Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Technology and Scouting

Posted by admin January - 13 - 2016 - Wednesday

When did I become so entangled with my devices??!! I remember when my wife started talking about how we needed to buy a home computer. My response: “Why? All I need is a word processor so I can type a few documents!” Now… my computer goes on the blink and I’m lost!

And cell phones. We laugh when we watch old movies on tv. We can guess the year the movie was made by the size of the cell phone the characters are carrying or…. if they pull off the road and dig out change for a pay phone. (Some of you are asking what a “pay phone” is, right??!!)

While I was out of coaching, the biggest change that occurred was in the area of… yep— technology! The advent of Hudl.com brought about a whole new way of scouting and, thus, coaching. Those of you who have read this entries for a while know how I am a strong advocate of The 5 “P’s of SuccessProper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.” Without effective scouting, a coach lessens his chances for success on game night. There is NO substitute for scouting. It’s a principle of warfare and it’s even biblical! You need to know your enemy if you’re going to effectively overcome him!

This is where Hudl comes in. The more game video you can collect on an opponent, the more you get to know that team. Yes! It requires time to breakdown video but it is time well spent. We don’t do nearly as indepth analysis as the colleges do (their Tendency Chart is unbelievable!) but by picking up tendencies, your defense (in particular) is better prepared to stop the offense. A classic example of this occurred the other night in the national championship game with Alabama and Clemson. All 3 of those big plays to Bama’s TE came about because they “broke a tendency.” The big one being: Bama just doesn’t throw to the TE very much! So……. don’t worry too much about covering him! Oops! BIG mistake, right??!! Bama threw out a couple of new formations and pass patterns at Clemson plus the Tiger’s starting Corner went out with an injury. It was a recipe for disaster for the Clemson defense and coaches.

Our scouting report is pretty simple compared to some. I don’t want to overburden our kids with too much to think about! The old adage is true: “If a player is thinking too much, he can’t play at top speed.” When we talk to our players, we show them the top 3-4 formations they can expect to see; what are our opponent’s 3 best running plays and 3 best pass patterns (that can hurt us the most) and who are their “go-to” guys. Anything else we work on is standard stuff (like covering the post/wheel combination) or DT’s taking on the trap) that we always want to be prepared for.

Then we rehearse and rehearse against those “Big 3” things: 1)If they’re in this formation, what can we expect to see them do? 2)Where is their best back (that “go-to” guy) aligned? and if he’s aligned, say, in the slot… what do they do with him? (We played a state “big school” powerhouse early in the season this past fall. We knew when they widened him out– past the OT’s outside hip— they were going to throw a swing pass to him. We knew it and we practiced it. But… our kids failed to execute it and he scored on 2 long runs after the catch which ultimately led to our defeat! We obviously didn’t go over that “key” and ensuing play enough during the week! and… 3)Do they have a tendency to run a certain play on 1st down or 3rd and long (I have a coaching friend who is going to run fullback trap is he’s in 3rd and “teens!”) People never seem to pick it up!

Maybe that gives you some things to think about!

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