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Everything posted by Johnp2

  1. I've come to a realization. Forever, my team has won on disciplined play, but in the end--if you face a team that is simply too dominant with their athletes, it's impossible to overcome. First, know that we play in a 10-12 league. Last season my team were mainly a group of NON-ATHLETIC nine-year olds that ended up having a winning season in this league. So discipline and smart football is the way to go. This season we are a group of mainly NON-ATHLETIC 10 year olds (same players), but because of last season, we can no longer sneak up on teams like we did. We faced an all-star team in our last game. By "all-star" they have compiled the best of the best for this season--and they killed us. Of course, after the game I heard from their coach and parents, "You guys gave us everything....you're an incredibly well-coached team...you have a bunch of little warriors", etc. My players have been to war many times, however, and we no longer have moral victories. Regardless, this team's smallest player was as big as my biggest, and half their team was as fast as our fastest player. I found out later from a dad who coaches in our school district that this team has two kids going into the eighth grade. Our oldest player is in fourth grade! One of their players was at least 6' tall, and he was also their best athlete. Wow, they were good! We've spanked older/faster teams many times in the past (heck every team we face now are older/faster). While we executed everything to near perfection, there is only so much a non-athletic team can do against a group of players that are light-years ahead of them from a physical stand-point, AND play incredibly disciplined football as this team did. I am thankful for two things: 1) My team did not back down. They did fight tooth and nail, and never once hung their head. I was worried because it has been at least four seasons since a team put a whoopin' on us, but they kept scratching and clawing. 2) This was a class team with a class, coach. Just watching the differences in size/athletic abilities between the two teams was almost comical, but this team never once rested on their laurels or became "cocky" with us. We gave them a dog-fight and they won out. So now we are 1-2. The first time we've held a losing record in at least seven seasons. In a way, I like this, as it makes my players more battle-tested and puts that chip on their shoulders I'm always striving for. To give you and idea, attached is a picture that a parent took from last season against a more athletic team we played (we shocked that team, however). Now...take the size difference you see here, and it's almost doubled for the team we just faced. Wow!
  2. Some of my favorite plays I've designed over the years came from a busted play on our end. In other words, we run a play--something on it does not work, but it allows me to see how the defense reacts, so we make a play out of it. ;-) This happened in our last game. Pro-set formation. The "full-back" exectutes a fake left and we give to our RB right. We also give reverse it (faking to the RB and giving it to the fullback). Simple play. However, when my QB turned to hand-off in this instance, our full-back forgot to do the fake. Both he and the RB stood there while my QB was turned stretching the ball out for the hand-off. Both the fullback and RB turned and looked at me, holding their arms in the air as to say "now what?". You've probably all seen busted plays like this before (parents screaming, "Get the ball!" etc.). After about FIVE seconds, my QB smartly turned, looked downfield and hit a player wide-open. It worked because pretty much the entire defense saw it was going to be a hand-off and they all ran up to the LOS just waiting for the QB to hand if off. It was the long pause that displayed "Who do I give it to? You or you?" that really sucked in the defense. I think we can actually make a designed play with that and will roll it out in our next game. Note this probably won't work in leagues that allow full on blitzing, but because we know when a team will blitz, we know when to call this.
  3. I introduced a new play that I think will work okay. We've executed it twice and it's work well, but it has to be perfect. I know I've stated I will never run shotgun, but my players started doing this one day in practice, and they have the snap down extremely well. 1. QB is in shotgun formation. 2. RB split out to the left. 3. On "Down", RB goes in motion in front of QB. 4. Once C sees RB, he snaps the ball and RB catches it in motion. 5. QB jumps up like he missed the ball and turns around to chase the "fake ball". 6. RB (who is now the QB and cannot run) rolls right and throws a deep bomb to a wide-out, running a Go route. The RB can throw almost as far as I can, so it's a perfect play for him. Plus the defense cannot cross the LOS so he has time to throw. I need some ideas on how to get the wide-out isolated. The wide-out is actually split out to the right, and I'm thinking as the RB rolls to his right the Safety is rolling with him. The slot receiver runs an inside slant, and the left receiver runs a short in. I'm thinking to ask the left receiver run a delay go route. He can delay enough so that the CB on his side lets up to look and see what is happening on the other side, and then he takes off--giving the RB two options. Of course throwing across the field can be difficult and dangerous, but it does give a second deep option. I've attached an example of it...would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks! Thoughts?
