Friday, May 28, 2010

Low Income Affects On Learning

An interesting study being done to assess economic conditioning's affect on learning methodology...could prove useful in learning how to effectively reach all students (of the game)

The research study entitled, “Childhood Poverty and Brain Development: Roles of Chronic Stress and Parenting,” aims to determine how childhood poverty influences adult brain structure and function, and what underlying biological and social mechanisms mediate childhood poverty-brain relationships. Researchers hypothesize that chronic physiological stress dysregulation (elevated allostatic load) as well as harsh, unresponsive parenting during childhood will account for some of the expected linkages between childhood poverty and adult brain structure and function
In one study, he looked at how children filter out irrelevant information and pick up on what is important. To do this, he monitored the electrical activity of their brains when they were asked to listen to a random series of four tones and press a button every time they heard two of those tones.

He found that children from low SES families tend to use far more parts of their brain during the test than kids from middle-income families. It was as if the low SES children paid equal attention to every sound they heard, he says. Children from high-income homes only paid close attention to the two tones they had been asked to identify.
Amedeo D’Angiulli at Carleton University in Ottawa quoted, “I would see this work informing the school system to exploit some of the strengths that are in these children and introduce curriculum that instead of penalizing them would allow them to function”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's All Ball Security These Days! Perhaps You Need a Refresher Course!

Hey, thanks to Brophy for lowering his standards and allowing me to be a contributor and post on his blog, lol. I will do my best to not screw it up too bad.

Cripes! Let's get back to fundamentals! One of the worst-taught fundamentals IMO is ball security. Ball Security can win or lose 1-2 games a year. You can demonstrate, scream, up-down, beg, or plead, but the best way to teach ball security is to show your guys video. This is part of a video I made for my RBs last year. All of the sudden I became a 100 times better RB Coach because the video reinforced my teaching and motivated my RBs to hold on to the ball correctly. Check it out:

Fundamentals of Ball Security:
1. Two Finger Claw
2. Wrist above Elbow
3. Ball Tight to Chest
4. Tuck Elbow In
5. Opposite Hand Over Football on Contact
6. Keep Pads Low

My next post will look at some game tape of fumbles and show what mistakes were made.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Orleans Saints Passing Game (Part I)

The Super Bowl Champion, New Orleans Saints, and Head Coach Sean Payton have perfected an age old recipe for moving the ball down the field. With just a handful of concepts the offense can generate a solution on any given down to always leave the defense guessing what will hit them next. This versatility is what is required for an offense to adapt and survive in an increasingly competitive age of evolving defenses. It also illustrates the necessary "toolbox" of answers an offense must possess in its arsenal (when your best play and your counter to your best play is shut down, now what?).

The next few posts will explore some basic concepts of their passing attack to horizontally and vertically stretch defenses and provide easy answers to any situation. I don't intend to reinvent the wheel here - most of these concepts have been covered extensively before, either on smartfootball (which we'll borrow heavily from) or this site. We're merely attempting to provide an overview of the concepts (this site is mainly for coaches who already know this stuff) and how they adapt to a defense's response. These methods are actually quite common and are the standard blueprint for the modern offense ( air raid principles ). What makes the application for the Saints so effective obviously is a more-than-competent quarterback, a bevy of consistent receiving threats, and an emphasis on the 3-step game to alleviate pressure on the offensive line to be engaged in pass protection for extended durations.

The crux of the passing game is premised on blowing the top off defensive coverage by sending multiple receivers down field on any given play. It only takes one open deep receiver on one play to threaten a defense. As written about extensively at smartfootball, the 4 vertical package is a 5-step concept that is best run out of 1-back or no-back sets meant to horizontally stretch deep safeties.
The illustration shows the 4 vertical package, and subsequent pictorials will be overlaid with the 4 vert concept to demonstrate how the stems will appear the same.


After threatening the defense with four vertical receivers, the offense uses another 5-step concept, a corner or china concept where the vertical #2 receiver bends his route deep outside away from any deep safety, while the #1 receiver stops his route shallow, thus "high-lowing" a side of the field (if corner retreats deep, throw underneath / if corner stays shallow, throw over the top outside).

As you will see in the clips below, it can be run out of any formation and even out of play-action ( becomes "Rodeo / Lasso" in 'the system ).


