance, becausew€ arc the ones that have only b€en in coachingfor 2 years. Great, I
those players took tp to. hopeyou are in it for another40, but ifyou wanr
What if Mute Kizer had been a cheater-what it to be as I\e had it, as atl mv friends have had
$ ould.Thav. thoughrlA man of inrcgriryraughi it-you must be willing to fight for it.
mc Io haveinteCrir).and rhar's$har we a neFd The sameis bpinsrakenawal from us by chip_
to d. everyda)-have inregri().I iu.r wanr rhe prng€way and $hi ting awa).Don r lel ir hap_
PrcqidenrqCommio"ion1o tisranto ud. Lrsrenro pen; be willing to take a stand. But if vuu arc
us as an association.We,ll tell you how to have a going to take a stand, I must tell you wlat you
succesBfulgame and how to do it the mosr eco_ have to do. You have got to frght-fight for rhe
nomical way, becausewe lorow hol,: Don,t ler some game, fbr the players who play the game, and lor
grorp of commissionersor somebodyelse dictate our profersion. You ha\p gor ro use rhis associa_
to us what our game is going to be, how we are tion as your association,notjust as a social club,
going to play it, and who we play it with. I beg notjwt as a gathe ng once a year, but by being
you to let us help make the decisions. activclyinvnlvedand caringabout$har hapl,tsn$.
You musl be professional. NobodyrFgoinClo
fhe NFL listen to somebodythat is hatf-bakedand shoots
their mouth otrone day saying one thing, and then
We are und€r attack by the National Footbalt tumB the next day and says somethinq else.you
League.We all love to watrh the NFL. Our play_ have to be professionaland consistent.
PHILOSOPIIY, MOTIVATION, AND MANAGEMEI{T 1?9

Your appearanc€,yourconduct,and your atti- of your life. Contlol your own life, conhol your
tude hav€ to be abovereproach.The hard-drink- family Jife,be in control of your own children.
ing, tobacco-chewingcoachis outdated and is no We ne€d to walk softly, hoJd our heads up, be
long€r.I no longer seeany more of those old ny- proud ol who we are. We need to cally that big
lon shods and white socks that we all used to ole stick, we need to talk inteuigently, and then I
wear. It's an outdat€d thing, and we have to rec- guessthere is that point when you have to take
ognize it and take a stand lor who we are. We are out that big ole stick and knock the hell out of
professionals. somebodythafs trying to destroy our game.Who
You, as a professional, and we, as members can do it? Only you.
of the association, need to apply those same At the outset, I shared with you Douglas
pdnciples taught by Speedy and Mule. You MacArthur's words concerninghis last thoughts
have to be disciplined, you have to be aggres- on this earth, the Corps,the Corps,the Corps.To
sive, you have to b€ caring and tough.You have emphasize to you my love for our game, I said
that Iny final thoughts wol d be ofmy maker, my
E or free meansyou can't be in your commu- famrl).and lhe gamF,Ihc game.rhegame.
nity doing things that are unethical towad our My statement was not entirely accurate. Be-
profession,€ven though someonemight not know causeofmy love for our prolessionand my love
about it. You have to be above and beyond rc- tbr those of you who serve in this pmfession, my
pmach, and you have to be in contml in all areas final thoughtu will also be ofyou.

1993 Pweedinst. Coach Teaff is executiNedircctor of the AFCA.

ii ! i: $ 1 li:; N l,::':', , , : r r : i: q . , : ' 1 : : ' , ] i ! l1iir 1t : l l

Taking Gare of the Game


CHARLIE McCLENDON
ii li ir t $ i i : t l,:, L: )t S Q I ll '. i l:;t ', )) ,. :: '..1F:
'i
Family and football have been my life, and I might respect and enthusiasm. If I were to advjse a
have put football in liont olmy family sometimes. coach and could give him only three areas of em-
That's a mistake. phasis, I'd pick these:
I have always lelt that I owedthe same offoot-
. PAilosoplry. Know what you rcally believe in,
ball something, and that I .!l'ill never be able to
pay back what it has done for me and my family believe in it, and be sure your players can
and wbat is has done for a million or more stu-
. Teach techniques in an effort to set the proper
dent-athletes. You can bet on one thins-that I
have tried to pay back and will continue to pay er€culion.Al1 of you aEsistantcoaches,ifyou
back to football for the rest ofmy life. want to be head coach,you have to prepare
We have to care for orr game of football or we yourself every day.
. Management.ll yotr can't m anagethe people
$ ill lo.e il. Tl we don I d. rhe right rhing" lor our
game of football, somebodyi6 going to do it for that suroundyou, th€n you can'twin. Can I
us, and we won't like it. Yea$ ago,nobody both- manage coaches,play€rs? The normal an,
ered our game offootball. That day is gone. swer is yes. Brt, can I handle the fans and
media? If you can't handle them, it makes
youriob harder to accomplish.
Goaching Football
Beyond administrative action, perhaps the best Basic Beminderc lo! Pl4!9!g
thing we can do to ensure a bright future for foot- I reminded my squad every year of some basic
ball is to coachthe game in a way that promotes things they neededto know:
180 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

. You mustlearn to adjust your lifestyle fbr us Deva lop Sefi-Di scipl i ne
Io cooperateas a team,
. You can't beat the system. It will catch up Have you ever let your players grade themselves
ftom a game film? I leamed that the playerB would
grade themselvesdown, so I used that informa-
. Preparc your8elf for constr.uctivecriticism. tion in dishing out disciptine. I would call them
Our coachesmay Iaise theirvoices at you to in, have them sit behind my desk in my chair,
make corrections, and that should be okay. and preseni ihem with the prcblem as if I were
When we quit talking to you, you have a prcb- the player and they were the coach.
You know what? They'll give themselves
tougher discipline than you'd planned for th€m. I
Ptay a Number ol Players would stick with my regular discipline,but keep
wondering out loud ifl should do what they said.
When you went out for football in high school or So when the player leaves,h€'s not g pjng to the
college,what is th€ one thing you wanted to do? other players. He acceptshis punishment with-
The playeB today are not any diferent. At LSU out a problem. He feels lik€ he got a reprieve.
we werc ore ofth€ first Bchoolsto start playrng a
number of playeru. There were several reasons Positive Attitu.te ts a Ptus
for this:
Oru attitude in football has been that we don't
. It was a great morale builder, becausethey
care who get6the credit, but we\e got to get the
knew they were going to get the opportunity job done or we all go down th€ drain. The t€am
to play. Therefore, they practi€ed really hard concept.You will never los€ communication\.ith
dudng the week. your squad if you have fun as you work. Attitude
. It made better players out of each player.
Each had to prove he belonged.
. We realized the secondunit was not as good simpler ,s Olten Belter
as the first unit, but the second unit was I always wanted to make sure we weren't trying
fresher and quicker I coachedmany all-star to teach too mucb. So,I asked mys€lf, "Are they
gamesa{ler the season,arld that was the one getting what you are coaching?'It soundssimple,
thing that players from opposing teams but it's a very big, important question.
would talk about. They got tired of facing What some pro teams do is great, but most of
fresh players, especialty in the fourth quar- our tFamsdonl hare the ralcnlor lhe Fxperien.e
to do the things the pos ar€ doine. Keep t}le game
. It made the program more fun- simple and uncomp)icatedsoyou can get execution.

1991 Ptucee.Jinss. Coach M.Clendon bds e{ecutioe dircctor of the AFCA froh 1982-7993.
PHILOSOPHY,MOTIVATION,AND MANAGEMENT 181

i ii * * i t I g ] l lt : i s e l rq * * 3 3 $ & $ tq * t I t i E $
Insights Into Goaching
WOODYHAYES
$ i * ii; { {!1&t 1 * i? i : Qer r a$ $ }i * sr $ *{ { s
I Bhall start with some insights into the coaching 3 . Therc is one luxury the coach cannot af-
profession that are taken from a book published ford-it is the luxury of self-pity. When the
in 1969. The author* has eraciously given me coach resorh to thi8 psychological mecha-
perrnisBionto read {iom it. The name of it is Aot nism, his days in the professionare num-
Liw to VictorJ . bered.
1. One ofthe most impodant characteristics 4. The coachmust assumea positive attitude
of a successful coach is be yourself. It was toward hisjob. Ifhe enjoys coaching,as a
Socrateswho said, "Know thyself'; but it is good coach will, he must realize that he gets
up to the coach to be himself. O{ten a young paid for the h€adacheBinvolved in tbe
coachwill imitate oneofhis forrner coaches. coaching profesBion.Headaches-such aB
It is excellent to emulate a former coach, morale problems,training probiems,undue
but do not imitate him. pressure*all of these are things tied in
2. There are two qualities that a coachmust with the profession, and the coach must
have to a far grcater degaeethan any other recognize thern for what they are. He must
member of the teaching staff. Fimt, the anticipate these pmblems; he must not say
coach must have an intense and continu- "if they happen,"but '\rhen they happen";
ing interest in the welfare and in the all- and then he must take all prccautions to
around development of each player. With keep them ftom happening.
little reflection, th€ coach wilt realize that 5 . The coachmust win. There is a Roman ex-
htu own successtu depend€nt on the atti- pressro'J,ResnoLunt diu mak administrari,
tude a]ld the effortofthose players.Ifhe iB which puryortedly means'Thinss refuse to
successtul, he certainly owes much to those be mismanagedlong." Inthe coachinspm-
players, and his continual interest and help fessionth€re is no adequatesubstitute lor
to those young men becomesimpodant and winning.
worthwhile. Criticism must be regardedas irnpersonal,
Second, the coach must have an exhemely for ith an occupationalhazard.Usuallythe
shong desire to win. However, it muEt be a critic is vocal only becausethe team lost,
"we" win attitude, not an "I" win attitude. and this cannot be rcgarded as a personal
He is the l€ader of the team, but he is also criticiBm.The critic may not evenknow the
a member of the team. When he is con- coach,but he does know that the coachis
fronied with defeat,he must never use the the leader ofth€ team that lost. Quite of-
sick alibh, "if that pass hadn't been inter- ten this tlT€ ofcriticism is hardest on the
cepted" or "if our end had caught the ball coachwho retulns to his own collegeor to
in the end zone."Such excusesare areflec- his own community He must realize that
tion on the individual player and will be the same pemon who patted him on the
conBtruedas an attempt by the coach to back as a player can change his aim and
remove himself from the blame of losing. figuratively beat him over the head aE a
In time of victory there are enough plau- coach. The coach and hi€ family who are
dits foreve4'one, but in time of defeat,tbe not prepared for this will have bad times.
responsibility must be taken by the most 7 . In high school the coach is hired for one
malure and moqr rcsponqible man in- thing and fired for anothex On€ ofthe true
volved-the head coach. anomalies in the high school coaching

' N4. Hay eshi ms e l li s rh F o t H u t L i a r t u V i .turr.


