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Coaching the

No-Huddle Offense:
By the Experts

Edited by
Earl Browning

2013 Coaches Choice. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Coaches Choice.
ISBN: 978-1-60679-262-9
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013932800
Book layout: Cheery Sugabo
Cover design: Cheery Sugabo
Cover photo: Getty Images

Coaches Choice
P.O. Box 1828
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The No-Huddle
Tempo Passing Game

Rob Blount
Oceanside High School, New York

Thank you, coaches. I am glad to be here. I want to talk about some of the things we have done with our offense for the last
couple of years. The things I am going to talk about are things that I have collected over the years. There is nothing too original,
and we stole most of it from somebody. I am going to talk about our tempo package. I will show you what we do in it and how
we do it.

The first thing we want to do is define tempo. Tempo is the pace at which the game is flowing. All teams have some type of
tempo depending on their style of offense. Teams that run at a slower-paced tempo are offenses that play a pro-style offense
with 21 personnel, wing-T teams, power-I type teams, and huddle spread teams. All those types of teams have to huddle
before they run a play.

The difference between a spread offense that huddles and a spread offense that does not huddle is how you communicate
the plays. How do you get the play into the game? You must have a system that allows you to do what you need to do in 25
seconds. In high school, when you consider when the play ends and when the official marks it ready for play, we have about
32 seconds to run the next play. It takes most teams 17 seconds to get the play into the game, call it, and get out of the huddle.
That leaves somewhere between 7 or 8 seconds to adjust that play. You can adjust all those variables with the play of the
officials. Some officials are slow and deliberate with their style, while others take care of business and get the ball spotted
Teams that play at a faster-pace tempo are teams that run the no-huddle spread offense. You do not have to be a spread
team to have a no-huddle offense. I had a power-I, no-huddle team. However, when people think about the no-huddle offense,
they think about spread teams. You can play any offensive scheme with the no-huddle system. The thing that speeds up the
tempo is how the plays come into the game.
W hen it comes to winning and losing, there is no right tempo! Just because you run a play in 10 seconds does not mean
you will win the game. Tempo does not win games; players do. W hen people talk about tempo, they talk about going fast. That
is not all tempo does. You can go fast, but you can slow down.
If you plan to play tempo football, you should understand why you are doing it. If your defense is not very good, playing fast

does not necessarily help you win. W hen you play fast and have no success offensively, you give the ball back to the other
offense while not allowing your defense to rest. W hatever your reason for going to a tempo offense, make sure you understand
why you want to play at a speed.

Benefits of Tempo

Can drastically gain control of the game

Smaller package of plays
Good vs. unconditioned or inexperienced teams
Good vs. better athletes (usually dont like to think)
Can change other teams tempo
Can make a drastic rhythm change in the game
Always a home run loaded in the pistol
Can make other coaches do uncharacteristic things

W hen you consider the package of plays you have in your playbook or on your call sheet, you need to see what you actually
run. If you have a big call sheet but you do not run all the plays on that sheet, you need to reduce it. Playing with tempo allows
you to play with a smaller package of plays. As a younger coach, I wanted to have something for every situation. W hen I was
an offensive coordinator, I had a play sheet that made it almost impossible to practice all the plays. As you get older and more
mature, you run what you are good at running.
The receiver on your team may want to run 50 different pass plays. Or the running back wants to run 20 different running
plays. W hen you play tempo football, that converts to maybe four running plays and six pass plays. Having that limited offense
makes the players and coaches feel more comfortable.
If you are going to play with a fast tempo, you must practice the same way. You do not walk out to practice. Everything you
do in the practice is at a fast pace. W hen your players go from drill to drill, we tell them this is Ferrari pace to get to the next
drill. The players must get used to those situations.
You have to train your players as to what goes on within the game as far as the referees are concerned. It is like muscle
memory when you train your players about the tempo of the game. W hen the official marks the ball ready to play, the players
know what to do because they did it in practice.
W hen we play teams early in the season, we try to push the heck out of them. We want to push the envelope in relationship
to the speed of the game. Early in the season, teams are not in the type of shape it takes to play a high-tempo team. We want
to jump on them and push hard with the tempo. It really tells on a team in the second and fourth quarters. An inexperienced
team has trouble dealing with up tempo because of the confidence factor in inexperienced players. They are uncomfortable in
what they are doing and tend to play too cautious.

We play teams that have many more and better athletes than we do. However, when we speed up the tempo, it slows down
those athletes. W hen a player is athletic, he depends on natural instincts and natural talent. If he has to think about what he
has to do, it neutralizes his natural ability and slows him down. The better athletes do not want to think; they only want to play.
By playing at a high tempo, we can change the other teams tempo. It does not matter whether they are a slow- or fasttempo team; they have to decide if they are going to try to match our tempo. If we score in 25 seconds, the opponents coach
has to think what he wants to do. Is he going to try to control the ball when that is not part of his game or is he going to try to
score quickly to match our tempo? It puts pressure on the opposing coach to do something.
The biggest thing I like is there is always a home run loaded in the pistol. Our players know that any play can go all the way.
It could be a simple hitch or a zone play. We keep changing personnel and formations. That gives the secondary something to
think about every play. Playing at the speed we play means the defense cannot fall asleep at any time or it is the home run.
They have to continue to think about the defense but have no time to think clearly. Our players know it will happen, and it could
be the next play.
This tempo makes coaches do uncharacteristic things. W hen we start pushing the envelope, the head coach starts to think
how he is going to stop us. If we are scoring quickly, the coach that always plays field position goes for the first down on fourth
down in his own territory.
That is what we want to do. We want the opponents to change what they do. We are not going to change what we do. If the

ball control offense gets behind, it makes them do things they do not normally do. Can the option team throw the ball if it is

Negatives of Tempo

Smaller package of plays

Susceptible to more bad plays
Mistakes are magnified
Must be ready to be second-and-10 or second-and-13
Can often tighten up players
Can often tighten up coaches
Get ready to play some defense!

We have to look at the negatives of tempo, and there are some big ones. There is no way to carry a large package of plays
with this offense. Because we go so fast, we are susceptible to bad plays. There are more chances for the wide receivers to
be in motion or not on the line of scrimmage. The quarterback gets lackadaisical and makes the wrong read. Mistakes are
magnified in this offense.

The coaches must prepare for any situation. They have to be ready for the next play. The results of the previous play cannot
slow down the coach. He has to be ready to call the next play. If the first down play was an incomplete pass, he has to be
ready for second-and-10. If we lose three yards on first down, he has to be ready for second-and-13. You cannot have a big
play every down. He cannot slow down because the play did not work.

If you want to play up tempo, it does not matter what system you use. W hat does matter is whether the players are
comfortable in the system. If you have a quarterback, running back, or receiver who is not comfortable within the system, you
will have problems.

We had a situation on our team this year related to that point. We play with a running back and two slotbacks who are good
players. W hen we went to our tempo game, two of those players had to come off the field. We did not play with our best
players, but they were not comfortable playing in the tempo game.

This system has a tendency to tighten up coaches. If you are a coach who gets a little nervous making a big call, when you
go to a fast tempo, every play is a big call. The coach has to feel confident in his players but also himself. He has to be
confident in his preparation. If the coach is not confident in what he has to do, this system will not work. If the coach gets tight,
that transfers to the players.

In this type of system, the offense does not hold the ball for long periods. You had better have a good defense. Your offense
may be on the field for 45 seconds and the defense has to go back in and get the ball back. If your defense is not good and
stable, you do not need to play tempo football unless it is slow-tempo football. A quick three-and-out is always a possibility with
this type of offense.

University of Oregon Ducks
Another way to send in plays
Quicker way to send in plays
Alternate to signals
Alternate visual with excessive noise
Kids like it

We use sideline boards as our communication devices. We got the idea from the Oregon Ducks. I was like everyone else
that watched Oregons games. I was wondering what the board meant. I wanted to know how they used them and if we could
do something similar. The purpose of the board is another way to send in a play. This is a quicker way to send plays into the

This is an alternate to hand signals. W hen you used a hand signal, it was susceptible to interpretation by the opponent. We
were running out of different signals. It eliminates the noise factor. W hat we do is visual. If they can see it, they can understand
it. The noise in the stadium is not a problem.

The most important thing is the players like it. It builds interest in what we are doing. The designs and pictures that go on the
cards are player driven. They are the ones that read the cards, and they have to remember what the symbols mean. It has to
be something they know. The coaching staff is involved, but they make most of the decisions as to what goes on the cards.
Code to the Boards
Four categories:

Play or formation
Direction or protection
Dummy or cadence

You should consider these options if you are going to make up the sideline boards. W hen we mention direction or
protection, it makes sense to the players who read them. If you decide to do something similar, you may have a different idea.
The information on the boards must be germane to the players. I want to show you how we call a play.
Following are the four different ways we have to call the plays using the boards:
Scenario #1: Eugene
Coach signals (dummy)
Single board is put up with play
Scenario #2: Eugene last
Coach signals (dummy)
Multiple boards are put up (last one up is hot)
Scenario #3: Eugene first
Coach signals (dummy)
Multiple boards are put up (first one up is hot)
Scenario # 4: Eugene 1, 2, 3, 4, hot
Coach signals which board is hot
Multiple boards are put up
#1: head, #2: nose, #3: chest, #4: hip

We have four ways we can use the sideline board and get the plays into the game. The first scenario has Eugene listed.
Eugene is a tempo, which comes from Eugene, Oregon, where we got the idea for the boards. Eugene is one of the
designated sign holders. He has the hot sign. The coach makes a hand signal, which is a dummy signal. After the dummy
signal, we put up four coded boards with the play on it. We run the play board held by Eugene. That is one way to do it.

In the second scenario, we flash Eugene last in our sequence. That means of the multiple boards displayed, the last one is
the hot board. The coachs signal is still a dummy signal. If we flash two boards, the last one up is the hot board.

In the third scenario, we flash Eugene first, which denotes the hot board. The coach gives his signal, which is a dead signal.
We show multiple boards, and the first board is the hot board.
In the fourth scenario, Eugene is 1, 2, 3, 4, and one of those numbers is the hot number. The coachs signal tells the
players which board is the hot board. We have four board holders that stand in the same place each game. If the coach goes
to the head, that is board #1. The other signals are nose, chest, and hip. We have four board holders. They each have two
boards. Both sides of the board have different codes on them. That means each board holder has four boards.

Following is an outline example of one of our boards. The top-left corner is the play. The picture is of W ill Smith, who played
in the movie Hitch. The play is a quick hitch to the single receiver side of the trips set. The symbol in the bottom left is the coat
of arms for a Ferrari car. That meant we were using quick set protection. The fighter jet in the top-right frame meant we were
in jet formation, and the tornado in the bottom left was a dummy call.



Picture of Will Smith; starred in the movie Hitch Picture of a jet fighter
Ferrari car logo

Cadence or Dummy
Cartoon picture of a tornado

The next board shows a man sitting on top of his house with water up to the roof. That means a flood route. The bottom left
is a picture of Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter. That means it is a sprint out to the formation side. The upper right is a picture
of a scuba diver, which means flood three. The bottom left is a dummy call.



Cartoon of a man sitting on top of a house surrounded by water


Picture of Usain Bolt running

Scuba diver

Cadence or Dummy

Cartoon character Road Runner

We have three phases of tempos. W hen we run the Ferrari, we want to go as fast as possible. We want the snap in one to
five seconds. That means one to five seconds added on to the seven seconds it takes to get the play. We want to snap the
ball between 8 to 12 seconds after the referee spots the ball and marks it ready for play. The thing about this tempo is
everyone on the sideline must be ready for a change of personnel. We practice that so we can stay within the game plan using
Ferrari tempo and still change personnel.
Van is our regular tempo. We want to snap the ball 6 to 15 seconds into the play clock. The 6 to 15 seconds is the add-on
time to the 6 to 8 seconds the referees takes to spot the ball. In high school, you cannot go a hundred miles an hour every
Tank tempo is our slow tempo. We played a team in 2006 that played slow. We kept watching them and wondering why
they were taking so long to snap the ball. We finally caught on to what was happening. One of their coaches had a stopwatch.
W hen the referee mark the ball ready for play, he snapped the stopwatch. W hen the time reached 17 seconds, they gave the
quarterback the signal to go. They snapped the ball around 23 to 24 seconds every time. You take that time and add the six to
eight seconds it takes during the play, and they ran four plays and took over two minutes off the clock. They could keep the ball
for six to seven minutes with one first down. We developed our tank tempo after that experience.
This year, we did not have the athletes that we usually have. We played a lot of tank tempo at the end of the season. The
team we played in the playoffs had four extremely skilled athletes. We did not feel we could match point for point against them.
We decided to take the air out of the ball and use the tank tempo. It was 7-0 at halftime. We started the second half with an
onside kick, got the ball, and scored, and we were right back in the game. However, I go back to the original statement: tempo
does not win games; players do.

Check W ith Me
Designed to be a good play
Quarterback gives a fake cadence and players look to sideline
Coach sends in plays via signals or boards

Play is snapped between 7 to 12 seconds

We use this check system at the line of scrimmage. The quarterback gives a dummy signal so we can get a look at what
the defense is doing. After that, the team looks to the sideline. The coach sends signal or uses the sideline boards to call the
play. The quarterback snaps the ball between 7 and 12 seconds. This allows us to get into a better play and out of a bad one.
If you have a high-level quarterback, this is a system you might want to try. You must feel comfortable with your players to
do this. In some games, it got out of hand.

Three-Point Plays
Allows the quarterback to make checks at the line of scrimmage
Quarterback is given three to four plays based on that weeks game plan
Based on a particular formation, which you get with a routine base defense
Allows you to have a quicker check with me system
Quarterback has the best view at interior box
The quarterback has the power!

The coach gives the quarterback three or four plays based on what we have seen in game planning. We run the three-point
play out of one formation. The formation generally gets a based defense from the opponent. This is a quicker system than the
check with me system. The quarterback does not need to look to the sideline; he makes the checks at the line.

If the coach is comfortable with it, trains the quarterback, and keeps it simple for him, it is a good system. The quarterback
has the best view of the interior box. If the quarterback is a W ild West gun fighter, you do not want to use this system with him.

We call this next point even baseball. Baseball has taught us three things: H, B, P. The quarterback has three plays he
can choose. He can run hitch, bubble, or power. We point at the quarterback and give him the hit sign like a batting coach. The
coach swings his arms as if he were swinging a bat. We are telling the quarterback, you have the plays so you make the call.
We may do this twice in a game.

The quarterback has to read the box to come up with the play. If the quarterback reads six defenders in the box, that amount
of defenders equals the power play for us (Diagram 1-1). If we align in a 2x2 set with six in the box, we run power. The last two
years, we have been good in the power game. From this set, we run the one-back power or the quarterback power.

Diagram 1-1. Six in the box = power

If the quarterback reads six in the box with a soft or hard corner, he runs a hitch/fade combination (Diagram 1-2). If he reads
six in the box, that is a run key for us.

Diagram 1-2. Six in the box = hitch/fade

However, if he sees the corner nine yards off the wide receiver, that is an easy pitch and catch on the hitch. If he see our #1
receiver with a pressed corner aligned on him, that converts to a fade pattern. This is a confidence type of play. If he is
confident that he can make the throw, he throws the hitch or fade route. If he is unsure of what he is seeing, he runs the ball.
The last one is an easy call (Diagram 1-3). If the defense aligns with seven or eight in the box, we want to throw the bubble
screen. W hen the defense tries to tighten up and stop the run, we want to throw the bubble screen to the outside.

Diagram 1-3. Seven in the box

Tempo is great, but it depends on how you use it. For teams that do not use the spread, you can still be a high-tempo team.
The thing that makes you a tempo team is how you get the information into the game. It does not have to be boards. You can
use signals. You can take the sideline boards and use them a different way.
You can use anything to change the tempo of the game. If you are a good team, it can make you a better team. If you are a
struggling team by using tempo, you can put pressure on the good teams in your conference.

The Hurry-Up,
No-Huddle Offense

Tommy Bowden
Clemson University

Let me assure you I had a hard time convincing my wife that I had to speak here on Friday night, Valentines Day. Are any of
you here tonight married? Lets see a show of hands. Well, you were married. You will be sleeping on the sofa when you get
home Sunday, I will promise you that. Being here on Valentines Day is a tough act. I have spoken at this clinic before. I was a
former assistant at Kentucky and I knew you took football very seriously. We have always had a good crowd when I lecture
I want to go over the shotgun offense. W hen I first started using the shotgun in 1988 I was an assistant at Alabama. I was
working with Homer Smith who had been in coaching a long time. Since that time I have always been involved with some
aspect of the shotgun.
W hen I went to Tulane to be the head coach, we played in the Superdome. We did not have a lot of good players. We knew
we had Astroturf and we knew we would have a fast track for our games. We wanted to be able to win some games and win
with big scores. We favored the high scoring games over the close, defensive games. I have just finished my sixth year with
this offense.

I have just finished my fourth year at Clemson. A lot of high schools have gone to this offense. Lou Holtz went to South
Carolina the same time I went to Clemson. He was an I-formation and I-over type team. He had used the option game when he
was at Notre Dame. After that first year we had some success with the shotgun at Clemson. In the second year South
Carolina started running some of the shotgun. So we had both big state schools of South Carolina using the shotgun offense.
A lot of the high schools around the state of South Carolina started using the shotgun offense.
Some of the things we try to do with the shotgun offense are similar to what most offensive teams want to do. First of all,
we want to be able to run the football. It is our priority. Every time we go to the line of scrimmage we would like to run the ball.
In the six years as a head coach, we have gained over 2,000 yards a year in five of those six years running the ball. This past

year was the first year we did not run for 2,000 yards.
consider it a running offense.

A lot of people think the shotgun offense is a passing offense, but we

You do not need a big back to run the ball out of the shotgun. The first two years I was at Tulane we had Shawn King as our
quarterback. He set the record in the NCAA for passing efficiency. He was only 61 and played quarterback for us. W hen I
went to Clemson, the quarterback was about 510. His name was Woodrow Dantzler. He made it as a running back with the
Dallas Cowboys. In the 2001 season, Woodrow Dantzler was the only player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and run
for 1,000. I think the Iowa quarterback may have broken that record this past year.
I know the high schools are limited in personnel. You have to take what comes to you in your school. But most of the time
coaches take their best athlete and put him at quarterback. If you only have one player that has speed and agility, you can still
have success with this type of offense.

We move the pocket to give our quarterbacks a better view on the plays. We move the pocket for the short players so they
can see the field. So, you do not need a 63 quarterback to run this offense. W ith Kentucky running the shotgun, many of you
are familiar with the shotgun offense.
The first place I want to start in talking about the shotgun offense is with communications. If you have run this offense you
know you must signal plays in by hand. The opponents will be able to pick up your signals. I want to give you some ideas that
will help you when teams do get your signals on the offense.

I will cover some of the problems we have encountered over the last few years. If the opponents get the signals, what do
you do? First is the snap count. We like a rhythmic cadence. We also go on a silent rhythm with our quarterback. We will
change the rhythm to draw the defense offsides.
Several years ago we taught our center to make a soft, dead-floating snap to the quarterback in the shotgun. If it was a bad
snap the ball would not go very far. If the snap was off center it would not be too hard to handle when its the soft floating snap.
This was back in 1988, which was some 14 years ago.
I think Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills was one of the first to take advantage of the shotgun attack. He had a lot of success in
the shotgun.

We wanted that soft, dead-floating snap to come back between the waist and the top of the numbers inside the
quarterbacks body frame. Now, after 14 years in the shotgun, I know it is dangerous to float the ball back to the quarterback.
Those players on the end will time it and come hard at the quarterback and get their about the time that floating snap gets back
to him. So we have tried to speed up the snap now from the center to the quarterback. Now we want a loose, but somewhat
tight spiral on the ball. You may want to know what a loose but somewhat tight spiral snap is. It has a little zip on it but it is not
a hard snap like a punt or extra point snap. The ball has a little rotation on it.
If you are going to start the shotgun as a new formation, I would start with the dead floater. This will give your center more
confidence and it will allow the deep back to handle any snap that is off center.
Here is our communication on the shotgun. The center will get over the ball and look between his legs. He looks at the
quarterback. Our quarterback will raise his foot to indicate to the center when to snap the ball. By using the foot we hope to
keep the signal from the safety. Hopefully, the foot will be low enough so the deep defenders will not see it. The center will
snap the ball on the movement of the foot of the center or he will wait until the quarterback raises his head.
Another way to get the center to snap the ball is to have the quarterback lift his foot, then raise his head, and then have the
center silently count to himself, One thousand one, one thousand two. It is on a silent count.

The guards do not have a problem with this because they can sit there and see the snap. Some teams will hold hands on
the snap. We do not hold hands. Most linemen can see the snaps out of the corner of their eyes. If you run this a lot of the time
the linemen will get the feel of it and it will not be a problem.
Next I want to cover the communications from the sideline. Remember we do not huddle with this offense. We have not
huddled in six years. We do not have a huddle in our notebook. We just do not huddle. We communicate to the offense when
we want to milk the clock, short yardage, and goal line offense. It may be a key play in the game. Everything is done at the line
of scrimmage.

We take the person that is going to send the signals to the offense and put him on the sideline. We are going to signal in the
formation or the play. We signal this information to the quarterback. The players responsible for reading the signal include the

wideouts, the backs, the tight end, and the quarterback. The quarterback does not have to communicate the information to the
other receivers. They must get the information on their own.
The fat guys, or the offensive line, they just waddle up to the line of scrimmage and sit. They do not want to exert any more
energy than they have to. We do not flip-flop our line. We go right and left with our line. As soon as we run a play the center will
address the ball after the official marks it ready for play. The center takes his stance and the guards and tackles line up on
him. They just sit there looking straight ahead.

All of the skilled players must read the signal from the sideline. The play may come down from the box to the person that is
to signal the information to the offense. We signal the formation and the play. We signal the play to the quarterback. Once the
quarterback sees the play he goes to the line and tells them the play. Let me give you an example. We signal in the 37 zone
play to the left side. The quarterback calls out 37, 37 to the line. Everyone knows the play is going to be 37 zone to the left side.
The quarterback drops back to his regular position in the shotgun. Before he raises his foot he looks at the sideline at the
signaler. We give him another signal. We tell him to stay with the play called or we will change the play based on numbers, or
alignment, or what we are trying to do for that game.
The question is how much time do we have to do all of this communicating to the offense? If you watch the officials
between downs you will see you have a lot of time. Some of those big fat officials do not move very swiftly. They walk up to the
ball and make it. They go over to the chain gang and tell them to move the chains. There is a lot of time between the downs
and the official marking the ball ready for play.
If you will time the play out, you will be surprised at the amount of time it takes to do all of this. From the time we signal in
the formation and the play, and the time it takes the quarterback to go to the line and call out the play, and then drop to his set
position, then look to the sideline to get the stay signal, a total of 17 seconds will be left on the 25-second clock. I can assure
you of this because we have been running this system since 1988.

You can get the play off quicker than the 17 seconds left on the clock. I will show you some plays you can run quicker than
the 17 seconds. They are plays that do not involve calls with the line. You can get the play off very fast if you do not want to add
a lot of information to the play.
If you do change the play then you are talking about more time coming off the 25-second clock. Some of our plays that are
changed go down to three or four seconds left on the 25-second clock.
You will be surprised at the amount of time between plays and the time you need to signal in the plays. You have a lot of
time to discuss the situation with your coordinators or other coaches between plays. You can get a lot of information from the
coaches up in the press box in that amount of time. We do not huddle and that is how the communication goes.
I want to show you some film just on the snap. If you have any questions about the snap ask them now.
Question: If you want to run the 37 play again, how do you keep the defense from knowing the play when you do call it a
second time?
The defense will eventually get the call. But you can mix it up so they have a hard time figuring out what you are doing. For
example, instead of calling the 37 left, we could call out 37 Louie, 37 Louie. This would tell our line we are going to the left. We
would make up an L-word and an R-word to indicate left and right. Against teams that scout us several times forces us to
change the name of the plays. I will show you some of the things we do to combat that situation.

In our last game of the year we played South Carolina. We went on the snap with the quarterback lifting his foot. Last
season we opened up the season with Georgia. They had three months to study our cadence. All of a sudden the quarterback
lifts his foot but the center did not snap the ball. The center lifts his head and then snaps the ball. We drew them offsides
seven times in that first game. I suggest you change your cadence to keep the defense honest. We have the center freeze just
a minute on the snap and the defense will jump offsides.
The first thing you want to do is to get into a rhythm with the snap count. Then you work on being non-rhythmic. It is all done
with silent signals.

After the defense starts stemming on us we change the cadence. The quarterback looks at the defense, and as soon as he
lifts his foot he sees the defense move or stem to another position. The quarterback will lift his foot, and freeze. If the defense
does move the quarterback will call a play we have set up in our game plan. We want him to pause with about seven seconds

left on the clock. We change the play after movement by the defense.
Against Florida State we had to check off because of the blitz. The quarterback looked over to the sideline and we gave him
the signal. We had a run play called. We see man coverage and a blitz coming. The quarterback looks over one more time
and we signal a blitz check. We change the play to a pass play. We change the protection and call a pass play. All of the
receivers are looking to the sideline for the signal. The quarterback does not have to tell them anything.
The quarterback will call 70 left, 70 left. That tells the line the protection is 70 and the tight end is going to block on the play.
We try to hit a take-off route to the field side. That is all we are doing on the play. We have changed the play at the line of
scrimmage from a run to a pass.
The question everyone wants to know is this: W hat happens when the defense knows your signals? We know some teams
will get all the information on us from their scouting report. We can tell when the other teams get our signals. We can still run
the play against them even if they do know where the play is going. That is not good, but we will change it up enough to keep
them honest.
After we are aware the teams know our signals, we will change the plays. If you call the plays at the line of scrimmage they
are going to get your signals. But you can change things around to keep teams honest. We will change from left to Louis or
some other L-words.
W hen we go with the quarterback under the center we go to a verbal cadence. Anytime we are in the I formation with the
quarterback under the center we will use the verbal count and we go on rhythm, or we can go on non-rhythm snap counts.
The next point I want to cover is our

dummy signaler. We will put them on the sideline and they will give out a bunch of

If we see the linebackers reading their wristbands, we know what they are doing. They are reading the blitz calls from the
sideline. W hen we see them reading the wristbands we know it is going to be a blitz of some type. You can pick that up if you
will look for it.

Anytime I ask for volunteers to give the dummy signals, I get about eight people that want to give them. They are all good at
it. I will take a couple of guys and make one of them live the first quarter and the other man will be dead for that quarter. You
can get the third-string quarterback or the freshman quarterback to signal in the dummy plays. You can have a live players and
a dummy player calling the signals. It is easy to give signals. If we feel someone is getting our signals at the line, we use two
people to signal the plays in. Our running back coach and wide receiver coach happens to be our signal people for us. They
will exchange being live and being the dummy on the signals.
I want to talk about critical goal line check on the signals. We are not huddling and we are going in for the score. We are
under center and we check off to an option play. We still do not huddle in those situations. We call the play accordingly.
The next situation is when we want to milk the clock. We want to run the clock down as much as we can. We try to get the
ball snapped with only three seconds left on the 25-second clock. We make the team aware of the clock situations and we do
not want to start the cadence before we are read. We will let the clock run down before we start our snap count. You can see
what we do in those situations. I have some film where we ran the clock down that I want you to see so you can see what we
do in those situations.
I just wanted to show you that you can get the job done in the no-huddle offense. You can use it when the crowd noise is
against you, and you can use it to milk the clock the same as you do with the huddle.
The question has been raised about the pros who cover their mouths when the coaches on the sideline are calling the plays
to the quarterbacks on the headsets. The question is this: Do teams hire lip readers to try to get the plays from the coaches to
the quarterbacks? I am not sure about that, but I guess they could. I think they are lip reading most of the time when they can
do it. I guess the coaches do not want the defenses to read their lips. That is about the only thing I can think is the reason they
cover their mouth when they talk with the quarterback.
I want to go over some plays that you can run fast out of the no-huddle offense. We want to snap the ball as soon as the
umpire gets off the ball and the referee marks it ready for play. We have 25 seconds to put the ball into play.
If you are going to go on a fast count you cannot have the offensive line make blocking calls. The same is true with the
protection. You do not have time to make those calls. I want to show you a couple of plays that do not involve a call at the line

of scrimmage. I will show you a run that does not involve a call and I will show you a couple of protections you can use that
does not require a call at the line. If you only have six plays you can run this offense. All you have to do is to complete one pass
over 10 yards to keep the drive going.
First you can run the sprint-out pass with gap protection or slide protection depending on what you want to call the
protection. We do not need a call to run this play. Everyone is going to step to the outside to block on the play. You can run the
jailbreak screen pass without making a call. The linemen can go downfield on the play because you are throwing the ball
behind the line of scrimmage. You can run a zone run play to the right or to the left. You can run the three-step drop passing
game without making calls on the line.
I will show you a couple of plays that I feel the quarterback can execute without a lot of difficulty. The first play is a highpercentage play that is easy to execute. I will show you the play from a couple of formations. We want the slot man on the
inside to be lined up on the hash marks. The wide man is lined up outside on the numbers. It is a long way outside. The wide
man is between the sideline and the hash mark. This is our sprint play to the right side (Diagram 2-1).

Diagram 2-1. Sprint play to the right side

The wide receiver runs a five-yard route and comes back to the football. The slot man runs a 10-yard flag route behind the
wide receiver. We want the quarterback to throw the ball on his fifth step. That is his first read. If the receiver is open he will hit
him with the pass.

My father went from playing football into college coaching. Had my dad gone on to coach in high school, I probably would
have been a high school coach. He taught me this next point. If you have a booster club members son on your team that does
not pay a lot this will help you. The booster club member would give you more money if his son played more. This offense is
suited for this type of move. You can take that booster club members son and put him on the outside on the backside of the
pattern. You can put him in the game on certain plays that will not hurt the offense. You can let him run the hitch route and then
sprint away from him (Diagram 2-2).

Diagram 2-2. Hitch route

As the season goes along, the son of the booster club member catches on to what you are doing with him. He lets you
know that he thinks he can beat the defense deep. You tell him to go to the wide receiver position and to go deep. You sprint
out away from him and throw the hitch to the sprint side. The son runs the deep route and keeps the defense honest and
everyone is happy. We do not want to throw him the ball on the backside.

You can take the center and quarterback out on the field and have them practice this play from the different positions on the
field. He can start on the left hash mark. The center snaps the ball to the quarterback and he sprints out to his right and throws
the hitch route. Then you move the ball to the middle of the field. Now the quarterback can spring either way and throw the
hitch route. Then the ball is placed on the right hash mark and the quarterback takes the snap and sprints to the left side. All
you need for the drill is one center and two wide receivers with the quarterback. You can get five reps to the right and five to the
left before practice starts.

I want to show you one additional formation with the same type of routes involved. We go from a trips formation. We want
the outside receiver to run the deep route. The inside slot man runs a hitch route just beyond the area where the wide receiver
lined up. The second back runs a 10-yard out route. It turns out to be a high-low route (Diagram 2-3). We sprint to the outside
on the play. Again we are throwing on the fifth step.

Diagram 2-3. High-low route

If you are looking for good plays that you can run coming out of your own end zone, you can use these two plays. They are
safe plays. They are good coming-out patterns. The slant passes inside are dangerous plays. If we want a little more
protection on the pass plays you can use these two plays.
If you play us, we are going to throw the ball coming off the goal line. We will throw the deep post, and the takeoff that is
similar to the post. We will run the out route as well. The ball is going outside or it is going down the field. It is just like a punt if
the defense intercepts the ball.
Here is a running play you can use when you want to go on the quick count. We like to run the sweep from the trips
formation look (Diagram 2-4). You do not need to make any calls on the play.

Diagram 2-4. Sweep from the trips formation

To keep the defense from keying on the sweep we have what we call tendency breakers. If the defense keys the tailback on
the sweep each time he is lined up on the weakside, we run a tendency breaker. We line up in the same formation. Now we
fake the sweep and have the quarterback keep the ball and break it over the backside (Diagram 2-5).

Diagram 2-5. Tendency breaker

I want you to know you can develop tendencies on offense. That is why we like to self-scout our offense to see if we are
developing certain tendencies. If you are looking for fast plays where you can sprint out, you can run the zone plays. We do not
need to make calls on these plays.
Here is another play you can use without making calls at the line. We spread the two ends on the play. It is a highpercentage throw (Diagram 2-6). We can run the three-step drop game and block the gaps. We can throw the hitch, slants,
takeoffs, and out routes from this set. I like hitches over outs.

Diagram 2-6. High-percentage throw

If you are going to gap protect you can put the back to the opposite side. You can block the gaps with the line and have the
back pick up the C gap on the backside.
If it is a short throw, the quarterback wants his hands in the proper position on the laces of the football. He may not get the
laces the way he wants them. On a short throw it will not hurt the quarterback, but on a long throw he needs to get the laces
turned properly in his hand.
W hen the quarterback gets the ball there is not a drop involved in the play. It is a matter of catch-and-throw on the play. It is
like a shortstop in baseball. It is like a second baseman in baseball. He catches the ball and gets the ball off as soon as he
can. It is the same with the quarterback. If the quarterback is under center he does take a one, two, three steps and then he
throws. From the shotgun it is catch-and-throw on this route.
There is no call on our jailbreak screen play (Diagram 2-7). If you want the blocking on the play, drop me a note and I will
send you the blocking. Basically we are going to send the uncovered linemen out to block on the play. This is just another play

that does not involve call for your linemen.

Diagram 2-7. Jailbreak screen play

The question is asked about the line splits between the guard and tackle. Here is our rule. It is in its most generic form
because we will split to take advantage of the defense. We tell the guard to split one-and-a-half feet from the center. The tackle
is going to split two feet. The tight end splits three feet if he is in position. We will play around with the splits against certain
The next play I want to talk about has been the number one play in our offense the last six years. However, we do not run it
fast and it does involve a call by the line. We have the backside tackle pull on the play. We try to run the play out of trips set
(Diagram 2-8).

Diagram 2-8. Backside tackle pulls out of trips set

We can have the tailback run the ball instead of the quarterback. We counter the play and give the ball to the tailback on the
cutback (Diagram 2-9).

Diagram 2-9. Tailback on the cutback

A good play to run against the teams that try to send their defensive end with the pulling take is the quarterback keep play to
the area where the tackle pulled (Diagram 2-10). The quarterback reads the defensive end. If the defensive end goes with our
pulling tackle, the quarterback reads him and runs the ball to the open area where the end left. The offense does not need to
know the quarterback is keeping the ball on the play.

Diagram 2-10. Quarterback keep

The question asked about the quick plays is: How do you know when to run the quick plays? We use an indicator to let the
team know we are going to use our fast offense. We have the quarterback come to the line and call the play. He may call out,
80 80. He may call out, 85 85. To us the 80 is the sprint-out protection and the 5 is the route. We use 80 to the right and
90 to the left. The 5 in the 85 is a pass-route package. It is a mirrored passing route (Diagram 2-11).

Diagram 2-11. Quick play

To get the team in the fast mode, Rich Rodriguez of W VU has the quarterback call out, Indy Indy, indicating the
Indianapolis 500. He may have the quarterback call out, Daytona Daytona.
Our 83 package is a vertical pass route. The 80 is the spring out to the right side. The 3 is the vertical route for us.
W hen the players hear those calls they sprint back to the line of scrimmage to line up. We use a live work to let the team
know we are going to run the quick plays.

I learned a lot from Homer Smith when we worked together at Alabama. Homer had a military background. He would use
words that were military words that were used in the heat of battle. For example the words Tango, Niner, Alpha, Foxtrot , and
Charlie are used by the military. Homer was very smart. The words he used made a lot of sense.

A question is asked about our protection from the I formation. We call it 69 man protection. We have five linemen blocking
plus one back. That is our 69 man protection. If we call 89 we spring to the play. If we call 69 it is a dropback play.
I will close here. You are welcome to come to see us at Clemson. I appreciate your attention. Thank you.

