“How Many Football Plays should our offense run?”
The most ridiculous questions in offensive football include, “how many football plays should our football team run?”, “should I have more plays or more formations”, “Do I need a balanced offense, the same number of passes and the same number of runs?”. The real question coaches should be asking, how many blocking schemes do we run?
Think about it. On average, most teams run a 6 or 7 man pass protection. When running the football, 6/7 guys are typically involved in blocking within the box. That’s half of your offense. So how do we simplify things for these 6/7 (obviously, 5 offensive linemen, a back(s) of some kind and/or an end)? Ask the simple question, how many blocking schemes do we have?
There is a lot of talk very recently about the “inverted veer” or “dash” play. The thing that is heard over and over again is how they recycled the scheme from the power play, or Smart Football discussed how you can run the inverted veer/dash play like speed option. All these coaches are speaking about the same thing, limiting blocking schemes.
Whenever you get into a problem, try to think of the most efficient solution possible. I would rather teach the QB and the RB new steps rather than the 7 guys blocking for them. We’re an I formation team (shocker, I know!), but we get away with running some spread. Am I going to waste my precious time teaching new blocking schemes? NO!
- Outside Zone
That’s pretty much it. Now, see the chart below for all the plays we run off of these.
|Iso||Power||Inside Zone||Outside Zone|
|Lead||Counter||Zone Read||Toss Sweep|
|Fullback Dive||Inverted Veer||Triple Option||Jet Sweep|
|Dart||Counter GT||Speed Option||Reverse|
So our 4 blocking schemes just turned into 16 plays. Our backfield that hands off and carries the ball can probably figure their new steps (we’ll probably recycle them really) out a lot faster than 6/7 guys.
That sounds great – but how do I teach offensive blocking schemes?
Rather than making a playbook showing all your plays, make a scheme book. For instance, discuss the power scheme in-depth. The interior playside blockers are coached to have their inside gap first, and if no one is there, they work towards a playside combo. The EMOLOS needs to know if he’s got no one in his playside gap, he’s going to the 2nd closest linebacker (obviously not the playside linebacker). Everyone knows the playside linebacker is handled by the backside pulling player. Next we just need to make sure the backside B gap gets sealed. Finally, the EMOLOS is taken care of by the first kickout block or read by the QB. All of a sudden, this write up can be applied to Power, Counter, Counter GT, and Inverted veer. So not only did you save time writing the stupid playbook, but you also ensured that everyone in the box knows what’s going on when you run the power or power-o concept.
This makes life easier for you as a coach. Now you shouldn’t have to worry about knowing 16 running plays. You should be able to watch the play without knowing the call and know who missed an assignment in the blocking scheme or who got beat just by how the defense is lined up, even if you don’t see the error take place. It’s nice being able to talk to the frontside guy and the backside guy on the same play and fix two errors. Now, you may miss technique errors, but you can figure out rather quickly if they got beat or if they missed an assignment by asking them a simple question (“what did you do?” is the easiest).
There are imperfections and some small adjustments of coarse. But I find it a lot easier to get one or two blockers on the right page rather than tell every single player what to do. But this also makes your offensive personnel more flexible. I know my backup left guard can play right tackle because he knows our concepts.
So coaches, I beg you, don’t make a Mike Martz playbook. Find the most useful blocking schemes and run those or adapt old concepts to fancy looking plays. This can all be done with pass protections as well, just follow these principles.
Check out Cripes! Get back to fundamentals… for some AWESOME Alex Gibbs stuff. It’s worth watching the 6-8 hours of video those guys have put up.