Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for March, 2013

Changing Your Offense?

Posted by admin March - 19 - 2013 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

I spent some time this morning on the phone with a coaching friend. He wanted some advice on whether he should “modify” his offense. He’s a long time Wing T coach and is looking to make some changes. He wanted my opinion on whether I thought he should go to the Pistol Wing T? My first question to him was: “WHY are you thinking about doing this?” Your motivation is the critical first question anytime you’re contemplating a change in the way you do things. I wanted him to hear himself say why he wanted to switch to Pistol.

“I think it’s better suited to the strengths of my QB,” he said. That was good. If he’d said something like, “Well there’s a team in our conference who ran it.” Or, “the 49’ers looked good running it in the Super Bowl…” then I would’ve taken issue with his thought process. Too often, coaches (especially Offensive Coordinators!) see themselves as being innovators.” We’d love to be the next Chris Ault and come up with something like the Pistol. Then everyone would jump on board the new wave and we’d average 50 points a game. This is when I need to caution you. If you are running an offense (Wing T, Wishbone, Single Wing) that nobody else in your league runs— be happy!!! Why do you think people in the ACC hate to prepare for Georgia Tech? Is it because they have superior personnel?! It’s that crazy, unconventional offense that Paul Johnson runs. Why is GT so effective running it? Because Coach Johnson KNOWS that offense. That, in my mind, is the key. Run something that you know and understand— particularly how to attack defenses! I love to watch Johnson match wits with Bud Foster at VT (my team!) It’s a chess match. Bud will change option responsibilities and Johnson changes blocking scheme. And on it goes for 60 minutes!

If you are thinking about changing offenses, you better be prepared to spend hours upon hours learning it. Then you have to teach it to your staff and they have to teach it to your players. My first year at my current school, I decided that I wanted to install some read option from shotgun Wing T like some schools out west run. I studied it and felt pretty comfortable with it. There was just one problem: I failed to take into account that my coaches and players had never seen the Del. Wing T. To try to teach base Wing T (under center) and our Spread package AND… then add a read option conponent from the shotgun was simply overwhelming. After 2 scrimmages and 3 games, I bagged the read option package and went stricty base Wing T. We repped the heck out of our 6-7 base plays that next week; attacked the flank of our 4th opponent all night and at the end of the game we’d rushed for 411 yards.

I’m not saying don’t change. Heck, you may need to change. But… be sure you are prepared for the “transition” period that will likely occur upon changing. I’d say: Stick with what you know best and keep studying. I purchased Tubby’s book 22 years ago. I re-read it every winter! Invariably, there’s something in there that I “see” for the first time or there’s a reminder of how a play needs to be executed. We’re going to add Jet and Rocket Sweep to our offense this year— we need another (faster) way to attack the flanks. They will be a small part of our offensive package until everyone is totally comfortable with executing them. It’s a slight addition— NOT a total revamping.

I’m of the opinion: Grow where you are planted!

Deal With It NOW!

Posted by admin March - 12 - 2013 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

No matter how hard you try to ignore a problem, it doesn’t magically solve itself. If you refuse to deal with it, actually, your problems will multiply! As the Book of Amos says, “no matter how fast you run, you will not escape.” I like to say that “you can run… but you can’t hide!”

We can try and run or hide or push things aside but eventually we’ll have to slow down because we tire of running. When we slow down, all of our junk will coming rolling behind us. Interestingly, all of the time that we’ve been running, our junk has been snowballing. It just gets bigger and bigger. Kristin Armstrong says that “if we aren’t brave enough to face it when it’s ‘small,’ it’ll run over us later.”

I heard the analogy once of a person always shoveling his life’s garbage down into the basement and closing the door. That way it is unseen and we can ignore it. “Out of sight… out of mind.” Unfortunately, after a while, that garbage begins to rot down in the basement and a stink begins to permeate our “house.” Our attitude, our demeanor and our behavior begin to stink too! NOW is the time to deal with it! No matter how fast you think you are, you can’t outrun it forever.

So, what problem are you running from now? What issues that you are failing to confront are causing you to lose your strength? I encourage you to to make up your mind to stop right now and deal with them. As it says in Ephesians, “Don’t give the devil a foothold in your life” by spending one more day on the run. It really does not matter how badly you’ve messed up in the past, Jesus is quick to forgive when we come to Him with a repentant heart.

Whether it’s a stubborn habit that you can’t break away from or someone you fear confronting— NOW is the time to step up to the plate.

This is important: what you’ll find is that the thing that is chasing you will lose its power when you face it down… in the strong Name of Jesus! St. Paul says, “Having done all… stand.” And… you do that through the power of God, not your own strength. One of my favorite Bible verses that I love to share with teens is Phil. 4:13. It says: “I can do ALL things through Christ Who gives me the strength.” Yes, we can do it but, in Jesus’ power… not our own!

Change Your Self-Talk

Posted by admin March - 5 - 2013 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

It’s not what others say to you or about you that determines your future; it’s what you say to yourself after others get finished talking! In the Book of Proverbs, it says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

You may say to yourself, “I’d love to win a conference championship, but we’ll never be good enough.” Or on a personal note, “I’d love to start a relationship with her/him, but I’m afraid if I make the first move and they don’t respond I’ll feel rejected.” How about this: “I’d like to get my Masters degree, but I’m afraid if I start and it’s too hard I’ll feel stupid.” Psychologists call these statements self-fulfilling prophesies. Until you replace your negative self-talk with faith-talk, you’ll always live in fear.

Our mind is like the womb of our spirit; it nurtures each seed we sow until the time of delivery. If we don’t want what a seed will ultimately produce, we must stop sowing it and feeding it!

The first step in breaking fear’s hold is recognizing the self-talk that got you into trouble in the first place. This is not easy to do! It takes self-awareness (something that I’ve found that a lot of people lack.) For instance, I finally shared with a friend… I guess he’s an ex-friend now because he did not receive my admonition positively… that he doesn’t realize that his cutting, sarcastic remarks aren’t received in the spirit in which he thinks they’re intended. What he thinks is cute or witty, others take as degrading. He lacks the filter (or self-awareness) to realize how he’s being perceived. So, the next step in breaking fear’s hold is vigilance and discipline. But by changing your thoughts you’ll begin to change your life.

The Book of Job says, “You will…. declare a thing, and it will be established for you.” This is what we call Scriptural “reprogramming.” There is power in the Word of God! You need to feed your soul with a daily dose of Scripture to produce change. The amazing part is, at first you may not feel like you believe the particular Bible verse you’re standing on. That’s ok— your inner self (your soul, if you would) accepts what it’s consistently fed and begins to act accordingly. What’s that old Native American saying: “I have 2 dogs that live within me. One is vicious and one is kind. The one I feed is the one that controls me.”

So, starting today, serve an eviction notice to every negative thought that’s holding you back and begin feeding your mind with God’s Word. It will change your life!

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