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Spring 2012 Season

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Thought I'd post a game by game review of our season. I've got 2/3 graders in a 5 on 5 league.


We got 4 practices in prior to the 1st game. About 5.5 hours of practice time. Due to Spring Break and School evening events we only had about 4 kids make all of the practices.

1st Practice.

  • Introduction, Rules, etc.
  • Did some 1 on 1 flag pulling drills working the base action of the "Dive" & "Counter".
  • Introduced the Offensive positions, tried to go with more traditional names, this was confusing for the boys and we went back to our color scheme for naming conventions by the 4th practice.
  • Got a "light" install of 3 plays in the first night. RB Dive, WB Counter, and WR Pass. All plays are part of a series designed with the same backfield action for the 4 eligible receivers. WB Counter and WR Pass have PA to the RB on the Dive Action.
  • Played a lot of Sharks and Minnows.

2nd Practice

  • Continued with Flag Pulling Drills with Base action working RB Dive and WB Counter.
  • Reviewed Rules & Expectations.
  • Light Review of Offense adding in Center Drag Pass, 3 yard out with QB Bootleg Action off the RB Dive.
  • Added in Center Belly Draw - Wrap Around Hand Off to the Center (only type of hand off allowed in our league to Center).
  • Offense still looks pretty rough.
  • Introduce Defensive Positions. We are in a 2-3 Zone. DE main job when ball flowing toward them is to aim at the outside hip of the BC (Ball Carrier) and turn the play back into the middle. Spend a lot of time talking about this and repping it. Teach OLB there job when ball flowing to them is to fill and support the DE. If it is flowing away: Check for a Reverse then sprint at an Angle to "put a cap" on the Run. MLB is free to flow to the ball.
  • Sharks and Minnows.

3rd Practice

  • Review Names and Finalize our Team Name - We have 11 this year, 1st practice only had 10 players present and we ended in a tie of "Devil Dogs" and "The Angry Birds". 11th Player makes it back from Spring Break, 11th Player picks "Devil Dogs", we are the Devil Dogs. We do the Tournament Idea posted on this site. Choices included: Long Bombers, Rolling Thunder, Warthogs, Devil Dogs, Bearcats, Angry Birds, and a few more I can't recall.
  • Complete Review of the Offense. 5 Plays in all off the same action w/ 2 plays to the Center: a drag Pass and a Belly Draw.
  • Continue Review on Defense stressing DE aim @ outside hip on the sweep and OLB on backside putting a cap on the run (I don't want to give up big plays on Sweep/Reverse).
  • Touch briefly on Zone concept, key is for LB not to let a Receiver get behind them.
  • Scrimmage for about 10 to 15 minutes. Defense looks good. Only TD given up comes when RB breaks one right up the middle which is the weak point in the team, I know this but most teams are obsessed with getting outside.

4th Practice

  • Very light turn out, 2nd grade school musical.
  • I install a Rollout Pass that give the QB 2 options, 1 short 1 deep, easy read. I will have to review with a couple prior to the 1st game. We also work the Center Drag pass footwork, QB are having trouble remembering to boot out (Reverse Pivot).
  • Quick review of Offense for those who are there.
  • Quick verbal review of Defense.
  • We end practice with some 1 on 1 Receiver vs DB drills w/ me at QB. Kids Love it.

So we go into our 1st game with 6 Plays (none really looking sharp enough for me). We can flip our Dive and Counter/Reverse so we kinda go 8 plays. Little nervous, I've got mostly 2nd Graders in a 2/3 league. Feel a little rushed with the Offensive install and if we face a team that can pass we will be in trouble.

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1st Game W 36-6

I'm a little worried but feel we should be okay. I ask that everyone is there 30 minutes prior, I'm going to review the Rollout Pass we install on Thursday when numbers where short. Most everyone is there close to 30 minutes prior. We review the Rollout Pass then run through our plays with both squads (I split them in to 2 teams for the season). I've got 11 so I have to juggle a bit this year. Quick verbal review of the Defense.

As the other team arrives I see we will be fine. Not very organized, it always frustrates me that some kids don't get a good experience.

