Be Prepared

It is always a joy watching teams that are well prepared… that never seem flustered… that seem to expect the unexpected.

It is a joy watching teams that are well coached.

I know most football coaches use a script for their Thursday (day before contest) practice to “rehearse” kicking game situations. We, too, used a script for our final practice, but expanded its use cover more “unexpected” situations outside the special teams.

script-jpeg

You can download the Excel file of the script we used here (Thursday practice script) but equally as important as the script itself is how we used it in teaching and preparing our athletes.

Here are some basic tenets that we employed in our Thursday practice script:

We tried to keep everyone involved both physically and mentally.

You can see in the script sequence there are times when JV and Scout team players are actively participating in situations. In addition, the athletes know that for each segment we will call out for at least one substitute… so they ALL have to be on their toes.

We wanted to keep all our coaches involved.

Our coaches should be coaching. Everyone has a function during this script… if they are normally on the field during the game, they will be in their same locations doing their same duties (i.e. “get back” coach). If they are normally in the pressbox, they will have assigned duties during the scripted scenarios (i.e. spotting the ball during 2 minute drill). Nothing undermines the importance of this practice like some of your coaches standing by the side and talking about their evening plans!

We wanted our athletes to understand the situations.

We used our Thursday script to make sure that our athletes understood personnel, alignment and assignment for each of these situations, but also the “why”, the strategy and philosophy that corresponded to each of these scenarios. For example, when and why might we want to take a safety during the course of a game, what can we expect in sudden change situations, what is our thinking offensively when we are “backed up”?

We want the practice to be “crisp”.

Each week, we kept the routine (and the script sequence) the same… including how each group huddled prior to entering the field, where each position group would stand during the game, how we would communicate, and coach’s assignments. We had already spent practice time during the week working on specific technique and assignments… this should be a refresher.

The first few weeks, we would spend more time explaining the concepts behind each of these scenarios, but as the season progressed we were able to be more succinct.

We had weekly “reminders” for each scenario.

For each special team, and special situation we would interject a reminder (or two) based on our scouting report for that week. If we knew the opponent had a particular strength (or weakness) it gave us one more time to emphasize that point prior to the game.

We used the script to continue teaching the kicking game.

It gave us an opportunity to quickly reinforce concepts like alignment, assignment, angles, and technique used in each phase of the kicking game. Although we did not use the time for in-depth coaching (as I mentioned we wanted to keep the practice crisp) it gave our athletes another opportunity to hear our “catch phrases” in each special team segment… phrases like “cone to the football”, “lane integrity”, “hay bail them” or “2-gap them”.

The bottom line is, we wanted our athletes to be prepared… in ALL situations. This was one tool we used to put a capstone on our weekly prep.

I hope this effectively communicated how/ why we used this script as part of our Thursday game prep practice. If you have any questions over this (or any other post) please shoot me an email or message me…. I WILL reply.

Good luck to all of the coaches this week as you enter the halfway point (how is that possible!) of the season.

Related posts:

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

 

The Process is the Key

By the time this post goes live, Missouri High School football squads will already have one game under their belt with most other states following suit this week. For the next 10-15 weeks coaches across the country will be knee deep in the demanding but exciting grind of the high school football season.

As coaches, we have a lot on our plate each week…both on and off the field. One of the biggest time consuming jobs in this process, is of course, game planning…. making sure that we have done everything in our power to insure that we put our athletes in position to be successful offensively and defensively against the upcoming opponent.

My most popular series of posts, by far, are the eleven pieces that detail the game planning process our staff honed while at the University of Central Missouri. Posts in this series have been viewed over 20,000 times. The series was featured on the Washington Post’s Insiders Blog that had this to say:

For anyone who’s ever wondered how a defensive coach assembles a game plan, youcandomore.net has a whole series on the thought process behind it. This particular link is to the call sheet, how a coach picks what works against the opponent’s best plays in certain situations each week, and has them handy so he can call his defense in a matter of seconds.

