Welcome back, Coach. We hope your week is going well. Here are some of the stories we’re talking about today.
1. How the option works, and why it’s in more places than you might think (SB Nation)
With the rise of the RPO and spread schemes, we tend to think of the option as an outdated offensive system. That’s simply not the case if you have the right mix of speed and headiness coming out of the backfield between the quarterback and halfback.
The option is designed around one core concept: forcing a defender to make a decision, and then making that decision the wrong one. It’s really the same concept as an RPO.
That core has taken many forms in college football, from the wishbone at Oklahoma to the shotgun option at Oregon to the triple option at Navy. And when it’s well executed, the option can be one of the most powerful weapons an offense can wield.
Here’s the tutorial for coaches looking to add a few plays to their respective playbooks.
Coach — How do you put the opposing defense in position to make the wrong decision on an option route or run?
2. The untold story of Mike Leach’s ‘lost’ OU play script that fooled Texas (ESPN)
This is a funny story about current Washington State head coach and former Oklahoma assistant Mike Leach planting a fake script in the opposing team’s locker room to confuse the opposing coaching staff.
Leach was an Oklahoma assistant under Bob Stoops in 1999, and Texas was the opponent. Mack Brown was the opposing head coach.
“That does sound like Mike,” said former Texas coach Mack Brown, unaware of the script at the time. “I do know this: Offensive coordinators are so careful with those scripts they wouldn’t be losing them. Those things are valuable. Only Mike would think to lay one out there as a decoy.”
Leading up to the game, Leach didn’t tell OU coach Bob Stoops he was planting it, and Reese didn’t inform Brown he had it. As a result, few people on either side knew of the decoy script’s existence. And yet, it nearly propelled the underdog Sooners, with Stoops in his first year and OU coming off a 5-6 season, to a victory.
“That game might’ve been the most bizarre experience I ever had as a college football player,” said Ahmad Brooks, a starting defensive back for the Longhorns. “I can’t tell you how wrong we were in the first three or four minutes with every playcall we had. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
In what ways do you try to deceive the opposing coaching staff before the opening kickoff?
3. Handshake agreement: How Hockinson’s offense evolved into one of state’s most elite (The Columbian)
This is a great story about a head coach going shopping for a new offensive coordinator. Hockinson High (Wash.) coach Rick Steele returned to a job he left for one year to become chief of the local fire department, and needed a new man to run his offense. He heard about a local youth football team that had just finished a season in which the offense put up numbers like a slot machine. Steele took notice.
The year was 2014 and Steele had just been re-hired as Hockinson’s head football coach, one year after stepping down due to a promotion at the Vancouver Fire Department that demanded more hours. His first stint, nine years, netted three league titles and he was determined to pick up where he left off, especially after the school posted a 5-4 record in his absence.
That handshake led to Steele and Josh Racanelli getting lunch, where the two football minds traded stories and jotted down formations on napkins. They would become the first renderings of an offense that, years later, has elevated Hockinson into a multi-year state contender.
Steele and Racanelli have turned the offense into a recruiting tool for young players who love seeing the points add up on the scoreboard every Friday night.
Hockinson’s current offense relies on a high-IQ quarterback who can read defenses, check out of plays at the line of scrimmage, and poses a dual threat. It also has benefitted from playmakers out wide, in juniors Sawyer Racanelli and Brammer (Brammer will miss Saturday’s title game with a fractured foot).
And that has created a ripple effect into the younger generations of Hockinson youth football.
How can you improve your process of hiring new assistants to ensure the maximum positive impact on your program?
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!