1st Half

Game goes as expected. We open with an Incomplete Pass. Then score on the counter play. They go 3 and out. Next Series we score on the dive when RB makes 1st kid miss and sprints to the end zone. On the XP one of the boys who is in his 4th season with me scores for the 1st time, he had his flag pulled inside the 2 yard line about 1/2 dozen times so this makes me happy. They manage to break a run on their next possession and we get the flag pull inside the no run zone. We have them stopped but get flagged for our rusher leaving early. We get an interception but play is called off for some reason and they finally get in after about 5 or 6 attempts from the 3 yard line. We intercept the 2 Point Conversion and return for TD/XP. We score again to close out the 1/2 with a bit of a drive that ends in a TD Pass on the rollout play. Everyone got a carry on Offense with 4 out of the 6 kids that played "O" scoring. 24-6 at the half.

2nd Half

We score 2 more TD (1 pass, 1 run) and have a 3rd possession where I purposely don't attempt very hard to score running the C Draw play a couple of times.

In all 7 out of the 11 players see the end zone on TD or XP. I feel like 10 out of the 11 will definitely score this season. I'm going to have to work hard to get the 11th in the end zone.

Next Week

I watched 4 other teams play, 1 might be pretty good they will pass some.

We will have a better team to play but not a good team. I'm going to install one more Offensive play and try and focus on our LB pass Defense to make sure they don't let anyone behind them.

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5th Practice

Full turn out. 1 hour 15 minute practice.

Spend 1st 20 Minutes working running a modified flag pulling drill with all the boys. Work the PA dive action of the base series with a flag puller on the RB, stressing to the RBs to carry out their fakes. Instructed them to turn their Left Palm up and lay their Right Hand Palm up on their LH and rock it to simulate carrying the ball.

We then run the Center Drag Pass with the QB booting to the Right after the PA on Air (RB is still exectuing PA with a flag puller. Get a lot of reps in. Really stress to the Center the importance of running a crisp 3 and out route. Then tend to drift down field.

I added a 2nd throwing option as well about 1/2 through, our slot receiver runs a reverse route behind the PA on the base series. We now have him continuing on a "Wheel" route down the sidelines. Key to the play is the slot must really go hard to make it out there. We add in a single defender and practice w/ the QB making his 1 man read.

Play a Game of Sharks & Minnows, I always try and keep the pace high, get a bit of conditioning in during this drill.

Spend 20 Minutes on Team Offense

  • Review our Twins Rollout Pass Play - Outside Receiver on a Go and Slot on a 3 & out. Stress sharp routes by the slot and to look for the ball out of their break. Coach plays DB and allows the QB to make his read.
  • Add a Trip Rollout Pass Play with the RB lining up on the outside and running a 2 & In underneath.
  • Add a RB Reverse of the Trip Rollout Pass
  • We don't review the base offense, we have pictures prior to the game on Saturday which means everyone will be there early. We will review prior to the game.

20 Minutes Team Defense

  • We only review our LB pass defense, we are in a 2-3 zone and I instruct the LB not to let anyone pass them. I will accept a pass completed underneath.
  • Spend the entire time on this concept.

Finish with Sharks & Minnows and Flag Tag.

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Game 2: W 24-0

Played a much better team this week. We played outstanding Defense. The team we faced only tried to run the ball a hand full of times in the 1st half and then never attempted to run in the 2nd half. We lost containment on 2 of the runs with our DE put both LB to the playside were able to use the sideline as an extra defender and cut them off. They completed a few pass but none behind the zone so we were able to get quick flag pulls. I believe they only had 1 1st down on the last drive of the game. Overall an excellent job defensively.

Offensively we scored on 4 out of 6 drives, 3 long runs and 1 drive. 3 kids got scores (1 more new one for the season) so we are @ 8 of 11 having scored with 5 games left. I have an idea which games I will get a chance to try and get them in the end zone coming up.

We passed pretty well this game completing 2 long passes deep off of PA but did not hit "in stride" enough to take it all the way, they had no momentum after the catch.

