Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Back to Basics

Posted by admin October - 19 - 2011 - Wednesday

“Don’t try to do too much… too soon!” I should’ve listened to my own advice!!! Instead, I came into a new school and program that had NO idea how to install and implement our offense. Whether it’s Wing T, like us, or Pistol or Spread…. a new system requires an adjustment period by everyone involved.

It starts at the top. I did not push my staff once they were hired to really dig into our playbook. They sort of waited for practice to start and “learn it on the run.” My bad! It meant that we weren’t getting a lot of meaningful individual work early on. Once our coaches learned what’s needed, we have improved 100% in the last 4-5 games. The first 2-3… we were struggling. Now that the coaches know what’s needed, they could pass it on to the players. It’s all the little things, guys, that make the BIG difference! As my good friend and colleague has told me dozens of times: “pay attention to details.”

If you are a Wing T guy, this might be helpful. For 4 weeks now, the first thing we do on Monday is get out all of the “Bertha” bags from the shed (if you don’t own any of these 110 lb. bags and you run the Wing T, you MUST get some!) and everyone (QB’s included!) hits the Bertha’s for 15 minutes! We bird dog it then gap block it. We bird dog and down block. We bird dog and “X” block it. We just repeat and repeat and repeat! It has revolutionized our blocking on offensive plays. If you want more info on how we set up this drill, email me!

The other thing I did (regrets to my friend in Montana) is we dropped our Shotgun package and went back to basics. We are running 20, 30 and 80 series (7 plays) from a couple of formations. We’ve gotten really good at them too! My coaches are also beginning to see how we attack defenses with certain plays based on what the defense is trying to do to us. I’ve revitalized 33/37 Criss Cross! It is averaging about 15 yards every time we run it. We run it 4-5 times a game.

I curtailed our passing game. We’ve gotten real good at our reads on Waggle and Keep Pass. We are starting to throw more and our pass completion pct. the last 3 games is around 80%. The line understands what’s required of them with their blocking; the backs are picking up their blitzes and, most importantly, our QB’s are making good decisions. Now people can’t sit on the run all game.

It all came together 4 games ago when we rushed for 340 yards against the #2 team in the state. We couldn’t stop them either so it made for an entertaining game (if you don’t like defense!). Our kids realized that this offense works and we can move the ball on anyone. We have “rolled” since then.

Back to basics guys. That holds true in life in general. When you feel like you’re over your head, get back to basics. For your spiritual health that means taking the time to pray for a while each day. Reading your Bible for a few minutes to get your spiritual vitamins and live in a way that’s positive and healthy.

4 Responses to “Back to Basics”

  1. Ken says:

    Hi Coach,

    I would like to see what drills and work you use to get your linemen to produce yardage like you speak about in your article. I am a line coach and this year I am working with a group of Pop Warner kids and many of them have no football experience. So, I am always open to learning new things from the professional. Thanks for any help you can provide.
    Best regards for continued improvement this year.

  2. Boot N Shoot says:

    Coach,
    Congrats on getting the ball rolling. Nothing more beautiful than seeing the execution of the Wing-T. I also love that you are running the traditional Delaware offense. Best of luck to you!

    Boot N Shoot

  3. Metz says:

    Awesome! I was wondering about this same exact topic! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Stephen Coleman says:

    Coach Lew,

    Glad to see you are back in Coaching. The Lord works in mysterious ways!!!

    If you could email me your blocking drills on the “Bertha” Bags I would be very appreciative.

    God Bless,

    Coach Coleman

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