^ u rh o t
182 I.'OOTBALLCOACHING STRATEGIES

profession is the fact that the coachreceives eag€r l€arner. Althoush we often say that
d smallpercenlage^fhrchala? for tua(hinB ih€re arc thinss morc important than dlaw
and a larye pen€ntage ofit for his classroom ins circles and X's, this is only partly true;
teachjngand other duties.However,he will for the young coach's first contact with the
rarely be dismissedforhis failure as a class- player is as an individual coach, and he
must prove himselfto be a goodtechnician
8. The head coacb'sjob security lies in three with a goodknowledgeofintricate football.
He must be able to captivate the player
menially and to build withinthe player th€
First, hemust rely on his own abilities and
desirc to comp€teandtoimprove. The first
impressionthe player must have is,"Here's
Second,he must b€lieve absolutely in th€ a man who really knows the game and
pl ayers and his coaches.This doesnot mean knows how io pui it acmss." Considedng
that the discerning coach does not recog' fiftl things flrst, the young coach must be
nize the weaknessesof each player and a good technician.
coach,but at the same time, be must rec
10. Moving into collegecoaching,we find that
ognizein them and in himselfthe opporlu
almost always a successful high school
nity for team victory. He must realize that
coach has aspirations of moving into col-
you win with people,therieht people,pmp-
lege coaching.Although th€re are many
erly led.
reasons for this, several seemto be the most
Thid, the football coach must cooperate
with his administration. Coach Bear
First, th€ coachwants to find the answer
Bryant, one of the truly great college
to the question,"How sood a coacham I?"
coach€sofall time, wouldsecondthis 1007..
He goesfurther to say that a coachshould Second,the college coachgets to spend more
always have a lons-term contract. This co- time on actual coaching and less time on
npFrarionwilh lhe adminisrrarionis obvi- oiher duties.
otrsly a two-way street. Most administra- Third, the collegecoachgets more rccogni-
tors seein th€ coachand the athletic t€am tion, and, for this rcason, to move into col-
a positive force for good attitude and sood l€se is an advanc€ment.Th€ high school
discipline in the schoolsyst€m. coachhas seen his own playerc move into
9. The haining of the coach must be an ex- collegeranks, and he has the desire to fol-
hemelybroadening experience.In general, low th€m there and to work with more ma-
coachesfeel that the most important coach- ture athlet€s.
ing prepamtion is fr$t, actual coachingex- Fourth, he has the desire to excel and hc
perience after graduation; s€cond,und€r- believeshe can achievethis better on th€
graduate athletic expedence; and third, collegelevel.
coachingschoolsand coachingclinicsafter Fifth, hisher pay siandards are also a lac
Crddudrion.Undcrgrddudre$ork in phy"i- tor, although thtu is not alwaF the case.
cal education, pEycholosy,education, and
practice teaching are regarded by coaches 1 1 .Much has beenwritten and discussedabout
as havine relativoly little value in prepa- the coach and public relations. Cedainly
ration for coaching. With this in mind, it bis most important qualification in this
would appear that the coachupon gradua- area is to live up to all the fine things for
tion should make a strong effort to get on a which football stands-
good high school coaching staff or stay at In this area he must be like no one but him
his university,or someother university, for sell In dealing with the prcss he should
gaduate work. Even though he works for tell the truth, or say nothing. To mislead
"peanuts," it will be worth his while to be the press is neither etbical nor sensible.
abie to work on a sood colege coachins staf Most ofthese men are interested in spo s
for a year or two. When a coachbecomesa and want to portray spots in a positive
head coach,he must have a sound knowl- sense,and very often acoachcan grvethem
edg€ ofall the phasesoffootball. For this information that will helpthem do this. On
r€ason a young coachmust be a fast and the other hand, the coachhas no igbt to
PHILOSOPHY,MOTIVATION. AND MANAGEMEI.IT T83

expect these men to wdte exactly as the in a university must be intelligent enough to sit
down with a student and tutor and help the stu-
one caution: The public relations image can dent over his rough spots. Any college coach who
be grossly exaggerat€d; for the coach who is not capable or willing to do this should not be
is spending much of bis time associating on a college staff.
with diferent groups is making a mistake. In our program we believe the only way that
T'he alumni, ihe boosterc, and your own we can repay a player for his efforts is to make
closefriends never win games;but a well- sule that w€ do everything within our college
trained and minutely coached group of rule8 that we can to help this man get an educa-
young men will win. tion. Only in this way can we make sure the col-
lege athlete is not being cheated. This is the ba-
In educational circles very often the word
sis ofthe coach-player relationship at Ohio State
"win" is given an eril connotation, because
UniversitJi
it is often implied that winning meang
At Ohio State we arc aware of the enormous
breaking some rules, but this is certainly
educational value of football. It has never be€n
not tlae. On the contlary winning means
our intention to overemphasize football, but per-
the bdnging together, in a common efTort,
haps at some time we hav€ done so.However, the
of all the phFical and mental resowces of
longer a coachstays in college football, the greater
the football squad and its coaches, which
weight he gives to the educational value of the
in no way warants an apology.
spofl. As he studies lormer footballplayers in
Ifa football coach is successful, he will usu- thei varied carcers, he realizes that a larye part
a\ move up by changing poBitioff some of the useful education that they take from the
five or six times during his career. At each campus is directly or indircctly tied in with foot-
of these moves his interview with the se- baI.
lection committee is a very important step To play footbau is to respect rules, for the game
in h success. The job int€rview is rarely offootball could not exist without rules. Rules may
discussed, but it will suffice to say that the nor be absolutes,bui lhey are abqolute necessi-
coach should go into this interview as well ties for group achievement. The football player
prepared as h€ can possiblybe, having an- must not only have great respect for rules, he
ticipated every exigency that will probably muBt also have an equal respect for the necessity
afise, for hiB future depends on his selling of a r'ule change when a rule is outmoded or fails
himBelf at this crucial moment. to tulfiI it6 int€nded pur?ose. Th€ absolute should
12. Coaching is not a prof€ssion that offels be orderly change. This implies the demo$atic
great security a coach almost always grveB process,a processthat has rccently b€en flouted
up active coaching before he is ready to re- on many campuses,but a pmcess that in com-
tire. Thi6 phenomcnoniE equally true in parison to all other methods of change, stands
high school and college and must be tak€n out as thebest.Ifthis soundslike indoct nation,
into consideration in the coachh life prcpa- that is exactly what it is meant to be.
A good football squad iB controlled better by
attitudes than by rules. Attitude includes many
things: Fimt, the desire to improve individually,
Coach-Player Relationahip to warrant membe$hip on a team; s€cond, the
We feel that th€ single most importart consider- desirc to win as hanslated into team conduct; and
ation is that the football player must get an edu- third, the development of s high respect for the
carionand Lharnolhing .hort ofa degreei3 con- ghts and privileges of othem on the squad. On
sidered a complete education. The help and en- our squad therc are two rules.
couragement that the coacb can give the player Fimt, there is no place on the football squad
is extremely important, particularly during th€ for hat€rs, either white or black. Second,each
first year that the play€r is on campus. player has a right to approach any coach off the
So man5 youngstersat lhis lime will be oei- field without fear of recrimination, if the player
ther proper\ guided nor motivated, and since the feels he has a legltimate complaint. we leel that
coachhas the closestcontact with these playerc, this is a necessarysafety valve.
he is in an ideal position to render real help. The Standards for football players must, of ne-
coachwho is intelligent enough to coachand t€ach cessity,vary from those of other students. His
184 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

conduct mu8t always be considercdin light ofth€ poem thoueh which we like to Btres8 the impor-
effect it ha8 on other membem ol the football tanc€ of collegeassociat$. It goeslike this;
squad. In matters of dress,punctuality, and liv-
inghabih, the football player leads a much more It was sometimein Nouembe. in a toun I
di sciplined life and must realiz€ that lor the t€am can't remember,
to succeed,this is a necessity. I uas cdrrying home ajag uith maudlin
Another area in which the coach can be ofgeat pride,
help to the player is in the player'Bselection of When mr feet began to stutte. and. I fell
his colege associates.Wetell him when he starts doun in the gutter, dnd d pig cclmeup
to run amund with some new acquaintance he
and lay doun by my side.
should always ask himself, '1Mould this man (or
As I lqt there in the gutter, thinking
woman) be welcome at my home for the week-
end?" This may sound rather cornball, but we thoughts I dared. not utter,
have found it quite eifective. A lodJ possing hJ uo! hpord tn $oJ."Yo,
We are continually stressing the importance can tell a man who boozesby the
of Buchthings as appearanceand associat€s,but companyhe chooses."
we know that the3e students do not lik€ to be And the pE eot up and slowly walhed
harped at.In closing,I would lik€ to recite a little

-1970 Prcceedinss. Coach Hales was head c@ch dt Ohio State Uniuerci\.

&tt t ' } ! | I ir :* i I 6 I ti t6 * , i { * } i ]} I I I g ]} I :,
Putting Together a Winning Program
BO SCHEMBECHLER
$ l i g *$ t{t$}ri$: n Q, r$ !1 l : 1,l$$&irl ] 1 :
My years in coaching have been unbelievably good We went into the season with the idea that we
for me, for my family, for my staq and for the wanted to simulat€, and to beat, the most effec-
guys who have played for me. I've been very, very tive, dominant prosram in the leagu€. That pm-
gram was nrn by Woody Hayes at Ohio State. We
I waB an aBsistantcoachfor 10 yeals before I felt his program waB so dominant that nobody in
becamea head coach.I had the privilege ofcoach- the league had been able to keep that team from
ing for three ofthe geateBt football coacheswho running the football- In order for u3 to compete
ever lived: Do)'t Perr:y at Bowling Green, Ara against that, we felt we must be able to stop the
Parseghian at Northwestem, and Woody Hayes run, andforustobe able to 6top the run we must
at Ohio State. be able to run ourselves, because Lord knows our
In 1969 Don Canham, the athletic director at defensewa6 going to play against our ofense more
Michigan, ofTeredme the job at Ann A:rbor. I was than it would any opponent's.
excited. I'll never forget when I told the staffwe I believein defensefiIst. I don't think you can
were going to Ann Arbor. Most of them had never win championships,I don't think you can be suc
ceBsful, unless you have a great defense. I also
believe very strongly that you must b€ able to
lmplementing the Plan block I mean the one-on-one,basic,fundamen-
tal blocking in football----andthai you must b€ able
The plan was a simple one. And it was impoftant to run the ball. I am not opposedto passing.I've
to communicate our approach to those involv€d been accusedof that on a couple of occasions.I
in the Michigan program. My etaffcame up with just don't want to come up on short yadase, and
the sloganwe would give our players: Thosewho I don't want to so to the soal line, and I don't
stay will be champions. want to get into circumstances where I need to
PHILOSOPHY.MOTIVATION. AND MANAGEMENT 185