Overall I felt it was the best game we'd played as a team in 4 seasons together. Other team was good but our Defense was impressive.

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I just wished our head coach would approach it like you do. Im only an assistant but its not my call. He runs plays by heart... no playbook whatsoever.

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6th Practice

I called 2 practices this week, we have a DH this weekend and I wanted to get one more play series installed for the season, however weather (Chance of Sever Storms) doesn't look good for late in the week so this will probably be it for this week.

I came down sick Sunday Night and forgot to send out reminder emails Monday AM so we only got 9 out of 11 there. I still wasn't feeling too hot last night but since weather looks bad went out anyway.

Part of the reason for 2 practices was to get pictures shot before practice so we do that getting 9 out of 11 taken, we will take a team shot after a game, those look better anyway.

Spend 40 minutes w/ breaks putting in new series, consists of 5 Plays. I am not comfortable with the series and we will probably only use about 3 of the plays on Saturday and continue to rep them each week. We are now at 13 total plays and are finished for the year. Just need to get more reps in.

Spent the last 20 minutes scrimmaging running a combination of the new plays inter mixed with the old ones. For me a series has the same backfield action so basically we have 3 series. We still have mistakes in "route running" but what do you expect after 6 to 7 hours of practice. Our Defense looks good, I think we break about 3 runs during the scrimmage, that is it.

I also install a simple blitz where we drop a DE to a Rush position and he blitzes. Also install "mayday" call which mean get to the line and run the same play used for end of 1/2s.

We play the best team I've seen on Sat in the 2nd game, which is a bit unfortunate since they will be able to "scout" us a bit. They like to pass deep so it will come down to our LB ability to not get beat deep. They are M2M I believe in their defense so we will count on our speed on the dive and counter plays to beat 1 man and make it to the end-zone. We haven't had an INT yet but they are talented enough to make one against us so I will have to remind the QB to make good reads.

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2nd Practice this week was rained out.

Game 3: W 20-7

Played a team we were pretty evenly matched with on talent. They had a bit more height and could throw a bit better but we had more speed. This year we have upgraded talent, in the previous years I've always felt that our talent was average with the league, we had 2 or 3 way above average 4 to 5 average and 2 or 3 below average. This year I would say we only have 1 below average. This allows us to defend a bit better and helps open up the offense letting each postion be a threat.

The other team passed too much, I'm starting to see a trend with coaches really attempting to improve the passing in there teams and throwing about 75 to 90 percent of the time. I disagree with this, you have to run the ball a bit at this age, even in flag to set up the pass, once you can set back on the pass it becomes pretty easy to defend.

To the game, we open with a pick 6 on 3rd down and take it in and convert the 2XP on a 12 yard pass into the end-zone. We get another 3 and out move the ball down into the no run zone, don't remember the details and convert our bootleg pass to our center who was wide open. We get another stop and score again to go into half-time up 20-0.

We move the ball a bit but fail to score in the 2nd Half. I stayed away from some of our better plays in an attempt to get the ball to a few of the other players and work on our passing game a bit. We give up one score when our Defensive End loses containment and RB makes it to the sideline and escapes, same theme as awalys, don't let them outside. We did well defending the pass, no one beat us deep.

Game 4: L 28-0

Out of all the teams I've seen this is easily the best team. I knew they were much bigger than us, had a couple of kids that had about 1 foot on our boys, they would pass a lot and could get the ball 15 to 20 yards down field accurately. I though we might match up well with our speed but they were evenly matched with our speed or more than likely slightly faster. We broke 2 runs during the game with boys with good speed and they got caught down inside the 10. We were unable to convert.

We were also unable to use our passing game and it took me two INT to figure it out and go away, they had a height advantage on our WR and our QB needs "Pee Wee Open" to be sucessfull, they also had the speed to rush the QB even with our quick passing game, after the 1st sucessful counter/reverse we ran thay sat on it well and it was never open the rest of the game. So in the 2nd half we basically went to the dive and attemptted to get a missed flag pull, which we did but they were able to close down and get a secondary containment. Frustrating to call Offense having no real confidence in any play that might work.