A tool we developed (the Call Sheet) that is included in these posts, has been downloaded nearly 10,000 times. But really, more important than any single tool, spreadsheet, chart… more important than any “magic bullet” you are trying to find… is the PROCESS that we developed and that is outlined in these series of posts.   A data driven… thoughtful… efficient …time tested… PROCESS. A process that you may be able to use “in toto”, or incorporate pieces into what you are currently doing.

LUCall

Here are brief descriptions and links to each post that will take you through this process.

Genealogy

This post looks at the people and programs that shaped our Defensive Game Planning process at the University of Central Missouri.

Weekly Workflow

The day-to-day sequence of designing and implementing the game plan, including practice plans and scripts is outlined in this post

Film Breakdown and Formation Analysis

How and why particular game film is chosen and the tools we use to analyze an opponents offense

The Ready List

How THE key component of a successful game plan is developed

The Play Grid

How we chart and opposing offense, taking into account down, distance and formation

The Call Sheet

The final product of this process and the tool we use to select our defensive calls on game day

Game Procedures

How we man the press box and sideline, and delegate duties and responsibilities to each coach…. Includes game day chart templates that we use

FAQ

Questions that have been asked and answered over the years regarding this process

Flipped Coaching

Some ideas on how to “flip” meeting, practice, and study to better utilize time

Defensive Installation Progression

Some considerations and ideas when planning your defensive installation… includes a sample form

All-in-all over a couple dozen charts and videos to help explain the game planning process we developed.

For those of you that have been following my blog (over 400 posts) for the past three years (nearly a quarter million views!), a heartfelt thanks and a couple of requests…

  • If you have found the blog helpful, interesting and/or entertaining… please share youcandomore.net with your colleagues…. AND
  • You will notice a new feature on the blog this week… a way to make a monetary donation… A “donate” button in the right panel… if you feel so moved.

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

A Master Craftsman

Another (quick) toolbox analogy…

As I have chronicled, my son and daughter-in-law have been involved in a project (50/50) over the past year.

During that span of time they have borrowed numerous tools…

  • Drill bits…
  • Jig saw…
  • Extension cords…
  • Socket set…
  • Saw blades…

No problem… I have accumulated (as most do) many tools in my toolbox throughout the years.

I have to admit it was with a degree of hubris that I brandished my overflowing toolbox and tubs of nuts, bolts, and hardware at the work site.

Hubris, that is, until, a former player of mine (a REALLY good former player of mine) volunteered to help with the project.   This man is a professional… he works construction… he is a master craftsman.

He came and in one evening did work that it would have taken us days to finish.

He had more tools on his tool belt than I have in my toolbox.   He had all the right tools…. specialty tools for this specific job… and all the tricks of the trade that he had accumulated over the years.

As a young, hungry, coach, you are always on the lookout to borrow tools that will help you do your job better… to be a better coach.

But even the old grizzled coach can learn from a professional… can find a new tool or trick that might help … as long as you don’t allow your pride (or habits) to get in the way.

Here are links to tools that have helped me be a more efficient, more organized, better prepared coach over the years. Young coach or veteran, I hope you find something of interest.

stringout

Thanks to Joe Grubb for the inspiration behind this post… and thanks to him for helping at the 50/50 project.

The ties that bind Joe, and the special group of men from my UCM days, is a story for another day.

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Flying “Eye in the Sky”

The Eye in the Sky Does Not Lie….”

In my opinion, film review is one of the most effective teaching tools at your disposal. I have written about it several times, including last weeks post as well as here. It is contingent, although, on having quality video filmed at a good angle.

Filming from the press box provides good elevation, but the viewing angle (from the side rather from behind) is not optimum for teaching.

An end zone tower cam system, or filming from a lift, provides an optimum angle (elevated and from behind) for viewing, grading and evaluating your film.

But, these systems do have some limitations or drawbacks.

  • They are difficult to set up, take down, or move to a different location. Therefore, they are often not utilized for the daily filming of practice segments; or if they are, the drill has to be moved to the camera, rather than the camera moved to the drill
  • Lifts can be dangerous, with liability a concern especially if using students to film.
  • Tower cam systems are expensive, with pricing between $2,500 and $7,000.

