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Everything posted by Johnp2

  1. Selling the pass is key, as was mentioned. The whole idea is once the defense believes, and reacts to the pass, you have a player getting the ball going full-throttle in the opposite direction. We actually do run it for a slot receiver about 7-10 yards out. During the game I'll have that player run a wheel route (going behind the QB) a few times so it does not alert the team when they see him running down the LOS when we execute it. As you have seen, it can be deadly against the blitz. We usually move our slot in about 3-4 yards away, and let the blitzers hold up the QB's flag(s), wondering why the ball-carrier is streaking down the sideline. Heh-heh. Ironically, I've wanted to come up with a Fake Statue of Liberty, but it always works so well it's been hard for me to come up with a way to make the defense think we are running it....other than telling them.
  2. I believe the play I attached will hit the gaps (at least that is my plan). The key, as you mentioned, is to quickly hit the gaps. When you hit the gap like this, you can't jack around. I coach my kids two things with respect to when they have the ball: 1) Think ahead. Every move should be cognizant. 2) The second you see a gap, burst through it. These points might seem like they contradict one another, but thinking about what you will do when you see a hole and executing on that=Vision. You can take an average player and make him a stud by teaching proper vision. If a defense is undisciplined enough to give us the corner, we will take that all day. However, when facing a team that plays the ends tight (as they should), I've found success by pounding those gaps over and over until they give space to the corners.
  3. The way you've described your offense sounds very similar to ours--which of course means I like it. ;-) FWIW, I don't particulary get caught up too much on the TYPE of zone that we are facing. All I really care about is if we are playing against a zone or a man defense. I personally feel at 7-8 the subtleties are not very tangible with respect to the type of zone. Unless of course a team runs a 6-0 or something unorthodox like that. I know some might not agree with that, but we've always fielded a pretty potent offense, so it works for me. Regarding the half-back pass--we have never had good luck with it. In practice it's always performed well, but in the game the RB always seems to panic. Additionally, I've not seen a team work it against us either. Concerning the "Quick Draw" we have a C Draw that works well. We send everyone on a go route, except for the C. However, we let the play develop some before handing it to the C. I've learned that it's best to signal the QB and C when to execute it. We are not allowed to talk to the players after the snap, so I usually just cough. When we want to get off a quick play, we have one called "RB Run--on Down". Pretty simple. Just have your RB line up right next to your QB (who is under center). QB says "Down", C snaps the ball, all players just stand up and the QB hands off to the RB. Obviously we call this later in the game once we've conditioned the defense to our normal cadence. This is usually good for 15+ yards, and we've scored a few times off of it. Other than that, I would say just design your game plan around what's worked well with other zone defenses. Script your first 10 or so plays, note what has worked/not worked and tailor the rest of your play-calling from there.
  4. I'll tell you what--the Statue if Liberty--when exectuted correctly, can be extremely dangerous---this is a great call on your part, Red Baron! You are correct about timing. I like the way you keep the QB's arm cocked, as opposed with trying to do some fancy fake pass. The NUMBER ONE rule to beating an offense, IMO, is to ensure that the second you get the defense fooled, make sure you are going full-speed, which is what this version of the Statue allows. This is one play we have down and ALWAYS gain big yardage on. It's also been a great play for us to beat the blitz. We've spent a lot of time on hiding it, and having two versions: quick, and long. This is dependant on how far we feel the defense is thinking we will throw. There is not a better moment in coaching, than to run this play--hearing the opposing coaches scream "Pass--Pass!" only to have your player snatch it from the QB with nothing but air in front of him, hearing parents of your team scream, "Great playing calling, coach!" ;-)
  5. How old are your players? I would recommend designing a few plays for each position. Assign each player to a primary position, and you won't have to worry about rotating them--they will always know where to go. Also, because your playbook has plays for each position, you just call those plays--which ensures you spread the ball around. As an example, the Center has the same number of running plays as the RB. As long as you go through your play sheet, the position itself is a moot point--and you have to express this to the players. Regarding QB, I imagine it's pretty difficult to get all players embedded into that position. It sounds as if most of them will only play it once or twice during the season--is this correct? Not sure how much responsibility you give that position, but I've always had two QBs. For one, it's his primary position, and the other it's is secondary position. However, if you've promised the kids/players that each one will get a crack at QB, then I like the way you are doing it. Some coaches on here track "touches" during the game (or have their assistant or a parent do it). This helps to ensure you get all kids the ball. Hope this helps.