Logistics of the
No-Huddle Offense

Tom Craft
San Diego State University

I am a little under the weather today, but I want to give you some ideas that may help you in your program. I am going to talk
about the no-huddle offense. We have been running this offense a long time, perhaps too long. We started running this offense
in 1979. I will give you a short prelude to why we went to this offense and how far we have come with the system over the
I served as an assistant coach at Palomar Community College from 1977 to 1982. We were the worst football team in the
country. W ith the school openly questioning its commitment to football, I suggested to our head coach to let us run the no
huddle offense. After questioning me why we should use the offense, I finally convinced the head coach to let us try it in a
game. He told me we could run the offense as long as we scored on each series.
We were able to score three straight times in the first game we used the offense. On the fourth series, the other team
scored a touchdown and the head coach canned the no huddle offense. We ended up getting beat 38 to 36 in that game.
That experience really had an impact on me as a coach. I took over the head coaching duties in 1983 at Palomar. I was a
young coach and I was not wet behind the years so I took the job as head coach at Palomar College. After a pair of 4-6
seasons, we began to improve. By the time I left the San Marcos school for the Aztec coordinators job, Palomar was coming
off a three-year stretch of 31-2 record. We had an offense ranked among the nations top five for five consecutive years and
were sporting two national championships.

After three years at San Diego State, I returned to Palomar and spent five more seasons at the school, producing another
eight-win, 10-win, 11-win season, and another national title.

At Palomar College, my record was 115-56-1. Five of our teams won at least 10 games and we won three national
championships and three California community college state championships. I was the State Coach of the Year five times and
the Mission Conference coach of the year nine times. We posted a 9-3 record in bowl games.

I took the offense and finally figured out a way to practice with the system and we became very effective using the no huddle

If you are going to be a no huddle offense, you must be committed to practicing the offense all of the time. You cannot use
the offense the last two minutes of the half and at the end of the game. You must be committed to the offense to make it work.
I went to San Diego State as an assistant in 1994. I put the offense in and had great success. Ted Tollner was the head
coach. In 1995, we had a 1,500 plus yards rusher, a 2,000 plus yards receiver, and a 3,000 plus yards passer. I was shocked
to learn this was he first time this was done in the history of college football.

I went to San Diego State three years ago and we have the offense in the working. The thing we are excited about is the fact
we are developing an offensive style and a defensive system where we can attract good players to come to our school.
I can tell you some of the advantages and some of the disadvantages of our system. There are things I am not going to tell
you about our system because I just will not tell you everything we do. I can tell you as far as our calls that we use words, we
use numbers, and we use symbols. We use a variety of things in our offense.

W hen we are on offense, the first thing the quarterback does is to look to the sideline at me. I signal the formation in to the
quarterback. He will call out the formation to both sides of the offense. We try to get our receivers to watch the signals as I give
the formation to the quarterback. Most of the time the receivers on the side of the field where we are located can see us and
pick up the signals. The quarterback wants to make sure he gets the signal to the players on the sideline away from us. That is
the first thing we do from a procedure standpoint.
The next thing we do is to signal in the play to the quarterback. From there the quarterback sets the play to both sides of the
formation. We control the snap count as well as the play.

It does not really matter how fast you go in running the plays. The bottom line, after the ball is snapped, is how good you are.
Are you good at the football fundamentals, and are you good as football players? Teams get caught up in schemes and try to
confuse the defense. It does not matter what scheme you use unless you can execute the plays.
Let me talk about the advantages and disadvantage of the no huddle offense. I have some points of reference that I will take
you through. I have talked about this before but I have some different thoughts about this now. By using the no-huddle offense,
we gain certain advantages.

First, our offense can create a state of anxiety for our offensive coordinator and the head coach. It can be a state of anxiety
trying to run the offense if you do not make a commitment to the offense. You must make the commitment. That means you
can do a variety of things. I will go over our schedule and show you how we go about our practices covering the fine details of
the offense.

By creating a state of anxiety, I mean the offense is going to dictate to the defense what they can do and what they cannot
do. We do not want them to be able to do things they like to do during a game. We want to force them to do things they are not
use to doing in a game.

We designed our offense with the players in mind. W ith todays age of specialization, the kids strive in this type of offense.
This is one of the factors makes football fun.

Second, it simplifies the defense. It goes back to what I just said. Some teams try to play you with certain personnel on
certain downs. This offense makes it difficult for the defense to specialize with their personnel on certain downs. We may
favor playing against a certain defensive personnel grouping. We can dictate to the defense as far as the personnel types they
play against us.

We used to be able to establish the tempo of the games. Now that our league is going to instant replay review, we will be
having too many timeouts to establish the tempo as we use to do. That is something we will have to work on.
Establishing the tempo is one of the four areas that are important in establishing the game plan. We have our first down
plays. We have our third down and long, third down and short, and we have our red area. Now we can call the plays
regardless of the situations in the game. You can make it all a part of your game plan.
Fourth, it gets your quarterback more involved in the game. The concentration factor goes up tremendously. It keeps the
quarterback more interested. He makes decisions quicker.
In many cases, the defenses do a good job in preparing for the offense. They do a good job of disguising what they are

doing on defense. We have different fronts; they stem the defense, and the string out the defense. Then we change things and
go to a huddle. Now the defense comes out and plays it straight. They do not disguise what they are doing and it is what we
want on offense. It is amazing to go back and change things to get the defensive look we want.

Fifth, it creates more repetitions on offense. A normal offense can get six plays in five minutes. If you are a huddle team and
you have a ten-minute period, it means you can run 12 plays in that time period. If you have a fifteen-minute period, you may
get in 18 plays. W ith the no-huddle offense, we can almost double the number of plays we can run in the same amount of
We have started spring practice and we have a scrimmage tomorrow. We have installed everything we need to run the nohuddle offense in three days. We start out running 12 plays per team in a series. Then we game-plan six plays in the next
series and six in the third series. We picked all of the offense up by starting with three plays, then six plays, and then eight
plays. We end up running about 25 plays with the no huddle and about 35 using the standard huddle. We want to push the
envelope with them, but the main thing is to introduce the offense first and then do a portion of the offense at the line of
scrimmage. Gradually, we build on the script and eventually we can run all of our offense in the no huddle.
Sixth, we become better practice players by using this system. It becomes a mental thing for the players and they have to
concentrate on what we are doing. The mental aspects of the players are stimulated with the offense. We try to do things
quicker and faster and the players are not bored. It can get boring if the players are standing around in practice.

Seventh, the team is in better condition. There is no question about this point. We struggle somewhat early in the season to
stay in the huddle for the entire game. By the time we get to mid-season, we are a different football team. In our first game two
years ago, we played Ohio State and they were coming off their National Championship year. We played them tough and
should have beaten them but we lot to them by three points. This year against Michigan, we lost again by three points to start
the season. Our offense is a style of football that allows us to be creative on offense. Our offense is an offense that can put
your team into a competitive situation when you are outmatched.

Eighth, the type of offense we run allows our offense to be well organized. I will give you a couple of sequences during
practice that we use that helps us to be better prepared. Our coaches know they must coach on the run.

We had a specialist come in and work with our staff and our players. He was the same doctor that worked with Ryan Leaf.
He worked with our players and staff. We learned a great deal from the time spent with him.

The doctor was a big picture psychologist. He said if the assistant coaches are the big picture-type position coaches,
they will pay more attention to the total game and leave out some of the small details related to the specific position they are
coaching. He said if assistant coaches have aspirations of becoming head coaches and coordinators, they do the same thing
in that they become big picture coaches. They leave out some of the fine details and do not stress the fundamentals as much
as they would if they were not looking at the big picture.

My job was to get the position coaches from one position to the other position where they did not concentrate on the big
picture as much. The head coach must be a big picture and a fundamentalist at the same time. This is an interesting way to
view the game. The thing I got out of the procedure was to pay more attention to detail and coaching on the run. The other
thing I got from the study was the way we structured our practice sessions.

Ninth, it made it difficult to scout tendencies within our offense. This may or may not be a big advantage because it all
depends on how you put our game plan together. All this is for our offense is a conditioning process that we do in practice
every day. Our players are used to the quick practices. Our coaches work them at a faster pace as well. W hen we play a
team that has only been working for three days against this type of offense, it makes it difficult for them. It can overwhelm
I have been running this system for 27 years. In the middle of the second quarter, you can really start to see the difference
in the teams. We are really a good football team right before the end of the first half. In the last part of the third quarter and into
the fourth quarter, there is a big difference in the efficiency of the teams.
Let me cover some of the disadvantages of the no-huddle offense. First, it puts more pressure on our defense. This is how
we approach that situation. We take the pressure off our defense by scoring. We want to have a fast breaking type of offense.
By putting the pressure on the other team, it takes pressure off our defense. I have heard this from the media. The statements
came from the media even though we were having a good season: Well, you are good on offense, but you cannot have a
good defense if you run the no-huddle offense. Your defense will be on the field too long. I tell them our defense is not on the
field too long. We are on the field quicker at times but no more than we normally would be in a game.

Another factor to consider is this. In 2003, we had the best defensive football team in the history of San Diego State. We
ranked eighth in the country on total defense. So do not tell me we cannot have a good defense. We sell our defense on this
idea. You may have to be on the field quicker but we are going to take the pressure off the defense because we are going to
Young players get confused in the offense and because they are confused, they may lack confidence. This is an
intimidating thing. We know our young players have to learn things at a fast pace and that can be a problem especially for
those young players. We really try to take our younger players and expose the offense to them but we do not rush them
because we do not want them to lose confidence and get frustrated.
I want to move to the next step in this lecture. I have listed some of the variations of the no-huddle offense based on the
game. The first variation is tempo. I have a weeks plan of how we go about putting together our game plan for the week so we
can use a fast-paced, no-huddle offense. This relates to planning. W hat are we going to do on third and medium, third and
long? W hat are you going to call in the red area? We have to huddle in the red area. We started six freshmen on offense this
year. We played eight freshmen on offense. We were in the top 20 in the country on offense. I believe we can be good on
offense in the future.
Tempo is an important process to us on offense. The young players learned to function in the offense and now they must
learn it in detail. Tempo is very important to our offense. That is why we work on the play on the wideside, boundary plays, and
red-zone plays.
The next disadvantage is it allows the defense to stall on their defensive alignment. We tell our offense to wait and see! It
takes the guesswork out of play calling. Today, defensive teams will not show their alignment until the quarterback gets his
hands under the center and starts calling the plays. Remember what I said earlier. If that is the case, then we will go back to
our huddle. If the defense does a good job of disguising the coverage and their stems on defenses, we go back to our regular
huddle. We go back to the huddle, then come up to the line of scrimmage and then call the play. The defense is conditioned to
do one thing, and they may not be conditioned to do something else. That is the beauty of this system.
We call our fast alignment bonsai. We come out with two tight ends and two wide-outs. We have used this to move the
ball down the field. We can stay in that same formation and run our offense. You will be amazed how fast you can run the
offense in this alignment. We do not flip flop our receivers in this alignment.
In the mid 1990s, we were able to do this all of the time. We were seventh and eighth in the nation on offense in 1995 and
1996, respectfully. But today as soon as you flip-flop your personnel it sets off an alert to the defense. W hat the defense has a
hard time with is a balanced set on offense. It may not be the case with high schools, but that is the case for us at our level. It
is funny how things change in this respect.
The squeeze is what we call a designed sequence of three or four plays that you can use in certain situations. We run a
selection of plays packaged for our offense. You can go on the first sound and go as fast as you can line up. Here is an
example. You may start out in a no-backs-set. We are going to come out and run three receivers to one side and two
receivers to the other side on the play. You do not want to have a complicated reading progression play. You may want to
come out and run an isolation route to your best player that you know is going to be good. Next, you may want to line up in an
unbalanced line because you know the ball is going to be in a certain area on the field and run the toss play. The third play will
be a play to the wideside of the field. You would be surprised how well the kids strive to make the plays work. Our kids look
forward to it every day. You would be surprised how fast they will line up for you.
Then you can back off and call a play to complement the plays you have just run. It gives the offense confidence and it
creates a sense of urgency for when they are on the field.
We have used the three plays aspect one time in each half. We may not run these plays until we get to the opponents 30yard line. Then we use the three plays to hit the defense with a different tempo. It is two different sequences of plays.
Now I want to move to the weekly schedule. The first thing we do is to figure out what are going to be our base running
plays. Next, we list what is going to be our specialty runs. This is the key. I want a priority progression of our favorite
formations from the best to the least favorite formation. That is how we game-plan for the week:

Running game
Prioritize by formations
Base plays
Specialty plays

New plays
Blitz beaters
After going through the formation, we script the plays we were going to use. You see our favorite formation listed more than
the other formations. We run a lot more plays from the favorite formation than we run from the third or fourth best formation.
This really helps us adjust in the second half.
In the fall, we look at the new plays we plan to use for the upcoming game. The last things we look at are the plays we
consider as blitz beaters. These are plays we are going to take a shot on this play to burn the defense on the blitz. We can
run a special play to get us out of a tough spot. We must have a plan to deal with the blitz and we must be able to do it from
the first day. We want to work on three things in our weekly schedule: run game, new plays, and blitz beaters.

This takes us into our Tuesday practice session. For high schools, it may be your Monday practice. We practice early in the
morning. We do not practice in the afternoon. We practice at 6:30 AM. We have two dirt fields and the weather is nice. It is a
lot cooler in the morning in San Diego. This is especially true in September. It works out great for us. One thing I like about the
early practice is the fact that not many people get up and watch us practice.

The practice is devoted to the base run, pass, and the blitz beaters and special plays we are going to use in the game
coming up. We work on the plays we are going to run on first and second downs. This is what a mixed down is to me, first and
second downs. The first and second downs are ten times more important than the third down. The third down is the most
overrated play in football. Third down is the play the media loves to talk about and discuss.
We only use the seven-on-seven once a week. W hen we go one-on-one, we use non-verbal signals. I do not want anyone
yelling the route out. I want it all done by using signals. The wide receivers all stay outside in their position. This helps us when
we get in a stadium where the noise level is so great.

W hen we use the seven-on-seven, we do the same thing. We stand at the line of scrimmage. I signal the play to the
quarterback. I let the receivers see the formation and the play. The quarterback tries to signal the play instead of calling it out.
We can split it up and run half of the plays with verbal commands and half with visual signals. By doing this, we get in more

I do not like to run the nine-on-seven drill that much. I like 11-on-11. I want the receivers to be able work on alignment
quickly. I want the linemen to see the defenders they are going to block. We may only go for 10 minutes but we get in 18 to 20
plays. We may have the first unit go two sets of eight plays and then the second unit comes in and runs their two sets of eight
We script the defenses we want to use against our offense. We give them the front and the secondary coverage. The
defense knows from the script what we want them to show the offense. I do not have a copy of the defense. It gives me a
chance to rehearse to get ready for the game. You have to get ready to call the plays the same way you will be calling them in
a game. The coach ends up being a quarterback calling the plays. You can train yourself to call the game from the sideline and
not rely on someone up in the box to call the plays for you. You can still get feedback from the press box but you can get used
to calling the plays from the sideline. A big thing with the media is the fact that I do not wear a headset. So, big deal!
On our practice on Wednesday, we compile the third down and medium, third and long, and third and extra long. You will
find there are a lot more third down and medium plays than there are third down and long. You must convince your
quarterback to stay out of third and long situations. We have a lot more plays to select from in third and medium than we do on
third and long. We also work on the red zone area and we work on our blitz period. W hen we work on the third down plays, I
want the entire team watching the offense. I want the team to hear the kind of plays we are going to use on third downs.
We like to go ones on ones for about seven minutes on Wednesday. We do not want them to get stale by not going live for
a few plays.

On Thursday, we work on our red area, short yardage plays, goal-line offense, and screens and draws. We do not hit during
this practice session.
One of our goals this spring is to be a better play-action team. Last year we threw for 2,700 yards and ran for 1,700 yards.
We were successful on our play-action plays 39 percent of the time. We had a sack or a hit on the quarterback 14 percent of
the time. If we can just improve our play action passing game 11 percent it will get us up to the 50 percent mark. In our dropback game, we are successful over 70 percent of the time. We must get the play-action game up to our drop-back game.
W hen I script the plays, this is how I set it up. The first play is first and ten, the second play is second and eight, and the

third play is third and one. The very first third down that we have, we want to make sure it is third and one for the first down.
We come back and put the ball on the two-and-a-half-yard line. It is fourth and three to go for the touchdown. It is the last
play of the game. W hat play would you use? Then we put the ball back to the 12-yard line and tell them it is fourth and goal
from the 12-yard line. We are not going to call the same play on fourth and three that you would call on fourth and three.
Next, we put the ball on the 38-yard line. It is fourth down and two to go for the first down. This makes the defense think
about the play. It makes the offense think about the play. Our kids are ready to respond to these situations.
Someone asked me to review our middle screen play (Diagram 3-1). The screens and draws do not fit our special plays in
our offense. We were not a very good screen team in the first part of the season. As the season went on, we got better. There
is a timing and rhythm to the screen play. This is especially true of a middle-screen play.

Diagram 3-1. Middle screen versus three linebackers

The play is designed for a three-backer rule and a one-backer rule. The first thing we do is to run this play against a threelinebacker set. We can throw the ball to any of the receivers. Our center makes a 3 call. This tells the line the defense has
three linebackers. The tackle takes the defensive end back four yards deep. We throw the ball in the tunnel to the receiver
coming back inside. We are going to double the Mike linebacker. The onside guard takes the Sam linebacker. The slot man
squares out on the strong safety. The offside tackle drop steps and goes for the W ill linebacker. He goes at an angle to pick up
W ill as he comes to the ball. The remaining back swings opposite where the pass is going.
The next set is against a nickel defense and a two linebacker set (Diagram 3-2). Now we are going to double the W ill and
Mike linebacker.

Diagram 3-2. Middle screen versus two linebackers

Next, we see the one linebacker set. We look for the line stunts when we see the one linebacker set (Diagram 3-3). We
must have the linebacker call on the play so we know how we are going to block the play.

Diagram 3-3. Middle screen versus one linebacker

There are a lot of plays that can come off the middle screen play. We have used this play for a long time and it has been
good to us.

The No-Huddle Run/Pass Option

Larry Fedora
The University of North Carolina

Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here. It is going to be exciting starting out at North Carolina. We are excited and
ready to get started. I grew up in Texas and played all the sports. At that time, all that was available in high school were
football, basketball, baseball, and track. I went to Austin College and played wide receiver and did a graduate assistant job
there in 1986.

I coached high school football at Garland High School in Texas. I stayed there for four years. That is where I learned how to
coach football. The things a high school coach has to do, most college coaches do not. From there, I had the opportunity to go
to Baylor University and become a graduate assistant at the age of 29. I was 29 years old and had a pregnant wife. I spent one
year as a GA, and they hired me as a full-time assistant the next year.
I spent six years at Baylor under Grant Teaff. From there I went to the U.S. Air Force Academy under Fisher DeBerry. I
spent two years there, and it was an unbelievable time. If any of you have that academy type of player in your program, that is
a place he should look at. It is a special place.
W hen I got the call to be the offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State University, it was time for me to step outside
my comfort zone. I wanted to find out if what I believed in and my philosophies in an offense could be successful. Coach
DeBerry advised me not to take the job because it was a 1-AA school, and he did not think it would be good for my career. He
thought it could be the end of my career. It could have been if I had not believed in what I was doing.
In 1999, I installed the spread/no-huddle offense at Middle Tennessee. Tulane University was the only other team in the
country that ran that type of offense. We put in the offense and had success with it. From there, I went to the University of
Florida with Ron Zook for three years. I spent three years at Oklahoma State University with Mike Gundy. I took the head
coaching position at the University of Southern Mississippi and was there for four years before I took the job at North Carolina.
In the no-huddle offense, in addition to all its values, it kept the offensive linemen from running in and out of the huddle. The
huddle is seven yards off the line. That meant for every game, the offensive linemen ran probably 1,000 yards running to and
from the huddle. We can accomplish everything at the line of scrimmage that we do in the huddle.

My goal today is to give you one thing that will help you be a better football coach or one thing that will help your team. That
gives you an idea of where I come from. I want you to know is where we came from and who we are. W hen we start practice
at North Carolina, we have to instill our philosophy on offense, defense, and special teams. We have to change a culture, and
that is what our job is. In the previous years, that culture has been more of an NFL-type mentality.
We are going to run this program the same way we have run it since 1986. We are going to roll up our sleeves, get them to
work hard, make them compete, find out who the players are, and go win some football games. That is it, and there is nothing
special about it.
I want to tell you who North Carolina is going to be in the future. We are going to be a team that plays
smart, fast , and
physical. We started our offense back in 1999. This offense is a one-back, one-tight-end, and three-wide-receivers scheme.
We call that personnel grouping 11 personnel, and we are going to be in it the majority of the time. We will be in multiple
formations and multiple tempos.
In 1999, no one had heard of multiple tempo offenses. Today, everyone is talking about tempo and playing fast. We have
done this since 1999, and it is no big deal for us. We have done this every year, and there are great advantages to it.

It is the offense that we started with at Middle Tennessee, and the system has not changed. We have the same philosophy.
We may have tweaked the plays or taken things out, but the offense has not changed. We project the same philosophy and
tweak it to the players we have in the system. Coaches must do that same thing high school coaches do every year.

Take what they give you
Minimal audibles
Strive for balance

The first thing you must do in this offense is to take what they give you. There are coaches who make up their minds to run
the football no matter what the defense does. The defense puts 11 defenders in the box, and they still try to run the ball. That
does not make sense to me.
Our deal is to get the job done any way we can. One week, we may rush for 300 yards, throw for 100 yards, and win the
game. That is all we want to do. If the next week we run for 100 yards and throw for 300 yards, that is what we want to do as
long as we win. All I care about is getting the job done, and I do not care how it happens.
If you come in to watch your films, you will always find places where if the quarterback had changed the play, it would be a
big gain. If we did not build that automatic into the game plan, he cannot change the play. Those kinds of adjustments are ingame plans. To keep the quarterback from having to see all those things, we put that in the hands of the coaches. I take it out
of the quarterbacks hands and put in the hands of the coaches because we watch more film than he does. We call the
audible from the sidelines.
W hen I see the situation on the field, I know what I want to attack. We package runs with passes to take advantage of the
defense. That gives us a run/pass option. I want to talk about one of those today. We want to strike a balance. Balance to us is
not necessarily 50/50 run to pass. W hen we talk about balance, it is your ability to do both run and pass the football. The
defense can stop the run or the pass, but they cannot do both of them.

We were one of two teams in the country last year that rushed for 200 yards and threw for 250 yards a game. In my opinion,
that is balance.
Tempomultiple speeds
Average 80 plays a game
Fatigue creates cowards
We have always been about multiple tempos. We can go fast, give the perception of going fast, go slow, or run at a regular
pace. I know the defense does not like a team that changes the tempos in a game. The defensive coordinator likes to go to a
huddle and call the blitzes he wants to run. We do not allow the defense to do that. We have five and sometimes six tempos in
every game.
We were one of five teams in the country last year to run 1,000 plays in the season. The more plays you run, the more

opportunities to score. Every play you run is an opportunity to score. We want to put as much stress on the defense as
possible. We want to stretch the field to create vertical seams in the defense. W hen we can create seams in the defense, it
gives an opportunity for a big play.

We like to dictate the speed of the game. W hen I was at the Air Force Academy, we did not have a lot of game plan;
however, the defense did not have much time to prepare for us. They had two days, which meant you saw two fronts, two
coverages, and one blitz, and it was dangerous to blitz us. We want to approach the game in the same way. We want to keep
the defensive coordinator from calling the blitz.
If we go fast, the defensive coordinator has to do something that week to make sure his players play fast. We want to run
the defense from sidelines to sidelines so they have trouble lining up. If they work off a wristband, the tempo almost eliminates
that. I love to see wristbands on defensive players. They are looking at the wristband, and we are running the play.

This scheme creates cowards. Fatigue creates cowards of us all. We want to get our players in the best shape possible
and get them accustomed to running with speed. This scheme deflates the defensive linemen. They live for the sack. They like
to dance around, perform their act, throw out their chests, and get the crowd jacked up. They are like sharks circling. One of
them makes a play, and the rest of them get in the feeding frenzy. I want the defensive linemen running 53 yards every play.
We want to create a situation that tires the defensive linemen. We want them breathing so hard they cannot keep their hands
on the ground.
Believe itmentality.
Run the football.
Be the most physical team on field.

I believe physical is a mentality you build into your team. You have to believe you are physical. I think it is getting harder to
create that culture. People are not tough anymore. I am not as tough as my dad is, and he was not as tough as his father was.
It is because of the way we live. It is about instant gratification. If things are not going right, do not do it. Football is a hard game,
and the people who play it have to be hard and tough.
It is something we talk about all the time. I talk about it in our team meetings, and the position coaches talk about it in their
individual groups. The strength coach talks about it in his program. The manager and secretaries talk about it. Everyone
involved with our program talks about being physical.
If the team hears it and thinks it, they will be physical. If you do not think you are physical, I promise you, you will not be. We
coach it, teach it, and talk about being tough. It does not matter whether it is a punter, kicker, quarterback, the offensive line, or
the defense line; they are going to be tough. We are going to be physical, and we will win football games. We are going to be
tougher and more physical than our opponents are.
To be able to run the football effectively, you must be physical. The last five years, we have averaged running the ball for
205 yards a game. I look at teams that run the ball all the time, and they do not run for that many yards. We average 205
rushing yards out of the spread offense. Since I have run the spread offense, we averaged over 190 yards rushing the football.
I am proud of that fact because we believe in running the football.
We want to be the most physical team on the field. We want each of our units to be the most physical. We spend a lot of
time coaching effort and knockdowns. We spend time praising and talking about knockdowns, whether they are cutting
defenders or finishing blocks. We treat those players better. We talk about it and reward them for that kind of achievement.
If a player does not give us the effort we want, we call him into the Tar Heels Circles. In our scrimmages, practices, or
games, we record all the lack-of-effort plays. We have criteria for loafs or lack of effort. If a player, running to a play, changes
his rate of speed, that is an example of lack of effort. At some time, we circle up as a team. The coach gets in the middle and
calls out a name. The player runs to the middle of the circle, repeats his name, and tells everyone the number of times he let
the team down by loafing. If he had four loafs, the team does four up-downs. We repeat this until everyone on the team has
announced his number of loafs. I have been in scrimmages where the team did 235 up-downs. Eventually, the team starts to
understand about loafing.
This makes the players responsible to one another. W hat they do affects the players on their team. A player who causes
the team to do 12 up-downs does not want to go back in the locker room.

Bounce Package

I want to show you what we are doing. This is a run/pass option. Most of you will be disappointed because you are doing better
things than I am. All the formations in the diagrams will go from a 20-personnel grouping to a 10-personnel grouping (Diagram
4-1). We start out in a shotgun set with two backs in the backfield and three wide receivers with no tight end. That is the 20personnel grouping. We motion the left halfback into the wide slot receiver side. The formation goes from a 2x1 set into a 3x1
formation, or 10 personnel.

Diagram 4-1. 20 to 10 personnel

From this package, we have runs, screens, and play-action passes. We call them based on the way the defense plays
against us. The motion scheme creates a problem for the defense. We add the third receiver to the formation, which generally
means a secondary communication to account for the third receiver. You have to remember, we are pressing the tempo,
which makes it harder on the defense to adjust.

I want the defense to adjust on the run quickly. They have to think. The defense does not want to think; they want to chase
the ball. I want to get the defense out of their gaps and their alignments. I want the front to misalign and the corner in the wrong
coverage because he did not hear the communication.

W hen I talk about the run/pass option, we are talking triple option. This goes all the way back to when I coached at Air
Force, except we are doing it out of the shotgun. W hen we were at Air Force, we tried to talk Coach DeBerry into throwing the
ball more because we were getting only one type of coverage. He told us we were going to throw it more; it was just going to
be backward as a lateral in the wishbone.

The quarterback is creating an audible on this play, but no one knows it. He is making decisions. I am not going to talk about
the line blocking and schemes. If you want that, you have to talk to the offensive line coach. I am going to talk about the
mechanics reads, and responsibility of the quarterback on these plays. I will show you how he decides to run or pass.

I am going to talk about how we make a decision to run or throw and how we are going to attack the defense. The first thing
I want to talk about is the zone run attached to a perimeter screen (Diagram 4-2). We put the backside back in motion and run
a zone play to the single receiver side. If a team has two high safeties, we do not count them. The first thing the quarterback
looks for is someone covering and moving with the motion. We start the count from the ghost tight end to the outside.

Diagram 4-2. Deciderun or throw

Since we have no tight end in the formation, we call the alignment of the missing end the ghost alignment. If no one
moves, the defense has two defenders on three receivers. That means we have three receivers against two defenders into the
three receivers side.
If the safety rolls down into coverage, there are 3-on-3 to the outside, and that is no advantage. If they move a linebacker to
the outside, we still have no advantage to the outside. That is how the quarterback starts this process in his mind. He has to
decide if he has the numbers to throw the football to the motion back. If we are two receivers on two defenders, the
quarterback throws the ball, and we want to get four yards from that play.
All I want is four yards out of a run or quick screen to the motion back. Our team understands that. If the play gains four
yards, that makes me happy. If it gains more than four yards, that success belongs to the team. However, if the back does not
get four yards, he comes to the sidelines and stands by me because we have the wrong player on the field.
The perimeter screen is a four-yard run in my way of thinking. I am not trying to hit the home run on the screen. I am trying
to stretch the field so the defensive linemen have to run. The only run I will show you today is the zone; however, all the base
runs will work from this formation.
We want to attack the defense where it is weak. If the defense moves someone with the motion, the quarterback knows he
has six defenders in the box. We outnumber them in the box, and they cannot cover all the gaps. W ith the running
quarterback, they are one gap short. If one safety rolls down, the other safety goes to the middle of the field. They have no run
support player from the secondary to the single-receiver side. You will always have one more player than the defense unless
they play zero coverage all the time. Teams will not do that.
W hen there is movement in the secondary, everyone knows we will run the ball. We run the zone play to the single-receiver
side. The quarterback reads the backside end for an option read. If the end closes on the running back, the quarterback pulls
the ball and runs downfield. We tell the quarterback, if he is not sure on the ends movement, to give the ball to the running
This is a simple play and a simple read for the quarterback. There is nothing tricky about the play. The quarterback reads
the numbers to the receivers, or if someone moves, he knows he has numbers in the box.
W hen we run the screen because the defense did not roll someone into motion, it is like a toss sweep. We throw the ball to
the back with two blockers in front of him. We use the screen for two reasons. We want to control the blitz from the outside
and attack defenders in space. We want to attack the defense with a numbers advantage.
W hen we run the play and throw the screen, the linemen block the zone play. The zone back runs the zone play. On the
zone play, the two receivers blocked as if we threw the screen. The quarterback called an audible and told no one. The motion

back knows when he sees no movement that there is a possibility of a pass to him.

W ith no movement with the motion, there are seven defenders in the box and there is run support from the secondary to the
single-receiver side. The quarterback knows his numbers are good for the screen and throws it. The wide receiver wants to
work for outside leverage on their blocking assignments. We tell them if his head is on the outside, it is a 3 technique. If his
head is on the inside, it is a 1 technique. They do not have to be knockdown blocks, but they must make a block. We tell them
to get on the defender and take him wherever he wants to go.
W hen the quarterback throws the ball on the screen, it is the job of the motion back to make that the right decision. He has
to get four yards.
The next phase of the bounce package is the play-action pass. We run the run action fake with the quarterback faking the
zone play. He performs what we call three fast footwork. We run two schemes on this play-action pass to take advantage of
the rotation of the secondary.
The defense comes into a game with maybe two adjustments to the motion. They rotate down with a safety and go to a
three-deep scheme or stay two-high and try to get a linebacker out in the screen. W hen they stay in the two-deep look, they try
to rally to the screen and keep it to a minimum gain. They may think you will not run the screen enough to hurt them.

If they rotate, we throw a play-action pass to take advantage of that (Diagram 4-3). The X-receiver (single) runs a sevenstep glance. That pattern is a skinny post. The running back has a check pattern to the flat. The quarterback keys the backside
safety. The field safety rotates down with the motion. If the boundary safety rotates to the middle of the field, the quarterback
works from the glance to the flat. He does not look to the field side.

Diagram 4-3. Play-action pass

If the backside safety does not go to the middle, the quarterback peeks at the pattern up the seam. If quarterback does not
like what he sees, he works the curl route by the outside receiver or the swing pattern of the motion back. The quarterback
does not work the entire field. He knows where to go off the reaction of the backside safety. If the safety goes to the middle, he
works glance to flat. If the safety backs up and stays to the backside, he peeks at the seam, curl, and swing. Secondaries that
try to disguise their coverage against normal tempo are simply trying to align because of the tempo of the offense. It cuts down
on the secondary disguise. If there is no rotation, we work to the motion side.

The quarterback takes a fast three-step drop. They are not really steps. He runs the fake, takes one step back, and delivers
the ball on the glance. If backside safety goes to the middle of the field, the quarterback throws the glance like an out pattern.
As soon as he hits the third step, he releases the ball. The receiver has not taken his break step when the quarterback
releases the ball. The quarterback throws the ball to an area and not the receiver. The receiver breaks into that area. We tell
the quarterback, if the linemen turn their defender loose, he should still get the glance off. He will get hit, but he should get the
pass away.
W hen the safety rolls down, the quarterback knows he is going to the backside. His primary key is the drop of the boundary
safety; however, he must look at the backside linebacker. If he does not respect the fake and drops straight back from his
position, the quarterback has to throw to the flat and come off the glance.
The second play-action pass keys the boundary safety, also (Diagram 4-4). This route takes advantage of the safety
rotation. This pattern is a basic route we run with all our passing games. This concept is our best third-and-long pattern. The
X-receiver runs vertical. We say this is a yes-or-no pattern. If the corner has tight coverage with no safety support, the
quarterback can throw that pattern right away. This happens before the snap as the quarterback looks at the alignment of the
defense. The vertical is not in the progression once we snap the ball. The back runs the check flat route.

Diagram 4-4. Play-action #2

In practice, we work competitive fade drills. We send the receiver on a vertical with a defensive back in press coverage. We
make the ball a catchable ball every time and see who comes down with the ball. We find out about the receivers and the
defensive backs. We find out who will go up and get the ball.

The slot receiver in this diagram, or the #3 receiver in a trips set, runs the cross. He goes under the first linebacker and over
the second linebacker. If the second linebacker does not drop, the slot is 8 to 10 yards deep. If the linebacker drops, the slot
could be 12 to 14 yards deep. If the coverage is zone, he finds the window and sits down. If it is man coverage, he keeps
running across the field.
The quarterback has to decide on the yes/no to the X-receiver before he snaps the ball. If the safety bails on the vertical,
the quarterback works high to low in his progression. He looks high for the cross pattern to low for the flat. He works only two
receivers. We do not count the yes/no as an option once we snap the ball.
The thing that takes the quarterback off the cross pattern is the Mike linebacker and strong safety squeezing the cross
pattern. If the strong safety jumps the cross, the quarterback comes off the cross to the dig behind the strong safety. The

quarterback works two receivers, whichever side he decides to work. He does not work the entire field. The safeties take him
from one side to the other. On occasion, we designate the area we want the quarterback to throw. We do not have a lot of
passing game, but we are good at what we do. We run these patterns repeatedly. You do not need 10 choices in a third-andlong situation. We may run two plays six to seven times. You get the reps in practice.

The next play in the package is the slow screen (Diagram 4-5). This is the same motion as the other plays. Nothing
changes in the looks of the motion or the play-action. The quarterback fakes the zone to the back, flashes the bubble screen to
the motion back, and then buys time before throwing the screen back to the zone back.

Diagram 4-5. Slow screen

Both offensive tackles block their normal protection, which is EMOL (end man on line of scrimmage). If the defender zone
drops into coverage, the tackle goes and gets him. W hat we want him to do is sit soft and let the defender beat him up the
field. That way, the tackle can run him deep and out of the play. The guards and center set soft on the half-man of their
defenders and let him beat them. If the defender does not charge, the guard torques him and throws him.

This is a two-count screen. The guards and center release their men on a two count. The playside guard releases his man,
goes flat down the line of scrimmage, and kicks out the corner to the outside. We call that pigs on ice. If the tackle does not
come flat down the line or tries to block the defensive back high, the corner makes him look like a pig on ice. We tell the
offensive lineman to throw on the corner and not stay up on him.