There is yet another option that many programs are utilizing… A flying video platform… A drone!
You might think that using a drone to film practice or games is too “Techy” or difficult, but recent advancements in quadcopter technology make it possible for a novice to fly, record video and take photos, from a extremely stable platform.   This is a sample video from a summer practice that I filmed using a drone. This particular drone (Parrot Bebop) was purchased for under $500, shoots HD (1080p) video, is very stable, and is easily controlled using an iPad.

As you can see, the ball is on the opposite 35-yard line from where a typical tower or lift cam would be located… and at the point where the viewing angle would begin to deteriorate. But, by using drone video technology, you can easily fly the camera into position to get the most desirable viewing angle.

During practice, you can fly the camera from drill to drill, yard line to yard line, behind or in front of the offense or defense, or at a higher altitude to get the whole field view.

The practice film that we took this summer using the drone was, in the opinion of the coaches evaluating it, some of the best they had ever seen.

Here are some considerations:

Video quality – There are many inexpensive drones that shoot video and take pictures… look for ones that are HD, 1080p or 4k…. they will provide the quality that you need to evaluate your players.

Battery life – Most batteries will give you 10-20 minutes of flight time. Shorter flight time means more batteries will need to be purchased, and more frequent battery changes/ charges.

Ease of control/ flying – There are some commercial drones available that require extensive training to fly. Look for one that is easy to fly.

Safety – Typically the heavier the drone, the more potential for injury if someone gets hit by it… the Parrot Bebop drone I mentioned above weighs less than a pound, and in the event of collision the propellers stop automatically.

Durability – Crashes are infrequent but possible… will the drone stand up to some abuse, and how difficult is it to repair?

Rules regarding drone usage – Most state high school activity associations now have rules regarding how drones can be used during a game. The MSHSAA rule allows for a drone to be used, but it must keep behind the field media line, thereby making it like an end zone tower or lift camera. The cameras on most drones do not zoom, so although the angle (height) will be good, if the ball is at midfield, the action will be further away. One advantage over a tower or lift camera is that when the ball is toward the opposite end zone, you can land the drone, carry it down to the other end zone and start flying and filming from there.

Other uses in your program – Having aerial footage of your stadium, field, and your team can be a great marketing/ PR tool. Many professional, college and high school programs are already doing this. Lee’s Summit high school in Missouri recently produced this cool video after their opening game.

The thought of using a drone to film your practices and or games may seem like a crazy idea or a passing fad, but I think it could be a valuable, cost effective addition to your program’s technology toolbox.

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Tools and Time

This week I had the opportunity to help out at my daughter-in-law’s project called 50/50.   Her team is putting an art gallery in the West Bottoms of Kansas City made out of shipping containers.

Stay with me…. this isn’t about an art gallery.

Here are some things that came up during my work at the 50/50 project one evening…

  • They commented that “the new Phillips head drill bits made it a lot easier to set the sheet rock screws without stripping them out”.
  • We had a box of long drywall screws, but ran out of the shorter screws (which they preferred using) … so we went around picking up short ones that had been previously dropped on the floor and used them. We ended up having enough to finish what we were working on.
  • We needed a drill bit extension to drill a hole into a tricky spot on a doorframe. We had to stop until we got one.
  • I had to run home and get tin snips to bring to the project site so we could cut the sheet rock corner bead.

Now, this team is doing tremendous work, but it really reminded how much time is saved by having the right tools…. good tools when you are working.

For football coaches, especially during our season, time is at a premium. The amount of hours in the day is same for all of us. Saving hours or minutes using good tools puts more time in your kitty…. time that can be used doing additional football or teaching prep (which is what most of us do!) OR maybe you could sneak in some additional family time.

Over the last three years I have shared a variety of football coaching/ organizational tools (all for free) via my web site, YouCanDoMore.net. These are tools and procedures that I trust, and have saved me countless hours over the years.