  4. Good advice. This is what I would do. If your team knows their plays well: think 10 seconds for them to get to the sidline and huddle, 5-7 seconds for you to call the play, and 10 seconds for them to get lined up on the LOS. If you can discipline your players well enough to do this (it will require some practice and repetition), it might really help. Again, the key is for them to know the plays so well you can quickly call the play and each player's routes (after a while you would just have to call the play). It would take time, but if you feel you will be coaching this team for the future, it's a good approach. Additionally, design your plays with a primary receiver in mind, as well as a check down. Teach the QB to quickly look for his primary, and if he isn't "wide open" then quickly scan the field. If nothing, check down to a RB in the flats. Keep the check downs consistent on each play so he always knows his safety net.
  5. No question--coach Rob's team would kill us. ;-) That kid was pretty ridiculous. As much as I want my son to be a great QB, I don't see me ever investing that much time/money into a 10 year old QB. I have no illusions of my son playing big time football. If it happens, great. If not, at least he'll understand the game and we can intelligently discuss while we sit in front of the TV on autumn Saturday and Sundays. ;-) Actually, I was thinking how cool it would be, not to play each others teams, but to get our best players together for a kind of all-star team. I know it's crazy but I was thinking that AAU game I posted about earlier would be where we could play. Just a passing thought. Heh-heh. I still say that you as DC, me as OC, and Rob as Head Coach would field an incredibly strong team no matter who the players were. That's what I would like to see--joining forces with other coaches who have been around the block a few times.
  6. No question--coach Rob's team would kill us. ;-) That kid was pretty ridiculous. As much as I want my son to be a great QB, I don't see me ever investing that much time/money into a 10 year old QB. I have no illusions of my son playing big time football. If it happens, great. If not, at least he'll understand the game and we can intelligently discuss while we sit in front of the TV on autumn Saturday and Sundays. ;-)
  7. We played our second game this evening. I was very worried about this team as they are considered the best team in our league, but we pretty much dominated them and won 34-6. It's funny as this is a team that has a slew of athletes, but they simply were not disciplined. It was the type of team I love to play---athletic, and undisciplined. ;-) It was one of those games, where after our first offensive possesion I had NO doubt we would win based on how their defense reacted to our first few plays. Although the first few plays did not gain many yards, I saw a slew of tendencies, and we opended up the flood-gates after that (the score could have been MUCH worse but I took my foot off the pedal in the late third quarter). This is the great thing about scripting plays. You simply sciprt plays that will show you "X, Y, and Z" about a defense. If the play works out, great--you learn what the defense did. If it does not work out that's fine---you still learn what the defense did. Either way, you tailor the rest of the game around the plays that lend themselves to the defenses tendencies you know now. Our defense was like night and day compared to our first game. We had four INTs amd gave up only two first downs. I spent our two practices since our last game focusing soley on defense and the kids responded. I've actually started doing something I read about on here. We line up in a horizontal line before the play, and once the offense breaks the huddle we call out 3-2-1, or 2-2-2, or whatever the alignment and the players quickly position themselves. I noticed in our first game the coach was peeking at our alignment in the huddle, which obviously helped him call his play---so we are taking away that advantage. Unfortunately this team did not take it well. Their players were gentlemen, but the coaching staff were visibly embarrassed and very animated. I kept thinking, "C'mon...take your beating like men and move on."
