Do You Struggle with the 3-3-5 Defense?

One of the nation’s leading experts on the flexbone offense has your answer.

Why do so many teams find their offense stunted in the face of the 3-3-5? Why is it some cannot move the ball consistently and others can’t move it at all? Why do so many find themselves at a loss for ideas when the time comes to make adjustments?

The reason is clear. Coach Payton Haynes discovered it through a long process of practicing and executing these concepts at the college level.

Most teams struggle with the 3-3-5 because they don’t have a sound plan for dealing with the unique challenges it presents.

What Coach Haynes Does Differently

The problem doesn’t seem to make sense.

The 3-3-5 looks like a lot of smaller, speedy guys running around with no discipline or gap integrity. You’d think it would be pretty easy to move the ball.

Still, hundreds of games are lost every year at the college and high school levels, because the 3-3-5 seems to turn a lot of traditional football logic on its head.

Coach Haynes has had a lot of success with this offense, and has his share of experience against the 3-3-5. In fact, during the 2012 season he helped William Penn University lead the nation in total rushing yards!

And the season before that? They led the nation in rushing yards per game!

So what’s his secret?

Just 4 Simple Concepts

The basic principles of his philosophy revolve around a handful of plays, and now he’s showing them to you.

Any coach can learn these and teach them to his players with ease.

Every defense has weak spots. This course will teach you how to find them.

What You Get

Coach Haynes has put together a presentation called 4 Plays to Defeat the Stack Defense.

It contains a whole hour of slides and video clips, as well as a BONUS downloadable workbook with all the concepts drawn up in clean, professional diagrams.


CLICK HERE to get it now!

– Alex Kirby

PS- Not only are you going to be happy with 4 Plays to Defeat the Stack Defense, the players on your team are going to be thrilled with the changes you’ve made!

Just knowing that this knowledge could be the difference between a win and a loss next season should have you reaching for that link right now!

Yes, I want 4 Plays to Defeat the Stack Defense!

5 Quotes from The Big Book of Belichick

It turns out that Bill Belichick actually has a lot to say, at least as long as you ask him the right questions.

Though he entered the league in 1975 with the Colts, Belichick had been studying the game long before that, including all the time he spent helping his father break down film for the Naval Academy as a kid. He’s been around since the beginning of the modern era of the game, and has competed against most of the game’s great players and coaches, giving him a perspective that is unmatched.

That’s why I put together The Big Book of Belichick (link).

The book is nearly 500 pages long, and it has pages and pages of discussion on all sorts of different football topics.

The Big Book Of Belichick

To give you an idea of the kind of insight available in the book, I’ve pulled five of my favorite quotes and put them here.

(You can get it here.)

1. Defending rub routes with multiple defensive backs

Q: It looked like the Giants tried to run a couple rub routes on their final drive. How do your cornerbacks work in tandem to defend those routes? Is it coordinated pre-play or is it based on something they see as the play unfolds?

BB: Right, any time you’re in man-to-man coverage and there is multiple people involved – two-on-two, three-on-three or sometimes you can be three-on two or four-on-three, whatever it happens to be – yeah, I think the communication is the key thing there. There are a lot of different ways you can play it. The most important thing is that you clearly know how you’re playing it and everybody is playing it the same way. If one guy is playing it one way and the other guy is playing it another way, then you’re dead. Yeah, so on two-on-two’s, we can combo those and switch them.

Sometimes the rule changes a little bit about when we switch or when we don’t depending on the type of route that they run. Yeah, that was the case. I think on the first play, which was a second-down play, we also got some pressure on that play with I want to say it was Akiem Hicks and maybe Rob [Ninkovich] coming off the edge there. I don’t know if it would have got to [Eli] Manning because he kind of grabbed it and threw it but there wasn’t a lot of time for him to sort out the pattern, whereas on the second one it was kind of a rollout play and then that extended a little bit longer all the way to the sideline and finally whoever it was – Rob or Malcolm [Butler] or somebody – came up there and kind of forced him to …

He just went down and took the sack and kept the clock running. But the first play he really never got outside at all. It was just pressure and Logan [Ryan] took the outside route to [Dwayne] Harris and then Malcolm kind of fell off it and the combination of the pressure and the coverage, there just wasn’t much there.