  6. I agree, and I think a lot has to do with the league itself. We are in a city-league here that is by definition, a rec league. With that, there are select Flag Football leagues here--where they conduct a draft, etc. We had a select team come into our league a few seasons ago, and they wiped the field with everyone. We lost to them in championship game. It turns out they had quite a few players over age limit (our league does not check ages--it is an honor system). We were 8-9 and their team was 9-10. They claimed it was a "mix-up", but I believe they would have defeated most 10-12 teams here. I've had two players who left for tackle come back to flag. This is because the players got stuck on the O-Line in tackle. As you can imagine, if you are a nine year old boy, what's more fun---going out and catching passes--or being bull-rushed play after play? ;-) I believe 12 is the oldest age supported by any Flag Footbal league around here. I doubt I will ever coach tackle as I have quite a few friends who either coach or have sons in tackle---and there always seems to be a plethora of drama---something I just don't have the fight for.
  7. Is this yours, Schann? Whosever it is--I give them an A+ for their play names. Good stuff! ;-)
  8. I had good success with the shuffle (shovel) pass when I coached younger kids (4-6). Of course back then we ran a very basic version of it (this is when we played 8v8). One of my guards would run about a three yard curl. My QB would step back as to if to throw deep, and then shuffle it to him. This worked well as the initial three yard sprint my Guard did caused his defender to drop way back (and often keep running back). ;-) As the kids aged, they obviously became smarter, and defenses began to shut this play down--so I have not executed it in about five seasons. This season (coaching 10-12....6v6), I've modified it to be more of a a traditional shuffle pass play in that the QB will shuffle it while on the run. To give the intended receiver some room, we will fake a hand-off in the opposite direction. See attached. Note: I've yet to try this with the team yet--but this is my thought on how we will execute it this season. Shuff_2010.doc
  9. Don't be afraid to teach your players how to audible. They are old enough to understand the concept. This way if you find the defense has a key and they are honing in on, you can catch them flat-footed. There are plenty of threads on here about methods for audibling. Just something to consider...
  10. Wow--that is uncool. Was he calling out to the defense each time he heard the play? There are ways to combat this, but I would have been tempted call a reverse (saying it loudly so he can hear), then run the reverse. Do it again a play or two later. Then whisper to my team to run the fake-reverse, but say we are reversing loudly again and laugh at him as my RB is running free to the end zone. ;-) I would also email all the other coaches and warn them about this (and cc the coach of this team).
  11. This is always an under-appreciated statistic in my opinion. I always track how many muffed snaps our opponents have through the season (typically around 12 total). During the season, I always make a big deal out of how our Center has ZERO muffed snaps. That is 12 plays he's saved for our team. 12 additional opportunities he has give his teammates a chance to get the ball, and 12 additional opportunities for his team to succeed.
  12. RoyalFlush--that was VERY well stated. I also agree it's a good strategy to get your lesser-skilled players the ball on first and second down and go with your top athletes to get the first down as needed.
  13. Yep---you will see this a lot. Probably more often than not. When I first started coaching it was very difficult for me to deal with. ****Boring story alert**** My first season coaching I was fortunate in that I had THE best player in the league. He played on the Championship team the season before. It turns out his parents left that team because thye felt that the coach of that team got "a little too much into it" and wanted him on another team. I found this out after a few games when they told me how grateful they were I was fostering a team environment. They told me the team he defected from just handed him the ball almost every play and it made them feel uneasy. When we ended up playing that team--they killed us. I'll never forget their coach came up to me afterward and said, "Why didn't you just give it to Isaac on every play?" He was a nice guy, and I'm sure he thought he was doing the right thing--but I told myself I would never win like that at this level.
  14. This happens. I don't really track touches, but I do track plays. After a while you'll be able get a feel by looking at your play sheet who has not received the ball yet. I can think of two times I've missed getting a player the ball. Each time, I emailed the parents after the game, apologized for it, and let them know I will make it up to the player in the next game. This obviously sends a positive message and holds you accountable so you won't forget again. :-) That has to be rough not being on the field with 7-9 year olds. Regarding the number of rushers, don't be surprised if in the next game you have different officials, and they say only one rusher--I've seen crazier things. I would ask the league director to send an email to all coaches confirming any rules that are not explicit in the rule book.
