hank you very much and thank you to the AFCA for giving me the opportunity to speak at the

2001 convention. It is an honor to represent UC Davis. I think that I have one the best jobs in the country. Our head coach, Bob Biggs, is one of the finest men in our profession and it is a pleasure to work with and for him. We have had quite a bit of offensive success in the last decade and this year we set 10 new school records. We strive to be balanced in our attack. This year we ran for 2,400 yards and threw for 4,300 yards and averaged 518 yards per game. Fifty-five percent of our plays were running plays and we averaged 36 pass attempts per game. We have been known as a passing team with roots in the Bill Walsh-49er system of the 1980s. Our heritage in coaching also includes Hall of Fame Coach Jim Sochor, who really got UCD going in 1970. Coach Biggs and I are the beneficiaries of Sochor’s passion for having reasons for what we do as a football team. Since we are always looking for ways to get better, our system has strategically evolved. And we still think we can get better. I would like to highlight a few things about the UC Davis pass game before I talk about an important drill we use to develop and maintain our pass protection. Foundational Concepts of the UC Davis Pass Game 1. We must beat the blitz. 2. We must throw deep. 3. We must mix our protections. 4. We must vary the launch point. 5. We must force defense to cover all receivers. 6. We must vary the type and degree of play action. 7. We must control the ball with the short pass game and screens. Requirements — UC Davis Pass Protection 1. Requires all 11 (including quarterback). 2. Requires that we are always learning (defenses are getting more creative and complex). 3. Requires that we know our personnel and have a plan. 4. Requires me to train our decision makers. 5. Requires that we practice techniques that are connected to the scheme we use on Saturday. One drill that helps us accomplish this is


a half line pass pro drill that we use everyday. We work on a few protections only, that include the major components of our entire pass protection scheme. This has helped us become more purposeful in the time we spend. In other words we are not interested in merely burning calories in players and raising our blood pressure as coaches. A. Drill set-up 1. Two distinct half line groups. 2. One side is weak and the other side is strong, with a tight end. 3. Since we use it every day we do vary the tempo. a. Full speed, first defense vs. first offense, as little as 12 minutes total, switch, strength at six minutes. b. Up-tempo vs. scout team, game plan-oriented. c. Learning tempo vs. offensive guys on defense. d. Shorts — work footwork and recognition. 4. Rapid Fire: If the quarterback is present we will take snap and drop back and throw only to a target (high reps/minute). 5. Ensures we are preparing tight ends and runningbacks for protection. Note: Tight ends for us are receivers first, if we aren’t careful they don’t have a chance to be effective in their protection responsibility. Nuts and Bolts

UC Davis Passing Game

Mike Moroski Offensive Coordinator University of California, Davis Davis, Calif.

Diagram 1

Weakside 1. We start simple and increase complexity throughout training camp and the season. 2. We want to build confidence not confusion in players. 3. Predetermine fronts, shades and blitzes to be used — so players are prepared. 4. Determine protections to use (generally we practice no more than four — playpass weak, dropback max, sprint right and left).

• Proceedings • 78th AFCA Convention • 2001 •

5. Great emphasis first step and first responsibility. 6. Understand where launch point is — The closer the individual player is aligned to launch point the more aggressive he must be Evaluation: We evaluate the set-up, “passing off” on a line stunt, aggressive steps on sprint, deeper steps on sprint away, patience and positioning. These things may have all occurred before you are completely engaged with defender (remember that this is a good shorts drill). And once you are engaged we evaluate all those things we always evaluate: hand placement, arm extension and lockout, “reset” (an important term I first heard from Hudson Houck — he emphasized it may be necessary to reset two or three times within a play). Having said this I want to emphasize that we are trying to build confidence, therefore, we are not looking to pick out something wrong with every guy. We can always pick out something that is not 100 percent correct. But there are certain times you have to emphasize the positive so that you have something to build on. This is the type of drill that many things can go wrong at the same time.

Diagram 2

Keys To Confidence In This Drill First Step: Depending on the protection it may not be crystal clear who a player is to block but he still must step with authority (based on his responsibility and the first threat.). Disciplined Eyes: Players need to see and process the necessary information while maintaining their position. Awareness and Communication: Can never be overemphasized. Patience: Doing the right thing at the right time in an aggressive way. Work With Your Defensive Coaches I’m finally learning to appreciate that our defense does some crazy things. It can be used for our benefit. My responsibility is to make sure the drill doesn’t become too confusing or counterproductive.

Let’s spend a few minutes looking at the tight end side (Diagram 2). Strongside: Notice the strong safety, it is not necessary to have him in the drill all the time. But in this age of complex and overload blitzing we feel it is necessary to train players to have the proper awareness. 1. Right tackle must work with right guard or tight end. 2. If it is straight dropback, and the offensive tackle and tight end are working together , they have time to get depth and be patient because of their distance from launch point. 3. In our max protection the right tackle and tight end are responsible for the defensive end and safety initially. But if we were playing a team that brought the strong safety we would prepare by having the quarterback call “Strong Safety-Alert,” as they are setting up and getting depth they would not be oblivious if the strong safety shot immediately through guard-tackle gap. Finally, this drill does not take the place of daily individual drills or 11-on-11 blitz pickup but it has become a very critical intermediate drill. It forces players to communicate and it gives us an accurate assessment of the understanding level and skill level of our players. Thank you.

“Smash Mouth” Football, Similar Terms, Should Not Be in a Coach’s Vocabulary
Hard-nosed, maybe, but “smash-mouth” football is not how competent football coaches refer to their game. Football is a contact game, but terms that reflect brutality and violence do not belong in a coach’s vocabulary. Image is one reason to clean up slang terms like smash-mouth that have become popular in the media, but a more compelling reason comes from a legal standpoint. In a courtroom, descriptive terms are used against coaches and the game. Don’t hesitate to ask your fellow coaches, student-athletes and especially the media who cover your team to cooperate and refrain from using overly-descriptive terms that reflect poorly on the game and your profession.
• Proceedings • 78th AFCA Convention • 2001 •

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