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Thanks much. Used the drag plays out of a couple formations in a scrimmage today and they worked great. Our slowest player was wide open on a center drag and ran halfway down the field.

Husker

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I'm trying to get an idea of what other flag football leagues are doing. Can you all please post the following:

Age level of your league.

Number of players on the field.

Number of referees.

Last year I coached a 7-8 year old team that was 6-on-6. We had 1 referee on the field.

This year the Y changed to grade levels instead of age. Our team would play in the 2nd/3rd grade level. But they have changed it to a 4-on-4 format (which seems ridiculous) in the fall and hopefully will change it to a 5-on-5 format come winter when our team will play. I'm watching closely because I really don't want to play with only 4.

The local I9 league has a league that is 7-8, 9-10, etc. The cutoff date for the age is Sept 1st for the fall season which we won't play in, but it moves to Jan 1 in for the winter league. My team will have 3-4 kids that just turned 9 by Jan 1, the rest will be 8 and 7. That would be very tough for us to compete in. They play 5-on-5.

I9 also has a tournament in December and our team would play at the 7-8 year old level. I'm going to schedule us for that one as it'll be right before our season regardless of whether we play Y, I9 or ACYS.

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I'm coaching a 6 on 6 of 7-8 year olds, with a ref on the field. 5 count before the defense can rush. But, we need 3 on the offensive line and 3 on the defensive line to start the play. The LB's have to play 5 yards off the scrimmage. On offense all players are eligible to touch the ball.

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YMCA, 5 on 5, based on grade level not ages (3rd and 4th Grade), rush from 7 yards out or automatically on a handoff, no pitches, last year there were two officials on the field.

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Our League is the Youth NFL Flag Football and our division is 8-9 year olds. Its 5-5 with any amount of rushers as long as they line up 7 yards back from the line or can rush on a handoff. No pitches or QB runs are allowed, all players are eligible to catch passes, no blocking and we have 2 Refs at all times on the field!

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Had our scrimmage game against another team in the same age group today! Very very encouraging! The kids all came out today ready to play and seemed to play hard every play. Overall we did very good, didnt give up a score at all and moved the ball well. Every kid (8) touched the ball running or catching too, so I am pleased with that. Our first "official" game is this Saturday, cant wait to get the first one out of the way!

For the other coaches, how did you work in your kids? Meaning I have 10 total kids and we play 5-5. Every kid needs to play. What worked best, did you assign positions that week before that game and stick with it or did some of you sub kids both on Offense and Defense here and there when needed during the game?

I have a kid who is my fastest and great with the ball who is needed on offense, however on defense hes a complete Ball Hawk and around every play as well, perfect fit for Saftey! I am trying to decide if he should be on offense or defense this week. Every week I'll juggle kids around, but this week I am trying to decide. Obviously if hes on one side, the other may suffer. Trying to see if any of you coaches juggle kids both on offense and defense in/during the same game?

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Vegas:

I had my first game on Saturday and the kids played very well scoring 6 TD and giving up 2. Every kid touched the ball during the game. For the game, I split the team into two sets of 5, one set played offense the first half and then defense the second half and vice versa. The kids played the same offensive and defensive positions the entire game and they practiced in those positions the practice before the game. This worked very well and allowed me to make sure they were running some critical plays correctly. I'll switch the recievers, back and centers around for the next practice and game. For QB, I have one excellent QB who can throw deep, another QB that knows whats going on but can't throw well, and then it dries up quickly. I'll be sticking with these two and hope to develop another one or two through the season.

The drag plays suggested by Orange and Coach Rob worked great. Also, they were not rushing the QB initially and after running a bunch of short passes and runs we hit them with two deep passes.

Best of luck on your first game. Nice to get one under the belt.

Husker

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It's so great to hear that the coaches posting on here are having success both winning and getting all your players involved. I really am impressed with how well you all are doing.

