Showing posts with label Sonny Dykes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sonny Dykes. Show all posts

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cal's Solid Screen

The much anticipated match-up of Cal and Ohio State ended as many expected it would.  The fledgling Cal Bears in the first season of Sonny Dykes just didn't have the horses to run with a top 5 BCS program, particularly on defense.  When freshman quarterback, Jared Goff, was able to get on the field, he was able to display some of the handiwork of the Tony Franklin repertoire from the past 10 years.

One concept in particular, the solid screen, illustrated how tying several concepts together to provide a simple constraint on defenses.  The key/flash screens used early in the game coupled with inside zone runs supplied the necessary horizontal stretch to minimize risk and keep the tempo high (even OSU utilized this).  Franklin and company have used solid screens for years, which combine both of these concepts into one play to counter pursuit against zone runs.
Lasso 41 Solid

The offensive line aggressively tracks zone for 3 steps to elicit this defensive response, then looks to set up a screen alley by running flat down the line of scrimmage.  Closing out the 1st quarter on 3rd and 7, the Buckeyes show soft cover 2 with 6 in the box, but later roll to cover 3 to the field.  Franklin used solid to counter his bread-and-butter play from Louisiana Tech, which would have been a rollout to the field, running a high-low with the twin receivers (Lasso 98 Out / 91 Smash).  This actually worked well for Cal because the 2 playside linebackers opened to the boundary, allowing the PST and PSG to widen them away from the screen alley. The BSG and BST will release flat and pick up the first trash they see.  On this play, the BST becomes what is known as the "rat killer", wiping out any defensive lineman with thoughts of pursuing the play (usually a cut block).

The first half of offense was interesting from Cal, particularly with the repeated use of 68 stick early in the 1st quarter.  Up to this game, Cal had been a vertically focused team and not reliant on perimeter plays as much as Louisiana Tech was.  The use of 98 Out, 68 Stick, 41/51 flash screens and zone early in the game looked to stretch OSU horizontally with the intention of going back to a downfield homerun throw later.  This was attempted a few times, but Cal missed several of these opportunities.  The 2nd half presented fewer opportunities for the Cal offense to get started again.  Franklin used Zack to counter the first half's zone runs, then standard 2-back counter in the 4th. After a full season in this offense, Cal should be primed to fully grasp the speed and expectations Franklin and company have in mind.

Although pulling for the upset, I was happy to see Tom Herman and Urban Meyer not relent in the 3rd quarter, using their own brand of uptempo to break the Cal defense on several drives.

Monday, January 21, 2013

2013 AFCA Clinic - Sonny Dykes (CAL)

Sonny Dykes 
Head Coach – Cal

2013 AFCA Clinic, Dykes’ shares his learned wisdom.


Started out at Navarro Community College. Lined the field, did the laundry, etc. Worked with Hal Mumme and Mike Leach at Texas Tech

#1 thing you can do as a teacher/coach is learn to prioritize. What are you good at? This may change from week to week and year to year, so learn to adjust based on personnel.

“Details matter, but the big picture matters more.”

Sometimes we as coaches can’t see the forest for the trees. You as a head coach have to be in a state of constant evaluation.

Surround yourself with good people. People you trust and are committed to the program’s success.  “I hired guys to coach, and then I became the team coach. I hung around the locker room and picked the guys brains to get a feel for the team.”

“If you can recruit good football players who totally bought in, it’s gonna be better than a great player who’s only kinda bought in.”

The #1 thing I evaluate coaches on is how they communicate with their players.

Good character is more important than good knowledge when hiring a staff.

Morale is critical. What kind of working environment does the HC create? How do the assistants interact with each other? Everybody who has anything to do with the program must be bought in. This includes managers, trainers, video guys, academic people, EVERYONE. The players must be hearing the same message from everyone in the program, and everyone who comes in contact with them in any way.

“Don’t let it become all business.” Enjoy the experience, don’t always make it a grind. We as coaches enjoy being around young people. You’re trying to help kids and they’re allowing you to do what you’ve always wanted to do.

Have fun whenever you can. Lighten the mood once in a while.

Execution is more important than scheme.

If you can execute a small number of plays on offense and a few base defenses , you’ll be a pretty good football team. It doesn't matter what you know, it matters what your players know.

Be as simple as possible, the simpler you are, the faster your players will play.

Empower your players whenever possible. Force responsibility on them, it forces them to grow up.


Practice is the most important part of how successful your program is gonna be. They never practice more than 2 hours, and that’s at the beginning of the season. The time spent on the practice field starts to decrease once the season progresses. By the end of the season, practice is often around an hour and ten minutes (and those are the long days). The normal practice time is about forty minutes near the end of the season. INJURIES HAPPEN WHEN KIDS GET TIRED.

Be as physical in practiceas possible. They do not bring people to the ground. This is part of the reason why they do not practice very long, it allows them to use the time they do spend on the field practicing physicality.

You must design drills that emphasize important skills. This depends on what you are doing on offense/ defense, etc. Don’t waste time drilling a skill that your players will never use in the scheme that you run. (If you’re strictly a zone team, don’t practice a power pull with your OL)

NEVER let bad effort slide. Address it and get him off the field. Shorter practices allow you to emphasize going 100% on all reps. Twenty reps going 100% are better than 80 reps going 25%.

“Rep it until you get it right, or throw it out.”

The players have to have confidence in the play during a game. How will they believe in the play if you never executed it in practice? A lot of times they have thrown out things in the middle of the week, even concepts that they may have ran plenty of times already earlier in the year, for whatever reason it isn’t working that week. They may end up coming back to it later on in the season, but will shelve it for that week.

