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Spring 2012 Season


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#1 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:09 AM

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

Preseason

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.


#2 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:33 AM

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.

#3 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:42 AM

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.

#4 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:19 AM

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.

#5 cashflow50

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:24 PM

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.
Come Strong or Don't come at all!

#6 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:33 AM

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.

#7 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 10:21 AM

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.

#8 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:20 AM

One more thing on Offense, I'm thinking about putting in some motion against teams that are M2M, it might help free up some of the plays if I can get them following us across the field.

#9 TeeDub23

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:08 PM

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.

#10 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:38 AM

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.

#11 TeeDub23

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:50 PM

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.

#12 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 01:48 PM

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.

#13 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 01:59 PM

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.

#14 TeeDub23

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:26 AM

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.

#15 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:25 AM

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.