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DARREL "MOUSE" DAVIS
Thank you gentlemen. It is good to be here to share some football with you. When you go into
a program there are a couple of different ways a coach can handle building the program. The coach can get together with his staff and organize the program as a Staff, or the Head Coach can decide how to organize the program. He makes all the decisions. The assistant coaches get the knowledge on a "need to know" basis. In which case the assistant coach is no longer a coach. He is a mechanic. He takes the wide receiver and works on his techniques. But he doesn't make any decisions on personnel or what routes to run. I think the higher the level the more mechanics you have and the fewer coaches. I think there are more coaches in the High School level than there is at the Pro level.
I am going to get into an overview of what we have used over the years in our program. I will go fast and not spend much time on one area. Over the years we have tried to sell our program this way. We include all of our coaches in this thinking process. We feel there are three areas to concentrate on. Those three areas are Rapport, Realistic Evaluations, and Selling The Team On What We Are Doing. This is where we start from as a staff.
Let's take an item and discuss it in these terms. How do you build mora1e? You do that with your coaching staff. One way to build pride is to continually talk to your team about pride. We have a variety of things we talk about that instills pride. Pride in past winners is one way. If you are not past winners, then you talk about developing winners. We develop things so that on a particular day we are going out as a staff and talking to our players about one single idea everywhere on that practice field. We talk about pride in individual group chalk talks. We take the first 2 to 10 minutes of the chalk talk to talk about nothing but pride. We talk in our individual groups, our offensive
and defensive groups and our team periods. Everywhere that player goes he is getting the same message.
We have 12 areas each spring that we try to develop in our players. One of those areas we work on is quickness. How do you sell that to your players? There are key areas to be sold which starts with the coaches solidified on psychological thinking. Let' sta.ke quickness. That is an attitude. There are quick guys, but quickness. is an individual attitude. There are two ways to think. If you think you had too many sausages last night, which I did, you will be slow and sluggish. But if you think about being fired up and get all excited, you can change your entire mental attitude about quickness. That is what you must do in coaching. We take a key word and stress that key word in practice each day. If it is important for you to work on it, you must stress the area you want to improve. You have to be quick putting on your helmet or tying your shoes. You have to stay on them and make them think it is important to do everything Quick.
Whatever you try to sell to your kids, you have to solidify your staff on as well. Everything you sell your players on, is what they do. It better be important to you. Your kids can learn anything and develop any kind of attitude that you want them to develop. The things they can't do are the things you can't teach them. They can do anything that you know and believe in.
The chalk talk is important. Take kids into the locker room and get on an individual basis with them. Solidify what you believe in. Don't just fly by the seat of your pants. Have a plan for the psychological thinking that you plan to transfer to your players. Develop your program from a good, sound plan for everything.
Included in our second level of building a program is our Goal Setting, Mental Concentration, Execution, and Believing in Success.
Mental Concentration is a thing you get from simply talking about it. In our whole offensive approach we are obsessed with Execution. Our players hear that so much during the course of a season because it is important for us. We are not going to be smarter than the defense. We tell our players that the defensive coaches are smarter than we are. They are better prepared and really understand the defense. However, we are going to execute our offense and take advantage of the weakness of the defense. We are not going to take advantage of the players, but the defensive scheme. We tell our players the defensive coaches are better coaches than we are and it is up to them to execute. They are told if they execute there is no defense that can keep us out of the end zone. We will be producti ve . This is what you are supposed to do on offense. We know that every defense has a weakness. We take advantage of that defense. You can not execute if you only think football on the field. We sell a kid on how important it is to think football off the field. On an on going basis you must have a plan. You must have a plan for visualization and study. The higher the level of play the more you have to do it. Players become pros because they are extremely talented. Their asses will be on the street because they don't think about football off the field enough. Everyone at the pro level is good. It is the people who can execute who stay. Everything is relative. The game is not any different at any level. At some levels it can become more sophisticated because of the amount of time you have to Spend with the players.
We think coaching principles are important. We want to make sure every coach is doing his level best to have good rapport with his players. When the coach has great rapport with his players he can sell them better. Every coach does it his own way, but he has to keep the ultimate purpose in mind. That is to win football games. This is a crappy profession if you don't win. The coach has to be himself but he has to keep the ultimate goal in mind at all times.