conhol the football, and suddenly,I can't block play that doesn't change from year to year.I prom-
anybody and I can't l'un \.ith th€ ball. ised to never,ever let that happen again.
So we went with an offense where we would ln the 1980 Beason,I gave ever:y singl€ coach
use the baseblock and run the football.We wodd on our staff a responsibility for a position on
simulate what Ohio State did becausewe wanted punt€. I told them if there was a breakdown at
to stop that Ohio State attack. We put in a de- that position on a punt that that coach was re-
lense that was based on speedand quickness so sponsible and that we had no long-term con-
we'd be able to pursue and to tackle. We used an hacts at Michigan. We suddenly approached it
agil€ defense because we werc not a big defen- with a lot more enthusiasm.
sive t€am. And we wanted to win the kicking game I took over th€ rcsponsibility of coaching the
every time we played. This may sound strange to punt retum. I have kept that responsibility, and
you, but we zeroed in on the best team in the I will never relinquish it. The man responsible
league, Ohio State. for the kicking game at Michigan is me! And if
I'm responsible for it, all of thoBe playem look at
Avoiding Lapses that and say, 'Hey, this is something special if
the old man is going to take all the time to con-
We used the phmse "You get bett€r or you get duct all the drills and do all the talking in prac-
worse;you never stay the same."we used it con- tice to make sure that kicking game iB done dght."
stantly and talked to the playerc about it: "Every In 1980,becauseof \ hat happenedlo us in
time you take the field to practice or play a gam€, 1979 and the renewed emphssis on the kicking
regardlessofthe oppositionor what we do, when game, we led the nation in net punting We werc
we go otr the field we're either better or we're th€ finest punting team in the United States of
wome. You're damned sure not gonna stay the
You've got to teach it every single day. Once
In rhe 19706,w. won our shareofchampion- you take for ganted that you'rc gonna have a
ships and our program was quite successful. We great team becauseyou\e got great talent, you've
were r-unning the football, we were playing d€- got another thing coming-because the single
fense, we had great, classic confrontations with most important factor is attitude. And the only
Ohio State in the last game ofthe year. way you're gonna have a great attitude is to coach
Aimosl eveD,ycar we played for lhe champi- it every single day on and off the field!
onship in the last game. Those games were some-
thing special.We were playing against the great- Keys to Winning Programs
est football coach and one ofthe great€st schools- Organization
particularly the ereatest football coach-the Big '
. Masteryofbasics
Ten Conference has ever seen, . Work ethic
We w€re succeBsfuland happy. And then I . Courage
learned very quickly that you can't become self- . Loyalty
€entered. You can't take for g"anted that even . Inteerity
afler 10 yeals of successthat the problems the
losing teams have you can't have just as quickly- Organization
in the wink olan eye. I learned this great lesson
in 1979,when we had pmbably the worst kicking If I were to tel you today how to \ .in, this is what
game in the history of college football. Id tell you. Be an organized guy. I would have
We d always placed such emphasis on the kick- those practiceswell-organizedand the staffwell-
ing game. We spent 15 minutes a day on it, every organized, and everybody knowing what they'rc
day We coached punting the same we\e coached gonna do.
it for 20 years, and yet 11'ehaal punts blocked, we If you don't have organization, and you're not
had punts rcturred on us, ard we averaged some- prepared, your team will never be competent.
thing like 36 yards a kick. We couldn't cover, we Thelrc only competent when they know you have
couldn't punt, we couldn't do an)'thing done a g"eat job of simulating what's going to
Wly did this happen?Becauseall ofus coaches happen to them in a game. And you can't do that
stood there that 15 minutes. We folded our arms. unl€ss you'r€ properly organized.
We didn't coach rtith the same enthusiasm and I had Bill Walsh at my clinic last summer'
with the same drive thai we should have, on a Walsh is a great coach. He's proved that. He was
186 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

telling those coachesout in the audiencehow he'd ers were in the huddle in a game and the play
won a game. He f€lt he'd won it becauseof his came in and it was 26, there wasnt a damned
organization, becausehe cloBedevery offensive one of 'em and you can talk to any guy who
pmctice sessionwith a play that he'd rr]n if it play€d Ohio State football-who didn't feel they
were fourth down and 25 from his own 3o-yard were gonna gain yardag€, becausehe had sold
line with 30 secondsleft on the clock. those men that no one can stop 26.
How many olyou coacheswork on that play? To me, that's important ilyou want to \a.in-if
That is not a real goodsituation tobe in ifyou're the play's sound and you teach it that way. It
trailing But he works on it. It's a special play would have been easy for him to say,"OK, we're
where h€ puts three wide receivers out on one gonna run 26. You all know how to run it." No!
side and puts this euy (Jerry) Rice out on the oth€r That isn't the way Woodyput it in. He prt it in so
by himself. everyone would think, "This is the greatest thing
If they cover these three receivers ov€r here we could do.'
and leave on€ guy on Rice, they'rc gonna throw
the ball to Rice. Walsh worked on that. Th€y got
into a game that year in which a very similar situ-
Motivation and Courage
ation occurred, and he told the guys to run that The next thing you've got to do to be successful is
pals plal,. be willing to work. There's no substitut€ for hard
And all the guys said, "Hell's fire, we practrce work.Theres no substirurF for carcfulplanning.
thiB. We've got a shot. We might possibly hit this There's no substitute for putting in the time.
play becaus€we work on it." And damned il the Motivationl You must have your heart in your
guy didn't go back therc alld throw th€ ball to work so you can motivate others your coaching
Rice on a sheak mute for a touchdown and they colleaguesand the players on youi team. You must
set goals.Any t€arn that s not a goal-oriented team
Now that isn't gonna happen all the time, but is not going to have much chanceat success.
it damned sure never would have happened had There's no substitute for hard work. I admire
he not practiced that situation. You must antici- coacheswho are willing to put in the time. It's
paie and organize and practice every single thing not a pad-time job. Even though you may have
that possibly could happen in a game. other responsibilitiesto your school,as I have to
mine, coachingfootball is afull-timejob, and you
Mastery ol the Basica don't punch a time clock to do it.
The secondthing to do is master the basics,the In order to win, everybodyon the staff must
balic fundarDentalsofblocking and tackling, and undemtand that hisjob is important. One ofmy
you teach 'em with great enthusiasm. The great- pet peevesis the assistant coachwho is always
est teacher I have ever been arcund in college looking for the big break or the n€xt job or the
football by far, no one has ever compared-was next head coachingjob.
Woody Hayes. Anybody who wants to become succ€ssful in
Woody Hayes was the advocate of the old full- football should become the greatest coach, at
back off-tackle play A11old coachesknew Woody whatever rcsponsibility he has, andhe should be
was gonna run 26. He had all kinds of blocking happy doing it! I can say to you in all sinceritt I
adjustments up there to do it. I coachedwith him never had a bad job. I never had a job I didn't
lbr6years. For6 springs and 6 falls, as we put in lik€, whether I was a graduate assiBtant, or coa€h,
the ofTenseon the first day, the old man would go ing the guads or tackles or center, or whatever
to the board and. as if ir wab t hc greatpsrinvpn- it might be.
tion in fbotbau, he would describe to the staffthe I talked about discipline and the importance
26 play. ofit.I want teams with great courage,t€ams that
Bccausphe raught ir $irh such cnthusiasm, are able to play under great pressure.That s im-
you sat there and watched every move and you portant- There's pressure in Michigan football.
learn€d something diferent----€very time. Maybe There's pressure in your place. If you've ever
it wasjust a slight lateml step of the fullback, or taken a teenage kid and run him out in front of
maybe you were really gonna change the play and 105,000peopleand say,"We want to win . . ."
hav€ a new blocking adjustment rp front. That's pressure.That takes coulage.Football
When he took that play to the players, he teaches that. And when it's done properly, it's a
taught it with great enthusiasm. Whenthe play- great teaching aid lor these kids, becauselater
MOTIVATION,AND I&NAGTMXNT 18?
PHII,OSOPHY,

on they're going to have to make somedeosrons there thai I hircd at the Univedity ofAlabama.
more important than wheth er theyre gonna block What's gonna happen to them jfI quit?"
or tackle somebodtr You know the story: He went back and coached
again.He didn'twantto. Hewas sick, andhe was
Loyatty old and tired. He coachedone morc year, finally
quit, and soon afterward was dead.
I believe in loyalty, loyalty to yourseu and loyalty That, to me, demonstrated loyalty. He
to those who depend on you. The geatest example wouldn'tjust walk out on hisjob.It wasn't that
ofthat I\e ever been around was manyyears ago easy.Now, gentlemen, I call that loyalty. I see
when Texas A&M was trying to hire me. I was gxys flyinc around. jumping arnund. leaving
going to help Bear Bryant coachin the East-West people sittins cold and not knowins what
Shrine Game. they're doins. Bryant couldn't do that. Wh€n
He was going to be the head coach.He'd just he finally did leave,I'm sure there were people
b€cometh€ \.inningest coachin history in Divi- who were out in the cold.
Bion I; he was the greatest of all time. He and I
had coachedin some all-star gamesbeforc, and tntegfity
when they asked him to be the head coach,he
said he'd do it if I'd come-because he kn€w he I believe in honesty and int€gity As you d€al with
would have me do all the work. your pl ayers and your coachesand everybody else
I got out to San Franciscoand met him at the connectedwith football, gentlemen,you must be
Shrine Hospitalwe wercvisiting. I said,'l've got honest and you must do it with integdty.
to talk to you, coach."He said,'Yeah,I beenread- I don't feel sorry for those people who g€t
ing the pap€rs about yor. You and I better sit caught and put on probation. I don't feel sorry for
down and have a litUe talk." I said, "Great, as people who get the death penalty. We have rules
soon as we get back to the hotel." He said, "I'11 and rcgulations we have to opemte under, and
give you a call." when you break those rules you must pay the
He called and carne down to my suite, sat down, price.
and started to talk. He looked over and said, There's enough criticism at everylevel across
"Aren't you gonna offer me a d nk?" I got a bottle the country that we as coachescannot afford
ofbourbon. He potred himselfa d nk and said, to operate any otherwaythan witb honesty and
"Texas A&M wants to hire you, eh? I'll never for- integrity. That's yourjob, and if you can't win
get when I was down therc." legitimately that way, maybe you shouldn't
He went on and on. He told stoies and rcmi-
nisced about all his backeround and his coach- If) ou re In a sirualionwhereI great.easoni"
ing. Finally after about an hour and a half, he winning half your games, realize it, and nake
looked ovff at me and said, "Well, Bo, we\e talked sure the people around you realize it. We must
about you enough. Now we're gonna talk about conductou$elves so that we are abovereproach.
Thats the only way to sall your progmm.
I said, "Wlat kind ofproblems do you have?"I And that last thine I believe is that when we
thought he was gonna say something about his coach,every single one ofour playeN must feel,
h€alth. But he said, "Bo, I don't want to go back when his career is ended, that it was one ofthe
to the office. I don't want to call the ofFce. I don't most meaninetul exp€riences he's ever had or ever
want to recluit one more kid;I want to quit." will have. Ifit is not, then we'rc at fault.
I said, "Bear, everybody in the world expects All of us coach for on€ reason, and only one
you to quit at your aee.You'vejust broken the r€ason:what efect it bas on the guy we coach.I
rccord. You've done everything yol1 could possi don't mind filling that stadium at Michigan. I
bly do. Its time lor you to quit. Why dont you don't mind making millions of dollaN. But I'm
just go aheadand do it?" So I put on a little show. gonnatell'emone thing:We're only gonna do it if
I grabbed the phone and said, "Here, lefs call your it's in the best interests ofthose guys who play
president ght now." That's important. If they come back and say,
He said, "Oh, no. Itt not that easy.You'rc gonna "Hey, tbis was the greatest thing that ever hap
find that out some day I've got 47 people back pened to me," then it was all worth it.

