Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Football Fundamentals - Power O Blocking

Originally posted at Maize n Brew on 8/30/13

 We've went over a brief primer to discuss some of the possible blocking calls that will be made during a Power O run. This time we are going to focus I specific examples of how an offensive line will adjust and make various block calls to face any defense.

Power O Basics

Football Fundamentals - Power O Blocking Primer

Originally published at Maize n Brew on 8/29/13

This post will work as a primer for blocking the Power O run scheme. In the next post, we'll look at how the play is run against specific fronts.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Coaching Points: Minnesota vs Michigan, 2014

Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images
Michigan Offense: Mostly 12 personnel, mixed with 11 personnel. Mostly zone blocking scheme with Power O mixed in. Simple route concepts in pass game.
Michigan Defense: Mix of Cover 1 and Cover 4 mostly

Minnesota Offense: Mostly 12 and 22 personnel. Zone based team. More under center than normal. PA heavy in pass game.
Minnesota Defense: Mix of Cover 1 and Cover 4

Author's note
Other "Coaching Points" posts will be later this week and more detailed. I'm also sorry for Minnesota fans in advance that they won't get the focus they normally would. I came down with the flu Friday night, forgot to set my DVR, fought my way to the game despite me feeling like it was 40 degrees outside on a beautiful 80 degree day, and did not manage to get as much detail as I had hoped. What's below is some of what I was able to take away based on one live viewing during a game I was generally dehydrated and feeling like crap. My apologies. And for those of you wanting to here my take on "concussion-gate" or whatever you want to call it, you can move along, I won't be discussing it in this post.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Football Fundamentals: Play Action Pass Protection

As a philosophy, I think an optimal offense needs to be able to threaten to run from every pass look (draw, screen, etc) and pass from every run look. This doesn’t just mean be able to do both from any formation, but be able to give an initial look while attacking with the other. Play action is a fundamental piece to almost every offense, even the most pass heavy, but particularly the more run heavy. However, it’s not enough to simply call play action, it is essential that the correct protection is paired with the run action look given the situation. Likewise, the correct type of fake should be employed  by the QB.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

PODCAST: A bit about Nebraska, Connor Cook, and Illinois

Had my first radio appearance today over at 1620 The Zone for "Unsportsmanlike Contact" out of Lincoln, Nebraska. You can check it out here.

Coaching Points: Iowa vs Pittsburgh, 2014

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Offense: Mostly 12 or 22 personnel, zone stretch run scheme
Defense: 4-3 Over (Under mixed in) mostly 2-high safeties as it's always been.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Film Review: Nebraska Vertical Switch Concept

I’m a huge proponent of bunch sets and stack sets. They overload zones, they provide nature rubs against man coverage, they attack vertically but are also utilized in space, they force the defense to make concessions to their coverage in the way of post snap adjustments (like in-out adjustments) which force defenses to have consistent eye discipline and great post-snap communication and feel. On top of that, they help to define the coverage so that, as an offense, you can see how to take advantage of a defense. So this is a powerful advantage. Against Miami, Nebraska utilized a bunch set from the #2 and #3 receivers and combined it with a familiar passing concept to leverage Miami and get a wide-open touchdown.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Coaching Points: Miami vs Nebraska, 2014

AP Photo/Nati Harnik (The Associated Press)
Offense: Mostly 11 and 12 personnel. Mostly zone blocked schemes from pistol and gun.
Defense: Nickel Cover 1 with sprinkled in Cover 4 (less after first drive).

Coaching Points: Utah vs Michigan, 2014

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Offense: 12 and 11 personnel. Mix of under center, pistol, and gun.
Defense: Mostly Cover 1, mixed in some zones. Base 4-3 Over on normal down and distance.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Film Review: How Oregon Exploited MSU's Cover 4 Adjustment To a Closed Trips Set

Over at the PAC 12 Website, Rich Neuheisal had a very cool segment with regards to how Oregon found and exploited a flaw in MSU's scheme.

Take a look:

Inside the Playbook - Michigan's Rushing Attack, 2014

Daniel Mears / Detroit News
Under Doug Nussmeier, Michigan has switched to a predominately zone scheme. There are two typical types of zone runs: Inside Zone and Outside Zone. But that’s not all Michigan runs. They also utilize several gap and man blocking schemes to counter the standard zone schemes. Furthermore, they utilize several pin and pull adjustments to their zone stretch scheme to attack the edge.

One thing I'd like you to do when looking at the diagrams is to split them in half through the center. Notice the playside and the backside throughout this post. What that will show you is what the defenders to that side of the field are seeing, and why it is difficult to defend all these concepts. The diagrams below are all from an I-formation with a FB. But it's important to note that these plays can all be run from a pistol set or a shotgun set, with a FB, or H-back, or even at times simply a TE, making them diverse throughout multiple formations.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Inside the Playbook: Helping Lunt (Illinois) Read Coverage - PREVIEW

Wes Lunt transferred to Illinois from Oklahoma State. (USATSI)
Early in the first quarter, Illinois had success running crossing routes against Washington's man-to-man cover 1. They ran routes concepts like the drag and follow (drive and chase), mesh concept, and a Cadillac (levels) concept. These are concepts that are all-coverage beaters, but when Washington switched from a Cover one/Man Under to Cover two/four, Lunt struggled to read the underneath coverage quick enough.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

How To Make Life Easier for Lunt
So, first of all, Lunt needs pass protection. The example above wasn't the only time Heitz got whooped. In fact, several of the other concepts I got to diagram weren't allowed to develop before the pressure got in off the right side of the line. What that means is that the RT needs some help. You can give him help in several ways: line up a TE on his side, have a RB chip and help on the DE, or run play action. Play action forces the DE to remain engaged with the OL rather than getting vertical. Heitz's biggest issues were when the DE got vertical and was able to get Heitz off-balance.