2. How Good Middle Linebackers See Things

Q: What is it that allows Jerod Mayo to kind of wade through blockers and see the backfield the way he does?


BB: I think that’s kind of just the reverse of being a running back: as a linebacker, you take your keys and you sort of see all those bodies in front of you and basically I think what you look for is some space, because that’s what the runner is looking for. You don’t want to end up where you already have people; you want to end up where there is space and that’s where the backs are looking to go. It’s not where the bodies are, but where they aren’t. It’s sort of the same thing.

Defensively, you’re sort of reading the same thing that the running back is reading. Once the initial blocks and the initial contact kind of takes place and then starts to sort itself out or separate a little bit, then the defender is looking for kind of the same thing the running back is looking for from the other side of the line of scrimmage. Jerod has terrific instincts. He had those in college and I think that’s one of the impressive things about watching him at Tennessee – just the way he was able to sort plays out, find the ball, get over trash, get past guys that are around his feet or in the pile in the way and get past that to make the tackle. Of course he’s a strong tackler.

I’ve talked, I’ve coached it a long time, coaching Harry [Carson] and Pepper [Johnson] and Carl [Banks] and those guys [and] in Cleveland, Mike Johnson, Clay Matthews, Marvin Jones, Mo Lewis. The more you talk to them, the more it’s hard for them to explain it. ‘What did you see on this play?’ ‘Well, I just saw it.’ ‘Why did you go there?’ ‘I just…it was there and I just felt it was the right thing to do.’ There’s just so much happening in front of you that it’s really hard to say, ‘It was this. It was that.’

But just put the whole picture together and they see something and that’s why they go there. It’s probably the same thing the back sees on the other side of the ball. ‘What exactly did you read?’ ‘I saw this, but in the end I saw a space to run and that’s where I went.’ That’s where the linebacker went to meet him.

3. Playing Outside Receiver vs Inside Receiver

Q: Is it more difficult for receivers who primarily play on the outside to move inside or vice versa?


BB: That’s a good question. It’s an interesting question and it’s certainly one that that whole conversation is one that we spend a lot of time talking about as a scouting staff, in terms of evaluating players and scouting players. Let me say this, first of all, I think it depends on obviously what the players are asked to do. Not every outside receiver plays like every other outside receiver, just like every inside receiver doesn’t play like every other inside receivers. There are some things that some inside receivers do that are similar but also there are some that are very different from what other guys do. So I’d say, again, it depends what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for an inside receiver to do things that are similar to what outside receivers do, then I’d say that transition is probably not that big of a deal. If those routes and the type of passing game that’s done on the inside part of the field is quite a bit different from the outside part of the field, then you’re probably looking at mostly different type of guys. Obviously some players are good enough to play anywhere.

Then there are other guys that probably fall into more of one role or the other. But forgetting about all that for the moment, I would say that the game inside in the slot is different from the perimeter because of the number of people that are involved. You’re not just looking at – a lot of times outside, you’re pretty much dealing with one guy. It’s the wide receivers and the corner. You have to have an awareness of the safety, whether he’s over the top or rotated in the middle or into a seam area. That’s pretty much about it, for the most part. When you’re inside, you have a corner outside, you have a slot defender, you have a safety, you have a linebacker so there are at least four guys that you really, I would say, pretty much have to deal with one of them or two of them one way or another. That creates a lot more variables than playing on the perimeter.