1989Pro@dinss. Coach Schembechler uas h.ad caach at the Uniuercit! ol Mi.higan


188 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

rl * 3 A e l B ii g $ $ 1}t :: !? r * c $ F $ i l { g g * * [ g € & *, d
Things I've Learned From Goaching
JOE PATERNO
: 1* E U€ ]] * g3$]i; 1 1i * X X Q e* * E{ $ $9 A g$'$$ i C
I'll never forget the frlst time I spoke at the At- there was a whole crowd of people in the lobby
lantic City coa€hesclinic way back in the old days, There was this kind of heary guy holdins court,
when Dr. Harry Scott was running it. He set me running the clinic. That was Woody Hayes.
up one night. We had a little dinner, and Harry Woody had just had ar undefeated season at
said, 'Joe, I've been reading everything you have Miami of Ohio and was in the proc$s of being
had to say about football. I've been wat{hing you, int€rviewed for the Ohio State job. He was in there
the way you have coached,and I've asked a friend talking about how he blocked the off-tackle play.
of mine who is an author to put together a book, We were there until four in the moming, and I
and I want you to have thtu. The title of the book was fascinated. That was my introduction to the
h Whdt I Knoo About Foorball by Joe Patemo." I American Football Coaches Association clruc.
col d hadly wait to get at the book. I opened it
up, and there were 200 €mprl pages.I still have
that book.
About Teaching
The first clinic I went to was back in 1950, I know most ofyou may have heard this before,
when I waE in my first year of coaching at Penn but first and foremost, what I have learned is that
State. Four of us got in the car and drove all night a coach must be a teacher. I was able to learn
fr.m SrateCollegeto Dallas.and ne werpgoing thft from a pe$on who I truly believ€ to be one of
to stay at the Baker Hotel. The university gave the best coachesand t€achem ever: Rip Engle.
us $50 each for expenses. We rented a room and Rip would never let us put in more than the kids
shared the expenses of the cax We walked into could handle. He was constantly evaluating the
the Baker Hotel about twelve or one at night, and assiBtant6 to determine how much new material
they were putting in and how quickly the kids
were comprehendingit.
I can't tell you how important that is. The
minute you have to play a kid that can't learn
quickly, can't handle some things you want to do,
all of a sudden your whole schemehas come down.
We couldnt do some things we do in our second-
ary if we didn't have four bright kids back there
who could handle sorn€ of the adjustments, the
checks, the change-ups on coverages.We can only
go as fast as the slowestlea.ner

About Players
In evaluatirg pemonnel, I've always believ€d that
the frrst thing was consistency, the second thing
was the RBI-the guy that can mak€ the big play
and $.in the same for you-and the third thing
was the guy that makes the major er'ror.You can't
play him. I try to remember what players can do
well. Ifyou hav€ a player that can do something
particularly well, don't forget it. In the €lutch,
that's what vou want to use.
PHILOSOPHY,MOTIVATION,AND I{ANAGEMENT 189

About Goaches playedwiththe Green Bay Packersfor years and


was as good a football player as we ever had. We
In evaluating coaches,there arc cedain things can'twaitto seehow tough the young kid was, so
that I've tried to look at when hiring them or k€€p- w€ put him in there against Robinsonfor a dive
ing them. First, can he liv€ without it? I'm only drill. The point was we didn't have any suy on
rcpeating what Coach Bryant and some olher the football tearn there wasn't a football player
people have said, but ifyou can live without coach- on our team who, in thai situation, Robinson
ing, then I don't know whether coaching is for couldn't pickup and throw on his back.Robinson
was that good. The lirst time the kid comes,
The lr'C.4A Nerus had an afti cle once about this Robinsontakes and throws hirn on his back. The
gr€at musician that Bobby Knight invited rn to next time, same thing.
talk to his team. This world-renowned cellisi, The kidwas so ftustratod. And you knowwhat
named Janos Stark€r, talhed to Bobby's group and happened?That kid nevcr showedup to practice
explained how he didn't want to play a cello,but again. All we did was take a great prospectwho
his mom stuck the ifttrurnent in his hands, and wasn't ready for that kind of challenge and de-
he was forc€d to l€arn bow to play it. Then all of stroyed him. Ifwe had led him along, given him
a sudden, he rcalized that he didn't want to go some success,we may have been able to develop
onFday wrrhourrhinking.doing.makrngmusic. him into a good football player.
He said, "Anyone who cango thrcush a day $.ith- I'm not in a hurry to play young ptayers. My
out wanting to make music or hear music is not staffknows how I feel. A lot oftimes kids think
supposedto be a musician."Starker becamea tru€ they're ready to play.I'd mther be two weekslate
prof€ssional not a dilettante, brt a man wbo in playins a kid than one day too soon.Becaffe
committed his life to music. until a kid is comfortable,until he has had an
I don't think any of us who\e been coaching opportunity to feel good about himseu, until he
very long ever gets up in the moring without really knows he's ready to go, until th€ whole
thinking something about football. I don't know
"quad say.-to themsel!Fs-Wlcn arc you g^ing
ifthere bas been a dayin my life ofcoachingthat to play that kid?' I'm notsure I'd like to playhim.
I haven't thought about football or my team, and Alter they have some success,and oncethey be-
I try to evaluate my coachesin the same way. licve in IhAm.el!e".rhcn rhp) ran b.cnme$in-
I thinkcoaches have to be willingto make any
sacrilice to win, except th€ir families.You'vegot
to be willing to make any sacrifrce,and you\e
got to have self-discipiine.Youhave to be in there About Winning
wben you're supposedto be, and you have to do
People often talk to me aboul deveJoping individu-
the things you arc supposedto do becauseyou
als into winners. I alvays wanted to be amund
can't lbol kids. You can't talk to kids about being
Paul Bryant becauseI thought he did as good a
disciplinedand n.r be drsciplined yourself.
job as anybody in creating a winning mentality
around his players. We played a couple of his
About Developing Young teams,goingback to the 1959Liberty Bo*'1,when
Players we had a great team and he $'as in his filst year
at Alabama. We struggled like dogs to beat him
Onp of the greatcst misrakp. lvc pvpr hpa.lin and sot lucky to score on a screen pass in a 7-0
coachingwasmade oneyear when we had a gr-eat football eame.We outmanned them. but they werc
freshman kid from upstate New York who was a
6 4,21s-pound lullback that ran (in those days it The only djference bet\,!een*inncrs and los-
was a good speed)a 100-yard dash in 10.0. He ers is that the winners b€lieve in ihcmsolvos.
camedowntoourplace, and we couldhardlywait They've had success.They haven't bcen knocked
to see what he could do. He was a pretty good around. Things have tumed out well for thcm up
runner, but not a great one. to a point, and they keep thinking it's going to
So du ng the following spdng practice, we continue to tuln out well for thern. They expect
matched th€ kid up against Dave Robinson,who things to happenbccaus€ihey have had that success.

- -1987 Prccee.lines.C@ch Patemo is hedd con.h at Penn State Uhiueait\.


I9O FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

Fifty-Plus Yeansof Goaching Football


EDDIE ROBINSON

One ofthe best things that's happenedto me in at the young man inst€ad of the record. You've
my liletime is that I've heard the best coaches sot to look at both you don't have a record,you
who have eve|walked. From 1941, when I firut set flled-but you'rc d€alins with America's most
wcnt to coachingschool,I\e head them all. You prcciouspossession. Thesegreat men who I heard
name them, and I havc a pieceof cvcry one.And kind of shaped my philosophy about thinss like
whan I lcave here today,I'11have a pioceofthose ihis, that football builds chamcter inyouns men.
who will taik today
At Gramblins, we don't do a wholc lotofthings
thatotherp€opl€ haven't done.We comehereand Football Lessons
we get the plays. I've had your plays; you know Coachesinthe past have saidthis aboutfbotball,
that. I got tbe Wing-T from (Forest)Evash€vski, and I beli€ve it, too. Football makes young men
from (Dave)Nelson.I picked theirbrains. This is strone onough to know when th€y're weak and
what it's all about.You can't comehere and walk brave enough to face themseive! when they'rc
in the halls and hang a.ound Uke I see some of afraid. Football will teach them to be proud and
the guys. When someonegets up here to speak, unb€ndins in honest failure, but humble and
you need to be in here to hear hjm. g€rtle in success.Football teaches m€n not to
For example,back in the '50s, we were tryins
substitule words for action, nor to seek the path
to change plays at the line. I'd gone all over the
ofcomfort, butto face the streBsand spur of diffi-
country trying to talk with peoplewho changed
culty and challenge.
something at the line. At one clinic, an unknown Football will teach them to stand up in the
speakercame up after Frank Leahy had spoken,
stor'rnbut to have compas8ionon those who fall;
and while the other coacheswere walkins out,
to have a heaft that is clean, a goal that h high.
thi. gr.rl"aid ereryrhinBI wantcdro knos. It will teach them to laugh, yet never forget to
weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect
Why Goaching? the past; to be serious, yet never take youmeif
too seriously; to be modest so that you will re
To paraphrasethe lateAlonzo Stagg:"Thecoach- member the simplicity of true greatness the
ing professionis the most rewarding professron open-mindednessof tlue wisdom.
in the world, and no man is too good to coachin We\e got som€$eat minds here.The players
Amedca."It's a ereat pmfession,and this is what have sreat minds, too. At Gramblins, we hav€ a
you need to tell th€ young coaches.Work hard, man who's our leader,our prcsident;I've had th€
and promotions will come.You can't work at one distinct pleasureofcoachingtwo players who are
j ob, looking to go to anotherj ob.You'v€ got to have now colles€presidents.Grcat minds. That's why
I want you to leave here with a commitment about
I a$ee with coachStagg wholeheartedly,and this game and the young men you coach.
I have for some49 to 50 years, to the extent that A boy can't come to my office and t€ll me,
at this point, ifl had a decisionto mak€ about a "Coach, I don't want to waste your time-" He
vocation,I wouldn't have to take a secondguess doesn'twastemy time.It's ourtime.I don'tflunk
it would slill be the coachingprofession, because anybody,and I'm not running the football, and
I know that football builds character in young I'm not catchineit. So,theseathlet€s are the most
impoftant peoplein the world to me.
When I look at you,I seepeop)ewho can make It's all right fora manto be a man,butyouput
winners out oflosers. I see peoplewho can be a him down there in a one-on-onesituation, and
plus to our society.I see peoplewho are looking this suy will find out howsoodhe is,just lik€ the
PHILOSOPIIY. MOTIVATION, AND MANAGEMENT 191

other one will. I could be wrong, but I think fbot-


ball and athletics in g€neral have made our na-
tion the best fightins forc€ in the world
I don't like people who substitute wor& for
actions. When a team whips us, and the boys are
in the dressing room, I walk in, and I'm asked,
"\ hat about the game?" I say, "We shottld have
stay€d at home. They outplayed us, they out-
blockedus, and they outcoachedus."

