The first day of practice is almost here. And in Virginia, that means 3 days with just helmets. 2 days in helments and shoulder pads.
How can we get the most out of the opening of camp? I used to think those first 3 days were a waste. They're not.
Football practice without pads can be a huge benefit for your team. You can get your playbook installed, but there's even more.
Focus on footwork. Teach attack angles. Learn how to practice fast, without contact.
But safety is still your number one concern. I'll give you some pointers on staying safe during your pads-free practice, too.
In 2004, I was captivated by the idea of throwing on every down. Chris Hatcher had me hooked.
The Air Raid is absolutely brilliant. With just a handful of passing concepts, a simplistic running game, and a few screens and draws, you can make sure the defense is never right.
Like every other scheme in football, it doesn't always turn out that way on the field. But it sure is a cool idea.
While the offense is still being used, it's not as revered as it once was.
You can look back to the '90s, when Kentucky's passing offense took the SEC by storm. Hatcher's teams that dominated Division II Football. And of course, Mike Leach throwing the ball all over the lot at Texas Tech.
Not to mention, Tony Franklin System teams were dominating High School Football.
When we look at the landscape today, it doesn't look quite as bright for the Air Raid. Leach and Kliff Klingsbury have struggled recently, as has Hatcher.
(for what it's worth, I'm not a TFS member so I can't say for sure - but Tony seems to have evolved...)
That doesn't mean it's not fun to talk about! So sit back and listen to Episode 131 of The Football Coaching Podcast. We're talking Mesh, Y-Shallow, Y-Stick, and just generally chucking the football all over the field!
You need to be prepared for anything, and that goes far beyond X's and O's. These are 8 important parts of your program that need to be addressed before practice starts.
How you install your defense shouldn't be scary. There's no right way to do it - but there's a lot of wrong ways.
Coaches are often concerned way too much with how much to install, how fast. That's not the big issue.
If you install too much, too fast, it's because you have too much in your playbook. It's a whole different issue - but one that I'll address in this podcast too.
No, your bigger conern is not how much or how fast. The question is, is your focus in the right place?
When you start installing all kinds of whacky defensive fronts and blitzes, your focus is no longer on the kids. Your focus is now on the X's and O's. That doesn't win football games.
Listen to Episode 129 of The Football Coaching Podcast to find out how you can keep your focus where it needs to be when you install your defense this season.
I love the Wing-T Offense. So here's what I think about it.
I'll tell you a basic overview of how I view the Wing-T Offense. It's incredibly versatile, but there are some basic rules.
Then I'm going to give what I see as the advantages and disadvantages of running this type of scheme.
If you're a Wing-T Guru, maybe you'll hear some things you agree with and some things you don't.
For coaches who may not know a whole lot about the Wing-T, I hope this will spark you to learn a little more.
There's a lot of myths about tackling. But the truth of coaching better tackling is much simpler.
I always hear coaches talking about violence. There's some misguided idea that if you don't lay the lumber you can't play defense. In reality, the whole goal of tackling is to get the man with the football on to the ground.
He doesn't need to be hurt. We don't need cracked ribs, or snot bubbles (yes, a The Program reference). We just need him down on the ground, not gaining any more yards.
How do you make that happen? It's not some special sauce. You don't need to hire some tackling guru. I do like what I've seen of USA Football by the way, I just don't believe that alone could fix your tackling woes.
The key to better tackling is to coach specifically what you want from your kids in a tackle. Build confidence in their own abilities to make a tackle. And then get some help for them.
1 on 1 tackling is always going to be a tough job. The kids who carry the football are usually the best athletes on the field. If they weren't... well, they'd play more defense. But 3 on 1 is always good odds.
By pursuing to the football, defeating blocks, and getting better with our reads and keys, tackling will automatically improve. More guys to the football means more chances to finish the tackle.
It's a huge Mail Bag episode today! Plus a short interview with Coach Ricky Coon from Southeast Missouri State.
Here's what's on the menu...
Big mailbag show. Dive in and find some good stuff.
Are you getting all you can out of your practice time? Practices need to be geared toward winning football games.
Not looking at your practices that way? You're leaving something on the field.
Listen to Episode 125 to find out...
And you'll learn about the latest Live Web Clinic from Joe Daniel Football!
Coach Rob Patterson sat in with me for The Football Coaching Podcast in this episode. He's currently the JV Coach for Southern Lee High School in Sanford, NC.
Coach Patterson has been on a path a lot of coaches want to know how to follow. He started coaching youth football when his son was playing. And he fell in love with it.
After many years of coaching, he's moved to the Middle School and now High School coaching ranks. And he's winning.
Rob is a Joe Daniel Football Insider member as well as a member of the 4-3 Defense eCourse. His youth team won their Pop Warner championship. He took his defense to the Middle School level and allowed just 8 ppg.
Currently, he is coaching with the Junior Varsity at Southern Lee and also working in the box and as Quality Control for the Linebackers on the Varsity.
Special Bonus: How To Build A Whiteboard, or... Why I Cannot Drive My Truck Right Now.
Episode 123 of The Football Coaching Podcast is the start of something new. This is our first Success Stories interview with members of Joe Daniel Football.
