Balancing creativity as a coach, yet keeping it simple for your fellow coaches and players to learn. That for me was the hardest thing to balance when transitioning from a position coach to an offensive coordinator, and now from coordinator to a Head Coach of a program. I think things started to change for the better when I started to focus more on how we wanted to teach our schemes, and less about being the smartest guy on the white board. For this article I will focus on how we implemented our run concepts within practice.
As an offensive line coach everything I do is to limit the amount of different blocking assignments I have to put on our players. For me it is a lot easier for skill players to learn new mesh points than an offensive line to learn new blocking schemes. As a play caller I want to be creative and be able to attack a defensive structure or player weakness. Teaching one solid blocking scheme, with simple rules to allow for more repetitions and higher confidence for the offensive line. Tagging the backfield action allows us to be creative without compromising execution against any defensive front.
We break down each position and establish what are the core techniques each player will need to learn to be able to accomplish their job within the concepts. During individual periods our coaches teach the techniques they will need for the concepts we are working on in group period. After a pre-season practice or game, our coaches breakdown film and focus on creating drills to improve weaknesses. We really preach why and how they affect the play. We do relevant drills not just something cool we found on YouTube.
Each position has a job within the run concept scheme. We have 3 pods during group period. Backfield mesh, offensive line, and wide receivers (non runners). Say we are installing our power concept. The mesh group will work on their tags for power, the line will work on barrels vs the main fronts we will encounter, and our wide outs work on what RPO routes or screens that will be tagged. These are concentrated groups, so we are able teach details, get more reps, and not be boring. Nothing is worse than having a wide out stand there and listen to what the right tackle has to do on power. Wasted time. This avoids this, and keeps more kids involved.
By this point we have worked the individual skills, positional scheme, and now we are ready to put the puzzle together. During a team session we address questions but rarely stop practice, line it up and explain it as a whole. We write the problem down, fix it within the group session or after practice. We want to use this period to run game plan specific tags, get in game situations, and throw in our weekley trick play. Now you can be as creative as you want, you just stay within the limits of what you and your coaches have taught the players.
I am always looking for better ways to teach our players more clearly so they can play faster and win more games. I feel this teaching progression empowers your coaches, gets more players more reps, and makes practice time more efficient. We have applied this to our defensive, and special teams aspect of our team as well. Thank you for your time and good luck this season!!
Head Football Coach Tri-County RVT High School, Franklin, MA