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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Being a High School Coach

Being a high school coach is a very rewarding profession that allows us to help young men become productive members of society. It is my calling in life and I could not see myself doing anything else. The year round processes of developing your team is very time consuming but it is necessary if we are going to raise young men to be great husbands, fathers and employees. Wins and losses are third on my list of what I want to accomplish each year.

 First, I want my players to be good young men. Second, I want them to be great students. Lastly, I want them to be good football players. If you raise good young men that are successful in the classroom, then you will have good football teams if your players have the God given talent and we do a great job as coaches developing our players.

Coaching in high school is very different from coaching in college or professional football. We do not get to recruit our players and we must develop them in order to have a successful season. I look forward to the off - season and pre - season much more than the actual season. The off - season is a time where we get to develop an off - season lifting program, practice plans, and coaches meetings to get ready for the upcoming season. Pre - season practice is a blast because all we do is coach football and help our players develop without the "noise" of the season. 

Most people think they could be a high school coach, but few actually know what goes on inside a good high school program. Most people do not know about the 60 hour work week, the Sunday meetings, washing practice attire, checking the players' grades, dealing with "those" parents, and the stress Friday night's put on your family. My wife does not sit with our fans because of the nasty things people say about players and coaches. Now, those people paid their money, so they are entitled to speak their mind, but they do not understand the stress it puts on your wife and 2 year old little girl. 

There are a lot of great high school coaches that deal with the same issues every Friday night during the season, but we press on because we want to make a difference in our players' lives. We do not do it for the money or fame. We are investing into the lives of our players and trying to help them reach their goals and dreams! Next time you see a high school football coach, please thank them for their tireless work! 

God Bless!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Multiple Forms of Man to Man

My first job on the defensive side of the football was being a defensive coordinator and secondary coach! I was an offensive lineman in my playing days (high school and college) and my first two years of coaching high school football. A good friend of mine needed a defensive coordinator and he trusted me with the job without any experience (experience is OVER RATED). We had 8 defensive touchdowns that year (2011) and we gave up less than 200 yards per game using a 3-3 with a TON of country cover 3. 

I would like to think my defensive knowledge has dramatically increased since my first year as a defensive coordinator. However, the more I learn about defense, the more I believe in playing SIMPLE defense with man coverage in the secondary. Offenses are spreading the field and putting zone defenders in a TON of conflict. Using man to man is the best way to keep your defenders out of conflict and allowing them to play FAST (cover your DUDE). 

There are many ways to play man to man. You can blitz 6 and play cover 0 which is a great way to get pressure or you can play man to man with spy droppers underneath. I believe you should be able to mix and match your pressures and keep the coverage the same so your players can play FAST! I do not believe you can carry 10 different coverages, fronts and blitzes because you will be great at NONE of them. 

Below are some examples of how you can use cover 0 with a variety of fronts and blitzes:

I would love to collaborate with other coaches that use a lot of man to man in their defense. Please feel free to comment or email me with ideas. Thank you for reading and God bless!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Protecting the Bear

When you use a bear front on a regular basis, an offense can begin to pick on the "weaknesses" in the defense. One of the weaknesses is putting the back into the flat on an arrow route and making your Mike linebacker cover him one on one running inside out. Another weakness is motioning the back out of the backfield then running quarterback draw, counter or zone.

One way to protect yourself against these weaknesses is to use a "Peel" technique by the edge rushers.

This page is taken from Wade Phillips' playbook and provides really good details about how this coverage is used against 11 personnel. Below are examples of how it is used versus different formations:

I believe in using a simple defense that employs a limited number of fronts, blitzes and coverages. However, I do believe in having adjustments within your scheme to help protect the "weaknesses" of your defense. Using a "Peel" technique is a great way to help your Mike linebacker play the run more effectively and have low and high hole help versus the pass. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Using Man Coverage with the 5-3 Defense

These past two seasons have taught me a lot about being a head football coach. In order to be a good HFC you must hire a great staff that constantly pushes your players towards excellence. I have been fortunate to hire great coordinators that hold themselves and the players to a high standard. High school is different from college in that we cannot recruit players to fit our scheme. We must fit our scheme to our players and be able to defend all of the different offenses you will see during a season (Wing - T, Pro, Spread). We have a couple different packages in our defense but our 5-3 package has been effective in getting max numbers against the run. It is risky versus the pass, but that is a risk you have to be willing to take from time to time.

In our 5-3 package we still use two safeties, but one rocks down into the box versus 11, 20, 21, 30 and 31 personnel. Versus 10 personnel we have a 5-2 box with our two safeties in coverage on the #2 or #3 wide receivers. Below are pictures of this package versus various formations:


The advantage of using man coverage is that you can be very creative with your line movements and blitzes. We use a nose / tackle twist and a tackle / end twist as well as blitzing the linebackers in the A, B, C and D gaps. The nose and tackle are spill players and our ends are force / BCR. If a tackle loops to the edge, he now becomes force / BCR and the end becomes a spill player.