Regarding working players in, here's what I'd do. In my mind I know who can do what, who the better players are, etc. I wait until just before the game to set the lineup because things always happen last minute and one can't make it, etc. If I have 10 kids and its 5-on-5 I split the team into two equally capable units. In the first half unit one plays offense and unit two plays defense. In the second half they switch so now unit one plays defense and unit two plays offense. That way all kids play 50% of the game and equally on offense and defense. It's a simple system and insures equality of playing time.

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Vegas:

I had my first game on Saturday and the kids played very well scoring 6 TD and giving up 2. Every kid touched the ball during the game. For the game, I split the team into two sets of 5, one set played offense the first half and then defense the second half and vice versa. The kids played the same offensive and defensive positions the entire game and they practiced in those positions the practice before the game. This worked very well and allowed me to make sure they were running some critical plays correctly. I'll switch the recievers, back and centers around for the next practice and game. For QB, I have one excellent QB who can throw deep, another QB that knows whats going on but can't throw well, and then it dries up quickly. I'll be sticking with these two and hope to develop another one or two through the season.

The drag plays suggested by Orange and Coach Rob worked great. Also, they were not rushing the QB initially and after running a bunch of short passes and runs we hit them with two deep passes.

Best of luck on your first game. Nice to get one under the belt.

Husker

I'm in the exact same boat Husker! I have one QB who is excellent with throwing the ball and plain awarness. I havent really found a second kid, defenitively yet. Although, like your situation Husker there are 2 other kids who know whats going on and have a knack for QB, but cant throw very well. They will take a few more practices and working with yet.

It's so great to hear that the coaches posting on here are having success both winning and getting all your players involved. I really am impressed with how well you all are doing.

Regarding working players in, here's what I'd do. In my mind I know who can do what, who the better players are, etc. I wait until just before the game to set the lineup because things always happen last minute and one can't make it, etc. If I have 10 kids and its 5-on-5 I split the team into two equally capable units. In the first half unit one plays offense and unit two plays defense. In the second half they switch so now unit one plays defense and unit two plays offense. That way all kids play 50% of the game and equally on offense and defense. It's a simple system and insures equality of playing time.

I owe a lot to you Orange and of course Coach Rob for helping my learning curve in my first year coaching. The plays and practice drills you guys have suggested have been the best bar none!!! I feel I am ahead of the game with that stuff alone. It made me that much more prepared and organized. Its great to have a forum here to bounce ideas and opinions off eachother! I still have many more questions for you all and I am personally glad my playbook is finally just about put together. Thanks again guys......

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Ive been reading these post for a while and finally decided to jump in the action so Im a first poster.

I will be coaching my son's U8 team this fall. We are playing 8 on 8 with 80 yard fields and set zones for first downs. We have 2 officials on the field at all times.

Our QB's are not allowed under center and are supposed to be at least 5 yards deep in the gun. We are allowed shifting and motion.

My biggest concern is getting all the kids having fun, and I know one key to that is letting everykid at least try the positions they want to play(qb,rb,wr).

My philosophy is "your moms and dads payed a lot of money for you to get to have fun and get a chance at some touches".

I think this will be much harder with 8 kids on the field at all times, but I will try my best to not get caught up in just trying to win games. This will be hard because the winningest team gets to pickup one of the best kids from a team and play in the state tourney.

I appreciate all the comments on the board so far. I think some of the plays and drills will come in handy. Thanks to Coach Rob and Orange for all the valuable tips.

I would love to see some of your play books if you still have them.

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Can you all please post the following:

Age level of your league.

Number of players on the field.

Number of referees.

7-9 year olds

5 v 5

1 ref

7 yd rush upon snap, pitches allowed, shotgun allowed, 5 yd no run zones in middle of field and at each end

I had my first game on Saturday and the kids played very well scoring 6 TD and giving up 2. Every kid touched the ball during the game. For the game, I split the team into two sets of 5, one set played offense the first half and then defense the second half and vice versa.
Congrats on the game, sounds like you're headed in the right direction. I agree on splitting the team and letting one play offensive, one play defense, then swith them up. Easiest way to help insure more ball touches and minimize the confusion.
I would love to see some of your play books if you still have them.
Orange has my playbook and will send with his.