I’m not saying it’s harder [or] easier, it’s just different. The same thing is true on defense covering that position. You have the proximity of the next inside player, the next outside player and some type of player in the deep part of the field, unless it’s an all-out blitz. That changes the relationship a lot from what it is when you’re playing on the perimeter as a corner. You just don’t have that – you have the sideline but you don’t have the number of players. So in terms of like, what does this player do? What does that player do? I think it starts with, like anything else, just like if you were hiring someone for a job – what’s the job description? What do you want that player to do? Once you prioritize what you want that player to do, then you try to fit the player into that job description. Some of the things they have to do are the whole intelligence of recognizing different coverages and different relationships. How much do you want a vertical speed guy that can go in there and get through the middle of the defense? How important is blocking in the running game because it’s going to be a factor when you’re in there that close. How important is quickness and creating separation on five to seven-yard type routes on third down. What’s your priority? Then you want to get a player that fits those priorities.

4. Game Day Coaching

Q: Do you have a go-to list of how you want to approach game-day coaching?

BB: I definitely believe in a process. I don’t know that that’s the same in every single game. Well, I’d say it’s not the same in every single game. It depends on who you’re playing and kind of what they do or what you anticipate them doing as to how you want to approach it. It’s a great question. It’s a very interesting point of discussion. I think there are a lot of things to look at throughout that, but it’s all critical in the communication and coordination of processing the information that you get during the game, I’d say it’s not easy to do. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s not easy to do because it comes from a lot of different sources and you definitely want to prioritize it. I’d say those are some of the components of it.

Number one, getting the most important things handled – whatever they are. It could be what you’re doing, it could be what they’re doing, it could be the weather conditions – whatever the most important things are making sure that you start at the top. And also you don’t have all day. You don’t even know how long you have. If you’re on defense the offense could be out there for a seven-minute drive, they could be out there for a 30-second drive, so you’ve got to prioritize what you’re doing so that you get to the most important things first, so if you’re running out of time, you haven’t used your time inefficiently. So that’s number one.

Number two, there’s the, what we’re doing versus what they’re doing. A lot of times just making sure that you’re right is more important than identifying what they’re doing. Sometimes identifying what they’re doing, until you get that cleared up then you’re kind of spinning your wheels in the sand and you’re not making any progress because you don’t really understand exactly what the issues are. In the game situation that changes all that. You have the information from players, which is they’re in the heat of the battle. You have information from the press box, who can get as much of an overview as you can get. You have sideline information. So sometimes that’s the same, sometimes information – you don’t see it quite the same way.

The way one coach sees it, the way the press box sees it, the way the sideline sees it, the way a player on the field sees it, it’s not quite all the same way. So you’ve kind of got to sort all that out. And then there is the balance of fixing what is in the rearview mirror and looking ahead. So like, OK we’ve got to take care of these problems, here’s what happened, but at the same time, you’re spending all your time on that, some of that is not even relevant because the next time you go out there, OK what are we going to do? We’ve corrected those problems, maybe we’re going to make a different call or maybe we’re going to be in a different situation, how do we handle that? So there is the balancing of new information versus analysis of previous information.

There are a lot of components to that, and I think a good coach, the decision making that they make within all that is what makes him a good coach. What information is important, where do we start, how do we get the most information across in the least amount of time and making sure that we get the information to the right people? Some coverage adjustment, the guard doesn’t care about. He doesn’t care about what coverage they’re running. The receiver doesn’t care if the nose is shaded or not shaded. But I’d say that’s a very interesting part of game day from a coaching standpoint and one that’s important, it’s critical, and there are a lot of components to it.

5. Playing 3 Safeties vs 3 Corners in Nickel

Q: When you are playing in a nickel defense what goes into the thought process between alternating amongst three cornerbacks and two safeties or two cornerbacks and three safeties?


BB: Right, yeah, it’s a good question. It’s really a good point. Some of it is the matchups, some of it at times is what we’re doing and if we’re doing something that one player versus another one is maybe better at, whether that’s man coverage or zone coverage or blitzing or playing the run, whatever it happens to be. There could be other reasons for that as well, too, as part of just the overall matchup. Not necessarily one-on-one, it could be that, but it also could be more of a scheme thing or maybe anticipation of what they would be doing against that personnel group. So, I’d say it’s a combination of all of those things that could change week to week. It’s hard to go into games with a lot of different groupings.