  15. So the parents of some of your top players are upset because they think their sons were under-utilized, is that correct? I will assume that this is not a paid position, and that you are volunteering your time. I'd send an email to all the parents thanking them for their child's attendance in the game, and reminding them that ALL players will be given equal opportunity to succeed (instead of you relying on your "A" team). Simply let them know what you are about, and what they can expect. If they confront you later about it, I would respectfully tell them that you are sticking with your philosophy, and if they don't like it they can go to another team--or better yet start their own team. There is no excuse for a parent to get upset with a coach over 5-6 year old flag football, and you simply don't need that element on your team. It sounds like you just played a disciplined defense. Throwing at this age will be challenging. Or should I say throwing and catching will be the challenge. You'll probably run across some teams who have a QB that can chunk it, but catching far passes at this age is extremely rare. I'll advise two plays: 1. RB Counter. I-formation. Have the "fullback" execute a fake-hand off left. The RB starts left and then cuts right to take the hand-off. Have all the other players run a left slant. 2. Center Draw. Spread formation. Simply have all players run a go route, except for the Center. The QB drops back to pass, and then after a few moments, the QB hands off to the Center (when I was coaching 4-6 I coughed to signal the hand-off). The key here is for all other players run the go route three ways: fast, furious, and far. I can all but guarantee the defense will have a natural tendancy to drop back with the receivers and/or chase them. This should open up the first level for you. Finally, after running the reverse a few times, fake the reverse. Be sure to have the ball-carrier stretch out the ball for the hand-off. I go as far as instructing the ball-carrier to hold it out the second he gets it. Good luck!
  16. My only advice is to ensure the kids don't get mentally defeated. If they don't know yet, I'm sure before the game you'll be hearing a lot of "Oh, man. Conner is out, and so is Billy", etc. When this happens, I reiterate to my team how no one or two players carry the team, they are all accountable, and to go out and play tough, smart football. I'm sure you'll have one or more players step completely out of themselves and play the best game of their careers. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
  17. I think this is perfect! Very similar to how we roll during the season. The only difference is I will introduce a new play at the first practice (spending as much time as needed on it) and then go through core plays as time allows. The last practice of the week we do a walk-thru. Game day is a lot of one-on-one with the kids as I see them, "Joey, remember to hold the ball out far on your fake reverse", etc. Other than that I'll let them just run around until about five minutes before 'kick-off'. At that time we sit in a circle at mid-field and go through our scripted plays to see if anyone has questions--and watch the other team warm-up.
  18. There are probably 3-5 camera's rolling film in any one of our games. Most do it, as you mentioned, for end-of-season highlights. Some are coaches trying to scout you (a little silly, IMO). I did have a parent provide me with a film of one of our games once, and it was incredible the little things I was able to pick out and improve on.
  19. You ever use a no-huddle? Like run an end-around, and then come back quickly with a fake end-around/bootleg the other way? Or even just telling the kids to run the same play twice in a row. Unsportsman-like?? Excellent question! Frankly, we could go no-huddle all game long. This is simply because my players know their plays so well, I could just call them out and they would get to LOS and execute without fail. Your example of and end-around, then calling "same play" and instead running the fake end-around and then bootleg is how I open every single game (and have scored quite a few TDs doing this). I do this simply because we have little idea how skilled/disciplined our opponent is, so we go for the throat right off the bat. With that, I ALWAYS wait for the defense to get lined up (even on "same play"). Some coaches will go no-huddle with the idea of executing the play before the defense is lined up (which is the idea of no-huddle), but I just can't bring myself to do that. Our QB is not allowed to call his cadence until I tell him to. On almost every play, I'll look at the defensive coach and ask "Ready?". Once he is, I'll instruct my QB to "call it out". We do have a few teams in our league that will go stretches of 4-5 no-huddle plays in a row, frantically trying to get the play off before the defense is ready. While we have no problem handling that on defense, there are some teams that cannot, and so yes--I think it is a little bush-league. I can understand if it is in the waning seconds and you are trying to score, but to have it as part of a game plan each game? I've never been a fan of it myself. ***Boring story alert*** My first season, we had a team go no huddle on us. It was maybe our second or third game (4-6 year olds). I was positioning the kids on defense---had my back to the LOS---and the next thing I know our opponents RB was running uncontested to the end zone. We all just stood there and watched. His team scored, but to a man, everyone watching was like, "Really?"