On Defense we stopped them 50 percent of the time, which I'm reasonablly happy with. We let them get deep on us twice for easy completions. The 3rd TD came when the MLB had good coverage on a kid about 1 foot taller than him and he pulled it down and broke away. Key was to keep the play infront of us and make them drive the ball down the field. Even as good as they were if we kept the ball infront we had pretty good sucess. Our LB were able to "jump the route" as long as they stayed back and knock the ball down. We also got a couple of quick flag pulls which forced them to complete 3 in a row to gain a 1st down...which they didn't hard to complete 3 passes in a row.

So what did I learn.

1.) It was brought to my attention the kids were a bit intimedated by their size. I need to have a talk with them about that. You will always compete against people who are bigger, smarter, faster, better looking etc. You have to get over it and go out and compete.

2.) Need to rep pass defense even more, we can't allow someone to slip behind our Zone for an easy catch and run for TD, have to make them work for it, if they can drive down 45 yards in 5 or 6 plays then hats off to them but we can't give up the 40 yard run/play. Make them work for it and execute or complete 75% of thier passes.

3.) There is an end of the season tournament, last season it was cancelled, hopefully it is played this spring. If we want to win or advance deep, we will have to find a way to move the ball against a team of this caliber, in our league there is one other "3rd Grade" team (I have 9 2nd, 1st, & 1 3rd) we will play as well.

My thoughts:

  • We will have to find a passing game, this means going away from the "Pee Wee Open" passes, were the WR has no one with in 5 to 10 yards of him when completed.
  • This means I need the QB to hit the reciever "in stride" since we lack the height to put it up in a Jump Ball type play.
  • The QB will also have to begin to understand when the WR is not open (1 does this well the other locks on and throws it).
  • I'm thinking a 4 route passing tree based on 3 yards: Post, Fly/Go, In and Out. We had started to put in a "slant" but didn't rep it enough and w/ the straight slant with no "cut" the better defenders were able to cover it.
  • Getting this down will be difficult considering we only have 3 or 4 practices left but we will start repping it, I feel pretty comfortable with the base series so we can dedicate some "Indy" time to these skills. We will start with a Post since usually this area is vacated by the rusher if they are sending one.
  • To be sucessfull we will have to hit the WR in stride to take advantage of our speed.

We will see how it goes.

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Love the play by play. It has been a while since I looked on this site (my focus has shifted to tackle football), but we are in the middle of our spring flag season. We are playing 5v5 2nd/3rd grade level as well. One practice a week. The league we play in is kind of strange in that it allows select teams and rec teams. We are a select team which means we brought our own kids and didnt draft the kids. So, we are better balanced. There are 8 teams with about half select and half rec. So far, we are 4-0 in our division (playing all the select teams) and 1-0 playing up against 4th/5th grade.

Highlights for season so far:

Taught every kid the passing tree.

Being a select team, we have used some of the practices as more individual skills training than team practices. In other words, we are teaching each kid each position in a high number of reps. We are not running plays over and over kind of practice.

Every kid has scored. We have a couple of kids that have very little experience playing with us.

Beat a 4th/5th grade team.

So far so good. Our strength is that we have a good QB with good kids that can catch. We probably pass 80% of the time and run 20%. The league is 3 downs to go 25 yards for the first down (mid field) and then 3 downs to go 25 yards to the end zone. So, we have to move the ball far in a small amount of tries. However, that plays to our strength as we can throw it 25 yards pretty accurately. Most teams cant do that.

Just thought I would share our highlights so far. Keep us posted.

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I too have moved on to Tackle in the Fall. I still enjoy the Flag Game and hope to use it as a tool to bring a few more Tackle players along in the fall.

That is awesome that every player has seen the end-zone. I am still hopeful that we can do the same, the next 2 games. are against teams that we should have a shot on getting the other 3 in the end-zone.

I too wanted to focus a bit more on "Indy" skills but with the limited amount of practice time we have, I feel we have to get the plays in and run them correctly to be successful, plus I run the single wing in Tackle and those skills don't translate that well to the flag game with the exception of ball handling/faking which is a point of emphasis. That is what makes it hard to overcome a talent deficiency in Flag, in Tackle I would just double at the POA or counter away from it, in Flag speed kills even when you counter away from it. Hopefully adding in some motion against M2M will help open things up a bit.

