ver the years we have come to realize that scouting and film breakdown are essential elements of game

preparation. Without a framework to use when breaking down film, it's possible to miss key elements that might come back to haunt us on game day. One particular game a few years ago drove home this point. We had prepared for it with a very bad scouting tape and r\otes taken by a parent. Tn the game, the opposing QB proved to be very elusive with the QB keeper and throwing in the perimeter.


We did not realize that he was by far their best athlete and needed special attention and emphasis in our game preparation. We ended up losing by a point and learning a hard lesson. Rather than look at film and just take notes, we have come up with a system of asking essential questions that can help us break down film and construct the offensive and defensive game plan that we can pass on to our players. We start with the premise that there is no substitute for good game film. With no film exchange at our

level, the quality of the film is entirely left to our staff. We have to train our film people to get the type of shots we want... and that does not always mean a scope that spans the LB's and the offensive backfield. For instance, in long yardage situations we want a wider angle to get a look at pass routes. In short-yardage situations we like a tighter focus of the offensive and defensive lines. We also find it helpful to get at least a few shots at ground level in back of the offense and defense, to give us an idea of offensive splits and defensive gap responsibility and alignment. Again, there is no substitute for good game film. The actual breakdown of film is separated into two areas. We start with our opponents' defense. (1 think it is far better to concentrate on one side of the ball rather than flip-flop back and forth.) As we go along, we attempt to answer our essential defensive questions. Sometimes it requires a second review of key plays to answer every question accurately. Our essential defensive questions are as follows: De^nse: I. What is their base defense? Any other alignment? How do they adjust to Iwins and trips? Do they flop the defensive ends and linebackers based on offensive alignment, and can we quick-snap them? 4. Do they have a comer or a linebacker who plays the wide side? 5. Do the LBs stunt? Do they run twists with the linemen? 6. How do they tackle scale 1-5? 7. Who is their weakest defensive lineman? Weakest comer? 8 Do the LB's tap and gap exchange with the linemen? 9. Rate the LB speed. Scale 1-5 10 Do they blitz? Strong side? Weak side? Inside blitz or off the edge? What down? II. Do they corner or safety blitz?



Football Films
12. 13. 14. 15. Against what formations? What down? Do their d-ends box, come up the field or read? Rate the DB speed. Scale 1-5 Do the d-backs use press coverage? Cover 3? Cover 2? Cover 1? Punt depth and alignment. Rate the long snapper, scale 1-5. Can we block their punt? Middle block or off the edge? 16. Punt coverage alignment and speed? 17. Who makes most of the tackles? 18. How does the defense react to motion 19. When and where do they use their goal-line defense? 20. Do they have any trick or special plays? After reviewing team defense, we move on to our opponents' offense, charting every offensive play with result and down, then creating our essential offensive questions. Offense: 1. Identify their four best plays. 2. Script six other plays in rank order for a total package of 10. For 50/50 pass-run teams, script five best run, five best pass. 3. What plays do they like to use inside the 10? 4. Do they trap or base block for the fullback? 5. Do their guards pull or are they primarily a zone or base blocking team? 6. Do they run into the tight end or away? 7. Who can we take advantage of on their offensive line? 8. How good is the center? Scale 1-5 9. Who are their best players? 10. Can we blitz and where? Comer? Safety? 11. Who do they throw to? Sprint? Dropback? Bootleg? Short, medium, or long passing game? 12. Rate the QB. Scale 1-5. 13. Running backs. Speed rate 1-5. Size? Blocking? 14. Can we use press coverage? 15. Do they use motion? Why? How much do they run plays into the motion? 16. Punt Depth and coverage? Do they squeeze the middle? After completing our offensive and essential defensive questions, we feel we have laid a basis for constructing the offensive and defensive game plan for our next opponent. Our defensive game plan hinges on placing special emphasis on stopping our opponents' four best plays. Offensively, our game plan involves play selection and blitz recognition. We think that film breakdown is the first vital key in game planning and by answering essential questions we begin to remove the element of chance from our game plan! •

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