Taking Responsibility
I learned so much from football. I leamed how to
win from football.I leamed how tolosefromfoot-
ball, to lose without offering excuses.
No assistant coach of mine can say Coach
RobinBonsaid that a boy lost a game, or that an
assistant coachiost it. If anybody loses a game,
Eddie Robinsondoes.
At one t;me early in my coaching carcea when
I d get up in the morning, I'd say, "Eddie, you're a
hell of a coach, boy, youre coming on," but that
didn t last lons. Now, you've got offensive coordi-
nators, coacheswith d€fen8es.Back then, I was
coachingit all. about tl,e Chicago Triblze all-star game, where
For all these years, I've ridden on the shoul- I think they bought glassesfor the underpnvr-
dels of the athletes, the football playel8, and the leg€d.At that time, they held the game at North-
coaches.Whatever we have achieved, or will western. The all-stars played the professional
achi€ve, then the athletes and coacbesshould champions.In 1941,I went to this coachingschool,
share.l don't believethat I could bave done that after I'd been hired at Gramblins.
by myself. The coacheswho werc there--you've probably
The football players and the football coacbes read about them-were Fdtz Crisler, Carl
have been good to me. I don't have enough time Snavely, and Ll.nn Waldorf. I stil remember some
at my age to pay them back. It's so important to ofthe things that were said durins that coaching
ri w a c n m a r h i n d h q .L clinic. What Fritz Cdsler said was tme then and
I've never walked ollliom an auto$aph. I don't still is true. The essenceof offense is blockins.
allow it. We had a crcwd of55,000 againstTemple On defense,it's tackling.
in Tokyo. When the game was over, we were on Most ofyou\e r€ad abourcoachCrisle. He was
the bus, getting ready to leave, and were about a disciplinarian- He\{,astough, with adeep, com-
an hour late. The guys werc all mad, saying Doug mandins voice, and he was a man that was re-
Williams was not here. He finally came about 10 spc.red w}|en he ralked,)nu c^uld hear a pin
minutes latea and he steppedon the bus, and he drop in the stadium.
told them, "I don't make the rules; Coachmakes CoachWaldorf was one ofthose guys you could
the rules, and he said,'don'tcomeout ofthe dress- get closeto. He'd tell you in his own gentle way
ing room if you'r€ not going to sign them."' that one method of coaching doesn't go lor all
Ask anybody on our team. I don't want to see ballplayers. They have individual di{ferences.And
any kid mnning to somebody asking for an auto- you can gjve a guy with more ability more things
graph and not get one. Stop and sign it. This is to do.
what you need to do.
Crying, Dreaming, and Doing
Coaching School and the AFCA
I'm a crier. I cry over good things. When I was a
I went to my fiIst coachingschoolat Northwest- boy,I didn't have a great deal.I remember when
ern. I don't ihink anybody's old €nough to know they played the first Sugar Bowl same,I was sit-
192 FOOTBAI,LCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

ting on the steps of an Italian store, listening to Just lihe that, euetybodr bas comins up
it on a borrowedIadio. I list€nedto the RoseBowl. to shahehands uith codchStase. The line
Like Maftin Luther Kins, I had a dream. I citcled. all the uar around the room. It
wanted to coach.And when Grambling played a took ne about 30 minutes to uo* n! ua!
game in Pasadenain th€ RoseBovrl, I walked on up there.Final\, dfter readins about this
the fieid and I cried, b€causeI couldn't realize Bur lbr so lone,I uas soine to neet hjn. I
when I sat there list€ning rnany long years ago could.n'timaeine uhat he would Loohlihe
that I would ever coacba game therc. up close fisured he had three ears, tua
When we got the fimt chance to put 76,000 noses.Idon't hnow ulnt he had, to be tlLe
peoplein the Srear BowJ,I cried again, because kind.olsur heuas. So,t'J the tine Igot to
I rcalizedthat only in Amedca €ould this happen him, and et..n(led my hand, I uanted to
lo mF.Tll rpll ).1 unething: I can sell American- eet (t sood laoh at ILim possiblr Lookins
ism.I believeEddie Robinsonis as soodan Ameri- for tl&t thid. ea. or somethinEthat ma.le
can as any other American. And I'11always want him superior The gux behind me finaryy
to be the best coach,or among the best. sai<l,"Hell, Etldie, hiss him antl mouc on."
W]len I uas inrroducFd,I had all thosc nice
things sajd about me. But something thatwasn't
said was thatnobodyin my family before me frn- Developing a System
ished elementary school.Ther€'sa price you havo
When I was leaving the coaches'school,I waited
to pay.
until ove.ybodyhad left, and Iwent in the locker
What you young coacheshave to undeNtand
room where coach Waldorf was. And when I
is that I wasn't as fortunate as you are. I live in
walkedin, he hadhisbackto me. H€ took a quick
Gmmbling. In ord€r to getto Grambling, you got
glance and said,"Yes,Eddi€, what do you want?'
to be goins to Grambling. You can't so through
W}en Ihih gentlemsncdlled my namn, rl re-
Grambling to get to any other place. From 1941
ally nailed me down. With all these people,how
to 1955,I didn'tknow anythine abouttheAm€ri-
doesthis man know my name?Calling my name
can Football CoachosAs$ociation. But on the av-
pragc.T wenr In made me know right thercthat I necdedto knoN
^nc ru three coachingclrni(" a the fi rst name of my ballplayers. When your n ame
year since 1941.
i s called, when a man com€sup to yotl in a strange
In 1956,I wenl to my fiISt AI'CA convention.
t,'u n and ca)1.your namc.it means snm.rhrng.
When I sot therc and walked through thal door
AndI.aid tohim. CoachWald^rf.whal rbJ our
and saw the people tbere and all tho famous
adviceto a young coachon his firstjob?"He said,
names on theirbadges,I b€camea badgefreak. I
'As a new coach,you need to get a system."
was looking at all the coachesthat I had read
I said, 'A system?"He said, "Yes,you need to
about, heard about thatt this guy, tbere's that
get a system.
guy. I was just so excited about being there for
"Weli," I told him, "I iust got through playins
the fiIst 1ime.
lborball.and T don reallj have a system.'
' can handle that. Wlat do
He said, 'Well, wo
Meeting Coach Stagg you play, what is your offense?"and I told him it
At rny litst AFCA meeting, Ray Eht, the was doublewing and singlewing, and the defens€
presid.ent,tar introducinE somepeopLe. was a 6-2.
Whenhe sqid "AlonzoStags," it wasjust So he said, "Eddie, you can take the plays that
like puttitE on an. alarm. Euerybod.y youusedin college,andthen whateveryou heard
uanted to shahehis hand. here relatod to whatyou play,and tak€ that back
I had rea.l about coachStass, an lhou to Grambling- Get it mineo$aphed and give it
he Drote to his 11 month old son, an.dif to your players. And tell them this is yor1l sys-
he uoukl die, hou he uanted his son to tem, and make them play it." Tho train couldn't
treat his mother,and. uhat kind of nan gei to Grambling fast enough for me to get this
h.eu)an.tpdhin Lobe.I read.about aLLlhe systemhome, and in tbc flrstmeeting I had with
chanEeshe had madL in thegame.He uas my players, I told them this js our system and
just about a football so(lto me. this is what you have to play.
PHILOSOPHY.MOTIVATION.AND MANAGEMENT I93

Cosell and. Grambling QBs somebodyfor help.You probably won't agreewith


this, but GeorgeSt€inbrennerhelpedus keep our
Bach in the 1970s, e hdd seDeral program soine. When the Urban League couldn't
outstand.inequarterba&s. At this time,
the questionwas uhether anJ bldch could "ponsor Ihp game in New York anlmore. h"
sieppedin and guaranteedthe guarantee. Since
euer plclr quarterbach for the NFL. We he's been connectedwith this sroup, the Yankees
uere in New Yorh, and Houard Cosell have played at Gramblinstwo times, and 46 kids
(who helped us quite a bi.t, helped.our
graduated from collese on tho tunds that we rc-
teams, helped eet a lot of people drufted' ceivedfrom those games.
helped us eet our game in Neu Yorh) told.
me he anted me to be on his shou. I tol.l
him. "Hoaa , I don't mind beingon your Leadership
shoa, but I don't udnt Jou ta ask me alL
thosetaz! qu*tiorc." You young coacheshave to creat€ in the men you
He said, "Well, I bon't ash Jou anJ are coachins a real love for the same and a spirii
questions like that, that Jou haDe to for work- Yor have to give them the will to win,
answer" Now, on the show: "Larlies ancl because that's the deciding factor in close
genrlenen. I hat r Eddr R"htn!'n. EJdp. ballgames.After you teacb the fundamentals of
do rou thinh, uith low Dast elper;ence blocking and tackling, you have to t€ach them to
and. the number of xecLrsthat you haL)e erecute. You have to have morale and create a
coached,that Jou coul.dprepare in four goodfeeling among the teams.
years a young man who coul.dplax football All coachesmust be absolutely sincer€ to the
in the NFL and direct the team?" work ethic. You cannot $.in th€ confidence of the
What uas I supposed to say? I'm a men you coach unless you are dead honest in
c.mch.I saidJes.I uasjust trying to hurry what's soins on.You can't fool the kids ifyou are
and eet olf. when I eot on the airplane not sincere,ifyou're not doine the work.
and left New Yorh, I went straight to Each pmctice should be carefully planned in
James Harris'house. He's 6-5,210 and I advanc€, with rcom for modification. You've eot
told James Harris, "I am re(ruiting lou to know exactly what is to be done on the field.
to play quafterbach in the NFL." He tnk B€forc you so on the field, you have to be ready.
the chalLenge.James Harris steppedout The same will be won or lost by what the play-
ofs, hool and uos thp firtt d" t' sto.t in em know, not what the coachesknow. Coaching
the NFL, in Buffalo. is repetition, explanation,illustration, imitation,
After that, I wond.ered.
if in mr tifetitk, couection, repetition, and that is the way that
uith mJ years runninq out, will I live to you'll do it.
seea Gramblins QB in the Super BouL?
So I'ue neuer been more satisfied than Hello, Remember lle?
seeins Doue wiUiams set off the eround
and uin the Super Boul for the I'd like to leave you with something I always fin-
WashingtonRe&kins. ish with when I speak somewherc:

Since 1941,there have be€n so manythings to Somepeopk caII me OLdGlat.\,others ?all


be pleased about at Grambling. We have three
peoplein th€ pm football Hall ofFame. We have me b! the Star-Spangkd Banne. but
Willie Davis in the '50s, and Willie Bro$n ald uhatzuer the! 0II me, I arn your flag
Buck Buchanan in the'60s.Vince Lombardi said of the United States ofAnerica.
Davis' quickness,power, and intelligence made Somethins has heenbothering me, so
him the besi dcfansiveend that he'd ever coached. I thought I mieht talk it orcr uith
We've had t€levision covelage,great teams, and
great players. you, becauseit is ahout lou and tne.
But with all the succesBGrambling has had I rcnember sometime ago,peopk lined up
over the yeals, sometimesyou still have to ask on both sidesof the street to watch the
194 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

paradc dnd. noturolU.I ua,leading children running around.and.


eL)ery parade, proudly uauinE in the shoutinE;ther dan't seemto knou uho
breeze.Whenyour daddy saw me I am. I saw one man tahe his hat off,
coming, he immedidtelr rcmouedhis thzn looh arcund. He didn't see
hat and placed it dgainst his left anybody else with theirs off, so he
shouldErso that the hand uas quichly put his bach on.
directly ouer his heatt, rcnember? Is it a sin to be patriatic an! more? Haue
And you, I rememberyou. Stand.ingtherc rou forgotten uhat I stand for and
straight as a soldier. vou d.idn't haue uhere I've been?Anzio, Guad.alcanal,
a hdt, but Jou uere giuing the right Korea, and Viet Nan. Tahe a looh at
salute. Renember lit tle sisler'No1 1u the memorial honor rotls sometimes,
of those uho neuer came back to heep
be outdone,Eheuas salutinE the
this repubLic flee, one nation, under
same as rou uith her right hand oDer
God. Whenrou salute me,rou are
her heart. Remenlber?
saluting them.
What happened?rm still the Bameold
WeIL it won't be long until rU be coming
flae. Oh, I haL)ea feu more stars
doun the streetagain. So, uhen you
since you were a boy.A lot morc blood
seeme, stand straighL place Jour
has been shed since those parad,es of
fight hand ouerrour hedrt, dnd I'LL
Ions dso.But nou I don't lbel as
salute lou by ualting bach,and I'li
proud. as I used to.
hnow that rou remembet
WhenI comedoun pur street,Joujust
stand.there with lour hand.\ in your You are the greatest people, and this is the
pocheb. I mar get a smdll elance, and greatest pmfession. Keep making these young
then rou Loohaua!. Then, I sez the boys be good Americans.

