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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Program Philsophy

When people ask me what it takes to be a head football coach, the first thing I talk about is the need to have a defined program philosophy. That does not mean you have a rigid schematic system that you will use regardless of your personnel. It means that you have a set of defined beliefs that are bigger than scheme.

Our core philosophy is that our program must WIN THE DAY every day in order to be successful. I stole that from Oregon University (Chip Kelly) and it has helped me stay focused through the ups and downs of a season. Wins and losses will come and go based on a number of different factors that are beyond our control. What we can control is our daily effort and how focused we are on our work. I love being a football coach and that is what gets me up in the morning! When your work is what you love to do, then you never work a day in your life!

In order to WIN THE DAY we must DEMAND EXCELLENCE and TAKE OWNERSHIP of our daily actions. It is tough to get up every day and find a way to be better than you were yesterday because we do not always see our progress. However, we must learn to delay gratification in order to achieve long term goals. We must avoid BCD (blame, complain, defend) behavior so we can achieve greatness in our lives. The best coaches are the ones that are internally driven to do it better than it has ever been done. Being a life long learner is the only way to be as a coach because we must be willing to adapt to the ever changing game of football.

Lastly, it is important that we build TEAMWORK and TOUGHNESS within our football program. We can achieve far more as a group than we could as individuals. It takes toughness to overcome the challenges of life and those are easier to bear when you are a united group. Losers assemble in small groups and complain, but WINNERS come together and find a way to WIN! If we will stick together and be a tough football team, we will have a successful season because we will overcome when adversity strikes.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

3-4 Two Man Defense

This post is about a defense I used back in 2013 against spread teams. Below is the article I wrote after the 2013 season:

3-4 Two Man Package
            In the era of the spread offense it has become essential to employ a defense that can maximize numbers in the box and still provide excellent pass coverage. Offenses are using the entire field and defenses must be able to defend from sideline to sideline and still have enough players in the box to stop the run. Our base defense was a 4-2-5 this past season, but we played a 3 – 4 two man look versus pure spread teams (Air Raid / Tony Franklin System). In our classification we see mostly 21/22 personnel but when we play teams that are mainly 10/11 personnel we utilized our 3 – 4 two man defense. The following paragraphs will detail the reads, alignment and assignment of each position in our two man package.
Defensive Line
            The key to stopping the run in this defense is to mix in slants and playing base. Our defensive linemen will play a “base” technique where our defensive ends will play a 5 technique and our nose will two gap the center. We will also slant the line right or left depending on the opponent’s formation tendencies. The reducing defensive end will slant to a 3 technique, the nose will slant to a 2i and the end to the side of the slant will play a 5 technique. The linemen are responsible for spilling all kick-out/traps and for the dive versus option.
Inside Linebacker Run Fits
We do not assign the Inside Linebackers a gap to fill, we tell them to read the guard to the near back and attack the play with the appropriate technique. If they see a drive block, they shock and lock the linemen, locate the football, and then they use a rip move to disengage. If they get a down block, they scrape to the next available gap unless the B gap opens up. If they see a reach block, they will scrape to the next open gap. If they see a pull, they scrape in the direction of the pull and locate the ball carrier and fill inside out. If they see a down block and an isolation block by the fullback, they will take it on with their outside shoulder and spill the football to the safeties / outside linebackers who are folding.
Inside Linebacker Pass Responsibilities
The responsibilities’ of the ILB’s on passing plays is very simple. When there is a single back, one will be responsible for the back and the other will play the low hole, collision crossers and spy the quarterback. When we slant the defensive line, we will lose a contain rusher, but the ILB is responsible for the QB if he scrambles. Versus two backs they have #3 strong out of the backfield because the Dog will take #2 weak. We make their life very simple in the passing game because they have a huge responsibility in the run game.
Dog Responsibilities
The Dogs (OLB) have the most responsibility in this defense. They are spill players versus kick out blocks, set the edge versus toss sweeps and stretch, play press man to man coverage on the #2 or #3 receiver and rotate back to a deep ½ safety versus jet and long motion. They practice with the safeties because they have similar responsibilities and must be able to play man to man coverage and break on the ball as a deep ½ player. When they become a deep ½ safety they read the tackle, guard and near back to get a run pass read. If they get a run read they get to 5 yards on their side and are the force player if the ball is run to their side and if they are on the backside they are the bootleg, cutback, reverse (BCR) player.
Safety Responsibilities
The Safeties must be the brains of this defense! The must have enough athletic ability to be a deep ½ player and be a significant part of our run fits. They align 10 x 2 from the EMOL, and they read the guard/ tackle area and the near back because “two don’t lie”. They will get their run/pass read from those three players. They do not approach the LOS unless they know it is run and the phrase we use is, “Don’t go if you don’t know.” If they get a run read they get to 5 yards on their side and are the force player if the ball is run to their side and if they are on the backside they are the bootleg, cutback, reverse (BCR) player.
 When they get a pass read they are deep ½ players who get their key off of the front shoulder of the quarterback. They are responsible for being deeper than the deepest on pass plays, but they have the ability to jump underneath routes if the quarterback’s front hand comes off of the football and his indicator (front shoulder) is pointed towards an underneath route.
Versus jet/ long motion the safety will rotate down and have the motion player man to man and be a force player versus the run. It is important that they recognize the formation on every snap and anticipate motion. They must be the most aware players on the field and be able to communicate the formation and possible motions based on the scouting report.
Corner Responsibilities
The Corners’ job is very simple, play man coverage on the #1 receiver. If the #1 receiver crosses the formation with motion he will spin back to a deep half safety. The corners must be very good athletes and be able to play press man coverage. They have help over the top, but they must be able to defend against the slant, fast screen, and the out cut. They are in outside leverage press man, so they can play trail technique on a vertical route because of the safety help. We make their assignments very simple because they must be totally focused on shutting down all short and intermediate routes.