  8. How many seasons has this team played together under your system? If most of them are new, I'd scale it down to your top 15 plays and work on fine-tuning those. Routes should not be a problem. You have to simply go over them again and again in practice. Once the kids have their routes down, go over them again. Not sure how often you get to practice, but I'd imagine a team of 9-10 fairly intelligent boys can learn five routes after they focus only on routes for a few practices. Also, allowing the players to focus on one position (as opposed with moving them around to different positions) goes a long way in allowing them to know their responsibilities on each play. Too bad you are not allowed on the field--that has to be tough. Hope this helped some. If this is a new team altogether, I would not expect miracles. Unless, or course you have a few athletes you rely on to carry the load in each game (which is not teaching the other kids much, unfortunately).
  9. Just have him do this 4 times every week. Yea! He can be the next Todd Marinovich. ;-) That kid was pretty good though.
  10. We had our first game, and it was one of the most heart-breaking defeats I've ever endured. The short version is: we were up 21-18 with 41 seconds left. Our opponent was 4th and goal from our 20. All we needed was one play to stop them--but they pulled it out and threw a bomb that was deflected by one of my players and into the arms of a receiver. Ugh!! The team we played were awesome. They were physically superior than us. The frustrating part of the loss was our defense. We could not stop their passing attack to save our lives. Our offense was a machine. We methodically moved the ball up and down the field (and although we only scored 21 points, every drive went into our opponents 10 yard line). We also killed the TOP. One parent clocked it at 36:00 to 12:00. We ran probably 40 plays to our opponent's 15. However, we simply could not stop their long ball. One of my Safeties got injured before we even took a defensive series, and our other Safety was not at the game. Regardless, it was incredibly frustrating. It got so bad, we started running a prevent by the third quarter--but their QB was incredible and all of their kids could catch on the run, etc. It's the most points we've given up in over three seasons. Yuk! I also feel bad for my DC, as this was his very first game--but he did nothing wrong. Regardless, I was proud of our team as they rocked and rolled from an offensive perspective. It was a good lesson for me. Being overmatched from an athleticism stand-point, we've been able to perform at a high-level on the offensive side regardless who we play. For the most part we've been able to do so from a defensive perspective but we simply could not stop this team. I shudder to think what would have happened had we not controlled the clock for so long.
  11. Yeah, it's pretty amazing. As mentioned, I saw it a lot in our first season in 10-12. I guess part of it is because the kids are smarter and able to pick up things like this. I also think it's because we do win with quite a few "trick plays". I LOVES me some trickery (and am well-known for it), but there is a line between smart-football and flat out dubious plays. I really hope we don't run into much of it this season. We've seen most of it anyway (and can do it ourselves) but it always makes me look down at a coach when he resorts to that.
  12. Thanks for the great advice, coaches! It's got me thinking. Aside from the three options we execute (I listed at the top of this topic), I want to focus much more on my son's footwork at the QB position. He's 10 now, and is able to grasp the subtleties I expect: 3-5-7 drops, breaking fast out of his fakes, quick plants for when he finds his hots, etc. I don't want the fact he is rarely rushed to hurt him later, so I appreciate your thoughts on how to pro-actively work on that. Thus fine-tuning his footwork (whether blitzed or not) will certainly help his QB skills, as we know that is incredibly important as the QB progresses throughout his "career". ;-)
  13. That is pathetic. I know parents often turn their kids over to the coach (especially boys) and say, "He's all yours--ride him hard." I simply don't roll that way, and I would never scold a player like that. At the most, I might tease him "Hey Joey! Are you waiting on your girlfriend to show up and watch before you decide run your full speed?". If it is tactical, I'll pull him aside and say "Hey man, here is what I need you to do." I wince when I see coaches do this on the field. It's funny, because everyone sees it. I think a lot of us on here were, like you, inspired by another coach and what not to do, which got us involved. I know it did for me.
