I’ve recently been thinking about our mid-season break; we took some time to assess how the plays and formations we were running didn’t work and what we could do to fix it all.
We spent so long in the pre-christmas period focusing on the X’s and O’s of our scheme and what we wanted to do, and to be honest we were beating ourselves. Mainly through trying to use split veer to our advantage and not being able to pull it off as well as we thought we could; so we changed things up.
When we did our S.W.O.T exercise, we noticed that we had athletes on our team that could play in space, and when our O-Line got on their Double-Teams they did a good job, so we changed things up as part of a 3-stage process.
Stage 1: Terminology
The hardest part of learning any given playbook in my opinion is the verbiage or terminology, and learning what each word actually means to you in your position; it might be that you call “Red Far, Inside Zone, Bob, Play Action, Post-Corner” as a play and it will work; but how much of that are you able to digest, remember and execute from the huddle to the break to the snap?
At BU we follow the Mantra; Keep It Simple, Stupid! In everything we do; from Playbook Terminology, to the schemes we want to run. We know we have 5 Hours maximum per week on-field with our guys and two in the classroom, so we have to break it down into segments.
Our Pre-christmas playbook had some simple terminology that we used to our advantage; the guys knew that ‘Red’ meant one thing and ‘Blue’ meant another. We tried our best to keep as much as possible in place that it would allow us to translate it into different formations and plays. This lead to us speeding up the process of learning for everyone on our team; from the RB’s to the Offensive Line.
Stage 2: Talent
We looked at our roster; we have a lot of speed on our team, and we have guys who can catch the ball well. We weren’t the best at smash-mouth football, but we could hang with some teams when we needed to, so we looked to combine the philosophy of what we were doing pre-christmas, with the talent of who we had available.
We knew our Offensive Line were good at double-teaming, so maximised their abilities using a simpler scheme. We knew our running backs could cut back on a dime, so tried to optimise that, and that our receivers were great players in space. We used the Talent available to us.
Stage 3: Technique
We had the terminology in place, we had the talent to run the plays, and all we needed to do was coach it well enough. At the mid-way point in the season I had taken over as Offensive Line coach, and with the change in the way we were blocking people, we were able to adapt and coach new techniques used in zone blocking; focusing on double teams at the point of attack, and allowing our backs to cut back often to get our players into space.
For us it was all about using the new scheme with the old wording to develop a system that fitted the talent available to us. We didn’t change our philosophy as an offense, we just adapted and improved; gaining more yards and points post-christmas in two games than we had before the break.
We’re now 96 days away from the pre-season starting again, so as a coaching staff we’ll be meeting to review what we did and didn’t do so well this season and starting to plan for 2016/17; stay tuned to the site to find out our process over the summer!
Yours in Football