The center is the alley blocker after the count of two. The backside guard loops to the playside B gap and turns back for any
defender who is retracing his steps to get back into the play. The running back sets up behind the playside guard in his pass
protection check. W hen the guard leaves for the kick-out, the back flares into his pattern, turns back, and presents himself to
the quarterback. If for some reason the guard cannot get out, the center replaces him and the center comes late into the alley.
The X-receiver cracks on the first linebacker in the box, generally the W ill linebacker. The quarterback has to buy time if he
gets a blitz and get the ball to the back. He gets back, pumps to the motion, pumps the ball downfield, and buys time until the
throw. The wide receivers and motion back are decoys and run off defenders.
I appreciate your time. If there is anything we can do for you at North Carolina, let us know. You have access to what we do
in football. We will install our offense, defense, and special teams in our first five days of spring practice. If you want to see it
put in for the very first time, you are welcome to visit with us. Thank you very much.

A Fast-Paced,
No-Huddle Offense

Josh Floyd
Shiloh Christian High School, Arkansas

I appreciate you coming out to listen to me speak. Today, I am going to talk about the spread offense and quarterback play.
The spread offense gives us the best chance to win games. W hen you spread the field, it makes the defense cover the entire
field. In the spread offense, you can get the ball in the hands of your playmakers in different ways and in different situations.

We have an excellent wide receiver. We can throw him the ball, bring him in motion and hand him the ball, or throw him a
screen pass. He is a playmaker and game-breaker. Before I came to Shiloh Christian, I was the offensive coordinator at Bryan
High School in Little Rock. We had a wide receiver who caught 97 passes in a 12-game schedule. That ended up being the
state record for receptions.

Our game plan for each game was to get the ball to that receiver a certain number of times. We felt if he did not have those
touches, our chance of winning diminished. We had a couple of those types of athletes at Shiloh this year. I had a coach in the
press box who kept track of the touches of the football each player had. He told me exactly how many times each player
touched the football. That was a big help to me as head coach. Sometimes in a game, you become involved and forget to use
the assets you have.

You can run the ball effectively from this offense. We never have to change the offense. If one year we have a great
offensive line or a great running back, we can run the ball just as well from this offense as we can from the I formation. We had
two games this year in which we threw for over 500 yards. We had two other games in which we rushed the ball for over 250
The offense is exciting for the players and fans. Kids like to throw the football around because it gives them something to
do. Shiloh was successful throwing the ball before I became head coach. They always had a good passing attack.
A number of schools run the spread offense. W hat separates our offense from those teams is we do it from a no-huddle
scheme. We want to be a fast-paced, no-huddle team because we can get more plays each game than our opponent. Our

goal every week is to get at least 60 plays of offense. Our average is between 65 to 70 plays a game. We feel if we can run
that many plays, we have an excellent chance of winning the game.
A couple of weeks ago at a clinic, I heard a coach from a 4A high school in Texas lecture. He introduced this offense with
the no-huddle scheme at his school this year. He stressed and emphasized to his kids the importance of running a large
number of plays. He had a coach in the press box keeping track of the number of plays they had run in each half. He made it
important to his players and staff, and his players took pride in it. At halftime, his players wanted to know how many plays they
had run. It was important to them.

W hen you run the spread offense, you are always in the game, regardless of the score. This offense has the ability to score
quickly. An example of this occurred this past year in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. Our center had not snapped the ball over
the quarterbacks head in any game during the season. He decided to wait until the quarterfinal game to do it. He did not do it
once. He did it three times in the first quarter.

Everything went wrong for us in the game, and we were playing a good football team. That is a bad combination if you plan
on winning. We were down 35-6 with about a minute left in the first half when we scored on a deep post route to cut the score
to 35-14. Our players were emotional at halftime and knew we could come back on them. In the second half, we cut the score
to 14 points in the third quarter. They blew us out in the fourth quarter, but that is not the point. At halftime, our players thought
we could win the football game. They knew we could score quickly.

The spread no-huddle offense makes it hard for the defense to prepare. It is difficult for a defense to get ready to play a nohuddle team. Besides the conditioning factor, the game plays at a much faster pace.

I want to talk about our practice schedule. There is nothing special about this schedule. The point is it is how we practice.
W hen I was at Bryant High School, it was much easier. We were a 5A school and did not have any players going both ways. I
had the quarterbacks for two hours. I could do a lot with them in that amount of time. At Shiloh, we are a 3A school and
probably will have four or five players going both ways. We get an hour of offense and an hour of defense.

I coach the quarterbacks on offense, and that is all I coach. The first 10 minutes of practice is an individual position period.
We spend the last five minutes of the quarterback session with the running backs, working on exchanges. They try to make
them smooth and practice them against air.

The next 20 minutes are allotted to our inside and outside drills. Our inside drill involves our five linemen, two backs, and the
quarterback. At the other end of the field, we run the outside drill. Our first team quarterback, line, and backs participate in the
inside drill at the beginning of the period. We do not try to run the entire offense. The play we feature in the upcoming game is
the one we work the most. We mix in another play to keep the defense honest. We do that for 10 minutes. We then switch the
backs and the quarterback with the outside drill.
The outside drill is our pass-skeleton drill with our receivers, defensive backs, and linebackers. It is nothing more than a
seven-on-seven drill. We go 10 minutes at each drill and switch. The second team quarterback and backs start in the outside
Monday and Tuesday, we work against the look we think we will see on Friday night. On Wednesday, our defensive
coordinator coaches the scout team. He brings everything at the offense, whether we saw it in the film or not. That keeps the
offense alert for twists the opponent might try.
After the inside and outside drills, we go to team offense for 30-40 minutes. This is also our screen period. We start our
practice with this period, on occasion, just to switch things and give the players something different. Our screen game is just
as important as our running and passing games.
The next 10 minutes, we work on our running game that does not fit into the inside drill. We run options and draw plays
during these 10 minutes. We follow the running game with our passing game for 10 minutes. At this time, we run the passes
we want to use, with the exception of the screen passes.

We try to run one or two trick plays every week. We spend some of this time on them. Our kids enjoy working on them each

If you plan to use the no-huddle offense, you must work on it daily. We save the no-huddle drill until the end of practice, and
sometimes use it as a conditioning period. The coaches have to be on the sideline, simulating game situations. They signal
plays in like we do during the game. This year, we used the numbers board and wristband to call the plays. I am not sure that
is the best way, and we may do something differently next year. We simply wrote the number on a grease board, and the

quarterback matched it up on his wristband.

We do not run the no-huddle just for the heck of it. We want to gain an advantage. We run the offense both against air and
with a live defense.
Counter-Trey Play
I want to show a couple of our running plays that we use in our offense. There is nothing special about these plays. The first
play is the counter-trey play (Diagram 5-1). The diagram is a 4-2 look for the defense. Anytime the receivers read man-to-man
coverage, they run the defender off down the field. If they align in zone coverage, the frontside wide receiver blocks the corner,
and the slot back blocks the linebacker lined on him. The playside tackle and guard combination block the 3-technique tackle.
One of them will come off the block looking for the backside linebacker. The center blocks back on the 1-technique tackle. The
backside guard pulls and kicks out or logs the playside defensive end. The backside tackle pulls and turns up in the hole and
blocks the frontside inside linebacker.

Diagram 5-1. Country trey vs. 4-2

In the backfield, the quarterback is in the shotgun set. If we have two backs in the backfield, that is our deuce set. The back
aligned to the right of the quarterback is the fullback, who does most of the blocking on running play. He comes across the set
and blocks the backside defensive end. He has to take the proper angle. If he does not, the defensive end will get inside of him
and make the play. The back to the left of the quarterback is the running back and carries the ball most of the time.
The only adjustments we make come when teams play us in a 3-2 defensive set (Diagram 5-2). You have to be able to run
the football against this defense. The playside tackle comes up on the playside linebacker. The playside guard combination
blocks with the center on the nose guard. One of them will come off for the backside linebacker. The backside guard pulls and
kicks out or logs the defensive end. The backside tackle pulls through the hole, looking for the outside linebacker.

Diagram 5-2. Country trey vs. 3-2

The playside wide receiver blocks the corner. The slot receiver bypasses the outside linebacker and blocks the inside
safety. The fullback blocks backside, and the tailback follows the pulling tackle through the hole. The blocking assignment of
the slot back is a game-plan situation we work on in practice. We call the front every time we go to the line of scrimmage, and
the slot receiver has to know the front. We run the same play the other way, with the fullback carrying the ball just to keep
people honest.

The other way we run it is from a double-slot, one-back look (Diagram 5-3). We put the tailback in the backside slot position.
We do not read the play. We fake the fullback and lead the quarterback through the hole.

Diagram 5-3. Double-slot/one back

We did not run this play enough. The first five games, we did not run the play at all. We ran it the last seven games and
averaged about nine yards a carry with it.

Power Play

This is our power play (Diagram 5-4). In the diagram, the defense is in a 3-2 scheme. The blocking for the frontside guard,
tackle, and center are the same as for the counter trey. The backside guard pulls and goes through the hole for the outside
linebacker. The backside tackle steps down and makes sure there is no penetration and seals back on the defensive end.

Diagram 5-4. Power

The fullback kicks out the playside defensive end. His angle is critical. If the defensive end comes inside, he log blocks, and
the pulling guard and running back go outside. The blocking by the receiver is the same as on the counter trey.
If we run the play out of a double set, the blocking is the same, with the quarterback carrying the ball. There is no back to
run the fake, because the fullback has to kick out the onside defensive end.
Quarterback Play

I want to talk about quarterback play and show you some passes we run. This year at Shiloh, we went 9-4 and made it to the
quarterfinals of the state playoffs. By the end of the season, we started seven sophomores on offense. W hen we started the
season, we had two starters returning on each side of the ball. We knew it was going to be tough. Our sophomore quarterback
ended up throwing for 3500 yards, and as the year went on, he got better.
To play quarterback at Shiloh High School, the player must have three characteristics. If he does not have these three
things, he cannot play quarterback for us. The number one thing is
accuracy. Being accurate is more important than arm
strength. The second attribute is decision-making. He has to make sound decisions and protect the football. We started the
season 1-2, during which time, our sophomore quarterback threw five touchdowns and seven interceptions. The last ten
games of the season, he threw 31 touchdowns and four interceptions. You can see the improvement he made, and that is why
we won eight of the last 10 games.

If you run the spread offense, you have to stress that every day with your quarterback. It is easy to blame a player for the
mistakes he makes, but at some point, it has to come back to the coaching. Either you did not teach them right, or you allowed
them to do it wrong in practice.
I once listened to a NFL quarterback coach talk about one of his quarterbacks, who kept throwing interceptions, although he
was trying to throw the ball away. He put in a drill to teach the quarterback how to throw the ball away. Most of the time,

mistakes come back to be a miscommunication between coach and player. W hen you coach, you have to explain some
things two or three different ways. If one way does not work, try anther way.
We did not have a throwaway drill, but we practiced throwaways in outside drill and team practice. If he did not do it, we
jumped him. If you can help it, do not take the loss.

The third characteristic is toughness. This factor means the quarterback has to be both mentally and physically tough.
Mentally tough is the key to being a quarterback. In this offense, everyone blames the quarterback for all losses. He takes a lot
of unwanted criticism because he plays that position. The quarterback will throw interceptions. Last year, our quarterbacks
ratio at the end of the year for throws-to-interception was outstanding.

It does not matter how good your offensive line or pass protection is, the quarterback will be hit. He has to take those hits
and not complain to the offensive line.
W hen you talk about the mechanics of the quarterback, the most important factor is his feet. By watching his feet in
practice or a game, I can tell whether he is going to throw a good ball or not. In this regard, one thing we talk about is having a
wide base. One of the reasons a player does not throw the ball for a great distance is because of his base.

Too many quarterbacks think they have to get their feet together and take a long step to throw the ball long. Our sophomore
quarterback thought that was the way to throw deep, until I showed him a video of Peyton Manning throwing the deep ball. I told
the quarterback to watch his feet. Peyton barely stepped when he threw. He almost picked his foot up and put it down in the
same place. W hen he saw that video, it re-enforced the way I was coaching him.
I work on that factor every day in practice. We call it an 80/20 drill. The quarterbacks stand 30-40 yards apart. They get into
a wide base, with 80-percent of their weight on their back foot and 20-percent of their weight on their front foot.
I want our quarterback to throw the ball and transfer his weight from one foot to the other, without bringing his feet together.
If you can teach the quarterback not to bring his feet together, you will see improvement in his footwork. We do it in the offseason, as well as during the in-season.
Another drill we work on is the net drill. We have one quarterback on one side of the net and one on the other. They stand
seven yards from the net. We raise the height of the net to seven and one half or eight feet. The quarterback has to throw over
the top to get the ball over the net. If the quarterback throws a ball sidearm, or if he throws it without proper mechanics, we call
the pass incomplete. If he hits the other quarterback in the chest or barely nips the net, we call that a complete pass. We do
this drill during the off-season. We very seldom do it during the season.

Teaching reads to the quarterback is simpler than people think. Our quarterback reads one defender. The first thing he
looks at is the safety. He has to know if it is a one- or two-safety look. From that read, he can find anything he needs. Defenses
are getting better at disguising what they are doing.
Successful Plays

I have a couple of plays that have been successful for us. The first one is double post (Diagram 5-5). This play is great against
cover 4. However, we can run this play against any defense. The outside receiver to the playside runs a 13-yard post.
Sometimes, we took him to 15 yards against certain defenses. He is running a true post, because he runs vertical more than
across the field. The slot receiver runs an eight-yard post right at the strong safety.

Diagram 5-5. Double post

You have to convince your backside receivers that their routes are as important as the frontside receivers are. The outside
receiver runs a fade or vertical route. The inside receiver goes vertical and tries to run about two yards outside the free safety.
He wants to hold the safety in coverage on him.
We are in the shotgun about 95-percent of the time. The quarterback takes a three-step drop and looks for the inside-post
route. He is not trying to look anyone off. He looks right at the strong safety and throws the ball. We do not want the
quarterback to hold the ball. If the post is not open right away, we want him to throw the ball away.
W hen teams start to play off the receivers on the double post, we break off the patterns and run curls. We call the pattern
the double post sit (Diagram 5-6). W hen you run one pattern very effectively, the defense will take that away from you. W hen
they close one window, they open another one for you.

Bunch Set Routes

Diagram 5-6. Double post sit

We have two routes that we run from our bunch set. We tried to do more of this set this year. We like the bunch set, and it
gives the defense a different look to defend (Diagram 5-7). We can get into the bunch set by moving into it or simply lining up in
that alignment.

Diagram 5-7. Bunch pattern speed out

The backside receiver runs a post every time we run this play. The outside receiver in the bunch set runs a whip route. He
crosses behind the number-2 receiver and runs at the inside linebacker. He plants, pivots away from the linebacker, and runs
to the outside. He looks for the outside linebacker and finds the soft spot in the zone to sit down.
The number-2 receiver runs a corner route. This pattern is not an option for the quarterback on this play. If we see him
coming open in a game, we might throw to him. The number-3 receiver runs a speed-out at five yards.
The quarterback reads the flat defender. If we have the speed-out open, we take it every time. Although it is a short route
and an easy throw, this play averages over 10 yards a reception for us. The first time we ran the set, the receivers ran
together. Find an orderly way to release the number-1 and number-3 receiver. Their alignment is level and someone must go
first in their release. Because of their alignment, the number-2 receiver releases first.
An adjustment we can make to the play is to send the number-1 receiver across the field on a crossing route. Instead of
doing the whip and coming back to the outside, he continues across the field. In one game, we sent the number-1 receiver
across, and the safety jumped him. We then threw the post pattern behind the safety for a touchdown.

Another pattern we run from the bunch set sends the number-3 receiver on the cross (Diagram 5-8). He runs a shallow
cross at a depth of about five to six yards. We set the fullback to the split-end side and flare him out of the backfield. The split
end runs a fade route. If the defender is tight on the split end, we throw the fade. If the defender backs off the split end, we read
the outside linebacker. If he covers the back flaring to the outside, we throw the cross behind him. If he stays back, we drop
the ball to the fullback.

Diagram 5-8. Bunch cross

This is the hardest read our quarterback has to make. The number-1 receiver runs the speed-out, and the number-2
receiver runs the corner route to the bunch set side. The quarterback reads the corner to see if he presses or bails out of
coverage on the split end. As he snaps the ball, he has to look at the inside linebackers. If they blitz up the middle, he hot
throws the ball to the crossing route.
Screen Pattern
The last thing I want to talk about is our screen pattern, which we run from the double slot (Diagram 5-9). We align in the
double slot probably more than any other set. This screen is great against man coverage. The receivers run off the defenders.
The playside guard, tackle, and center set the screen. The backside guard and tackle pass block. The frontside tackle has the
widest defender to the outside. The playside guard has the second defender to the outside, while the center has the third
defender. Any time we send three big men out to the outside to block, we get excited if they block anybody.

Diagram 5-9. Screen right

We try to hook the nose guard with our backside guard. The reason we try to hook him is to keep him out of the track of the
center. The back is a blocker in our pass-protection scheme. He normally looks for blitzing linebackers. The player we had
running this play this year was excellent in his execution of the play.
We practice our screens on Mondays. We run the screens on air and make it easy for the offense. They work on their
angles to the outside when we run against air.
I hope that you can take something with you from this lecture. We do not do anything special with this offense. We enjoy
running this offense. I hope that I said something that can be beneficial to you. Thank you for being here and for your attention.

A No-Huddle Football Team

Todd Graham
University of Pittsburgh

It is an honor to be here. I never pass up an opportunity to speak to high school coaches, especially in western Pennsylvania. I
am going to give you a few things that I believe will help your football program.
I consider myself a fundamentalist. I believe it is all about coaching kids. I am very blessed at the University of Pittsburgh
because of the quality of kids that I coach every day. We are very open with the high school coaches that we speak with.
During spring practice, we have chalk talk days to explain some of the things that we are doing. You are welcome to come to
our place. W hen you watch us, you are going to see our coaches coaching with a lot of passion. You are going to see
coaches treating kids with respect. We are going to strain them and train them. We are going to make a difference in their

I want to talk about my philosophy on how to set up our program. This is my plan and the plan I have used everywhere I
have been. We are not just a no-huddle offense. We are a
no-huddle football team. If you come to Pittsburgh and ask the
secretaries, they are going to tell you they believe in the no-huddle philosophy. I want you to understand what we mean by the
no-huddle philosophy. I am not the type of coach that will hire an offensive coordinator and let him do what he wants to do. I will
not hire a defensive coordinator and have him do what he wants to do. I am going to dictate the vision and the philosophy of
our program and how we interact and build relationships. I am going to dictate what the principles are that those relationships
are built upon. I am old school. If we line up on Saturday and get our tails kicked, it is going to be by doing the things that I
believe in.

W hat the no-huddle represents to us is that we want to physically wear the opponent out. We want to be more physical than
the other team. W hat is different for us is that we do not have to be a spread team and throw the ball every down in order to be
a no-huddle team. People always talk about how we were the number one offensive football team in two of the last four years.
W hat they do not talk about is how we rush the football. W hat we try to do with our philosophy is to run the football and then we
want to stop the run of our opponents. That is how you win football games.
There are certain factors that go into playing winning football. Number one is explosive plays. In the last four or five years,
whether it be at Rice, The University of Tulsa, and hopefully here at Pittsburgh, we want to lead the country in explosive plays.

W hat I mean by that is one-play touchdowns. I do not mean just explosive plays on offense; I also mean explosive plays on
defense. We want explosive plays in the kicking game. We coach our guys with a great deal of passion, and we also believe
that being smart and having great character is also a talent. W hen people talk about talent, they usually talk about how fast or
how big a player is. I believe having great character is a talent. How do you win football games? You get players to do what you
coach them to do rightthe first time you ask them to do it. I do not think players are different today than what they were 20 or
30 years ago. I believe we have lowered the standard on how we go about doing things.

W hen I talk about how we do things with character, the number one goal is this. We are going to win every day with great
character and integrity, and we are going to build championship citizens, fathers, and husbands, and we are going to develop
men with giving hearts.

W hen I grew up, I did not have a dad. My mother raised five kids by herself with an eighth-grade education. Coaches made
a difference in my life. That is why I am standing up here in front of you. That is why I am a coach today. I see myself as a
teacher. W hat we have been doing the last few months is first, assessing and evaluating our players and secondly, we have
been building relationships. We want to get to know those kids, not just as football players, but in every aspect of their lives.

We want to build trust. For the first time in the history of our country, there are more kids in nontraditional families than in
traditional families. A coach becomes pretty darn important to these kids. Our job is to teach players to win every day, not just
on Saturday during a football game.

W hen I talk about integrity and in doing things the right way, it starts with our staff. W hen I begin to work on my staff, I try to
get better men and women than what I am. They make me a better person by the type of person that they are. They are great
fathers and husbands, and they have a passion for young people. If we accomplish our number one goal, then all the other
goals will fall into place, whether it is to graduate 100 percent of our kids or to win a championship. If you come out and watch
us coach, I am not just a cheerleader. We are going to get after their butts. We are going to coach them hard. We are also
going to love them and we are going to treat them with respect.
W hat I like to look at when I first get to a program is how people respond to adversity. W hen we first get there, everybody
has a positive attitude until something bad happens. How do you respond to that is what I want to know. We coach body
language. I want to put them in uncomfortable situations and see how they respond. This is where I am going to coach them.
People ask me all the time if I really started as a seventh grade football coach. They want to know how I got to become a
Division I coach. I can tell you this, every coaching job I have had, I have coached with passion. Every single player that I have
worked with, I have tried to make a difference in his life. I have never focused on my resume. I have not had a resume in 15
years. The only thing I want to do is go out there and coach those players and develop a relationship with those men, and
make a difference in their lives. We teach, teach, and teach. If were not teaching, we are listening and learning, learning,
learning. We are going to adapt what we are doing to the skills and talents of the players we have and the players that we
recruityear in and year out.
We have principles that we go by. I want to elaborate on those principles so you can see where we are coming from.
Faith is believing in something without knowing. We talk to our players about that. The players will meet every expectation
that you set for them. It is like my stepfather taught me about discipline. The pain of me whipping your butt is going to
overwhelm your desire to screw up. We do not have time during a game to get everyones opinion. We have to have faith in
everything that we are doing.

A couple of weeks ago, I drove 80 miles an hour to get to a clinic where Joe Paterno was speaking. I just wanted to be in the
same room with Joe Paterno. I was jacked up as I was listening to him. One of the things that he said was, At Penn State, we
do not wear earrings. I thought, wow, that is great. We are going to do that at Pittsburgh. I did not go in there on the first day
and say, There are no earrings. I do not really care if they wear earrings or not. I walked into our first meeting and said,
Guys, I want us to be the most unique program in the country. I want you to understand that when you walk in that door, I am
going to ask you to do something for me. I want you to take your earrings off as a symbolic gesture to say that it is not about
me, it is about the team. I do not know if we are going to win any more games because of that or not. I think we will. It is a
physical gesture that they do every day to remind themselves of the importance of the team. I think that is a big deal. At our
place, there are no earrings, no bandannas, and no filthy language. I believe what you visualize in your mind, what you work at
with a passion in your heart, and what you speak out of your mouth has great power. We are going to have faith, belief,
integrity, and character.
W hat does it mean when I talk about integrity? I was recruiting a player this off-season and he was interested in coming to
the University of Pittsburgh. One of the things that he said to me was that one of our opponents told him that they were going

to make him a first-round draft player. I said, Really? I said, I am not really interested in that. I told him that I would make him
the best defensive back in the country, not only on the field, but off the field, in the classroom, and in dealing with people
socially. I told him that I was going to work him harder than he had ever been worked before. I would make him the very best
that he could be. I told him, Son, when you get married, I will be sitting there. W hen you have kids, you are going to pick up the
phone and call me to tell me about them. That is what I am going to offer you. If you get your eyes off of all that me, me, me
crap, all the good stuff takes care of itself. W hat I want to do is to bring out the best from every one of my players every day
and not accept the worst. That is what we are talking about when we are talking about integrity.
We want to have an attitude of gratitude . We are not entitled to anything. We are not guaranteed anything. We want to be
givers and not takers. I want people with passion and a work ethic. I am jacked up every day. One of my idols in coaching is
Tom Landry. The reason Tom Landry is an idol of mine is because of what he stands for as a person. He has great faith, great
character, and great integrity. I am going to be genuinely who I am. W hen you come over and watch us practice, you are going
to see players and coaches hustling. I do not know what is going to happen next fall, but I can tell you this, we are going to run
to the ball like our hair is on fire. We are going to be passionate about what we are doing and we are going to make something
This is not nanotechnology. I do not think many people have a plan. It is really simple. It goes back to this, I believe in oldschool traditional values. W ork ethic is important. You do not get anything in life for free. You reap what you sow; you get what
you work for. Everything that we do is based on our training and it starts with our mental aspect. I truly believe this. We have a
passion about it. I want my coaches to be confident and I want my players to be confident. I do not want them to get down
when something goes wrong.

I am going to speak victory over them, and I am going to train them mentally. We do not believe in the Fellowship of the
Miserable. Some people are miserable every day. We go into a game, and we expect to win. We do not talk about what we
cannot do; we talk about what we can do. I can tell you that our expectation of ourselves is a lot higher than what anybody
elses is. In our building, there are signs all over the place that say, Nine Time National Champion. Everywhere in our building
where those signs are, I have put another sign under them that says, Expect Number 10. We have not won a game yet so it
is not something to boast or brag about. This is just our mentality.

It goes back to our training, our mental training, our physical training, and training our guys emotionally. Training is especially
important when you are facing adversity. Everything that we do with our no-huddle or that we do schematically goes back to
our training. We operate fast and faster. We are going to go fast and efficient. No one in the country has run more plays than
we have run in the last four years. Last year, we were sixth in the country in penalties. That measures your discipline.
Everything that we do is going be based on training, speaking victory, and being positive. Strain them and train them. If you can
get that kids heart, you can work them hard. You can train them harder than they have ever been trained in their lives and they
will go places that they never even thought of going. I really believe that.
We want to be unique. We have 20 special plays that we run on offense. They are not trick plays because we run them all
of the time. We run them in our offense, and certain ones are designed for cover 4, and some are designed for certain areas
on the field. We are complex in our organization. Our players know that when we are on the 41-yard line and on the right hash
mark that we are going to run a particular special play for that area of the field. Complexity in organization makes for simplicity
in our operation. We do not have any trick plays in our offense. We have 20 special plays, including at least two reverses we
use per game. I would like to run two reverses per half. We are going to take 10 vertical shots in a game. That is throwing the
ball vertically, deep over 42 yards and outside the hash marks.

We believe that being smart and having character is a talent. We are able to do more schematically because if we are
smart, we should be able to do more schematically. W hen I ask a player what separates him from everyone else, I want him to
say, Im smarter. Coach, I have character. I do not want him to say that it is his skill. I am not looking for any superstars. It is
old school. I want 11 guys on the field working as a group. We want to be that one program that wins the BIG EAST
championship. We want to be the one program that wins a national championship. In order to do that, you have to be unique.
We want to be one of a kind in everything we do. No one in the country will run what we run on offense. We need to adapt
everything we do based on the skills of who we have to work with. The first person we look at in order to do that is obviously
the quarterback.
We are going to eliminate penalties as a result of our discipline. Do it right the first time. We talk about being blue-collar and
having a hard edge. You have to have a fullback and a tight end in order to be blue-collar and hard edged. Almost 70 percent of
the time, we are a two-back offense. Nobody really notices that because of how we package it. Everybody thinks that we are a
spread no-huddle team, but we are really not. We are going to run inside zone, power, and we are going to run our isolation
plays. We are going to run our play-action passing game.

We are going to be the toughest, hardest working, most disciplined, and prepared team in the country. Our no-huddle
philosophy represents how physical we are going to be. We are going to create a fifth quarter by going fast and efficient. We
are not going to get penalties. We are going to run the football and stop the run. Our players are going to play with unbelievable
passion. We are unwavering in our belief about what we are doing. You have to have a plan for diversity. This is big.
We are going to make it fun. We are going to be innovative. No one really runs what we run on defense. No one really runs
what we run on offense. That is good for us. No one really does what we do on special teams. We want to be unique and one
of a kind and innovative about what we are doing. We do that because it makes it fun for our players. The design of everything
that we are doing is designed to take care of the football on offense and get takeaways on defense. We were number one or
two in the country this year in turnover ratio. It is not because we do a strip drill, it is all about the passion and focus of what we
do, and we get what we emphasize.
We are designing explosive plays on offense, defense, and in the kicking game. That is the key to what makes it fun. If you
watch a 17-14 game, you will find that everyone is bored. We operate our defense out of basically a 3-3-5 defense. We will
rush four guys most of the time. You are not going to know which four guys that will be. We are going to bring them from all
over the place. We focus on attacking protections and impacting the quarterback and making things happen. We are not going
to try to defend every pass play; we are going to, first and foremost, impact the quarterback.
We have accountability on our coaching staff. I have accountability. We are accountable for being who we say we are every
single day. We are accountable for doing the things that we say we are going to do.

Following are the six things we are going to do at Pittsburgh. First, we are going to physically dominate. That means that we
are going to outhit and outhustle every single team that we play. That means we have to be the best-conditioned team in the
country, both mentally and physically. We practice with high tempo and high repetitions. I think the key to winning big football
games and winning as a program is the retention of your quality personnelboth your players and your coaches. My
coordinators have five-year contracts. Our organization is built on trust. We are going to be a team that physically dominates.
W hat we run on offense, and everything else that we do, is based on being efficient at running the football. We were 15th in
the country in running the football this year. First, we are going to run the football. We are going to be physical. We are going to
have a tight end and a fullback. We are going to have a two-back attack and we are going to be known for running the inside
zone, the power, and the isolation. We are a run and a play-action pass football team. We are going to run the football 65 to 68
percent of the time.
Secondly, tempo is important. We are going to be fast tempo and going 100 miles per hour. We want to snap the ball every
15 seconds. We make sure that, in practice and in everything that we do, we are going fast. We want to teach our players to
go fast and to go efficient. We have three temposfast, faster, and fastest. This is how we operate our no-huddle on offense,
our no-huddle on defense, and our no-huddle in the kicking game. The whole idea is to wear the opponent out mentally. We
want to play every single snap with a passion. We coach this in practice. We talk about straining and that every single play
counts, because you only get so many snaps. I believe that our players are going to play like we coach them.

Thirdly, we want to lengthen the game and wear our opponent out both mentally and physically. Gus Malzahn and I would
argue all of the time about whether time of possession is important. I am old school. I think time of possession is important.
Gus did not believe that. We compromised in believing that snaps are important. If you are coaching defense in college football
and we snap the ball 75 to 78 times on offense, you are going to give up 35 plus points. I do not care how good of a coach you
are. You cannot play that many snaps and be efficient on defense. We are big on the number of snaps. We want to run 80
plays on offense and about 65 on defense.

I believe vertical passes are important. I started charting every time the ball was thrown 42 yards deep and outside the hash
marks. About 70 percent were complete, about 29 percent were incomplete, with one percent intercepted with an average of a
three-yard return.
Next, we started looking at where on the field we can get these opportunities. So many opportunities are missed during a
game. If our offense has you in a first-and-five situation, buckle up because we are getting ready to take a shot. W hen we
cross the 50-yard line, I think that second down is now first down, third down is second down, and fourth down is third down.
We are going to go for it. We are going to get aggressive.
If we are on third down and have five yards to go and we are past our landmark going in, we are going to take a shot.
Everybody else is throwing the ball to the first down marker. We are not going to pass up those opportunities. At halftime, I go
in and I ask our offensive coordinator, How many vertical shots did we have in the first half? How many reverses did we run?
How many specials did we run? We want to make sure we are getting the opportunity for explosive plays. Our offense really

has a lot of wing-T principles in it. We are all old high school coaches and we have coached on both sides of the ball. I like to
contribute to the offense by thinking as a defensive coach.

Fourth, we like to run a lot of misdirection. The base design of what we do offensively is designed to slow the defense down.
We create misdirection in the run and misdirection in the passing game. We will run reverses. We cannot run enough naked
bootlegs. We will run to the field, we will run to the boundary, we will run to the left side, and we will run to the right. We will be
efficient at running misdirection plays.
Fifth, we run a lot of multiple formations. We have about eight running schemes along with the triple option. We have about
10 to 12 pass concepts. We also have all of the motions, shifts, unbalanced, and in-and-out of structure formations.
As a defensive coach, we would base everything off the offensive formation. We will come out in an empty set and end up
in a two-back formation. We may come out in a two-back formation and end up in an empty backfield. We want the defense to
know that we are multifaceted. We are not just going to run the option; we are going to run the triple option. We do that a lot of
different ways. If we want to be the BIG EAST champion, then we are going to have to beat the best teams in the BIG EAST.
Sometimes we may not have the better talent. The triple option is the great equalizer. Our offense has to have the triple option
incorporated within it.
Sixth, we have been one of the best teams in the country at taking care of the football. We really have to emphasize it. We
do everything possible to try to reward our kids and have a focus in taking care of the football. That is big for us and in getting
takeaways on defense. We have to be disciplined and with no penalties and no turnovers. At Tulsa, we went two years with
only one penalty in the kicking game. You are going to get what you emphasize.

Complex organization is important for us. We have a call sheet for every type of situation that we may face. We are not
going to just script a bunch of plays. We are going to have every series scripted. It is based on landmarks. Every time we hit a
landmark, we have scripted plays for it. If it is first down and nine yards to go down on the goal line, we are going to have a
scripted play for that situation. That takes in a lot of complexity and organization. As a staff, we want to have talked about those
things before we get into those particular situations. We do not want to be reactive to everything that happens in the game, we
want to have a pre-scripted plan for anything that can happen in a game.

We play in the left lane and we put the hammer down. There are two types of people out there. There are players out there
trying not to mess up. There are players out there trying to make something happen. We want people out there that are trying
to make something happen with speed and explosive power. Part of our philosophy is about taking shots and in getting the
right look. Because we go fast, the defense starts to tip their hand by lining up fast. We can plan if they get into a certain type
of coverage, and then we can take a shot. We plan for that type of coverage based on how they have lined up, and we can
read their coverage because we play fast. We are looking to get defenses out of position. W hen they get tired, they will be
going all over the place. It gives us a chance for big plays.

Smaller but faster guys can play in our system. Our system is about speed. Last year, the guy in our offense that had more
all-purpose yardage than anyone else in the history of college football was 56 tall. He weighs about 165 pounds. Our players
were phenomenal this year. I think it goes back to this. We work with our kids every day. In all three phases of the game, we
are emphasizing playing with speed and being high-octane and explosive. Our guys expect good things will happen. We talk
about good things happening all the time.

We talk about not having stupid penalties. We talk about pulling off of a block if it is going to cause a penalty. We coach to
compete with a passion. It is about getting players to buy in and getting players to play with passion. You are not going to step
onto our field unless you are going to do it the Pitt way and how we teach you to do it.

W hen I was a defensive coordinator at both West Virginia University and at Tulsa, we had one of the best defenses in the
country. W hen I became a head coach, I said I wanted to develop the most prolific offense in the country. W hen we did that,
we did it at the expense of our defense. I learned from that. Defensively, the number one thing we are going to do is to stop the
run. We are going to be a physical defense. We practice being physical every day. I have learned that you have to have a
definitive plan on how you are going to attack the quarterback. We spend a lot of time on it.
We practice very hard on competing until we hear the whistle. An idea I took from a high school coach in Jacksonville,
Florida has helped us. We have someone dressed in a referees shirt to throw a flag down during our scrimmages when the
whistle blows. That way I can see on film who is letting up and who is running to the whistle. It is a big emphasis that we have
on both sides of the ball. If you are going to say you are going to pursue the ball, you must have a way to measure that.

If you are going to emphasize tackling and you are going to emphasize takeaways, then those things have to be perfected in
your individual drills. Every single day that we are in practice, we run 25 to 30 minutes of individual drills. This helps us to be

good fundamentally. Every day, before we go on the field, we have 35 to 40 minutes of class session. We are going to teach
them hard and then we are going to have them teach it back to us.
As far as the kicking game goes, our defensive staff works with the kickoff coverage, the punt, and punt returns. The
offensive staff takes the kickoff returns. By doing this, our coaches and players take more pride in the kicking game. If our
offensive coordinator wants to have good field position, then hed better coach up the kickoff return team because it is going to
predicate his field position. Once we started doing this, we became one of the top teams in kickoff coverage and one of the top
kickoff return teams in the country. We were number one in the country last year in punt coverage.

