The last two practices were enlightening.
On a personal level, I think it is just what I needed to see to reignite the passion for the game. I am not a guy that believes in pigeon-holing yourself to 'systems' or there being one way to do things in football, but Air Raid, to me (and what it represents) is what I love about the game. It isn't the passing (though I do appreciate it), it is the aggressiveness and organization that I enjoy so much. There aren't any taboo areas to explore - moving the ball and breaking defenses is the only thing that matters.
To best articulate what I'm going to be explaining, the best analogy I could preface this with is the witnessing the difference between the invading force of Normandy and the hard-driving Iraqi Freedom force. Everything is pared down to the smallest, most essential, common-denominator and it is executed at a 100-mph. There is no relenting and there is no settling in a comfort zone, it is always advancing.
I'll start this first post by outliing the simplicity of protection as utilized OL coach Pete Perot and GA Zach Yenser. The protection on ALL passes is 90s. No differentiating between 5-step and 3-step, it is all vertical set for 4-5 steps. There are no adjustments (except for the obvious lasso/rodeo). Because the linemen are retreating up to a 5-step pocket (5 yards), the QB is expected on 3 step to catch the ball and immediately fire it out to the short receiver.
The quarterback does not call the cadence, it is controlled entirely by the center.
What is also simplified is protection. Rather than making a "nickel" declaration, it has been truncated to just (one-syllable) "nic" making it simpler and faster to deliver the same information. Because everything is either 2x2 or 3x1, so there is no need to get overly complicated, as discussed previously, you really limit just what a defense can do to you.
They treat everything with a zero technique (or simply any front with 3 down linemen) as a "5-0". With any stacked LB look out of a 3-man front, the back will be responsible for the mike and the stacked outside backers are handled by the linemen.
If the 3-man front is in a base front, with both inside linebackers over the guards and overhang players on the edge (ala a 3-4 look), the back is responsible for both and the line will be responsible for the 3 linemen and 2 outside rushers. The general rule is that the OL is responsible for all outside rushers.
That's IT! Nothing else that the line really needs to be aware of.
Here is a little something extra.....prepractice for Oline:
The next part I'll touch on is the tempo they operate at.
The most characteristic element to TFS is the balls-to-the-wall nature of it and what that demands from the coaches. They can get so much accomplished because of the tempo they keep and the momentum that it creates.
Here is an example of a inside drill. Notice everything is being signalled in and the pace at which everything is run. There are no 'breaks' between plays; they just line up, signal and go.
Another 'new' characteristic is that there are no wristbands. Everything is communicated through signals. These signals are created by the players and they eventually come up with multiple signals to convey the same message (3 different ways to signal '90' protection). From Day 1, all concepts are signalled in, whether it is team, group, skelly, pup, inside-drill, or individuals. Each group (receivers, line, quarterback) have their own coach/GA to look to, so there will be multiple signal callers giving a variety of gestures at once. They begin signalling once the play has ended and DO NOT STOP (signalling) until the ball is snapped.
Think about how something as meticulous as PUP can be (to get everything set up right) and what would happen after a bad throw, how long it would be to set up the next play. Now watch this, and see them setting up as quickly as possible, signalling in the next one, and flying through it.
Everything is stripped down to essentials. The terminology may have more to do with Dykes, but their terms are extremely simple, and they don't use but 2 formations (3x1 and 2x2). So, you end up with "trips left" / "trips right" or "ace" ('dart'). They have special sets, but everything is based off these two formation groupings. During these practices they would hammer home a concept from the start of practice until the end. So you would have quarterbacks and receivers doing prepractice based on "trips left - mesh" and they would condition their warmups with that concept in mind. Moving on to individuals and skelly, they would continue that same theme, "trips left - mesh", and couple it with a tag, "trips left - mesh left - X hook". This was extremely effective, as they would go 3 to 4 groupings deep working the same concept and focusing in on the very critical details of reads and stems of the concept. They were able to get a lot done in very little time because of the pace and amount of coaching/competition involved.
Some additional content can be found here, and I'll see if I can't review some of the effective concepts installed.