Coach Donnie McDonough returned to his alma mater after college, and took over as the head coach at Western Wayne High School in 2013.
After a rocky start, the team finished 6-4 in 2014. Their first winning season, and first playoff appearance, in 20 years.
Coach McDonough is a member of The 4-3 Defense eCourse, and a Joe Daniel Football Insiders member.
Hear how his football team made the turnaround in this episode!
Earlier in the week I wrote an article about the true nature of the 4-3 Defense. The way I see it, anyway.
The 4-3 Defense has certain rules. A few years ago I wrote about the 8 Laws of The 4-3 Defense.
Block down, step down. Spill the football.
7 Man Front. Mike Linebacker has to be a 2-gap player.
I know a lot of people don't see the 4-3 Defense this way. That's OK for them. For me, the Miami 4-3 Defense as it was designed by Jimmy Johnson and his staff at The "U" is where it's at.
And it is still one of the best defenses in football. So sit back and listen to How To Coach The 4-3 Defense!
There's more to getting ready for a football season than printing out a pretty playbook. Your football team has to execute fundamentals if they're going to win.
That means you need to have your drills ready. And this week, we're looking at how to build your defensive drill package for the upcoming season.
Follow this 5 step process to decide how you're going to put your drills together. And know that your package will be a forever growing and changing entity.
If you are going to follow these steps, you need to get Step 1 nailed down first. And that means you need the Defensive Installation Manual.
I get a lot of emails asking about the Install Schedule. There's more to it than that.
While most of my eCourses give an in-depth look at the install schedule for the scheme, there's a key. Those courses include why you install each piece.
That is why I'm not real excited to email you a spreadsheet of our install schedule. It changes every year.
So check out episode 120 of The Football Coaching Podcast to see the 4 questions you need to ask when setting up your install schedule.
I look at this specifically from the standpoint of Spring Practice, because it is April here as I record the podcast. But you should apply the same logic in the Fall as well.
One last note. I just moved into a new office with it's own little studio. I recorded this without thinking - I knew there'd be an echo, just not how bad it would be.
I'll hang up some blankets and put a couple books on the shelf before the next episode. But I thought this episode was too good from a content standpoint to just throw out (they're never as good the second time).
[02:45] Spring Practice Schedule
[04:30] Why I don't sent out install schedules
[07:07] Step 1 - What do you need to get good at?
[10:04] Step 2 - What do you need to find out?
[14:10] Step 3 - What do you install in the first 2 weeks of the season?
[18:56] What coaches should be doing in Spring Practice
[23:55] Step 4 - Ask yourself why.
[33:40] Question: Which side is the Read Side in Robber Coverage against 11 Personnel?
[39:30] Question: How do you call your strength alignment to 12 personnel formations?
Our coaching staff is considering a two platoon system for the 2015 season. That's not unusual, since it comes up every year. We just may be closer to it this season.
It's time to look over the pro's and con's of the two platoon system in Episode 119 of The Football Coaching Podcast.. On the surface most coaches view the concept as being either "The Solution" or a complete impossibility. We have to dig deeper before we make the decision one way or another.
Here's the hardest part. Once you make the decision you have to stick to your guns. You'll be tempted to play a lot of guys both ways. Two Platooning only the kids who are not good enough to start, however, won't change much.
And then you have to be ready to play kids both ways when it's absolutely necessary, or the right decision for your football team. See the fine line?
I'd love to hear your experiences with coaching a Two Platoon football team at the High School level. Post it in the comments!
The Football Coaching Podcast, Episode 80 - there's only 4 types of defense. http://joedanielfootball.com/80
[00:27] Announcement on open enrollment for Joe Daniel Football
[02:30] Coaching a Two Platoon Football Team: Pro's and Con's
[23:55] How To Defend Tight End Trips (Trey Formation) in the 3-3 Stack Defense
[29:30] Can You Use The 3-2-6 Defense For Passing Downs Or As A Change-Up?
It's been used as a dirty word. A "system" guy.
Quarterbacks lose draft position. Coaches get dismissed as being uncreative or unoriginal.
They're probably not too upset. After all, you don't get labeled as a "system" guy until you start winning football games.
I've just released my video series this week on The Pistol Power Offense System. You can check out the first free video here: http://joedanielfootball.com/pistolpower
As I was putting it together, I thought about what it means to run a "system".
It means you believe it what you do. You have a playbook, not a stack of plays.
You know how you want the job done. Your players learn exactly what the job is. They gain confidence. They play faster.
System coaches win more games.
And you don't have to BUY a system. You can systematize your own offense. You SHOULD.
Socheck out The Football Coaching Podcast Episode 118 to find out how you can turn your football offense into a SYSTEM.
Tons of new stuff on this episode of The Football Coaching Podcast. Among those, this is the first episode coming from directly from Joe Daniel Football.
I'll announce some of the changes that are taking place and explain - for the first time - why I made the switch from three sites down to just one. And some of the behind the scenes that made this change so... errr, exciting.
Ranting? Yes there is a rant or two. Specifically, what not to ask when you have the chance to meet an offensive guru. Or any genius, for that matter.
And finally, I'll dive into the mailbag for a few questions:
All that is this week on The Football Coaching Podcast!