One of the things we take pride in as a coaching staff is working with high school coaches. If you want to come watch us
practice or want to hear us talk football, you will find us very open. We do not really think it is about Xs and Os, we think it is
about how you teach it. W hen you come watch us practice, you will know that we do it a little bit different from others.

I am probably the luckiest guy in the world to come from where I came from and to get to where I am today. I hope I have
said some things that might help you. I want to thank you for making a difference in young peoples lives. I was one of those
kids, and it made a big difference for me. My seventh grade coach made the greatest difference of anyone in my life. That is
why I am a coach today. Thank you.

Application of
the No-Huddle Offense
Bryan Haggerty
Kirkwood High School, Missouri

There are many organizational ways to run a no-huddle offense. How we run this offense is something that has evolved over
many years.

My perspective over my coaching career has come full circle. W hen I first began coaching, I really bought into the need to
have a running game. In l986 when I was at CBC High School, we ran out of running backs, and had to do something to be
In l987, we went to a one-back set that featured a double split end, double wing, and one-back. It gave the illusion of two
tights, but provided us with four hot receivers. W ith the one back, we had a quality back.
In l992, we took those wing backs and moved them out to the slot. This became the base of our run-and-shoot, which
became the base of our double spread, double-slot. About that same time, we began to fool around with no-huddle. We are
always trying to find some way to have an advantage over an opponent. We needed to find a way to play at the level of
competition at which we expect to play.
In l998, I resigned my head coaching position after 25 years. I then became an assistant at Althoff High School, and
implemented the program. I then did the same at Kirkwood High School, where we made it to the quarterfinals in 2004.

Before making a decision whether to employ the no-huddle offense, you need to understand certain basic principles of the
offense. It begins with trying to understand why coaches get inside the five-yard line, and then go to a power I-formation. W hy
do you have to get in a power I-formation or a full house formation? If you do this, I would submit to you that any good defensive
football coach would put all his people in there (Diagram 7-1). W hy would you do that?

Diagram 7-1. Tight formation

If we spread out on the one-yard line, the defense has to match up (Diagram 7-2).

Diagram 7-2. One-back formation

Remember, we are on the one-yard line. How do you stop a quarterback sneak? On the goal line, you get man coverage.
So, if you motion across, how do you stop that? And I could run other plays from this set (Diagram 7-3).

Diagram 7-3. Quarterback sneak with motion

So, why do we run the power? We have all thought about this. So, what I want to suggest to you is that when you run
offensive football, you should spread the field horizontally and vertically. You can create all the formations you want to create

and you should encourage your players to be as innovative as they possibly can to create these formations.
I do not buy into the fact that the defense needs to be in a certain formation. The offense, on the other hand, has to have
seven people on the line of scrimmage. In turn, the defense needs to determine where we intend to run the ball and to throw
the ball.

Consider, for example, the trips set (Diagram 7-4). I have forced you to defend four hot receivers on the play. As a
defensive coach, you have no choiceyou have to defend those people. You need to make a decision. Are you going to worry
about three receivers, or are you going to get enough people to the inside to worry about the run?

Diagram 7-4. Four hot receivers

As the offensive coach, I have about seven seconds to get the play off. It doesnt matter what I know as a coach. It matters
what that 16-year-old player knows. So once we know what the defense wants to do, that tells us what we need to do
If the defense chooses to defend the run, we will throw the balla lot. If the defense chooses to defend the pass and play a
skeleton against the run, we will run. Thats what we want to dospread the defense horizontally and vertically.

As a general rule of thumb, if the defense only has five defenders in the box, we run the ball. We can block five. If there are
six in the box, we can run or pass. That would be a 42 defense. On the other hand, with seven in the box, we like to pass. That
tells me that the defense is committing to four defenders and is playing man-to-man. We will probably get blitzed. If we do run,
we will run to the outside.

W hen we run, we want to seek the bubble (Diagram 7-5). The play we run often will be based on information provided by
our scouting report.

Diagram 7-5. Bubble area

We could run the trap. But how do we figure out what we are going to do? We need to know whom we are playing. If you
can balance your offensive people, you have a greater advantage. You would cut down on what the kids need to know, and
how to line up.
For example, we will see certain defensive looks most of the time. The first look is the one-gap, three-gap tackles with a
Mike linebacker (Diagram 7-6).

Diagram 7-6. On-gap, three-gap tackles, with a Mike linebacker

The next defense we often see is with two linebackers, an offset nose, and two 5-technique tackles (Diagram 7-7).

Diagram 7-7. Two linebackers

The next set we see is with two 3-techniques and two linebackers (Diagram 7-8).

Diagram 7-8. Two 3-techniques/two linebackers

The last defense we see is the gap look. The defense lines up with a nose man, and a down lineman in the 3-and-5 gaps on
both sides of the line (Diagram 7-9).

Diagram 7-9. Gap defense

In 13 years, the aforementioned looks are all we have seen. If we can prepare our kids for these fronts, then we are good to
go. If we add a tight end to our formation, we can make more small modifications to our alignment. This factor is important in
the passing game, but even more important in the running game. Our pass sets up our run. The fact that we spread the field
horizontally will create the necessary running lanes that we need inside between the tackles. The up-field movement of the
defense will give us run possibilities inside, for example, the draw.
We never ask a lineman to drive a player off the ball. We want to deny penetration. For example, you have a man on the
shade of the guard. You had better have a horse if you expect him to drive him off the ball without help from the tackle. If you
have a 1-technique and if we run away from him, we can block him easier and go the other way. This can be an important
factor for the running game.
To establish a plan of attack, you should have only one or two plays to attack the various areas of the field, including:

A gap
B gap
C gap

The zones
The middle

You do not need a ton of plays to get the job done. You should work on your favorite plays. You need to understand blocking
and tackling do not replace schemes. However, if you coach sound fundamentals, your innovative ideas will work. It is all about
Success is born out of repetition. W hen we run plays, it is important to understand that we have practiced them over-andover again. That is why we feel you only need one play for each area.
From a time standpoint, we practice our runs 30-to-40 percent of the time, and we run them in a game 60-percent of the
time. All factors considered, we feel that it is easier to run the football. Likewise, we practice our passing game 70-percent of
the time, and use it 40-percent of the time in the game.

At this point, I would like to discuss our passing game. It starts with the quarterback. Our quarterback threw 270 passes and
completed 72-percent of them. He threw for over 3000 yards, and had 28 touchdowns and only five interceptions.

I like to have the quarterback take the snap under the center. He needs to be close to what happens on defense. He must
understand the defense. In the shotgun, he needs to concentrate on the ball coming to him on the snap, as opposed to seeing
the defense.

We go to the shotgun if we cannot handle the pass rush. If you are overwhelming us, and we need to buy time, we will
sacrifice the downfield reads. W hen a young quarterback takes the ball from the center, he turns his head right away. If the
quarterbacks head goes away on the snap, you might as well be in shotgun.

W hen the quarterback takes the snap, his head should not move. He needs to know how things are unfolding in front of him.
Second, he needs to know how many safeties the defense is playing. He can read this on the pre-snap. If the defense has two
safeties, the play the quarterback calls may be different. If the defense only has one safety, it has a different tone. They may be
playing man-to-man, or they may be playing a zone defense. The quarterback needs to know how many safeties the defense
has lined up. If the defense does not have a safety in the middle of the field, we know they are playing man-to-man defense
As the quarterback takes the ball away from the center, his first step should be elongated, well beyond his shoulder. A
shorter step should not be tolerated. The quarterbacks hand with the ball should go under the center at the armpit. He does
not go under the center all the way with his arms to his ear hole. He should take the snap and be ready to throw the ball.

If there is a blitz, he knows to unload the ball immediately. As he hits his fifth step, his back leg and back shoulder are in
complete alignment. If the back leg is too far back, he cannot throw the ball. By making sure the shoulder is on the heel line, he
is in the proper throwing motion. W hen he steps, he must not overstride. His step should be a short step, toward the target. As
he follows through, his wrist should turn inside.
We work with our receivers to burst off the ball. Every time they release, they must sell the defensive back that the pass is
going downfield. They need to burst off the ball. The defense should be convinced every play is potentially a deep ball.
Receivers need to run precise routes. If the defense is playing a zone defense, it really does not make a lot of difference.
But if the defense is playing man-to-man defense, the receivers need to be precise and burst off the ball on their routes. If a
receiver is able to burst off the ball against man coverage, why shouldnt he do it all the time?
As a receiver gets to his break point, his body weight should shift back so that he can make a precise cut. If he is leaning
forward, a precise cut is impossible.
The next factor that the receivers should be concerned with is to catch the ball away from their body. We use all types of
drills to teach this fundamental. We want our receivers to make sure that their eyes follow the ball. We look for receivers with
soft hands.
In our offensive scheme, we have 10 passes against a zone defense, and seven passes against man-to-man defenses. If
you are running against a zone defense, you need to have two looksa balanced set and an overload set.
In a balanced look, we have an equal amount of hot receivers on both sides of the ball. This approach is consistent with
the principle that the defense should be forced to defend the entire field. We force the defense to spread the secondary out to
do just that.

We can line up in a balanced set in several ways. One way is to split the end, and set the backs in the slots on the opposite
side of the line. As a result, we end up with two receivers to each side (Diagram 7-10).

Diagram 7-10. Balanced set

We can run the overload or trips set to get the receivers to one side of the line. We can split the receivers to either side to
create the overload (Diagram 7-11).

Diagram 7-11. Overload (trips formation)

We have a trips set against a zone. That gives us three receiversour three against your three.

If we split both ends and put a slot to each side, we have a balanced set (Diagram 7-12). We have double slots, which
forces the defense to defend the entire field.

Diagram 7-12. Double slot formation

We can also create a balanced formation by using the double-wing set (Diagram 7-13). We have a wingback outside the
tight end. This positioning forces the defense to defend the entire field.

Diagram 7-13. Double wide formation

We can also line up in a wide slot to one side and a tight end and flanker split outside on the other side to get a balanced
formation (Diagram 7-14). This look forces the defense to cover the entire field, because the offense can attack with four
vertical receivers.

Diagram 7-14. Wide slot formation

We work with our players to make sure they understand this concept. We are forcing the defense to defend the entire field.

If we want to go to our trips look, we can do that in several ways. For example, we can split one end and set two backs to
one side to create a trips set. As a result, we have a tight end and double flanker formation (Diagram 7-15).

Diagram 7-15. Tight end double flanker

Another formation we use to create the overload is our bunch formation. In this situation, we can split an end and put a
back on each side of the split end to create the bunch look (Diagram 7-16). We have several different variations we can use
to line up in the bunch set.

Diagram 7-16. Bunch variations

The coaches must make sure the players understand what we are doing with the formations and why we are running them.

One of our favorite patterns is a zone route from a balanced set. In our terminology, this is our square-out route (Diagram 717). In this look, we have four receivers, two on each side of the ball.

Diagram 7-17. Square-out route

In our offense, we dont like the quarterback to read too much. However, on this route, he reads the playside corner. We are
aware the defense will give us several different looks. We see both sky and cloud coverage. The man the quarterback looks
for first is the read on the wide receiver on the out route.
It is a five-step drop route by the quarterback, but it is a seven-step route by the receiver. One of the things that upsets me
most is when a receiver only runs the route at five steps or extends it to eight steps. If he doesnt take seven steps, everything
is out of kilter and the timing is off. In an ideal world, when the quarterback hits his fifth step, he knows where he will throw the
ball because of his read on the corner.
On his progression, the quarterback looks for the second receiver, who runs seven steps, and then breaks to the corner.
The backside inside receiver runs a post. The backside outside receiver is our check-down man. He is our safety valve. In the
quarterbacks progression, if the ball gets to this receiver, you know you have a great quarterback.
The dynamics of the quarterbacks read on this play are straightforward (Diagram 7-18). If the corner bails out and goes
with the number-1 receiver on the corner-squat route, the quarterback looks for the number-2 receiver.

Diagram 7-18. Read on the second receiver

If the safety comes over the top on the second receiver, the quarterback looks to the backside and throws the ball to him
deep in the middle (Diagram 7-19).

Diagram 7-19. Read on the third receiver

The number-3 receiver should read the free safetys drop. He should go behind him on a shallow drop and under him on a
deep drop. You may see this as tough to teach. You bet it is, but it comes on repetition, repetition, repetition.
How do we call the square-out route? Every team has a square on the team. Typically, it could be the head coach or
another coach. In our case, its Larry Frost. Square left for us is called Larry. Square right is called Frost.
Putting it together, we signal in the play. We snap the ball on set. As the quarterback signals to the linemen, they must be
ready to go. The quarterback comes up to the line and calls out, FrostFrost! Ready, ready, set. The center snaps the ball,
and we run the play. It occurs that quickly.

On all of our running plays, we have a play-action pass complement. This particular play comes off an option. We call it
replace. We call out, replace right, or replace left. We wanted to come up with a catch phrase we could use with
replace. We could not think of much, except a light bulb or a spark plug that a person would replace. Subsequently, we
decided to call the plays spark to the left, and plug to the right. Again, this play is off the option (Diagram 7-20). The play is
predetermined based on how the defense attempts to defend the option.

Diagram 7-20. Option replace route

We run this play as a speed option. The quarterback steps back a step and attacks the inside shoulder of the defensive
end. We can assume the outside linebacker will read the near back, which is the tailback, and attack the pitch. The replace
receiver goes where the linebacker vacated. W hen the quarterback hits his third step, he throws the ball in the area the
linebacker left.
If it is man coverage, and the corner goes inside, then we go to the outside cut. It works extremely well on the outside
against a team that pursues excessively.

The next play I would like to discuss is what we use against a zone defense. It is our bootleg route (Diagram 7-21). Most o
you already run this play. We use word associations to name our plays. For us, the bootleg is an easy play to name. We ask
the players W ho is in charge of kicking students out of school? (Tom Jones is that person

Diagram 7-21. Bootleg pass

at our school). Another way to name the play would be to ask this question. W hat famous person in history wore boots? Of
course, it was Daniel Boone! Accordingly, we could name the bootleg play Daniel to one side and Boone to the other side.
W ith the word association in mind, we call Tom for the play to the left and Jones for the play to the right. Again, we use
word association with our plays. This bootleg comes off our outside-zone play.

As the quarterback comes out from center, we want him to show the ball. He should extend it out as far as he can, with
both hands on the ball. We want the defense to see it. As the quarterback approaches the running back, he slides the ball to
his hip. The running back then carries out his fake. The number-2 receiver needs to be close to the defensive end, even if
motion is used on the play.
The number-1 receiver runs the fade route. The backside receiver, which is the tight end, comes across the middle. He
needs to avoid the linebackers. He wants to make sure he clears the linebacker, and then gets depth.
If the corner bails out and runs with the number-1 receiver, we want to hit the number-2 receiver for a seven-to-10-yard
gain. If the outside linebacker goes to the flat, we look for the tight end, who invariably gets open, which is why we do not want
him knocked off his route inside. This is our bootleg concept.
I would now like to talk about our outside zone play. Remember, we are looking for a formation advantage. We can run this
from a trips set, with a one-back set with two wide receivers and a tight end to the same side (Diagram 7-22).

Diagram 7-22. Trips right zone play

We want to get to the perimeter on this play. We do not teach the tailback to cut back on the zone play. If the player cuts
back because of his talent, so be it. For us, it is a downhill course by the running back. You keep going downhill. We are not
asking our linemen to block anybody off the line of scrimmage; we simply want to engage their defensive man (Diagram 7-23).

Diagram 7-23. Zone right play

The tailback should aim two yards outside the tight end, or at the outside hip of the offensive tackle on the split side. The
quarterback needs to get to the handoff point. This play can complement the bootleg routes as well.
Next, I want to talk about a man route. We believe the man routes favor having more people to one side. If we have
multiple receivers to one side, we are trying to create match-up problems for the defense. We dont want to run a simple out
cut, because I believe the defense can cover that route.
We follow the rules. We do not run picks against the defense. We run rubs against them, but we do not run picks. One

other route we like to run is called under (Diagram 7-24). The principle receiver on the under route is the widest receiver. The
number-2 receiver runs up the field in a tandem with the wide receiver. The widest receiver goes seven steps, and breaks
hard to the inside.

Diagram 7-24. Under route

In terms of the rest of the offense, I believe you need a zone package. For us, that is 10 plays. You also need a man
package. That is seven plays for us. You also need screens and draw plays. We have four plays in that area. In addition, you
need passes that are simple to run, such as the hitch and bubble screens. We have three of these plays in our package.
Finally, you need a running game that is capable of attacking all of the gaps up front. We have eight plays to hit the gaps up
front. These 32 plays constitute our offense. In 2004, those 32 plays were good enough for 5,000 total yards.
My time is up. Thanks again.

No-Huddle Spread
Offense: Fly Sweep

Bryon Hamilton
Foothill High School, California

Thank you. It is good to be with you today. I am going to talk to you about one play in our offense. I will show you how we install
it, practice it, and execute it. We installed this offense in 2005. We have run it for five years with a great deal of success. In
2006, we decided to run this offense and nothing else.

What Is the SZF?

Developed in 2005, the shotgun zone fly is a run-oriented offense that combines the traditional fly sweep, inside
zone, and spread passing concepts.
Since installing the SZF, Foothill High School has won three EAL championships, played in three NSCIF
championships, and have a 46-13 record.
The SZF utilizes the quarterback, the wide receivers, and a running back in order to produce a triple threat in the run
game. By utilizing the quarterback and wide receivers in the run game, the SZF offense maintains a three-back threat
on almost every play while at the same time spreading the field to create stress on the defense.

The system is the shotgun zone fly series. The SZF focuses on the run as a power running game. This offense uses the
quarterback as a primary runner, which forces the defense to cover the field like a spread team. At the same time, the offense
has the ability to run the ball inside the tackles as well as on the perimeter. It is versatile in its application.

We run the inside zone, quarterback zone, fly sweep, power, trap, and throw the ball. We throw, and we run. The entire idea
behind this offense is it forces the defense to play sideline to sideline while we play goal line to goal line. We want to give the
impression that we are a finesse football team and kick butt. We want to go at the defense. The reality of this offense is to get
defenders out of the box. I do not want the linebackers coming downhill.
Penetration is the thing that stops the running game. We want to spread the field and get defenders out of the box, but we

are going to kick some butt.

Points of Emphasis

Force the defense to defend the entire field on every play.

Force the defense to commit defenders to the sweep on every play.
Maintain a power run game while spreading the field.
Create confusion and hesitation in the defensive linebackers and secondary.
Use motion and formations to create a numerical and physical advantage over the defense.
Cause defensive pass coverage to be predictable.

If I can keep the defense in their areas, I can usually find one area of the defense we can dominate. My goal is to keep your
defense playing option-sound football in a contained area. I do not want a linebacker making plays hash mark to hash mark. If I
can do that, we can find one area of field, and we can take an advantage.

SZF Sweep

Average 8 to 10 sweep calls per game.

80 percent of all offense play calls include some motion. The most common motion is fly or pop motion.
The fly sweep has averaged over nine yards per carry since 2006.
Defense has to commit practice time to defend it and prepare for it.

If we can get the defense to show us in pre-snap what they are doing in coverage, it makes it easier for us. That is why we
use so much motion. We use fly and pop motion. W hen we use the fly motion, people on the defense start to move, which
give us tips and clues of what they are going to do.

I want to talk about the sweep play. We run the sweep play 8 to 10 times a game. We run the sweep motion considerably
more than the sweep. We use motion from our wide receiver or slot. We use some kind of motion on 80 percent of the plays
we call. The fly motion comes from the wide receiver, and the pop or short motion comes from the slot players. The defense
can stop the sweep. The question is what they give up to stop the sweep. We do not run the sweep but 8 to 10 times a game,
but the defense has to spend a lot of practice time preparing for it.

W hen we run the fly sweep, the first key element of the play is the mesh between the quarterback and sweeper. The heels
of the quarterback are at four-and-a-half yards from the line of scrimmage with the weight on the inside of his feet. We spend
many hours working on the snap and catching the snap. We want his knees slightly bent with the hands ready to receive the
ball. We want the hands covering his numbers. His number-one priority is to get the snap.

The halfback aligns at six-and-a-half yards to the right or left of the quarterback in the shotgun. His depth is approximately
two steps behind the quarterback. That depth can change with the timing of the play. If he is a faster running back, his depth
could be seven-and-a-half yards. He aligns behind the guard and opposite the Z-receiver, which we call the Zebra. From that
position, he can run the frontside and backside zone or the frontside power.
The spacing between the Zebra, halfback, and the guard pull is two steps. Two steps are the timing element we use on this
play. The formation determines split of the Zebra. If it is a normal formation, his split is around the numbers.
W hen the Zebra starts in motion to the quarterback, he is running fast, but in a controlled manner. He uses a slide step
(gets depth) at the outside leg of the tackle to move toward the quarterbacks playside hip. That puts him on the sweep track.
He rotates his shoulders slightly toward the quarterback. That puts his belly button to the ball and his back numbers to the
linebackers. This is a tremendously important part of this play. This hides the ball and causes hesitation by the linebackers.
This means the sweeper is responsible for hiding the ball.

As he takes the handoff, he immediately locates the block on the force defender and attacks according to his read. If he is
executing a fake, he does exactly the same thing, except he keeps his hands in a fist position and does not clamp down on the
ball. If he is supposed to get the ball and it is not on the track when he gets there, do not slow down! He is now the lead blocker
for the quarterback, who runs the ball on the track.
The quarterback wants to snap the ball so that it arrives in his hands when the sweeper is two steps away. The landmark
for the quarterback is the outside leg of the backside offensive tackle. He places the ball on the sweep track and hands the ball

to the Zebra. He extends the ball forward into the path of the Zebra. That is the sweep track. The Zebra takes the ball from the

After he hands the ball off, he rotates on the leg that is on the halfbacks aligned side, and fakes a handoff to the halfback. If
the halfback is on a blocking track, the quarterback fakes an inside run after the exchange. If the quarterback does not feel
comfortable about the exchange, due to a bad snap, he does not attempt to hand the ball off. He must secure the ball and then
become the runner on the called track.

If the quarterback is executing a handoff to the halfback, he brings the ball to his belt buckle, pivots/rotates on the leg toward
the halfback, and places the ball on the inside run track. After the halfback takes the ball, the quarterback continues a run fake
to the opposite side. He only rides a sweep fake with the ball when the halfback is on a blocking track or not aligned in the
backfield. If the quarterback carries the ball, he executes the proper fake and attacks the called run lane.

W hen we run this play, we are not looking to get to the sidelines. If you do not have the speed to get to the sidelines, you
simply run out-of-bounds with a five-yard loss. We cut the ball back, depending on the block on the force player. We practice
that daily in our sweep drill. If you want this play to be effective, you must do something to slow down the linebackers and
make them hesitate. You do that with ball handling and faking. You must pay attention to details and demand they do it

W hen we run the fly sweep drill, we run two groups at the same time (Diagram 8-1). We align two centers, facing one
another 10 to 15 yards apart. The wide receivers align on the cones that mark their split to the outside of the centers. The
quarterbacks align in their position with a halfback behind them. The sweeper comes in motion to the quarterback. The
quarterback give the ball to the sweep, fakes to the halfback, and carries out his fake on the opposite side of the running back
for one step past the line of scrimmage.

Diagram 8-1. Fly sweep drill

There are two coaches involved in the drill. They stand where the tight ends block would be and watch the mesh. He gives
the sweeper a hook, a kick-out, or a head-up drive block read. The sweeper reacts to the block by cutting up (kick-out), running
outside (hook), or dipping inside and accelerating outside (head-up block). The sweeper keeps the ball and runs for 10 yards

off his read. He gives the ball to the other quarterback and returns to the sweep line on that side. We do this drill every day for
five minutes. We try to get 25 reps during that time.
W hen we expand the drill, we take the coach out of the drill and replace him with a tight end or H-back, who actually
performs the block for the key read. We can time and run all three plays in this drill. We can run the sweep, the zone to the
running back, and the quarterback zone play.
We can block the sweep with three different methods. If we run the base sweep, we align and block the force from an
alignment standpoint with no pull. We can run the G sweep and pull the playside guard. W hen we pull the frontside guard, the
running back fills for the guard. We can run the lead sweep, where we lead with a back and a pulling guard.

SZF: Fly Sweep

Ballcarriers: Zebra (4), H-back (2), quarterback (1)
Offensive line: Scoop/reach (outside zone) techniques.
Center: Work hard to cut the 3 technique on the sweep side versus even, or call step it and back block on the
noseguard, and the backside guard will pull around that back block.
Pulling guard: Drop-step to a 45-degree angle, immediately read block on force, and track his leverage track downhill
on the run lane, working inside to out on the first threat, never slow down, and stay square on the block.
We can run the play with the Zebra, H-back, and the quarterback. If we run 49, that is the Zebra sweep. If we run 29, that is
the H-back sweep, or 19 is the quarterback play. If we run the play to the slot, we use pop motion instead of fly motion.
The offensive line uses a scoop technique. It is the same type of blocking used on an outside zone play. We talk to our
offensive lineman in terms of covered or uncovered. If the defense covers the offensive lineman, his job is to get his inside
hand on the upfield shoulder of the defender. He wants to work his butt to get into a square position and turn the defender. The
depth of the offensive linemans step depends on the width of the defender.
If the defender is head-up, the step is straight at the defender, working to get the inside hand on the upfield shoulder. We
more than likely will be in a combination block of some sort on a head-up alignment. If the defender is inside, the blocking on
the inside will take the defender, and the blocker punches him and works up to the second level. If the defender is outside the
blocker, he has to lose ground to gain ground on the defender. He has to get depth off the line of scrimmage to get up to the
outside of the defender.
To drill this type of blocking, we use the hoop drill (Diagram 8-2). We align two offensive blockers on one side of the hoop. It
could be a tight end and tackle or a tackle and guard. We put the defensive lineman inside the hoop and the linebacker on the
top of the hoop. On the snap, the two offensive linemen block the defensive lineman and the linebacker. We work the punch
and go. On that block, the defender slants inside. The outside blocker punches him and goes to the second level. We use all
our combination techniques in this drill. The hoop teaches proper angle to get to the linebacker. This is a good drill for scoop

Diagram 8-2. Hoop drill

The guard on the G sweep uses a square pull. We never want his shoulders or eyes to the sidelines. He pulls, keeps his
shoulders square, and his eyes go to the force block immediately. Everything we do on the perimeter depends on what
happens with the force block.
W hen we run this play, we do not talk about fronts. It does not matter whether it is a 4-3 or a 3-4. We talk in terms of
covered or uncovered, the edge, and blocking the force. The offensive blocker on end the line of scrimmage blocks the force.

Force Blocking
Tight end/wing playside force block: Fight for reach. Drive to the sideline when reach is not possible. W hen aligned
away from sweep, inside release, and cut off the first fast-flow defender.
Halfback: Carry inside zone fake 10 yards. Lead sweep; step to force block get downhill to first bad guy in alley
working outside to inside.
Quarterback: Place the ball on sweep track, complete an inside zone fake to the halfback, and carry out a boot or
inside zone fake opposite of the halfback fake.
W ide receiver: Drive hard to the inside number of the corner, squat with the butt to the sweep
track, fighting for
upfield shoulder leverage. W hen the game plan calls for first high defender responsibility, drive on slant route to
safety, squat on numbers, fight to stay square on the block.
We call our sweep play green. We can run it with a G, lead, or base scheme.

Formation Rules
Always formation to have a minimum of three perimeter blockers (wide receiver, tight end/wing/halfback, pulling
Never be in an alignment/formation that allows immediate inside penetration by force defender.
Stress the defense with overloads, quick motion formations, and nasty splits.
W hen we align in a formation, we must have a minimum of three perimeter blockers on the play. We want a wide receiver,
tight end, and pulling guard on the perimeter. We could have a wing, halfback, and pulling guard. We want to get a hat on a hat
and turn the ball up if necessary.
W hen we align in our formation, we never want to take a split that allows the defender to jump inside and blow up the play.
That is particularly true for the force defender. We take the defender as wide in our splits as he will go. However, we never
want to get into a position where if the defender jumps inside, we cannot block him.

We want to stress the defense by using unbalanced sets and overloads. We want to use quick motion formations and
nasty splits on the force defenders. If the tight end takes a three split, it puts the defender covering him in a dilemma.

The first play I want to show you comes from a tight trips formation. The play is a 49 green lead (Diagram 8-3). The force
blocker is the tight end. He takes a nasty split on.

Diagram 8-3. 49 green lead

the outside linebacker. On this play, the playside guard is uncovered and pulls around the reach block of the tackle. The center
scoops through the playside A gap and angles for the playside linebacker. If the linebacker blitzes that gap, the center blocks
The backside guard scoops for the shade noseguard. The backside tackle scoops through the B gap, trying to get to the
second level.
The play is a lead play. The running back becomes the lead blocker on this play. The quarterback has no fake with the
running back. The quarterback can get a long ride with the Zebra since there is not a fake to the running back. After he rides
the Zebra, he fakes the quarterback zone play to the backside.
The pulling guard uses a square pull and sees the playside linebacker. If the playside linebacker blitzes into the B gap, the
guard attacks him at that point. He is square and in position to make that block. However, his primary path comes from the
block on the force. If the tight end washes the force inside, he goes around the outside and looks back inside. If there is no
linebacker, he goes up to the safety running in the alley.
The running back is the lead blocker on the play. He reads the force blocker and goes inside or outside his block, depending
on his read. If the force blocker reaches the defender, he takes his block to the outside and blocks the corner. If the defender is
working outside, the force blocker drives him outside, and the running back turns inside and blocks the first defender.

The Zebra runs the ball and reads the same thing the lead blocker reads. If the blocker and force defender lock up in a
stalemate, the Zebra dips inside and back to the outside.

This set is an unbalanced formation with the tight end in a closed position to the right tackle (Diagram 8-4). The wingback in
this set is the H-back set outside the tight

Diagram 8-4. G 48 green overload

end. The wide receiver and Zebra are off the line of scrimmage. The backside guard and tackle scoop through the backside A
and B gaps and up to the second level. The center has to work hard and reach the 3-technique defender to the overload side.
The best chance he has is to try to cut him.
The tackle and tight end run a combination block on the 6-technique defender. This is a zone blocking combination block,
working for the 6 technique and the inside linebacker.

The H-back has the force block on the outside linebacker. He tries to reach-block him, but blocks him any way he can. If the
defender goes inside, he seals him inside. If the defender runs outside, he drive-blocks him and kicks him out. If it is a
stalemate situation, the back wants to dip to the inside and take the play to the outside.
The pulling guard uses the square pull and gets his eyes on the force blocker. He reads the direction of the block. If the Hback drives the force outside, the guard turns inside and up on the safety. He looks inside before he goes up to the safety and
blocks the first defender who could make the play. The wide receiver stalk-blocks the corner.
The quarterback hands to the Zebra. He rotates and fakes to the running back on the inside zone play. The running back
has to fill on anything coming into the A gap. The quarterback fakes the quarterback zone or the bootleg off the fake.
If, for some reason, the force blocker splits too wide and the force defender penetrates to his inside, the guard kicks him
out, and we turn the ball inside immediately.

We use another overload formation called a closed-flex right tackle (Diagram 8-5). We run the G 49 green. The tight end
uses a nasty split from the right tackle, and the H-back sits in the tight slot alignment outside the right tackle. The backside
guard and tackle scoop through the A and B gaps and up to the second level. The defense uncovers the center, and he blocks
the 3-technique defender. He tries to cut him down or entangle his feet so he cannot pursue down the line.

Diagram 8-5. Closed-flex right tackle

The right tackle reaches the 5-technique defender on his outside shoulder. The tight end and wide receiver use a
combination block on the outside linebacker with the wide receiver working off the block for the inside linebacker. We read this
combination block as the force block. W ith a combination block, we should block the defender to the inside. However, the
inside pulls have to read the block on the force.
The H-back has no defender aligned over him and pulls to the outside around the combination block of the tight end and
wide receiver. The pulling guard square-pulls and reads the combination block. He goes inside or outside the block. The
quarterback gives the ball to the Zebra, fakes the running back, and runs a bootleg fake to the backside.
This play is a 28 green G (Diagram 8-6). We run this to the H-back using pop motion. That is the short motion coming from
the slot. The blocking is the same from the offensive line. If the defense is a 34 front, the tackle may have trouble with his
reach block on a 5-technique defensive end, and he can call on the tight end to give him some help. The tight end reduces his
split and helps the tackle. He punches the defender onto the block of the offensive tackle and gets off to the second level.

Diagram 8-6. 28 green G

We can run the play from under the center. The quarterback wants to snap the ball at the same place and present the ball
in the same fashion. The quarterback reverses to the motion and gets off the line of scrimmage. The running back runs the
same fake, and the quarterback fakes the bootleg. The timing is the same from the quarterback and Zebra. The line blocking is
the same, and the reads on the force block are the same. We run 5 to 10 percent of our snaps from under the center.
I appreciate you being here.

Executing the No-Huddle

Spread Offense

Rob Hoss
Sayville High School, New York

Thank you. I am glad to see all of you here today. If you are a coach looking for something that can help your offense and you
are not sure this is the offense for you, I am probably the best guy in the state to tell you about it. I come from a school where
change is difficult. We have been around playing football for 80 years.
I want to give you some background about Sayville football. We ran the power-I formation for 79 years. The offensive
linemen aligned in four-point stances. The fullback and tailback were in three-point stances. In our present offense, the closest
we get to the ground is our center touching the ball. W hile we were running the power-I, we won eight Suffolk County
championships, five Long Island championships, three Rutgers trophies, and 342 games. In 2006, we had just won the Long
Island championship. I went in to the coaches meeting and told them we were going to the spread.
I made many enemies in that room. If you have a chance to go to the spread and your team is not winning, you do not have
much to lose. You should not be afraid to do it because you have nothing to do but gain. If you are winning, the question is why
you would change.

In 2006, we had a massive offensive line. We were huge, and we lined up and blew people off the line of scrimmage. We
lost all of them to graduation. The offensive linemen we had coming back were small and our chance of moving defenders
around was almost nothing.

We thought our best chance of winning was running a high-risk and high-reward offense. We went to the no-huddle spread
offense. If you are not sure about this offense, look at what we did in the five-year period since the installation. If you are in an
offense and not getting results, you need to take a risk and run this offense. It will pay dividends for you.

High Risk, High Reward

In the five years since installing the no-huddle, we have achieved:

46-9 record
Three Suffolk County championships
Two Long Island championships
One Rutgers trophy
Three division MVPs
One Boomer Award winner

Sayville Offensive Goals

The following are our goals for every year:

To outscore our opponentthis will ensure victory

To score four touchdowns a game
To outhit and punish every defense we face
To average 350 yards of total offense per game
To be the top offense in our division

I talked to my defensive coordinator and asked him how many points we needed to score. He told me if we score four
touchdowns a game, we would win the game. That plan worked every game of the year until the Long Island championship
game. I do not know what happened in that game. We got beat and did not score the 12 times we had the ball.

In our games this year, our starting defense only gave up two touchdowns this year. We gave up more touchdowns, but the
starting defense only gave up two. If we score four touchdowns a game, we will win. W hen we write it down, we have to tell
our offensive players that this is our goal. You have to preach and teach your goals to your players.

We want to have 350 yards of total offense a game. There was one game this year that we did not have 350 yards of total
offense. In that game, our starting quarterback broke his nose on the first play of the game. He had to go to the hospital. We
played the rest of the game with our starting tailback playing quarterback. It was one of the hottest games of the year, and we
played in a torrential rainstorm. The field was a quagmire.
If you have an athlete in this offense, he can still be successful. Next year, our starting quarterback may be our tailback.

Sayvilles Offensive Objectives

Attack: Play fast and use multiple tempos to attack. Force each opponent to react and adjust to our offense. Always
use conditioning to our advantage.
GAT: Get after them! This Is the cornerstone of Sayville football.
Elimination of mistakes: Its tough enough to beat your opponent; we want to take away negative plays to ensure we
dont beat ourselves. Turnover ratio is the number one factor in winning and losing high school football games.
Score: We will score first, fast, and finish the fourth quarter. Score in the red zone, and take advantage of every
turnover our defense creates by scoring points.
Team: On and off the field, we act as oneunited as a whole groupwhere together we can accomplish greatness.

