Archive for the ‘College Football’ Category

There is much back and forth as to who will be the first pick in this year’s NFL draft.  Consensus say’s that it will be Luck going number one to the Indianapolis Colts.  However, there is definitely some among the pundits and [over] analysts who think that Griffin would be the better choice.  I found each of the quarterbacks’ last college game on youtube; two of the most exciting bowl games I have watched in a while as they were both high scoring affairs that went into overtime.

Clips from Andrew Luck’s last college game, the Fiesta Bowl vs. Oklahoma State:

Clips from Robert Griffin III’s last college game, the Alamo Bowl vs University of Washington:


A brief but succinct analysis by Matt Barrows of National Football Post on the ‘spot’ concept used in the NFL

– Previously, I had put together an article on similar concepts here.  Unfortunately, some of the video I had added to illustrate these concepts  has since been removed due to copyright issues – and I’ve been too lazy to edit the older post.  Instead, I offer you this: a very comprehensive piece surrounding these concepts and their relationship to vertical, horizontal and triangle stretch reads from Chris Brown at

– I could always just send you to Brophy’s excellent website, Cripes! Get back to fundamentals… and tell you that everything you find there is gold.  I have his site bookmarked on my toolbar, and literally, as I look at the titles of his 20 or so most recent posts, every single one of them begs to be delved into and broken down, piece by piece, to uncover some incredibly valuable nuggets of football coaching information.  He writes about all facets of the game, but I have been especially interested in his offerings centered on Noel Mazzone’s (former NFL WR/offensive coordinator and most recently ASU’s offensive coordinator) melding of pro style passing with college style spread and run game, college and pro adaptations of inside zone and stretch in the run game, and his overall access to some great coaching cutups and clinic films presented for your leisure, or in-depth study.  Try these on for starters:

Back to the future: Sliding with Noel Mazzone

Why Noel Mazzone: Dennis Erickson and the one-back spread offense

Mazzone Revisited

Airraid Wrinkle (Part II) & Airraid Adaptation (cntd)

Alex Gibbs: Stretch/Run Game Developments (part 1) (This post features nearly 5 hours of clinic discussion – between Gibbs and former Florida Gator Offensive Coordinator, now Mississippi State Head Coach, Dan Mullen, and former Florida Gator Offensive Line Coach, now Temple Head Coach, Steve Addazio – on the inside and outside zone game implemented at the NFL level.)

Alex Gibbs: Stretch/Run Game Developments (part 2) (Continues with nearly 4 more hours of discussion of Gibbs’ system and how to adapt it to the college game with shotgun and reads.)

Rod Dobbs: Teaching & Installing Zone Runs

Attack Nodes: Running From the Gun

– Lastly (for now), I have been gathering information recently on all things relevant to running a high school football program.  I came across a great website titled Cheifpigskin: Football Video Haven.  This is a great site for coaches looking to grow as there are TONS of great videos concerning all areas of high school football development including overall program development, practice scheduling, O/D drills, in-depth documentaries, and more.  And it’s all FREE (most of it, anyway).  They even offer you a free downloadable eBook titled, Playbook for Manhood,  for joining their mailing list.  I have only perused it briefly, but it looks like it will be helpful in providing some real world examples in the effort to lead some of those uncertain youngsters – whom we often come across in the coaching profession – in the right direction; toward becoming a real man.  From a description on the website, the book’s author, Frank DiCocco, “The Playbook for Manhood addresses an important problem in our society today: the breakdown in the positive developmental process of our world’s young men.”


I previously highlighted Andrew Luck and tried to give some insight into how he represents the Cardinal as a coach on the field in the eyes of the coaching staff.  Here is some more in depth footage of Coach Brian Shaw’s press conference to really “draw back the curtains,” so to speak, on Luck’s overall ability to “manage” a game through the different possibilities that he and the coaching staff come up with.

Coach Shaw talks about Luck checking to “advantage plays” as opposed to just “getting us out of a bad play”, and his ability to handle 300 plus plays in the preparation, management, implementation and execution of a game-plan in any given game.

As Andrew Luck awaits results of this year’s edition of the Heisman Trophy, let’s talk a look see at the man behind the man – Stanford offensive coordinator/quarterback coach, Pep Hamilton.  In this segment from, Coach Hamilton talks about some of the nuances to playing quarterback in the Cardinal’s west coast attack and how Luck has evolved as more than simply a student of the game.

Coach reinforces the west coast ideal of a rhythm and timing based passing game.  He also emphasizes that it is difficult to recreate what is going to actually happen in the pocket during a game and that success from a coaching perspective is about “simulating the movements he is going to have to make in a game.”  Building good pocket awareness through repetition is also something important, according to Coach Hamilton.

Another interesting tidbit is the analogy he makes regarding a play call.  Coach explains it as similar to an equation in that, “there’s pertinent information for each guy on the offensive unit … breaking it down to personnel … what guys do we need in the huddle to run the play, or the possibility of plays that we may call?”   This certainly hints to the fact that the Cardinal employ a Peyton Manning-like approach to play calling, whereas to give him a series of plays to check from based on the defensive look he is presented with, or even, perhaps allowing him to call his own plays from an index of plays attached to different offensive personnel groups, depending on the overall situation.

