Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Drive Killers

Posted by admin October - 10 - 2017 - Tuesday

Sorry for not posting last week. I retired a couple of years ago to give my wife the “first fruits” of my time. She wanted to travel; but, football consumed so much of my time that we were limited to going anywhere for just a 2-3 week window in the summer! So, we are beginning to check off destinations on our “travel bucket list.” Last football season, it was a Viking River Cruise in France and this fall it was a week in NH and Maine. We’ve always wanted to see the beautiful fall foliage of New England… and the seacoast villages of Maine’s coastline. We had a fabulous time.

I’ve been “consulting” for several teams all over the country this season— helping most with their Wing T offense but a couple of coaches are “picking my brain” about how to run an effective defense. I’m watching video for a number of schools and a couple of things repeatedly jump out at me that produce success on Friday night. I’m going to “go negative on you” and talk about those things that you cannot do (thus, “Drive Killers”) if you want to win on a consistent basis.

Drive Killer #1: Foolish Penalties. Let me point out that most penalties are foolish. IF you are having a coach watch for infractions during practice and… the players are penalized for them, then they have NO EXCUSE when it comes to being penalized during a game. Some of the biggest are a) illegal use of hands (it’s still Holding, to me!) and b) Illegal Procedure; i.e., either aligning incorrectly (too many men in the backfield; 2 backs in motion; or, jumping offside.) Sorry Coaches but… these are on YOU!!! These are things that must be addressed and RE-addressed in practice. You cannot let your players get away with this. 5 up/downs or 5 pushups makes the point. Let the punishment “match” the number of yards you’re penalized in a game. It’s too important to just “fuss” at the players and then rush on to the next play!

Then you get the more serious penalties like late hits and unsportsmanlike conduct. Again, “what you emphasize, you will achieve.” If you fail to emphasize how important it is to NOT commit an infraction by basically “ignoring” it in practice, don’t expect your players to suddenly not commit violations in games.

Drive Killer #2: Missed Assignments. I remain amazed at coaches who think it’s more important to “get through” their practice script of plays than it is to STOP! CORRECT!! and RUN IT AGAIN!!!— till it’s executed correctly. A missed assignment is going to put you “behind the sticks” and now you’re going to be paddling upstream on subsequent downs. Give quizzes. If a player can’t tell you his assignment on a particular play immediately, drop him for 5 push ups! If he knows it… carry a pocketful of Hershey’s Kisses… and toss him a piece of candy. Make sure whoever you put on the field KNOWS his assignments. The other side of this is HOW to execute his assignment. I see way too many teams who try to pass and the QB has barely set up before a DL is in his face! Teach your players HOW to pass block. If you don’t know how, talk to coaches of teams that successfully pass the ball and learn from them.

If you’ve read any of my other stuff on this blog site, you know that I emphasize doing a few things realllllllllllllly well. It’s not how much offense you have; it’s how well you execute what you do have! Pare things down and focus on the key things. Your players will execute them better.

Drive Killer #3: Poor Play-calling. If you drive the ball on the ground all the way down to your opponent’s 15 yard line and then decide to throw a pass???!!! What’s up with that? If you’ve been moving the ball effectively out of 1 formation, why change? It seems to me that Offensive play-callers get “bored.” You seem to be thinking: Wellllllllll… things have been going too well running this play or this formation; let’s try something else!” Really??? What’s the old adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” How true when calling a high school offense.

Then, the overall Drive Killer gets back to my basic premise that is the foundation of my coaching philosophy. I call it my “5 P’s of Success.” PROPER Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. The key is “Proper.” I observe too many coaches failing to prepare their players properly. It leads to a ton of mistakes that kill drives and ultimately lead to your side of the scoreboard showing LESS points than your opponent when the clock ticks down to 0!

One Response to “Drive Killers”

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