We run the absolute best offense in America. I believe on the high school and college level it is unstoppable. With a very average football team we
were the 3rd best in the NFL in scoring average. That is not very good if you are a losing team. But as far as offensive production we were good. We are going to sell to our players our past results on offense, and how our plan is going to be a great offense. I believe the number one guy on a football team is the Quarterback. After that we want to load up the defense. You win games with defense. If I were coaching high school football, the first person I would get would be a Quarterback, a Single Back, and a Receiver. After that I would fill out the defense with the best players left on.the team. To do that you have to have a realistic evaluation of your personnel. Make it a total staff effort and get all of your coaches involved. Get the position coaches to play an important part in the selection and evaluation of your team. That is all I wanted to talk about in the overview of some of our thoughts as to building a program.
Now let me get to "The Run And Shoot Offense. " To run this offense you have to be in a position to understand what some people think about you. To run this offense you have to be extremely flexible. A lot of defensive coaches think we are screwed up. There are a lot of things they don't know. I do not give a crap if anyone runs this offense or not. I think it is best that they don't run it. However, if you want to run the best offense in America, I will show you what we do. I want to gi ve you something that will be of value to you. I will go over a couple of plays and go through them so you can get something out of them even if you are running the outdated Two Back Offense.
What I normally do is to go over what the QB does with the football first. Today I will take that more into the confines of the play. I think the QB techniques are the most important aspect of this offense. You can't run the Run and Shoot without spending time with the QB. You have to make the QB the MAN. You have the QB in your school. He may not be out for football. You may have to go get him out of the halls of your school, but he is there. You don't need a fast kid to play QB in the Run and Shoot. That is a myth. You do not need a fast QB to run this offense. You need a QB that can throw the football. Mobility
is not important. They told us we couldn't run this offense with Jim Kelly because he was not mobile. We ran it and he was great at it. Kelly had a great arm, a super touch, and was a hell of a kid, with the mentality of a linebacker. If anything we want the QB to slow down. We don't want him sprinting to the corner. We are a controlled roll team. We don't want our QB thinking Pass-Run. We want him thinking Pass-Pass-Pass-Pass. We only run the QB after all the options have broken down.
The first play I want to cover is the Screen. We can run this play against any de f en s i.ve+Look . Some line coaches have a tough time running this play because they are so locked in to the Drop Back Game. This is a Quick Screen where the offensive line does not have to hang up the defensive linemen. If they hang on the line we block them. We prefer to run this play away from corner support or force. That is why we like to run it away from motion. This is a better play in both high school and college because of the rules for offensive linemen on a pass thrown behind the line. The offensive linemen can go up field.
The offensive tackle sets up like he does on a Sprint Right. However, he sets up in a position to get beat by the defensive end. If the end is inside he sets outside. If the end is outside he sets inside to get beat quickly by the end. The tackle lets the end go and gets 4 yards up the field. He blocks from level 2 back to level 1. We are looking for the LB' er. If the LB' er is locked on the fullback, the tackle cuts him down if he can. If the LB'er drops across the tackles face or dogs, the tackle looks to the Nose guard in a spy technique or the backside LB' er. If there is an all out blitz and there is not a one on one block, the tackle works up field always looking inside. The guard is going to do the same thing the tackle did. If the LB'er comes on a blitz he bumps him. His job is to block the first outside force. He does the same thing the tackle does except he blocks outside instead of inside. The center wants the nose guard to take the gap away from the play. We want the center to set hard to the front side. If the nose guard is coming hard to the front side, the center jams him and comes off his butt. When we coach what we
call butt-to-butt we are talking about a technique for our linemen. We want the center and guard to go off the butt of the defensive end and outside the butt of the offensive tackle. It they can remember butt to butt they will never take a defensive man to the ball. As the center gets to the outside his first responsibility is to the inside. If there is nothing coming he looks outside. But we want him working up the chute. We want to work inside out building a wall on the inside.
Our Fullback is called the S-Back.
He has the first outside rush man. He jams the rusher and turns the same way the rusher is coming to a spot about 1 to 1 and 1/2 yards outside of where the offensive tackle was aligned. When the S-Back catches the ball he turns and goes straight up the field. He wants to get into the chute where the tackle is blocking in, and the guard is blocking out. After he gets there he is on his own. If there is nothing there he just runs. That happens a lot. The first thing they do is get too far outside and out of the chute.