The second thing to do is to provide quicker two-high coverage beaters to the outside. In this case, Illinois runs what is called a switch concept to the near side of the field. This acts as two verticals against a Cover 2, forcing the safety to pick to cover the post or cover the streak. Against Cover 4, the cross works to leverage both the safety and the CB to give the receivers body position on the defenders.

Likewise, there is what we call an "Alert". An "alert" is a receiver that has a good chance to break open based on the movement of a single key. In this case, the Cover 4 SS cheats up to protect the run. This alerts Lunt to look for the X-receiver to the top of the screen. The X-receiver runs a hesitate and go and gets over top of the CB and is wide open.


The key here is that even if Lunt doesn't go to the Alert receiver, he has helped protect himself with the PA, he has taken the underneath coverage out of the equation (both with the PA and the route concepts), and the switch concept has fairly easy read keys on the outside for him to read and make a throw. This is easier for him, it protects him, and it gets him away from having to read tight underneath zones.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Follow the link to The Champaign room to view the whole article, including how Washington switching from a man to zone concept made reads more difficult on Illinois's Drag and Follow patterns.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Football Fundamentals: Tight End/Flanker Route Combinations

In this post we will look at some of the standard route concepts run from a TE/Flanker alignment. Obviously, these can be paired with other routes (some I'll show including a RB), but this is to get the fundamental understanding of the routes. I'll try to explain the concept briefly, as well as provide names for what you'll hear the concept called elsewhere at times (these things get lots of names, some people use the same names but have different meanings too, so it can get confusing). If a number is visible near the end of a route, that is the nominal yardage the route will be run to. For more information on specific routes, we took a look at the route tree earlier.

Coaching Points: Minnesota vs TCU, 2014

Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Offense: 21 and 12 personnel. Run based.
Defense: Cover 1 with Cover 3 change-up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Coaching Points: Illinois vs Washington, 2014

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Offense: 11 and 20 personnel. Zone based run scheme. Mostly simple spread passing concepts, but will get into heavy personnel fairly regularly. Very multiple.
Defense: 3-3-5 Over - Mixed Cover 4, Cover 1, and Cover 3 Robber

Monday, September 15, 2014

Coaching Points: Miami (OH) vs Michigan, 2014

Upchurch - MGoBlog

Offense: Mostly 12 personnel from what I remember, though FB/TE split out a lot
Defense: Mostly Cover 4 from base 4-3 Over

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Coaching Points: Virginia Tech vs OSU, 2014

Source: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images North America
Offense: 11 Spread Option
Defense: 4-3 Over Cover 4, Cover 3 behind blitz package

Disclaimer: I watched the 4th quarter live after a full day of watching football that had just seen Michigan get curbstomped and MSU fade late. So my 4th quarter recollection is more of a haze outside high level stuff. I did DVR it, and went back and watched the DVR, but the broadcast was intended to be "3 hours", which basically was the first three quarters.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Coaching Points: MSU vs Oregon, 2014

Offense: Mix of 21 and 11 personnel. Mostly zone blocking.
Defense: 4-3 Over Cover 4, 3-3-5 on passing downs.

Coaching Points: Michigan vs Notre Dame, 2014

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Offense: Mostly 11 and 12 personnel.
Defense: Over/Even Nickel

Friday, September 5, 2014

Football Fundamentals: Route Tree

This post is intended to look at the fundamental route trees for WRs, TEs, and RBs. These show and give a brief description for receivers in most every system.

WR Route Tree

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Coaching Points: JSU vs MSU, 2014

(Photo: Kevin W. Fowler | for the Lansing State Journal)

Disclaimer: I watched the first half of the MSU vs JSU game

Offense: Lots of 12 personnel, single back Power O with Inside Zone constraint
Defense: 4-3 Over, Double A gap blitz heavy early. 3-3-5 Nickel

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Coaching Points: Penn State vs UCF, 2014

Steve Flynn/USA TODAY Sports 

Offense: Mostly 12 personnel, single back offense. Pass Heavy
Defense: 4-3

Inside the Playbook: Quick Look at Versatility of H-Back in Passing Attack

Originally posted at Maize n Brew August 27, 2013

One of the primary strengths of utilizing an H-back (U-back) is the versatility they give to the pass game. They can split wide, play the wing, play in-line TE, or play FB. In this way, offenses can put them in different positions, in different formations that have a variety of strengths, yet continue to run the same plays. Likewise, an H-back can always flex into a position to become a vertical threat. This post is quick look at the versatility an H-back gives to the pass game when combined with the run game using an H-back.

While each of these formations have their own strengths and weaknesses, as we've discussed, they also have a lot in common. The pass game is no different. While clearly you can move around a U-back, put him on the other side of the formation or something else to take advantage of different pass concepts, you can also run what are essentially the same plays with different initial looks. This short as quick post will go over that idea. With a solid run game, and the versatility instilled from the U-back, you now can also use him for his other purpose: to catch passes.

Coaching Points: App St. vs Michigan, 2014

Bryan Fuller - MGoBlog

Offense: Single back 11 Personnel early; more 12 personnel as game went on. Split lots of TEs wide.
Defense: Blitz heavy Over/Even Nickel Cover 1; 3-3-5 on passing downs