Taking notes on film (and some zone read cutups)

I believe strongly, some might even say religiously, in drawing up what you see on video, in addition to whatever notes you take, because of all the benefits it brings.

I have a lot of reasons for this, including the fact that it forces you to watch the film over and over again, focus on the little things, and I’ve always believed that the physical act of using your hands to draw something creates a bigger impression in your mind, and lets you retain a lot more.

It just so happens, I was right about that last part.

As it turns out, according to a recent study, students who take notes by hand have been shown to retain more information than those who take notes in class on their laptops.

There really is something to the idea that the physical act of writing (or drawing) that creates a stronger and more complete impression in your brain.

Trust me, it can be very mentally exhausting to take detailed notes, but if you’re really interested in learning more about football, I don’t know of any better way (Though if you happen to have a better way, I’d love to hear about it).

So with all that in mind, here’s something else to draw up (and maybe steal a few ideas from).

Since so many people loved the power read clinic video from yesterday’s email, I thought I’d share some more offensive cutups I found on YouTube, this time from Appalachian State’s zone read scheme.

PS – I just put the finishing touches on the breakdown of Denver’s Super Bowl defense against Carolina, and can’t wait to share it with you on Friday.

-Alex Kirby

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

Chip Kelly Clinic Notes

This is an old but great transcript of Chip Kelly talking about the zone read when he was at Oregon.

Note that Kelly does not get all up in arms over teaching the offensive line the type of front they’re facing, whether it’s over or under, etc.

As long as the linemen can count, they do not need to know whether it is an over or under front- our rules will take care of that.”

» 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).


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