Our Mailbag series continues with the second installment, as Joe and Daniel answer some more questions from subscribers. On this episode, we’re covering poor character in players, Special Teams programs, and changing defenses from the 4-2-5 to the 3-3 stack.
This week Joe and Daniel are fielding questions from you, the listeners. Our topics on this episode include increasing player and parent buy-in to the offseason process, how to get your O-linemen to block the right guy, and how to see more of the game as a future coordinator.
If you would like to send in your questions, click this link and let us know!
Calling defensive plays on game night may be one of the most stressful jobs in football. You have a limited amount of time to assess the situation, identify what call you want to use, and get it signaled in before a much more regimented offensive system goes to work.
On this episode Joe and Daniel discuss exactly what it is that goes into a defensive play call, and ways to guide yourself into making better calls based on your skill level and what you see on game night.
It’s week 7. You’re down by 4 against your crosstown rival in the 3rd quarter. The wind is in your face, your starting Right Tackle is gimpy and not playing as well as usual. You’ve been a step ahead of the defense all night, but you’re quickly running out of bullets. With the season and bragging rights on the line, what call do you signal to your QB?
In this episode Joe and Daniel break down the important pieces that go into any given play call on Friday night; from why every call matters, to what weaknesses the defense is giving.
Not every high school takes the field on Friday night with the perfect kid in every position. Sometimes they have a SR Linebacker who never learned how to get downhill. Sometimes they have a freak speedster who doesn’t have the confidence or ability to make a tackle. Coaches at many levels are usually trying to prevent one player from losing them the game and need to hide them in the scheme to eliminate them being exposed.
On this episode Joe and Daniel are joined by Coach David Lane as they discuss what kind of player needs to be hidden, how to hide him on gameday, and what you should do to prepare your players for such a scenario.
Special teams can be both frustrating and time consuming. It’s a part of the sport which can be so simple, but seems to be made complex by coaches trying to gain a competitive edge.
In this episode, Joe and Daniel break down what changes make sense to make and how your game plan should be altered from week to week.
There’s no worse feeling for a coordinator than to get to Friday night and our team can’t match the opponent on the field. It doesn’t matter what side of the ball you’re coaching on, if you can’t gain yards against their defense, or can’t stop their offense, frustration and embarrassment will quickly set in. You need to have an answer as soon as possible. Hopefully, it’s that night, if not at least being able to get right before the next opponent copy-cats and hits you with the same exact problem.
On this episode, Joe and Daniel discuss what comes next after you’ve been exposed. It may be what your choices are on game-night to solve the problem and move on, or a plan for next week to ensure you never suffer that fate again… or at least because of the same problem.
Injuries are an unfortunate part of football that can truly derail your season if they happen to a key player. Maybe it’s your QB. Maybe it’s your 5th QB. Maybe it’s your lead tackler, or the best Offensive Lineman your school has ever had. If you haven’t been struck by the injury bug yet, keep doing what you’re doing because that’s likely helping. But, understand that it will happen at some point.
In this episode, Joe and Daniel are joined by NFL Great Dominique Franks as they discuss what to do to salvage your season when you have a key injury, and how you can help yourself in the offseason before the injury ever happens.
Football is a game of adjustments. Whoever can make the correct adjustments the quickest will generally prevail in a game. The ASKA Principle and Pulling Levers is just an incremental adjustment system that allows a coach to make changes on the fly, or build a game plan throughout the week, and knowing exactly what they changed and why.
On this episode, Joe and Daniel discuss what levers are, how to determine which ones you should pull, and a checklist to start solving whatever problems you’re facing today.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a position where change is necessary in our depth chart. Maybe the injury bug has hit your team, suspensions, grade troubles… The list is endless. Regardless of the reason, you need to be ready to move players around within your scheme.
In this episode, Joe and Daniel are joined by Coach James Vint to discuss how to make changes to your lineup, when the foundation for a “We not me” team is best to be laid, and how to prevent backlash from players, families, and fans when making those changes.
Self scouting is hard to do midseason. You have 2-3 films from your opponent that you really need to start deciphering immediately. You still need to work in family time this weekend, and draw up the next magical offensive play (what was that play that the Chiefs ran last Sunday anyways?) that’s sure to lead to victory. But, self scouting is an investment in yourself and your team that may be more beneficial than ever turning on the opposing team’s film.
On this episode, Joe and Daniel are joined by Coach Matt Allen to discuss all of the pros to breaking down your own film, finding and fixing your weaknesses, and using last week’s film to determine what you need to schedule in practice this week.
“Football is a game of adjustments.” I’ve probably said that phrase 25 times in the last 5 weeks. Some weeks we’re better at it than others. If you’re not make adjustments throughout the week, or on Friday nights, then you may find yourself playing less efficient football and in need of evolving what you’re doing as a play caller.
On this episode, Joe and Daniel discuss what it takes to identify the things you’re doing right or wrong and how to begin altering the game plan you’re using to put your kids in the best position to be successful.
Across the United States, approximately 1,161 teams are playing 8-man football. Compared to the approximate 16,000 11-man teams and another 700+ college teams, 8-man coaches are at a disadvantage when it comes to adding to their offensive and defensive systems. You can’t turn on the TV on Saturday and watch the local college team tear it up in the 3-2-3 defense. So, they have to be able to take new content from the 11-man teams and adapt it to fit their situation.
On this episode, Joe and Daniel are joined by Coach Kenny Ridley as he discusses his path from college player to 11-man DC, and then the foot-first jump into the 8-man world and all the new challenges that brought his way. Coach Ridley discusses the origin of his defensive scheme, how he adapted 11-man fundamentals to the 8-man game, and he breaks down the basics of 8-man football to those of us who not had a reason to dig into it.