After presenting a threat to the horizontal and vertical sides of the field, with the 5-step Dig concept, the offense looks to exploit the width of the safeties created by the previous two concepts. So, if you're attacked deep and outside, the dig will victimize you where you ain't (inside and intermediate).
Variations of the 'dig' concept

With Dig, and its many varations (shallow /levels /drive), the concept is made more effective by running a player into the intermediate hole of a defense while simultaneously running another player at a lower depth to create two (often intersecting) levels on underneath inside defenders.

This opener of 5-step concepts will lead us into 5-step traps (screens) and (my favorite) the 3-step game.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Spring Scrimmage 2010

Some interesting clips from the spring scrimmage last night

05202010 @ Yahoo! Video

UPDATE (player spotlight)

Here are some nice clips of the promising playmakers for 2010, featuring (last year's Y, now playing X) #21 Desmon Ethridge and 2013 prospect (yes, he's just a freshman right now), #4 Damien Jiggetts making plays with Baylor University in attendance at the scrimmage.

05202010_jiggetts_ethridge @ Yahoo! Video


...And that was my last night officially coaching for quite some time (maybe for good). My son turns 13 this summer and I will have him with me full-time from here on out, so I'd rather not short change any time with him (juggling 'work' and a coaching schedule).

I enjoyed my experience with the staff at HHS and think the world of the kids and their families that play ball there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

TCU Nickel Coverage

Just something to tide you over until hemlock and myself publish the upcoming posts of substance (several articles in the works).....

Continuing a theme/trend exploring Gary Patterson's split-field coverage principles, these clips illustrate the quarters-principled coverage against 2x1, 3x2, 3x1, and 2x2 formations.

Be sure to check out Coach Evans' blog RUNCODHIT and his series of posts on TCU's defense

09TCU @ Yahoo! Video

USE ME UP (blog archives)

Also, be sure to utilize the post tags for subjects previously covered..........(I'll try to better organize some of these)

The "drills" is a great one to check on and has helped me refresh my memory on some drills to run during the season.

Also, sick of my meandering posts? Click on 'hemlock' for a filtered view of nothing but his posts (and hit the print button!). This may really come in handy when he gets rolling on the Run 'n' Shoot series, that way you can get all his stuff in a concise package.

4D-FTP Update

As posted earlier, the 4D-FTP method, provides an alternative to defensive back play.

2010 4D-FTP CLINIC & TRAINING Events will be focused on answering pre submitted questions for the clinic, technique specifics and rapid fire training routines for development of the athlete for individual and group involvement. Group rate available. Events costs are determined by facility charges and may differ from event to event. Unconfirmed event dates subject to change.


JUNE 6 2010




JUNE 12 2010




Get 2 full days of technique, philosophy training and film study.

For coaches, trainers and athletes.


Late June Los Angeles, California

Early July Northern Virginia

Late July Orlando/Tampa, Florida

Early August Austin, Texas

Late August Phoenix, Arizona

Jan 2011 Las Vegas, Nevada


Sorry, Abita.....I love me some Gulf Coast beer, an industry that truly suffered after Katrina, but you just aren't cutting the mustard save a Purple Haze or Turbo Dog. New buzz of quality hops coming from the Lafayette area, Bayou Teche, and Heiner Brau from Covington. I'm excited to begin exploring both breweries in the not-to-distant future.

Monday, May 17, 2010

TRENDS: Dime Pressure

Noting the trend of defenses to use dime packages even in nickel (11 personnel) situations.

Clips from the past season where 3 receiver-1 tight end formations (standard fare in the NFL) allow the defense to introduce a nickel and dime back and only leave in 2 or 3 defensive linemen.

I intended to go over some of these in more detail, but I've been swamped of late and wanted to share some clips rather than sit on them.

09NYJ_dime @ Yahoo! Video

09NYJets_Dime @ Yahoo! Video

09gbchi @ Yahoo! Video

09gb @ Yahoo! Video

09GB_a @ Yahoo! Video

09MIA @ Yahoo! Video

09NE @ Yahoo! Video

09NOSaints_GWilliams @ Yahoo! Video

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shuffle / Match

There has been some inquiry into how to play shuffle (replacing the backpedal) in Cover 3, so here is a quick example of shuffle work with a run-through demo of the back-5 pattern-match drill discussed earlier.
Now, although this player is good at shuffle, he is extending with the downfield foot. Ideally, it should be a push off with the upfield foot (left) and a catch with the downfield foot (right). Because he is extending / reaching with the upfield foot, he will be prone to over extending and consequently clicking the heels (bad leverage position/base). This also makes the transition more efficient and fluid. When the trail foot is the downfield foot, you can use it to direct the body like a rudder (rather than it being the 'drive-train'). Force is initiated by the upfield foot, after the 3 pushes (and come to balance) from the upfield foot, all the defenders needs to do to bail is pivot the downfield foot 45 degrees and this will pivot his hips and put him in a running position downfield. This is not unlike a handoff transition in a relay (baton).