The QB comes out deep facing the onside. He has to sell the Out Cut first. He has to do that with his eyes. If the defensive end and LB'ers are reacting to the play too quickly, the culprit is the QB not selling the play. The QB has to surprise the defensive end or LB'er with the ball. That is the way we describe getting the ball to the S-Back. We want the ball dumped to the back without the defensive player being able to knock the ball down. We tell the QB that no matter how many ways we set up the play in practice, it is never the same in a game. He is playing QB because he is a good athlete. he has to get the ball to the S-BaCk some way.
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X 0 Z
~ Let's talk about some things that can happen. If the defensive end lines up heads up on the tackle and doesn't rush, we lose the tackle block
down field. If the defensive end is working outside, the tackle takes him out. The same thing could happen with the nose guard. That is generally where this happens. If the nose guard doesn't come, the center blocks him on the line and doesn't pull. We had teams who full blitzed us and played the defensive end and nose guard on the line. We lose the tackle and center and run a One Man Screen with the Guard and S-Back. If the scheme is a full 7 man blitz, the Guard will probably be blocking the corner blitz man.
If the defense comes with a full blitz and the outside LB'er squats on the S-Back and tackles him, the QB has to bail us out. He should have the corner running on air. He has to make the playa run. He still has a play off the screen.
We run the same play to the X-End or Split End. The onside tackle takes a set step before going up field. That allows the guard to get flatter and quicker into his blocking responsibility. The X-End takes a drive step up field. The QB is rolling away from the X-End. The X-End has to find the passing lane for the QB. He can see the rush lanes of the defense. He has to adjust to give the QB somewhere to throw the ball. If the backside rushers are flat, the X End has to get deeper. If one man stays flat and the other comes up field, he has to get between them to create the lane. The QB has his back to the rushers and can't see them. He is taking three steps and turning back to find the lane of the X End. The line blocking stays the same for the guard and center. The tackles block is delayed for a count.
We can also run the same screen to the Wing Back or the Y Receiver. They are the Slot Backs in the Set. We run toward or away from them and throw the Screen. When we throw this Screen the action of the QB is like he is throwing to the S-Back.
Even against a Zone Defense you .are still OK with this play. You can even
be a straight drop back team and run this play. We played Minnesota twice last year. In the first game we ran this Screen very effectively against them. The second time around they ran our Screen Play against us for over 150 yards. They are a basic drop back team. When we run this play vs. a Zone Coverage, the receivers are taking the top off the coverage. That means they are running deep with no blocking assignments. If we ran motion into the set and the defense ran an extra zone man across the motion, we would go to the backside with the Screen. We would not run the play into people that we don't have men to block with. Our Wing, X, Y, and Z have no blocking responsibility until the top of the coverage breaks down and then comes back to attack the ball. Their job is to run off the defensive backs.
If the outside LB' er squats and doesn't rush the QB, we have a problem. The S-Back reads the No rush, he drives two steps to the outside and comes back inside. Hopefully the guard can kick the LB'er out. We have a bad play. If the outside LB'er squats like that all the time, we have what we want. We have no pressure on the QB and we can throw the ball. The play takes a great deal of heat off your QB. Teams that like to blitz against us are in trouble. Last year in the entire 16 game season we have 15 blitzes against us. The defenses were squatting on us. When they do that we are forced to pass. We were not real fast so we didn't get the big play because of the separation we got between backs and receivers.
Let me take you through a pass play that you can use regardless of the type of offense you are running. First, let me tell you some general information about our Sets. Our Receivers are X and Y for the two Split Ends. The Slot Backs are called Wing and Y Backs. The Wing Back lines up on the same side as X does. The Y Back lines
up with the Z Back. We call all of our formations with motion. If the wing is going in motion to the right or left we call a three letter word. To the Right is Rip and the Left is Liz. The Y receiver has a four letter word. To the right is Rose and to the Left is Load. We have other motion schemes but I do not have time to get into them.
The first call we make is the Motion Call. The next thing we call is the Direction of the QB. If we have a 60 Call the QB motion is to the right. A 61 call would go to the left. We also have to call the direction of the Single Back and the line.