  14. Hey Del, congrats on a great season! I'm curious as to what the purpose was of "disputing the 2 points being cut off"? Is point differential taken into consideration for tie-breakers with respect to play-off seeding? Or, was it more of a principal thing? You seem like a class-act coach, so please don't feel like I am calling you out or anything, I'm just curious. Also, I'd like to hear about your league's mercy rule. I know we've had a few threads on the "mercy rule". I'm on record as being against it, and at the same time see little point in beating a team by more than 30 points (unless you simply cannot help it and go overboard being contrite about it). I've always believed the coaches should police themselves in this matter. You noted the mercy rule kicked in at 30-0. Is play not stopped then? It sounds like they gave the offense another chance? We don't have a mercy rule in our league, which is good, as I would not have it with my team. We'd have the ol' Bad News Bears "Let them play!" chant going if needed, as we would NEVER walk off the field in shame like that. Thanks! p.s. Throughout all the seasons I've coached football, I've always been impressed with the few girls in our league. They know how to get after it, so I think it's awesome you guys are able to field a girls league at this age. My daughter is not interested in sports at all (as with many of the players' sisters). I'd love for my team to play a team of all-star girls in football. It would do them a world of good and keep them humble. ;-)
  15. Full disclosure: while I do not believe in implementing dubious plays, I DO teach my players how to execute a few so that in the event a team tries to embarrass we can fight back. A LOT of the coaches in our league love to take the gloves off and come up with all sorts of bush-league plays like this. We had a LOT of teams try this sort of stuff last season on us, as they were in a panic due to how we shocked them. One coach has a play where he calls time out in the middle of the play. It's completely legit, and goes as follows: 1. He tells the officials ahead of time what he is doing so they don't blow their whistle. 2. Once the ball is snapped (i.e. the play has "started") he screams and motions to the official, "TIME OUT!! TIME OUT!!" At that point, his QB stops and walks toward the coach, and of course hands it off to a player. 3. This is legal because a): You cannot call a time-out after the play starts--and there are no penalties in doing so; b): You cannot talk to your players after the play starts, which he didn't. He only talked to the official. We fell victim to this last season. We were beating a team we should not have and they ran this. We stopped the TD, but gave up a long run. Of course a few plays later we came back with something equally tricky that scored a TD for us. I went to the coach after that play and said, "We're equal now, right?”, then we "man-hugged". ;-) He was a good guy and was not trying to be malicious--he was just embarrassed were beating them (I assume he did not do that in every game). What are some of the trickiest plays you've ever seen/executed? Do you guys keep any in your back-pocket in the event a coach tries to show your team up? Obviously, tit-for-tat is not a good message for the kids, but at the same time it's good for their confidence to display their savvy and simply show the opponents "We can do that too. Now let's get back to football."
  16. Our league allows up to two blitzers, seven yards back, every four downs. The defense must announce when they blitz, and who the rushers are. This is the ONLY time the QB is allowed to run. 90% of the time, teams just have their QB take off running. This is always good for 5-7 yards, which is why we very rarely blitz. I'm curious however, what your best play is for facing it. We currently have three ways: --In anything shorter than five yards, I just have my QB make the run. --My go-to play when we need a home-run? The players execute our Statue of Liberty-- giving it to our fastest player. We execute it from the Spread formation--the RB is about five yards to the QB's left. The key is for the RB to run against the blitzers. Quite often our QB will move in the pocket to change the angle of the blitzers so the RB is from the opposite direction. It's DEADLY. It typically ends up with one of the blitzers holding up the QB's flag while our RB is streaking down the field. --Our third option is to pass to our slot. I run it from the Spread and call out to our slot reciever what his hot route is (Medium Out, Slant, Skinny Post, etc.). More often then not it's a quick inside Slant 5-7 yards in front of the Center (whom I ask to get in the blitzer's way). I would love to hear what your best plays are with two blitzers. I know most of you coaches are in leagues with full-on rushing, so would really like to tap into your wisdom. While what we have works fine, I still love to hear new ways people combat this as to simply add to our arsenal. Thanks!
