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Friday, December 31, 2010

Oklahoma State's Unique Hand Off on the Jet Sweep

I have been looking for clips online of the Alamo Bowl so that I could show you what I mean by unique handoff in the game.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to find it yet.  They would bring a receiver in motion and then instead of handing the ball off, the QB would just overhand toss the ball to the receiver going in front of him.

Why would Oklahoma State do this?  Well I can think of one reason right now.  How many times in a game have we seen where there is a fumble on the read hand off that leads to a turnover.  Instead if the toss to the receiver is dropped it isn't a fumble but instead an incomplete pass that doesn't result in a turnover.

Does anyone have any clips of the play being run in the bowl game or not?  I really would like to post video here on the site to show.  It happens in the first half.
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How to Properly Run the Hurdles

Ok so it really isn't but I ran hurdles in high school and boy did I feel like doing this at times while running them.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eagles Use Of The Power Play

I meant to comment on this earlier but got distracted with the holiday.  I had wanted to talk about how the Eagles use the QB power play with Mike Vick when in the red zone out of the shotgun.  Here is a clip of the play during the Philadelphia/New York Giants game to bring the team within 7.  It was a brilliant call that caught the Giants un-prepared for the play.  And despite the call by the announcers, this was not a draw play.

This of course wasn't the first time that the Eagles used this play with Vick.  For his first td run as an Eagle they called the same play just to the right.

So how is the play blocked?  Well I have included a Power Point draw up of how the Eagles blocked the play against the Giants.

The Eagles run the play to the TE side pulling the backside guard and leading with the back.  The blocking is as follows:

  1. TE blocks down on end
  2. Play side Guard and Tackle double down on DT to Middle Backer
  3. Center down blocks on DT over pulling Guard
  4. Backside Tackle blocks end and 
  5. Wing blocks backside to prevent chaser.
  6. Back leads blocking most dangerous, usually outside defender
  7. Pulling Guard looks inside out blocking most dangerous.
As you can see this has been an effective play for the Eagles with a running QB.  For other coaches you might want to look at including it with your offense as it can be a great play for your team to run.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Don't Go Chasing Ghosts

I was reading a section in Alan Trimble's football book about game planning and he brought a very importat point that young coaches should learn.  He calls it chasing ghosts when it comes to game preparation.  What is meant by this is going into practice and preparing for plays that you think are going to happen and wasting too much time doing so. 

That isn't to say that you won't encounter adjustments by other teams, but do you really believe that a double wing team is going to put in a shotgun spread play for the week playing you?  Maybe, but chances are pretty good that they won't.  If you start to worry too much about these ghosts you will cut into the game plan you are preparing and can take away from precious practice preparing for their main plays.

I unfortunately have seen this a lot from other coaches as they have tried to install a play or formation that another team has success doing.  In doing so they are chasing those ghosts and hurting their team with chances in preparing to win the game.  For you newer coaches, don't spend too much time preparing for what if's.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

When Patience Pays Off For A Football Program

In my last post, I wrote about things I would do to rebuild a high school program.  One of the items on my list was that you need to be patient, and need the patience of the school administration.  Too often you are expected in 3 years to have it turned around.  I have a perfect example for everyone of how patience can pay off for your program.

This last weekend Aloha High School won the Oregon 6A state title for the first time in history.  What makes this run even more significant is that for 20 years the program had been the doormat of the state.  I remember my playing days and no matter what, you knew that you could beat Aloha in football.  That all changed 7 years ago with the hiring of their current coach.

When Coach Chris Casey arrived at the school, people were ashamed to be from Aloha.  Here is the story about what he encountered when he arrived.

A generation ago, Aloha was an attractive, close-to-downtown suburb offering new homes with large lots, proximity to good-paying jobs and a successful high school football program.

In the years since, things have become tougher. Wages have stagnated over time. Scores of businesses have closed in the past 12 months. And the Warriors football team withered, with winless seasons (four) outnumbering above-.500 finishes (one) in one 18-year period.

Under seventh-year head coach Chris Casey, though, the football team has gradually revived. Last year, the team achieved a winning record for the first time since 1989. This year, the Warriors won the championship of the uber-competitive Metro League for the first time since 1984, and beginning with tonight's first-round playoff game against visiting Barlow of Gresham, the Warriors are expected to make a serious run at a state championship -- and take a riveted community along for the ride.

"There are a lot of people barely hanging on," said Steve Cutone, owner of Buddies Sports Bar & Grill, less than a mile south of campus. "With the football program over at Aloha doing well, it kind of takes the thought of, 'Geez, we're not doing so well,' and you think, 'Hey, these guys are doing great.........'"