1991 Prcceedings. Codch Robinson b head coach at Grumblins State UniLtersity


PHILOSOPHY, NIOTIVATION. AND MANAGI]I,INNT 195

,, l t :',..1 :,::

Motivation-The Difference.Maker
in Goaching
LEE CORSO
I

\\hen you talk to football players, you'd better Responsibility


believ€ in what you're talking about. They can
senseit!They know lhat when the coachsays,"I Beforcyou can motivate anyonein this world, you
want you to do this," that he bclieves it. If not, must have thei r respecl.Coacheshave alormorc
they're not going to play lor you, they're not go- responsibility than tcachingkids to ramoff-tackle.
ing to perform for you, and most important, They've got one of th€ most responsiblejobs in
they're not going to respect youl the worldl Sure, the Xs nnd O's are important in
You know what we do the first two weeks of winning games.But a coach'smain rcsponsibil
our spdng practice,bothonthe field andin me€r- ity to a football piaycris to teach him tobe a bet,
ings? We work on the mind- We try to figurc oul ter man. If it isn't, why not let him play some
what we can do to stimulate these young men. othcr sport, or lcthim hang arorind tbe corner,or
We have different young men every year. You've lei hirn go to tho biology teacher?That is to m€
got to motivate them in different ways. I've seen the most impodant r.esponsibility of a football
guys try to motivateone football team exacrlythe coach today-to take his football players and
way th€y did anotheaand that's dillicult. They're motivate them, mold them, and tcach them to be
not tho same.And I belicve jn the basicright and
dignity ofevery man to be different. Evcry rnan There are a lot offathers sittine at home,play-
hastherighttobe himselfandtobehis own rrdr, ins gou workins, or flyins all over,who tum their
no matter what he believesin. sons over to the coach and say, "Whatever you
do, nake th€m better men, bocauseI don't havc
tho time."When you look at it lik€ that, it's a tre-
Flexibility mcndousrcsponsibility and privilege.Andthat's
You'vegot to change.There's one thing I learned Fxrl1lj thp $dy I lpelabou coacuqu a prcti,s"ion
from the United States Naval AcademI if they
taught me nothine else. I leamed to "I & A' Self-Gonlidence and Optimism
iDprovise and adjust.That's exactlywh at it takes
in tullegecoachrnp.n hiAhs.hoolcoeching. or ir Tbe first thing is theymustbelieve in themselvos.
life. You're putting in their minds, a little at a tim€,
Coaches shorld be ready at any moment to the masic of believing in themselves.You sce a
adjust their philosophy,il n€ceEsary. You better guy,fbr exanple, walkinc into a rcom and pcople
have r-uleswith alittle outlet. You nust be ready rvill say, "I don't know \lho that guy is, but he
to move quickly, to impmvise, and to adjust ev- must be a winner." This is because he moves,
ery momenl in your lile when you're dealingwith looks,and acts as ifhe bclicve!'in himself. Ifyou
men 15 to 20 yeals old, becausethey'rc chang- don't believe in youlsel4 don't ever expect any
ingi They're changing from year to year, liom man to bctieve in you. They won't do it. You've
week to weok, fron day to day,and from houl io got to hav€ that inner bclieffirst.
hour Evaluate whatever you did last year to Never downgrade a man. You'vegot to havo a
motivato your people to sce if jt is feasible this pelsonal inner p dc. You've got to get it ou1 ot
y€a. Eve4' Sunday aftemoon we look at what him-it's inside. Holv? You keep tclling him he's
w€'.e going to do to motivate our guys this week. got itthere.You tell him he'sgot more pride than
And it changesevory week. But thcre are sone you've ever secn in anybodylThe player $'i1lend
basic p nciples thai IA like to go over. up saying, "I do have that pemonal pride, and

l
196 FOOTBALLCOACHINGSTRATEGIES

thc othcl guy doesn't,and when it gets down to and peoplewill trcat you like a bum. You might
tha fourth quader, I'm going to winl" You may say,"$Ihat does'act like a man' mean?" PlayeIS
think that won't work, but it will. knowl Let them use some of their imagination.
When I eot the job at Louisville, in thrc€ days I You gei ihose iwo pdnciples acrossto them, and
spent morc money on football unifonns than my they'l play. And wh€n they get to respecting the
predecessor didin five yeals.I said to the players, coach,then he can motivat€ them.
"Gentlemen, you now look like what we're going to A11 coaches are looking for disciplin€, and
be champion".Youvn gor rhe finebruniforrnsin no matter what anybody tells m€, the first
'hp world You look lik. a .hamp,on: Youre soins thing you've got to have in order to discipline a
to play like a championl"You know wbat happened? man is his respect of you as a person. We've
They lookedat eachoth€r and said,'You'rerightl rflpd i di|rerpnt approd.h ro rho normal ngid
You're damned righi, we do look b€tter! We're a lot discipline. We tell our players that we want
bettd team than we were I ast yearl" In their minds, them lo bc disciplrnedfrom r he in"ide out, pr-
they fclt lika they were bett€rl acUy the way you try to heal a wound. The real
Aftcr you snap the ball, you can't promise any danger is when you discipline by commands,
body anything- That's when the other guy's tal- as ifthe playe$ are robots.
ents comeinio play. But on your side ofthe line, If you rcgiment players and t€ll them every-
you can do anything you want. And they can't hjt thins to do, they'lI do it, but jt won't be part oi
you! Stop and thjnk about that sometimei How them-inEid€ ofthem. Wlen it gets down to the
long bave you spent on your pregame wannupl fourth quader, and it's fourth-and-1, thelll quit
Our guys take pdde in their pregam€ warmup. a lot oftimes. They'll sar "To hell with it! I dont
Tbey actually think it helps them win! They ac- believe in that guy anyhowl"
tually think it's worth a touchdownat the end!It Tra to avoid the extremesifyou can. Don't go
du"inl malp an) difference $ hFrhorir i. !r isnl all tho way in one direction,letting them do any-
whai's important is that they think it is. rhing they $anl ro: and don t go all the $ay in
Anotber thing we've leamed is ihal therc's no the oth€r dir€ction, telling them they can't do
use worrying about the other guy'stalent. There's anyihing! Try to hit, in your own way, a happy
nothing you can do about it. You cannot contml medium.
the other man's team, and 907r of the coaches
$untr too much aboul $har rhe mher g!) s gor
Youcan't do anlthing about it. Worry aboutwhat Respect
you've got, and make them the best. I've head collegocoaches6ay,"Run the deadwood
We run into a lot ofnesative thinking in foot- o1f."Ilyou do, you re not gaining anlthing there-
ball there's always something wrong, always you're losing a possibility.You'r€losing a guy who
something bad. We don't allow one negative could possibly help in some way. And when the
phrase in our whole oryanizatjon. We've got the guy you run off is on the loudh team, guess who
world's worst dressing room, but it's cloEeto the his best friend is? The star! And tho star says,
pmctice field. That's positive thinking. Always s€ll "Some day, coach,I'm going to get you for run-
this positiveattitud€. If you think thines are bad, ning mybest friend out ofher€." So,berospectful
go by the cemetery. lo rhe guy with less ability, became you are usu
ally judeed by the team on th€ way you treat your
Self.Discipline
You nust believe that the most important
We bave two haining rules. The first one is to peoplein the world besidesyour family are your
treat eueryman as Jou uant to bc treate(L\our- players, becausethat's what you want them to
sefi That's all we ask you to do. And you know beljeveabout th€ coach.Every day,do something
what happens?You']l find a beautjful family stad- respectlul toward a playe. Somedayit will come
ing to d€velop.B€causewhen a guy starts to say back to you. We try to do that.
qomerhingro s^mabod)cl"e. and he raali/-., I The challenge coachesface is a tremendous
wouldn't want him to say that to me,"it comesas one.W€can only succeedifwe continu€ togoover
a rFa.rionbp.auseIhe) fcpl ir in rh. herrl. the rclationships and duties with oul playeft with
The secondhaining rule ]s to act likt a man the samo aggressive and progressive attitude that
and.rou'll be treated.lilrea /'?dn.Act like a bum we have doing Xs and O's on the blackboard.

1972Proceediaes.CoachCarsais d footboll andlrst lor ESPN.


PHILOSOPIIY,MOTIVATION,AND MANAGEMENT 19?

| 1aC * i g $ I !. i i I i i I g | : t t: ii 11i ;, i ; : ?, | : i 2
Getting Your Team Ready to Play
KEN HATFIELD
{F *{ti, ri ii !,] i, ,q ', Q rs il; ill t
Back in 1982 at the Air Force Acad€my,a week A fr€sh football player, who is eager and antici'
after w€U defeated Bdgham Young, 39-38, we pates the game on Satwday, will play harder and
werc plalns ColoradoState with a chanceto win make morc big things happen than if he works
o11Ivery fiIstWesternAthletic Confercnce cham- on a play 15 to 20 extra times, and winds up be-
pionship. It was an excitins same--one in which ing too tired before kickoff.
we had 19 plays of10-plu3 yards on off€nse-but Along with thosetwo l€ssons be fresh at kick-
we lost becauBewe turned it over six times. off and football players win games, not football
As I iooked at the film after that game and plays w" try to makF sure our players anjoy
saw that on many of the turnovers we just playing the game, that it's frm for them. Football
droppedIhe ball and reclll wprpnl erer hrr.I is a fun sport, and the th ll ofcompetition has to
started to question my own coachingabjlity and be enjoyable each and eve4' day. Il they look for-
wh€ther I was overcoachingpeople.The week of ward to playing the ballsame, then they willplay
thatgame, becauseitmeant so much,I'dbeenup their hearts out, and that's all you can ask, come
twice at 3:30in the morning, irying to get a little Saturday.
exha film work just to b€ sure we had the dght
game plan. Free Day
Obviously,it didn't work. And I renember say
ing after that ballgame that llom now on, what I am indebted to a high school coach-Tom Grani
ever happens, our t€am will be mentally and ofJa€ksonville Wolfson Hish Schoolin Jackson-
physically fresh at kickoff. ville, Flodda-for something he taught me, and
So we changed our philosophy, cuttins back on that'E to give players som€ time to themselv€s
plactice. No drills on Monday, no drills on Fri- duringthFseason. AJtar TtalkedloTomonpsprinC
day, and no meetings on Sunday. It really paid during recruiting, I came back and told our
offfor us, as we won 18 olour next 21 games. coachesftom then on we would not meet with our
The second lesson came while playing the Uni- playeB on Sunday.
veruity of Hawaii in a bis game, also in '82. We Well, you can imasin€ the rebellion that
ran our basic triple option play. bmught about. But I said th€s€ kids need some
As the quarterback read the tackle, who hap- fre€ time to themselves;they need some tima to
pened to loop out, he handed the ball off to our make their decisions,to sleep, to go to church,
fullback. The defense did an echo stunt and th€ andjust r€la-\ on Sunday if they want to. W€ in-
end fold€d back inside to try to tackle the full- stituted the program and have continu€d it, and
back. Off tough, short fullback lowered his shoul- it has beenthe No. l best thing that we have dono.
der and knocked the defensiv€ €nd down. As soon It allows the player a chancenow to sleep,to
as that happened,the o{Tsidelinebackerwas com- go to churcb, to watch pro football, to study,or do
ing across and hit oul fullback as hard as he could, really wbatever he wants to on a Sunday, and
but our fullback kept bis feet cbuming and have one tull day where he doesn'tseeany ofhis
knockedhim down, and then about 5 yards later coaches.We find that by Monday,he is really ea
met their free safety head-on in the open field. ger and ready to learn everFhingthat he should
TheFB knockedhiin down too and went 44 yards have leamed in the game the previousweek, and
for a touchdown. he is rcady to go on from there.
As I stood on th€ sideline and looked at my The secondbenefit we'vefound is that now the
assistant, Fisher DeBerrja I thought about how assisranr.oachcsdon t hav' ro rush rhroughFv-
the d€fens€ had read the play conectly, but our er)'thing they're doine on Sunday. We no lonser
tullback had just run over three people. I said, have to hurry and grade 1.hefilm beforethe play-
"Footbal playeN win sames,not footbal plays." ers come in, or hurry to make corections or
198 FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

