Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Post Memorial Recap

Well, the “game that should not be played” won’t be now, and that’s a good thing. We’ll have practice tonight and again Sunday before hitting the road for our final two games against the Pacific Warriors and Central Cal War Angels, both of which should be bruising affairs. We’re on the backstretch before getting to another playoff run, and we need to be better than we’ve been to make it through.

If you’d like to see an excellent playoff preview, please go here: Neal Rozendaal’s preview. I think Neal is pretty spot-on.

We had our first men’s practice of the year Thursday. It went *very* well from an offensive standpoint. We ran very limited routes, and only one run play out of a bunch of different looks. I was very pleased with how quickly the guys caught on to the tempo and adapted to the formations and some of the formation tags. We were able to run all of our base formations, plus a couple of tags, all without a huddle. We ran two cadences and a few motions. All in all it was a great introduction and more than enough got accomplished for a “Day One” practice.

I just received word that the DVD’s of the annual COOL Clinic are now available….there goes another $100…..sorry, Travis, no new clothes for you this month, and more Top Ramen for both of us. LOL……I’m looking forward to this edition because it features a talk by Jim Schwartz, the former HC of the Lions. He talks about how defenses scout and game plan for different offenses. There was a similar talk by Rex Ryan from 2009 that was pretty good. I always like to gain insight about how the “other side” may prepare for my offense.

My best sounding board is the HC of the Bears, Winston Martin, who has been around the block a few times. In most cases I can draw something up for him and he’ll describe exactly how he’d defend it. He’s also acting as my RB coach this year, so if I come up with something weird, he’ll immediately alert me to a problem I may not have foreseen. Guys like that are a valuable resource!

Speaking of resources, I can’t talk up X and O Labs enough. I just renewed my annual membership there for $39.95. They have staff memberships (up to 8 coaches) for I think $99.95. I just printed out 87 pages of Run Pass Option (RPO) information. Online, they also include game film in their articles. I’ve got a binder filled with their articles. Unlike the COOL Clinic, which features speakers from mostly the top-tier colleges and NFL (and only offensive line coaches, by design), X and O Labs features articles from guys that you’ve probably never heard of. That doesn’t diminish the information at all, and only serves to highlight how many outstanding coaches there are at all levels across the country. At this point, I’ve probably “borrowed” more stuff from D-II, D-III and high school guys than I have from NFL guys.

Articles on offense, defense, specials, S&C and program development are all included.


About those RPO’s……the number of teams that are running them has quadrupled in the past year. If you thought the advent of the Pistol offense was big, well, I think this will eclipse it. My main problem is that with the men, using NFL rules, they’re a bit pickier about getting the big guys downfield. At the women’s level, this stuff is gold, since they use collegiate rules. But no worry – the Bears will be taking full advantage of whatever we’re allowed!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Playing Through

We had “one of those” games this week. Due to the early running clock, some INT’s returned for TD’s by our defense and a general lack of interest by the officials in enforcing a play clock, we were able to run 22 offensive plays – 18 in the first half. Yes, we ran 4 offensive plays in the second half, all of them in the 4th quarter.

We were missing about 10 players, including many of who you see near the top of the leader board in league stats. But the one who I was most bummed about is my rookie center who probably would have gotten about 18 snaps in. As it was, the one good thing to come out of the game was the chance to play people at different positions along the OL, so if we have an emergency situation later on I won’t be so nervous.

Next week, of course is a league-wide bye week…..please ensure that you give thanks in whatever method you prefer for those who have fallen in defense of our country. After that, is our third in a row of “games that shouldn’t be played” (my opinion only) before we finish out on the road against Pacific and Central Cal.

I was watching a DVD of the Steelers offensive line coach. He was talking about a run play that was “power/gap scheme, but without a puller”.  Once again, my eyes have been opened to different ways of thinking. What he said made perfect sense and was easy to install. My main problem with my men’s offense is deciding what to leave out…..there’s so much stuff we could do, and I think we’ll do more than most offenses, but every time I see something new, it is like “oh look – a variation on outside zone! Let’s run it!” and I take off on an ADD type of tangent.

Right now I’m thinking that 80% of my run game is going to be only four concepts: inside zone, outside zone, fly sweep and counter. It’s that other 20% that I really have to decide what I want and how much practice time do I want to put into it.

Coach also talked about a streamlined way to communicate interior and exterior looks by the defense. That is something I need to get better at for sure.