Also, we flew through the 5-DB drill for the sake of filming it (as a visual). We went about 3/4 speed. In practice, this will be full speed and a little more intense.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Iron Man 2

Caught Iron Man 2 this weekend....

It is pretty decent, especially with Mickey Rourke and Anthony Anderson (replaced Don Cheadle)

It is a marketing extravaganza and pretty short on digestable plot lines.
I thought the movie was okay.....didn't make a whole lot of sense, though

  • A super villian who's main weapon is a 6 foot whip? Uh...why not stand 20 feet away and shoot fucking rockets at him?

  • a smoking hot Scarlett Johannson and we see her what, only 20 minutes? Nonesense.....should devote at least an hour of the film to her, battling an arch-villian named, "The Tongue"

  • Tony's father sends him a beyond the grave stag film message of "hey, look at my Neverland Ranch!" and bam! 4 minutes later Tony develops a brand new periodic element?

  • what happened to the Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman characters? I mean, wtf?

  • The entire 2 hours builds up for the final climax with Whiplash. Here he comes in his new powerful suit.....and he's taken out within 2 minutes. Which drew similarities with my personal climax with the Johannson character; using whips and ending in explosions.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Building a Better Mouse Trap (1a)

Given my writing schedule, rather than writing long posts, I am instead going to offer up shorter ones that will address a specific point of a larger topic. In the end, this may take a little longer, but the content will be the same.

In my last post I talked bit about the origins of the Run-n-Shoot under Tiger Ellison. Some people clearly took umbrage with some of my remarks, perhaps feeling that I was dismissing his work. Not so. Ellison was an innovator and we have much to be grateful to him for.

Ellison laid the foundations for what Mouse developed; his base packages, such as Gangster, Wagontrain, and Popcorn are all present in Mouse's stuff. This serves as a nice segue into what I want to talk about: How Mouse built a better mouse trap and the anxiety of influence.

Structurally, Mouse preserved the basics of what Tiger created. His version of the Run-n-Shoot from the very beginning was one predicated upon operating solely within a four wide environment. He would also make use of moving pocket; like Tiger's, Mouse's QBs would not thrown from vertical axis. But here is where Mouse started to modify or reign in some of what Tiger did. Tiger's QBs utilized a hard role. The side of the field they worked was clearly defined based direction of their role and the QB was ALWAYS a real threat to run the ball. Tiger wanted his QBs to throw downhill off the roll. Mouse did not exactly jettison this; the Go route, arguably the most famous concept of the offense, is a downhill concept that is most effective when the QB attacks the line of scrimmage, thus putting the invert player in a three way bind between the seam, angle, and QB. More on the Go later and its more limited uses today. The Go was great in the early days of the offense because most defenses operated some type of 3 shell with sky rotation. But Mouse recognized that you could not build an effective passing offense around a concept whose very strength eliminated 3/4 of the field. Mouse's solution was to control the QB's steps by numbering them and thus calibrating them loosely to QBs progression. The QB thus was still utilizing a mobile launch point, but one that enabled him to pull up under control behind the tackle, work the back side, and take better advantage of how the role moved the FS out of position. This today is still a reason why the offense has yet to take out the angle drop of the QB; defenders still tend to angle their drops with the QB thus taking themselves, even if ever so slightly, out of position.

Mouse's most important "reform" was arguably his most ironic one. By this I mean the one that seemingly contradicts the base principles of the offense itself. Mouse added structure to the offense; he defined the goals of each concept, and created a structure within which the concepts operated. Think of it in terms of poetry. We all have rhythm; it is the feel of the poem. This is what Tiger had with his stuff; what he did not have, however, was meter. Mouse gave the Run-n-Shoot a meter that structured the rhythm of the offense. Put differently, but defining each concept, Mouse expanded their creative potential. This is the hallmark of great verse. Great verse has the ability to create anew within established structures. Great poets, or writers, thinkers, and football coaches for that matter, are ones that have the ability to overcome the influence of their predecessors not simply by miming them or rejecting them but engaging directly with their creation and overcoming it through their own work, which in fact is creative criticism of their predecessors. This is what Mouse did.

Next time I will explore the mechanics of Mouse's offense.

