This will be my 100th post…..not sure what I expected when I started, but this has been fun, as well as being a mental challenge. Sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be much to write about and sometimes it seems to be a bit of a grind. I definitely feel for those who write professionally and on deadline! Even though I do this for fun, I still feel a responsibility to do one each week, and get it out on time. So far, I haven’t experienced a group of angry villagers with pitchforks (as Union-Tribune columnist Nick Canepa would say) knocking down the door in protest. I actually don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.
Now that I seem to have picked up a few more readers (based on the little lines on the viewing chart), I may go back and re-post some of the early posts, where I was really heavy into X’s and O’s. That’s still my favorite subject, so if anyone wants more of that, just let me know!
The Saga of the Bears continued last week, when we faced a very formidable Riverside Redskins team. I knew their reputation of winning on defense, with a basic, grind-it-out offense, so I was thinking it would be one of those 14-7 games. Especially when all I had at practice last Thursday was 2 OL, 1 QB, 2 RB, 1 TE and 1 WR (who wasn’t even going to be at the game). Anyway, the Redskins came in tied with us at 6-1. They left 6-2, as we rolled to a 36-0 win. Although all of the points were put up by the offense, our defense put us in a lot of great spots as they forced 5 turnovers.
We actually used the 2nd half as a practice, when I installed some pistol-concept plays. I’d resisted doing it a little, as I didn’t want to really change the scheme up front, so instead I decided to keep the blocking the same as on our backside read stuff, and just use the B (fullback) as either a lead block on our inside zone, or as a fill blocker when we ran counter. Also tried to get him out on a playaction. It’s a work in progress, but when you’re installing stuff during a game, you sort of take what you can get…..and yes, that’s something I’ve never done before, installing whole new concepts in the middle of a game. Only in semi-pro!
This week, I know my QB isn’t going to be at practice, so it’ll give us a chance to work on my “Plan B” stuff with my #2 and #3 guys (who are starting WR).
For a long time, I’ve used the mantra of “football is football” no matter what the level, no matter if it is men’s or women’s. I have found one instance where that isn’t true, and it has to do with the raw speed guys have. With the women, we’ve developed a “blitz beater” package that is automatically tagged on the backside of our pass routes. It is very simple – the QB receives the (shotgun) snap, and looks for a blitz on the first two steps of her drop. If she gets it, she hits one of the blitz beater routes. If she doesn’t, then she’s hitting her third step while her eyes shift to the playside route combination and she hits that. With a little practice and reps, it becomes a very smooth process.
It doesn’t work with the guys…..by the time the QB makes his read on the backside, determines there’s no blitz (or what it is disguised as), and comes back to the playside, the playside route windows have come and gone. And my QB is a smart guy, who played four years collegiately. It seems the reason that our Surge QB can process that read and still have time to come back to the playside while the routes develop is a case of the relative speed – their eyes/brains function at the same rate, but the foot speed of the men gets them into the routes so much faster than the women.
So I’ve adjusted. I slide our protection away from the call, and generally keep in a RB to block/release on the playside. When I do free release the RB, at least now the QB’s backside is covered and he can see pressure coming at him, AND has the RB as a quick checkdown. I’d always wondered why a simple solution like we use on the Surge (and it really is brilliant – I didn’t come up with it, our HC Mike Suggett did back in 2010) wasn’t being used collegiately or in the NFL. Now I know!
Doing it that way, with the RB checking, it also sets up our screens and draws a bit better.
All in all, I think this is a better solution, and most importantly, it makes my QB more comfortable. In the end, when it comes down to your comfort versus your QB's comfort, I think you really ought to look at "is this a battle I want to fight?" Sometimes, yes, it is. Other times, not so much. This ended up being one of those times. Our points have skyrocketed since I made the adjustment a couple of weeks ago, during our bye. So has our completion percentage.
Keep your eye on the Big Picture and divest your ego.