“It took us until week six of year two to learn how to run and throw the slant properly, but once we figured it out, it was automatic from then on out.”

“You have to practice situations more than you think.”


Stats - You can measure data. The #1 thing is turnovers. They won 15 of their last 17 games, and won the turnover battle in all 15 wins. In the two losses, the lost the turnover battle once, and tied in the other game.

3rd down – Have to stop them and have to convert them. Once they get to about 3rd and 8 at the 50, they usually tend to treat it as two down territory. This allows them to call higher percentage plays that they couldn’t have called if they were automatically punting on 4th down. It makes your offense much more dangerous and unpredictable on 3rd down.

Red Zone – The difference between winning and losing games is the difference between TDs and FGs in the Red Zone.

Turnovers - Defense goes through a turnover circuit every day, starts practice that way. Offense does the same thing, they use offensive players to strip the ball, etc, to avoid getting too physical in these drills and getting your players beat up. Emphasized ball security with the QB, didn’t throw an INT until week 11. “Be smart on 3rd down. Punting is a good thing.”

At least half of practice emphasizes 3rd down, Red Zone, Goal line situations.

“Listen to your instincts, you’ve got a great sense of where your team is, trust what you see, and then address your issues.”

“The smartest guy in the room is the guy who’s always listening.”

Had some 2nd year leadership issues at La Tech. Started a ‘Leadership Council.’ (Read the book, Water the Bamboo. Talks about how bamboo doesn't grow hardly at all during the first two years after being planted, but you still have to put the work in, keep watering, keep taking care of the soil. Just like Saban says – “Respect the process”) The team started out 1-4, had some issues, but he kept reminding them to water the bamboo. It gave the players something to talk about and believe in. They ended up winning a conference championship.

Had some issues down the stretch this past season. 9-1 and two weeks away from going to a BCS Bowl, went 0-2 the next two games. “I could see there were issues, and I could’ve done something about them, but It’s pretty hard to change what you’re doing when you’re 9-1.” They had internal issues between the offense and the defense, top-ranked offense and 120th ranked defense. There was a lot of resentment between both sides of the ball. They needed to learn how to handle success.

There are several ways to create deception on offense. One is to run the option, another way is to use shifting and motions to disguise your intentions, or you can line up and go fast. Lining up quickly allows you to hide certain things, like receiver splits, because the defense doesn’t have time to recognize it and make checks because you’re snapping the ball so fast.

Yards per play is a great statistic for self scouting, allows you to quantify efficiency.

La Tech offense doesn't use as wide of splits as Mike Leach, they like to run the power play, and slightly tighter splits allows for the double teams you need to run the power. They don’t have a base rule, but on average they use 1 ½ yard splits.

Notes courtesy of:
Alex Kirby
Video Coordinator
Indiana State Football

Monday, March 1, 2010

And so it starts (sigh)....

I'm already hearing it down here regarding the Dykes/Franklin scenario in Ruston (Louisiana Tech).

When discussing Tech's outlook in 2010, I'm getting the rote responses of "oh, I don't know about that 'Run n Gun' style of offense", and the more Dixiecrat, "Well, first they gonna needs to do is find them a new quarterback. That white-boy ain't gonna be able to run around....".

Ah, I can't even muster a response.

Not exactly sure what folks expect from what they've seen at Texas Tech, Middle Tennessee, or Troy, but I don't anticipate a lot of Rich Rod action in North Central Louisiana this fall.

Here's some general cliff notes (zone, shallow, mesh, solid) of what to expect;

az2 @ Yahoo! Video

az @ Yahoo! Video

I hope folks are quickly reminded of the Rattay and Edwards success with Gary Crowton (though you shant mention that last name too loudly in these parts) and temper their perceptions accordingly.

I am anxious to see how they will take advantage of utilizing the explosive Phillip Livas.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dykes in Ruston

Dykes in Ruston

by Jimmy Watson

Q: What type of offensive philosophy do you plan to employ?
A: "When you start a football program, the first thing you have to do is consider how the offense and defense works together. That's something that gets overlooked a lot in football where people might have an aggressive, attacking offense and an on-your-heels defense. So what you want to do is if you want to play aggressive, attacking football you have to do the same thing defensively. Then do the same thing on special teams. So that will be our philosophy "» to attack and try to play with speed on both sides of the ball and special teams as well.
"We walked into a fortunate situation here with (Phillip) Livas being such weapon in the return game. That will be a huge emphasis for us in trying to find ways to get him the ball. There's nothing that can change a game faster than a big special teams play. I know that's a strength of our football team already.
"We want to play disciplined football "» be assignment sound on both sides of the ball. Be smart and limit penalties. Be able to execute. At the end of the spring we need to be able to feel good about operating a base offense and base defense. Our challenge will be to get our kids on the same page and we need to do a lot of teaching in the spring, but we also need to spend a lot of time working on the fundamentals."

Q. As a BCS offensive coordinator, have you spoken with other coordinators about schools at Tech's level and positions that come open as possible landing sites?
A: "As a first-time head coach, you tend to gravitate toward people who share your philosophy. We used to call it the 'One-Back Clinic,' Which is archaic because now pretty much everyone is one-back. In 1997 we started this deal when I was at Kentucky, we went out and saw Mike Tice when he was at Washington State started the 'One-Back Clinic.' Hal Mumme was there. Gary Crowton was there. Kevin Sumlin was a young coach at the time. Chris Hatcher was there. Tony Franklin was there. Mike Leach was there. All these different guys sharing ideas with each other. At that time, we were kind of the outsiders of college football. The game has changed so much that a lot of us are now the norm. We've talked through the years."

Tony Franklin to join him soon as the Offensive Coordinator