Here are my most popular (using views and downloads as a metric) categories of posts, with a little information about each:

Defensive Game Planning:

sample call sheet

My post, Defensive Game Planning – The Call Sheet, has been viewed over 10,000 times. If you Google “football defensive call sheet” my post is the third one listed, and the second one if you filter it for images. The Call Sheet we developed while I was at the University of Central Missouri is a great tool… but even more important than the single tool was the process we used for game planning.

Those procedures and ALL the tools we used can be found at this link – Defensive Game Planning – All Posts, Forms and Videos.   These posts on game planning have been viewed over 30,000 times with over 15,000 downloads of the tools and videos included in the Defensive Game Planning series.

Film Grading:

film grade sheet

We all look at video, and most of us grade it… practice, scrimmage, and game. I believe film evaluation can be one of the most powerful teaching tools at our disposal. While I was at UCM, we developed a tool that we used in grading our film. You can read about how we used the tool at this post, Film Grading Tool, and download the Excel template here, Film Grade Template.

We used this tool not only to evaluate our athletes, but also to evaluate how effective we have been as coaches and to self-scout. It tracks mistakes made, and defensive efficiency by front/ stunt and coverage. These posts have been viewed over 5,000 times and this template downloaded about 1,500 times. If you Google “excel film grading football” the two top hits are from these posts.

Practice Planning:

Practice 1

Every good coach that I have ever worked with has been meticulously organized regarding practice planning. A simple organization piece that can save you time during season is to have a practice plan template.   You can read about the template we developed at UCM at these posts, Practice, Not a Minute to Spare,  Running an Effective Drill, and EDD’s- Every Day Drills.

You can download the template we used at this link, Excel Practice Plan Template. These practice-planning posts have been viewed over 1,000 times and the template downloaded 600 times.

As I mentioned, all of this is free. It was all shared with me, either partially or in its entirety… and they are all customizable with just a little Excel knowledge.

The single thing that I will ask, that if you read the post, download the file(s) or click the links, please leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts on these subjects…

  • Do you like the ideas?
  • What tools do you use in your program?
  • How could I tweak them to make them better?

As always, if you have a question just shoot me an email or tweet… I will respond!

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Hail to the Redskins!

I have to admit to my excitement this morning when I noticed views of my blog several hundred ticks ahead of where it normally would sit at that time.  After some investigating, I found out that my blog, specifically my series on defensive game planning, had been referenced by the Washington Post’s The Insider blog.  Mike Jones and Mark Maske, who are NFL reporters for the Post, write the blog. Here is the reference: 

Around the Web:

For anyone who’s ever wondered how a defensive coach assembles a game plan, youcandomore.net has a whole series on the thought process behind it. This particular link is to the call sheet, how a coach picks what works against the opponent’s best plays in certain situations each week, and has them handy so he can call his defense in a matter of seconds.

post insiderYou can see the post and their blog at this link – The Insider, and follow their twitter feeds at @mikejoneswapo and @markmaske .  They have a ton of good NFL information, especially concerning the Redskins.

Hail to the Redskins! 

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Defensive Game Planning – Flipped Coaching

As a coach and teacher, I have a continuous, internal dialogue that takes place.  Time is at a premium, and it is inflexible, so whenever I am contemplating adding something else to my plate, this internal conversation begins.  I try to figure out the balance between doing something that may be really cool and the latest thing, with the kind of impact it will have on instruction.   There are a lot of really cool ideas that I come across… just about daily.  The trick is figuring out (due to time constraints) which cool idea(s) will have the biggest bang regarding instruction for the amount of time spent:

Instruction Bang/Time Invested

The bigger the bang, with less time invested, the better.

This is critical when it come to your weekly meeting, prep, and practice time in season… when you are formulating and teaching your weekly game plan.  Today I want to regress a little, and go back to the Weekly Workflow schedule that I discussed last week.  I believe there are a couple of ways to tweak this schedule, utilizing technology to “flip” your meeting time and practice time.