We are an attacking offense. We want to pressure the defense and make it adjust to what we do. We believe that the
turnover ratio is a tremendously important factor to winning the game. If we win the coin toss, we never defer. We want the ball
because we want to score first, and we want to do it fast. If you can do that, it puts additional pressure on the opponents
defense. The good thing about the spread offense is that it spreads the ball around to your athletes. They are all part of the
whole team game.

Benefits of the Spread

Allows the offense to create the tempo of the game

Forces the defense to defend the entire field
Forces the defense to play in space
Forces the defense to declare its coverage and blitzes
Creates 1-on-1 mismatches by formations (2x2, 3x1, empty)

Creates blocking angles for linemen and space for running backs and wide receivers
Designed to handle movement
Forces defense to commit to the run or get beat by the pass
The defensive coordinators want to see the offense get into the huddle and call its plays. The coordinator wants to control
his personnel and call the defense on his terms. We want to destroy his ability to do that. We want to control what he does.
We want him to defend the entire field. We want to create space and force the defense to play in that area. One of the hardest
things to do in football is to tackle a running back in the open field. By going at a rapid pace, the defense cannot disguise its
coverages and blitzes. It takes away their bluffs and mugs by the linebackers.

We want to find the mismatches in the defense. We use formations to isolate our best on their worst. We use multiple
formations to create those mismatches. If it is zone coverage, we teach our players what to do in that situation. This offense
handles movement. It does not matter if you blitz or slant. We run the zone scheme from the spread, but you can also run the
power game from the spread. You cannot believe how many power schemes you can run from this formation.
The defense wants to play against the two-tight-end, three-back sets. W hen you play the spread, you force the defense to
become more athletic. They cannot play the slot receivers, running backs, quarterbacks, and wide receivers in space with
linemen and linebackers. You force the defense to put defensive backs and athletes on the field.

W hy the No-Huddle
Practice time: We run 31 to 33 plays in a 20-minute period. It used to take 30 minutes.
Quarterback vision: By being at the line of scrimmage, the quarterback can scan the defense. It gives him a better
chance to call the correct audible.
Tempo: We push the defense into a tempo that it is not accustomed to. Changing gears is easy and causes
confusion on the defense, and it keeps them off balance.
Affects a defense: It forces a defense to prepare differently for a no-huddle team. It forces the defense to use
different forms of communication.
Conserves energy: W hy force players to travel additional yards during the course of a game? Keep your team fresh
for the fourth quarter. A typical quarterback who runs plays in from the sideline runs an extra mile per game.

W hen we practice, we practice in the no-huddle speed. The linemen are at the point of the ball, and the receivers deploy
during the spotting of the ball instead of going into a huddle and running back to where they just came from. Our players do not
know how to get in a huddle. We never huddle at any time in practice or in a game. The only time we come close to a huddle is
a fourth-down play during a time-out on the sideline.
Did you know it is 17 yards from the sideline to the hash? Consider how many yards the no-huddle saves our quarterback:

In 2007, we averaged 49 plays per game; no-huddle saved the quarterback 1,274 yards per game.
In 2008, we averaged 52 plays per game; no-huddle saved the quarterback 1,352 yards per game.
In 2009, we averaged 53 plays per game; no-huddle saved the quarterback 1,378 yards per game.
In 2010, we averaged 55 plays per game; no-huddle saved the quarterback 1,430 yards per game.
In 2011, we averaged 51 plays per game; no-huddle saved the quarterback 1,326 yards per game.

To make matters worse, the huddle is five to seven yards from the line of scrimmage. Thats 10 to 14 more yards of work
per play!

If you want to throw the ball, we want the quarterback looking straight up the field at the defense. We do not want his back to
the line of scrimmage in a huddle. He has a chance to fake a snap so the defense tips its hand and show what it is going to do.
On occasion, we run a freeze call, which is a no-play call, and try to draw the defense offside or make it show its hand. That
type of play by the quarterback confuses the defense as to whether to run the blitz or check out of it.
We have a number of tempos we use during a game. One of those speeds is warp speed. W hen we run a play at that
speed, we repeat the previous play. We do not call anything; we run the same play on the first sound. The quarterback does
not look to the sideline and the line does not listen for an audible. That prevents the defense from running any type of stunt. All
it can hope for is to align properly. We may play regular tempo for four or five plays and run the warp speed tempo for one play.
We may run regular for two plays and hit them with the warp speed tempo again.

If you find a team that uses wristbands as part of their scheme, the no-huddle team affects them tremendously. The
wristbands are their communication devises for the coaches and players. They do not have time to look at the wristbands.
Therefore, we cut his lines of communications from the coach and players. He ends up in the wrong technique or running the
wrong movement.

If we are in a regular huddle on offense, we have to ask the team to get up from a point on the field and jog back to a huddle
in the middle of the field. After the huddle, they have to jog the 8 to 10 yards to the line of scrimmage. That is a waste of
energy. Do not make the quarterback and linemen run additional and extra yards during the course of the game.

Positives: Tells the quarterback exactly what to do
Negatives: Player looks at the wristband and not the defense
Hand/Body Signals
Positives: Very effective to signal in base plays
Negatives: Hard to signal in formation, motion, play, name, and direction and is difficult to have a huge playbook
using hand signals
Positives: Dont need a multicoach system, is a much faster form of communication, and a more effective way to
change the play at the line of scrimmage
Negatives: Difficult to utilize with crowd noise

I do not like the wristband system because it is too confining as to the number of plays you can get on a wristband. They are
hard to read, and weather affects them. I do not want the players looking at the wristbands. I want them looking at the defense.
Hand signals are okay for signaling base plays. However, you cannot get into the game in a quick amount of time what we
need to communicate. You cannot get a huge amount of information to your team with a hand signal. Hand signals do not work
for me.
I like the verbal system. The coach calls the play from his sideline. He shouts it to the receiver to his bench, and that
receiver relays the call straight down the line. It goes from wide receiver to slot receiver to quarterback and offensive line to
opposite side receiver. I am not saying the verbal system is the best; it is what works for us. The wristbands and hand signals
may be what work best for you. I prefer to use the verbal communication.

Silent Count

99 percent of the country uses some sort of snap count; snap counts alert a defense.
Calling a cadence takes time, and we do not want to waste time.
We often snap the ball before the defense is set or while it is looking to the bench for a defensive call.
A silent count creates anxiety for the defense.

We use a silent count. That does not mean we have to use it, but we believe in it. We never use a count unless we know
when to go. We give them a code. We have a code when we go on one and a code when we go on two.

W hen we talk about the code, your players must know what you are saying. If you use a word five times in a row, and five
times in a row you go right, the defense may notice that. However, when we use the code words, the defense does not know if
we are talking about a player, a direction, or a play. I do not believe the defense can crack the code we use. There are too
many variables for them to notice.

The Code
It is almost impossible to crack because it is a foreign language.
Dummy calls and signals are utilized in the communication of the calls.
It is to our benefit if the opposing coaches are concentrating more on our calls than their own.
In our offense, we try to balance the running game with the passing game. In the past five years, we ran the ball 1,796

times. We gained over 10,000 yards. We threw the ball 1,036 times and completed 633 passes. We passed for 9,836 yards in
five years. That amounts to running the ball 63 percent of the time and throwing it 37 percent of the time. In recent years, we
are probably closer to 60 percent run and 40 percent pass. We feel that is a balanced attack.

We use a multiple tempo system. We have three tempos. We use slow, fast, and warp speed tempos. In our offense, we
are unpredictable in our play calling. If we are backed up in our own territory, we want to throw on first and 10 yards for the first
down. Coaches do not normally throw from their own one-yard line, but we will. Never let the defense know what you are going
to do. Make them play when you are backed up as they would from the middle of the field. Never let the defense dig in.

Keys to the Running Game

Run to the numbers (where less defenders are).

Run to angles (some techniques are easier to run against than others).
Attack all areas (running back, quarterback, wide receivers).
If everything is equal, run to the grass.

If we run the zone play, I like to run that to the shade defender rather than the 3 technique. We would rather trap the 3
technique. Keep a balance between the ballcarriers. Do not let the defense concentrate on one ballcarrier. Attack them from all
areas and with multiple ballcarriers. If you cannot figure out where to run and everything on the defense seems to be equal, run
to the wide side of the field.

Keys to the Passing Game

Simplicity is critical (mirrored routes).

Throw high-percentage passes (quick game).
Have a blitz control (hot checks).
Use multiple sets (we use 10 but mostly in ace).
Have more than one protection scheme (slide, BOB).
Spread the ball around and keep the players involved:
#1 receiver: 45 catches
#2 receiver: 30 catches
#3 receiver: 26 catches
#4 receiver: 18 catches
Have an answer for all coverages.

Mirrored routes in our offense are huge. We pick a side and try to find the best match-up for our receivers. Once the
quarterback decides which side is best, that is where he throws. If he thinks the right side is the best side, we throw to the

We give our quarterbacks horizontal and vertical blitz control. The vertical hot pattern is the fade route. The horizontal hot
pattern could be a bubble screen, jailbreak screen, running back swing, quick speed-out, or any number of things we can do.

Quarterback Tips
Pre-snap read: Split the field in half and locate the weakness.
Open receiver: This is when the receiver is between the defender and the ball.
Ball security: This is paramount. Do not force anything; throw the ball away.

The quarterback has to find the weakness in the defense. It could be a blitz from the boundary, boundary man-to-man, or
the field defenders misaligned, but he has to find the weakness. We do not want the quarterback to take a sack. If he cannot
find a receiver, he has to throw the ball away. However, if he gets into a situation where he cannot throw it away, we want him
to eat the ball and take the sack. We do not want him to attempt to throw the ball with someone hanging on him. Quarterbacks
trying to get rid of the ball in those congested areas either fumble it or throw the ball to the defense.

Last season, our quarterback threw the ball 216 times. He had 139 completions and 29 touchdowns. He took more sacks
than he needed to, but that was due to my coaching. I always want to live to play the next down. If he throws an interception,

we come off the field.

W hen we start to coach our quarterback, the first thing we do is teach him how to identify the box.

To tell the difference between coverages, we use the phrase box DEA, which stands for:

Men in the box

Depth of the corners
Eyes of the defensive backs

This is a pre-snap read that can and most likely will change after the snap of the ball.

The box tells us if we want to run the ball or throw it. Reading the box will tell the quarterback what to do. The depth of the
corner will tip the coverage. If the corner looks at the quarterback, it is probably some type of zone coverage. If he
concentrates on the receiver, it is a man scheme.
In the spread offense, the blitz will come from the outside linebacker in a two-high look. If the wide receiver to that side
starts to yell Hot, hot, hot, that is an alert for the quarterback to a blitz from that side, and he should think hot reads. He does
not have to check the play but is alert to the possibility of the blitz and knows where the hot throw is.
This offense has great adaptability.


To situations: W ind, rain, time management

To opponents: Great run defender or pass defender, etc.
To schemes: Speed guys in space
To personnel: Injury, graduation

In this offense, we are comfortable with the shotgun snap. W hen the field conditions are bad, we believe there is more
insecurity under center than there is in the shotgun. We did not have one fumbled snap last year, and we had only one bad

Must Commitments
Must have great spacing with your receivers to force the defender to play full coverage; you cannot allow a defender
to play half run and half pass.
Must commit to throw to the uncovered receiver every time when it is available; uncovered is when there is no
defender within five yards of the receiver.
Must work on defeating the blitz daily (hot ready).
Must have well-rounded screen package to combat the blitz.
Must be willing to move the pocket (sprint out, bootleg).
Must teach receivers to find open areas and not run into coverage.
Receivers must become excellent blockers because the backside becomes the frontside.
Must have a simple and versatile run game that attacks inside and outside. Utilize counters to slow a defense.
Quarterbacks must be drilled not to pass up open receivers in hopes for something better later in the progression.
Must stress throwing the ball short to people who are playmakers. Use speed in space.
Must use a variety of formations that allow people to be on and off the line. This will aid in getting off press coverage.

The most important thing in this section is great spacing. We coach that from the first day. We tell the receiver the outside
linebacker cannot play both the receiver and the run. If the receiver is into the boundary, he knows he has 17 yards, and he
cannot allow the linebacker to play both games. He has to adjust his split so that the linebacker has to cover him or the
quarterback throws to him. We simply tell the receiver, if the linebacker is so far inside where he cannot block him, the
receiver is uncovered.

The linebacker tells us he is a run defender. That leads us to the second commit. If the receiver is uncovered, the
quarterback wants to throw him the ball.
To avoid linebackers and blitzes, we must be willing to move the quarterback from the pocket with sprint-out passing. The
other alternative is to misdirect and get to the outside with the bootleg.
Some coaches teach receivers to run routes. We teach them how to run routes. We teach them how to sink their hips,
combat defenders, explode out of breaks, and identify zones and what to do against man coverage. If they play against zone
coverage, they want to find open areas and stop their routes. If they play against man coverage, they have to run away from
defenders to get open. They continue to run their patterns and never settle into an area.
The receivers must be excellent blockers. The backside receiver can easily become the frontside blocker. On the zone
option, the zone play run to the right can easily become the zone option to the left. The receiver has to stalk block on the
corners and safeties. We start teaching that in a drill where the receivers must keep their hands behind their backs. They have
to shuffle to get square on the target and stay in front of him. They have to use their feet to stay in front of the defender.
We are not a big down-the-field team. Everyone thinks we are and play us with deep zones. We take what they give us.
They give us all the short passing zones, and we take them. We want to give the ball to the playmakers in space and let them
make big plays.
W hen I come to a clinic, I want to learn one thing. At this clinic, I learned about a frontside deep read. W hen I go back, I ask
myself the things in my final thoughts.

Final Thoughts
W hen installing any offense or a single play, ask yourself the following three questions:
How difficult will it be to defend?
How easy will it be to teach?
W hat are we going to gain from it?
If you can answer those three questions, you can install the play or offense. Thank you!

The No-Huddle Spread Offense

Mick McCall
Bowling Green State University

Thank you for the introduction. I want to talk about our offense and some of the things we did that helped us to become a better
team last year. We led the country in third-down conversions. There were many reasons for that. That is a huge deal for us.
Our defense has a goal to be successful on 40 percent of the third-down plays. We averaged four yards per run on offense,
which gave us a 55 percentage.

I am going to talk about our spread offense and our running game. W hen most people think about the spread offense, they
think about throwing the ball all over the yard. The last two years we have had a runner gain over 1,000 yards each year. We
were the only team in the country that had 4,000 yards passing and a 1,000-yard rusher. We are going to run the football. Two
years ago, we were second in the MAC in total rushing offense. We are going to run the football and we are going to run it
efficiently. It is not about how many yards we get; it is about how efficient we are.

We scored a touchdown 66 percent of the time when we reached the red zone. W hen you get in the red zone, you must
score and we teach that to our players. On Wednesday, we work on the red-zone offense. On Thursday, we work almost
exclusively on red-zone offense. We spend a lot of time on our red-zone offense.

We averaged 26 first downs per game. We had five plays of over 20 yards or more per game. We do not stress the big
plays. We are not worried about the long plays. Those things will happen if we are doing the other things right. We have to find
a way to make big plays.

I will give you some of the running plays we use, but I want to go in the direction of the no-huddle offense. I want to give
you an idea of where we come from in our thinking. We like to use the no-huddle offense. That is what we do. That is who we
are. It is not something that we just dabble in occasionally. Here is why we use the offense.

First, it is about controlling tempo. Being an offensive coach, I have a problem allowing the defense to dictate what plays we
have to call. I do not like to call plays just to get us out of a bad play. I want to dictate to the defense what they can do to our
offense and what they cannot do to us on offense. That is our mind-set. We want to control the tempo and I will cover that

Using the no-huddle offense gives us more time in practice. We signal the plays to the offense in practice. We can run a ton
of plays. We get several reps in practice. Our practice tempo includes several reps and we get it going very fast. Practice is a
lot faster than games as far as the tempo is concerned. W hen we get in a game, it is slow to our players because the officials
have to set the ball ready for play.
We tell our offensive line and receivers to lineup and conserve energy until we signal the next play. They like it when they do
not have to go back to the huddle on each play. They like setting up at the line of scrimmage and ready to go. We conserve a
lot of energy doing this simple thing in a game. The defense still has to go through all of the things they usually have to do.

The two-minute offense is no big deal to us. That is what we do. The difference is that we are stopping the clock. Therefore,
we are used to running the two-minute offense. That is who we are.

Running the no-huddle offense, it minimizes defensive packages. We do not want the defense to be able to call everything
they have in their defensive package. If we force the tempo, it limits the defense on what they can use against us. We want to
simplify what the defense can do against our offense.

We are able to look at the defense and call the play. At the start of the 25-second clock, we can look at the defense to make
a decision on what play we want to run. We can call the play from the box down to the sideline or we can actually call the play
from the sideline.

Our offense is different for the defense. They must hurry to line up and be ready to set their defense. They must hurry to get
set against our offense. We want them to play defense for 25 seconds of the shot clock. As soon as the whistle blows for the
25-second clock, we want them to be ready to play defense. We may snap the ball in the first few seconds when we line up on
the ball. We can let it run down to 15 seconds and then snap the ball. Or we may let the clock run down to the last couple of
seconds and snap the ball just before we get a delay of game call. We want to force the defense to concentrate for most to
those 25 seconds. We do not have that many players that can concentrate that long. Our offensive players know when we are
going to snap the ball. That is how we are going to control tempo.

Our offense fosters communication skills. It does not matter what you think; the players still have to get the job done on the
field. It is the ultimate team game. Coaches may actually have less to do with what happens on the field in football than they do
in baseball or basketball. In football, players must communicate. We practice the same way as we play the game and the
players must concentrate in practice to know what is going on with our offense. Our defense has to be on the field with their
players in practice to get them lined up in the proper positions. The offensive coaches are off on the sideline signaling the plays
in to them. They must communicate in practice as well as in the games.
I know kids want to spread the field and throw the football. In our offense, it is not just one man getting the football. It is not
just one receiver on the boundary sideline that is going to get the football all of the time. Our four wide receivers had 50 or
more catches each this past year. I told you we had a running back that gained over 1,500 yards rushing. He also caught 40
passes. We spread the ball around and we throw the football to more that one receiver.
There are negatives to running this type of offense. You need to know these points and you have to work on them. The first
negative is that we are limited in what we can run on offense. We cannot do everything running this offense. I have studied
several programs and I have visited several different schools looking at the things they do on offense. It amazes me to see
some big-name schools that run a play in a game and have great success the first time they run the play and they never come
back to the play again in that game. I have seen teams that have run 70 different plays in a game without duplicating a single
play. To me, that does not give continuity to your offense. However, you have to minimize the plays you can run from the
offense we use. Players can only get so many concepts down for the games.
We know we are going to have communication breakdowns. You are going to have them. You must negate the possibilities
that you are going to have those breakdowns. We still have a player that misses a signal. We may have a player miss the
direction he should have gone. The quarterback can miss a call on the check off. We understand this and we must live with it
and go on.
The other drawback is that we have to be secret about our method of signaling the plays to the quarterback. We may have
two coaches giving signals and we can have another player giving the signals. Only one person is going to be giving the live
signal. The other two people giving the signals are dummy calls. That is how we beat the secret aspects of the system.
Our system must have unifying principles that are simple and identifiable. The system must use common words and they
must be easy to say. We use words such as city, state, color, numbers, or mascot. It can be what you want them to be. It is
your terminology. We want to use short, one- or two-syllable words. These words may represent blocking schemes,
formations, plays, and other information.

The signals should be distinct and they should follow a pattern. They must mean something to the players. A lot of the time
we have the players make up their signals. Our wide receivers get different signals than what the quarterback, running back,
and tight end get. It means the same play but the signal is different.
The system is the same today as it was three years ago. It is the same system. We build on it and we subtract from it. If
you can keep the same system for four years, the players should be good at the system by the time they get to be seniors.
We want the signals to be simple and through so the players can play without thinking so much. We want to keep it simple,
yet give them some flexibility in the system. We want them to be able to focus and play, and not think so much.
If you get anything from the lecture today, this would be the point I would consider worthwhile. If you were thinking about
running the no-huddle offense, these would be the reasons why you should run it.
Our no-huddle offense consists of five phases. It is important to know why each phase of the offense is used. We can use
these phases anytime during the game. First, I want to talk about our procedure on the line of scrimmage. I am not going to
give you the exact detail of how we call our plays, but this is how you implement the phase.
The quarterback will be responsible for alerting everyone for the change in tempo. We are going to change the tempo as we
go up and down the field. The quarterback will always give the play to the offensive line. We are not going to ask those five big
bulls to look to the sideline to get the signal on the play. The quarterback will tell the line the play.
The receivers and tight ends get the information from the sideline. As soon as the previous play is over, they start looking to
the sideline to get the signal where they are to line up and what the play is. The quarterback gives the snap count to the
offensive line. All of the receivers, including the tight end, must watch the football.
The first tempo is what we call our sugar huddle. We are three to four yards behind the ball. The line faces the football.
The quarterback can line up in front of the line or he can actually line up behind the line. It is a normal sugar huddle. We do
not use this very often. We use it when we are milking the clock, or trying to slow down the game.
The second tempo is our fastball. We line up and run a play in any formation in our offense as fast as possible. The
quarterback calls out fastball, tastball, and everyone lines up as quickly as possible. He does not have to give them the
formation because they know the formation from the signal from the sideline. The quarterback only has to tell the linemen a
few words. He may call out to the linemen, read right, read right, and that is all they need to know. We can snap the ball on a
regular count or we can go on a fast snap count.
We want to go as fast as we can when we call fastball. We can change the formation on fastball. We can call right to left
and change the formation but we are going to do it as fast as we can. We want to catch the defense looking to their sideline to
get their defensive signal and we run the bubble off the back door. We want to create those for the defense where can take
advantage of those type of situations. We want it very simple so we can run the plays.
Our third phase is our super fastball, or a two-minute offense tempo. We line up and keep the receivers on the same
side of the formations. We are going faster and we are going to snap the ball as fast as we can get set. We can call smashsmash and the line knows what we are doing. We snap the ball and away we go. Again, the receivers stay on the same side
of the formation.
The next phase of our tempo is what we call glance. Now, I am not going to give all of our codes or signals here today.
They will get back to our opponents fast enough. This is how we do this tempo. The quarterback calls any play and we line up
on the ball. He continues to go through his signals for a set amount of time on the 25-second play clock. W hen the play clock
gets down to about 18 seconds, the quarterback and the receivers all glance over to the sideline to get the signal for the play
we are going to run. We snap the ball with three or four seconds left on the play clock and away we go. That is our simulated
glance tempo. We want the defense to get use to the fast and then we slow it down. We call a lot of our offense from that
The next thing we do is to simulate check. It is the same thing. We go fastball, fastball and then the quarterback calls a
color. That alerts the offense that we are not going to go on a quick count. The quarterback may call out red-15, red-15. Then
the quarterback looks to the sideline and if the play is what we want he will call the snap count, Go. We are snapping the ball
at 14 to 15 seconds on this tempo. We do not want to give the defense a chance to reset their defense.
In our tempo, we can snap the ball from the beginning of the play clock all the way down to the end of the 25-second clock.
We want the defense to show what they are going to do and we want them to play defense all the way through the 25-second
clock. Now, it is like shooting fish in a barrel.

The offensive coordinator is in the press box and he can see what the defense is doing while we are waiting for the defense
to line up. As soon as he sees how the defense is going to play us, he can look at his chart and make the best call for that
situation. It gives the quarterback a chance to look at the defensive rotation and figure out what is going to happen on the play.
Our quarterback could make the all without looking at the sideline based on what we have worked on in practice for that week.
We have four base running plays. I may not get all the way through the four plays. We have a read play, which is our zone
play. It is a zone read play. We have the speed option. We have a trap play and we have a rep play. I will only have time to
cover the first three plays. We run these plays in a one-back set. We run the zone plan in our one-back and we run our zone
plan from our empty set with our quarterback. We run some of the other plays out of the empty set. We can run the trap with
our one-back set or we can run the trap with our quarterback running the two-trap.
First, I want to talk about our zone plays. I am coaching with the best offensive line coach I have ever coached with in my
coaching career. He is phenomenal. He does a great job with our zone plays. On our zone plays, we must be able to run the
plays out of the spread look with a tight end or without him. We must have the flexibility to run the play with or without the tight
We can do the same thing without a tight end. We have a covered principle and an uncovered principle. It starts outside. If
the guard is uncovered, he helps the tackle. The tackle is going to make the call. The guard can make a call to override the

Diagram 10-1

Diagram 10-2

Diagram 10-3

If the guard can come outside and help the tackle, he is going to make the call. That tells the tackle he has a block with the
guard. It is the same when the tight end is in the game. If the tackle cannot go help the tight end, then the tight end has the man
one-on-one. The rules are very simple to follow. Our linemen can play any of those positions because they know the type of
blocks to use on the line. We could play them at any of the line positions if we had to do that. We are going to play our five best
players at those line positions. If a player gets hurt, the next best player is going in the game.
Our first play is 14 read. We are running this to the playside. The deep-back is set at five and one half yards deep
(Diagram 10-4). He lines up over the offensive tackle. Last year we went to big splits in the line. If the tackle splits wide, the
mesh point is a little different. We give the back the freedom to adjust on the play. He must be three steps to the mesh point.
He has to have a feel for that mesh point. We work on mesh point everyday with our backs. We do ball handling everyday. We
run 14 and 15 Read everyday in our individual period.

Diagram 10-4

Our quarterback lines up with his toes five yards deep. He is slightly ahead of the running back. He catches the snap, takes
a rocker step, and rides the tailback as he comes through the mesh area.

Everyone up front is zone blocking. It does not matter if we have a tight end or not, we are still blocking zone. The key to the
play is the tailback. He must get two steps past the mesh. He takes three steps to the mesh then he must go two steps toward
the line to set the blocks up for the linemen up front on the linebackers. He must make the linebackers move.
The back has to make the play go. After he sets up the play with the two steps past the mesh, he must make a decision on
where he is going to run. He can bounce it, bang it, or he will bend it back. He reads the first covered lineman past the center
and then his eyes must expand after that. He gets as close to the tackle as possible before he makes the cut. We use the
term bend back, but it is more of a bend up on the cutback. That is what we do for the tailback.
The tailback must be patient on the play. The closer he can ride the tail of the tackle, the better the play will be. He must
allow the play to develop and that takes time. At the very last minute, he breaks the play to the open area.
If the tailback breaks too quick, it makes it tough for the linemen to block their man. It is the responsibility of the tailback to
set the blocks up for the linemen.
As long as we have five defenders in the box, we are going to block five defenders. We see six defenders in the box most of
the time. We see some type of shade with six defenders in the box. There are two things we are concerned about when this
happens. First, if you are in a 4-2 front we are going to block the six defenders near the line and read the outside man with the
quarterback (Diagram 10-5). Everyone else blocks zone. The quarterback must determine if the defensive end can make the

play at the point of attack just behind the tackle or on the line of scrimmage. If the end can squeeze the play down enough, the
quarterback must determine if he should pull the ball or not, or if he is going to give the ball to the back on the zone play. It is
the same as if you were running the triple option. It is no different.

Diagram 10-5

This is what I tell the quarterback. One, width is more important to judge than depth or turning the shoulders. If the end can
squeeze the play down and stay inside with his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage, he can stop the handoff. If the end
comes up the field and does not squeeze the play down, he may not be able to get back inside to stop the play. We tell the
quarterback width is more important than depth. It is more important than how much he turns his shoulders on the play.
The other thing we tell the quarterback is to read the eyes of the defender. The quarterback is not responsible for the mesh.
The back is responsible for the mesh. If the quarterback can see the ends eyes looking at him, he gives the ball to the running
The other thing that we see is the odd alignment. As long as there are five defenders, we are going to block five defenders
(Diagram 10-6). That is easy.

Diagram 10-6

Normally on the perimeter, if we are running 14 read and we keep the ball against the six-man front, the slot man blocks
the second defender off the line of scrimmage. He does not know if the quarterback is going to keep the ball or not. It is straight
zone block for the H-back (Diagram 10-7).

Diagram 10-7

The other thing we do is to run the read play and tag it with the option. Now we do not block the end. If the quarterback sees
the end is outside, he is going to give the back the ball on the zone play. If the call is a read and the end stays outside, the
quarterback hands the football off on the play.
If the end comes down inside now, the quarterback pulls the ball and comes outside toward the end. We said we do not
block the end on this play. Now the quarterback is going to option on the end (Diagram 10-8). That is another way to
incorporate the read or the option.

Diagram 10-8

I will cover a couple more things on the option play. The offensive line inside is still running our zone schemes that we talked
about before. This is our equalizer. We check to it when we expect the blitz, or when we are in the red zone. We can run it
with or without a tight end.

The big key is this. The tackle and the end receiver must both be on the same page. The first thing we want to do is to
option the end man on the line of scrimmage (Diagram 10-9). If the defensive end is not coming, the tackle drives to the W ill.
The outside receiver is going to cruise upfield and check to make sure the tackle has taken care of the W ill linebacker. If the

W ill is blocked, the receiver takes the next man that shows.

Diagram 10-9

If the linebacker is wide, and there is someone else backing the blitz such as the strong safety, then the tackle is not going
to drive for the W ill linebacker. He can see the strong safety has a chance to blitz. The defensive end lines up tight. He is
coming inside. We still want to option the end man on the line of scrimmage. Now we option the Sam linebacker. Now we are
going to gang it.

The receiver sees the same thing. Now, we gang the play down the line. We pitch off the end man and away we go on the
speed option. If the tackle is in doubt about what to do, we tell him to gang the play.

We can run the play with a tight end in the game. He has the same rules as the linemen. We still want to pitch off the end
man on the line of scrimmage. Now it is just one hole removed for the play.

The end works upfield to the linebacker. He may not get the linebacker. He may end up blocking on the safety. We want to
get a hat on a hat.

This is how we approach the pass protection. We have principles to cover the blocking. We work on this from day one in
the spring and fall. We have a period where we are going to work on the quarterback checking to as many bubbles as we can.
That is the first thing we are looking for.

We go through the following things in checking to the play we want to run. Our thought process at the line of scrimmage is
this. First is the bubble route. If our inside receiver out-leverages the defender over him enough to catch the bubble pass and
run away from him, we are going to check to the pass and run it.
The second principle we apply is to check the second level defender (Diagram 10-10). If the defender is 10 yards deep, we
will audible to a buddle call. We can check off to the play from the shotgun or from under the center.

Diagram 10-10

We would like to run everything from the shotgun, but that does not always happen. The bubble is a lot quicker if we run it
with the quarterback under the center.

If the quarterback is under the center of the bubble, he is going to crow hop back and throws the ball. He gets rid of the ball
very quick.

The receiver has a normal alignment with the inside foot up. He opens and crosses over, and then starts downhill. He must
know he is going to get the ball a lot quicker if the quarterback is under the center than he would if the quarterback is in the
shotgun. The quarterback wants to throw the ball to the front shoulder of the receiver.

If the quarterback is in the shotgun, the pass is going to be slower now. That means the receiver is going to change his
route on the play. Again, the quarterback takes the long snap and crow hops. He wants to get his momentum going toward the
receiver. He wants to get the ball out to the receiver as quick as he can.

The receiver knows the quarterback is in the shotgun so he knows the pass is not going to come as fast. The receiver must
adjustment his alignment. It is not a big adjustment, but he does back off and gets a little deeper. His first step is an open step.
The second step is a crossover step. On the third step, he continues laterally on the route. He wants to stay on the same path
as before. We do not want every receiver running the route differently.
If the receiver is uncovered, it is different for the receiver. At the snap of the ball, if there is no first level defender on the
receiver, we run the play the same as we do on the bubble. If the second defender is over 10 yards deep, we run the bubble.
The quarterback and receive must be on the same page. The receiver opens up his shoulders and turns his head toward the
quarterback as he comes off the line. The quarterback must deliver the ball immediately on the snap. We call this awareness.
If the quarterback does not throw the ball to the receiver, he must continue on his step on the route called.

We go over the different defenses we see and give the quarterback the responsibility of making the decisions on throwing
the bubble or not. He has a couple of things to consider in making his decision to throw the bubble or not. He must consider
down and distance. On first and second downs, we will show the awareness no matter what the defense does. On third
down, he must decide if the receiver will be able to get the first down or not. We do not give the receiver the choice to run the
route or not. We let the quarterback determine if he is going to throw the bubble pass or not.

The third consideration is the hitch route. It is the easiest throw in football. We will throw the hitch route to any receiver as
many times as we can all the way down the field. We are going to throw the hitch route as many times as we can. It does not
matter if we throw it to the field, to the boundary, or in the middle of the field. If it is an inside hitch we want the receiver to run
five steps, turn around, and catch the football. We will continue to throw the hitch until the defense comes up and takes it away
from us. W hen they do that, we go to some of our other plays in our package.

Our players know we are going to have a period each day where we work on the three principles. We work on the bubble,
the uncovered, and the hitch routes.

I touched on running certain concepts a bunch of times. We want to run a few things and run them well as opposed to
running a large number of different plays all over the place. We ran some form of four verticals over 100 times. Our players got
good at running four vertical routes. They knew the adjustments on the routes. We are going to run four verticals as many
times as we can.
The basic premise of the four verticals is to stretch the field. The two outside receivers are going to be at the bottom of the
numbers. For the two inside men their alignment is two yards outside the hash marks. That would be on the high school hash
marks. The back runs a dump route over the middle of the football (Diagram 10-11). We are going to have someone in the
middle so the quarterback can dump the ball off if he is in trouble.

Diagram 10-11

We do a couple of things a little differently. The outside receivers are going to run a vertical route. If the outside receivers
cannot beat the defender by 12 yards, they are going to run a drop out at 15 yards. This keeps the defender from turning and
running up the field as hard as he can go.

The two inside receivers are going to get on their seams and run the route deep. That is an easy throw if there is only one
safety playing deep. If there are two high safeties playing, we want to have one of the receivers run a bender post route. It is a
post route back into the middle of the field. Normally that bend receiver is our straight side receiver. He is going to run the post
back inside.
If we are running 60 protection, which is six-man protection, the back can stay in and block on the play. If we have 50
protection, it is a little different. The read for the quarterback is important. He knows how far his drop is going to be. He knows
his movement key and what he is looking at, and he knows he has a progression on the read. For all of our routes the
quarterback has those three points to consider.
We work against the safeties. We go one high safety, or two high safeties. The quarterback looks at the two inside seams if
we get only one safetyman. He looks the safety one way or the other. He is going to throw the ball to the open seam receiver. If
the seam is not open, he reads the outside receivers. If they are not open, he looks for the back on the route. Those are the
reads for the quarterback.
If he reads a two high safeties, he looks for the bender receiver. He looks for the inside post and then to the outside fade
route, and then to the back. Those are his reads with two deep defenders. He is going to read the safety to the boundary side.
It could be bender, drop out, and then the back. Those are his progressions.
The last look is our three-by-one deep look in the secondary. We have our all go routes called across the formation. This
tells certain receivers they are on certain landmarks. You will have to determine that with your terminology. Normally we are
working shortside to the wideside of the field. Against the three-by-one, if it is a one high look, the read is the same. We read
the free safety one way or the other and read the inside seams, to the drop out on the side the quarterback looks toward, and

then to the back on the dump.

Let me go to our empty set. It really gets interesting in this look. Between these two concepts, we threw the four vertical
routes over 100 times. We are still going to set the receivers on their landmarks. We call a receivers identity tag and throw
him a special route. We still have the two deep routes on the outside, and we have the two inside receivers on the seams. The
called receiver runs a simple jig route (Diagram 10-12). The receiver running the jig route comes across inside. He slams on
his brakes, comes back outside as if he is going to run a pivot route, and then he works across the field. He has some
parameters in this area. If no one comes outside with him, he can settle and look for the pass. If the defender goes with him on
the pivot, he comes back underneath to the inside and look for the football. That is the jig route.

Diagram 10-12

The quarterback is still reading four verticals. Now his reads are a little different because he has to read the jig route. If it is a
one high look, he is still reading the seam or the free safety. He looks one way and throws the ball back to the other side. If he
does not throw the ball to the inside, he still has the man on the outside on the drop out route, and we have the man on the
inside on the jig route. If we face two high safeties, we still have the bender route deep. He is reading bender to jig and then to
the drop out route.
The movement keys are the same for the quarterback. It is no different for the quarterback. He has thrown the pass over
100 times, so it is no different for him.
Let me show the tape on our passing game. If you have questions, I will be out in the exhibit hall. My time is up. Thank you.