CRob

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I would love to see some of your play books if you still have them.
Orange has my playbook and will send with his.

CRob

Correct. And all I ask in return is that once you customize your playbook you send it back to me. And also I want to know what's working and what's not working. I'm still learning too! :) That goes for anyone I sent my plays to.

PM me with your email address for the playbook.

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I plan on incorporating some plays with a shifting set and/or motion because I think it will be fun for the kids.

Any thoughts or ideas why/how I should or why I shouldn't?

I certainly think it could be fun for the kids, but I never had any kind of motion. My thought was that there were too many other things for them to worry about. They had enough trouble remembering their basic plays, routes, assignments, etc. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible and not introduce any other variables into the scheme. I wanted them to do the simple things very very well and the more you get caught up in motion and moving around and such the more chances of things going wrong.

Here's what I did do that threw the other teams off at least for a little while. I ran a balanced formation for most of the game. Sometime in the second half I'd introduce my other formation which has every player wide left of the center. The man defenses were a little perplexed and confused as to who they were covering. It's good for 3-4 plays of confusion as they'd get really comfortable guarding my balanced set.

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I would love to see some of your play books if you still have them.
Orange has my playbook and will send with his.

CRob

Correct. And all I ask in return is that once you customize your playbook you send it back to me. And also I want to know what's working and what's not working. I'm still learning too! :) That goes for anyone I sent my plays to.

PM me with your email address for the playbook.

Hello Orange and CoachRob (and everyone else) - great forum, with lots of great information. I too would really, really appreciate anybody who would be willing to share their playbooks with me! I'm a first year head coach, (coaching 7-8 year olds, 5-on-5, 70 yard field with 5 yard no run zones at midfield and end zones) with some plays drawn up, but could really use some more. Again, thanks for all the great information, it's really useful.

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I plan on incorporating some plays with a shifting set and/or motion because I think it will be fun for the kids.

Any thoughts or ideas why/how I should or why I shouldn't?

I certainly think it could be fun for the kids, but I never had any kind of motion. My thought was that there were too many other things for them to worry about. They had enough trouble remembering their basic plays, routes, assignments, etc. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible and not introduce any other variables into the scheme. I wanted them to do the simple things very very well and the more you get caught up in motion and moving around and such the more chances of things going wrong.

Here's what I did do that threw the other teams off at least for a little while. I ran a balanced formation for most of the game. Sometime in the second half I'd introduce my other formation which has every player wide left of the center. The man defenses were a little perplexed and confused as to who they were covering. It's good for 3-4 plays of confusion as they'd get really comfortable guarding my balanced set.

I like that idea, it sounds like it would work pretty good! I basically only run 2 different formations right now, a Twins set (2 Wrs on one side) and Trips set (3 WRs on one side). Now I line up my formations either left or right, but right now only have 2 formations. I adopted Oranges theory of no RB in the backfield and all my runs are end arounds. End arounds seem to work very very well with this age group! Of course I have yet to have any "real game" experience as our first official game is this Saturday, however in our scrimmage against another team this past weekend the end arounds were great and in our practices it works good as well.

I plan on incorporating some plays with a shifting set and/or motion because I think it will be fun for the kids.

Any thoughts or ideas why/how I should or why I shouldn't?

Maybe I missed this, but what age group are you coaching? Also you mentioned you could rush, does the rushers have to be a certain distance from the LOS? As for the motions, I also agree it would be fun for the kids, however I think you should really concentrate on the bare basics right off the bat and master the little things. You may not want to hit them with to much all at once. Trust me, you'll have your hands full with teaching ball exchange, handoffs, route running, catching and throwing. Then maybe down the line set up a motion play or two with one of your main kids and incorperate it into practice.

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Trust me, you'll have your hands full with teaching ball exchange, handoffs, route running, catching and throwing. Then maybe down the line set up a motion play or two with one of your main kids and incorperate it into practice.