Oh, and speaking of influence, John Jenkins followed Mouse's path in this regard. He did not just copy Mouse, but engaged with his work directly and in the end put forth an offense that was substantially different.

Gregg Williams

In the coming weeks leading into the next fall season, I plan to have some (not much) free time....

To occupy my time, I plan on examining the New Orleans Saints defense and attempt to get a handle on the utilization of personnel and the many ways he looks to manufacture pressure.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cover 3 - back 5 guys

Entering Week #2 of spring ball (practices #4-7), we are making better determinations on what roles players are best geared for. With so many numbers out, we have a legitimate option of going full 2-platoon (with the occasional 2-way specialist).

I have been afforded a great opportunity to take the back 5 defenders in the secondary in our Cover 3 defense and rep every player on playing corner, strong safety, and free safety. This is going to be extremely beneficial for these young (and some veteran) players towards understanding their role within the coverage (and support) and seeing the big picture.

We will probably stick to the following format for the remainder of the week, but it breaks down to two separate groups (of 10+ players) with 20 minutes of instruction (for all spots).

I've been using this time to work at a break-neck pace in going over (as quickly as possible) the basic tenets of initial movement, then progressing into pattern-matching the 2-man game. We've only covered basic concepts because most of the players we have are freshmen.
For simplicity's sake, I set up 3 different stations to quickly drill the initial movement (at the snap) for each position.

These (cone) drills are set up on the field based on the position landmarks to better orientate the players to where the position exists on the field.
  • Free Safeties rep through a (3 step) backpedal at 12 yards in the middle of the field
  • Strong Safeties rep through a steep 45 degree zone drop 5 yards from the hash (to the curl), then reverse turn (back into the hash).
  • Corners rep through a (3 step) shuffle at 7 yards from the LOS, 1 yards inside the numbers. 3 step shuffle then turn and run downfield.
After getting basic movement reps in, we go right to cramming pattern-matching down their throats.

The fastest way to facilitate this was to work a 5-point rotating circuit.

We align a #1 (outside the numbers) and #2 (outside the hash) receiver on cones. Then set up the corner (inside #1), strong safety (on the hash/splitting the difference), and free safety (in the middle of the field) respectively. The players 'enter' the circuit as a free safety and after each route run (1 & 2 running a concept), the players rotate to the successive spot, as follows;
  • 5 - free safety
  • 4 - strong safety
  • 3 - corner
  • 2 - #2 (inside) receiver
  • 1- #1 (outside) receiver
We just coach the kids up on the fly from here in an effort to keep them all moving, relating and conditioning the key factors (alignment with the divider, movement technique, reading 2-to-1, responding to vertical stem, etc).

We will see about getting them to digest more concepts through the week, but if we can handle verticals and smash (out of Cover 3), we should have our work cut out for us this spring.

After two days of this routine (M&T), we broke off into segments of FS & Corners, and I got the Strong/Weak Safeties ( I just found out about this at practice, but whatevers clever ). This was great because it allowed me the opportunity to focus work on developing the safeties to handle job #1 - primary run force and tackling. Later, we joined up for skelly and scripted team sessions and I was pleasantly surprised at how well many of these first-time players (current freshmen) were picking up their roles and doing it methodically, driven by technique. No more cringing on watching #2 receivers running up the seams or perimeter players getting reached (see last season).....I just thought it was amazing, refreshing, reassuring to see how big of an impact the little things can make in a defense's performance. The corners (only one is a returning varsity player) were recognizing smash and verticals (instead of being 'man-conscious) - the point being we were able to throw a lot at the kids in 2 days to reduce our coverage liabilities.
In related news, the Spring Handout (DVD) is ready to be published and I'll probably distribute it next week.
This spring is helpful because we are able to add our 2 freshmen coaches to the varsity staff. By joining the varsity, they get a better idea of how we teach the scheme, drills to use, (to translate next season) and they can be utilized to handle some of the responsibilities (making it possible to split up the back 5 guys). With this DVD, even the other guy (who is primarily a basketball guy) can figure out precisely what it is we want to teach and identify what a DB is doing incorrectly in technique (here's a isn't just backpedalling to the endzone and 'keeping everything in front of you').

here is just some Cover 3 clips of Penn State

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sorry for the Delay

I apologize for the exceedingly long delay. I had family issues that had to be addressed on the East Coast and then a business related trip that plunked me right in the midst of the fall out from the ash plume that came out of the errupting volcano in Iceland. Things are only starting to get back to normal now. I will be putting up a post in the very near future - hopefully tomorrow.

Again, my apologies. Hemlock