Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Great Fundraising

A tradition that our program has had for quite a while is, "A Taste of Raider Nation", which is usually an end-of-year banquet for parents, players, and coaches are able to get together and enjoy a fine meal.

This year, the potluck-dinner was moved to a Sunday afternoon in the middle of the season. This was a good way to raise needed program funds and bring together families and athletes before the season ends (which is a GREAT idea). Everyone had plenty to eat and were treated to a photo slideshow and highlight reel of the season so far.

Among the many contributors, Raising Cane's of Louisiana provided a generous donation of food and supplies to this function and established a partnership for pre-game meals this season.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Welcome to da Boot - Curious Calls

Now, I am the very LAST guy to ever complain, blame, or question officiating. It is a DIFFICULT and thankless job where your critics are many and those that know what you actually do are few.

I'm also the last guy to point to 'bad calls' for costing a team a game - teams should be able overcome one or two plays as a result of being human (nobody's perfect, especially in split-second decisions).

However, that being said, I would like to share some particularly delightful calls that have made dramatic impacts in the games they occurred in.

1. This first call occurred in Game 2. This would have put us up 14-7 going into the half. This is just a trips bunch sprint out, with a fade thrown to X. The call was holding on #21 (EMOL - Y). This was a 1st and 10 call.....making it 1st and 20, killing a drive that started on our 15.

2. This second call occurred in Game 4. During a crucial drive to start the 3rd quarter, on 3rd and 10 we run curls, attempting to hit #28 for the 1st down marker. Bang! We get it, but you'll see the umpire call a cut on the nose by our center a CHOP block. Our guard falls into the nose simply because he isn't very athletic, and contributes nothing to the 'block'. Converted down? Nope - 3rd and 25.

3. During this drive, a questionable call (IMO) and I'll let this go, but I figured this would go the other way (OPI). The F streaks up the field into the middle of the field.....the quarterback delivers the ball BEHIND the F who isn't in a place to make a play on the ball and is barely looking for the ball, however, our FS is reading the quarterback and is quick to jump the throw. Only thing is, the F plows right into him..... Notice where the ball lands incomplete (significantly behind the F). Notice the 'push-off' by the #2 receiver on the SS to gain separation on the Out.

4. After this drive, the opponent gets the ball and drives into the red zone. The back flinches and steps after a hard count by the quarterback, in plain view of the Umpire. Notice the Head Linesman wave ('hush') the coach on the sideline after going ballistic over the first movement from the back. Now, watch the back reset, and again flinch before the play (second)....still no call. However, this certainly doesn't stop the Umpire from making a call (from behind his back) on our MLB (#58) for unsportsmanlike conduct.

5. After a stalled red zone drive in the 3rd, we have the opponent backed up within their 5 yard line. After protection breaks down, the quarterback is forced to eat the ball - notice where he is at (on the goal line) as he is hit and his forward momentum stopped, he is IN the end zone. Safety, right? No........down at the 1. No problem, right? Just punt it and get great field position.....

6. The next play - punt. A flag is thrown for 6 men on the line (live ball foul), then as change of possession occurs, a dead ball foul occurs (#58 white on #37 black). Okay, so we get the ball back minus 15 yards, right? Nope......it becomes white ball, 1st and 10 from their 15.......

In all fairness, they DID call 'facemask' on this egregious violation, so I guess I should just count my blessings

Week 4: Parkway

Parkway 17 - HHS 7

Against a 2-high Panther defense, we were able to amass 281 yards passing (25/37) working smash, curls, and shallow. We're improving in our ball distribution with our H (6 for 63 yds), X (5 for 68 yards), Y (4 for 45 yards), F (3 for 6 yards), and Z (6 for 99 yards).