Flipping” the classroom or practice field refers to the concept of using technology to flip the traditional classroom/ meeting time; using online, shared content to provide student-athletes with learning opportunities traditionally reserved for classroom presentations, freeing up that time for more in-depth, hands-on learning opportunities.

Coach Keith Grabowski writes on this topic today with his post, “Flipping the Classroom (Flipped Coaching)”, which previews his upcoming American Football Monthly article on the topic and has links to all of his posts on the subject.

I have written a number of posts on the topic as well and links to most of them can be found at my post, “Flipping the Practice Field

Looking at our Weekly Schedule for defensive game planning, I believe there are three areas that we will be able to effectively implement technology to flip our meeting and practice time:

  • Daily Scripts – Emphasis
  • Position Group Reminders
  • Position Group Tests

Daily Scripts

As discussed in my post, Defensive Game Planning – Weekly Workflow, we have an emphasis for each day of the week:

  • Tuesday – 1st Down, Second Down, 3rd and Short
  • Wednesday – 3rd and Medium, 3rd and Long, XL, Goal Line
  • Thursday – Gadget, Review All

On each of those days, we put together our script, pulling directly from Hudl, plays that our opponent has run in those situations, adding our Front/Stunt and Coverage to the script.  In the past we have used these scripts for three purposes :

  1. To print so our staff knows the plays/calls during team time
  2. We print scout team cards via Hudl directly from the script
  3. Occasionally we review the video after practice.

We already pull this script and make a Play List on Hudl each of these days.  The logical next step is to have the expectation that each of our players will have watched and studied this Play List, on their own device, as many times as they want, prior to practice time.  This should reinforce daily what our emphasis is, and give our players an idea prior to practice what those plays and formations look like, what fronts/ stunts/ coverage we will be running, and ultimately should speed up their reaction/ recognition time when practice actually begins.   This addition has a huge upside regarding the Instruction Bang/ Time Invested formula.  The only additional time investment is making sure the script is completed and Play List posted on Hudl in time for your players to study prior to practice.  Your team time vs the scout team offense will be filmed, and you can evaluate that film after practice.

A sample Tuesday video might look something like this – In this sample I just give the intro and run through a few plays… the actual script video from Hudl would be 20+ plays long depending on the day of the week.

Position Group Reminders

As part of our Friday routine at the University of Central Missouri, we gave everyone in our position group a written sheet with reminders for that week.

Linebacker Reminders

An effective way to reinforce this information would be to attach a video clip and make a screencast (see my post Making a Screen Recording) of those situations.  The expectation would be to review these reminders, both written and video, prior to Friday’s meeting.

Adding the video reminders may increase slightly your prep work time, but I believe the learning benefits will pay off.  The student athlete would be able to access the video on their own device, and review at their own speed.  It incorporates many different learning styles, including audio cues, visual diagrams, straight text description, and game video.

Here is what a sample reminder segment might look like.

Position Group Tests

As part of our Friday routine, we also gave written tests to our position group.

lb test

Adding an interactive AV segment to the test would be efficient and productive.  As a coach you could put together a screencast of a video test, with your players completing the written portion on their own prior to Friday meetings, or … even better… take meeting time, and create a truly interactive quiz as Coach Grabowski explains in his post, “On Edge Coaching Pt. 2 and another app”.

A “take home” video test question might look something like this:

A few considerations when implementing “flipped” practice techniques:

  • The video does not have to be perfect… if you stress about making the perfect Cecil B. DeMille production every week, you will drive yourself crazy.
  • The video does not have to be long – A quick 5 minute video that the student-athletes can replay as many times as they want can be very effective
  • The more you can make it cross-platform, the better.  If your student-athletes have to physically go to the library and sit in front of a computer, the less likely they will be to watch the video.  They are used to watching and interacting with their phones… try to use a system that can be viewed on their own device… their phone.
  • Many schools are moving to a 1:1 philosophy, where every student will have their own device to receive instructional content.  If your district is moving in that direction, you are in business.
  • If you are truly interested in incorporating technology into your teaching and coaching, you need to follow Coach Grabowski’s blog (Coach and Coordinator) and follow his Twitter feed – @CoachKGrabowski… it is the best stuff out there regarding coaching and technology.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Defensive Game Planning – All Posts, Forms, and Video