adjustments on new things they are going to do. a player learns to do that every day in practice,
We all were used to hunying ihough eve4rthing, when tbere's no band or cheerleaders,or nobody
and, as a result, never really thought things out out there watching him, and he is in that didy
completely.Thisway, we're able to take our time, old uniform, and repeating plays 15 or 20 times,
erade the film, determine as a steff what correc- then I know what he'Il play like on Saturdat with
tions need to be made, and then mak€ th€ correc- his folks therc, with that clean uniform on, out
tions with play€Is on Monday. on that field, representing all those fans in th€
I told our staff that a player doesn't need to stands that came to seehim play.
seethemistake hemadeifhe mad€ the Banreone Entht1siasmnever wears out. If you play with
l0 rimes.HeJubtneedsro sceir oncAor twicp,so enthusiasm each and every day, it never wears
there's no real needfor him to seethe whole foot- out, and that enablesyou to play yo1ll best each
ball game. He just ne€ds to lee the one or two and every week also.
mistakes he made, how he is going to corrcct
thcm. and go from thera.Don\ keepharpingon
the same mistake. Goalward Bound
A final Buggestjon to keep in mind when trying
Enthusiasm, Not Emotion to play your best each week is to set a new goal
each week. Last year our goal was to impmve each
Anolher thing thal h.lp. our playersbe consis- week so that we could win a bowl bid.
tent weekinandweek out is to leam to play with We kept that as a goal, and w€ tried to prepare
enthusiasm versus emotion. Everfbody has seen for each game to impmve from week to week. If
an emotional team. A t€am that plays with high you lose du ng the season,then you\e got to sell
emotionsusually has ereat highs and gl€at lows, your kids on the importanc€ ofimprovjq for that
becauseit is hard to sustain a high emotion at all next ballgame, becausewh€n the kids beLevern
times. Every game doesn't bring out the high something, you\e got the tiger by the tail. We
emotionsinyou, and many times teams that play won the bowl bid.
the ereat high emotional gamesare very suscep These have been some of the basic ideas that
tible the next week to getting knocked offby an we feel arc importantin prepadng a team to play
inlerior opponent, who itself is very high emo its best each and every week, week alter week
tionally. thoughout the season.The main thing is to keep
We thinh that if you learn to play with entbu the joy and enthusiasm in the eame of football,
siasm, that enthl1siasm never weals out, and sothe kids look foruard to coming out there each
that's why we emphasizeplaying your best this and every day.When kids have tun, and they want
play.The motto or the foundationto our pro$am to comp€te,and they want to be the very best,
iE to play our best this play in practice,becauseif then you'lI play well €very Satuday

1989 Sumtut ManuaL Coach Hdtfield is hea.l. codch at Ric. UniDeBitr.


PHILOSOPHY,MO/TIVATION,AND MANAGEMENT 199

gg x f i $ $ E g x * & g I & $ *''8*6I B € g * a s f i $ N& ( $ *


T[rning a Program Around
GLENMASON
* s* ss**g g € **$ $ $ ;Qx x * s $ E tts s $ s * n a & p
Like most coaches,I movedinto this job and was concentrate on where you'r€ going. Some
offered an oppor'tunity because th€ situation was coachesspend too much energy co\ering
not great. That's why a coaching change was what has gone wmng in the past and second-
made.TCsa situationof"catchingup and tuming guessing their predecessor.
things around. or more appropriatcl).'l um ing 2. Don't wont about things lou have ai tle
things around and cat{hing up." control oaer. yo|u have the job now Dont
Anyone who has venturcd into a turnaround become overwhelmed on what you don't
situation will attest that you can feel over- have in the way of facilities, tunds, talent,
whelmed by th€ job at hand. Here are some suide- etc. Spend your time on the things you have
lines I'd suggest to get started. a chance to contrcl-your coacheBand your
players.
1. Evaluate present stotrrs. Objectively
evaluate what condition your progtam rs m. 3. Emphasize inproDernent. Too often, all
Once you've done this, forget about it and we talk about is winning. However, when
asked the question, 'how do you win?" we
have no consensus on the correct answer.
The?efore, set your sights on impmving your
team a6 fast as possible.You must believe
thal if you do a greal job of improving.
winning will take care of itself. U you
improve as much as you can, and you still
don't win, there isn't an)'thing else you could

4. Be enthusiastic and positiue. W}ren a


program is down, everyone will be rcminded
ofthe bad $ings-lhp media,fan6,alumni,
etc. Do not reinforce their negatives. Get
your hands on the good things and r.un with
them. Enthusiasm is contagious, and
nothing gr€at can b€ accompliBhedwitlout it.
5, Set !ou/ sighte high. Yes, I already
recomoended that the emphasis should be
on improvement. However, don't los€ sight
of where you want to end up.
6. Don't k'€e faith in yozrself, ltre road will
be bumpy You will get knocked down many
times floored a lew times. Stick to what
you believe in, and stay strong and
confident.

A formula for succeseis diagramed in Figure 1.


2OO FOOTBALL COACHING STRATEGIES

These four areas of development and im-


FIGURE
I l-;""",..."r" provement are emphasized.
. Arlirader Never b€ outhit or outhuBtled.
@ . Cond.itioninC: Be in the best possible
condition.
.l . Technique: Teach, practice, €valuate, and
stress the fu ndamentals.
, Knowledee: 'feach the whole picture so
TEAMIMPROVEIVENT players know the why behind the system.
Wcll gain an edgeby usingour brain.
. Clarify player expectations.
(fioreEG#b I @ Make certain each player in the program
@ knows what his most important rcsponsibili-
ties are to th€ pmeram.
. Do your best (academically,athleticallt
and socially).
Key Part of the Plan . Do the right thing.
. Be honest.
There must be a basic plan or philosophy that . Be totally committed and loyal to our
ev€rlthing spinB off of. These become very de- pmgram.
tailed;however,here are someofthe moBtimpor- r Take great pride in your perforrnance and
our team performance,
. Hire a quality staff
The most impodant factor in "catching up and
. Set practice guidelines for pmctice. turning things around" is people. Sunound your-
. EstabliBh a style offootball. sell with the right people, and you are on your
. Developyour players. way. It will be just a matter of time-and it will
be well wor.th it.

*1992 Aummer Manual. Coach M@on ia haad.coaah at thz Uniuercity of Miwzsot&.

&* E i * l t x r g ! t&t . ri * $ s g * * i I B t t g * { $ 1,* l 1E *


Goaching Duties and Opportunities
BILL SNYDER
4 $ $ *3 g $ $ i c 6* ]i * I X Q I l f r g* $ i g$ *lt I i
About 80% of all college football coaches are as-
'r
My experience as a head coach has allowed me
sistants. I was a college assistant for 15 years. to r€alizerhal I wasnl nearl) as goodan assis-
Any successI have had ae a head coachis due to tant as I could have been. I think that the per-
the work ofassistant coaches.I am grat€ful to all ception of the head coaching position often stands
ofyou who serve in that capacity and I want to in the way of proper communication and interac-
sharc these quick thoughts with you. tion between a head coach and his assistants. III
I didn't completelyundemtand the position of werc to offer any suggestions to assistant coaches
a head coach,nor his true relationship \.ith his at any level, they might be the following:
assistants, until I had the oppodunity to serv€
as a head coachfor a few years. There are some . Undeistand that the bt pictu€ is lary€r and
B€riou misperceptions about both positions and more significant than eachpart. Decisions(even
their roles that I seriously doubt anyone can tmly though not alwals to our liking) sholrld be ac-
appeciate, until they hav€ s€rr'edin both capacities. ceptedand supponedbascdon thar premise.
PHILOSOPHY.MOTIVATION.AND MANAGEMENT 201

. Trust the instinch ofthGe more experienced sions to make than you and I at the Bame age.
than yoffself. Just like players, experrence For these age groups, this is the most difflcult
means a gyeat deal, and as detailed as we and complex tim€ in the history of our society.
get, instinctplays a key role in daily success These young people need you. They need to un-
and failltreB. derstand a processby which they can make good
. G€nuin€ concern and caring for €ach other, decisions about how they choose to conduct their
and for all parties and facets of a program lives and react to the daily choiceslaid out before
needtobe combined(in a proper blend) with them.
strict discipline. These two entiti€s can co- In rnany cases,you and you alone have the
exist. power to teach them such a proc€ss.In addition,
. Assistants must carry out the discipline of you arc capable(ifyou will) ofinfluencins these
the prcgram and accept and want the respon- young men to positively influenc€ the lives of oth-
sibility for their players. Too often, assistants €rB in their communities. You can (if you will)
sidestep dtucipline for the sake of "making teach them leadership,you can t€ach them to af-
ftiends" with their player8. fect the decisions of others younger than them-
. Acceptthe responsibilityfor successand fail- selves,but susceptibleto the samepreBsuresand
ure (winning and losing). choices.Many young black people,in par.ticular,
. Realiz€that all problemscanbe solvediftwo need leadem, role modelB,peoplewho care, and
people(orhowevermany are involved) truly people who can inflrenc€ their decision-making
want to solvethem. processand guide them out ofdarknesB.
W}lo better to be that guiding lieht than the
We're all blessedwith the opportunity to im- young men you coach?You can influ€nce them to
pact young lives. Not only must we s€e it as an becom€that gujding light:to save a life, prevent
oppoftunity, but equally as a responsibility This a rape,prevent a killing, prevent an unlawful act,
is a most difficult time lor young people in the pr€vent an additional addict. It's amazing what
age goups with which you work. a positive impact we could have on this society
Youngpeop)ehare greateraccessro informa- by networking through our playem to the Yulner'
tion and, at th€ same tim€, morc diffrcult deci- able youth of our country.

