Chris Ault: Pistol Inside Zone Basics

Chris Ault Pistol Inside Zone

It’s official: The inside zone has taken over the game of football.

Look far and wide, but it’s increasingly rare that you’ll find a team at most levels of the game who doesn’t have it somewhere in their playbook, especially in college or the pros.

Still, there are holdouts. Maybe you’re one of them?

Don’t worry, Chris Ault, renowned creator of the Pistol offense, knows exactly how you feel.

As he talks about in the video below, he was never a big zone guy.

Now? He’s considered one of the foremost experts in the zone run game, especially the pistol inside zone.

After retiring as the head coach at Nevada, Ault now works as a consultant with the Kansas City Chiefs.

You may not be able to hire him as a consultant for your team, but he’s got a great video course over at CoachTube on the basics of the Inside Zone, and I highly recommend it.

For now though, let’s talk about what made him change his mind and embrace the inside zone. » Read more

How Wade Phillips threw a wrench into the Panthers game plan

Hey, I’m back!

Just a quick update on some things that will be changing:

I’ve been brought on board with to head up the football section of their site, and a big part of that is writing regular content for all different places, including on the CoachTube blog.

I’m not gonna bore you with my life story, but to sum it all up, I’ll be doing a lot more writing now, and you’ll get updated whenever I get a new post out there, which, as it turns out, happened today.

So here are two things I want to let you know about on this Friday morning.

1. The first is that I wrote about a simple but effective strategy that Wade Phillips used to take away a big part of the Panthers game plan in Super Bowl 50.

You can read about that here.

2. The second thing is that CoachTube offers a free starter course for the Gus Malzahn Offense that features several videos from his popular clinic series.

Click here to start watching

3 Ways Green Bay Uses Randall Cobb

They say one of the hardest things to do in sports is to do what you’re expected to do.

What does that mean exactly?

Every year in the draft there are always those few guys who have all kinds of ability, and commentators love to talk about all the different things NFL coaches could do with them.

Unfortunately, for any number of reasons, those guys don’t have a great track record at the pro level.

Remember Percy Harvin? What about Matt Jones?

There are plenty of others who had the kind of skill set that coaches dream of, but they never could quite make it work the way they hoped.

Whether it’s mediocre quarterback play from the offense, a lack of creativity from the coaching staff, or they’re trying to force him into a position that he’s just not suited for, these things usually end with a lot of “what ifs.”

Randall Cobb is the exception, and not only has he survived, he’s thrived in his role as the X-factor for the Green Bay offense.

The guy played quarterback AND receiver in college, and did both very well. Instead of hampering him and weighing him down, it appears to have strengthened his game, and allowed the Packers to use him in ways they could use other players.

Wanna learn more?

Click here and read the whole thing

How to successfully (and unsuccessfully) attack Josh Norman in the passing game

Yes I’m writing about the Super Bowl again.

You know how much I love to talk about game planning for specific players? Well that’s exactly what today’s post is about.

Josh Norman will be playing in DC next year, but he had a lot to do with why the Panthers were so tough on defense last year.

So what do you do when you’ve gotta face a talent in the secondary like him, especially when your quarterback doesn’t have the same zip on the ball that he used to?

Well today I talk about three plays the Broncos used to attack his side of the field.

Two of them worked, one didn’t, but they all have something to teach.

Click here to read the whole thing

The dirty little secret about the trips formation…

Here’s something for all you defensive coaches out there, or maybe you’re an offensive coach who may not know how predictable you’re being. If you’re not taking this into account when you’re defending the trips formation, you’re at a big disadvantage.

I remember when I first learned this- and was immediately hit with a “no duh” moment.

In a flash I could remember the countless examples I’d seen over the years of watching film, but no one had ever put it into words until that moment.

Want to know what it is?

