Defensive Game Planning – Film Breakdown and the Formation Analysis

I had a question after yesterdays post (Defensive Game Planning – Weekly Workflow) about the timeline we used to disseminate the scouting report information to our players.  Let me take a moment to discuss this.

When we first began this process of defensive game planning, we had ALL of the scouting report information ready to be handed out on our initial meeting on Monday afternoon.  We eventually changed our thinking on this, and began only distributing the printed information for the situations that we were focusing on for that day.  We provided players with a “Game Plan Folder” and gave them the following printed information at morning meetings each of these days.


  • Goals
  • Outlook
  • Player Profile
  • Analysis


  • 1st Down
  • 2nd Down
  • 3rd and Short
  • Coverage
  • Pass Routes


  • 3rd Medium
  • 3rd Long
  • XL
  • Goal Line


  • Front/ Stunt
  • Wrist Band
  • Gadget


  • Position Group Reminders
  • Position Group Test

We found this to be more effective for several reasons:

  • They received information daily, in smaller bites, which made it easier to digest.
  • It focused the meeting attention and discussion on the emphasis for that day.
  • It allowed us as coaches to get a better handle on the information before delivering it to the players.  We also found we had less changes than when we tried to have everything ready at our Monday meeting.
  • I will have a post at the end of this series with ideas on how to “flip” ( see post Flipping the Practice Field) the meeting time with your athletes.  I think distributing in small chunks lends itself to “flipping” your meeting time.

The film breakdown process we used was not revolutionary and is probably the same procedures you all use in your program.  We had, as most coaches do today, access to all the game film on our upcoming opponent that we wanted to use.  We used the following criteria to determine what games to break down and enter in our computer analysis.

  • We always wanted a minimum of 4 games, which normally was enough plays to get a good sampling in all down and distance situations and field zone areas.
  • We looked for games that they were playing against teams that ran a similar defensive scheme in order to get a better idea how what blocking schemes and pass routes they would employ.
  • We looked for their most recent games.  Often offenses evolve during the course of a season as players improve and injuries occur.
  • We looked for their closest contests.  We always felt the plays they ran in situations in those games gave a better indication as to what their tendencies would be in the heat of the battle.  If they got too far ahead or behind, that would have a tendency to skew the data.  At times, we only put in partial games if this (lopsided score) came into play.

The better data on your opponent that you put in, the more accurate picture of what their actual tendencies are will emerge.

We tried to have all of the opponent film broken down by Thursday or Friday of the week preceding the game.  The whole staff worked on this, with the exception of me as defensive coordinator.  Thursday was my day (see Defensive Game Planning – Weekly Workflow) to finish the actual Call Sheet for our upcoming game, and I did not want to muddle up my thinking by watching a different opponent.  I wanted to make sure my focus was completely on our upcoming game.   On Sunday, we exchanged Saturday’s game (that we just completed) with our upcoming opponent.  If it met the criteria I outlined above, we broke it down and entered the information into the computer.

After all the information was entered into the computer, we began assembling the Formation Analysis, which details our opponents top run and pass plays, their formations, and any tendencies they have for each.  It provides a quick snapshot to our players and coaches as to their overall tendencies.

Hudl makes it easy to get this information.  We always tried to synthesize it down to a single sheet to give our players.  You can download a sample of what we distributed by clicking on this link:  Formation Analysis, or just clicking on the picture below.

formation analysis

You will need to decide if it is worth your time compiling all the information on a sheet like this.  It is very easy to just copy and print the reports that you can generate via Hudl, and may actually be just as good and a more efficient use of time to do that.

The Formation Analysis will list their Top 5 Run plays based on frequency, and any tendencies we have (Strong/ Weak, Wide/Short, Left/Right) for those plays.  It also shows their top Pass Types (Drop, Quick, Roll, Action, etc) and tendencies we have determined for those.  We list and diagram their top formations, the plays they run out of those formations, and any formation tendencies (Strong/ Weak, Run/Pass) that we have determined.

The Formation Analysis forms the basis of our game plan strategy.  We will game plan, both in scheme and dedicating practice time, to stopping what our opponent has shown they want to do; the plays they want to run, out of the formations they want to run them out of, in the direction they want to run them to.

Tomorrow – The Ready List.

The previous posts in this series:

A special Shout Out and Thanks to Tim McGonagle at for linking to this blog.  There are MANY great links and a wealth of quality information about football on the Kansas side of the state line on his site… Just click on the link above (or the image below) to visit his site!

ksprepfb Small Web view

Jeff Floyd –

13 thoughts on “Defensive Game Planning – Film Breakdown and the Formation Analysis

  1. Pingback: Defensive Game Planning – The Ready List | You Can Do More!

  2. Pingback: Defensive Game Planning – The Play Grid | You Can Do More!

  3. Pingback: Defensive Game Planning – The Call Sheet | You Can Do More!

  4. Pingback: Defensive Game Planning – Game Procedures | You Can Do More!

  5. Pingback: Defensive Game Planning – FAQ’s | You Can Do More!

  6. Pingback: Follow-up: Advice to young coaches taking on a (Defensive) Coordinator Role | Coach and Coordinator

  7. Pingback: Defensive Game Planning – All Posts, Forms, and Video | You Can Do More!

  8. Pingback: “Top” posts … “Best” posts | You Can Do More!

  9. Pingback: Your Toolbox | You Can Do More!

  10. Pingback: A Master Craftsman | You Can Do More!

  11. Pingback: The Process is the Key | You Can Do More!

  12. Pingback: Defensive Game Planning – The Ready List | You Can Do More!

  13. Pingback: Defensive Game Planning – Weekly Workflow | You Can Do More!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.