Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

“Scripting” Your Offense

Posted by admin March - 23 - 2016 - Wednesday

I’m going to basically repeat what I just wrote on the Message Board at The topic is “Scripting” your first 10-20 plays.

One of the most respected college Wing T coaches in the country explained in detail on that same Message Board how his staff put together their script. Great coach; great concept. However, this is another of those cases where my experience taught me that “what works at the college level doesn’t necessarily work at the high school level. (Another example is zone blocking techniques for high school Offensive Linemen. If you have 5 guys up front who can bench press the moon and all squat (parallel!!!) 500 pounds and can move their feet like Michael Jackson… then by all means build your offense around the zone. THAT just doesn’t happen too often in high school though!!)

In my mind, “scripting” limits you in terms of what you can/will run the first 3-4 series you have the ball. To script based on your scouting report means that your opponent HAS TO run what you’ve been preparing for. What if they don’t?? For Wing T coaches, this is more likely to happen than you want to believe! We nearly lost a big “rival” game 10-11 years ago because we “expected” our rival to run the 4-4 defense we’d seen in 3 game films. When our buck sweep play got dropped for a loss the first 3 times we ran it, I was flabbergasted! I mean… we’d prepared to run our Bread ‘n Butter play numerous times against them. (Kinda like “scripting!”) However, I got our TE over on the bench and asked him what was going on and he replied, “Coach, I’m going up to that LB just like we practiced all week!” This is when that Ah Ha Moment hit. You see, those guys came out in a 5-2 defense (not the 4-4 we’d expected— and thus, practiced against all week!) and our TE “forgot” that his rule on buck sweep is “Gap” and “Down” before he goes to the LB. That DT aligned on our OT was unblocked and looking like Warren Sapp… making plays in the backfield every time!!! We corrected this “lapse of memory” with our TE and we didn’t have a problem anymore during that game.

What I learned was: Prepare for EVERYTHING! You never know in high school football when a coach will decide on Sunday to make a total change and throw you a curve on Friday!

If we would’ve “scripted” our offense, we’d have remained in BIG trouble in our state championship game this past fall. Our opponent was undefeated and only giving up 8 points a game… well-coached team full of good athletes! Our Game Plan (not “script”) was to attack them to our TE flank then come back with our patented Counter Criss Cross play to the SE side. NOTHING was working the first 2-3 series. We were 3 and out; 3 and out! I noticed something later in the 1st quarter (by luck more than anything!) that Fullback Trap to the SE side (which is NOT a play we’d run more than twice in our first 11 games!) popped for a big gain. I asked our Center if their NT was slanting. *Let me preface by saying that this outstanding defense had dominated people all year with a 3-5 Stack with lots of blitzing. The defense that we spent MOST of the week on! I say “most” because we always rehearse against “crazy” fronts during the week too! My Center’s answer shocked me. He said, “Coach, I don’t have anybody ON me!” Huh? I discovered that they were overshifting their front 3 TO our TE/Wing side… which left a huge gap over our Split-side OG! We ran fullback trap (to the SE side) 7-8 times for about 100 yards and a TD that night!) Having a Script would’ve meant “sticking to the script” and probably remaining “bogged down” for the whole first half. We probed the middle with our Wedge play too and it broke for 45 yards and a TD too! We’d thought that their NT was too big for our Center to handle; thus, our plan was to attack off tackle and outside. Once their overshifted that big guy, our Center had a clear shot at back-blocking him; pulled the OG and away we went.

What I’m saying is 2 fold: 1- expect/prepare every week for an even AND an odd front defense during practice. Always review your blocking rules against both fronts. 2- Have a game PLAN but.. I don’t recommend “scripting” in high school. It’s just too limiting as far as your play calling. I DO recommend having a “Ready List” and a “BIG 5.” If you’d like to see a copy of a Ready List, just contact me. I’d be glad to send one to you.

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