  20. This is very interesting. A few things: I commend you on your emphasis for practice. Does your league have a policy on this? As with Schann, I've never disallowed a player from playing due to lack of practice, but it has not really been a problem before. If you have let the parents know the importance of attending practice, and this one simply elects to ignore that, then roll with whatever rules you have set, and stick with them. One thing to remember, though. Most times it is not the player's fault for missing. Thus I would caution viewing this player as a "slacker". Not saying you are viewing him as such, just that it could be this player wanted to be at the practices, but his mom had other priorities. I'd encourage you to get at the heart of the matter. Perhaps there is another player he can carpool with or something?
  21. A fun play for the kids: Develop a play that does on "Down". We have one where I put the RB right next to the QB. QB says, "Down..!", ball is snapped, quickly handed off to RB and he goes right up the middle. Have all your other player just stand up after the ball is snapped. The defense is so conditioned to hearing the same cadence, it always catches them off-guard and usually the RB is in the second-level before they realize what is happening. This just takes some practice with the C, QB, and RB.
  22. OUCH! Definitely a learning experience...even though my son is very careful with the ball (two INTs in the past three seasons) I admit I get real skiddish toward the end of a close game in letting him throw too much if we are ahead. What happened to you happens all the time, though--his nickname used to be "Pick six" (and that was not due to his defense). ;-) Just part of the lumps you have to take. The positive side is you guys did not get whooped like your first game. I've always felt if a new coach with a new team (who does not rely on his top athletes) can go .500 they have done a wonderful job.
  23. Agreed. Of course as we know it gets tiring when a coach asks for clarification on every other play that does not go their way. So many times, I've heard opposing coaches ask the officials "Can they do that?" over and over again. One thing that has helped me, is to simply ask the officials at the coin toss, "What are you strict on?" Most of the them are happy to tell you, "Keep the hands away from the belt", "Don't move until the ball is snapped", etc. It's typically very informal. I just send an email stating the good calls (or non-calls) the officials made, commend the flow of the game, keeping us on schedule, etc. I'll sometime make requests. As an example, some officials like to stand near the offensive huddle, "30 seconds coach...25 seconds coach...20 seconds coach" etc. I'll ask that they don't do it unless we ask (as it is a distraction). Then of course we have the unbelievably poor calls. Once we had a trick play that was so tricky, the officials blew the whistle mid-play (as we were headed right into the end zone). I clarified the legality of the play in my email, and our league responded with an apology, and reminded the officials to not be so quick with their whistles if they are unsure--and huddle after the play. So essentially, it's really just keeping your program director (or whomever is over the officiating) in the loop. They are putting a product on the field as well, and don't want to be known as the league with the worst officials. Additionally, I would say most of my post-game grades are positive in nature. Most of the time I have no complaints, and simply want them to keep doing the good things they are doing. I imagine if all I did was complain after each game, it would end up falling on deaf ears.
  24. Back in the day we were always underdogs. Only the past three seasons we have been "the team to beat." However, I have--and always will, coach my team to be the underdogs. I want them to have the biggest chip on their shoulder, they are ready to play any team, any where! I realize some may disagree with this approach, but we don't get "hyped up". We see too many teams do it, and we are different. In fact, my team loves watching and then clapping after a team does one of its Ray Lewis-type cheer before the game. This is not to dismiss it, just some teams in our league get REALLY into their cheers/chants, and we always stand like we are in awe. Then it becomes a big social event for us. The kids are playing whatever football game they've made up (One flag, Monkey in the middle, etc.) and simply being kids. I remember my first season, a parent came up and asked, "Do you think we should be doing jumping jacks like the other team?". I told him "Nope." Then when the game starts, we punch 'em in the mouth with smart football, and they have no idea what hit them. Seeing the looks on the other players/coach's faces when this team--who they did not think much of--just kick the (you know what) out of them is my favorite part of coaching! This is what I cannot wait for especially this season, when it will be easier for me to sell the team on being under-dogs. I will enjoy every minute of fight this team puts in.
  25. Very nice! I agree it's important for the kids to have a mantra (something that defines the team). Ours is "Smart Football". Sounds tiresome, but I've had over five seasons to drive this mantra into the team, and they hold it very dear. It's what they are about.
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