  17. George, meant to ask you about that defense you faced. To be sure I understand, when you broke your offensive huddle, they were all line up horizontally about 8-10 yards deep (and then adjusted at that time)? When they adjusted, did they adjust into a consistent scheme (3-2-1, 2-3-1, 4-1-1) based on the coach's command? It sounds like you are saying the coach positioned them once you lined up, and then they stayed in that zone? Kind of intriguing. Please elaborate. Thanks!
  18. Sounds like you are having a great season. Congrats! I can certainly respect getting so many players in the end zone. Only once was I able to get all players in (it's tough) and even then had to get very creative. We made a goal this season for every player to get an INT. This will be hard since I don't rotate players--so the Ends will be at a disadvantage, as when they do drop back it's to contain short passes. My son has played End his entire career and only has one INT, which he ran back the wrong way he got so excited. Ha!
  19. I agree that zone is the way to go. I would much rather face a man defense then a disciplined zone. What I like about facing man is I can exploit individual match-ups by isolating targeted players. I've been scripting our first 10 plays for years now. It really helps in a variety of ways. First, we know exactly what we are going to do, so in our final practice we simply walk-through the first 10 plays--the team goes in knowing exactly what they need to execute. Second it allows me to see the tendencies of the defense, which I use to game plan the remainder of the game. Third, it helps keep me accountable for getting the ball to each player. We'll typically get the 10 plays out in the first quarter. We are not a big play offense, but instead methodically dink and dunk our way down the field (I put a lock of stock in TOP and try to keep our offense on the field as long as possible).
  20. How often did they give him the ball? Years ago we played a team that had a super-star like that, and they pretty much gave him the ball on 90% of their plays. In my opinion, that is not impressive at all. Not to get on my high-horse, but the mark of a real coach at this age is how he can empower ALL is players to be successful. This instead of just lucking in to a super-star athlete and rely soley on his athleticism to define his team's success. We played them next second season. We had not given up a TD that season (I think we played them in our 6th game). On the very first play I sent 100% of my defense after him. I told them to ignore all other players. Just line up and go right at that player. We did it again on the next play--and it sent a message. Then, I caught a key on when they were going to give him the ball, and I called out a code word that instructed 100% of my defense to go after him. Unfortuntaly, he DID score on us in that game (once), but other than that one play we shut him down and won the game. Good luck. If you feel certain they will open the game by giving it to him, you should try what I did---just send your entire defense at him. ;-)
  21. After quite a few practices (we have three more plus a scrimmage before our first game), I've been able to implement some things that I think will improve us this season. First, please remember I've had the same kids for many, many seasons--so they know a plethora of plays they can execute in their sleep--so I have to have something to challenge them with. ;-) Because we are in a 10-12 league now, I've noticed there are more teams running man defenses. In younger leagues, coaches (rightfully so, IMO) run a zone. Consequently, the majority of our plays are used to exploit the zone defense. There were times when we faced man defenses last season that I came up with a zillion ideas on how to combat it, but did not want to just draw something up on the fly. This season we'll have two playbooks. One that only has plays designed for zone defenses, and one for man defenses. I'll get an idea after a play or two (if I don't already know from watching) the type of defense we are facing, and simply use the appropriate play book. We also script our first 10 plays, so I'll need to take that into account as well. This, instead of just calling the plays geared for man or zone. i.e. have a clean break. There are a few hybrid defense we face (meaning they switch zone to man from play to play). In this instance, we'll go no huddle (I'll let the defense get set) use a code word to send a player in motion, and then based on that will simply call out the play. Again, my players know their plays so well I just call the play in the huddle and we break anyway. Curious if anyone else does something similar.