The No-Huddle Spread Offense

Chris Moore
Appalachian State University

I want to give you a short background of our program since we have been at Appalachian State. Most of the staff have been
there for the past 10 to 12 years. We have a good staff and we work well together. We managed to win a few games over
those years.

In 2003, we had several talented athletes on the team. On offense, we lined up in the I formation with a tight end and two
backs. We were trying to run the power game against the defense. The defense was lining up with 12 men in the box against
that offensive set. Teams just stoned us with everyone up tight on our offense.

We knew we had some good athletes coming back, and we decided to explore the things we needed to do to feature those
athletes. We visited West Virginia University when Rich Rodriquez was there. We went to Bowling Green University, and we
got the tapes from the University of Utah when they were running the zone read. We went to visit the University of Florida after
Urban Meyer took over down there.
We adapted to the no-huddle and the spread formations to run the football in 2004. Now, we are trying to throw the ball 50
percent of the time. We would like a 50/50 balance on offense. However, we are going to take whatever the defense dictates to

We always had to defend Georgia Southern when Paul Johnson was there. They liked to run the triple option. We just could
not cover everything they did on offense. We tried to adapt our spread offense to the type of offense that had always given us
There is no secret to our offense. We are going to spread you out and run the ball. We are going to run the option. We have
an offensive line coach who likes to play with two tight ends. We have a quarterbacks and receivers coach who likes to run the
empty set. I like the two-back attack and the option game.
We do not have an offensive coordinator. We are always bickering with each other in the staff meetings. However, when we
leave the coaching meetings, we all understand we are going to run what will be effective for us that day and in that game. We
practice all of those things, and it works for us. In our offense, we do not try to hide anything. We know our opponents are

going to get a copy of our tapes.

We had a great spring and pre-season practice. We were feeling good about our offense. That first game in 2004, we
played at Wyoming. In the first seven minutes, we were behind 28-0. We did not change the plays at the line of scrimmage,
and we did not read the defense. It was as if we were still in the I formation. We threw the bubble screen pass and it was
intercepted. It was really getting bad for our offense. Then, we had a lighting delay for one hour. We went to the locker room
and the players were looking at each other as if they did not know what was happening. We knew we did not have a chance.

We came back the next week in practice and decided we had to go all-out to run the offense. We had to change the plays at
the line, and we had to read the defense. We had to get the offense into an upbeat tempo to get the offense going. We scored
50 points in the game. Now, they felt better about themselves.
We really did not know how to practice when we started the no-huddle offense. They tried to go as fast as they could at all
times. We did not have time to talk with the players to correct mistakes because we were concentrating on going fast in the
no-huddle. Our defense did not know what to do and how to play practice because our offense did not present the picture we
needed to improve on defense. It took us about a year to learn how to practice against each other where it would benefit each
of us.
We threw the ball 80 percent of the time in the no-huddle. We had a receiver catch 120 passes to lead the nation in pass
catches. However, we were not effective as a team.
After the 2004 season, they fired the athletic director. We got an interim athletic director. We were 6-5 that past season, and
we knew things were not what they should have been for us. The people got on us about not winning more games. So we had
a closed-door meeting with the entire coaching staff. The head coach said this, Men, we are going to win. We are going to
throw the ball, and we are going to run the ball. All of you must line up and circle the wagons. We do not have to tell anyone
what we are doing or what is going on with the football program. If the school wants a new coach, that is fine with me. So we
decided we had to find a way to win some games.
In 2005, we stressed the true zone option and the passing game that goes with the offense. We have won three straight
national championships since that time. Here are some stats on our offense to give you an idea about how effective we have
been. This is for the 2007 season:

288 yards rushing

200 yards passing
488 total offense
43 points per game

We try to spread the field. We are always in the shotgun formation. We actually took a knee from the shotgun last year. We
do not get under center. We have not huddled in four years. We make our calls so simple so the defensive players understand
that the field is 120 yards long and 53 yards wide. We are going to play the whole field.
During the game, we mix our personnel grouping up to create confusion on the part of the defense. We are going to throw
the ball deep two times per quarter. If we are having success on one phase of our offense, we are going to stick to that part of
the game.
We feel the game has become the NBA style of playing. It has become man-to-man defense. If you want to outnumber a
team in the box, we feel you must play a blitz/man type of coverage. You must understand we run our quarterback. If we are in
a one-back set, that really is two backs to us. We say that because 30 percent of our running plays are to the quarterback. If
we go four wide, we never see seven in the box.

We spread to run the ball first. We either see five or six men in the box. We must be good enough to run the ball with six
men in the box.
Here is our running gamethese are the only running plays we have. We have an inside zone that we wear teams out with.
We run the inside zone 80 percent of the time. We didnt run the outside zone for two years. Then, defensive teams started
cheating their ends down inside to stop the inside zone. Last year, we put the outside zone in and gained a ton of yards on the
play. Now, teams have to play us more balanced because they know we can run both the inside and outside zone plays.
We run the truck play, and it is always with a tight end. The truck play is based on technique. We pull two linemen on the
truck. We like to pull our center if possible. We pull the guard or tackle on the play. We kick out, wrap around, and hand the ball
to the back.

We want to run the speed option. We want it to be a quarterback play. In our speed option, our tackles cannot go out and
get a linebacker. It is almost an outside zone play to the tackles. We run the back outside to get the linebacker to move
outside. If the linebacker stays inside, we pitch the ball. We are not expecting the quarterback to pitch the ball. It is a
quarterback run to us.

We run the draw because we run the four vertical routes. We run the dart play some, but we did not run it much last year.
Our dart play is when we pull the tackle. Also, we have a speed sweep. I will cover those plays later in the film.

Our basic philosophy is to take what is given to us. Our signals for our plays make us effectivewe are not very
complicated. Our staff up in the box can signal information down to us on the sideline. Our signals to the players are very
The quarterback looks to the sideline to get the signal. The receivers are watching the sideline as well. The linemen do not
care what we call on the sideline. They hear 40 or 41, or red or blue, which are our zone plays. They hear one number and
they know 28 is our truck play. If they hear 28, 50, 28, 50 , they know we are running the truck play. Nothing else matters to
them. They need to know about five things in our offense.
We want to have the ability to throw the ball 50 times per game or run it 50 times per game. We are not caught up in game
planning. We take what the defense gives us. We are going to run our base plays every week. The plays that are working that
game are the plays we are going to run.

Let me cover the process of calling plays. We have two coaches in the press box and two coaches on the sideline who
signal in the plays. The play comes to the quarterback. The quarterback looks to the sideline, and we give him a signal. He tells
the line what we want to run. Then, we run the play. It is as simple as that.
The way we call the plays gives us an opportunity to check out of bad plays. The quarterback does not check any play. The
coaches are the ones watching the films and studying what the defense does. The players only get about one hour a day to
look at the opponents defense. We put the pressure on the coaches to get us out of a bad play. We feel we can signal the
quarterback, and he can call the play we want to check out and give it to the linemen. We think this is a better option for us.
We can still change the play with six or seven seconds on the play clock. This takes the pressure off the quarterback.
We work on the tempo each week for the no-huddle offense. We have four speeds. We practice these early in the practice

Jet: Fast tempo

Normal (to Fast): Check sideline
Indy: Freeze play
Scan: Call formation (no play)

In our jet, we call the play and the team lines up on the ball. Most of the time they are waiting on the officials to mark the ball
ready for play. They are not looking back because they are running the play called. We go as fast as we can go.
The normal is a regular call. We call the formation and the play, and we are lined up ready go. Now, they look to the sideline,
and we may change the play or we may not change the play. We are in this tempo about 80 percent of the time. If we get a
team that is out of condition, we will run the jet instead of the normal.
The Indy is a dummy call. We call the formation, but we do not call a play. It is a freeze play. Our snap count never
changes. It is, Ready, set, hut, every time. W hen we are in Indy, we call the cadence, Ready, set, hut. If the defense jumps
offside, we throw the ball deep. We have gone on the first count on the Indy, but that causes us problems.

On scan, we call the formation without a play. It is a faster tempo than Indy. We want the offense lined up before the officials
are off the ball. They look to the sideline, and we call the play, and away we go. We do not run scan that much.
Using multiple formations, we want to change the defense by stretching them throughout the game. We have 22 different
formations that we use. We like to run different formations early in the game to see how the defense is going to play us. We
want the staff of our next opponent to spend a lot of time breaking down our film and pulling out all of the different formations
we run. The jobs for the front five linemen do not change that much. We want them to be comfortable in their assignments.

We want to get the defense out of their comfort zone. We want to create confusion for the defense. We do have to spend a
lot of time on the different formations we run.

I love the aspects of option football. The defense must be sound to play assignment football against the option. We like to
have the ability to bring a slot back around for the pitch on the option. We want to have some type of motion so we can force
the safety to be responsible for the pitch.
We like to see the safety running downhill so we can take our shot 1-on-1 with our speed players. We want to make the
secondary run conscious , and they must know where to fit against our option game. We do not think they can keep both
safeties high against us. We expect to see one of them down low. We run the ball enough to expect at least six men in the
box. We do not think you can outnumber us in the box. This is especially true with our motion offense. We have the ability to
get to our two-back set with our slot formations. We anticipate where the defense will align against us.
We had several skilled players, and we decided we needed to get the ball to them. We decided to spread the offense and
create speed in space. That is the trademark of our offense. We want to get the ball to the playmakers and create 1-on-1
situations for them. We feel the inside zone play does this for us. We reduce the number of blocks that must be made on the
play. Because of the quick passing game, the outside linebackers must respect that area of the field, and it helps us on the
zone play.
By running the spread offense, we can exploit match-ups. We show the formation early in the game and then find
We preach toughness. We have always believed that we were tougher than the teams we play. Our players have a mindset
that we are tough. We are a finesse offense by appearance. Running the ball makes it that way.
There is no indecision in our offensive line as far as their blocking is concerned. That has been a big advantage for us.
Those big linemen do not have to do a lot of thinking. They know what they are doing every play. They have five things to
remember, and they have three types of pass protection. They are doing the same things repeatedly every day. They do not
have to think much to do what they do.
We work on short-yardage plays all of the time in practice. We are third and two yards to go more than we are third and
seven yards to go for the first down. We put the ball on the nine-yard line and give the offense three downs to score. We do
this more than we scrimmage against each other. We stress the short-yardage situations. We feel that builds toughness into
the players. We do not want the defense to think they have preemption on toughness.
People ask us why we run the spread offense. We give them several reasons why we like the spread: it will maximize the
speed of our team, it is the best way to create speed and get the ball on the perimeter, and it creates 1-on-1 match-ups.
It allows us set the tempo of the game. We feel our tempo is unique because we are going at a fast pace for most of the
time in a game. We run the heck out of our players. Many no-huddle teams do not condition their players.
We get better conditioning with our players by not using the huddle. We run for 30 yards on each play in practice. The
players run the play and get back to the line ready to go again. They see the signal for the formation on the way back from
running the last play. They do not get much rest between plays. The conditioning part takes care of itself. However, we are oldschool and we still run them after practice.
It puts the defense in a bind in terms of personnel, match-ups, stunts, coverage, and overall communication.
I will cover the way we call our plays later, but we only give one receiver a pass route. The other receivers must remember
what they do on the play called for each receiver. If the end is running an option route, they must know what they do on that
call. That takes some time in practice, but it allows us to change the plays very quickly in games.
We feel we can check to any play in our playbook without any problems. We feel we can get the play off if we change it with
six or seven seconds left on the 25-second play clock.
By not allowing the quarterback to check off on a play, we should never be in a bad play.
we do make some mistakes in this area.

Should is the key word because

By running several different formations, the defensive coordinators must spend time in setting up their alignments against
the formations.
The spread offense that we run appears to be complex, but it is easy to install. This goes back to the way we get the plays
to the kids. We have key tag words that tell them what to do. The players learn the offense very early. They understand what
we are doing after a few days of practice.

We went to visit West Virginia to see what they were doing on the spread. We wanted to go to the spread as a tempo
change-up. At first, we were only going to run the no-huddle seven or eight times a game. W hen we visited with West Virginia,
they told us we needed to be committed to the spread and run it all of the time. Our head coach, Jerry Moore, did not want to
change from the I formation and two-back set. We finally convinced him to make the change. We got into that mind-set, and
now he likes the concept. Now, he likes the hard-nosed aspects that we stress with the spread offense.
Our offense is a hybrid of the option and the West Coast offense. We got most of our triple-option offense from Georgia
Southerns double slot offense. We can run almost the same plays as the double-slot/triple-option game from our two-backoption offense. It does not hit as quick, but we are forcing 1-on-1 situations across the field. We make the defense defend our
triple option. They must have their defensive responsibilities down correctly or we can hurt the defense.
W ith this offense, it is easy to find offensive players. They do not have to be the best athletes to play for us. A good example
of this is with our center. He was a linebacker five years ago. He is a short, squatty individual. He is 511 and weighs 260
pounds. He is not big, but he can run. We are not asking him to knock defenders off the ball. We are asking him to run. Our
line is not that big, but they can run.
W hen we went to the no-huddle spread offense the attitude of the skilled players changed. They wanted to play. They
enjoyed what we were doing on offense.
We wear headsets in practice every day. We are always signaling the plays to the players. It makes the kids pay attention.
Even if the players are not in on the play and they are on the sideline, they have to pay attention to keep up with what we are
running in practice. The kids know exactly what is coming. They are having more fun and they are into the game more.
That Michigan game was just crazy. We were just a small school from a windy two-lane road up in Boone, North Carolina.
W hen you get to Boone, it is Podunk up there. An ESPN truck was at Boone for two weeks after the Michigan game. We did
not know how to act while they were there. Really, we did not have a place for them to park at our place. They would not leave
Boone. It was a lot of fun, but it was crazy.

Let me talk about the practice schedule. We have a horn in the locker room. That lets everyone know practice is going to
start in five minutes.

Practice Schedule

Walkthrough: 8 minutes
Stretch: 5 minutes
PAT/FG: 4 minutes
Zone period: 10 minutes
Indy run: 10 minutes
Team run: 15 minutes
Team run vs. defense: 7 minutes
Special teams: 8 minutes
Indy pass vs. air: 7 minutes
1-on-1: 7 minutes
Skelly: 15 minutes
Red zone pass: 5 minutes
Special teams: 5 minutes
Team pass: 24 minutes
W in: 4 minutes
Special teams: 5 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours and 19 minutes

W hen we get to the practice field, we start with the walk-through. We go over what we covered in the meeting rooms. It is a
relaxed session. The stretch period is the same in that we are not intense in this session.

We go to the PAT session and that is where the tempo starts up. We have done the PAT live for the last several years,
including on Monday. We go live until Thursday when we back off the live drill on the PAT.
In our zone period, we go for 10 minutes, and we run nothing but the inside zone play. We run the plays out of all of our

We go to the Indy run and spend 10 minutes. We go to the team run for 15 minutes. Now, we run our other three running
plays. We do run the inside zone play during this period as well. The zone play is what we are hanging our hat on.
Next, we go to the team run against the defense. It is the same thing with the plays. We run the same plays.

Next, we go to special teams. We used to run the special-teams sessions at the beginning of practice and at the end of
practice. Most of our defensive players are on the special teams, and they did not have a good feeling for special teams. Three
years ago, we inserted the special-teams session in the middle of our practice time. This has been effective for us. The kids
know when the period is coming, and they are ready for it. Everyone is not tired and they can do a better job on special teams.
Then, we go to the Indy pass session. It is routes on air. The running backs may work on blocking in this session.

From there, we go to 1-on-1 with running backs and linebackers. At the other end of the field, we go with the receivers
against the defensive backs.

During the season, we do our skelly drill against the scout team. From there, we go to the red zone passing game. It is
always against our defense. We put the ball on the 20-yard line and move it closer to the goal line each play. We keep moving
it until we get it down to the three-yard line. We always go good-on-good in this drill. We never go ones versus twos.

We come back and run another special-teams drill. We work on things we did not have time to work on before. Then, we go
to team pass. Our defense has a hard time covering our receivers. They send bullets at us most of the time in this drill.
We have a period we call our win period. We put this in our practice sessions two years ago. It is used for whatever we
want to stress that day. Many times, it is goal-line situations, or our two-point play. The next day, we may work on coming out
of the end-zone offense. We may have a special play we use in this period.
We always end the practices with the kickoff and kickoff-return game. The total time is about 2 hours and 20 minutes. We
are trying to cut it back, but the head coach does not think we are out on the practice field enough. So it is a happy medium for
I want to go over our basic formations. W hen we call Y trips, the Y end always goes to the wideside of the field. That is trips
with a tight end.

Our spread formation is the tight-end formation. The X goes away from the call. The Y goes to the call on the ball. The tight
end and flanker are on one side, and the slot and split end are on the other side.

We do not signal personnel to switch tight-end sets or four-wide sets. We just signal our formations in to the team. If we call
trips, the Y receiver must understand he is coming off the field and the tight end is coming in the game for him. They must
memorize the personnel. On trey, we are in trips with a backside tight end. If we call gator formation, we put our tight end in a
wing set where we can move him around.
If we want to run the empty set, we have the two backs to the same side (Diagram 11-1).

Diagram 11-1. Empty set

If we run lock, we have a tight end on the side with the two backs (Diagram 11-2).

Diagram 11-2. Lock

If we call Lisa, we have two tight ends with two backs split to one side, and one back to the opposite side (Diagram 11-3).

Diagram 11-3. Lisa

This is our right stretch. We have both ends split. The Z back is wide and the M back is in the slot on the left side (Diagram

Diagram 11-4. Right stretch

If we call right ace, we have both ends split. We have both slots on the inside (Diagram 11-5).

Diagram 11-5. Right ace

If we call kings, we have the slots lined up on the outside (Diagram 11-6). The ends are still split, but not as wide because
the slots are on the outside.

Diagram 11-6. Right kings

This gives us the ability to take a good receiver and put him in any of those positions to get the match-up we want. The Y
end is always to the callside. This is the way we can get the ball to the receiver we want the ball to go to.

Trio is our 3 x 1 formation. We can run this to both sides. The two-tight end sets are very simple. We can run those with
two backs to one side or the other. The doubles formation is our 2 x 2 formation. Our offense does not use a two-back set with
a tight end. That is one personnel group that we have never been. Most of our M receivers are high school running backs who
have some strength. We do not have a problem sending them in motion from the backfield. We never put two true running
backs in the game with the tight end.

This is our left and right open sets. We have two backs in the formation, but we have both ends split. We can call, Open
far, or Open near. If we call, Left, open, far, the back lines up in the slot away from the call.

This is how we call our motions. We have a right wristband and a left wristband. One is red and one is yellow. If the red
hand goes up in the air and I am on the right slot, he is going to go toward the play looking for the pitch. If he is on the slot on
the left side and the red hand goes in the air, he is going toward the quarterback.

M otions for the Receivers

Z = Zoom, zip, zap

M = Move, motor, mix, mex, rip

H = Hop, hiccup

S = Radar, laser
The hop is for the tight ends. We do not want them to get confused with the slot backs.

We call our running back the S back. We use radar and laser to get to our empty set with him. This moves the running back
to the right or left outside. We may only throw the ball to the back twice a year on this set. It is a way to get to empty.
Here are the running plays we use. This is it. We do not run the dart and the speed sweep very often.
Running Plays
40/41 = Zone
48/49 = Mid zone
28/29 = Truck
18/19 = Spread/zone option
16/17 = Load option
Dallas = Draw
22/23 = Dart
98/99 = Speed sweep
36/37 = Counter
We never called the 48 or 49 zone plays until late this past year. We have been running about five plays for three years. We
are rushing for 260 to 290 yards per game. Teams that watch us play feel we are running a lot more plays than we really do
We can add the letter Q on our plays. If we call 28 truck and point to the quarterback, the back that was supposed to get the
ball is going to block because the Q tells us the quarterback is going to run the ball. This does not matter what the call is to the
linemen. They know it is a 28 play.
Let me give you our protections. If we call river or lake, it is the five fat linemen with one back in the protection. The R and L
tell the line which side the back is on that will be helping them. We go big-on-big.
Our 100 protection is our play-action plays. It is similar to the river and lake, but we tell the line the back is going to the
opposite side. Our 400 protection is our naked calls. The 500 calls are our bootleg protections.
The load is our seven-man protection. It is load Roger or load Louie. This tells the tight end to stay in to block. Roger and
Louie tell them which side the back is going, and the load tells the tight end to stay in and protect. On
canyon, the back is
releasing. W hen we are in empty, it is five men to protect and that is it. On 94 and 95 roll, we are running the sprint-out series.
We are not very good at this, so we do not call it very often.
On dynamite, it is a catch-and-throw situation. It is a quick pass, and we cut the defensive line. Everything is on the outside
knee. We are trying to get the defense to get their hands down.
That is all of our protections. We do not slide protect. Against the 50 front, we may call
back to read the play, but we are trying to get the ball out quick.

solid fan. It makes it hard for the

Next, is our quick passing game:

Quick stop: If the corners are going to play off the receivers, we are going to throw the ball to them. We are going to
make the defense walk up on the wide receivers.
Spacing: This is a Quick Stop pass. We have landmarks and numbers we use, including inside and outside the hash
Quick flare: Is our Bubble Screen play.
Dragon: We take our three-receiver side and send the inside slot deep. If the defense plays the defender on the slot
inside more toward the box, we can call Z Now, or M Now. The quarterback catches the snap and throws the ball to
the slot receiver as quick as possible. If the defense does not cover the slot, we are going to get him the ball.
We run the slant and swing passes with the different receivers. It is basic pass plays. We run our flat routes. Everyone

must know what to do on the flat routes.

We run several shallow routes. We can designate any receiver to run the shallow. The other receiver on the same side of
that receiver will run a get-open-behind-him route.

The under and shallow routes are the same play. We are telling the back which way to go on the call. Shallow and back
away both have W s in the spelling. If it is a shallow call, you flare away, and if it is under, you flare toward the play.

We throw tons of option routes. We give the Z-back or our M-back the option routes. If it is the Z receiver and we have the
option route, he has from the opposite hash all the way across the field to get open. The other slot man has from the near
hash mark to the near boundary to get open. If we call the Z option route and the receiver is not open, the quarterback is
running the ball. We do not give him a third option. He looks for the Z back first, the M back second, and if they are not open, he
runs the ball. We call this backyard football. It is very simple to run.
We throw two vertical passes, at least two per quarter. We send out four receivers deep because we do not see two deep
safeties very often. As soon as we snap the ball, one of those two are coming down in the box.
On the inside zone running play, the right tackle must never get beat inside. The center must step toward the guard on the
frontside. The guard is blocking man on by himself. The tackles have the linebackers reading inside. The running back reads
the first man leading up over the center. We want the backs hitting inside the tackles. We do not want them bouncing outside
on the play.
I really enjoy running this offense. We have a lot of fun with the players. It could help anyone who is interested in running this
type of offense. You will be able to see what we are doing in the film session. I will stop the film and answer any questions you
may have.
I appreciate your attention. I will be around for questions later.

The Two-Minute,
Hurry-Up, No-Huddle Offense

Ralph Munger
Rockford High School, Michigan

I am excited to be here. I hope you will be able to come away from here with a couple of thoughts pertaining to organizing a
two-minute offense. A friend of mine came to see us play a number of years ago. Jim Cole from Alma College is sitting out
there today. After the game we were talking, and it became clear to me that we needed more of a two-minute offense. I was
embarrassed that we were not as prepared in that category of football as we needed to be. We have continued to evolve into
something that would help us toward the end of a half, or at the end of a game.

In this area of the two-minute offense, or having a way to speed up the game, many people are doing this with the no-huddle
offense. It is fun for the kids to practice this type of offense, and they enjoy it. Even from a coaching standpoint, it helps prevent
staleness. It gives you a different gear, and it changes things up. We call the two-minute or no-huddle offense as the same.
We do use this throughout the game. It does not have to be with two minutes left in a game.
We always have to start out with a philosophy. We are going to have an offense that is well prepared all of the time. We will
work to have a dimension of offense that is well prepared to put an opponents defense on their heels, raising the potential for a
quick score from anywhere on the field on any given play. It is an offense we have spent a great deal of time preparing. Our
objective is to put the defense on their heels. We want to increase the opportunity for a quick score. A missed tackle or a
blown assignment can often lead to a score.
We are going to utilize a well-planned dimension of offense when:
We wish to change to or create a fast-paced tempo. We want to change the tempo that is going on the field during
the course of a game.
We need to race the clock and create a scoring opportunity prior to half.
We are in need of catching up or in the event we must come from behind to win.
The bottom line for all of us in coaching is: we are going to achieve what we emphasize. At the time when Jim Cole visited

with us, we did not emphasize the two-minute offense. Now, we do emphasize it.

Here are the musts to consider for implementing a two-minute, hurry-up, no-huddle offense. W hen making the decision to
turn up the heat offensively by utilizing a two-minute attack, it will require an aggressive yet calculated attitude where the game
clock becomes the immediate opponent. To develop excellence in the execution phase of our two-minute attack, it will
necessitate the implementation of weekly practice periods where our potential play calls are run against live defenses.

W hen making the decision to turn up the heat offensively, it requires an aggressive and calculated attitude. The reason for
that is the fact that the clock becomes your opponent. You become oblivious to the defense. It is like chuck and duck. You
must be well prepared to do this. If you make a mistake and a pass gets picked off, the game could be over on that one play.

Another must is to develop excellence in that two-minute phase of the attack; you will have to include the offensive plays in a
weekly practice period. Again, you achieve what you emphasize. We want to work on the plays that we are going to run in this
offensive set. This is something I have learned several years ago on this matter. Skelly practice is not necessarily the answer.

You need to have the defensive line involved because the quarterback needs to feel the pressure. You need the offensive
line to be involved so they will be in the vision of the quarterback. You may want to break it down to skelly drills, which we do,
but ultimately you have to scrimmage this particular offensive system.

Another must includes practice periods that will provide the quarterback a chance to gain a valuable experience in
managing the game clock when driving the ball down the field and creating scoring opportunity. This may prepare your
quarterback, but more importantly, it is going to prepare your second quarterback. You better be working more than one
quarterback at all times.
Here are our goals for our two-minute offense:

W in the game in the fourth quarter.

Score prior to the end of the half.
Drive the football by making first downs.
Beat the game clock.
Efficiently use available time-outs.
Maximize number of opportunities.
Force opponent to burn time-outs.
Have our quarterbacks well in tune with all situations we may encounter.
Force opponent to spend valuable practice time preparing a defensive scheme for defending our two-minute attack.
Control the clock to where we leave little to no time for our opponent to execute their two-minute drill.

W inning the game in the fourth quarter is important; however, the bottom line is winning. You need to put your team in the
best position you can to give them the opportunity to win. That is our job as coaches.
We want to drive the football but make first downs. I do not think anything is good unless you can score first downs. Move
the chains. W hen you move the chains, you create more opportunities to run more plays. If you hit the big play, that is great,
but we want to make first downs.
Beat the game clock. Efficiently, use your time-outs. I want to save the time-outs if possible, but it is best to use them

Maximize your amount of opportunities. If you are in the hurry-up mode, you are going to have more plays for your offense.
This is where the coaches come into play in putting the players in the best possible position to score.
You want to force the opponents to use their time-outs as you are moving the football. Force them to kill the clock for
Let me talk about some other things related to our goals. We want to spend time with our quarterbacks. If you throw
everything at them at one time, you are applying the whole/part teaching method. We are talking about situations they may
encounter. We want to put them in those situations in practice:
We want to force the opponent to spend valuable time in preparing their defensive scheme to defend our hurry-up
We want to work on controlling the clock to leave our opponent as little time as possible on the clock.

Here are some absolutes you want to work with your quarterback on. They need to know what type of score we need to win.
They need to know how much time is remaining in a half or in the game. They need to know down-and-distance. We have not
been guilty of this, but every year this comes up where a team thought it was third down when it was really the fourth down.
You must make sure they are keeping track of down-and-distance. At times, you cannot trust the down box. In addition, you
may not be able to trust the person keeping the time and the person that is keeping the downs on the scoreboard. He needs to
stay sharp on that.
He needs to know the number of time-outs available. We need to know the situations that will stop the clock. He must know
how to react to the plays that keep the game clock running. We need to spend time with our quarterbacks on all of these
scenarios throughout the entire season.
We want to have all the situations on stopping the clock written down. One of the assistants has a card with all of these
situations written down so we know how we can stop the clock. For example, we must have a two-play package ready to go
when we must call two plays, one to follow the other play when we are running out of time.
Here are some additional absolutes. He must know which plays work the sideline. On the other hand, he needs to know the
plays that utilize the middle of the field. Have a handle on that as a head coach. There is a lot that goes on in 25 seconds of a
game. I have one or two assistants who are on top of these situations. It is a lot better to have two people thinking rather than

The quarterback must know which plays will give us the best shot at the end zone. We may be in that situation where we
have to take a shot to make a big play. We have those plays already in mind. We have worked on the plays that we feel will
give us a chance to put it into the end zone.

We want to teach the quarterback to know when to run the clock down prior to finishing a two-minute attack. This is
something you may want to consider. I do not care so much about the defense the opponents are playing, I just know we need
to get the ball in the end zone. If you know what you want to run to get the ball in the end zone, there is no sense in leaving time
on the clock, if you can slow the pace to a certain extent.

We think it is important to practice sideline management. You need to have the play ready on the sideline on a change of
possession so they can get on the field and get the offense moving as soon as possible. We do not want to waste time with
huddling up and that type of thing. If some of the offensive team is on the field, playing defense, it may be tough to get everyone
on the same page at that time. Nevertheless, we need to find a way to communicate that with all of our players.

We want to practice getting on the field and getting ready to snap the ball on a change of possession. We need to practice
poise and patience while under pressure. Again, that is a quarterback thing. As a head coach, I love to play the mind of my
quarterback. The quarterback coach may not be happy with this. I enjoy putting the pressure on the quarterback. I do the same
with the kickers and punters. I like to put them under pressure. If I can do a good job in this area, when they get in the game, it
is going to be a piece of cake. To have 8,000 to 10,000 people watching us play a game is nothing compared to me standing
on the field during practice.
We practice a scoring drive with no time-outs left. Put your kids in that situation in practice. Practice sending your field-goal
team on the field to try an attempt with no time-outs left. All of this is easy. We do that on Thursday.
Practice the last play at the end of a half, or at the end of a game. That is not difficult to do as well.
In any hurry-up or two-minute offense, the run becomes a secondary play, but you should not forget about it. Make sure one
of your assistant coaches is looking for that opportunity in the game situation. If time allows, a run is a very viable part of the
offense. Obviously, avoiding sacks is critical.
The quarterback must deliver the football on time at all times. He must not mess around with the ball. He must get rid of it.
Receivers must understand the significance of spacing. That is something we are working on all of the time as well.
Receivers must run disciplined pass routes at proper depths. Proper depth is a big area of concern for us. The bottom line
is that receivers must get to the proper depth so the play times up with the pass. Receivers must get vertical or out-of-bounds
after the reception. They must get out-of-bounds or head north and south down the field.
We want to have all the situations on stopping the clock. One of the assistants has a card with all of these situations written
down so we know how we can stop the clock. Here are the things we have on the card:

Incomplete pass
Getting out-of-bounds
Penalty enforcement
Following made first down
Setting of chains
First-down measurement
Official time-out for injury
Spike the football
Called time-out
Victory formation

I want to talk about starting points. If you are going to get into this offense, protection is paramount. It all starts with the front
line. If you cannot block the defense, it is not going to be a successful offensive package. Spend time in deciding on the type of
scheme you want to use. Spend time on different things the defense can run against you that you have not seen. It starts with
the protection schemes.

Starting Point

Protection schemes: pressure/hot

Formations; alignment
Hand signals/alerts uncovered
Wristband communication method
Snap count: eliminate error
Gun/under center: when and why
Pre-snap reads: best-choice receiver
Victory: every player set/protect/official
Defensive staff aligns opponents defense

It is important to have a hot receiver when the defense brings more people than you can block.

The first thing we need to do once we are on the line of scrimmage is to make sure we are in the correct formation. The
second point is to make sure we are aligned correctly. That does take some work.
You can use wristbands or hand signals. Either way, you need to develop a method of communicating. We have one that
works fine for us, and I am sure you have your own method that works for you.
You must eliminate mistakes on the snap count. Most of the time, we are going on the sound, but we can change things if
we need to.

Everyone needs to practice the victory drill. One year, our quarterback took a knee, came right back up, and tossed the ball
to the official. The official was not ready for the ball, and it hit him and went to the ground. W ho knows what that official could
have called? We do practice the drill, and we make sure the official is aware what we are doing on the play.

Practice Dynamics

Daily practice of routes during individual and group periods.

Monday: Two-minute offense leading to field goal (10 minutes).
Tuesday: Scrimmage. Move the field and change the tempo in the middle of the script.
Wednesday: End practice with two-minute offense, ending with touchdown (10 minutes).
Daily practice work on pass protection and blitz pick-up.
Pull-out periods used for teaching time. We do platoon to a certain extent. We always have some players that we
can pull out of drills and work with. This gives them added reps. We want reps, reps, reps.
Defensive staff aligns opponents defense. I give them the alignment we want to work on. That is what I work on
during the weekend.
All of these situations will help your defense when they face these offensive formations. They can improve from the

following practice as well:

One coach calls out a situation and is keeping a stopwatch (our coach in box).
One coach spots the football and whistles football ready for play.
One coach is checking formation alignment.
Sideline coach issues hand signals.
Two players run set of chainssafety first. Players who are banged up hold the chains. This keeps them out of the
action on purpose.
Send offense from the sideline following the punt/kickoff return/turnover.
Practice driving different lengths of field.
We have several coaches involved in this practice. They are not just standing around during the practice.

Drilling the Two-Minute Offense

Next, I want to talk about drilling the two-minute offense. Here are some thoughts:

Start drive from inside the 20-yard line.

Offense has 10 plays to score a touchdown.
Offense has two time-outs remaining.
Spike football during a drive when under 90 seconds.
Use time-outs when under 30 seconds. No need to save a time-out since we need a touchdown.
Work in officials time-out for a measurement. Have the offense on the ball with the next play called.
Work in either an offensive or a defensive penalty. Have the offense on the ball with the next play called.

After we have worked on these things, it becomes quicker and easier as you get organized. It becomes less of a time

Start drive from own 47-yard line. You must move the fullback to the +25.
Offense has six plays to score a field goal to win!
Offense has one time-out remaining.
Line up quickly and spike the football during a drive when under 90 seconds remaining.
Work in a first-down measurement. Have the offense on the ball ready to go when the play is called ready to play.
Save a time-out to get the field-goal team on the field.
Work in a fourth-and-8 to -12 situation.

These are the plays we will have ready when a time-out is available. These plays will help us reach the sideline or possibly
the end zone. I am only listing a few.

W ith Time-Outs Available

Condor Hyena
Condor Saber
Condor Panther
Condor Ram/Slam
Condor Rocket
Condor Jet Sprint/Flood

Pass-Protection Principles
I tell the players up front that we have five men available for pass protection. We better be able to block five defenders. If the
defense brings six or seven rushers, the responsibility is on someone else. They do not have to worry about that. Therefore,
we say every protection scheme begins with the premise that we have five linemen. Should the defense bring more rushers
than we have protectors, it is up to the coaching staff and quarterback to make play calls that exploit open areas left voided by
the defense.

Protection must first focus on securing the areas from tackle to tackle. Our goal is to secure the shortest and most
direct rush lanes to the quarterback.
Defensive line schemes and blitz packages must be worked on daily. Success comes from confidence and
knowledge pertaining to these alignments and blitz schemes. The key is to eliminate confusion and uncertainty.
Time must be devoted to the development of footwork and technique. Constant reinforcement is a must.
Daily 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 drills are invaluable.

You must be working on more than just five linemen because sooner or later one of them will need to be replaced. Work on
one player for each position: center, guard, tackle. One player may play more than one position.

Examples of Protection

The defense has five, and the offense has five (Diagram 12-1). There is no immediate need to call a back into the protection
scheme unless there is a dominant defensive lineman whom we need to get help in blocking.

Diagram 12-1. Pass protection

The center has the man on him, and that defender becomes his primary challenge. The center also recognizes that he may
get help from the guards should their linebacker drop into coverage. The center must also work with the guards against any
combo and cross-fire blitz. Outside blitzes are not a concern unless we are throwing routes at the intermediate or deep levels.
Next, we look at the protection when the defense has six in the box (Diagram 12-2). The offense has five in the box.