Let me start by thanking Coach Keith Grabowski of Baldwin Wallace University for the kind words in his post today, Follow Up: Advice to young coaches taking on a (Defensive) Coordinator Role.  His previous post on this topic (Advice to young coaches taking on a Coordinator Role) was geared to the offensive side of the ball, but most of his advice is applicable to ALL coaches, young or old, offense or defense, coordinator or position coach.

I have had several additional questions, and a few requests regarding the Defensive Game Planning series.  I will try to take care of those items today.

mag coverSeveral coaches have requested for access to all the posts and attachments in one place.   I will attempt this using a couple of different methods:

First, if you have the app Flipboard on your mobile device (it is available for iPhone or Android, but is optimized for iPad), I have put all of the Defensive Game Planning posts in a Flipboard “magazine” that can be downloaded at this link:

 

Flipboard Defensive Game Planning Magazine

A second option – here is a link to every post, followed by links to all of the forms that I have referenced in the series:

Forms and Videos in this series:

All of this information will be included in an iBook that I hope to complete within the year.

If there is another way you would like this information delivered, just let me know and I will try to accommodate.

Tomorrow I will talk about some ideas on “Flipping” your meeting time when prepping for your opponent.

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Defensive Game Planning – FAQ’s

faqI have received some questions regarding the Defensive Game Planning process I have detailed over the last few days.  The answers to these questions (as well as questions I was asked when giving this presentation in person) will also encompass my planned topic for today, game adjustments and tweaking the process to fit your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What about the first game of the season?  How do you have a large enough data sample to determine any tendencies?

Planning for first few games of the season has always been the most angst-ridden time for me.  As I have mentioned more than a few times, I like things to be based on hard data, and I am not very good at doing things “off the cuff”.  Typically, the game plan for the first couple of games will have to be the most flexible and may need adjusting “on the fly”.  Still, a solid plan can normally be developed.  You probably will have a couple of things at your disposal that will help you put together, at minimum an outline of a plan:

  • Game plans from previous years vs that opponent
  • Jamboree or Scrimmage film that can be exchanged and broken down.

Although both of these sources will be fairly skeletal, it will at least give you an idea of formations, plays, and routes to prepare against.  As the game develops, you can use the game day procedures that I discussed in yesterday’s post (Defensive Game Planning-Game Day Procedures) to develop a list of calls to use during the game.  Part of this will be you using your knowledge of your defensive scheme and personnel to attack the opponents offense… for example, what is your best defensive front to stop a strong side Power run play?… What is your best coverage to use against a trips formation… and so on…. As you see what plays they are running, and having success with, you will need to draw on your experience and expertise to counter with your best front/stunt/ coverage calls against those plays.

What it your opponents runs something you have not game planned against?

Good!  Your game plan is based on what your opponent has demonstrated they like to do.  If your opponent is doing something that you have not seen, it probably means that they cannot, or do not believe, they would have success doing those things against your defense.  It will mean that you have to adjust your game plan (see above) but you are forcing your opponent to do something they probably do not have the confidence, or experience running.

What about offensive personnel packages… do you do anything with that information?

Yes, there have been times that an offense’s personnel package has been a clear indicator of formation and/ or play intent.  If we notice that during our film breakdown process our opponent has definite tendencies based on personnel, we would develop a list of calls based on these personnel groupings.  Typically we use the same process as we did developing the Ready List, and add a section of calls, based on personnel grouping, to the Call Sheet.  At the very least, recognizing personnel groupings will give you a head start while making the defensive call during the game; you will be able to anticipate what formation they will be running, and should have a good idea what plays they like to run out of that formation.  You can then adjust your call if needed using that information.