The evolution of football, particularly on the Offensive side of the ball, is something that just about anyone can google and read the history of. However, very few coaches have lived the game and experienced those changes first hand.
On this episode, Joe and Daniel sit down with NE Oklahoma and NW Arkansas coaching legend Bill Blankenship to get his perspective on the evolution of the game, what’s made him so successful over the years, and how he’s kept things simple at multiple levels of football.
Similar to making changes in life, making changes in football can be hard, difficult, frustrating… the list goes on. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” is a mantra that comes to mind. But, if it is broken you definitely need to fix it. You can’t sit on an unsound system just to claim simplicity and not wanting to confuse the kids.
On this episode Joe and Daniel discuss the reasons why you should, or shouldn’t, change your defensive front midseason, what key pieces need to stay the same after the new front is installed, and how to execute a change without muddying the water so much that your players can’t play.
Gaining information on your opponent is always beneficial, and for many reasons. But, it’s only as beneficial as what you do with the information. Putting all of their formations, plays, and personnel evaluations in a binder and tossing it to all of your coaches may not provide the edge on Friday night that you think it will. You have to know what to take out of all of that data, and how to make adjustments to your own defense to defeat it.
On this episode, Joe and Daniel talk with Jamelle Byrd about breaking down your opponent’s offense, how to organize the data and gameplan off of it, and the do’s and don’ts of adjustments to what you do best.
Opponent scouting is an event that can quickly eat up most of… if not your whole weekend. In fact, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it could steal your whole week away. We’ve all fallen into the “just one more watch through” trap as coaches. We want to make sure we’ve taken everything we can from the film to help us win.
On this episode Joe and Daniel are joined by Southside’s HC Kenny Simpson in a discussion about the benefits of breaking down your opponent’s defense, what changes you should make to your scheme to attack them, and exactly how film breakdown is most efficiently done.
Yes, Special Teams is one-third of the game of football. If ST hasn’t won or lost you a game as a coach yet, it’s coming. There are times that Special Teams practices can feel chaotic, like no one knows what’s going on, and 1 coach (whomever had that ST Coordinator role thrown on them) is coaching 11 players, and the other Coaches are standing around watching the kicker.
On this episode we’re talking to Coach Joel Mathews on ways to prevent the nightmare written above. We talk not only scheduling a special teams practice, but having it scripted ahead of time. Let everyone know where to be, who to coach, and what they’re responsible for.
The first drive, or the first few of them, of any game of football can give you nearly all the information you need to be successful the rest of the night if you use it right. Although we’d all love to run our bread and butter ad nauseam and hope to put some points on the board, you have a low risk situation to ask several questions of the Defense and see if they have answers at all, and what those answers are.
On this episode we dive into the science and art of scripting your first drive with Southside Southerners Head Coach Kenny Simpson. We discuss what questions you should be trying to ask, how to dress up your common plays to confuse the Defense (and next week’s DC), as well as the benefits of having the first drive written down well before the first kickoff.
Now that just about everyone is back to practicing football (with real helmets and everything), it’s time to streamline our schedules and get them into the most efficient formats. You don’t have to make that a daily chore either!
On this episode Joe and Daniel talk with Coach Justin Dottavio about the makings up a practice schedule shell for each day of the week, what key components you need to add, and how to adjust them as the season goes on.
Injuries are very much a part of football. We coach a contact sport, and that contact can create a vast number of different injuries to players of any age. A part of being a coach is mitigating the risks that lead to those injuries by modifying the practice schedule to get the most out of our kids without unnecessary risk.
On this episode Joe and Daniel talk with Antoine Smith about how he keeps 5 teams of youth players healthy in practice to ensure they stay in love with the game, their parents don’t pull them out completely, and how we keep teams ready for a playoff push.
Getting your players in game shape is usually held as one of the highest priorities in Summer Pride and pre-season practices. There is without a doubt a benefit to being in prime shape as the season kicks off, but maybe it shouldn’t be as high of a priority as we make it out to be.
On this episode Joe and Daniel are joined by Southside ( Batesville, AR) S&C Coach Deerick Smith (www.smithperformancellc.com) as we discuss the mistakes coaches make by forcing the conditioning issue too fast too soon, when your team should really be in the best shape of the season, and ways to measure your players’ fitness level without killing them with some ridiculous fitness test.
Your Pre-camp practice schedule is, as it should be, its own beast. Getting your players ready for the first camp, and laying the foundation for the rest of your season is possibly one of the most important things you’ll plan and execute until your first Friday night snap.
On this episode Coaches Dave Dugan and Rick Stewart join Joe and Daniel to discuss pre-camp practice planning. Listen to identify how these coaches use the time leading up to the first camp with installs, drills, packages, and basic football information.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a scientific phenomenon in which people who are relatively new to a field, such as coaching football, often think they have all the answers when they actually have little to no knowledge of the subject at all. This effect is seen in nearly all aspects of life, even growing from a child into an adult (think about a 4 year old who has ALL the answers and a teenager who is frozen from fear of getting into the real world). It stems from the fact that you generally don’t know what you don’t know, and a false confidence in your ability to control what you do know. All of this can lead you to believe that you’re the smartest man in the room.
On this episode, Joe and Daniel discuss the challenges of believing you’re the new greatest thing in football, what to do if you find yourself actually being the best coach on staff as an assistant, and the unfortunate situation in which you’re a Head Coach with a subpar staff.
Linebackers could be considered the most important players in your defensive scheme. Regardless of how you rate them in importance, they can definitely make or break your defense if you aren’t playing the right kids in each position.
On this episode Joe and Daniel discuss what the ideal backer looks like, what the player you’ll likely be playing there looks like, and what type of player to fit into the inside backer positions in the scheme you’ve chosen.