I think that’s because you have to have those backups in case one person gets hurt, then what do you do with that group? Do you just throw it away or do you have to have somebody else practicing so that you can maintain the group? So, it’s hard to go in with multiple groups and have them all backed up, so a lot of times we might go with one or the other. If you do that with multiple groups then you have to figure out some way to adjust if you don’t have all the players in that group for one reason or another. But that’s all part of what we look at each week with our matchups against our opponents and again, not just the individual size, speed, personnel strength and weakness [of the] matchup but also from a scheme standpoint what our players do well, what position we want to try and put our players in based on the types of calls or defenses that we’ll be running.

The Big Book of Belichick is available in paperback, Kindle, and even in audiobook format.

CLICK HERE to get it now

Review: The Complete Handbook of Clock Management


There’s only one thing worse than losing a game: Losing a game because you did something stupid like screw up the clock.

Maybe you wasted your timeouts, maybe you left too much time on the clock for your opponent at the end of a game, maybe you even spiked the ball when you shouldn’t have and wasted a down.

We’ve all made mistakes, and that’s why Homer Smith wrote The Complete Handbook of Clock Management (link).

Homer Smith: The Clock Management Guru

Homer Smith was the head coach at Army from 1974-78, and served as offensive coordinator at places like Alabama, Arizona, UCLA, and even with the Kansas City Chiefs. During his career he gained recognition for his masterful understanding of clock management. In fact, even after he retired in 1997 he was still regularly sought out by the top coaches in the game for his thoughts on clock management all the way up to 2011 when he passed away.

This book is nothing short of a masterpiece, and it contains dozens of unique situations faced by teams over the past few decades, and what they did right (or wrong).

In case you’re wondering, yes, this book has been updated to account for rule changes in the way the clock works. Regardless, the fundamentals of his philosophy are as necessary as ever, and as we’ll see below, they’re used by the top coaches in the game.

In this review we’ll examine three excerpts from the book and tie them into a couple of real-life examples.

Squeezing In Next-to-the-Last-Plays

This is a fascinating subject, because it’s a situation where a lot of coaches assume they’re playing with house money. A lot of coaches feel like once they’re inside their kicker’s field goal range, the offense can relax at the end of a game. Not true.

Coach Smith writes:

“Case: UCLA needs a FG to beat USC. They drive to the USC 33 and call their second time-out, at 00:28. They can run and get lined up to run again. If the QB sees that there will be 00:10 when the ball is snapped, he can let the run go and use the last time-out. If he sees that there will be less, he can let the clock go down to 00:04 and call the time-out. But he gets off only one play, lets the clock move, and leaves the best field goal kicker in college football a little too far away. UCLA loses. No effort had been made to squeeze in a next-to-the-last play. The author was the offensive coordinator and QB coach.”

This is just one example of a real-life game situation used in the book.

Smith’s willingness to use his own mistakes as a teaching tool should tell you everything you need to know about him and the way he approaches this topic.

But what is Smith saying here?

If you’ve got extra time at the end of the game, don’t waste it, and don’t think that just because you’re technically in field goal range that the job of the offense is done.

If you’re not careful, your conservative approach can cost you the game. Be aware of how much time you have left, as well as how much time it takes to run a play and call a final timeout.

Taking a Knee When There Is No Time Left

This is often an overlooked situation, since the natural instinct is to just line up and kick a PAT even if you don’t need to, but this is exactly what you want to avoid.

Coach Smith writes:

“At the end of a game, if you score and go ahead by +1 or +2 and leave no time on the clock, you do no tkick for an extra point and give your opponent a chance to block the kick, scoop it up, score two points, and beat you or put you into overtime. You take a knee. There is no deciding.”

This exact scenario came up in the 2017 FCS Semifinal game between Youngstown State and Eastern Washington.

Kevin Rader made a spectacular catch in the end zone to put YSU up 2 points by trapping the ball between his hands and the back of the defender.