In our blocking assignments we are very simple. If you are not simple, there will be a lot of mistakes made. We number the defensive alignments 0, 1, 2, and 3. The blocking assignment is simple. Block your numbers. The uncovered linemen sets onside and blocks backside if his man doesn't come. If you are going to block the Sprint game, start with the Man Principles for the blocking scheme. If you don't you will get your ass sacked a lot from the backside. Always start with Man Principles and go to Zone. You can not block either Man or Zone totally. If a team goes into an alignment where the guard and tackle is covered with aLB' erin the gap between the guard, we block big on big. If we applied the rules, the guard would block number 1, the tackle takes number 2, and the Single Back blocks number 3. That puts Barry Sanders on a Defensive End. That is a mismatch. We make a call and block Big on Big and let the back take the LB'er or the Nickel Back if he comes on the blitz.
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Another situation we have to handle is the reach of the offensive tackle. We tell him how far he can widen before he comes back inside. The S-Back is told that the tackle is never wrong.
If the tackle is never wrong with his block the S-Back operates off the man the tackle blocks and reacts to the proper man. We coach the tackle on the outside reach but we don't give him a call to tell the S-Back what he is doing. If you give him a Call, you give him an excuse for a mistake. The S-Back has to pick up whoever the tackle doesn't pick up.
This offense keeps the offensive linemen in a simple blocking scheme where he is not prone to make mistakes. If anyone tried to play an 8-Man Front on us, we would want to try to block it. We block the ball before they get there. We block the front side and let the guys come off the backside. We are going to throw the ball before they get there. We block 7-Man Fronts but not 8-Man Fronts. We pray for the 8-Man Front.
The Passing Game has to be designed to run against 5 basic defenses. The 3 Deep Zone, 2 Deep Zone, 2 Deep with Man Under, Man-Free, and 4 Across Man Blitz are the schemes we have to attack.
Let's start with the 3 Deep Zone.
We tell our slot as he comes in motion he has to be 3-5 yards outside the onside slot back. We tell the motion man if the DB stays and doesn't follow him it is a 3 Deep Zone. When the ball is snapped the Motion Back is tight to the LOS and under control. We don't run Motion fast. He drives up the field and his point of departure is at the outside shoulder of the Strong Safety. If the Strong Safety continues to slide outside the Motion Man stays in the seam. An important thing here is a Coaching Point about our routes. Some of our routes are Field Routes which are run off the boundary numbers, or hash marks. Some of our routes are Covered Routes which are run off the coverage we are getting. This play is a coverage route. This route is almost impossible to stop on the high school or college field. On the pro field everyone is almost set in the position that he has to cover at the snap of the ball. The wide side in the college and high school game is where the holes are. The X and Z receivers run the 3-Deep Coverage up the field with Go Routes. The Onside Slot take a juke step to the inside for timing purposes. He runs a route that builds up to 5 yards in depth. He doesn't line up the field because
the inside LB'er can pick him up. He breaks into the flat area as he would if he were swept out with a broom. This gives a steady read for the QB. We want to read the Strong Safety. If the Strong Safety continues to the outside, the ball is thrown to the seam to the Motion Man. If the Strong Safety jams the Motion Man coming up field, the ball goes to the flat. If the Strong Safety hangs deep, the ball goes to the flat. If the Strong Safety jams the Motion Man and the LB' er runs to the flat and gets on top of the receiver we have to go to a secondary pattern. The key to this is the QB. If he comes out beyond 5 yards, shuffles or pumps the ball, the receivers go to their secondary routes. The motion route comes back across the Free Safety because he will over rotate in his coverage. The flat route turns up the field as his secondary route. Start teaching secondary routes no later than the first day of practice. The secondary route has to be part of the play. It has to be second nature for the receivers and QB. There has to be somewhere to go with the ball from the Get-Go when the primary routes break down. The seam route is usually thrown on the third step. Do not try to throw the ball up the seam after five steps by the QB. If you throw it up the seam after 5 steps, it will be intercepted or the receiver will get his jock knocked off. If the ball is thrown up the seam after 5 steps it has to be a Secondary Route.
