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One of the most difficult and time consuming tasks an Offensive Coordinator faces is forming a game plan that maximizes his personnel and practice time. A good game plan incorporates both the specific and collective knowledge of offensive staff members with a practice schedule that provides time for the rehearsal of plays designed to deny the opposing team a victory. New technology can help offensive coaches minimize workload, improve communication and streamline practice time. How does this game planning process look now, with the new technology put to use?
Beginning the Week with Film
Typically, an Offensive Coordinator will begin with learning who the opponent is as a whole. For example, is it a blitz team, coverage team, odd front, or even front? Where are they strong, where are the weaknesses? Does their front use much line movement? These considerations must all factor into his game plan. He gathers intelligence by assigning duties and receiving feedback from each of his offensive staff members. In discussion with each coach about his particular area, the OC makes sure everyone is seeing the same thing on film. Using film study to confirm and compile information, the OC starts to fill in base calls he is confident will be effective against each particular team. After completing this step he can turn his focus to strategies designed to interrupt the opponents’ Plus Territory Tendencies and Red Zone Tendencies (High, Middle, Low and Goal line). Planning and executing plays for this part of the field wins or loses games, so calling and executing efficient plays is crucial for a win. Finally, the OC looks for personnel issues and match-ups, which can serve as critical advantages in certain situations of the game, so that he can take advantage of any weak points of the defense.
Using Technology to Increase Efficiency
Efficiently rolling out the game plan can be cumbersome for some coaches who have not yet embraced the technology that is available. Game plan software has become easier and more intuitive. Game Planner Pro is a product that many coaches use to add plays into once the game plan has been formulated for the upcoming opponent. Once plays are entered, the practice scripts, wristband and game day call sheet are prepared automatically. These can then be printed out, saved, emailed and shared with other coaches, players etc. Therefore, the game plan meetings have these documents for everyone to look at and be on the same page, right from the start of the week. As long as the Coach has access to a computer that he can access the internet and email from, game planning redundancy is reduced. Furthermore, the game plans save from week to week, which allows the Coach to copy and alter a similar game plan from somewhere in the team’s past game weeks.
Incorporating Feedback from the Other Coaches
The Offensive Line coach should focus on Protection issues. He needs to ask several questions. What are the opponent team’s top three blitzes? Who do they bring in for the blitz? Where have we been hurt in the past? Questions for the run game should include: How good is their Defensive Line personnel? What should our short yardage/Goal line run package be? What runs will be effective in our coming out package? Once this information is collated, staff will be able to create a front summary to present to the Offensive Staff detailing strengths and weaknesses of each member of the defensive line.
The Running Back coach studies the opponent team’s blitz patterns to see what might stress their protections. Based on what he sees, he compiles a list of formations and schemes he thinks will be successful ways to attack the opponent. He also makes suggestions about what he believes will be successful runs on both P & 10 and E & 10. His personnel summary focus will be on the Linebackers.
The Wide Receivers coach will study all 3rd down situations (short, medium, long). His responsibility will be to see what the opponent team uses for coverages on this particular down, what techniques the corner uses, who is weak in coverage, and what pass concepts will expose them. The WR coach will work closely with the OC to establish how they will attack the opponent team in both Plus Territory and the Red Zone. His personnel summary will focus on the Secondary. If there are any 2pt plays he feels strongly about, as well as bunch or Empty sets he believes will be successful, he will alert the OC.
In this scenario, the Tight Ends coach is the Special Teams coordinator, so his primary focus needs to be on preparing for that facet of the game. His duties will be limited to any shifts, motions or formations he sees, which would be good ways of dictating fronts, coverage or leverage issues.
Technology, Communication, Efficiency and Better Execution
Once the game plan is designed, communication becomes key to implementation. All coaches know that the week begins with film study, this has been engrained in our heads for years. However, to maximize execution, using technology like game planning software such as Game Planner Pro allows the coach to streamline the communication process as well as the workload. Keeping a precise focus on the exact number of plays that can be called against that week’s opponent and then streamlining practice time to match that number of plays is critical to effective execution. Technology is changing our approach to team focus as coaches, just as much as it is changing our daily lives.
Disclosure> Game Planner Pro is an advertiser with FootballScoop. The staff at Game Planner Pro wrote this article.