Don't forget flag pulling, flag pulling, flag pulling. And some defensive swarming thrown in. Never overlook defense, you need to devote a lot of time to teaching defense.

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Maybe I missed this, but what age group are you coaching? Also you mentioned you could rush, does the rushers have to be a certain distance from the LOS? As for the motions, I also agree it would be fun for the kids, however I think you should really concentrate on the bare basics right off the bat and master the little things. You may not want to hit them with to much all at once. Trust me, you'll have your hands full with teaching ball exchange, handoffs, route running, catching and throwing. Then maybe down the line set up a motion play or two with one of your main kids and incorperate it into practice.

My age group is 8 and under as of Sept. 1

Rushing rules are anyone can rush at anytime as long as they are lined up onsides before snap and not in neutral zone.

I do plan on concentrating on the basics and maybe just throw the motion in midgame with one of my kids who really knows whats going on.

I plan on putting my main emphasis on defense. Flag pulling drills have been abundant and I appreciate that.

One flag pulling drill I plan on using is the pick a cone drill we used in tackle football. You have a defender v. a RB. The running back has 5 cones to choose to go between and the defender (who is lined up behind the cones)must pick him off before he can "score" between the cones.

--------------------------------Defender

cone---------------cone--------------cone-------------cone-------------cone

-------------^-----------------^-------------------^---------------^

--------------------------------------RB

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Trust me, you'll have your hands full with teaching ball exchange, handoffs, route running, catching and throwing. Then maybe down the line set up a motion play or two with one of your main kids and incorperate it into practice.

Don't forget flag pulling, flag pulling, flag pulling. And some defensive swarming thrown in. Never overlook defense, you need to devote a lot of time to teaching defense.

Of course Flag Pulling, YES!

Our team is set to play our first game tomorrow, I feel very confident with our offense given the plays from Rob and Orange. We execute pretty well on that side. Defense i have concerns about. Obviously flag pulling is drilled home each practice, however teaching the zone concept, staying in their areas and closing in on the ball carrier has been a BIG challenge! Some get it, some dont. So far we have been running a 2-2-1 zone defense. 2 corners lined up just inside of the outside reciever about 2 yards back, 2 LBs in the middle just on the inside of the corners 7 yards back and a free saftey in the middle about 9 yards back. One of LBs are always my rusher and he is an AWESOME pressure kid who gets in very quick! That has been huge! I've thought about throwing in Coach Robs variation of 2-1-2 zone, for now I wanted the kids to get one concept down pat. Any suggestions on teaching zone concepts and/or suggestions on ways of running better defensive sets? My players generally have the harder time pulling flags and closing against my 2 quickest players running the ball on sweeps. Maybe more and more repititions will help.

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Our team is set to play our first game tomorrow, I feel very confident with our offense given the plays from Rob and Orange. We execute pretty well on that side. Defense i have concerns about. Obviously flag pulling is drilled home each practice, however teaching the zone concept, staying in their areas and closing in on the ball carrier has been a BIG challenge! Some get it, some dont. So far we have been running a 2-2-1 zone defense. 2 corners lined up just inside of the outside reciever about 2 yards back, 2 LBs in the middle just on the inside of the corners 7 yards back and a free saftey in the middle about 9 yards back. One of LBs are always my rusher and he is an AWESOME pressure kid who gets in very quick! That has been huge! I've thought about throwing in Coach Robs variation of 2-1-2 zone, for now I wanted the kids to get one concept down pat. Any suggestions on teaching zone concepts and/or suggestions on ways of running better defensive sets? My players generally have the harder time pulling flags and closing against my 2 quickest players running the ball on sweeps. Maybe more and more repititions will help.

Good luck, I want to know how you do. The teams you'll be playing in general will have simple runs and try to throw the ball over the middle and deep, not at all like the offense you've been running in scrimmages against your own defense. They won't be expecting your zone so you'll have an advantage. If you can keep them from making too many big plays you'll be fine.

As regards teaching zone they just have to do it a little in a game and you have to keep reinforcing their responsibilities. Same thing with swarming and flag pulling, just keep reinforcing the concepts during huddles and such. Personally I try to fire them up during defensive huddles. I want my players playing with intensity.