Casey, brother of Oregon State baseball coach Pat Casey, remembers his first meeting with the Beaverton School District superintendent, when he heard all about how the school was down on its luck, overshadowed by its more affluent neighbors in the district.

"I took it as a challenge," said Casey, the father of four children, ages 9 to 19. "When I got here, people were depressed and apologetic about being from Aloha. It's like people were acting like losers."

In the three seasons before Casey arrived at Aloha, the team lost 25 of 27 games and drew small, disinterested crowds to home games.

"The stigma on the kids was, 'Well, you go to Aloha, that's the loser school,'" said Mark Girard, a 1973 graduate who has lived in Aloha his entire life and attended games every year. "This means so much to me, and the people I know that played there, that they're erasing that stigma."
When the Warriors played host to perennial powerhouse Jesuit on Oct. 15 with first place in the Metro at stake, the stands were full one hour before kickoff. A crowd estimated at more than 5,000 watched Aloha win 38-25 to end a 24-game losing streak to the Crusaders.

"That win, that night, was by far the biggest thing I've ever witnessed at our high school, and at any high school, in my life," said Ed Macsisak, a former youth football coach who now serves as director of football operations for the high school.

As the Warriors finished their warm-ups and prepared to return to the locker room about 30 minutes before the game, Casey had them take a knee on the field.

"I told them to look around at what they had created," Casey said.

"It's a big buzz around the town, wherever you go," said Cutone, who put a "Go Warriors!" message on his sports bar's readerboard a few weeks ago. "The news is damn depressing, so you take something like Aloha football, a real positive like that, and it lifts everybody's spirits."

Starts with youth Aloha's decline on the football field coincided with changing times for the surrounding community.

New high schools opened in the Beaverton School District, redefining Aloha's enrollment boundaries. The median income of the community, in inflation-adjusted dollars, has been stagnant since 1980. In the 2009-10 school year, Aloha had a free or reduced lunch rate of 40 percent -- highest in the Beaverton district by a third.

A Washington County-issued newsletter says 100 businesses are expected to close in the next year on top of the 103 that folded in the past year.

The Aloha football turnaround began in 2000 when Oscar Cardona, a Nike executive and father of senior running back Troy Cardona, took over as president of Aloha Youth Football. Cardona didn't rubber-stamp waiver requests for players to join nearby youth programs.

"They wanted to go to Beaverton or Southridge or Westview," Cardona said. "I said, 'Let's try to be proud of our community. Help me solve the problem. I'm not going to let you run away from it.' I was threatened with lawsuits."

The youth program began to build, and in 2004, the high school program got the motivational leader it needed in Casey.

A college assistant for 19 seasons at Linfield (1985-93) and Whitworth (1994-2003) in Spokane, Casey and his wife, Kathleen, looked to move back to the Willamette Valley to be closer to family. Aloha needed a coach, and the school's athletic director, Kevin Bryant, was the same athletic director who hired Casey at Whitworth.

The year Casey was hired, the program got another shot in the arm when Nike, the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District and the U.S. Soccer Federation joined forces for a $1 million project to install artificial turf on Aloha's football field.

It was just the beginning. Nike helped make new football uniforms affordable. Jim Reimann, a businessman whose son played for Casey at Linfield, started giving $6,500 each year for the high school team to attend a summer football camp at Gold Beach. Rick Miller, an Aloha parent, gave $237,000 for a new weight room.

The school got a boost when the school district spent $15.7 million to build a science wing.

Changing the culture

Meanwhile, Casey was at work instilling a work ethic in the football program. The team began to win more and made breakthroughs last year with the winning record and long-sought playoff spot.

"There's about four kids that played Westview youth football that are now in the Aloha program because of what they've done over there," Westview High School coach Greg Fisher said. "I guess that's kudos to Chris. He's built a belief in a program, and kids want to play for that."

With their good-guy coach, lunch-pail image and underdog back story, the Warriors have become sentimental favorites. Casey said two Metro coaches have told him their wives pull for the Warriors.

Around Aloha, the Warriors have become celebrities of sorts. More than 300 people jammed into the Peppermill Restaurant for a party after the Jesuit game, cheering players and coaches as they arrived.

"I don't think the kids there fully realize it," said Girard, the 1973 Aloha graduate, "but I run into classmates and people that graduated before me, and they're just ecstatic about this. And they're coming out and they're going to games again. And they're saying, 'You can hold your head up and say you went to Aloha High now.'"
This is what makes high school football so great, as it can raise the spirits of an entire community.  Look at the patience exhibited by the coach and administration to give him time to build this program.   Imagine if he had been canned after 3 or 4 years?  Would they have their state title?  Coach Casey would be a great coach to talk to about rebuilding a high school program.  He stuck to his beliefs and helped turn not only a program around but also a community. 
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How I Would Rebuild A High School Football Program

Recently a fellow coach told me that the Lehi high school position was open and that I should apply for the position.  I declined initially but it did make me think how I would build up a high school program.  Lehi hasn't won a game in two years.  This is unfortunate since they won the state title 10 years ago and have fallen on hard times recently.