Click here to read the whole thing

A Legend is Born: Tom Brady’s Final Drive Against the Rams

Everybody remembers Tom Brady’s historic final drive to win his first Super Bowl against the Rams, but people forget a lot of the other pieces of the puzzle from that night.

​​​​​​​Take a look at the specifics of the drive, the coaching decisions involved, and some of the lesser-known names who played a huge role in a historic upset.

Click here to read the whole thing

Video: Paul Johnson Play Action Pass Rules For The Triple Option

Paul Johnson is the best play caller in America, and that’s something I’ve been saying for a while now. While it’s true that Georgia Tech makes their living in the run game, it’s impossible to ignore the success they’ve had in the pass game, especially using play action.

This offense of his has been fine-tuned through decades of tough, brutal competition at several different levels of college football. There’s not a lot you can show him that he hasn’t seen already.

Defenses have tried all sorts of creative ways to disguise their intentions. Everything from loading the box, to rotating an extra defender down low just before the snap, and all kinds of other trickery. Still, Johnson and this Georgia Tech offense usually find a way to keep them honest, through some kind of misdirection, or even more dangerous, through the play action pass game that he’s designed.

People often forget how successful Johnson’s teams have been throwing the football. Though a lot of it has to do with the talent he’s been able to acquire, Johnson himself deserves a good amount of credit as well. He’s managed to come up with a scheme that manages to put his athletes at receiver in positions to be successful against the secondary.

So let’s go deeper and learn more… » Read more

The Jay Leno Method for creating opportunity

I’ve never been much of a Jay Leno fan. (Personally, I always thought Letterman was much better.)

Still, there’s one thing I’ve always respected about the guy though, and that’s how he approached his business.

In an interview a while back, Leno told the story of how he broke into the comedy business, before the days when you could post a funny video on YouTube and get a million views:

When I got started in Boston, I would go into bars with a $50 bill, and I would say, ‘I’m a comedian.’

‘We don’t hire comedians.’

I go, ‘Look, here’s 50 bucks. Lemme go on the stage and tell some jokes. If people leave, you can keep my 50. If I do OK and I get some laughs, gimme my money back.”

It cost me about 300 bucks over the long run, but for the most part it was either:

“Yeah, kid, you’re funny, here’s your money back, but we don’t do that here.”


“That was OK, come back Wednesday.”

A couple of things…

First, he found a creative way to get his name out there.

Leno was creative about manufacturing his own opportunities in the business he so desperately wanted to .

He didn’t wait for someone to call him, he went out and found ways to not only get his name out there, but get experience doing what he wanted to do.

Second, he offered the business owner a no-risk proposition:

  • If he went up there and bombed, the bartender got paid $50.
  • If he did well, the customers got some entertainment and came away with a good experience, and the owner has another name on his list of entertainers to hire sometime down the road

So what does that mean for you?

There are literally thousands of coaching positions at the high school and college level across the country, even more if you include middle school and youth football, and more than that if you count all the different leagues that play football outside of America. (There are a lot more than you may think.)

There is no shortage of opportunity out there in the coaching business, but the first step to getting hired is to get your name out there.

This goes all the way back to what I talked about a couple of weeks ago: If you’re not already well-known in the coaching world (or whatever business you’re in), what are you doing to change that?

It the answer is nothing, you’re falling behind.

Since I wrote about different ways of advertising yourself, I’ve connected with several people who’ve told me how they’ve used social media, blogging, and similar methods to do just that. It’s not just that these guys stood out once they sat down to interview, they got the interview in large part because of what they were doing to promote themselves.

Remember: Always be advertising!

By the way, let no one say I don’t follow my own advice…

How do I get my name out there? I write books.

So far, people seem to like this one about how Wade Phillips and his defense managed to shut down Cam “Superman” Newton in the Super Bowl.

Here’s what I need you to do:

1. Buy the book

2. Read it

3.  Tell me what you think

CLICK HERE to get your copy instantly!

– Alex Kirby

Why you should throw to guys out of the backfield more

Chip Kelly’s offense was inconsistent at best during his final season in Philadelphia, but what success he did have had a lot to do with incorporating the backfield into the passing game.

It would be easy to dismiss this as a simple “nickel-and-dime” approach to offense, but actually it’s a great way to maximize the personnel advantages he had at that spot in the roster.

But why?

The best possible matchup for a lot of offenses, at least in terms of pure speed and athleticism, has been their running back against one of the linebackers on the other side of the football.

1. Makes it very tough to press or disrupt the route

When you line a guy up at the line of scrimmage, you make it a whole lot easier for the defense to bump him, press him, or otherwise harass him as he’s getting to where he needs to go.

Even if you’ve got a guy who is a lot more athletic than the defender across from him, he can still manage to disrupt the route and cause trouble for the guy as he’s trying to get off the line.

2. Gets one of your best athletes matched up on one of the least-athletic defenders on the field

There are no “bad” athletes in the NFL, including at the linebacker spot, but at the end of the day, it’s all relative.

Compared with the corners and safeties on the field, linebackers can have trouble covering many of the speedy and quick slot receivers and running backs in the league.

This is why guys like Luke Kuechly are so important to the success of a defense these days, because a middle linebacker with that kind of range and closing speed is a great equalizer, and eliminates much of the threat out of the backfield

If you’re not coaching in the NFL at the moment, that athletic advantage is probably even greater.

3. Creates opportunities for players coming open across the middle

If you want to stop a team from throwing routes out of the backfield, fine, but that just means you’re in danger of giving up plays somewhere else, especially in the middle of the field.

You can either play man coverage, which probably means your linebackers will end up matched up on them and clearing out the middle, or you can play zone, which in a lot of cases, ALSO means the linebackers will be matched up on the back because of pattern match rules.

PS – I’ve got a new book out.

(I know I’m biased, but I highly recommend it)

Get it HERE.

What I learned from Wade Phillips

Crazy game last night huh?

I wasn’t watching, but my Twitter timeline exploded while I was writing this post, so I assume things were pretty exciting.

I was still going back through all the little details of the Super Bowl game film, because there’s so much to analyze, especially from the Denver Defense.

Wade Phillips has had the luxury of working with some tremendous players during his long career, but anyone who’s ever coached before can tell you, working with talented players isn’t always the cakewalk it’s made out to be.

Yet, somehow, a Wade Phillips-led defense always seems to meet or even exceed expectations.

In a world where it’s news when a team performs exactly the way they’re supposed to, that’s a big deal.

So what’s his secret plan, his big idea that no one has ever thought of before?

Build your scheme around your the strengths of your players, and then let them go play football.

It’s amazing how often people forget that football isn’t played on the chalkboard, and that a “bad” play call can succeed if your guy is better than the other team’s guy.

It’s a player’s game first and foremost.

Wade Phillips starts with a basic framework, a few base fronts that he can use against just about anything, and lets his players go play and pursue the football.

It sounds like a cliche, but if you look at this year’s Super Bowl film, you won’t see a lot of deception from the Denver Defense. For the most part, what you see is what you get.

Now, there were definitely a few wrinkles throw in to give Cam Newton some confusion at certain points in the game, but those disguised coverages were made even more effective because of how rare they were.

The thing about keeping it simple is that once you’ve established that basic, one-size-fits-all framework in your scheme, you have a lot of time to perfect all kinds of wrinkles to complement it, and your team becomes more deadly overall.

Specifically, just like last year with New England’s incredible performance in the Super Bowl, Denver made it really simple for the guys up front. Carolina came out with all kinds of shifts, motions, unbalanced line formations, and more, but for the most part, very little changed for the guys up front.

But how exactly did they do it?

I talk all about it in my latest book, where I break down all 16 drives of Denver’s Defense taking on Carolina’s Offense in the Super Bowl.

CLICK HERE and get it now.

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