Personnel groupings, Down and Distance, Field Zone, Formations… will all normally give you some key indications as to what an offense’s intentions are for that play.  It is up to you each week to determine which of these will be the best indicator(s) of their intentions.

What if a team does not have any tendencies?

While it is true that some opponents you play will have stronger tendencies than others, I have never seen a team that didn’t have ANY tendencies.  If you give me enough data, and enough time, I will find their tendencies.  It is also true that the more balanced a team is, formation wise, down and distance wise, run-pass wise, field-zone wise… the more difficult it is to game plan against them.

What about automatic checks… do you ever use those?

Yes, if we see that an opponent has a very strong tendency in a particular formation, or using a particular motion, or with a particular personnel package, we often will have an automatic check built into the game plan for that week.  The check will normally be a fairly aggressive call with a Defensive Front, Stunt (possibly a first and second level stunt), and Coverage build into it that we have determined will be “money” against what they have shown in that situation.

I don’t have a full defensive staff that can do the process that you outlined… what suggestions do you have for me?

Although I do believe the process works best with a full staff working (especially developing the Ready List), I have actually used the same procedures putting together a defensive game plan with only me and an additional coach doing the lions share of the work.

Do you ever use information from previous years games against the opponent when developing the game plan?

Yes, there are a number of uses for your previous years game plans…that is why I have game plans saved for every opponent over the last 20 years or so!  Typically when I was at the University of Central Missouri, we broke down our own game from the previous year against our upcoming opponent.  We would not always include the information when running the information for the scouting report.  We would examine how similar they were to the previous year:

  • Did they have the same head coach?
  • Did they have the same offensive coordinator?
  • Did they have the same personnel … how much did graduation affect them?

If they had not changed appreciable in these areas, we might include this breakdown data in our report.  At the very least, it will probably be a good overall indication of what your opponent will attempt to do offensively.  I was often amazed how similar some offenses were from year to year… even with different personnel.  Often the Formation Analysis and Play Grid of an opponent barely changed from year to year.

If you have any other questions, just comment here or shoot me an email… I will respond!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, all of the posts on Defensive Game Planning will be compiled in a free iBook which will be available by the end of the summer.

Previous Posts from the Defensive Game Planning series:

Tomorrow, some thoughts on “flipping” the game planning/ practice process.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

Defensive Game Planning – Game Procedures

This post will guide you through game day procedures, using the tools that have been discussed in the previous Defensive Game Planning posts.  Links to all of these posts are at the end of this post.  All of this information will also be included in an iBook that will be available by the end of the summer.

Game day procedures can be broken down into several major pieces – Communication, Data Check, and Offensive Analysis.  To take care of these tasks, I have organized my defensive staff in a number of ways on game day; ultimately it boils down to what your priorities are, and what the skills of your staff are.  Ideally, if you have an adequate number of coaches on your staff, I would recommend having 3 coaches up in the box, and 2 (plus yourself) on the field.

I know many defensive (and offensive) coordinators like to be up in the box during the game because the view is much better, but I always like being on the field… mainly to serve as a stabilizing force during the contest.  The defensive coordinator is the face of the defense, and I believe it is important for the players to see that familiar, confident face.  It also speeds the communication/ call process, allowing you to get the defensive front/ stunt / coverage to the field more quickly.

Press Box- Spotter

Quick, correct, succinct communication is vital from the press box to the field during the game.  I will have headphones on, and will be in direct communication with my coach who is the Spotter in the box.  At the conclusion of every offensive play (or at the beginning of an offensive series) he will immediately communicate to me the Field Zone and Down and Distance to me using only the corresponding letter (A-H for Down and Distance) and number (1-6 for Field Zone) from the Play Grid/ Call Sheet.  Initially NOT communicating Down and Distance and Yard Line using normal terminology (for example “2nd and 4 on the 32 yard line”) is a hard habit to break.  I do NOT need to know that information… it is easy for me to see.  What I need to know immediately is from what box on the call sheet … Letter-Number… I need to pull my call from.  Communicating D & D and yard line is wasted time… and every second counts.