Our run game continues to be non-existent and has cost us on crucial downs, but our sloppy air raid IS moving the ball. However, unfortunately, our defense still struggles with killing drives ....namely stopping the run (opponent rushed for 163 yards on 43 attempts).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Get Back To Fundamentals: Equipment

Instructional period last week reviewing "Common Sense & Cleats" with the players.
Y'see, when you wear the cleat down to the nub, there is nothing to gain traction with and also no way to remove the cleat (though using pliers helps).

Advancements in the Game: Cage Dancers


Friday, September 18, 2009

Tony Franklin Be Praised! First WIn!


In an ugly performance, we achieve our first win.
With our junior quarterback (#16 E.Jones) returning, we racked up 323 yards (3 TDs) in an air assault against district powerhouse, Bossier, last night. Both #16 Jones and #8 Moseley attended the Darin Slack Camp in Texas this summer.

While struggling to run and effectively distribute the ball in the first two games, our offense was able to get in a groove getting our H (#5 J.Fobbs 10 for 106 yards, 2 TDs) , Z (#1 C.Willis 7 for 166 yards) and Y (#21 D.Ethridge 3 for 57 yards, 1 TD) significant touches. This is due in large part to 60 Out, 93 Rodeo/Lasso, 41/51 Fast, and 66 Smash (though we no longer use the terminology......).

In any event, a win is a win, and Tony Franklin System (reluctantly to some) provided desperate answers for our struggling run game.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

DO IT! (Blog Recommendation)

GET 2 0
(get to zero)

If you're not there, get there..... be sure to check out the ever-resourceful coach of coaches, Darin Slack, and his new website http://www.get-2-0.com/

His site features insightful articles written by Coach Slack, himself, as well as videos of various players (quarterbacks) around the country applying the C4 method.

as an example, check out young protege, Brett Kean, a 12 year old Floridian under the tutelage of Slack;


Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 2: Less Suck

Film from Week 2 versus Benton
(Offensive highlights courtesy of #8 J.Moseley and #21 D.Etheridge)

09/11/09 Offense @ Yahoo! Video

09/11/09 Defense @ Yahoo! Video

A personal highlight? Got to start a senior at FS (#82 - T. Williams) who has never played football before, and who just started getting reps two weeks ago.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Snag Route: Noel Mazzone (NY Jets)

Wahoo, made it to my 100th post!
Now to cover my favorite subject....more quick passing game from a spacing concept, the Snag Route as taught by former NC State and NY Jets coach, Noel Mazzone.

2 Man Snag Concept
Although the same route as Gunter Brewer's 3-step Snag (that essentially is a strong side flat,snag,corner read, ala Coverdale Mesh), Mazzone introduces this as a 2-man game into the boundary. It features a standard mesh split or wider by X (7-8 yards), who's angle of departure is towards a depth of 6 yards of B gap (looks just like shallow cross, mesh, etc). Once the first inside backer crosses his face, he sticks his foot in the ground, spots up, and gets his eyes to the quarterback. Complimenting this spacing is the hot swing into the boundary by the back.