So what would I do to re-build a program like this?  Well here is just a list of a few of the things in no particular order I would do:

  1. Recruit The Halls- Sounds pretty cliche but this is a school with around 1800 students.  They won the soccer title in men's soccer, there are players and athletes in the school that can help.  There has to be some size that isn't out on the field that can be coached into players.  First thing I would do at any school is hit the halls to get kids out for the team.
  2. Build Team Pride- When facing a losing streak, the players start to become ashamed of being a part of the team.  You need to build up pride to be a part of this team.  You need to have team-building activities for kids (movie night; pool parties; bonfires; etc)  They need to bond and have that pride to be a football player again.
  3. Schedule Easier Non-League Games That You Know You Can Win-  This in my opinion is one of the most important things you can do. Pride about who you are playing isn't worth it in the middle of a losing streak.  You need to win some games to get the monkey off the back.  Practice after a win is always better than after a loss.  Wins give kids confidence to be successful.  An example of a team I would schedule were I at Lehi would be American Leadership Academy.  They are going back down to 2A but only won 1 game last year and have struggled over the years as well.  Find a way to play them, start to build some confidence.
  4. Simplify Your Game Plan- Too many times, new coaches come in and try to install everything they want to do on offense and defense.  This is a mistake in my opinion and can lead to confusing your players.  It takes time to get your system fully into place.  Figure out what your base plays are and install those and make sure the kids have them down.  Then you can build off of them from there.
  5. Be Patient- Unfortunately the Lehi program hasn't won in two years.  You can't change overnight the way they act and play; it will take time to undo and remake what the players do and how the community reacts to you.
  6. No One's Position Is Safe- There will be returning players that were starters last year.  Well that doesn't mean anything now that I am in charge of the program.  I would say that every position is open for competition.  The best players in that position are going to play, no ifs and's or buts about it.  You win your starting position back then good job but don't expect it to be handed to you.  Competition will help breed success.
  7. Stick To Your Plan And Believe What You Are Doing- You may make decisions that others will disagree with even on your staff, but you need to send the message.  If that means sitting a star player because his grades are poor then do it.  Once you have established how your program is run you can't change your mind for certain players.  Doing so will lose any credibility your players and parents will have in you and can lead to more troubles in the future for your program.
  8. Bring In The Success Of Past Teams/Cut Away From The Past Struggles- What do I mean by this?  Well for Lehi I would bring in the former players from the 2000 state championship team.  Have them meet the players, speak and let them know what it meant to them to be a part of the school.  Likewise you will need to make a clean break from the past struggles of your team.  There may be coaches from the previous staff that would like to stay and help.  Unfortunately I would say thanks but no thank you.  That isn't to say they would be a terrible fit with my philosophies but any tie to the past struggles counters what I would be trying to build.  
  9. Get The Backing Of Your School's Administration-  You need to have the full support of your school's administration and AD.  Nothing hurts more than not getting the backup from your principal and that kills a program faster than you know.  I have seen horror stories on coaching boards and know that I want with respects to that.  This also includes being able to pick your own staff.  If a principal wants to hire some of your coaches, then it just won't work out.
  10. BE FULLY INVESTED WITH YOUR NEW PROGRAM- Were I to leave Timpview (a successful program) for one like Lehi, I would make sure to be fully invested.  How many of us as players saw coaches that looked longingly at the previous school they were at acting as if they were wanting to return there.  How can a kid trust that you are doing what is best for them, why will they play hard for you if they feel that way?  Once you are there, be fully there as a coach.
  11. Stay In Contact With Your Mentor- Every coach will have a mentor that helps teach them the ropes.  If I leave Timpview to take over a program I will continue to speak with Coach Wong for advice on how to handle certain issues that arise.
  12. Make Sure Parents Are In The Loop- Let the parents know what is going on with the program and what your expectations are.  Doing so will help avoid any issues that could arrive because of miscommunication.  
  13. Engage The Community- Make sure you have a good booster club president that will help you fund raise.  Make sure to get the community involved in what you are doing, if they support your team, success will follow..
Well these are just a few of the things I would do to build a high school program were I to take over.  I may add more to the list as time goes by and I have more to think about.  I would love to hear any feedback from any coaches that read this post on things that they have done to build a high school program.

PS.  If the head coach is still there at Lehi I apologize for any misunderstanding it is what I was informed by a fellow coach.
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