The Spotter in the box will also record the following information.  He will record the call that I make (normally the number from the wrist band) on this sheet, and record the result of the play on the following Film Call sheet.  You can get the Excel document of the Film Call Sheet by clicking on the following link:  Sample Film Call Sheet, or just clicking on the image below

film calls

The spotter is on the phones with me, so he is the one that can hear what call I am communicating to our Signal Coach on the sideline.  We will use this sheet for the following purposes:

  • We will transfer the calls to the film grade sheet (see post Film Grading Sheet) that we will be using the next morning
  • We will use the information for our Defensive Efficiency report (see post Becoming a Stronger Coach in the Off Season)
  • I will use the form to self check my calls during the game… how many times I am making a call?, are there calls that have been very effective?, are there calls that have been very ineffective?

Press Box- Data Check

A second coach in the press box will have two forms.  One is the Play Grid (every coach will get a copy of the Play Grid/ Call Sheet, Ready List, and wrist band calls) and the other is the Play Analysis Chart .

The Data Check coach will record on the Play Grid, in the correct Box (Letter-Number) the actual play that the offense runs.  If it is a play that is already listed in the box, he will simply make a tally mark on that sheet beside the corresponding play.  If it is a play that they had not run in that situation before (therefore it is not listed in the box), he will record the play in the corresponding box on the Play Grid.

Play Grid

The second form that he will use to record information on is the Play Analysis Chart.  On the form I will already have printed their top plays (from the Formation Analysis) both run and pass type.  He will record, simply using tally marks, if they run the play Strong or Weak, Wide or Short, Left or Right.  You can download a the Excel file of the Sample Play Analysis sheet by clicking on the following link:  Sample Play Analysis, or just clicking on the image below.

play analysis chart

By analyzing the information from these two forms (comparing it to the Ready List and Play Grid), either during the half or when our offense has the ball, we will be able to see if they are keeping with same tendencies that we determined prior to the game:

  • Are they running their top plays?
  • Are they running the plays in the same Down and Distance/ Field Zone situations?
  • Are they running the plays in the same manner (Strong/Weak, Wide/Short etc.)?
  • Are they running the plays with the same frequency?

Press Box – Offensive Analysis

The third coach in the box will be given a list of specific things to look for, based on our discussions during the week.  He is an extra set of eyes in the sky.  Some things this person often looks for:

  • Are they blocking their plays the way we thought they would?
  • Are there personnel issues… mismatches… either in our favor or against us… that we need to address?
  • What is happening at the point of attack?
  • Are their personnel groupings staying the same?
  • Any suggestions for calls based on what you are seeing?

On the Field – Signal Coach

On the field beside me will be the coach used to signal in the defensive call.  We have the capability of signaling every Front/ Stunt and Coverage that we have in our playbook, but typically will signal a number that corresponds to a call printed on their wristband.  If we are using calls that are on the wristband, we have a binder with large, laminated numbers (from 1-40) that corresponds to the calls on their wristband.  The coach will simply flip the binder to the call that I have given him and show it to the defensive personnel on the field.

On the Field – Defensive Coordinator

As mentioned previously I will be continuously communicating with my Spotter in the press box.  As soon as he gives me the Box (Letter-Number) I will look at the calls in the corresponding Box on my Call Sheet, and decide (quickly):

  • Do I want to use the calls in this box?
  • How aggressive do I want or need to be?
  • Which call of the three to use?
  • Then communicate the Call to the Signal Coach.

In between series I will be on the phones, getting the information from the coach doing Data Analysis.  I will be determining if they are holding to their pre-game tendencies. If they are keeping with their tendencies, I know that my Call Sheet should still be effective.  If they are going away from their tendencies, I know that I may need to make some adjustments with my calls.  If this is the case, I will consult the ready list to see what Front/ Stunt/ Coverage combinations I should consider to combat what they are now doing.

Tomorrow I will talk about making game day adjustments and tweaking the game plan process to meet your needs.

The previous posts in the Defensive Game Planning series are:

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com