1994 Pr@ee'l.ings. C@ch Snld.er is head.oach dt Kansas Stote UniueBitr.

: , I : L l i I l $ I *i : rq i ii $ I t i tqf ll I :11 t t f { :
Goaching Plrilosophy and Obiectives
DONNEHLEN
al Q * I I :l:.,,1 | \ ff ,. i :,,:: : : i
i t rr i tr 4,& r t a:i i ):i.,,t
In every decisionI make as a head lootball coach Establishing Priorities
with my team, the most important thing to me rs
the morale olmy staff and our football play€rs. I
for the Program
thinh therc are a lot ofways to throw the post or Right off, our kids undemtand the mission olour
whatever you want to do, but the only thing that football proflam. First, to each a d€greeand to
really matiem is the attitude ofthe guys who set all an education.When you're not teaching this,
that done for you. yot're teaching somethine else, and that some-
If any ofyou hav€ followed our football team, thing elseis wrong.Ilthath not yourp ority, then
the only thing that you'll find out is lhat folks you'rc going to take shortcuts and you're going to
normaly will say,"They cometo play."Theycome do some things you shouldn't be doing with those
to play becausethat's what I work on the most. young guys.
We do an awful lut ds far as moli\ ation is con. The No. 1 ihing that oul kids have to under-
sLandis that this is what we re m the business
202 FOOTBAIL COACHINGSTR{TEGIES

for. We'regoing to do the bestjob we possiblycan too happy about that-and I've been on the road
do to help these kids graduate. Don't misunder- since.I can't wait to get back to our football team.
stand me-we don't bat 1007.,brl I think we do They have to make sur€ that they have the com-
a pretty goodjob. mitment, becausewe've aheady started oul pro-
W})ensomebodyasks me about our graduation Sram ror nexr year.
rate, I tell them, "Every one of those glys who O1lIn€xtvalueis loJolry.You can't build a pro-
wants to," and right now, about 7 and 1/2 out of glam without loyal coachesand players. Our play
every 10 guys want to. We\e got to get a littl€ €rs kno\\' I'm going to frght. I'm going to scrap.
bette! but thatl our mission, and our kids un- I'm going to scream for every one of them. My
derstand where we're coming from. coachesknow the same thing. I expect that the
The values that we have arc character through secrctaries,thejanitor, the third-st ng quarter-
discipline.We want character on our team. You back, and the graduate assjstants all have the
all know wh en its fourth-and-1,you'vegot to have same loyalty
the right kind of guys playing for you. We're go- One thing I know about coaching football or
ing to discipline our kids; we'rc not soing to ha about running an organization is that yor can'L
ras8 them. But we're going to make surc they do have loyalty if your employee or youl football
what's rightwhen theyre supposedto do it.Ifwe player lies to you. I can't support my guy if he's
have characte! guys, then we've got a chanceto going to lie. Ourki& understand that. Loyatty is
win. Ith important that they understand if they the most impodant in$edient that anybody can
lack charaeterrhpyre nut going ro lasr in our bdng to any organjzation. Loyalty starts at the
program very lone. top.It works on do\rn and dsht back up through.
The secondthing we talk about is our family. Il they un derstand that, then I think you'vegot a
This is our family. We dont have black guys. We chanceto motivate your players, andyou'vegot a
don't have white euys.We don't hav€ sho tsuls.
We don't have fat guys.We'vegot a team. I'm the
head olthe family, and what I say in that team Establishing a Style
meeting stays in lhat team meetine-
There'Eawesomepower in 100 guys all going
of Football
in onc dirFir ron.hur uhen lou v. gnr $)" jump- I wantourplayers tornd€rstandour style of fbot-
ing outside that framework, then you've got a ball. Number one, we're soing to be p,4Jstcal.I
problem. They understand that our fanrilyis the want them to undentand how we're going to be
name ofthe game. pbysical. I want them to undeGtand how we're
It's our footbali fainily, and we're coin g to hang going to practic€.Inthe spring, we're going to hit
tough. You know and I know that when you lose every day, and we're going to hit in the fall on
a football game, the student newspaper is after Tuesdaysand Wednesdays.Thelre soing to hav€
you and it's very, very important that your kidts to be physical ifthey're going to play in our pro-
hans toseth€r Lots of lblks will try to get them cram.
to scattex Ourfamilyis the secondvalu€ that we I used to worry all the time about injuries, be-
work extrcm€ly hard to preEerve. causeof the way we played. I coachedfor coach
Next is our commirmert. Our playels hale to Schembechlerai Michigan. I said,'Coach a.e you
undedtand the commitment that they have to suie we'rc doingwhat's ght?We'r€eoingto bave
make to play at our level. We don't have a lot of to play wjth the thid-strins suard."And he said,
players in Westviginia we've got a lot oftrees "Don, if he can sunive this week, he'll be good
but the p]ayers we have are tough and the com- enorgh on Satuday. That's your basic problem,
mitment they have to make is big leagne. They Don. You're soft. Our team will play on Saturday
have to understand that in order for us tu wxr, with whoever is left."
th ey're going to have to lift, they have to rr!, uey And you know what? He was .ight almost ev-
have to do all the things all you guys expect your ery time. Wloever playedin that gamewas ready
playeft to do in order to play.They have to make to play becauseth€y had commitment, they had
a great commitment to that program. loyalty,and {.ith that week ofrepetition, they got
Football is no longer a game thafs played in it done for us.
S€ptemb€r,Octob€r,and November.Football is Second,you've eot to hav€ ,enc.ious guys on
aU year long. I can't wait to get back to school. youl team. I have a little story I teli our team.
We Ieft the Sugar Bowl and you know I wasn't There's a guy at the bottom of a we)I, and be's a
PHILOSOPHY,MOTIVATION,AND MANAGEMENT 203

Mountaineer.He climbs his way to the top ofthe lifth in our league. Five years ago, we also won
wel]. Our biggest game is Pitt, so the exy at the 11 games.So I know some ofthis stuff works if
top who ke€ps pounding his hands and making yolr work at it long onough and hard enotgh.
him Elip back down is a Panther.The Mountajn I love theX's and O's.I don't think therc's any
eerclimbs up and gets poundedback down about question they'rc important. But, ifyou are fun-
500 tim€s. But the 50lst time, he climbs up, and damentally sound and youl kids arc motivated
the Panther gets tired ofhittinghim. That's when and they have gr€at morale, you'vc gol a gleat
the Mountaineer grabs him and chokes him to
death. OuI goals are not fancy. Our goal this year was
That sounds a little fadetched, but our kids simple- .just play and play had. Th€ only timc
start to understand about playing football and the scoreboardmatt€rs is atthe end ofthe game.
being tenacious.Hanging on with great effort is We don't know which play is going to be the onc
the name ofthe game. that wins it, so play hard on €ve{r play until the
Number three,I want a closs.',fbotball team.I end.You play as had as you can on every singl€
dont want a bunch ofbums.I want a team.I want plav.
guys who un derstandthey reprcsenl themselves, Every decision I make is based on ho{' it is
their family, our unil'ersity, and our coaching staf goingto afibct team morale.Thatmeans the flrst
When we tmvel, everyonewears a coat and a stringquafie$ack, the thid string quart€rback,
tie. When we eat, everyonewaars a coat and a the startingtackle, th€ foudh st nstackle. They
tie.In the dining hall, nobodysits down until th€ have to understand their roles on the football
captain saysgrace.Today,ea1Tingsare a big fash- team, and how importantthey arc to the success
ion, and that's fine, but on Fridays they take them ofthat football team.
out and they don't put them in until after tha If you've eot 100 guys on your team and they
game. They understand that we're not harass- don't all feel like th€y're impodanl, then Jou
ingan)on+bur Ihe) undFrsrand $ hdt $pretrl- aren't going to win them all. I boli€ve that's th€
ing to do.We'retrying to be a classylootball t€am- iob of the hoad coach.He has got to do a goodjob
A Lot of times whan we go away fron home, making sure that all his kids belicve that they'rc
nobodytells us we're very good,but they always special.
tell us how well behavedour kids are.That's what We also work hard at bringing our team to-
we'rc trying to teacb our kids. We'rc in the edu- gether.One thingwe do is have a superstarscon-
cdlionbusinpss,nor r hp enLeflainmFrrbusi.lesh. test. Our kids love it. That's the first thing they
Lastly, with our style is confidence.We want ask me when we eet back tosether each season,
our kids to believebeforethey ever take the field "Ooach,when are we having the superstars con
thatthelrc soins to win.Ifyou don't believethat, test?" It's fun. We have a dance.Wo have a ea
gang, you have a major, major problem. We won sino night.We do something at th€ bo$4ingaUey.
11 lbotball games this year and we wcm picked things to have tun as a team.

1991Pra&\dings. C@ch Nehlen is hedd..trch o t WestViryinid Uhir.tsit!_


F(lllTBAI.L
C|IACHES
ASS0C|ATt0

Since it was founded in 1922, the Arrtencan tion, the AFCA is involved in numernus programs
Football Coaches Association has strivetr ro that ensure the integrity of the coaching profes-
'provide a forum for the discussion and study ol sion and enhance the development of the game.
all matters pertaining to footbal and coaching" The Association works closely with the National
and to "maintain the highest poesible standards Collegiate Athl€tic A.ssociation, the National AE-
in football and the coaching profeBsion." Th$e sociation of Collegiate Directors ofAtl etics, the
objectives, fiIst declared by founders such as NationalA.esociation of Intercolegiat€Athletics,
Amos Alonzo Stagg and John Heisman, have been the National Football League, the Carrafian Foot-
inBtrumental in the AFCA's becoming the ball League, the National Football Foundation
effective and highly respected organization it is and Hall ofFame, Pop Warner, and oLherorgani-
today. zations involved in th€ same. Indeed, one ofthe
The A.FCA now has more than 7,000 membeB, many goals ofthe Assosiation is to build a Btrong
including coaches from Canada, Europe, Ausha- coalition offootbal coaches-TEAM A.FCA who
lia, Japan, and Russia. Through three annual will speak out with a unified voice on issues that
publications and several newsletteru, the Asso- affect their sport and profession.
ciation keeps members informed ofthe most cur- the AFCA is tte team for the football coaching
rent rr.rleschangesand pmposals,proper coach- profession. A[ cur€nt and forrner football coaches
ing methods, innovatioN in techniques, i$ights or administrators who are connected with the
in coaching philosophy, and the business con- gam€ are encouragedto join. To becomea mem-
ducted by the Boad ofTrustees and AFCA com- ber ofthe American Football CoachesAssociation.
mittees. A convenLionheld each January gives please write or call:
members a special opportunity to exchange ideas
and recognize outstanding achievement. AI'CA
The A-ssociation promotes safety in the sport, 6900 Old Mccregor Road
and set€forth strong ethical and moral codeBthat Waco,TX 76712
govem all aspect€ of football coaching. In addi- $1T 774-6900

205
One.ofAmertcos winningestcollcpe
coaches
shateshissecrets 700tunnin&.passing, dnd sp\inl
t'or succcis, ptays nII expertl!diagtumnci.

Bob Reade Dwisht ,,Dee,,


Forelnordb1t Hawk-es, Editor
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1994. Paper . 192oD Dennis Ericlrsoit
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__
ItemPALLo37o ISBN 0-87322-398-s
ISBN G88011-370-7 $14.9s(921.9sCaradia)
$1e.9s(927.9scanadian)

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