Consider the following excerpt from the San Jose Mercury News as evidence that Luck is more than just a quarterback, as John Welner highlights Stanford Head Football Coach, Brian Shaw, and his efforts to elevate Luck as a pioneer in college football and leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy in 2011:

Shaw also emphasized that no player in college football comes close to matching Luck’s role as a coach on the field: He decides at the line of scrimmage which play — from a group of three called by the coaches — Stanford will run.

If none of the three are right for the defensive alignment, Luck has the option to call an audible of his choosing.

Shaw then used his Power Point to illustrate what that entails. One play appeared on the screen as this: 96 Sway Tango Edge Kill Spider 2 Y Banana Z Reno Alert 6 Zeus.

There are hundreds like that in the playbook.

“To say Andrew is just a quarterback is misleading,’’ Shaw said.

Coach Hamilton’s explanations really seem to make an attempt at simplifying how he teaches quarterback play in the Cardinal offense.  However, Coach Shaw paints a different picture.  He inspires images of a special breed of qb/coach-on-the-field that maybe only comes around once every thirteen years or so.  Whatever the case may be, Andrew Luck has certainly blazed a trail at Stanford, equipping himself with all the mechanical tools necessary to go along with an encyclopedia-like knowledge of how to execute offensive football strategy.

What ever happened to, “go to the telephone pole and run an out” … ?

Washington Huskies starting quarterback, red-shirt sophomore Keith Price, wore a helmet-cam during the UW spring game.  This video is from Football Scoop and it’s a pretty cool look inside a Division I College Football huddle.

I like the urgency in which Price snaps off the play-calls, how he gets his teammates in and out of the huddle with encouragement, and keeps them going when they are tired toward the end of a drive.

Something you might also appreciate is the perspective from inside the pocket as the play develops.  It really demonstrates all the working parts that a high functioning quarterback has to be aware of.

Price points out the “Mike” on every play so that the offensive line can set (or bluff) their protection, initiates shifts and motions on time while surveying the defense, makes sideline adjustments with coaches, and delivers the ball on time in the face of pressure.

UW head coach, Steve Sarkesian, can be heard through voice overlay comparing him to Charlie Ward, the former Florida State Heisman winning quarterback and basketball point guard.

An excellent football coaching website with tons of useful material and information:

Cripes! Get back to fundamentals…

Clink the link below to their latest post  – a collection of legitimate coaching cutups (not the stuff you see on Fox) containing the first quarter of the 2010 BCS National Championship, featuring Cam Newton running Gus Malzahn’s power spread offense, Chip Kelly and the lightning attack spread of Oregon; Nick Fairley, Casey Mathews, and some defense too.

Also featured in the thread:

  • 3 quarters of 2010 Rose Bowl contest between Wisconsin and TCU
  • First half of 2010 regular season match-up between Oregon and Stanford


You will definitely see a lot of down blocking and pulling by the Auburn and Stanford offenses.  Among many perceived differences between these two offenses, you will also find similarities in the execution of the power play as a base run.  Auburn works from a predominate shotgun set while Stanford prefers more traditional under center sets.  Auburn will employ multiple variations using the quarterback both as a misdirection key and a ball carrier.  Stanford likes to shift run strengths to gain a formational advantage, often using a double shift or shift/motion pre-snap movement variance.

Luck under center

Conventional power sets

Newton in the gun

Spread power set

The end-zone clips are great for studying the run game (more on passing game to come).

All the teams featured run some aspect of zone, with Oregon heavy in outside zone/read action; Stanford runs some of their zone packages out of shotgun with a read element as well with Andrew Luck (as does TCU and Dalton); Wisconsin likes to run lead and outside zone with multiple tight-end and fullback sets; both Auburn and TCU will run some fly sweep, quarterback zone reads; Auburn will also run veer with heavy backfield misdirection more than Oregon because of the inside running threat of Cam Newton.

Oregon’s efforts to diversify an admittedly simple scheme were focused on two back sets early – using orbit motion with a third skill player – attempting to create confusion and hesitation with fast split flow action, elements of deception and surprise.

All this focus on offense, lest we forget…

  • Will Muschamp and the Auburn defense added fuel to the fire on an old football cliche: offense scores points but defense wins championships.

  • TCU is head coached by 4-2-5 technician, Gary Patterson, and capitalizes on fast, athletic, and aggressive play.

  • New 49ers defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, while anchoring the same position at Stanford, utilized a heavy four down set and emphasized keeping leverage on the ball and keeping Oregon skill players in front of them.

Enjoy the film and the site!

Former New England Patriot’s CMO Lou Imbriano writes about making mistakes, taking responsibility, making amends, learning, growing, and more here.

Great defensive article about disguising blitz looks with coverage looks from Blitzology here.

From the same website a 4-2-5 research guide here.

Smart Football breaks down the west coast offense: timing, planning, balance, limitations, and personnel here.

A detailed west coast offense reference site here.

Kokoro – A warrior spirit; mental toughness training through SEALFit by Crossfit

More from SEALfit by Crossfit here.