Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Revised Playlist -Lessons Learned - General Rambling

While looking forward to Spring Practice, I've been looking back over the past season... what worked, what didn't work... how much was caused by inexperience and injuries and how much was due to coaching (i.e. too much, too little, shoulda changed more, shoulda "stayed the course...")

Lessons Learned:

  • Have a base and stick with it. It's fine to add a play each week or add a wrinkle or two if it helps you attack a certain defensive scheme. However, don't make big, wholesale changes unless you know without a doubt it will give you a definite advantage. That being said, we changed things up 3 times this season (sometimes to cover for an injury, sometimes to feature a player that was "hot," and sometimes because we just didn't have the right kid for the right position in order to execute the offense. ) Our first change was as this: Switched from Flexbone Option to Double Wing to hide lack of production at QB, move a Guard to FB - since both FB's were out, and feature our most consistant two RB's. Result: a close win (our second) against a team that had obviously prepared against wide splits and a suspect option team. They were not prepared for tight splits, pulling both G and T on our Powers and Counter Treys, or an offense that could move the sticks just enough to give the defense a fighting chance. The second change was switching to split backs to utilize two big, hard running backs and run OSV against an odd front. At least that was the plan. Result: a big loss that cemented the fact that the upperclassman we hoped could play QB was in over his head running the option and that our RB's, while our best, still needed help in order to us to win. The third change was switching back to a spread set going back with our soph QB (who had choked hard earlier in the season,) and running Freeze Option against a team that had obviously prepared to stop a very mediocre Double Wing team. We spot-played our senior and ran plays that suited him and also used him at RB and rec. Running Freeze and a little Freeze Option took much of the reading off the back of the soph. QB. Each successful play helped build his confidence mightily. Result: a close- but big- win at home. We finished our season with a 30 point loss, but with also ran for lots of yards and 1st downs against a quality opponent. Most importantly, our soph QB grew into his cleats, our JR FB showed guts and heart playing on a badly sprained ankle, our O-line came off the ball and frustrated the defense, and several other young players got quality reps and contributed. With two kids that can run the option and throw the football, we won't lack for an identity next season.
  • Less is More. Period. End of Story. Alternate title: You can Never Run your Base Play Too Well or Too Often. Most defenses can't stop inside veer and midline. Those that can stop them mostly because they have vastly superior athletes. The moral is that they will probably beat you running the "I", Wing T, Shotgun, etc. Just run what you run as best you can and let the chips fall where they may. You might just be surprised.
  • Less is More. Fewer plays mean that your players come off the ball with confidence because they know who to block. They will learn faster. They will be able to check-off at the LOS. Minor adjustments (like switching to double option instead of triple) will be easier... and supplementary plays will eventually take their toll on defenses selling-out to stop ISV and Midline (Rocket, P.A., and the quick passing game will be easier.)
  • Sometimes, it just ain't gonna happen. You can start off with 80 kids dressing for Spring Ball, but when 30 quit over the summer (heart transplants needed) and you lose a bunch of producers to injuries, swine flu, etc... well, you just aren't going to win as much as you'd like. Nuff Said.
So to get back to the title of the post, I think the main plays an option team should emphasize going into Spring are:

  • ISV - triple and double varieties. We need to have multiple perimeter schemes and we need to know them sooner and execute them better.
  • Midline - double and eventually triple varieties. Sometimes you just have to move it in and read that three tech!
  • Inside Trap - Both the Frozen and countered variety. Mostly Countered. The C-Trap is our inside misdirection and the Freeze is for those special moments when you "just want to hand the ball off." Also handy for getting that 2nd string QB through some tough spots...
  • Counter Option - it is our outside misdirection... and as a bonus it builds off the C-Trap. Since we can't cut in high school, we'll have to pitch off EMOL and take the puller up to LB - which means we can't run it against ever front. but if the defense wants to slant hard to take away the FB on ISV, they make it easy for the psT to get his block and with the QB leverage pitching, the ball should get out on the perimeter. A lot.
  • Play Action. Nothing says "I love your option-stopping defense" like a wide-open WB running alone down the middle of the field as the Safety flies up to play linebacker... watching the entire opposing bench go "Noooooooooooooooooo" in slow motion... like the replay at the end of a Youtube video of a guy getting punched in the nuts. Good Times.
  • Sprint Out. Just when the contain man thought it couldn't any harder... B.O.H.I.C.A. And what's wrong with giving a running QB the option to, uh, run if everybody's covered?
  • Just a little 4 receiver dropback passing. One- because 4 vert's is a beautiful thing. Two- because they're giving it to ya. Three- cuz Bill Walsh and Norm Chow kick all forms off a$$. Well, Norm still does. Bill (RIP) did... I just like giving him his due.

Supplementary Plays. Not sure which ones will make the cut or how much we'll use the ones that do make the cut.

There's still going to be Rocket - it's easy (well, it's easy if you have a WB that a) knows to go in motion early and get wide and b) can break a 4.9 sec 40.

There's going to be Belly... tho maybe not so much at first. Then there might be a whole lot. Especially if we can get good running the latest variation of it. Mark my words, this is going to be huge... but that's all I'm gong to say about it.

WB counter or counter lead of some form or other... The counter Trap and counter Option may be enough.... but if not, we'll have these ready to install.

Shotgun. Because, well, running P.A. on 3rd and 20 ain't foolin anyone. But not a lot of Shotgun. Cuz just when you start to get things going - Whoops! - there goes a snap over the QB's head. Shotgun. Pffffttt. Nuff Said.

Coach Smith


Hal Bennett said...

Your belly play, I'm assuming is iso?

Steve said...

Ya... ala U. of Cumberland

Hal Bennett said...

Hey, call me or email me if you are thinking of installing this play, I have some questions for ya!
(863)673-1688 (cell), (863)675-2019 (home), bennetth@hendry.k12.fl.us

Coach Everett said...

Long time "no words of your wisdom". We know, we know, you're busy like everyone else.
You are Exactly right that "less is more". Because the Flexbone is so adaptable, every coach comes in on Monday wanting to add 2 or 3 plays the saw on TV over the weekend. Maybe a few "Run & Shoot" plays, a few spread plays, a few wing T plays, maybe the Wildcat. Before you know it, the kids are unsure. We coaches know the plays because we drew the dang things up.
Paul Johnson continues to be my hero. Running 5 or 6 plays but maybe changing the formations a little for "window dressing".