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Being a flag coach, what made you go singlewing offense? Singlewing is totally opposite than anything you can do in flag.

I use spring flag as an extension to tackle and try to use the same concepts and plays, just based only on the skill positions.

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Why Single Wing?

1.) We are running the ball 90% of the time @ this age. I don't see the value in having the QB under center and not a direct threat to run the ball. As for this is a gimmick offense....we'll Florida and Auburn won National Championships with it as a core component of their Offenses (Tebow & Newton) and K-State last year went 10-3 with below average talent using some of it's concepts.

2.) No C/QB exchange, we will have mishandled snaps being 2 to 3 yards deep gives us the time to recover. The snap is safer than under center. Limited QB/RB exchanges as well only the WB counter plays require a hand off ==s fewer turnovers.

3.) Blocking Schemes - Base Series (Power)OL Blocking Schemes often result in Double Team at POA, away from the POA you can use weaker players effectively since the plays hit quick you don't have to make an outstanding block to contribute. If we are "I", "Spread", etc the schemes are often more 1 on 1 blocks or 1 on 1 routes vs DBs.

Guess who wins those? The better athlete which we don't always have. The backs are also have outstanding angles for their blocks on DE/LB/CB often coming from an approach that is out of the line of site of the Defender who is looking into the backfield to find the ball. I don't like schemes that ask my less athletic players (Guards and Tackles) to block the other teams best athlete (LB and Safeties)These concept neutralize any talent deficiency to an extent and if we have a talent advantage magnify it.

4.) Series based. Each series build upon the base play (16 QB Power in the Power Series)and provides plays to hit the Middle, Edge, OT, Counter/Trap & Pass. It is a pretty easy install.

5.) Deception, the ability to snap the ball to 3 backs forces the LB to play find the ball. If we have an athletic FB next year we will look at the Full Spin Series, holy grail of "Where is Waldo"?

6.) When we do pass we are already in a 2.5/3 Yard Shotgun, don't need to rep 3/5 step drops with QB. Also as they get older it morphs nicely into some Spread Concepts.

7.) The direct snap lets me involved/use more backs, no C/QB handoffs to train. I like to spread the ball. I don't want a 1 trick pony offense dependent on an above average talented back.

And the biggest reason, I only played Tackle for a couple of years (was a baseball player) the biggest whuppin I ever received came at the hands of the SW, 4 Quarters, 4 TD drives 5 yards a pop down the field, sucking air and physically dominated by an evenly matched talent-wise team. I remember being totally confused by the concept of a "spin back" and no QB handing it of to the TB. I played MLB and just remember the mass of humanity coming through the OT hole on every play and not being sure who actually had the ball. If I have my choice this is the type of Offense I want to run, physically dominating and the Power OT Play and the Wedge Series can do this and force a Defense out of it's base effectively which opens up the counter/pass/trap portions of the Offense.

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I spent about an hour trying to figure out if I could incorporate some of the SW concepts into flag but since there is no direct running allowed it just won't work if the QB is not a threat to run also my snap is "low and slow" and probably touches grass 1 out of 5 snaps but can be handled just fine in tackle, in flag this is a dead ball and loss of down and with no OL there is very little deception to whom has the ball.

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LOL! You pretty much hit the nail on the head. I ran in to 1 singlewing offense last season and they were smaller with about 14 kids on the team. Their runners all squat down with their hands on the grass like sitting squatting around a camp fire and dump a snap to the ground. They would pick it up and run off tackle. I was like, what the........... Granted it was effective. We battled it out with them and lost 12-6. However, they did nickle and dime us down the field.

I agree with everything you said and understand the benefits of the system. Good luck, was just curious as to your thoughts.

I have a hard time getting away from the direct snap offense. We have a good QB and he knows the steps and takes snaps well. I like the play action and like to throw the ball a little more.