The catch was reviewed and confirmed but there was still 1 second left on the clock. As you’ll see on the video below, YSU lines up and takes a knee to avoid any screwups on the PAT. The last thing Pelini wanted was a great catch nullified by a special teams disaster.

(Go to 2:31:45 if the video doesn’t automatically take you there)

There was still 1 second on the clock, so YSU still had to kick off to EWU.

Yes, it’s possible Eastern Washington could’ve pulled off a crazy series of laterals to run the kick back. Even so, that possibility would’ve been the same regardless of what YSU did on the PAT.

Pelini did the smart thing and eliminated any risk of a mistake, and his team went on to play for the National Championship.

Taking A Safety

Here’s another favorite of mine, the section on taking a safety.

Smith writes:

“The decision that you face whether to take a safety involves three considerations: (1) the position of the ball; (2) the weighing of the sure minus two against a probably minus three to a field goal; (3) the time that you will have or that he will not have to score. (1) Most teams count on 13 yards of depth for the punter (2) the minus two is not always consequential; the minus three is (3) For scoring needed, you want to have time, but you do not want him to have time.”

You probably remember when Bill Belichick took a safety vs Denver in 2003 to get out of bad field position. What you may not remember is the Patriots were down by 1, 24-23 with just 2:49 to go.

The Patriots faced a 4th and 10 on their own 1 yard line. Tom Brady had just thrown three straight incomplete passes, and things weren’t looking good. A lot of coaches would’ve just punted here. Belichick decided to give his opponent a three point lead instead. Now instead of 24-23, it’s a 26-23 deficit.

On the ensuing punt, the Patriots pinned the Broncos back inside their own 20, forced a three and out, and Brady got the ball back on his own 42 yard line. Six plays later he threw the game-winning touchdown pass to David Givens for a final score of 30-26.

Was it luck or skill?

You might think Belichick just made a risky play and got lucky. Actually, if you look at his options, Belichick made the best possible play.

Sure, Denver got the ball back up 3 points, but they would’ve got the ball back anyway in great field position. Plus, it wouldn’t take much to get into Jason Elam’s field goal range (whose career long is 63 yards) and putting you down 4 points.

Lets say you punt it away, play great defense, and force a 3-and-out. Denver still pins you right back inside your own territory, and you’re no better than you were before. Now you’re right back where you started with even less time to work with.

Or, if things get really bad, and Denver busts a long play loose, now you’re down 8 points and have to go the length of the field just for an opportunity to tie it.


Bill Belichick doesn’t play scared. In 2003 he made a controversial call to take a safety- and it worked.

Belichick’s safety play meant that he could put his defense on the field against a backup QB. Danny Kanell was filling in for an injured Jake Plummer that night and had done a decent job.

With the game on the line, he can pin them back deep in their own territory, and then get the ball back, gaining a ton of field position in the process.

That’s exactly what happened.

Belichick’s play, though it seemed risky and reckless, was actually the exact opposite. He understood all his options in a situation where there were no great choices, and he picked the one that offered minimal risk to his football team. And that’s what good game managers do.

This Book Is A Must-Have For Serious Football Coaches

I’ll put it as simple as I can: If you’re a head coach or coordinator, and you don’t read this book, you’re doing your team and your players a huge disservice. 

The Complete Handbook of Clock Management is a scientific approach to the game of football. In fact, I would put it in the same category as Bill Walsh’s Finding the Winning Edge.

As coaches we ask a lot of our players, so it’s only right that we ask a lot of ourselves as well. If we’re not doing everything we can to get better, how can we expect our players to do the same?

Buy this book and instantly become a better football coach.

Click Here and Get It Now!

Here are my notes from the 2017 AFCA Convention

It’s that time of year again. The AFCA Convention was great.

I heard a lot of great speakers, re-connected with old friends, and even met some of you.

The topics covered include:

  • The New Mexico Triple Option Offense
  • The Navy Run Game
  • How to run a program on a shoe string budget (with great fundraising tips)
  • Former NDSU now Wyoming Head Coach Craig Bohl on building a program
  • Both defensive coordinators from this past Orange Bowl share their philosophies
  • And more!