  22. Great video! I enjoyed watching that #4, as we have a player who is simply a freak of nature as well. He's very small like that #4, and is like a little whippet running all over the field--has moves within his moves, etc. I'd put him on par with that #4 in fact. Every parent, coach, official tells me he's the fastest kid they've ever seen. It's really comical seeing him run. Literally. You can often hear parents laughing out loud as he zigs and zags his way through the defense making player after player miss. He's a "day one" guy with me (I've coached him 10+ seasons). Because I spread the ball around, he only gets it 3 times per game (maybe 4--tops). He scores at about an 80% clip when he gets the ball and there have been multiple games where he has scored every time he touched the ball. Of course since he is so well known in our league, he's a great decoy. Yes--it is hard not to give it to him over and over, especially in the tournament--but that's not how we roll. ;-) Only once--last season--have I considered it. The opposing coach did something that did not sit well at me at all, and I yelled out "You do that again and I'm giving it to #7 on every play!" With that, I noticed last season this player is starting to enjoy toying with the defense. He's the only player I've never instructed how to run, but last season there were times where he had a clear path to the end zone, but would cut inside looking for more players to put moves on. I nixed that pretty quickly. It is really amazing how some kids are just light years ahead of their peers. Regarding their defense--I know how frustrating that is (being on both sides of it). We always look to stop the run first, cover the field (not the players), etc. We try to get teams to rely heavily on their passing game as the odds are very much in our favor when we do that. Of course, we are a run-oriented team. When we go up a defense similar to ours I get frustrated myself, but believe I have a way to deal with it---which I'll explain in a new topic. Thanks again for sharing the videos. Good stuff!
  23. We tried this last evening in a team scrimmage, and it worked like a charm! I like the 3-step drop because it really sells the pass, and I want the defense to actually see that. Additionally, we are a very young/small team, and most of our opponents are a good six inches taller than my boys. Consequently, we've not had much luck with "wall-type" plays. Where I think I'm lucky, is that our RB is the only big player on our team. He's probably a good six inches taller than our QB (and he's build like a tank) so you can't even see the QB behind the RB--it's almost comical. Of course I could not resist a few plays later to call it again but to only fake it. I really exaggerated the prep of the play (went as far as pointing to where the QB will go behind the RB, etc.). When we faked it--1/2 the defense chased the RB and our QB had his pick of receivers to hit running the slant. Good for you! I still get irked when I see teams try to run the hurry up, essentially taking advantage of an inexperienced team trying to get set on defense. We could easily go no-huddle the entire game if we wanted to, but it's just too easy and can't bring myself to do that unless we are losing in a Championship game or something. It's just silly to see coaches out there screaming to their team "Hurry up! Get the play off before they get set!"
  24. Also to share two trick plays that have worked well with us: 1. Assuming your QB performs the normal cadence of "Down, Set, Hut", toward the end of the game place a RB right on the hip of the QB. The QB goes under center, surveys the defense, and begins cadence. On "Down" the C snaps the ball, and the QB quickly hands off to RB. The rest of the team just stands there. Good short-yardage play. Obviously the defense is conditioned to the full cadence, so this gives your RB that extra few steps before defense can react. 2. We call this "Double Vision". We used to run this in 8v8, but it works in 6v6. Two lineman, two RBs, and two QBs. One lineman acts as "real center" and the other as fake center. Same with the QBs. The "fake" QB actually calls out the cadence. When ball is snapped both the real and fake QBs/RBs perform a hand-off going in the opposite direction. It sounds ridiculous, but you'd be surprised how many kids 7-8 year olds get thrown off by it. Of course there are more dubious trick plays: variants of "wrong ball", putting a Center, QB, and RB on the line while you are in the huddle with the rest of the team and then those three run the play, etc. but we don't really call those (unless our opponents are wanting to pull out all the stops).
  25. I'll introduce this play in our practice tonight. Last evening my son (our QB) and I practiced it with me being the RB. He executed it very well. I've worked with him for years on his foot work so he has three and five-step drops down. I think I'll simply "measure off" his three-step drop which will give me an idea exactly where to place the MR and allow the QB smoothly drop-back, hand-off and roll-out in one fluid motion. Luckily our RB is huge for his age, so this will help shield the hand-off. Keep them coming. My guys are 9-10 but have all played together for many years. We play in a 10-12 league, so we rely on smart football to compete. Nothing is too complex for these boys as they are all pretty salty. Thanks!
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