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

Mark Elder on Defending the Zone Read Play

This past weekend I was cleaning out several boxes of old football notes and I stumbled upon some great stuff from clinic talks that I’ve attended over the past few years.

One of my favorites were the notes I took when listening to former Central Michigan defensive coordinator and current Tennessee Special Teams Coordinator Mark Elder, and his overview of how he liked to defend the zone read. » Read more

Inside Gus Malzahn’s Playbook

Up until this point, there was not much you could do to get any inside information on how he thinks and what his terminology is, short of either buying his book (which is excellent) or going down to visit him at Auburn (in which case you’d better get in line).

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However, I’ve got the next best thing. Thanks to some film trading friends of mine, I’ve got some great stuff from when Malzahn was at Tulsa. The head coach at Auburn has evolved a bit since those days, mostly to fit the personnel he has, but the core principles remain the same. So, here are some great installation materials from Gus Malzahn’s time as a part of the Golden Hurricane football program.

 

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Hiding in plain sight: Denver’s “Delay-Follow” Boot Concept

I just want everyone to know that this post has absolutely nothing to do with a certain Seahawks defender who had a very memorable postgame interview with Erin Andrews last night, but I need page views, so if you’ll excuse me, I have to boost this site’s SEO visibility:

RICHARD SHERMAN RICHARD SHERMAN RICHARD SHERMAN RICHARD SHERMAN RICHARD SHERMAN.

Sorry about that. Anyway, Peyton Manning had by far his best day against a Bill Belichick defense in the postseason, posting a 118.4 passer rating against a defense that struggled all day long against the veteran quarterback.

One of the plays that caught my eye was Manning’s first touchdown pass of the game, a one yard throw and catch to TE Jacob Tamme, a former team mate of Manning’s in Indy as well. Even in a simple naked bootleg on the goal line, there is often a lot detail and deception hidden. » Read more

Gus Malzahn’s Zone Read Load Scheme

Monday night’s BCS National Championship Game had all kinds of highlights, both offensively and defensively, but ask anyone who knows football, and they’ll tell you some of the most interesting things happen on plays that aren’t necessarily defined as explosive or memorable.Football people find just as much satisfaction in watching a well-executed kick out block or an interesting option play that goes for five yards as they do by watching an 80-yard bomb. What makes Gus Malzahn’s offense so successful is his obsessive attention to detail, investigating every contingency, every formation against every available defense, and trying to discover an alignment that gives his guys the best angle on the defense, whether it’s to run inside, outside, or gain leverage on a secondary to spring an athletic receiver wide open over the middle (as he managed to do successfully again, and again, and again on Monday).

Gus-Malzahn

During the hours leading up to kickoff between Auburn and Florida State, I posted some cutups of Auburn’s run game under Malzahn in 2010 with Heisman winner Cam Newton. The head coach of the Tigers is constantly in the lab tinkering with formations and blocking assignments, and Monday night did not disappoint. » Read more

Wrecking Ball: Breaking down Eric Decker’s Four TD Performance against the Chiefs

This just in: The Denver Broncos are pretty good.

On the first chilly December afternoon of 2013, millions of television viewers saw Eric Decker score 4 touchdowns against a Kansas City defense that early in the year had been one of the league’s best. With the future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning under center, this has become normal to see on the Denver stat sheet.

(Getty Images)

Once again, just as in Indianapolis, Manning has three excellent receivers to choose from. With Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker playing outside, and Wes Welker lining up in the slot, it’s not hard to see why this Bronco offense has already broken several long-standing franchise records. Any of the skill position players on this offense are good enough to have the kind of day that Decker had against the Chiefs, today just happened to be his day.

Let’s find out why, by breaking down all four of his touchdowns, and look at why Manning decided to call his number so many times. » Read more