The back takes 3 hard steps parallel to the line of scrimmage (3 steps into the boundary, 5 steps into the field), and then down hill to the landmark of inside the edge of the numbers. He should catch the ball AT the line of scrimmage. The whole point is to stretch the WLB (curl-flat defender) as quickly as possible. The back is trying to out-leverage the OLB as quickly as he can. The explosive quickness of this play is what is important to train with your quarterback. He takes 3 quick steps and is thinking, "give the ball (on plant) to the back, hitch (hit the spot), open and move (hit #3)."
“it just a basketball game off the will backer….1 to 2, simple”
Mazzone cautions,"Don’t make the mistake of telling your quarterback to throw to the back (“I think Johnny was open in the flat. Why didn’t you throw to the back?”) as he’ll start doing what we DON’T want – hold the football." The entire concept is built in hot – for empty protection - it has answers for everything.
This is an efficient concept. This is a 1st down play, to me, this is like calling toss sweep or power. It is a high percentage play.
What problems does snag encounter? 1st problem – man 2nd problem – Cover 2 Versus man, snag just becomes an issue of running away from the defender, and /or turns it into a rub. In both Cover 2 or man, the quarterback can simply convert the snag routes into mesh – it fits with his reads and progression already. Additional Coaching Points against Man;
  • X - if X feels man coverage, he will run through the WLB's inside hip, making him bubble over the X and not come underneath (creates space for the back). With the snag, in the event of blitz, if everything voids, he is going to be hit on the move. Keep the X moving, don’t get him thinking. When in grass, stay in grass - Green grass means go
  • F – if they feel its man coverage, the QB will make a "bullet" call, which changes the hot swing to a bullet – this release is set right through the feet of the X (creates the rub on the WLB) at a severe angle towards the sideline.
Passing game is about spacing and timing It is important to keep the quarterback in a rhythm, to train guys to keep moving. The second hitch should be a throw on the move; plant, hitch, on the move. Coaches should move their quarterbacks into throws - don’t let him sit back there and get nervous. The third throw here should be “on the way out” (ala Steve Young), where he is in position to throw the third receiver or take off on a run (or throw it away). The third look should be drilled as a running throw. Additionally, you've gotta play fast, and you can’t ever question your QB’s decision.
  • If he doesn’t feel it on the hitch to the flare, go to snag
  • If he doesn’t feel it there throw it on the move, throw pivot
For the 3rd read receiver, he is to run a ‘punch and pivot’ route. This punch and pivot is aimed at the first inside backer he sees. This will likely be the MLB. The receiver should get close enough to the Mike to punch him. If the MLB gets aggressive (reroute) then he has to settle his feet in anticipation of contact, so he won't be able to recover and cover/run with the pivot. While at NC State, Phillip Rivers, for his career at NC State in the 2 man game was 88% for 8.2 yards per throw. Rivers was so adept at the Snag concept, that he campaigned Mazzone to run a mirrored version of this, a double snag with both backs flaring (this became what is known as Scat)
We ran it to open a game (vs UNC), to shut him up,
and show him his play doesn’t work…. We ran it, ran it again, then kept running it to show him it wasn't a good idea.... same formation, same play…..9 times in a row (UNC) 9/9 and on the 9th throw it was a TD.
3 Man Snag
Post safety (1-high) – work 2 man snag (weak) Split safety (2-high) – work 3 man snag (strong)

All this becomes is the snag concept with the third receiver added to the strong side. You add a route by Y, just like how Shallow and Mesh are packaged. Its still just 2 man snag, we’ve just added another element to it. With Cover 2, they have 5 underneath, not 4, so you should be looking to work strong, stretch horizontally, and blow the top off the coverage vertically.

Adding Y corner or Y basic (dig) to this 3 man package creates all the answers required.
  • If SLB sits on the snag, then you have the smash with the corner and shallow RB
  • If the MLB is covering the snag mostly, throw Basic ( dig)
  • If the OLB, Sam, is covering snag – throw corners

How do you protect your best plays?
You have to have something in to keep your bread-and-butter plays on the edge. You have to make the defense pay, to hurt them, if they (try to) take away your best plays.

(rocket screen develops just like snag / inside zone) This helps protect 2-man snag, 3-man snag, mesh patterns and inside zone because it all develops the same post-snap but stress the defense in an entirely different way.

Dealing with numbers in the box - How do you deal with it?
When you become effective running the ball or with this inside quick passing game, the defense will have to load the box with 8-9 defenders to stop you. To overcome defensive number superiority, you could gain an advantage with a running quarterback (zone read / fly) …..but what if you don’t want the QB to be a runner? You have TWO OPTIONS “look” and “stay” These concepts are just like throwing uncovered and are just as 'cheap'. LOOK If the cushion on the outside receiver is greater than 8 yards and the corner has outside leverage.....the receiver takes 1 step, right now, and GO! (to open grass)

This guy (Favre) really like to run them
We started calling it in the huddle…
we’d call “I-right 60 Power, X look”
But “this guy” just did it on his own whenever he wanted.
If the receiver is out-leveraged by the DB but has a significant cushion, he takes 1 step, and stays. This is just like a flash screen to the perimeter and works especially well in conjunction with the run game (shown here with inside zone action).
If they add to the box, we’re getting post safety….take advantage of matchups outside when they load the box.