Also on defense, you have to be flexible both in terms of personnel and alignments. I would have a basic idea of the alignment I'd run but I would often tinker with it during the game based on what the offense is trying to do. For instance, if they are throwing deep, then you'll want probably two safeties deep. If however they seem to like the run, move your defenders right up on the line. You want to outguess the offense and put your players in the best position to make a stop. Personnel-wise, make sure you have balance on each side and someone reliable deep.

If they start trying to run over the middle against you (which is where you look vulnerable in your description) do this: Keep the corners where they are and the rusher. But leave only one safety deep. Take the other and stick him right over the center on the line of scrimmage. If there is a run he should stuff it. If the other team looks to pass he drifts back maybe 5 yards or so and has short-medium zone coverage over the middle.

One final thing: I like to have my zones move left and right with the qb. One of the great strengths of the zone is that they watch the ballcarrier. Make sure they are watching the qb that way they'll stay home and not be chasing receivers to and fro.

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Our team is set to play our first game tomorrow, I feel very confident with our offense given the plays from Rob and Orange. We execute pretty well on that side. Defense i have concerns about. Obviously flag pulling is drilled home each practice, however teaching the zone concept, staying in their areas and closing in on the ball carrier has been a BIG challenge! Some get it, some dont. So far we have been running a 2-2-1 zone defense. 2 corners lined up just inside of the outside reciever about 2 yards back, 2 LBs in the middle just on the inside of the corners 7 yards back and a free saftey in the middle about 9 yards back. One of LBs are always my rusher and he is an AWESOME pressure kid who gets in very quick! That has been huge! I've thought about throwing in Coach Robs variation of 2-1-2 zone, for now I wanted the kids to get one concept down pat. Any suggestions on teaching zone concepts and/or suggestions on ways of running better defensive sets? My players generally have the harder time pulling flags and closing against my 2 quickest players running the ball on sweeps. Maybe more and more repititions will help.

Good luck, I want to know how you do. The teams you'll be playing in general will have simple runs and try to throw the ball over the middle and deep, not at all like the offense you've been running in scrimmages against your own defense. They won't be expecting your zone so you'll have an advantage. If you can keep them from making too many big plays you'll be fine.

As regards teaching zone they just have to do it a little in a game and you have to keep reinforcing their responsibilities. Same thing with swarming and flag pulling, just keep reinforcing the concepts during huddles and such. Personally I try to fire them up during defensive huddles. I want my players playing with intensity.

Also on defense, you have to be flexible both in terms of personnel and alignments. I would have a basic idea of the alignment I'd run but I would often tinker with it during the game based on what the offense is trying to do. For instance, if they are throwing deep, then you'll want probably two safeties deep. If however they seem to like the run, move your defenders right up on the line. You want to outguess the offense and put your players in the best position to make a stop. Personnel-wise, make sure you have balance on each side and someone reliable deep.

If they start trying to run over the middle against you (which is where you look vulnerable in your description) do this: Keep the corners where they are and the rusher. But leave only one safety deep. Take the other and stick him right over the center on the line of scrimmage. If there is a run he should stuff it. If the other team looks to pass he drifts back maybe 5 yards or so and has short-medium zone coverage over the middle.

One final thing: I like to have my zones move left and right with the qb. One of the great strengths of the zone is that they watch the ballcarrier. Make sure they are watching the qb that way they'll stay home and not be chasing receivers to and from.

Great Idea with moving the LB over the center if their hitting us in the middle. I also will be adjusting alot on the fly against what the other team is trying to do, no doubt. One other problem I have is while we have practiced 6 total times, I have 2 kids that have only been to two practices total. So while I think I understand their skill set to a degree, I am not completley confident I know what there fully capable of. I DONT want to lose that balance between Offense and Defense, personnel wise!

Hey Orange after teams saw your end arounds and running style, did teams make any certain adjustments to counter that defensivley? If so, what was it?

