FNF Coaches Talk

FNF Coaches Talk for Monday, Nov. 26

Good afternoon, Coaches. We hope you enjoyed a relaxing Thanksgiving Day weekend. Here are the stories we’re discussing in our newsroom.

1. 8 innovative college plays that NFL teams should steal — right now (ESPN)

We just found this story over the weekend, and we’re so glad we can share it with you. This is exactly the type of stories coaches are looking for. It describes each play and then gives video evidence of the play working in college games.

Have you added any jet motion to your playbook yet? If you haven’t, consider using West Virginia’s jet sweep/post-wheel.

Why it’s unique: We see the post-wheel concept at every level of the game, especially under the Friday night lights with spread teams out of 2×2 sets. But running the wheel off jet takes time. Teams have to trust their offensive line … or give them help.

Another play that could work great at the high school level is Oklahoma’s GT lead.

Why it’s unique: Classic GT power and GT read — with the quarterback reading the edge defender — show up consistently across high school and college football. But I really like the spin OU coach Lincoln Riley puts on this concept out of a split-back set. It looks easy, right? Wrong. Riley puts a lead blocker in front of his back at the point of attack, adding one more guy defenders have to account for.

If you’re looking to add new plays that work this offseason, this article gives you eight great options.

What is your process for updating your playbook after each season?

2. Westlake sets pace in Texas regional final with 99-yard bomb on first play from scrimmage (FOX 7)

There’s nothing like coming out aggressively in a big game, and Westlake High (Texas) shows us the upside of that strategy. Pitted against Brennan High in a Class 6 Division II playoff game, the Westlake coaching staff doesn’t plan to feel out the opponent and take advantage later in the game.

The first play from scrimmage appears to exploit something the coaches must have seen on tape — a mismatch deep in the secondary if Westlake can get man coverage.

Don’t waste time waiting for the perfect opportunity to call a play. If you get the mismatch you want, call it as early as the first play from scrimmage.

How do you balance sticking to your play-calling script and being flexible enough to exploit an unexpected mismatch?

3. Breaking down the X’s and O’s from Oregon’s win over Arizona State (FishDuck.com)

Have you ever wished football game stories offered more analysis of play-calling and scheme? If so, this is a story for you.

This writer starts the column by taking issue with Oregon coach Mario Cristobal’s typical play-calling strategy, which apparently consists of pounding the A gap with running plays. He then credits Cristobal and his staff for establishing other plays first against Arizona State to set up his preferred play calls.

Yet, in the first drive, the first running play was an old Outside Zone Read from the Shotgun formation, and the next running play was a Power-Play in the original Shotgun formation (used in the original Oregon Spread Offense) and the drive progressed from there. By the time the Pistol formation was used, it generated good yardage, and as the first half continued, we watched a combination of the prior three offenses. The playbook certainly opened up in the passing game as well.

The writer continues to be critical of Coach Cristobal throughout the column, but at least he backs up his criticism with evidence.

When you look at this game and future games, watch how often plays begin from the Shotgun formation, where the running back begins to the side of the quarterback, or from the Pistol, where the running back is lined up directly behind the quarterback. More yardage is gained out of the Shotgun, but on short yardage plays, the Pistol can pop some nice gains when used sparingly.

Coaches — How do you make sure that your play-calling isn’t becoming too predictable?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk!