Seven Ways to Run Your Favorite Play Over and Over

One of the benefits of the West Coast Offense was the many ways in which play callers could line up an offense and run the same scheme 50 times without ever doing the exact same thing with regards to formation and alignment. It’s a facet of the offense that is often under appreciated or misunderstood, but the good news is that you don’t have to have a 300-page playbook in order to have the same ability to keep your opponent on edge while consistently putting your players in comfortable situations.

For demonstration’s sake, we’re going to take a look at two of the most common plays in football, the power play, and the flanker drive concept. Almost every team in professional and college football runs some form of these two plays, and using a pass and a run play allows us to explore both sides of the coin and use specific, tangible examples.

Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady are masters of creating deception using a recurring series of plays in the Patriots offense.

Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady are masters of creating deception using a recurring series of plays in the Patriots offense.

Of course, the more specific you get with your examples and the more specialized your offensive scheme is, the more ways you could come up with to add to this list. This is neither a comprehensive list, nor is anything on the list considered ‘groundbreaking,’ but it’s always good to have a starting point for discussion when it comes to keeping things simple.

The emphasis isn’t on the details of the individual plays themselves, but instead how they fit together. It should also go without saying that sometimes all seven of these may not fit your game plan. It can sometimes be advantageous to avoid certain formations and motions, and if you’re fortunate enough to be overwhelmingly more talented than your opponent, you probably don’t need more than one way to run the ball up the middle.

1. Run The Play

The first and most obvious way to run any given play on the call sheet is to, well, call it. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. In this first section we’ll go through some of the specifics of the play, then follow that up in each subsequent section with ways to complement the original play. » Read more

Ten Ideas For Putting Together Your Opening Script

Bill Walsh was a famous proponent of planning as much of the game as possible in the office during the week in order to reduce the number of decisions and potential headaches come game day. This post is full of ideas that I took from other coaches, including Walsh himself. A couple of the points I talk about here were inspired by things I read in clinic notes from the innovator during the 1980’s. You can read those here. ((I highly recommend checking out When I was first starting out in football, I was able to learn all the verbiage of the offense and understand the coaches mic’d up on the sidelines when they were talking to their players, and it was all thanks to resources on that site.))

1. Vary your formations. Changing up your formations may not seem like a new idea (mostly because it’s not), but it’s even more important to do so early on in the game.

This is especially useful if you run a different offense than the rest of your conference, or conversely, if the film you watched features a defense playing against an offense that bears no resemblance to yours. If you’re a spread team, you probably won’t get too much out of film that has the opponent defense facing off against a Wing-T.

Don’t just think about the formations themselves, but also where you’re lining up your passing and running strength. If you’re facing a defense that likes to set their extra adjuster to the field, make them adjust right away. » Read more

Four Variations on the ‘Stick’ Concept

Though originally introduced to football through the Bill Walsh/ Paul Brown inspired West Coast Offense, the Stick concept has proliferated to all levels of football, and you’ll find that most teams run some form of it in today’s game.

The stick route’s staying power for so long is due in large to it’s adaptability to so many offenses. It’s good against man, zone, and the subsequent constraint plays the you can run because of it should give you a simple but effective package that will provide you with a lot of answers to what the defense tries to throw at you. No matter what you’re running as your base scheme, chances are you can find room in your playbook » Read more