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Hey Orange after teams saw your end arounds and running style, did teams make any certain adjustments to counter that defensivley? If so, what was it?

All the teams we played against would run man-to-man. I'd say pretty much all of them had one defender assigned to the qb who would play right over the center on the line of scrimmage. They would also have another defender covering the center who would play right in the same spot. After a couple of end arounds these two defenders would start keying on it and trying to cut it off. So if we were running it to their left, these two would see it coming and try to head them off by getting in front of them to the left. The other defenders were keyed up man-to-man on my receivers so they would be taken out of the play with clear out patterns and were not a factor.

That's when I'd go with the fake end around/ center drag in the opposite direction. The defenders would bite so hard they'd be far behind when we went the other way. Also they would leave the center completely alone as they chased the runner the other way.

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Welp.... had our first game this morning and we lost it 12-13! Our team came out very very flat on this day, however we still held a 12-0 lead at halftime. The other team hardly moved the ball at all, their only 2 scores were missed flag pulls for long long runs! We gave up the 2nd score which won it for them, with only 1:15 left to play to lose the game. Tuff way to lose it. Heartbreaker!

I ran in to a few problems though and am not completley sure how to handle one situation.... my quickest and "star" player totally shut down on us today. He was called for a flag guard right before halftime, started crying and pouting, then didnt even want the ball anymore. He didnt want to play offense at all and defensivley wasnt in it. I am not sure if he was up late the night before or what, I havent seen this from him, it was a big derailment and distration to the other boys though. It really killed any momentum we had, I tried to get him out of it, but it wasnt happening. He showed bad sportsmanship too as he didnt even want to sit with the team and in the end I had to "make" him join our team huddle where I congratulate all the boys and such. In hindsight I wished I would have sat him out for the rest of the game and told his dad he just doesnt want to play anymore today. I was hoping he would snap out of it with a good play and by seeing I still had confidence in him though. That may have been a bad decision. It brought the kids spirits down, you could see it. I hope this isnt an indication of whats to come with him...... I need an opinion how to handle this type of situation. Should I address it, or not address his behavoir?

On the game side of things, it seemed the defense adjusted very well to my end arounds and short passes the second half. We didnt even score or get a first down the second half. I may need to learn to adjust a little there with the plays. Plus, again I no longer had my threat of my "best" kid because he flat out quit in the middle of the game. We also were flagged 7 times today! Two times my QB was over the LOS when he threw the ball, 1 false start and 4 flag guards! All the flags were on plays where we gained a good chunk of yards too. Defensivley I was proud for the most part. We got pressure and were in position every play. The 2 scores they had were runs from their 5 yard line and two or three of my players flat out missed the flags! They were right there in position, but missed the flag!

I already know Flag pulling is the emphasis in the next practices, we cant have missed flag pulls, especially at the end to lose like that. I'm glad this first game is out of the way, I just am beside myself because we had that game won and didnt play 2 halfs of football. I really hope it gets better after this........ Kids had fun today though!!!!

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Tough break but it sounded exciting and you also said all the kids had fun so it was a success. Good job on that. Regarding your distraught player, that's one of those lessons that he's going to have to learn. If it were one of my kids I'd take the opportunity to teach him and explain how he can't let that effect him and so on. I'd also talk with his parents and let them know what your expectations are, they could probably help. The bigger problem I see is that you seem to rely heavily on him which as you found out can come back and bite you. You have to have multiple options.

Regarding the runs and short passes you need to explain what's going on. I found that towards the beginning of the season and up to the middle my plays were OK and we managed to win but barely. I analyzed what was going on and I figured out that we just didn't run everything very crisp and efficient. So, I reemphasized the patterns, the speed, the execution over and over. My guys were running sloppy patterns and my plays which had been designed for a 2 yard drag over the middle was drifting out to a 10 yard down and in. My clear out patterns were getting lazy, etc. My runs are designed to take a handoff full speed and we were stopping or slowing down. Once I got the kids refocused we were unstoppable. That could be whats going on with you guys.

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