Thursday, November 23, 2017

Making Change in Your Life

As I woke up today (Thanksgiving) I realized that this will be the first Thanksgiving I can remember that I will not eat turkey, or any animal product. My wife and I became vegans this summer for a number of different reasons, and we love it! We watched a couple of different documentaries, read some articles and we decided to make a change in our lives. We felt it was needed and did not care what other people thought because we knew it was right for us. My father in law was the original vegan in our family and now my mom and dad are also vegans. I think being vegan is the way to go because it shows compassion for our environment and it is great for our bodies!

Now, I know you are asking yourself why a football coach is talking about being a vegan on his football blog site. Maybe some people stopped reading after the first sentence! But, if you will hang with me, I will tie this back into coaching football! I promise this article will not be about how to change your diet, but if you want more information about being vegan please email me!

All of us have made changes in our lives for a number of reasons. Change can be a hard thing for a lot of people because it can be uncomfortable. Some people look forward to change and some people dread change. However, when you know it is time to make a change, DO IT! The universe is constantly evolving and our state of being is constant evolution. No one stayed a baby forever and in a hundred years all of us will be dead! The key is recognizing when we need to make change and when we need to stay the course. Seeking wise counsel is the best way to make sure we are making wise decisions. I have a handful of people that I consult about big changes in my life and all of them have my best interest at heart. I hope everyone of you have a circle of people that you can trust when it comes to life altering decisions.

As I have reflected on this past football season, there are a number of different things I am going to change as I go forward as a head football coach. I have worked for people that do not change anything during the off - season, and I have worked for people that change everything during the off - season. Those programs are successful because their head coaches knew what their program needed to attain or sustain success. It is my job to constantly evaluate how we can make our football program better. That is the most important role of a head coach. The head coach is the one that makes the decision to stay the course, make slight adjustments or completely change course. This is a critical decision that can completely change the direction of a football program. I consult people that I trust about these types of decisions because they will affect everyone.

I am a film nerd, so I have a lot of film from other programs on Hudl. Now is the time of year where I will make cut - ups of different schemes I like. I make offensive, defensive and special teams cut - ups so we can discuss potential scheme changes as a staff. I will visit other programs this off - season to gather ideas about how to do a better job of developing our athletes and our football culture. I am always looking for a handful of schemes or ideas that will make our football program better. These are things that every good coach does in the off - season, because if we are not getting better we are getting worse.

So as you eat your turkey this Thanksgiving, I pray that you will take action on the changes you need to make in your life. Remember that it is your life and no one else can live it! Be bold with your decisions once you know it is right for you! Enjoy your Thanksgiving and God bless!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Odd Cover 1 Defense

New article on the USA Football website! Odd Cover 1 Defense

I will also be recording more podcasts in the near future!