Flag update for us:

The commish has added a game to our schedule this Saturday. He is letting us play one of the better 4/5th grade teams. I know nothing about them, but it should be a good game. We will see.

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7th Practice

Missing a key player for new concept we were putting in today. Frustrating.

20 minutes - working on 3 step drop w/ 2 QBs and teaching the 3 & Out route to the players, working on the ball coming out quickly once the receiver makes his break.

Have a quick talk about the "Loss" last week, players understood we were out "athleted". I told them on Offense even though we did not score they played good, it was coach's fault for not having a set of plays they could be competitive w/ against a team of that caliber. Let them know that over the next few practices that was going to change and we will be adding in some concepts that will let them compete.

Told them on Defense we could have played better, they got deep on us 3 time for easy completions/long runs. Used the example of our "on air" drill, asked them how many times we completed 3 passes in a row: Correct answer was never. That is why we keep the ball in front and make the flag pull, it is tough to march down the field 7 yards at a time.

Also let them know that in life they will compete against bigger/smarter/faster/older etc. They have to quickly get over it and play their best and accept what ever happens.

Install some motion to the offense, we are set up in a Twins Formation, when we played an athletic team that stayed in M2M this hurt us a bit. By motioning we hope to achieve 2 things: 1.) Remove a defender from the box on the dive play. 2.) If they don't follow the motion, hit the motioning receiver on a wheel route down the sidelines.

They got this pretty quick, hardest part was the QB waiting on the motion to be completed.

Spent the last part of practice scrimmaging with Pass Defense only, working on our 3 and out routes and Fly patterns, with Defenders not letting anyone get deep on them.

Game Saturday.

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Game 5: W 18-6

6 Possessions 3 Scores. We moved the ball down the field on 2 out of the 3 other possessions, got stopped once and ran out of time on the last plays before the half.

We did not play well but still moved the ball, not sharp. Late Afternoon game, maybe or it could be I've added a bit too much into the Offense and haven't repped it enough. It seemed like today the other team's rusher was getting into our backfield very quickly and pressuring us on our passes. We had several broken plays and a bit too much confusion.

A couple of things.

Our routes are not sharp, the short man is often "drifting down" the field making it possible to cover 2 of our receivers with 1 Defender. We have to tighten up our routes. QB are waiting too long and not hitting receivers early enough in the pattern when they are open.

We were not very aggressive on Defense. Two many hand-offs where the DE not coming across the line to apply pressure to the play. We have not repped this on Defense lately. I don't know that we will, i think our practice time could be better used on other concepts, most of the teams we will face favor the pass quite a bit and we got burned deep again after telling the player on the previous 3 plays not to let anyone behind and too stay home.

I was hopeful to get our last 3 in the end-zone....I don't think we are going to make it. If we are leading next week i will make it a goal to get the other 3 plenty of chances in the 2nd Half.

Just seemed a bit flat overall. It happens, but I don't like to regress and I feel like we are regressing.

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8th Practice

Couple of kids sick and need to remember not to schedule a practice on take your kid to work day. Had 7 out of 11 at practice.

Spent 1st 20 minutes working Post and Out patterns along with coachig the QBs on 3 Step drop and making a strong throw.

We then ran though our entire playbook rotating playes in and out making sure the plays looked solid, this took about 35 to 40 minutes.

Spent the last 15 minutes playing 2 new flag pulling games:

1.) Rabbit Chasers - 10 x 10 yard box. 1 Rabbit in the middle. 4 Chasers on the cones. Rabbit has to survive fo 6 seconds. Flag puller becomes Rabbit other players have to hustle back to a cone if they want in for the next drill. Only had the Rabbit survive 2 times. Opened up the box a bit more, 10 x 10 is too tight at 2/3 age.

2.) Deer Hunter - Opened the box up to about 20 x 20. Had 7 players so 2 Hunters. Hunters pull the deer flags, last 2 deer become the hunters for next round.

Kids enjoyed alot and we got a lot of flag pulls in and so some pretty entertaing pulls, kids diving, lunging, etc. Kids were breathing very hard at the end (one was actually on his back with hands above his head but asking for more & jumped back in).

