Monday, April 12, 2010

Heading into spring (and other notes)

I, like you, am anxiously awaiting hemlock's dissertation on Run & Shoot (and you may not find a more qualified authority), and to kill time, I will share the recent developments of our spring program. Trust me, once Hemlock gets going, I'll do my best to STFU.

This post may be interesting to those without 6th period football and/or spring football (or program development, in general).

We have been using 6th period (final period of the day) for the last 5 months for lifting. The past month or so (since the weather has been gorgeous) we have been taking the kids out to run through skelly sessions twice a week. This certainly helps and gives a jump start on what spring football will actually be in the coming weeks.

We have one bonafide offensive player (our Y) returning from last season, who was our leading yardage gainer. We have our starting quarterback, and one developing split receiver, and a bevy of young sophomore skill and lineman talent. This largely would not be the case, had interim HC (now official HC) not pressed for a full-time freshman squad. Had he not been so adamant about the freshmen, we wouldn’t have much to be optimistic about this year. I preface that, because as we move forward making plans for spring ball, we are faced with a dilemma of what to do with this talent on offense. How does it define what we do? Do we change from what we attempted last year after losing a once-in-a-lifetime “do-everything” stud (Jacoby Moseley) and a DI skill position player (Jarrett Fobbs)? Losing two game-changing talents may significantly affect the direction we move towards, especially when both were the sole contributors to our run game.

Of note, current freshman, Joshua Hunt (tallest player in picture), looks to be the next rising star out of our program and may give us the luxury of supplanting our current Y, to allow Desmon to be featured as a more flexible threat. There are also two distinctive running backs up and coming, that will be relied upon to shoulder the burden of explosive plays out of the backfield.

Conventional wisdom says, "you should stick to what you do", right? Well, I agree, but we really didn’t have anything as a foundation to begin with, so where do you go? I could go in a thousand directions with a personal tangent, one that I have already shared when this came up last year, however, for the sake of sanity, I’ll just shut up and get in where I can fit in.

If you have a quarterback who is a thrower and not much of a runner, can you get away with a veer/option run game (* I would argue yes, especially with zone running) ? The argument is if you do not, then you must go to some type of 2-back, power/lead attack to get an extra body/threat at the point of attack. How does this hamstring you when you are deficient in the run game. The OC is exploring pistol/rifle looks to base the lead/power/counter/triple run game out of. If you are not that great of a running team to begin with, when you introduce 2-backs (from the gun or under center) you in turn, invite more defenders into the box, making a hard job even harder. So, have you really gained anything with that?

What complicates this even further, is that there are dispositions that exclude certain answers from being acknowledged. There is personal bias against TFS (even though we are basing much of what we do off of the package we initially introduced) as well as zone running (in favor of traditional base blocking). I don't see any absolute 'right' or 'wrong' answers in this and am enjoying the development of the program and players. I likely won't be involved in the offense much to begin with.

Maybe its a 'nice problem to have' (actually having talent), but one that I'm sure other staffs go through, as well.

Completely unrelated, but be sure to check out David Simon's new series, Treme, on HBO - a certifiable winner.


Even more unrelated, but something I found interesting, especially considering some of the recent Kabuki politics in America (not that I have one iota of thought regarding the matter, nor a desire to pursue one) - this is an interesting story and perspective.

Entirely unrelated to this event, but I have been exploring expating to South America in another decade or two, so if there are football opportunities let me know....


The Flipped Coach said...

Good thoughts on your passing QB dilemma. Last year we had a passer more then a runner and I tried a couple of options. The two back power game was good but definitely brought the extra player in the box allowing other teams to vary blitzing with one more player. Basically, we rarely were able to release both backs. Because we weren't a great run team to begin with we were only able to run well against weaker teams. Against better teams we ran much better with one back running draw's and quick leads (Center and Guard Fold). This year is almost the same but we have a couple of QB's to play with. Our plan is to add the zone read and run it sometimes out of a single back in the pistol set. We should get great play-action out of the pistol as well as disguising our Zone read tendencies. To counter fast flowing defenses we will run reverses with our Z and H.

Troy said...

Season-to-season adjustments at the HS/college level is a really interesting issue. My ignorant, inexperienced opinion is that you should aim to put the ball in the hands of your playmakers, and gear your offense to their strengths. If this means abandoning the run/pass balance, so be it. One can still use screens, draws, and other constraint plays to keep the defense from committing too many resources to stopping your money plays. I think the Pistol formation will help in establishing a solid run game without a two-back set. If your Y is your stud, make the defense account for him. Kick him out to the slot and make the defense wrong no matter how they respond. The screen plays on his game tape looked great, and if he's as hard a hitter as he looks on film you could stand to motion him into the backfield on power runs. Just some thoughts.

Treme was just fantastic. As a New Orleans native and a fan of the Wire, I was quite pleased. Hopefully they'll give us a reason to actually like Steve Zahn's character before season 1 is through.

Love the blog, looking forward to the run and shoot series.