Let's take the same route against the 2 Deep Zone. Our first key is the Nickel Back on the Onside Slot. If he doesn't bump over with the motion, we run the motion half way between the Z and Y receiver and get him uncovered 95 percent of the time. If you think they are going to bounce the coverage to the motion, it always doesn't
happen. Some times they want to rush the Nickel Back off the corner. If they don't bump over we take the completion that the defense gives us. When the Nickel bounces to the motion we go back to our original read against the 3 Deep. The motion is working on the 3 to 5 step. Drop of the QB. The Slot Back runs his pattern like the 3 Deep Pattern. This pattern will work against all coverages, but you have to run it again and again to get the proper reads from the QB and receivers.
When you run against a 2 Deep Zone there are two ways to read the defense. Most of the time in high school and college we read the play Outside-In. We read the corner first. The reason for that is the fact that we have more true "rolled corners". They will jam and hold in their area. What we see in the pros however, regardless of the coverage, is this. If the split receivers goes deep the corner goes with him. But if you are reading the corner, when he goes back, we throw the ball to the flat. If he rolls to the flat we throw the ball outside to the split receiver. The QB delivers the ball on the 3rd or 5th step. If the corner runs off with the split receiver and the nickel back jumps the flat after a bump on the motion, we have to go to the secondary route by the motion man. He is facing a Half-Field Safety. he has to know that. When the motion man doesn't get the ball on the 3rd step or the 5th step, he looks at the safety. If the Safety Man is right in his face, the receiver runs the post. He beats the Safety through the hole in the middle of the field. If the motion man runs his pattern and the safety is a damn mile on top, he breaks his pattern off into the middle short.
The majority of the time we read this defense from the Inside-Out. Don't
try to teach the QB both ways. He will never learn it. We read the Nickel Back. The read is closer to the QB and the only thing that can really hurt the play is the rolled up corner smashing the receiver as he is catching the ball.
Against Man-Free Coverage the defense can't stop this play. We bring the motion tighter and closer together with our receivers. We want the motion tighter because we may get a natural pick. We don't work on picks. We work on beating the coverage. If it is the coverage you are trying to defeat you can be successful. Picks are illegal and it gets the kids into bad habits. The people who end up being picked are the defensive back on one another. We don't work on receivers picking defensive backs. We run our patterns from tight alignments and let the defensive back pick one another off. The receiver doesn't know from the look whether it is Zone or Man Coverage until he runs his pattern. He has to drive at his man and get him out of the back peddle. The same principles hold true in every route we run. When we get a Man look from the defense there is no read for the QB. You give the QB the sequence you want him to throw to . We generally go flat, to man under, to up on top, to secondary route, and then run with the ball. Against Man-Under the QB will get a lot of Run Options. If you have a Z Receiver who can run 4.3 for the ~O yard dash, he becomes the 2nd option. There is no sequence that you have to stick to. You and the QB make that decision. The QB is ultimately going to make the decision, but there is something good about QB' s. They always do what you tell them to do. In Canada we had a great Flanker. That was the first choice when we got the Pressed Coverage.
The next defense I want to cover is Man 4 Across Blitz. The first thing we want to dO'is snap the ball so the receivers are in tight alignment. The QB knows the backside is coming free and he has to get rid of the ball. If no one comes open the QB has to do something. He can pump the ball. That gives him the secondary routes immediately. When the slot running the flat sees the pump he breaks his pattern off and goes up the field. The QB can try to wait for someone to uncover but he knows the backside seventh man is coming free. He has to get the ball off.
A coaching point about the S-Back is his blocking rule. When we get ManFree or 2-Deep Man Under, we want our S-Back to. secure the contain if no one comes for him to block. Most of the time in those defenses everyone is in coverage except the down rushers. We want the S-Back to secure the corner so the QB can get outside and run the ball. His general rule for. blocking is to turn back inside to the ball if no one comes from the outside. That gives the QB somewhere to go with the ball if he can't find a receiver.
In the game of football I believe the high school coaches do the best job of coaching QB's, and Receivers than anyone else. That is where they get all their habits. Also, they are the guys who read about attitudes and motivation. You develop those things in your athletes. When we get them they are either great players that are highly motivated, or they are players who are a pain in the ass, that have a great deal of ability. We would like to have the players with the great attitudes and with great ability. High School Coaches are the ones who are producing the players for us. That means you are doing all of the coaching. You are not the mechanics. You are the coaches. My hat is off to you. Coaching Football is a great profession. Enjoy the level that you are coaching at. I have enjoyed being with you. Thank you very much.
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