If you weren’t fortunate enough to go, have no fear, I always share the notes I take with my readers, so click the link and get yours free!

There’s no cost, just click the link and sign up on my email list

CLICK HERE to get your copy now!

Alex Kirby

PS – Last week I released my newest book, The Big Book of Saban!

The response has been great, so if you haven’t already, be sure to grab your copy in paperback or on Kindle!

CLICK HERE to get yours!

How to Download Football Games from YouTube

There has never been a better time to be a football fan.

If you miss a college football game, or maybe you just want to go back and study a bunch of games from a particular team, YouTube is the place to go.

But what if you want to save those games? Is there a way to get them onto your computer?


I get this question all the time, and today I’m gonna show you how to download football games from YouTube.

Step One – Find A Game On YouTube

How To Download Football Games From YouTube - Step 1

Let’s say I wanna find the TV copy of Clemson vs Louisville from earlier this season. I’ll search for the game and find it. » Read more

Play of the Day – Delanie Walker Tight End Screen

How do you keep the defense honest, especially when you bring a bunch of big guys on the field who are normally used to move the ball on the ground? Let’s take an example from the Titans playbook.

The Play

The Titans come out in 13T Personnel, where one of the tight end spots is being played by an extra offensive tackle (#71).

The one receiver they’ve actually got on the field is veteran Andre Johnson, who runs across the field to the opposite side to try and clear out the defense to that side, and maybe bring a defender or two with him.

Mariota carries out the play fake and then delivers the ball to Delanie Walker on a tight end screen, who gets a decent gain on first down.

This is a great way to create a passing threat out of a normally run-heavy personnel grouping.


What really sells this play is the two pullers, one guard and one tight end (Fasano) pulling to simulate the counter action on the play.

The weak side blitz that doesn’t get there in time just means that the Colts defense is a man short to that side, and it makes it a lot easier for the blockers to get out in front.

Here’s the Video:

Walker runs this route better than a lot of receivers. Instead of dancing around, he gets vertical right away, and turns this into a very productive first down call, setting up the offense ahead of schedule.

Having the ability to run the tight end screen out of multiple formations and personnel groupings gives your opponent something else they have to worry about. It’s a low-risk, high-reward approach that can turn into a big play if the defense doesn’t flow to the play and pursue properly.

Want more clips like this one?

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and get a new video every day.



8 Free Football Coaching Videos You Can Watch With Amazon Prime


Free football coaching videos are great, but they’re even better if they’re coming from some of the top names in the business.

You’ll probably recognize most of these names, but others may be brand new to you. These videos were shot in the mid 90’s, but the meat of the information is still relevant today.

At some point, these old videos were put up on Amazon and included in their Prime members library (for FREE).

If you’re not a Prime member, you can try it free…

If you are a member, let’s talk about the videos available to you below.

Yes, these videos are a bit old, but there are still plenty of great pieces of wisdom, especially about the fundamentals of the game.

1. Tom Osborne – Practice, Organization & Game Strategies

One of the most successful coaches in college football history, Osborne was a master tactician, and his offenses tore up the scoreboard every Saturday afternoon for years. In this video, Osborne goes into how he organized his program, practice, and gives his advice on game situations, including halftime procedures.

Click here to watch

2. Phil Fulmer – Offensive Line

Phil Fulmer is a master of the offensive line position, having coached it for years before becoming the head coach in 1992 at Tennessee. In fact, Jon Gruden credits Fulmer for helping him learn a lot of the basics early on in his career when he was a graduate assistant with the Volunteers. There is plenty of great stuff here.

Click here to watch

3. Mack Brown – Defensive Line

The former Texas head coach has long been a respected teacher of the game, and in this video he talks about what he teaches his defensive linemen.

Click here to watch

4. Frank Beamer – Special Teams

Is there anyone else you’d rather learn about special teams from? Frank Beamer goes through the fundamentals of many of the critical skills needed for the kicking game, including long snapping. If you’re a coach trying to find a niche and move up in this profession, you’ll never have a hard time finding a job if you’re a great special teams coach.