Diagram 12-2. Defense with six in the box

The offense calls into protection one back on the left side, allowing our line to slide protect to our right. The quarterback
makes a Larry, Larry call, and the line makes a Bear, Bear call. The line knows they are going to slide protect to the right,
and the back is going to the left side to protect.
Another example with the defense with six in the box is when we want to block the back to the right side. This time, the
quarterback calls Roy, Roy, the line call is Bells, Bells, and our line slide protects to the left (Diagram 12-3). The Roy Roy
call is to the right for the back.

Diagram 12-3. Slide protect left

On our alignment reference, we are different from some teams. Instead of X, Y, Z, A, H, R, T, and F, we use a different
system. All of those other formations are too complicated for me. We use A, B, C, and D, E, F (Diagram 12-4). We letter the
areas outside the ends. We know that we are going to be lined up somewhere in those areas.

Diagram 12-4. Alignment reference

Condor is one of our alignments in the bird package (Diagram 12-5). You can see our alignments. We are in a 3x2 set in

Diagram 12-5. Condor

The other side of that would be our Hawk call in the bird package (Diagram 12-6). We are in a 3x2 set.

Diagram 12-6. Hawk left MT

W ho Aligns Where?

Basic rule of thumb is that he who needs to get deepest the fastest aligns on line of scrimmage.
Press coverage often times dictates who is on or off the line of scrimmage.
Speed of the receiver may enter into weekly game plan alignment.
Patterns dictate routes, which dictate alignment.
Jet motion helps determine formation alignment.

Here is how we line up on Condor trio right MT (Diagram 12-7). I find this easy to communicate with our players. For those

of you who have been using the X, Y, Z calls for your formations, I am sure that has worked well for you.

Diagram 12-7. Condor trio right MT

Here is our next formation. I do enjoy using these formations, and as long as the kids can learn them, I will keep them. Now,
we want two tight ends. The call is: tight trio left MT (Diagram 12-8).

Diagram 12-8. Tight trio left MT

W ild animal package! This is what we call our two-minute, hurry-up, no-huddle offense.

Hyena: All hitch routes

Saber: Slant routes
Panther: Bubble screen
Ocelot (leopard): Out routes
Wolf: Slant and scoop
Cheetah: Verticals
Ram: Rocket screen

I do not have time to go into detail on most of these, but you can see what we are doing. If you have questions, you can ask
during the film session.

Diagram 12-9. Hyena pass

Diagram 12-10. Saber pass

Diagram 12-11. Panther

Diagram 12-12. Ocelot

Diagram 12-13. Wolf

Diagram 12-14. Cheetah

Diagram 12-15. Ram screen

Here are a few others that we like. They are special plays.

Quick passes: Three steps

Rocket: Jet sweep plays
Quarterback draw: Fake pass
Sally: W ing-T-type play
Left guard special: Fun play

Diagram 12-16. Quick nightmare screen

Diagram 12-17. Rocket screen

Diagram 12-18. Quarterback draw

Diagram 12-19. Sally bootleg play

Diagram 12-20. Left guard special

We are ready for some video of all of these plays in action. I am not real big into the technology stuff, so bear with me. I am
impressed that it is working up to this point.
If we call out Bandit, Bandit, that means our receiver is uncovered, and we can stand up and throw him the ball. We try to
take advantage of that case against the defense.
Our kids enjoy this offense. It is fun for them. They do not get beat up all the time running off-tackle.
Just a thought you can take with you on the screen pass. The tackles are going to stay on the wide defender. They are
going to invite him upfield. They need to get a good base and work upfield. They do not have to go downfield and pancake the
defenders. That is not going to happen. All we have to do is to tie them up. We tell them to get downfield, get big, and stomp
the feet of the defenders. Make them wine.
I am open for questions. Thank you very much.

The No-Huddle Offense

Brad Paulson
Anderson University

W hen people talk about the no-huddle offense, most people think of it as a two-minute offense. I am going to talk about the
offense we use at Anderson University and what we do with our no-huddle offense.

Last year, we were the number-one passing offense in Division III. We had 383.6 yards per game. Our quarterback threw
for 4700 yards. We were seventh in total offense, with 470 yards per game. In our last six games, we averaged 36.5 points per
game, with a total of 505 yards per game. We averaged 411 yards passing offense in those last six games.

Let me give you our philosophy on offense. We want to run the complete running and passing game. We want to be
fundamentally sound in every phase of the offense. We want to make sure our playmakers tough the ball as much as possible.
We do not believe you must get the ball to the split end four times per game, to the tight end three times per game, and to the
wide receiver five times per game. We are not going to give the ball to our running backs thirty times per game. We want to get
the ball to our playmakers as much as possible. We are unselfish and team oriented. We take what the defense gives us. We
want to play with pride and class. We want to be champions on and off the field. We want to get our players involved in our
community, and we want a positive impact on the community.
We are a one back spread offense. We like to take large splits with our offensive linemen. We want to score enough points
to win. Our goal is to score 40 points per game. We want to score six or seven touchdowns per game. Last year, we average
almost 37 points per game.
We do not want any procedure penalties. We always go on one. The defense knows this, and we know it. We eliminate
procedure penalties by going on the first count. We want our players to compete in every play. Our receivers and quarterback
compete in every drill.
We want to grade out over 90 percent on each play. We all have different grading systems, but that is what we shoot for.
We want to finish in every aspect of the game. Our backs must carry out their fakes, and the receivers must run the proper
routes and must be willing to block. We are a big screen and a big draw play team. The players must be unselfish and be
willing to block when they do not get the ball. That is a very big part of our offense.

Another goal is to prevent turnovers. We stress ball security in everything we do on offense. We want to prevent negative
plays. Our quarterback never calls an audible without checking with us on the sidelines. We want to dominate the short
yardage and goal line situations. This is a big key for us. Being a one back spread team, we have a goal line set. We have
double tight ends with three backs set to run power football. We use the unbalanced line, and we can play smash mouth
football on the goal line. We want our kids to be aggressive in the red zone.
We want ten big plays per game. A big play for us is a 15-yard run and a 25-yard pass play. We want to be 100 percent
when we are in the red zone. We ended up with 89 percent scoring in the red zone this year. We want to be successful over
60 percent of the time on third downs. This past year, we were 47 percent successful on third downs. We want to be able to
average 4.0 yards per play. If we do not score, our kids are disappointed when they come off the field. We continue to remind
them we want to average 4.0 yards per play, and the scoring will come.

We are very simple in our approach to the offense. We believe a confused athlete is a slow athlete. Our base pass package
consists of eight to ten plays. We tag a lot of the plays, and most of our formations are very simple. Our kids know what is
going on, and they can play fast play aggressive. Our basic run scheme is very simple. We have a draw scheme, a zone
scheme, and a counter scheme. That is it on the running game. We spend very little time on our inside game. We work more
on pass protection and related schemes. We are very simple as far as the running game is concerned.
Our big thing in practice is the screen scheme. We run the rocket, bubble, hitch, swing, and read screens. I will go over
these on tape to give you an idea of what we are doing with the screen game.

The hitch screen has been very good for us. We simply throw the ball out to the open receiver and let him play football in
space. The swing screen is for our running back. Our read screens are for our wide receivers and running backs.

People want to know why we use the one-back set. The reason is that it makes the defense cover the entire field. It gets all
of our best athletes on the field at the same time. We can create match-up problems with motion and simple formation
adjustments. This offense forces the linebackers to play in space. It simplifies our protection schemes. And it simplifies our
running game.

W hy the no-huddle? It is fun. Our kids like the tempo of the offense. It is fun to practice, fun to run, and fun to watch.
Controlling the tempo is the big thing with our offense. You must race up and down the field as fast as you can. W hen we are
in our blazer tempo, you must get the play off in 12 to 14 seconds. Then we have our check tempo and our milk tempo, where
we run the clock down within four seconds of the 25-second clock. They must be able to run all three tempos. If they cannot
play in all three tempos, they will not play offense for us.
We feel this offense creates stress on the defense. We know it disrupts the substitution patterns. We want to make sure
we create stress on the linebackers with our personnel. Our personnel never changes. We do not want to give the defense
time to make the substitutions when we get into the red zone. We keep our personnel the same and we want to get the ball
snapped at a fast tempo to prevent the defense from getting their special defensive personnel in the game.

Our offense promotes unity. Our secret language is our no-huddle game and our signals. Everyone has to be on the same
page. This creates unity for our linemen and for our receivers and backs. We never huddle in practice. We only huddle one
time a week. That is in a two-minute situation when we want to talk with our players. We have our two-minute offense built into
our no-huddle attack. This offense allow for easy adjustments during the game.

Let me talk about the keys to the no-huddle. We must limit our formations and our motion. We do not want to go into a
game with 75 formations. It just confuses the kids. You cant do that.

We make the protection package very simple to call and recognize. Our players create the majority of our signals. I will give
them the formations and the protection, and the players call the rest of the plays. I do not care how the players want to call the
plays. As long as they know what we are doing, it works fine for us.
We use the signals in every aspect when we are dealing with the offense. During meetings, in walk-through, and in practice
we have the kids hold up the signals. They must know the signals. Our kickers know them, the coaches know them, and the
players know them. They are very simple.
Once the player has played in our system, he can run the offense without a wristband. We only have about six calls on the
wristband. W hen he gets to the line of scrimmage, he looks at the wristband and calls the play that is signaled in to him. We
use the wristband when we are in controlled tempo.

We want to package plays together. We set the run scheme and the passing scheme together. We want to keep things
simple. We use the KISS theory. Over time, we give the quarterback more as far as the puzzle is concerned with the nohuddle system. It only takes a few seconds to call a play. W ith a senior, he can handle a lot more. W ith a freshman, you have
to give him a little at a time until he gets comfortable with the system. If you do that, you will help him out a lot.

If your quarterback is going to be a running quarterback, it is hard to get him off the ground and back to the line to look for
the next play. He must look at the signal caller as soon as possible. Our receivers do not quit. Our wide receivers and tight end
must look to the sideline right away to see the formation called. They call the formation for us. The tight end will call RightRight or Left-Left. We do not flip outside wide receivers. We try to get into like formations as much as possible.
We are not concerned with the other team stealing our signals. If the defense calls out Zone, Zone our players do not
panic. We feel it is easier for us to steal the defensive teams signals than it is to steal our offensive signals. If the defense is
watching me give the signals on offense, we are also watching them as they give the defensive signals. It is no big deal to us
when it comes to our signals.
We have our automatics ready to call after big plays. We run two automatic plays that we run after a big run or a big pass
play. Our kids know the two plays for that week. We really like this in the red zone. We have designed the plays in practice,
and our players know what we are going to run.
We have a freeze play ready as well. We run the freeze play with four vertical receivers. We have code names for our
freeze play. The first play we run in our summer camp is our freeze play as far as the automatics are concerned. Our players
get familiar with the call, and they become comfortable with the call. That is a big key for us.
We want to correlate packages with like terms. For protections we use boys and girls names. The linemen are not
concerned with all of the information the quarterback is calling out at the line of scrimmage. All they are concerned with is the
protection and the running game. That makes it a lot easier for the linemen.

Next we talk about the game plan. We do not want to change the plays between our 20-yard line and our opponents 30-yard
line. We run the same plays out of the same formations and motions each week. We never change those plays. We game
plan heavily between the plus 30 and the plus 12-yard lines. We may add a new formation or a new motion in this area. We
plan for defensive substitutions and different looks. We look for the defense to be more aggressive in this area.
The big key to the no-huddle Offense is to watch the defensive linemen. Once you see they are tired, you must be ready to
jump all over them. Once you jump on them, you must keep on them.

We self-scout for formation and field tendencies. We have a GA break down our last four games each week. We look at our
formations and field tendencies to see what we are calling. For example, last year we were calling the all curls route on third
down and eight to go. So we saw what we were doing and made the changes that helped us later in the year.

We script the opening series. We like to script the first 20 to 25 plays. But because the defenses do some crazy things
against you, it is hard to stick to those 20 plays. Our best game of the season was when we were able to run the entire script
the first half. We scored seven touchdowns and had 450 yards passing. During the first drive or during the first 15 plays, we
want to find out who is the weakest defender. Once we find out that information, we want to be able to take advantage of it.
We have four formations. We have a right and left, which is basically a double set (see Diagram 13-1). The rip and liz is the
X trips set (see Diagram 13-2). The ram and lion is a Y trip set (see Diagram 13-3). The rocket and laser are our five wideouts
set (see Diagram 13-4).

Diagram 13-1. Right/left formations

Diagram 13-2. Rip/liz formations

Diagram 13-3. Ram/lion formations

Diagram 13-4. Rocket/laser formations

Once we get inside the 30-yard line, we give our formations tags. We have a bunch tag. Our Y receiver splits five yards
from our tackle. The other receivers split one or two yards off the Y receiver, depending on the play we have called.

If we call a special Tag, it flips the receivers. It brings the X and Z to one side, and the Y and H to the other side. Our Close
Tag is our 2 X 2 set. We bring both sides into the bunch set on their side.

Our tight end was a good receiver. He was 65 and was a great player for us. At the end of the season, we ran a lot of our Y
Tags (see Diagram 13-5). Our Y tags were simple. We called them A, B, and C. If the tight end is in the game and it is a
regular set, he lines up on the right side next to the tackle. If we give him the A call, he is lined up five yards off the line of
scrimmage in the same location, outside the tackle. The B set puts the tight end is a slot set. The C set puts the tight end

Diagram 13-5. Formation tags/Y tags

Our shallow package is probably our best package as far as completions are concerned. W hat we are trying to get a highlow triangle read with our H, Y, and Z receivers (see Diagram 13-6).

Diagram 13-6. Shallow package

Our Z runs the deep post route. The Y receiver runs a dig route inside at 12 yards. The X receiver goes on a vertical route.
The H back runs the shallow route coming across the field, gaining depth as he clears the linebackers. This is a great call on
any down and any distance. If we are not sure what to call, the shallow package is real effective.
We feel this play is a very high-percentage pass. It has big play potential. It is easy to adjust to formations and personnel. It
is great against man or zone coverage. It is a good blitz beater. And as I said, it is a safe call on any down-and-distance.
W ith tags we can run several variations of the play, and that makes it hard to defend. It is a good play anywhere on the field.
Let me go over what we want on the play:
X: Outside release vertical
H: Shallow as possible, 5 yards to opposite sideline; hot receiver. His goal is to run at the butt of the defensive end.
Y: Outside release, push 12 to 14 yards, break under control and turn numbers to the quarterback in first hole. He
does not want to spring across the field to try to get open. He pushes outside and sits down at 12 to 14 yards.
Z: Alert TD! Post route 12 to 15 yards. We want him at the top of the numbers.
F: Our running back always goes to the shallow side. Know protection! Run the leak route where H starts from.
QB: Takes a quick five-step drop and reads strong to middle triangle. Progression is Z, Y, H, F.

An adjustment is to send our F back on a release to the flag. Against a single safety defense, we put the F back in the flat
and have him turn up and go deep. Now the read is a little different. We want the quarterback to peep at the Z receiver and look

for F to Y to H (see Diagram 13-7).

Diagram 13-7

Here is the other adjustment on the play. Against the two deep look we want the Z receiver to run the post down the middle.
We want the quarterback to look for the safety as soon as he can. We send the F back in the hole inside over the middle (see
Diagram 13-8).

Diagram 13-8

We can have the F back check down and come across to the H side and then cut back to the middle (see Diagram 13-9).

Diagram 13-9

Our screens are probably our best package. Our Z receiver is the man we want to get the ball to on our rocket screen. We
want him to push upfield two or three steps and belly back one yard behind the line of scrimmage. We are not trying to throw
the ball to him quick to get him in the crease. We are trying to run him inside on a crease inside the hash mark (see Diagram

Diagram 13-10. Rocket screen

Our slot receiver has the first man closest to the play. He has the first threat. If he Sam linebacker attacks, he must block
him. He pushes upfield five yards. If Sam attacks, he must take him. The playside tackle invites the defensive man deep, and
then he cuts him. He wants to count one thousand one, one thousand two, and cut the man. He wants to make sure he gets
the defensive man to get his hands down.

The playside guard sets for two counts and releases for the number two defender. He must read the block of the Y receiver.
If the Y receiver does not block the Sam linebacker, the guard picks him up. The center sets for two counts and blocks the first
wrong-color jersey playside at the linebackers depth. The backside guard sets for two counts, wraps around the play, and
cuts any one chasing the play. The backside tackle sets his pass block on the outside. The H back goes deep, looking for the
free safety. The X receiver goes vertical, taking the corner deep with him. The backside players must do their jobs or the play
will not work.

The play is designed to get four yards. It is a good play in that it slows the rush down. We work on the screen plays every
day. They are a big key for us.

I want to show you the cutups of these plays. If you would like to know how we call our plays, drop me a note or give me a
call and I would be more than happy to give them to you. I appreciate your attention.

The No-Huddle Spread Offense

Gary Pinkel
University of Missouri

Today I want to talk with you about our philosophy. It is not so much our philosophy, but it is what we believe in and how we
practice. I will go over the different things we do and I will get into what we do with the spread offense.
We are a no-huddle offense. We changed a couple of years ago. We did not huddle one time last year.
I want to talk to you about why we went to this offense and some of the concepts of why we went to this offense. I could
spend 30 minutes just talking about our zone play. I am not going to do that. I am going to give you some concepts on why and
how we run the zone play.

I have been the head coach at the University of Missouri for five years. The first couple of years we struggled. We have
been to two bowl games in the last three years. We have gone 20-16 in the last three years. Has it been easy? No! It has been
very difficult.

I played at Kent State University. I was a captain with Jack Lambert. Jack and I played for Coach Don James at Kent State.

I was an assistant coach at Bowling Green State University before I rejoined Don James at the University of Washington as
an assistant. We went to 11 bowl games in 12 years.

To say the least, I am a Don James disciple. W ithout question, our program is based on that same philosophy. The
program was taken from Kent State and then to Washington and then back to Toledo. We took the same program to Missouri.

The first thing I want to cover with you is the University of Missouri practice and teaching philosophy. Our goal is to
outpractice our opponents. We do this in the following ways:
Practice harder
Practice smarter
Practice with game-day intensity

We have a walk-through before practice that lasts 15 minutes. Then we go practice. Every drill we do is with game-day
intensity. We get after it. That is what we believe in. We want our practices tough so once we get into the games it is easier.

In addition to practicing hard, we want to practice smart. W hen we go into a drill, our players know what the drill is about and
the speed with which we are going to approach the drill. The players know if we are going into the drill in thud, or if we are
going to back off on the drill. They are going to know the speed with which we are going into the drill, so we do not get anyone
hurt in the drill.
I want my coaches to teach their players that they are the best position coaches in the league. If they do not believe it, we
are not going to win. We must sell the players on this concept. We have to be organized and look like experts in front of the
players. If we can do that, the players are going to play at a higher level.

We must be great teachers. I tell the coaches this: W hat you see on the video is what you coach. You are a teacher and
your evaluation is measured by your players performance. Professors can have students that make A, B, C, D, and F grades.
We must have all As and Bs. We must keep things simple. We do not want to overcoach. We want to find the best way to
teach. We must teach fundamentals. Our goal is for each player to master the fundamentals at his position.
We know what must be taught. Staff growth is important. We must improve our schemes. We strive for our players to
improve daily. We have a philosophy that players must master the fundamentals at their positions.

We must utilize teaching aids. We change up procedures for our meetings. We must use different techniques in our
teaching methods. We know what must be taught. We must use the different methods to teach what we want the players to
learn. We have video breakdowns. We must find a way to use them. We make boards and use diagrams to illustrate the
points we want to cover. The accuracy of diagrams is critical. We know that 75 percent of learning is visual. How you draw up
a play is important, because the way you draw up a play is the way they are going to run the play.

We must find ways to be positive. We do not want our enthusiasm just to be cheerleading. We want everything explained to
our athletes. We criticize performance. We do not want the players to take the criticism personally. We want to find things to
be positive about. We know that 99 percent of our communication and motivation should be positive. If this is not true, then we
need to change the way we communicate with them. We want our coaches to be positive most of the time when dealing with
the players.

We must be consistent. All players must be team players and abide by the team covenant. We must be consistent in our
player interaction. We must praise and criticizeall players. Players will notice any inconsistency in your player interaction.
We must coach toughness, coach toughness, coach toughness. We must coach 100 percent effort on every playevery
play, every day. We must play hard. Players must be on time for every scheduled meeting or practice. They must pay attention
to detail. We demand players to compete in everything they do.

We want hard workers on the field and in coaching. Coach every play! Coach every play! Coach every play! Coach every
play! Dont stand in one spot. Hands in pockets, arms folded is not permitted in our program. Get to where the action is. If the
coach stands around, so will the players. We do not want a coach to give a clinic on the field. That is why we meet and have
walk-throughs. Coaches will run drills to drill just like the players do. Players must run on the field, never walk. Players dont lie
on the ground. Demand enthusiasm, intensity, and make sure the players know their assignments.
Control the hitting! Tag offense. Play ball. Live off. Thud. The best coaches in the country take their players performance
personally. Missouri coaches take their players performance personally!
W hy did we go to the spread offense? First of all, it went against the ideas I was brought up with in football. After the last
game in 2004, I went down to Texas Tech to visit. They have a great offense. Because of their offense, they have gone to six
or seven bowl games in a roll. I watched the offense change over the years. Urban Meyer at the University of Florida was
running the spread offense and they were scoring a lot of points each game.

We decided to use the spread offense for the 2005 season. Our goal for this past season was to score 35 points per game.
We knew that we had to have a system that would allow us to accomplish this goal. Before last year, we ran some one-back
and two-tight-end offenses. We ran the zone, the counter play, and the naked bootleg play. I felt that we needed to attack and
score more points. This is how we evolved to the changes we made on offense. I spent a lot of time talking to other coaches
about the system.
The reason we ran this offense was because of the following:
More attacking

Point potential
Offense average of 35 points per game
No huddle
Equalizer: spreads people
Presents problems for defense
No backs
Vertical and horizontal stretch

I talked to a lot of other coaching staffs before we added the no-huddle. The advice most people gave me about the nohuddle was this. If you are going to run the no-huddle, then run the no-huddle. Do it with every play you run. So in the spring
we put in the no-huddle with every play we put into our offense. We all knew the signals for the offense and we used the nohuddle on every single play.

We like the no-huddle because we can get great tempo with this offense. We ran more plays than anyone in the country
last year. We want to get first downs with our offense. The big thing about the no-huddle is that it allows you to control the
tempo of the game. Also, it allows you to slow your tempo down to enable you to see what the defense is doing, so you can
take advantage of your offense based on what the defense is doing.

We like to split our linemen to give us running lanes. Defenses do not like teams that split the linemen. They do not like
teams that run from the one-back. They do not like teams that run the option.

One of the things we want to do is get the defense playing on their heels. W hen teams play on their heels we feel we are
more effective in using the running game.

We believe you can run the ball 50 percent of the time and pass the ball 50 percent of the time from this formation. We have
noticed an expansion of the running game from the no-huddle offense. Now the no-huddle offense has become more complex.

We can go from no backs to one back. We line up with no backs and then motion someone in the backfield into the oneback look. You can motion in and out of this offense, which makes it more complex.

The one thing about this offense is this. If you spread people out, you must force the defense to cover them. If they do not
cover the wideouts, throw them the football. Also, you must throw a lot of hitch routes in this offense. If the defense does not
cover the wideouts, we want to get the ball to the open man. W hat does this do? It spreads the defense out all over the field.

We have two rules on the no-huddle. If a receiver is open, make the throw to the open man. If the hitch route is open, make
sure you throw the open receiver the ball.

W hen we game plan, we want to give three basic concepts. First is our 2 X 2 concept (Diagram 14-1). We could motion
one of the other backs and change the formation. We are going to set our game plan where we have the opportunity to run the
2 X 2 formation.

Diagram 14-1. 2 X 2 formationdeuce

We can call this formation six different ways to get our tailback outside. You could just do it one way, but we have several

ways to get into this formation. We can get our personnel in the positions we want them in by using different calls.

The next thing we are going to do is look at our 3 X 1 formation. We have the plan where we can go to our 3 X 1 look
(Diagram 14-2). We may motion out of this formation and go to a 2 X 2 look. We are going to use this to give a different look to
the defense. It is our trips look. The defense would prefer for us to stay balanced, with two men on each side in a 2 X 2

Diagram 14-2. 3 X 1 formationtrips

The next look we have is our 3 X 2 formation (Diagram 14-3). We can line up in four or five different ways to get into this
formation. We can get into the bunch formations and move our receivers out in different ways. That is our diamond formation.

Diagram 14-3. 3 X 2 formationdiamond

The base running plays we can use from these formations include the following: inside zone, speed option, shovel, toe,
dive, and the trap plays. We can run the outside veer, which I do not have listed here. We can run the inside veer as well. I
really believe in this offense. Obviously, if you have a quarterback that can run and pass as well, the offense is awesome. I
think the best way to run the offense is to get the defense playing off their heels. This makes it possible to have large running

We take the large splits to spread the defense out. On the inside zone play, we do not block the end man on the nose
tackles side unless the defense has five defenders on the line (Diagram 14-4). Our quarterback opens to the tailback, extends
the football, and reads the end man on the line of scrimmage. Against the five-man line, he hands the ball off to the running
back. The tailback reads the first down lineman beyond the center. Then he wants to bend, bang, and bounce.

Diagram 14-4. Inside zone

If the defensive end cannot make the tackle on the play, we want to hand the ball off (Diagram 14-5). We want the wide
splits, because it helps us on this play.

Diagram 14-5. Vs. 30

We tell the tailback to go two yards, and then bang, bounce, and bend. The tailback takes two steps beyond the quarterback
and then he is going to bang it upfield, or he is going to bounce it back inside. We would prefer to press it and bounce it
Against the 30 defense, the read is different. Now we are blocking the end man outside of our center. You will be able to see
our splits in the film.
Next is our speed option. This is our 3 X 1 formation (Diagram 14-6). Basically, we use the drive technique with the tackle.
We use that as a game call. If the defensive tackle comes down inside, it becomes a straight man block for us. It becomes a
quarterback keep play. The quarterback catches the snap, recognizes the pitch key, and attacks his outside shoulder. He

makes the pitch off the center gap defender. He must be ready for a quick pitch. We do not know who is going to be the C-gap
defender. Also, we must be ready for the quick pitch.

Diagram 14-6. Speed option

One thing that helps us in this offense is the fact that the quarterback can see what is coming on defense. It really is not a
complex play.
The next play is the shovel play (Diagram 14-7). We pull the backside guard around on the play. Everyone else blocks back
on the play. We want the tailback to get a relationship of six yards deep on the pitch phase. The tailback comes over in a sixyard phase underneath the quarterback. You must work on this pitch relationship. We want him six yards deep and one yard in
front of the quarterback.

Diagram 14-7. Shovel play

We want the quarterback to force the defensive end to move when he comes down the line. If the end just sits there, we are
in trouble. If the end sits there, he can take both the quarterback and pitch man on the play. We want to force the end to get a
little wider and move one way or the other. If the defensive end comes upfield and outside, we want the quarterback to pitch
the ball underneath.
If the defensive end comes upfield toward the quarterback, we want him to shovel the ball underneath to the tailback
underneath. The quarterback is five yards deep. He takes the snap and gets width. He pitches off the end man on the line of
scrimmage. If he takes the pitch to the tailback away, he keeps the ball. If he squeezes the play inside, the quarterback keeps
the ball and runs the option in the alley. You can make the play as complex as you want, and you can also make it simple.

Our trap play is from our 2 X 2 formation. The quarterback steps at the playside leg of the center and reads the pulling guard
(Diagram 14-8). We trap the 3 technique. We do this in our tempo drill.

Diagram 14-8. Trap

I want to talk about our base passes. We want to run our spread-offense passing concepts. Our specific plan is this. We
want to spread the field and attack the open zones. The general idea is this: We want to spread the full-field conceptsa
group of routes intended to spread the entire field and create open zones. It does not matter if it is our dropback passing game
or a running play.
Next is our half-field concepts. They are a group of routes intended to fill open holes on one side of the field. There are
always paired with another half-field concept to allow flexibility against different defensive looks. You can run one game plan on
one side of the line of scrimmage and another concept on the other side of the line. You can move the play from one concept
to the other concept.

Basically, we have two three-step-drop protections. One is the no-back, and it is from man protection, and the other is the
concept of turn protection. These are the only two protections we use in our dropback passing game. We cut a lot in the
passing game. These are the two concepts we use.
I will show you a couple of plays from our two formations (Diagram 14-9). Next is our quick game protections350-351.

Diagram 14-9. Quick game protections350-351

Playside tackle: Covered, block man on. Uncovered, block man outside.
Playside guard: Covered, block man on. Uncovered, make fan call.
Center: Covered, block man on, and listen for fan call, then turn back and protect the gap backside.
Backside guard: Covered, block man on, and listen for fox call. Uncovered, turn back and protect the gap backside.
Backside tackle: Turn in protection, block outside. Set to the widest defender.

Next is our quick game protection. It involves our 360-361 protections (Diagram 14-10).

Diagram 14-10. Quick game protections360-361

Playside tackle: Set aggressively, get hands down. Covered, block man on. Uncovered, block man outside.
Playside guard: Set aggressively, get hands down. Covered, block man on. Uncovered, make fan call.
Center: Set aggressively, get hands down. Covered, block man on. Listen for fan call. Turn back and protect gap

Backside guard: Set aggressively, get hands down.

Backside Tackle: Set aggressively, get hands down. Turn in protection and block outside. Set to the widest defender.
Tailback: Read playside A gap out.
I want to move along on these next plays. First is the 2 X 2 quick pass. It is our deuce right 360 gold-tan (Diagram 14-11).

Diagram 14-11. 2 X 2deuce right 360 gold-tan

Quarterback: Catch and throw. Safety zone, go to tan side (slant/bubble). Two safeties, go to gold side
(vertical/speed out). Versus man, take best-located defender: 1-vert, 2-slant, 3-speedout.
Tailback: Protection, double read the first two linebackers to the playside.
1B: Vertical release to six yards. Slant route.
2B: Drop-step release, stay flat and parallel to the line of scrimmage until the ball leads you to the LOS.
2F: Slight outside release, breaking at six yards from the line of scrimmage.
1F: Protection release through the far shoulder of the defender. The landmark is the outside edge of the numbers.
Our next look is the 3 X 1 quick routes. It is trips right 360 spacing-black (Diagram 14-12).

Diagram 14-12. 3 X 1 trips right 360 spacing-black

Quarterback: Catch and throw progression, and slant to the spot to extended hitch. Always look for the slant to give
spacing time to develop.
Tailback: Protection, double read on the first two linebackers to the playside.
1B: Vertical release to six yards. Slant route.
3F: Come inside flat to four yards over the ball.
2B: Run a six-yard hitch route with two yards of width (6x2) from the original alignment.
1F: Run a six-yard hitch route with two yards of width (6x2) from the original alignment. We must convert vs. press
or hard corner.
On the 3 X 2 quick, we call diamond right 351 sit-gold (Diagram 14-13).

Diagram 14-13. 3 X 2diamond right 351 sit-gold

Quarterback: Catch and throw. Hitch rule. One safety zone, take sit side (outside in). Two safeties, take gold side
(vertical to speed out). If the defense is in man coverage, take the best-positioned defender: 1-vert, 2-speed out, and
3-hitch vs. soft coverage.
1B: Protection release through the far shoulder of the defender. The landmark is the outside edge of the numbers.
2B: Slight outside release breaking at six yards from the line of scrimmage.
3F: Run a six-yard hitch route with vertical push.
2F: Run a six-yard hitch route with two yards of width (6x2) from the original alignment.
1F: Run a six-yard hitch route with two yards of width (6x2) from the original alignment. We must convert vs. press
or hard corner.
Here are our dropback protections50-51 (Diagram 14-14).

Diagram 14-14. Dropback protections50-51

Playside tackle: Covered, block man on, be aware of outside linebacker coming underneath for SIFT.
Playside guard: Covered, block man on. Uncovered, Molly unless fan call is made.
Center: Needs to identify the five most dangerous defenders. He makes a Mike call against four-down fronts.
Backside guard: Covered, block man on. Listen for our fan call from center.
Backside tackle: Covered, block man on.

Our next protection is our dropback protection60-61 (Diagram 14-15).

Diagram 14-15. Dropback protections60/61

Playside tackle: Covered, block man on. Uncovered, block man outside.
Playside guard: Covered, block man on. Uncovered, make fan call.
Center: If covered, block man on. Listen for fan call, turn back, and protect gap backside.
Backside guard: Covered, block man on. Listen for fan call. Uncovered, turn back and protect gap backside.
Backside tackle: Turn in, protection block outside. Set to the widest defender.
Tailback: Read playside A gap out.

Next is our 2 X 2 dropback. It is our deuce right 60 choice (Diagram 14-16).

Diagram 14-16. 2 X 2 dropbackdeuce right 60 choice

Quarterback: Step drop (one big, two little). Hitch ruleProgression: Hitch-choice-dump. Versus two safeties,
chance of post. Versus one safety, only a corner. Versus no safety, think post.
Tailback: Protection: first or second linebacker playside. Route: No blitz, dump five yards over the ball.
1B: Run a six-yard hitch route with two yards of width (6x2) from the original alignment. Run a delay vs. press man
2B: Protection release, vertical push to 10 to12 yards and run a corner route with an aiming point of 25 yards on
sideline. Must get open vs. man.
2F: Vertical push to 10 yards, make a decision to break to corner or post by doing the opposite of the near safety.
Break route at 12 yards.
1F: Run a six-yard hitch route with 2 yards of width (6x2) from the original alignment. Run a delay vs. press man
Our next look is the 3 X 1 dropback. Here is our trips right 60 cross (Diagram 14-17).

Diagram 14-17. 3 X 1trips right 60 cross

We were more successful running the crossing routes than we were on the other plays. We are in a 4 vertical and we are
going to push it deep. If it is against a two-deep secondary, we are going to throw the ball off the backside safety. If the safety
crosses outside, we want to hit the number 2 receiver in the hole in the middle. If the linebacker gets deep, we throw the dump
to the tailback.

Quarterback: Three-step drop (one big, two little). Against two safeties, read boundary. If the safety gets width, think
crosser to the tailback (feel linebackers depth). If the safety sits, go outside to vertical (BND #1) Go to the dropout to
the tailback on the dump. Against one-safety zone, read the single safety. If he picks a side, he looks off and drives
into the other inside vertical. (Be aware of the corner and linebacker depth.) Against one safety man, he works against
the best-positioned defender for us. Against one boundary he goes to the press route. Against man coverage he goes
to the two crosser on the man route. His third option is to go to the tailback shooting away from the linebacker.
Tailback: Protection: first two linebackers playside. Route: five-yard dump route.
1B: Vertical release (best release) to 12 yards. If you are hip-to-hip with the corner or past him, continue with the
route. Go to the outside edge of the numbers. If the corner is deeper than you are, then convert to dropout at 15
3F: W idth release behind F2 and get to a landmark of plus-two outside the hash. Stay fixed and use best release.
2F: Release inside to eight yards on alignment of F3 stick to 20 yards. Run the seam route on the backside hash at
1F: Vertical release (best release) to 12 yards. If you are hip-to-hip with the corner or past him, continue with the go
route on the outside edge of the defenders numbers. If the corner is deeper than you are, then convert to dropout at
15 yards.
Our last play is our 3 X 2 dropback. This is our diamond right 51 smash (Diagram 14-18).

Diagram 14-18. Dropbackdiamond right 51 smash

Quarterback: Three-step drop (one big, two little). Hitch rule: Read from the boundaryhitch-corner-safety seam.
Against a bail corner, throw the hitch on the third step. Against a hard corner, take your eyes to the corner and see
where the coverage is coming from: under (corner bounceback)come back to hitch; on top (safety)get back to
safety seam. Against man: corner route needs to beat the defender.
1B: Run a six-yard hitch route with two yards of width (6x2) from the original alignment. Run a delay vs. press man
2B: Protection release: vertical push to 10 to 12 yards and run a corner route with an aiming point of 25 yards on the
sideline. Must get open vs. man coverage.
3F: Push vertical for eight to 10 yards. Run a seam post to the backside hash vs. two safeties.
2F: Protection release: vertical push to 10 to 12 yards. Run a corner route with an aiming point of 25 yards on the
sideline. Must get open vs. man coverage.
1F: Run a six-yard hitch route with two yards of width (6x2) from the original alignment. Run a delayed route against
press man coverage.
I want to show the film clips of these plays so you can see them in a game.