When we are in man coverage, we will run with any motion. The coaching point is to beat the guy in motion across the formation so you have leverage on the arrow route and jet sweep. We play press and off depending on the opponent / down and distance. We try to keep it as simple as possible so our guys can play FAST!!! Here are some cut - ups of our 5-3 defense:

Thank you for reading and GOD BLESS!!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Using Man Principles to Slow Down Today's Offenses

As I researched the current state of football this off - season I came to a couple of conclusions:
1. Combining spread formations with option, power run game, RPO's, quick game and down field concepts is the best way to build an offense.
2. Defenses have to use some form of man coverage to stop what offenses are doing today. We have to get plus 1 in the box (sometimes plus 2) to stop the run game, which leaves you one on one versus every receiver in the passing game.

You better have a plan for the zone read!!

After watching offenses go up and down the field with zone read, gap scheme (power / counter) and RPO's I started to realize that defenses need to become more aggressive with their schemes. Today's spread offense is using option principles so today's defenses need to use more man coverage to combat the offense's ability to put defenders in conflict.

High Risk / High Reward Defense

There is a great 3 part series on Virginia Tech's Bear package on and I would highly recommend all defensive coaches read all 3 parts. I believe what Coach Foster believes: we cannot sit back on defense and try to win games 50 - 49. We have to take the fight to the offense and make the quarterback beat us with pressure in his face while making tough, downfield throws!

I believe you can use a bear package like is shown above or you can go with the Ole Gap 8 defense as a great change up!!

You can move to the Gap 8 or line up in it

What is great about the bear and the gap 8 is that they are both very easy to teach. You can install them in 1 practice but like all defenses you have to spend a lot of time on the fundamentals (the devil is in the details).

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I hope your off - season is going well!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Smoke Package

Smoke Package
`                 Bringing pressure is a must if you want to create negative plays. You can do this with cover 1 pressures or you can play cover 0.  Cover 0 may seem scary, but if you have well defined rules that adjust to any formation, cover 0 is an excellent tool. You cannot be afraid to bring pressure when it is needed!
                  The blitz I am going to detail is what I call “Smoke”. I learned this package from a couple of great coaches in the state of Georgia, and they run this call 25 – 30% of the time. This is a packaged blitz that has very defined rules that allow your players to key in on their assignment and play without thinking.
                  Smoke is a field pressure that is illustrated below:

                  The field end and nose slant to the boundary and the boundary end plays a tight base technique where he spills all pullers and performs a bull rush versus the pass. The Sam is a spill blitzer to the field and the Will is a contain blitzer to the boundary. The Mike has the Tailback man to man. The Stud ($) is a contain blitzer to the field. The Corners are in man to man on #1, the Adjuster (A) is man on #2 to the boundary / #3 to the field and the Free Safety (FS) is man on #2 to the field or #3 to the boundary.

This is what Smoke looks like versus 3x1:

Versus Empty the Spur gives an “I’m Gone” call and the Sam becomes a contain rusher. You can also blitz the Mike if you still want a 6 man pressure.

Here is what Smoke looks like versus empty:

                  This pressure can also be called to a tight end and that is referred to as “Gator”. That concept is illustrated below:

                  The Adjuster takes the Tailback and the Mike takes the fullback, but everyone else remains the same. This is the beauty of the Smoke blitz! It is a simple package that is sound versus every formation and it allows your players to play fast so you can take the offense by surprise.

                  Thank you for reading my article and I would greatly appreciate your feedback! My email is and my Twitter handle is @zachdavis24. God bless you as you progress through your season!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Off - Season Clinics

This is the time of year where I begin to evaluate which clinics our staff needs to visit in the off - season. There are so many good clinics out there but you cannot visit all of them. You must be strategic and choose the ones that will help you develop your scheme and football players. Below is a list of clinics that we have chosen to attend this off - season:

1. Visit other High School coaches! They are the most helpful in my opinion because they understand our challenges at the high school level. They are also at the mercy of their roster and do not get to recruit their players.

2. Take your staff to a Glazier Clinic. The Glazier Clinics are the best mega clinics around. You get year round access to their online material and you can attend all of their clinics with your staff. Now, I would pick one and take your whole staff to it. Also, as a head coach I will ask my position coaches to attend certain clinics so they can master their craft as coaches.

3. Visit a local college. Visiting a college staff for a couple of days is a great way to learn the ins and outs of their offensive / defensive systems. But, you have to remember that they can recruit their players, so make sure to adapt their system to the strengths of your players.

I hope that list was helpful and best of luck developing your program this off - season!!

We will visit WVSU in the off - season