I met with my two QB’s the other night, and I’m thankful for them. I’m not always good at seeing things from a skinny guy’s perspective. I’m pretty good at seeing the big picture and definitely good at seeing things from an OL viewpoint, but since I’ve never been a skinny guy, that outlook suffers sometimes.

I’m meeting with my OL tonight, and I’m excited for that. We start practice tomorrow night, and I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running. The first couple of practices will only have one run play (with some variations), and only about 3-5 different routes, but by the time we get to Practice 3 we’ll be putting things together.


Just a heads up – our 2nd annual RS Football Camp is tentatively scheduled for November 14-15. It was a great success last year, in having almost 60 athletes attend from across the country. We’ve listened to your feedback and will be making some tweaks this year, mostly in terms of field time versus class time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Half Way Point

First of all, thanks to everyone who asked about last week’s missing post. Truth is, I wrote three of them and didn’t like any of ‘em. Since I’m not forced by anyone other than myself to post by a deadline, I just let it roll rather than post something lousy.

The Surge had a big game this weekend, against probably our toughest regular season opponent, the Central Cal War Angels. We’d never faced them until 2013, when they rather rudely bounced us out of the playoffs (they weren’t really rude about it, they just beat our butts). We got a measure of revenge last year, but they were tough, physical games. This year, they’d outscored their opponents 190-6 in going 3-0. OK, so they hadn’t played anyone, but still…..On film they looked like they added some athletes on defense in particular, and they were more diverse on offense than in the past.

It was no real surprise to me that we only led 21-19 at half. Kudos to their DC, Jeff King for showing us something we absolutely hadn’t prepared for on defense and making our OL meetings between series actually mean something. They’ve got a couple of very skilled DL as well….#50 Aspen Marshall and #55 Jeanette Jimenez are both excellent players, and give us fits each time we play. Moving #45 LaStar Brown over to LB full time also didn’t so us any favors.

Having said all that, we were able to go on a 35-7 run in the second half to put things away. Unfortunately, the War Angels suffered a couple of injuries on offense that definitely altered their plans – I hope both players are doing well. But this win was the first of the season that was truly satisfying. Games like this, especially in the first half, are the types of games we signed up to play.

I wish I could say the same about our next couple of games, but I’m afraid they won’t be that way. I’m actually wondering if one or either of them will even happen. And this isn’t a case of wanting to simply dismiss an opponent, but rather a case of just stating how different the levels of competition are in the women’s game. It’s just a fact.

It appears that the Midwest area of the American Conference is pretty much settled. The Dallas Elite, after beating up on Kansas City a couple of weeks ago, followed by KC beating St. Louis last week, looks to be the clear favorite there. It certainly simplifies our scouting a bit.

Seattle is still definitely the one to keep an eye on in the Northwest. They’re being bullies up there!

In the East, as most of you know, DC beat Boston two weeks ago, in Boston. I’ll be looking forward to the rematch in DC to see if there is a New World Order now or if it was just a hiccup for Boston.

However, in the East, I firmly believe it will be Chicago’s year. Although I do think they lost a bit at QB with retirement, I also believe that Coach Konecki is building his offense around his strengths. I actually haven’t watched any of their film yet, but I’d be shocked if he wasn’t using Cassey Brick the same way he used JJ Javelet in 2013. Maybe I can watch some of their stuff over the next couple of weeks.

I’ve been watching a lot of stuff from Ohio State. I’m a big fan of Urban Meyer’s…been stealing his stuff ever since he was at Bowling Green! I just found out that on my men’s team I’ll have a different backup QB than who I thought I was going to have. I’m excited about that, as there is a lot of stuff I wanted to do in the run game that my starter doesn’t really care for. The new backup will also be a starting WR, so there are some definite wildcat possibilities now, along with a package from our normal offense that I can install. It’s nice to have flexibility in your system so that you can simply switch your playcall mix instead of changing your entire offense. Plus, now I won’t have someone sitting the bench complaining about playing time. One less distraction…..

One other new thing for me with the Bears is going into a season knowing only one of my OL. All the other guys, I’d never even heard their names before! They’ve all played collegiately, so at least I know they’ve been somewhat coached up, and most likely have at least a passing familiarity with the things I want to run, but it is just odd to go into practice not really knowing what they do best.

OK, that’s it for now…..