5 Steps to Installing a New Scheme This Offseason

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor

Miami Carol City (Fla.) coach Aubrey Hill wanted to change his team’s defensive scheme last offseason, so he hired longtime friend Damon Cogdell to overhaul the unit. A Class 6A state championship followed.

The Install

Hill and Cogdell installed the 3-3 Stack in five parts.

  • Classroom. The coaches started by diagramming the X’s and O’s of the new defense on a grease board while the players had playbooks in front of them.
  • Film. The coaches showed cut-ups of colleges that use the 3-3 Stack as well as selective high schools that run it in passing situations.
  • Walk-through. Hill and Cogell put the players in the proper alignment and had them react to the way in which the offense moved. Walk-throughs provide opportunities for coaches to further explain the scheme and why each player will react a certain way.
  • Play against air. For the fourth step, the Carol City coaches had the players react to a certain play call at full speed against air. “By the time they go against the offense, they have had four muscle-memory opportunities to pick up the scheme,” Hill said.
  • Full-contact practice. “Whenever you’re installing a new offense or defense, remember there’s a learning curve,” Hill said. “Don’t start practicing it full-speed with pads on until you know some of the players can help explain to the players who don’t know it.”

Do you have a thought about this article that you would like to share? If you do, email managing editor Dan Guttenplan at dguttenplan@ae-engine.com. Tweet us @fnfcoaches.