Spread Offense And Air Raid GameplansErick Streelman
Hey Coach! Ok, for the last couple of weeks we have been exploring practice
plans and gameplans. I just wanted to let you know that if you
didn’t get last week’s email, I attached a call sheet in excel
format as an example of how I go about constructing a gameplan.
Today I want to continue with the game planning theme and talk about
one of the greatest temptations that we have as coaches…adding too
I’ve talked about this before and it is a consistent them across
the entire Win With The Pass platform. And, I know that I am
preaching to the choir because if you are reading this you probably
believe, as I do, that simple is better. But, I will continue
anyway, because I think we all fight this constantly and it is a
I think there are 3 things that are true of most head coaches and
coordinators. First, we see the game better than most. We see the
holes in the defense. We see matchup advantages. We see ways to
exploit our opponent.
Second, we are football junkies. We watch film for fun. We watch
games on Saturday and Sunday, less for entertainment and more as a
way to keep our skill sets sharp. I’ll take it even one step
further, and I am sure that lot of you will identify with this. I
watch every game is if I was the coordinator of whatever team is on
offense. That’s how my mind works. I was just watching the
Redskins vs the Cowboys this morning and I couldn’t help myself.
My eyes immediately count the box and attempt to identify defensive
leverage and coverage schemes (I wish ESPN and Fox and CBS would
show the all 22 tape instead of TV view).
Third, we are creative. We are innovative. We can invent things
that people haven’t done yet. Or, we an steal something from
someone else and tweak it into a new concept or a new wrinkle.
Ok, let me pause for a second and remind us that these skills are
needed and important. You can’t be a good coordinator without
them. I especially think that the opportunity to create and
innovate is essential in avoiding burnout. Keeping it fresh keeps
it fun and keeps you invested.
But, just because we can does not mean that we should.
Let me say that again. Just because we see a defensive flaw,
understand how to exploit it, and can create the play that takes
advantage of it, does not mean that we should. Gameplans should be simple.
How many times have you watched film, found a defensive flaw,
designed a play to exploit it, repped it 30 times during the week,
only to find that your opponent fixed it’s flaw during the week
and your wrinkle no longer makes any sense.
I remember making this exact mistake early in my coaching career.
We were playing a league opponent that loved to send edge pressure.
They would walk their backers out over our slot guys and then send
them. But, on film the safeties didn’t roll down. So, we spent
all week working on throwing hot to our slot guys. We repped the
heck out of it. And, we all felt confident that it was one of the best gameplans we could have come up with. Then, we got to the game on Friday night and guess
what…their coaching staff had seen the exact same flaw and had
adjusted. They were rolling their safeties down and taking away the
hot route to the side of the blitz. We threw hot on the first play
of the game. Our slot guy got blown up and the Mike almost picked
off the deflected ball. We quickly abandoned the strategy and when
back to our base plays.
So, what had my creativity and my understanding of the game
accomplished? How had my innovation actually affected our team?
In short, we had spent 30 reps on a play that was no longer viable.
Reps are our most precious commodity. What if we had run levels or
mesh 30 more times instead of working on that one little wrinkle?
Unfortunately, this is not the only time I have made this mistake.
I’ve added run plays. I’ve changed routes. I’ve It’s so
tempting because of the aforementioned skills and characteristics.
Its tempting to add too much. It’s tempting to tweak too much.
But I want to offer an alternative.
I actually believe that at this point in the season, it is helpful
to put everything in your playbook or call sheet up on the
whiteboard and start crossing out stuff that isn’t working or that
you aren’t actually running. Simplify. Throw stuff out. Stop
practicing it if you aren’t ever going to call it. But, don’t
replace it with anything new. Take what you can do and get really
really good at it.
Think about it like this…
What if all you had left in your playbook was Zone, Stretch, Red,
Black, Blue, Sprint Rt/Lt Smash, Mesh, Verticals, and screens?
Could you move the ball? Could you win? What if your opening
script looked like this?
Ace Stretch Rt H Bubble
Trips Lt Black
Ace Z Jail
Trips Rt Blue
Ace Sprint Lt Smash
Trips Rt Black X Comeback
Trips Lt Zone Lt Red
Ace Zone Right Z
Trips Left H Texas
I think we all know the answer. Even with 8 or 9 concepts and 3
formations in the entire gameplan, there are still endless
variations of plays we can call. There is still a way to exploit
everything the defense gives us.
So, that is my challenge to you this week. Let’s get simple with our gameplans. Run
what works, get rid of what doesn’t, and don’t add anything new!
Good Luck Coach. Keep Chucking It!