Week 1

roll that beautiful bean footage......

D 09/04/09 @ Yahoo! Video

O 09/04/09 @ Yahoo! Video

thats it. These are all the plays fit to be seen.......which essentially amount to plays where our opponent just screwed up. Hats off to the well-coached and deserving Marshall Mavericks.

The "good news" is, I will likely lose our best corner (#31) to a suspension and will lose our most (now) grittiest and hardest working corner (#24) due to a neck injury sustained in this game during a PAT block. He is doing well and I was real proud of the effort and hustle he showed the entire game.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Player - Coach Relationship

I was originally going to make an assertion about the styles of coaching from an "american" point of view, as compared with a"european" (originating from the Soviet bloc) view, though I don't think I could really support that argument.

However, most tennis coaches, and illustrated with the authors of this book, share a methodology that may seem out of the ordinary in our culture.
My question has more to do with the differences, and more importantly, the rationale behind that contrasting philosophy with player/coach relationship.

Whereas, we in the West, traditionally see the player/coach relationship as more of an acceptable dictator heirarchy, where the players follow the coach to the "T" or they are replaced or worse. The relationship dynamic that is seen in "european" (we'll include Western Olympic coaches here) contexts (best illustrated with high caliber Olympic athletes), is one of shared mutual respect working toward the athletic performance of the athlete.

My question / curiosity is what can be gleaned from both to better serve our programs? Also, why is one model embraced moreso than the other?
It would stand to reason that with non-select (high school athletics) sports, discipline and control have to be valued over relationship, as you really have little to no control over the quality of athletic talent. Therefore, the domineering, controlling 'administrator' of the team is needed to bring order out of physical chaos. The coach is aided by the players to work as a group.

When specialization occurs, naturally peak performance on every contest is desired as there is a concerted effort on the athlete's part to get the best output. It is the athlete aided by the coach for the result of the individual. The relationship is more intimate and more trust-centered.

That being said and understood, can we find ways to embrace a more impassioned responsed from both coaches and players to gravitate towards the trust-centric "Olympic" model? What could it benefit us?

Additional readings

The Coach - Athlete Partnership


here is an interesting piece from 'access athletes' blog


on coaches controlling team cohesion

I was wondering about the dynamic of how WE (the west) perceives what a coach should be and what type of relationship he should have. The broad brush generalizations of "West" and "European" was just a matter of semantics. The "european" approach was taken mostly from Olympic training, which is primarily individual performance training.

This is essentially a two-part question.

1) Do we in the "west" perceive that a coach must be Gen. Patton / Bear Bryant and dictate everything just because that is what our cultural stimuli tells us? We do it because he did it, because the guy before him did it (that way).....How much of WHY we do it (methodology) is based on necessity, and how much is based on indoctrination?

This also begs the question of the teaching profession. As in 90% of America, to coach you need to be a teacher. I'm not quite sure that is the same litmus for European coaches (moreso the Olympic model).
Does being an educator, namely a member of the American Education System (and its mentality) persuade / influence our model of "coaching"? (you can control a population / force in the classroom that you could not do in any other real-world environment)

2) The acknowledgement upfront of the contrast between coaching team and individuals is noted. However, can coaches in team sports glean anything from what is so effective with individual coaching dynamics and apply it to the team/group milieu?

A large part of this component requires less micro-managing of the unit and more encouragment/persuasion/motivation of the body of athletes (letting them take ownership, with the coach simply providing direction)?