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Game 6: W 32-12

Team we played was actually okay on Defense, they had some speed and we had to work for most of our scores. They stayed home on the Reverese.

Scored on 2 Passes and 1 Run in the 1st Half. Converted 1 XP (I need to do a better job finding plays that will work for the XP, in a close game those are the differences).

2nd Half scored on 1 pass and 1 Run. Got stopped twice, 1st time when we fumbled the handoff and gave away a down. 2nd Time at end of the game when we were just running out the clock, not trying to score.

Got another player into the end-zone today. That makes 9 out of 11. Tried to get another in the End-Zone, it ain't gonna happen.

Gave up 2 scores when LB jumped route and missed, good teaching point for us.

I more regular season game, we play a 3rd game team, so we will see how it goes.

BTW if you are not running a "Fake WR Reverese" RB Keep, you are missing out, our RB could almost walk into the End Zone on this play when we run it, even when we don't show the reverese first.

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9th Practice

If you might have noticed if you have taken the time to read all these posts, I'm not big on scrimmaging much during practice. Might have done 30 to 40 minutes of total scrimmage to this point.

Been real busy, not only w/ work, but baseball is underway and we have been doing a lot of work for 2012 Tackle Season w/ recuirting and rules changes (my age group moved from 8 Man to 11 Man). So when I got to the practice field. I marked off a field and split the squads and declared we would be playing an intra-sqaud game. I always split my team by squads for the season and do my best to split them evenly. This year I kinda felt I may not have split them quite evenly, we added some new playes so I kept most of my returners together on 1 team and 2nd squad had the 4 new players. I thought maybe it wasn't quite even (Rookies might have a bit more talent), so this would be a good test. We will call them "Vets" vs "Rookies".

Rookies win the toss and declare they want to play Defense 1st. Vets go on a 7 play drive and punch it in on 4th Down for TD, XP no good. Rookies go 3 and out. Vets throw an INT on next series and Rookies punch it in. Vets again throw an INT but rookies fail to convert. We go into Half Time with a score of Rookies 8, Vets 6.

Now I coach my son as I'm sure most of us do. I've always felt I don't favor him (he's not the QB, etc). He's about a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1-10. He is fast but I've always had trouble getting him to play aggressively (run fast). I tease that he can't catch, it looks like he's getting into a fist fight with the ball when it's thrown to him while his 4 year old brother already looks the ball into his hands when he catches it. I had a goal of working some Indy pass reps with the kids this year but with the limited amount of time we only did that the last couple of weeks.

So when I split the teams I but him in as a RB (he does carry out his fakes well and when he runs hard he's hard to catch), I had 11 this year so the odd position out was RB, so he was in a rotation of 3. He's one of my 2 that haven't scored (he was sick last game when he would have had a good shot). So for the scrimage we were short 1 player so I put him at the WR position and gave a few RB carries to him as well. He's played on the "Rookie" Team.

Rookies open with the ball. I gohead and call WR Pass - PA to the RB, 1 Step Drop, WR on Fly Pattern (my son). Just want to really rep the PA and Drop plus rep the CB/OLB on not letting the WR behind him. What happens is QB throws a nice 15 to 18 yard pass with good arc and sprial, my son gets behind the CB/OLB and makes the catch and runs for about 30 yards. Total shock by me and the QB looked like young Brett Farve after a big play running around after the completion. Nice momement.

Rookies punch it in on 4th down and go up 14-6, each team gets a couple of more possession and goes 3 and out. We have about 3 minutes left so I declare this will be the last drive and turn the clock off, Vets have the ball. They covert a 3rd Down to get the 1st down. They move down a bit and it is 4th and goal from about the 12 or so. I call Pitch, Fake WR Reverse, RB Keep and let the RB know that he will basically have to beat our best flag puller to get in the end zone. I had taken a moment early to get on him and one other boy for making to many moves during the scrimmage and basically not taking the 5 to 7 yards on run plays and continuing to run hard at the flag puller to try and get a missed flag pull. Play goes off as expected and he ends up 1 on 1 on right on the End Zone line with our best flag puller, makes a quick move and gets into the End Zone. Pretty cool, Vets running around chest bumping and celebrating until the Rookies remind them they have to convert the XP.