Click here to watch

5. Bob Toledo – Quarterbacks

Coach Toledo was the head coach at UCLA and Tulane, and most recently was the offensive coordinator at San Diego State. Watch and learn the mechanics of the quarterback position.

Click here to watch

6. Boyd Epley – Strength & Conditioning

When Nebraska hired Epley in 1969, things were a lot different. He was actually the first paid strength coach in college football, and he’s been a leader in the field of strength and conditioning ever since.

Click here to watch

7. John Cooper – Defensive Backs

Cooper was the head coach of the Buckeyes before the Jim Tressel era, and put together an impressive overall record. Learn defensive back play from a guy who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Click here to watch

8. Bobby Bowden – Receivers

Watch the former Florida State head coach break down the fundamentals of playing receiver.
He would know, after all, he’s coached a lot of good ones.

Click here to watch


If you’re not a Prime member, you can try it free for 30 days.

You’ll get access to these and hundreds of other videos for free, as well as free 2-day shipping on thousands of items in the Amazon store.

I’m a Prime member, and I highly recommend it.

Click this link and try it FREE for 30 days

James Vint on Offensive Game Plan Efficiency

Coach James Vint is always a great read. We finally got to meet in person a couple of weeks ago at Texas HS Coaching School, but I’ve always been a fan of his stuff, and this article is another reason why.

He wrote a great blog post a couple of days ago about how to track the number of practice reps you’re getting each week and how that ties into how much offense you can carry with you into a game.

“I decided to take an analytical approach. We had approximately 50 team reps each day, 25 inside run reps, 25 team on air reps, and 25 7-on-7 reps each day. If we had four days of practice, we would get 500 reps a week. These 500 reps were sacred. We had to make sure we used them wisely so we were prepared each week.

The first thing we did was cut down on the number of calls we had in our game plan. In a typical game we are going to run between 70 and 85 plays. We aren’t going to run 85 different plays. We are going to repeat plays throughout the game. And often, we are going to find a call that works and repeat it over and over. Once we find a formation and concept that works, we often will call that concept several times.”


This is a great approach because it treats practice reps as the scare resources that they are, and that’s not something to be taken lightly.

Read the whole thing here.

Aaron Rodgers on Preparation, Playing QB, and Peyton Manning


On his HBO show “Any Given Wednesday” last week, Bill Simmons had a long and interesting interview full of great Aaron Rodgers quotes, and he delivered some great insight on playing quarterback and the finer points of pre-snap strategy.

He went into a lot of detail on his offensive philosophy, who his biggest influences are at the quarterback position, and even talked about Peyton Manning’s Omaha call, and the meaning behind it.

Most pro athletes are mediocre interviews at best, but Rodgers actually gave a lot of great information here, and he even talked about the “quick flat” play I’ve written about before.

He also had a great quote about practice and preparation:


Some more things covered:

  • Would you rather have A- running backs and receivers and a C- offensive line, OR an A- offensive line with D- running backs and receivers?
  • His thoughts on what Peyton Manning did well, especially during his time with the Colts
  • Why the simplest stuff is the most effective.
  • Pre-snap verbiage and the need to change up week after week
  • The areas of the field and the situations where he’s most likely to draw a defender off-sides.

Watch the whole thing here:



If you love detailed game breakdowns, you’ll love my latest book.

A new wrinkle on an old favorite: The Ohio State run game

Urban Meyer is not an innovator, and that’s OK.

He’d be the first guy to tell you he didn’t invent any of the plays his teams run on Saturdays, but that doesn’t mean he’s any less of a coach.

In my opinion, being an innovator is overrated anyway, compared to all the other qualities needed to be a great coach.

(But that’s a whole nother conversation)

We all love to break down great teams and the little wrinkles they bring to the table, and Ohio State is no different.

Learn why the Buckeye run game is even more dangerous when the tight end doesn’t block anyone at all.

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