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Templates: Offensive game planning, inspired by Nick Saban

Inspired by how Nick Saban delegates game planning to his staff, we created a template that will allow you to more efficiently game plan remotely.

Back during the end of June, we wrote an article based on a tweet that shared a detailed look at how Nick Saban delegates film responsibilities to his offensive staff.

That article sparked an idea in me for our offensive staff at Comstock Park HS (MI).

I've spent the past several years at coaching clinics, including this past January at the AFCA National Convention, passionately sharing how TAKE BACK YOUR WEEKENDS to break away from having weekend game planning meetings in person. Since becoming a head coach, I have felt really good about the system we have put in place to game plan remotely over the weekend.

Here's what we would do. We would utilize a Google Sheet with a tab for each opponent. Each coach would have a column and I would open up with a few things, like the best formation to run our screens out of for the week.

Other than those prompts, the sheet shared was essentially a wide open space to share thoughts on what our guys like, what they didn't like, thoughts on personnel, and overall what we thought we needed to do to win the game. As I started game planning as a play caller, I'd go back and simply bold the ideas that I thought brought the most value.

Pretty bare bones, but it looked like this.

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After seeing how Saban would divide specific staff responsibilities to his assistants to tackle each week, I immediately realized there was a lot of room for growth in what I was asking my assistants to handle over the weekend. So I started to rework our "Suggestion Sheet," and a few hours later I had something I was really proud of.

However, what I did not anticipate, was how sharing a few screenshots of how I spent a chunk of Saturday adapting our plan to mirror Saban's offensive approach would go over with the coaching community.

About a day, and over 800 likes later, I came to the realization that creating a template for the coaching community would be really well received.

After receiving more DMs than I could keep up with, I decided the best approach would be to create an article.

Using THIS LINK you will be directed to a page where you will be prompted to make a copy of the offensive game planning template so you can tweak it and make it something that works for you and your staff by adjusting the questions.

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Screen Shot 2022-07-19 at 8.10.00 AM

If you're a staff that is still meeting on the weekends, and feel like there has to be a better or more efficient way, my suggestion would be to dig deep on the stuff you talk about during those game planning sessions - focusing only on the productive stuff. Then find a way to divvy those topics up among your staff and put them in these boxes for them to tackle.

In making this template yours, and empowering your coaches to do it from home on their own time, it's may be tough to justify face-to-face meetings come this fall for your offensive staff, and opening more coaches eyes to the efficiency of game planning remotely and cutting out those weekend meetings has become a personal passion project of mine. 

To do the same for the defensive side of the ball, I'm thinking we need to crowdsource some ideas. If you're on the defensive side of the ball and are interested in helping to create something like this for that side of the ball, please reach out to me via Twitter @CoachSamz or at doug@footballscoop.com

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