Anti Climatic, they botch the snap/hand-off/QB opens wrong way, total mess on the XP. Games ends Rookies 14 - Vets 12.

If I run a flag season again, we will make this a tradition for the last practice, good times. There was some stuff to work on that we talked about but I won't bore you with the details.

One thing to notice, we have a 7 game season and only practiced 9 times so about 11 hours of total practice time with quite a few misses. Keep your instruction limited (and you play books). I almost feel like I added in too much.

Last game saturday against a 3rd grade team that is 6-0 (we are 5-1), should be a good game. I believe there will be an end of season tourney as well.

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Game 7: L 0-19

Played the other 3rd Grade Team in the league. Game was closer than the score. Went into half-time down 0-6 but had our drive stall out @ the 4 yard line with 3 failed pass attempts into the end-zone. We get in their and it would have been interesting.

Again, when a team sets on the counter/reverses well, we have trouble moving the ball. We had 1 interception that resulted in a short field TD in the 2nd Half. Our passing game was better, several of the plays were open but the QB was slow in delivering the ball and missed a couple of reads. It takes a lot of reps to get it clicking. We gave a way a few snaps when our QB didn't boot deep enough and crossed the line on the attempted pass (He picked up this habit just recently).

So we finish the regular season 5-2 only losing to the 2 teams that were clearly better than us. 9 out of 11 scored, new high mark for one of my teams. Think the previous best was 7 out of 10.

I haven't received confirmation that the tourney will be played this weekend but I'm pretty sure it is on.

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Tourney: 0-2

Got the word there would only be 6 teams in the city wide tourney, knew as a young team comprised of mostly 2nd graders in the 2/3 league it could be a long day.

Lost the 1st game 0-20. Did a pretty good job on Defense, did not get beat deep or to the outside, we had containment but just missed the flag pulls on the key plays. Offensively, I was a bit upset, they set the rush cone @ 5.5 yards instead of 7 for some reason. Tried to get them to move it but they insisted it was @ 7 yards. Last play of the game was ran from just outside the "no run" zone (5 yard area). After the game I look down and notice LOS cone about 1 foot outside no rush zone and then the rush cone set about 1 foot on the other side of the no rush zone. 1.5 yards makes a huge difference, we don't rush cause typically from 7 yards it's not worth it unless the other team is 80% pass. They rushed the entire game and where all over our PA passes, we just couldn't really get anything working on Offense. The play call was a short post or slant to the area vacated by the rusher and I should have called it more often but that is the last pass play I put in and has not looked good in our limited time.

2nd game lost 14-35 again we struggled on Offense. Team had a dominated player where they pitched to him and gave him the run pass option. We have spent the last month repping more pass Defense and not repping the DE to contain the sweep/counter etc. They chased him with bad angles (Inside Hip, not his outside) and he made them miss and then was 1 on 1 with a man to beat and beat us like a drum.

Lessons learned from the season:

1.) They are still just boys and will be intimidated by bigger/faster. I was always big for my age, I can honestly say I don't remember playing any sport where I felt intimidated or like my team couldn't win. What I've learned from this season of flag is that a primary goal for Fall Tackle Football has to be from the onset to foster a belief in the team as a whole that they can compete with everyone, to play aggressively and let the chips fall where they may. Who care what the odds are, it's not a math test, one play can change the game.

2.) I've felt in our limited practice time (12.75 hours this year), that I didn't have enough time to install base defense/offense plus rep individual skills such as pass catching, passing etc. Basically I evaluate on the 1st day, make my decision and move on. Those who can catch day 1 will have passes thrown to them, those who can't will take runs. The last month we began to run pass catching lines before practice instead of hand-offs with flag pulls at the end. Several of the boys showed improvement from this. What does that mean, I'm not sure but even with lets say 1 hour of practice @ a skill they can improve.

Overall all good season, finished 5-4, lost to 3 teams which were clearly better than us and 1 with a very dominated player (needed some type of box and 2 scheme for him) another lesson learned.

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