We do run play-action passes from these formations. We run the wheel route on top to keep the defense honest. Also, we
run the sprint-out route with these sets. We move the quarterback around. It helps the quarterback and the offensive line.

I really appreciate your attention. I played for Don James in college. My position coaches in college and my high school
coach from Akron, Ohio, were the most influential coaches in my career. We live in a world today where the kids do not have a
whole lot of direction. In November of this past year, the one-parent homes surpassed the two-parent homes.

W hen I was growing up with my 15 buddies, there was not one of them that did not have both parents at home. Life is
different now. W hat do the athletes do today? They turn to their coaches as role models. Our kids turn to me. You have great
impact on these kids. I want the kids to say, My coach is a man of integrity, and he is a coach that cares about us. He is a
good person. If I can follow the life he does. I will be a good person as well.
Later in life, they are going to evaluate you as a role model. Coaches have great influence over people. This is true because
you are a coach. You must take the responsibility. Help the young kids. Thanks for your attention and may God bless you.

No-Huddle, One-Back Offense

John Rodenberg
Roger Bacon High School, Ohio

Thank you. Before coming to Covington Catholic, I was running the spread offense without a tight end and getting into near
and 3-by-1 sets. We were putting so much pressure on the quarterback to win the game through his passing that I did not
really think it was fair, and it really hurt us a lot. Then, when I got to Cov Cath, I remember talking to guys we had played before
about our no-huddle scheme, and they all said that no huddle always gave them problems.
I decided that I would stick with the no huddle, but I wanted to increase our play-action, get under center, and become more
balanced. I also wanted to be able to run the ball better against an eight-man box.
W hen you consider the read option, the colleges draw it up showing the 5 technique coming down, so they pull the ball and
run the option. The colleges show a safety coming down, but in high school, it is a linebacker. That covers everything on the
backside to where we could not even run the read option. We would get stopped, because it was not an option anymore; it
was covered. They had someone to cover the quarterback and someone to cover the pitchman.

For that reason, we started to get into what I call this floating A back, and we narrowed our running game down to the
inside zone, the outside zone, the counter, and the trap, and that was it (Diagram 15-1). I made the decision that instead of

Diagram 15-1. Floating A back

running all these wild plays, we would stick to those four. We could still spread the field, and we could still open up the running
lanes, but we were going to put a tight end in, and we were going to narrow down our running game.
In our practice, we run approximately 75 plays, so I can run the inside zone 35 or 40 times, I can run the outside zone 20
times, and I can run the trap maybe 10 times a practice. But by reducing the running game, I increased the number of
repetitions we were getting in practice.
Reasons For Running
Spread philosophy:
Use the whole field for the passing game
Open up the running game
No true fullback
No huddle:
Reduce the blitz
Tight end:
Number of defenders in the box
Motion and shifting:
Tweak to the no huddle
Amount of cover zero/man coverage
Under-center play-action
So again, I wanted to keep the spread philosophy, and I wanted to open up the field. On the other hand, I also wanted to
make sure I inserted a tight end, and to make sure we could run the football a little bit better so we could open up the running
At Covington Catholic, and now at Roger Bacon, I do not have that one guy who can go up and isolate a linebacker or kick
out a 9 technique to run the power, so I am not a big believer that I can get into the I formation. I think defenses load the box,
and defenses are too good right now, and we are not such a dominant team that I can just sit there and pound the ball down
someones throat. This is why I really believe in using a one-back offense, but at the same time, we keep the idea of a fullback
in there with this floating back. That has been great for us, and I will show you some plays as we go along.

I like the idea of the no huddle because I love the tempo. I think the no huddle reduces the blitz package of teams, and I think
it is kind of like playing against the wing-T, where you only have a week to get ready, and it is very, very hard to simulate in
practice for one week. I think you face the same problem in trying to figure out how you are going to play against the no-huddle
offense, especially since I am a very, very high speed no huddle. I am not slow at all. I do not call a play and wait for you to
adjust. I call a play and run it.
The one thing that I learned at Northwestern by running the no huddle is that it comes down to a concept. I am very, very
simple in my concepts. I give a formation and a play, and by getting together with the quarterback, he knows where we want to
run that play. My signals come down to just two signalsone formation, one play.

I do not believe in armbands. First of all, they have to look at that armband, and that takes time. Now, we start off at the
beginning of the year with no huddle. We never, ever get into a huddle, and we never use cards. We are strictly no huddle right
from the first day we go out. It is easy to teach it, and you do not need wristbands. You give a concept, you give a play, and you
are ready to go. If we call split trap, our quarterback looks for the 3 technique, he calls it, and we are off and goinghigh
tempo, right now.
Now obviously, if you come up in a Bear, or something I do not want to run a trap into, he audibles quickly out of that. He will
always have one or two audible plays to come out in. It is not that difficult.
Now, do we ever get into bad plays? Well, obviously we do. I think everybody gets into bad plays, but we work with our
quarterbacks and let them know where we want to go. Basically, our quarterbacks look for the edge player, whether we can
run the zone when we do not have the tight end to one side. In our passing game, it comes down to whether we want to go to
three-step or five-step, and he calls the direction of the slide for the scheme.
So, I really like the no huddle. I love the tempo of it, and practice-wise, we get so much done. We quit doing sprints the first
day we start practice. We do not run after we start practice in July. W hen we start our camp in late July, we do not need to.
We run plays as fast as we can, as many as we can get in. We run 25 six-minute periods, and by the end of practice our guys
have gotten in 75 or 80 plays. No huddle keeps them on their toes, keeps their tempo fast, and I probably will not leave it.

I do think you have to play a tight end. I came to that conclusion after going up against so many defenses willing to play eight
in the box no matter what. If you do not, your quarterback really has to be phenomenal. Sitting in the gun when they are coming
off the edge puts a lot of pressure on that guy, so we added a tight end, and it kind of reduces the blitz package, allows us to
get the edge taken care of, and one of the biggest changes that helped us win it all this year.
I want to talk about our motion and shifting. If we can, we want to come out in ace every single play (Diagram 15-2). W hen
you are preparing against us, you should see us in ace to begin the play. That is where we start, because it is balanced and it
reduces the blitz. I also feel that if we can do it against you, I will stay in ace the whole game. If I can run the inside and outside
zone, and get our passing game going, we will run that the whole game.

Diagram 15-2. Ace formation

Then, what we do a lot is, on a color, we will shift. As a result, the floating A back becomes the key guy. So, right now, we
have gone to a pro-type of formation, but the thing about the A back in our motion and shifting is that once he knows the play,
he does anything he wants to do. His responsibility is to go back and forth until the snap of the ball.

Again, it can be something as simple as ace to pro outside. He knows that it is ace. He knows that as soon as he hears
the color he gets into pro, so he knows the play. He is free to do whatever he wants across the line of scrimmage, and then by
the snap of the ball, he is where he needs to be. He knows how to do that, because we run outside zone 25 times a practice. It
also gives the defense problems as far as where they are going to line up and what we are going to do. That is something that
really became big for us, and I think it took our no huddle to a different level.
We will still shift back into 3-by-1, and in fact, we will shift into any formation we can possibly get into in a spread formation
every single snap, ace to whatever we want to be. So, now you have gone against our ace, and you know we will run every
play out of ace if we can. But if you can stop it, we will shift into 3-by-1.

W ith this player, we did not feel we had a fullback-type kid, but we knew we had a kid who could play linebacker, a kid about
61 and 190 pounds., and we knew he was athletic enough to catch the ball. So, that is who we ended up putting in at that
W hen we put in the offense, I kind of thought about how over past years, we have had a kid like that almost every year. Not
a true tight end, not a true fullback, but a guy who is fairly athletic, can kick out, can seal that 5 technique, and yet can get out
on the pass and catch either a crossing route, a flat route, or sometimes maybe even a vertical. I really feel that this gave our
offense the edge.
Again, with the amount of cover zero that we see in man coverage, I find it difficult, unless you have a great quarterback, to
get into a no-huddle shotgun, no tight-end type of offense. Now, we got into the gun a little bit, but one of the reasons why I got
back under center is because of play-action. I think the play-action from the shotgun is too easy to read.
I really believe you need a great thrower to get into the gun, unless your quarterback is a great runner. If he is a great runner,
he becomes another tailback, and you can run your offense out of the gun. I still believe, however, you have to have a tight end.
Now, if we were only going to see seven men in the box, I would be willing to take the tight end out.
One Back
Run game:
Inside zone
Outside zone
Three-step passing
Five-step passing
In our one-back, again, our run game is inside zone, outside zone, counter, and trap. That is all we practice and all we run.
We will run a little bit of speed option, but it is all within our zone package, and we will run a little bit of jet, which is in our
outside zone package. I came to the conclusion that we were not going to add anything more. We were just going to take
those plays and out-formation you. Instead of coming up with more plays, I came up with more shifts and motions.
Another thing that became huge for us was our play-action, and I will show you our best play-action play, which was an
awesome play. Also, we ran trap two or three times a game, and we averaged eight yards on it. We ended up running trap on
third-and-long, in situations where you might typically run a screen or draw. These 3 techniques come flying up the field on a
third-and-long play, and what happened was that it became like another draw.
In our shift package, our A back knows we are running trap (Diagram 15-3). He knows that he needs to be right about here
when the ball is snapped, so when the ball is snapped he is where he needs to be and we are in our trap mode. Again, it was
three times a game with an eight-yard average for us. It is something we probably should have run more, but I had not had
much success running traps in the past.

Diagram 15-3. Motion to trap

Counter became a good play for us. I like pulling the guard and the tackle, kicking out with the guard, and pulling up with the
tackle. Some people run it differently, but I like running true counter, because it really works off our big play-action pass, which
was so successful for us.
The three-step pass game is really our bread and butter. As long as you are going to play soft coverage, I will run hitch and
throw it 15 times a game. To me, hitch became just a five- to seven-yard play, a big third-down play. In the past, on third-andthree, if we could not run the ball, we would run hitch. Obviously, if you played cover man, we would audible to a fade, but we
got out of throwing fade a lot because of the percentage of it. I still use the philosophy that if you see cover zero, you must run
the slant and cut their throats to get them out of it. So, we still run slant, and it is big for us.
I believe it is easier to throw slant from under center than from the gun. Under center, the quarterback has the ball right now,
and he does not have to look. Slant is such a fast play that it became a better play for us under center than it did from the gun.
Hitch was good from the gun, but I like slant from under center better.
I divide our five-step passing game into a corner-strong safety read, crossing reads, and verticals. We teach three different
progressions with our five-step game. I really reduced our five-step game this year, because we became such a three-step
and play-action team. Our successful zone running and counter running set up our play-action well enough that it became
really big for us.
M otion and Shifting
I back feature
Shifting to spread offense
Maximum protection
Again, we have the I back feature. We do not run ice. We did put power in for the goal line, but never actually ran it in a
game. But with the A-back shifting into the backfield, I could add ice. I think if I had a kid big enough to run that, I would run it.
But with the type of kid we had, he was more of a seal blocker and zone blocker. We ran him on trap a few times, yet we were
still basically a one-back team.
In the spread, we are going to shift all the time. We may shift 90 percent of the time, and would game plan on where we
would shift to. W hen we did not want to line up in ace, based on who we were playing and what we thought we would get
defensively, we might put him in any possible flanking position, but it really did not matter, because he is just going to move to
wherever he needs to be.
The other good thing has to do with our protection. We are essentially a five- or six-man protection team, but we started

using our A back to get max protection against blitz packages, and it helped tremendously. It also increased our quarterbacks
comfort level significantly.
The play always determines where the A back will go. Again, it is a quick, no huddle. Our linemen do not see the play. The
receivers and running back look at the formation and the play. The quarterback gives them a blue or white or red call, and our
shift begins. We can shift into what I call a trio formation, which is excellent for the spread to break outside zone, and
excellent for determining man or zone.
Now, if we shift to that formation, we will not bounce around. We will just shift to it and stay. For example, we can go right
from ace to empty just off of one color. As they shift, they get the play, so it would be something like empty hitch, and as soon
as he yells blue, they would shift to empty. They know we are running hitch, and the number does not mean anything to the
backs and ends. The number just means something to the linemen, who do not care about the shift. The linemen do not care
about the play. They are just listening for a number to tell them the protection. W hile the receivers do not care about a number,
they want to know what route they are running, because they are not in the blocking scheme.
It is broken down so there is one signal, one play, and then the number comes from the quarterback. Of course, we use
dummy numbers. We use two or three different numbers, and we know which one is live. It would be something like empty
hitch, then the quarterback might say 17-75, and one of those is the pass protection. Then he would say Set, hut, and we
are off and running.
I think that to line up in ace first, it really takes a lot of pressure off the blitz package and what the defense is gong to do,
because you must remember that we are high tempo. We do not sit there and wait for the defense to line up.
That is also why we like the inside-zone play. The defense can shift or stem, but the zone-blocking scheme is not really
affected by that, because of the simplicity of the teaching.

On our basic zone play, the floating A back will seal the 5 technique, but it does not matter where he starts out (Diagram 154). He can be anywhere he needs to be, just as long as he knows he has the 5 technique off of our zone number.

Diagram 15-4. Basic zone play

I really thought we did a great job with our play-action this year (Diagram 15-5). In that action, cobra goes to the field, and
viper goes into the boundary. We started out running it off of our basic zone action, but we switched to running it out of our

counter set. We became a heavy counter team, and counter was good to us. We ran inside and outside zone, and then came
back with counter. We got really good yardage out of it.

Diagram 15-5. Play-action viper

Because we had good success with the counter, we obviously had defenses set to defend the play. To me, if everything is
blocked right, this linebacker is the guy who gives you problems (Diagram 15-6). He comes in and knifes it, and he can give
you a lot of problems on the counter, so this is what we began to do. We ran our cobra and viper where our tight end would
come down, seal, and go to the out cut. The A back would drag across and be really open. If we saw the linebacker biting on
this and the 9 technique coming down right there, we would run cobra or viper. It became a great play for us.

Diagram 15-6. Cobra/viper versus overplay

As the season went along, teams started taking the 9 technique and bringing him upfield hard to stop the quarterback
(Diagram 15-7). We went to ace, shifted to pro, and motioned the A back over. We faked the counter, and the A back would
come back and seal the 9 technique. We would switch routes with him and the tight end, and after about two seconds, he
would slip off to the flat, and we still had the same play.

Diagram 15-7. Play-action versus 9 technique upfield

W ith our five-step game, we ran three crossing routes. The first route we ran was called Reno (Diagram 15-8). We
crossed the ends at four yards, and would post the boundary player and curl the field player. We wanted to get more room to

work that curl. W hat we want to do is high-low these backers. If they were going to sink, we would hit the end underneath, and
it would turn out to be a five- to 15-yard gain. If they played man and collided them, we would hit the curl route. It was excellent
for us.

Diagram 15-8. Reno

Our second play was called gut (Diagram 15-9). We ran the single receiver on a curl, would Reno the number-two receiver,
and check the high-low out on the backer. We also ran curl with the tight end and got a high-low there, too. We would get one
or the other.

Diagram 15-9. Gut

Our last route was called box. On box, we ran the ends on curl and Reno, and the wideouts on double posts. That gave us
another high-low on the backer.

Those are three crossing routes that, if we are going to play man coverage, we felt we would get a lot of success out of
them. We could run those out of any formationout of 3-by-1, out of trey, or with all our shifts and motions. Or since it is a nohuddle scheme, we could sit in ace and get our whole package out of it. It gave people a lot of problems.
The latest thing we saw this year was the 3-3 stack, and with the way that they would move, I kind of wanted to move
equally with them. I always wanted to make sure that we had a tight end in and see if they would bring one of their linebackers
down over our tight end.
By being in ace, we could get you out of that 3-3 stack, or if you were a 4-2, we could get guys to cover up our tight ends,
and then we could simply shift and get you out of any part of your blitz package.
Again, our game is inside and outside zone, trap, counter, viper and cobra, our three-step game, and our crossing routes.
That is basically what we do out of our no-huddle scheme. I am sold on what we do. Our kids like it, and it has been
I appreciate being here. If I can do anything to help you out, let me know. Thank you.

Insights of the
No-Huddle Shotgun Scheme

Rich Rodriguez
The University of Arizona

I sat in the back earlier listening to the lecture by Chip Kelly. You can see why they are successful. They have a plan, they have
players, and they do a good job with their program.
Most of the things I am going to talk about today are going to be about our offense. But I want to give you a chance to ask
some questions. W hen there is interaction between coaches and coaches, and coaches and players, and players and
players, that is when you learn.

My first 10 years of coaching were at the small college ranks. I do not want to hire a member of my staff unless he has been
a high school coach or a small college coach or a junior college coach at one time in his career. If you only hire those that
have only coached at the big schools, sometimes they get spoiled. They are used to having a manager for each position. They
have a water boy for every position, team doctors, and five video staff members.
At the small schools, you have to do a little bit of everything. I did that when I was the coach at Glenville State College. We
had five coaches and three or four volunteer coaches. We lined the field, taped the athletes, cleaned up the locker rooms, and
did a little bit of everything. I think this can give coaches a better appreciation of the coaching profession.

I have spoken at a ton of clinics in my coaching days. Several times after my lecture, I have had coaches come up to talk
with me. Coach, I am just a junior high coach! I say, W hoa! Wait a minute. Before you say anything, dont ever say that. It
may be I am a Pop Warner Coach. Are you kidding me? A lot of time, those coaches have more impact and influence on kids
in their neighborhoods and schools than I do in my situation.
In college, we can still develop kids. In high school, there is no question coaches can develop kids. In junior high, you are
developing kids. Dont ever look at yourself as just a junior high school coach. Because the kids are still young, you have a
chance to make an impact on those kids.

Everyone wants to know about our system. W hen we first started running the fast no-huddle offense was back in 1990 back
at Glenville State. We did not know any other teams that were running this offense that we knew of. W hat we did see what a
version of the run and shoot offense that June Jones ran when he coached the Houston Oilers and Detroit Lions, where they
scored all of those points. I had a quarterback that was 5-10 and he weighed 220 pounds. He was not a runner, but he could
throw the ball, he was smart, and he was tough.

I was a defensive coach before I became a head coach. To me, the tough thing to defend was the two-minute drill. Have
you ever seen a team that does nothing for the first part of the game? Then, when there are two minutes left in the game, they
go up and down the field.

I wanted to know why they did not do this the whole game. So, that is what we tried to do. We were going to run the twominute drill the whole game. It did not make a lot of difference at that time because we only had 500 people in the stands, and if
they got upset, who cared?

Running the run-and-shoot offense, Warren Moon set the record for the NFL for the number of times he got sacked. He
would open up with the 5 oclock step, then take the 6 oclock step. Defenses blitzed him from the backside because he never
did see them coming. That was because he was under the center with his head turned. I decided I could take my quarterback
and put him in the shotgun and get five fat players to line up in front of the defense. They got run over, but it slowed the defense
down. Now our quarterback will have a chance to see what is coming.
Once thing that Coach Kelly mentioned in his lectureand I wanted to talk about it earlieronce the ball is snapped, it is
out of the hands of the coach. Rightonce the ball is snapped, it is those kids making plays, tackles, and doing everything. Up
and until the ball is snapped, you have some control. All coaches are control freaksevery one of us. So, why not get as
much control as you can until the ball is snapped?
One thing you can control the most is conditioning . Chip Kelly mentioned it earlier: the single most overlooked factor in
football is conditioning. Nothing else is even close. Everyone works on the fundamentals, but conditioning is the most
important factor in football.
You may say I do not want to coach a cross-country team. You are not just going to run sprints of 40 yards or 100 yards or
run miles in practice. How do you get in your conditioning? You get your conditioning in how you practice. It is the same way
that the University of Oregon does itby the way you practice. We do the same thing as well. We are going to get in our
conditioning in the way we practice.
We hear coaches talk about the kid that runs a 4.6 or 4.7 for the 40-yard sprint. Does he run that same time for seven or
eight times in a row? Can he run those times back-to-back? You can control conditioning by the way you practice. You control
it by how your kids train in the summer. In the old days, we never worked out in the summer. We did to some extent, but now
kids do work out in the summer. If they are competitive, they want to play. Coaches will say they have a voluntary workout.
W hat the heck is a voluntary workout? If they are going to play, they are going to work out.
Back a few years ago, we would call our players in and talk with them at the end of the spring session. We would ask them
what they were going to do for the summer. Now we do not even ask them what they are going to do for the summer. We
know they are going to work out because they want to start and they want to play in the fall.
The two greatest motivators are money and playing time. We are not paying them, but they want to play. W hat are they
going to do to make sure they play? They are going to work out in the summer and they are going to do conditioning drills. The
point I am making is this: dont overlook the conditioning factor.
This is especially true when you start playing the games. W hen you start the season and are playing games, you run the
fine line of determining if the players need rest more than conditioning. You want their legs fresh on game day. If you practice
with conditioning at the forefront of your mind, your players will always be in shape.

W hen you start playing games and the starters are playing 75 to 80 plays per game, you must remember the backups and
subs are not getting the same conditioning. They may need to get more reps so they will be in condition when they get their
chance. At times, you will see a starter get hurt and the sub comes in and is not as effective because he is not in very good

Goals of Our Offense

Create mismatches and get the ball in the hands of the playmakers from the shotgun. W hy the shotgun formation? I do not

care what you run. W hatever formation you run, you must have the answers. You must know what you are doing. Dont just
grab-bag and pick something at random. You must know how to fix your problems, and it does not matter what offense of
defense you use.
Here are the reasons I like the shotgun. You remember when I told you we had a 5-10 quarterback when I first started
coaching the spread offense? Think about it, if I am a quarterback and I am up at the line of scrimmage under the center, it is
hard to see everything. One of the most important things for a quarterback beside his accuracy, and footwork is his vision. I
am talking about the quarterbacks eyes.

For our quarterback, he must be able to see the entire field before the snap and after the snap. W hen the quarterback under
center looks right and left, he is fine. He may not see everything very clear. If he backs up five yards, he can see things much
clearer. It is a lot better vision for the quarterback. His vision is better in the shotgun.
In a game, the quarterback throws a pick and then comes over to the bench. The first thing the coach does is to jump his
butt. W hy did you throw the ball to them? W hat is the first thing the quarterback is going to tell his coach? I did not see that
man. No kidding! The truth is, he probably did not see the man. It may be because his eyes were not in the right spot.
The first thing you want to know if you are running the shotgun or spread offense is this: W here are his eyes focused? We
have this neat little camera that is something that can help you with quarterbacks. We started doing this about five years ago.
Our video staff bought a small video camera and taped it to the helmet of our quarterback. You can get these cameras for $99
now. You tape the camera to his head with duct tape. We would turn on the camera before the snap and after the snap to find
out where the quarterbacks eyes were focused. Was he looking down at the ground, were his eyes up, or was he looking at
something different? You can see where his eyes are focused at all times.
After practice, we would have the video staff incorporate it into the video system. W hen we showed them a play, we would
run a tight copy, a wide copy, and then the quarterback cam copy. This was only for the quarterbacks meeting room. The
quarterback can see what he is looking at during each play.
If it were me and I was just starting out coaching, I would get a small camera and tape it to his head so you can see where
he is looking. He could watch the film as well. He can see where his eyes are focused. The most important aspect is his
vision. W hen he can see where his eyes are focused, he can make a better read.
How many of you in here run the spread offense? Quite a few run the spread. Back in the days, there were only a few
teams that ran the spread. It was really fun for 10 years when we were at Glenville State. There was only a handful of teams
running the spread that we knew of. We did not see a lot of sophisticated defense back then. Nowadays, it seems that over
half of the teams run some type of spread offense. The difference in the spread that we run is the fact that the quarterback has
to make a decision before the snap. They have to see the field before the snap. Most times, they have to make a decision after
the snap on just about every play. This is true on run and on the pass. If it is a run, does he keep the ball, or does he hand the
ball off, or does he throw a bubble screen pass, and does he throw the ball to the right receiver?
The spread offense forces the defense to defend all skill players. If the offense lines up a player wide in the formation, the
defense is going to line someone outside with him, right? How many of you out there coach defense? W hat is the first thing
you do on Monday or on Sunday night if you meet then? The first thing you do is to line your defense up on the formations you
will face that week. You want to make sure you have the offensive players all covered.

As a defensive coach, the last thing you want to do as a defensive coach is to have little Johnny lined up all the way across
the field with no one on him. If the offense puts a man out wide, the defense is going to have someone on him. That is the
advantage of the spread offense. It spreads the offense out.

The spread defense forces the defense to play its base defense. The single hardest skill to perfect in football is to tackle in
the open field. The second hardest thing to perfect is to block in the open field. At times, the slowest man on offense may be
your best stalk blockers. The fast offensive men get downfield too fast and have to hold the block too long. We may have a
couple of slow players, and we will tell them they are perfect for this offense. They may not be able to catch the football, but
they can be great stalk blockers. You tell them, if they give All-Conference Stalk Blockers, you will be on that team. That gets
them all fired up for it.
The spread offense keeps the plays simple for the offensive line. I can look at coaches today and tell if they are offensive
line coaches. Most of them have pancake syrup on their shirt; they dropped a little of the stuff on their shirt, and they did not
want to get up early to hear Coach Rod. No, I am just having fun.
The most fundamental position you have is the offensive line. W here are all of the offensive coaches? You have the hardest

job on the staff because you have more fundamental skills to teach, which include footwork, hand placement, angles, blocking
schemes, and all of the other things. You have more to teach and to perfect than any other position. I have coached
quarterbacks for a long time, and I know you have more to do. We want to keep it simple for the offensive linemen.
We are going to work the offensive line, but we are going to treat them better than they have ever been treated. We want to
keep things simple for the linemen because they have so much going on in such a short time and in a short amount of space.
We do not list goals for the number of points we want to score or anything like that. We want to score whatever it takes to
win the game. All of those stats are clinic talk. We do not make playbooks anymore because that information gets on the
Internet. I found out one of my playbooks has been on the Internet for 20 years. We have two goals. They are score and win.
Those are our two goals.
Here are the basic elements of our goals. The defense will have to play us all across the field. We want to play with multiple
tempos. We have two distinct advantages on offense. First, you know where you are going, and second, you know when you
are going. You may count the snap count, but we do not go one, or two, or all of that stuff. This can confuse the offensive line.
They have enough to think about without giving them a snap count that is confusing.
Our snap count is very simple. We used to call the hut hut. I decided to change all of that when I was at Glenville State.
W hen you were a tot and you played football out in the yard, how did you call the snap count? You said, Ready, set, go! So,
our cadence is Ready, set, go. That is what we go on, and we do not use any other terms.

The defense does not know when we are going to call the cadence. We may snap the ball as soon as the official gets out of
the way or we may wait to see what the defense is lining up. We may change a play or we may act as if we are changing a
play, but we are not. We never let the defense know when the cadence is going to be given.

How many of you change the tempo as to when you are snapping the football? If I were coaching the defense and played
against a team that always broke the huddle with 17.5 seconds on the clock and lined up and gave a lot of signals, tucked at
his jersey, and a few other moves, I would want to know this. If the quarterback went under the center and the ball is snapped
in about 4.5 seconds, it is a rhythm cadence. If I coached the defense, I would work on beating the snap count if they never
changed the tempo of their cadence. I would tell the secondary they had 11.5 seconds to disguise our coverage and to move
around so the offense would have no idea where we were going to line up.

If we were a team that huddles up because you do not want to give the play away, that is fine. If you do not want to signal in
the play, you can still control the tempo of the game. How could you do that? You could break the huddle and line up quickly
and snap the ball. I would break the huddle and wait at the line of scrimmage until the defense showed what they were playing
and then snap the ball. I would mix up the system as to when we would snap the ball.
W hen Spike Dykes was the head coach at Texas Tech University, they would break the huddle quickly and come to the line
and snap the ball immediately. This is a neat concept. They always went on the quick sound so the defense could not disguise
their looks to the offense. The offensive team can control the tempo.
Here is our run philosophy. It is numbers, angles, and graphs. W hat does all of this mean? Our offenserun or passis
based on this premise. It is simple. I repeat it every day to our staff.
I want to cover one important point here. How many of you in here are head coaches? Several! I have been a head coach
for 18 or 19 years. I still call the plays on offense. I still help coach the quarterbacks. I still mingle in the offense. I do not do
much with the defense, but I know what they are doing. I do coach one unit of the special teams. It may be the snapper or it
may be the bullets or another part of the kicking game.

I still coach the offense. Other coaches ask me why I still coach the offense. One, it is because it is one part of the job that I
enjoy, and second, it is how I became a head coach. It is your own personal philosophy on this matter. Sometimes, when you
become a head coach, you try to oversee everything and you end up not teaching anything. One reason you became the head
coach is because you were probably good at something. It could be coaching and teaching the linebackers or coordinating the
offense. Then, when you become the head coach, you have lost your value in doing something you were good at doing.
I have told our offensive coaches, if I do not have time to sit in the film room and watch the films, make decisions, evaluate
personnel, and work with the offense, they need to come to me and tell me I am not involved in the offense enough to know
what is going on. I am going to make enough time to do all of those things because that is the value I bring to the program.

I always tell the young coaches to provide more services than what you are paid for. W hen I was at Salem International
University, I made $18,000 a year. Now I am making a lot more money than that, so I have to provide more services for my

salary. If coaches were paid by the hour, they would make more money. Never forget this as a coach. As young coaches, do
whatever it takes. No job is beneath you.
W hen I got on offense, I looked at the two-minute drill and decided to go with the no-huddle offense and to adjust the tempo.
The second part of the philosophy was to run where the numbers are. If the defense has four men in the box on the right side
and three defenders in the box on the left side, I am going to run the ball at the three-man side. If we are throwing the football, it
is the same idea. If the defense has three on the right and four on the left, we are going to throw the ball on the three-man side
to the right side.
We package our offense similar to what Oregon does. We have a concept that we call go. Everyone knows what to do on
the go package. We do not use a full-field read package. W ho has time to teach all of this? W ho has the time to throw that
pass in those reads? You can full-field read before the snap. As a coach, you are going to look at the entire field. But after the
ball is snapped, the quarterback is going to pick a side and work that side or pick an area and work it. How do you determine
that? W here they are lined up and where the numbers are. We use the center as the midpoint.
Our big running plays are the inside and the outside zone plays. We read the defense on those plays. If we have called the
zone to one side and the quarterback wants to run it to the other side, he changes the play. W hy run against the numbers?
Run and throw the ball with the numbers in your favor.
The second part of the equation is the angles. Angles are like a 1 technique or a 3 technique. If we are going to run the zone
play, I would prefer to run against a 1 technique and a 5 technique than I would against a 3 technique and a 5 technique. It is
easier to block a 1 and a 5 than it is to block a 3 and a 5 on the zone play.
Because we have a better angle, we can run the ball in the B gap, which we call the bubble. Because we have a choice on
where we are going and the defense does not know where we are going, we run the ball with the angles. If the numbers on
each side are the same, we run with the best angles. If the numbers are the same and the angles are the same, we go to the
wideside of the field if the ball is on the hash mark.

In practice, our guys want to spot the ball in the middle of the field. In college, 80 percent of the game is played from the
hash marks. It is probable true in high school as well. We are going to practice 80 percent of the time from the hash marks.
Dont put the ball in the middle of the field all of the time in practice.
If everything is equal and the ball is on the left hash, and the numbers are the same on each side of the center, and the
angles are the same, then we are going to run the ball to the field or wideside. We have more grass over there. This is our
philosophy, and we build our plays around this concept.
We will run a total of 50 plays this spring. We run the zone play out of four different formations. That is four plays. I think 50
plays may be too high for us. We may not get to that total.

The most important thing we put together after the spring is what we call the answer sheet. Coaches want to know what we
have on our play chart that we have when we are on TV. Some coaches have it hanging on their necks, and it is a big sheet.
W ho could remember all of the things they have on that form in the heat of the battle.

Our play sheet has the typical information: first-and 10, red zone plays, go zone, which is inside the 10 yard line. We have
our two-point plays on the form as well. Do you know how often I look at that sheet in the game? Never! I may cover my mouth
when we are on TV with the sheet. I am not worried about them reading my lips on the plays I am calling. It is because
sometimes I forget I am on TV and say some words that I should not say.

On the back of our game plan sheet is the thing we do look at the most. It is what I call the answer sheet. I look at that sheet
during a time-out or between quarters. If you would like a copy of this answer sheet, I will send you a copy. Just write me a
note at the University of Arizona. We are located in Tucson. Now the sheet will be blank because I am not going to list our
plays on the sheet.
Before the players report in the fall, we list our top two or three plays against all situations and types of defenses we will
face. For example, if we see cover 4 against our spread offense, it means we have the numbers to run the football. We are
going to have a few runs that we like the best against defense. We have two or three passes we like to run against that look.
We list the plays we like to run against the different defensive looks.
If we see the bear defense, we know there are not a lot of running plays we can run. We may only have one or two running
plays when we face that particular defense. There are three or four passes that are best against cover 1 or cover zero. We list
the plays we like to run against the Tampa cover 2 defense. We try to cover all the situations that we expect to see in games.

We take a look at our conference schedule and list the things they like to do on defense. We create a category down for the
plays to use. We cant list but about six plays because we cant rep them all. We have that on our answer sheet before our
players report in August. Those are the plays we are going to call and we are going to rep. W hen we get in the games, we can
refer to that sheet that covers most of the things we are going to see in a game.

W hen I am in a game, I have a headset on and I am talking with my offensive coordinator. I do not have time to listen to all of
the coaches during the game. The offensive coach up in the box tells me if a play is good or if it is not good. That is about it.
You do not have a lot of time to talk in the game when you are calling the plays.

W hen I was at Tulane University as the offensive coordinator, I taped all of the conversations from the headsetsfrom the
press box and including the conversation from the field. Tommy Bowden was the head coach and I was the offensive
coordinator. I may do that again this year. It was fascinating in that things happen so fast. You do not have a lot of time to
discuss a great deal about the play selection. I would listen to the recordings on Sunday. I learned a lot about calling plays and
how to be effective during a game with the information from the press box.

We do things a little different in that we use headsets in every practice as well as in the game. It is the same thing Oregon
does in that our practices are going to be quick and swift. It is not going to be long before we run the next play. We are going to
coach the players on the films. Everything is fast paced. We want to run 12 or 13 plays in a 5-minute period. We communicate
in practice on the headsets just as we do on game day.
We have a graduate assistant with a headset on, and he is on the sideline. Our offensive staff has their headsets on, and
they are on the field. We have the battery packs for our headsets. That is the way we communicate. It is a great teaching tool.
We have three tempos. This is how we do it:
Jet tempo: Fast, no huddle
Regular tempo: Snap as soon as official is set
Indy tempo: Fast but can change the play if necessary
We have our regular tempo, which is the no huddle, and it is quick, but the quarterback will look to our sideline. People ask
me how we know if the quarterback got the signal from the bench. I can tell by the amount of time he stares at the sideline.
However, the quarterback must understand our system.

You may have a problem with crowd noise on the cadence. We had problems with this at home and on the road. Our
center ended up making the go call. He gets a signal from the quarterback when he is ready to go. He may use a leg kick, point
a finger, or a clap of the hands. We always changed the indicator when we need to. The center looks through his legs to get
the indicator.
To change things up and to stay ahead of the defense, we may have the center keep his head up and have the guard put
his head down and give the go count. The defense will watch the center, and when he puts his head down, they move around.
If we see that, we let the guard make the call and the center keeps his head up to see the defense. Then, he gives a signal to
the center when to snap the ball.
If there is a problem with crowd noise, we have the quarterback call it out: Ready, set, go. He can control the snap better
that way. You can use the center to make the call if necessary.
Our skill players are going to look at the football. They should never be offside. The backfield is going to see the ball
snapped from the center. The only people we have to worry about hearing the cadence is between the tackles.
The defense will try to key the signal and jump on the count if you just go on the same sound all of the time. We call a
freeze and we do not snap the ball. If the defense jumps offside, then the center will snap the ball and we try to get a free play.
In high school, if the defense jumps offside, they blow the whistle and call encroachment.
How many of you here run the zone read? The reason teams run the play is that the defense has to play all 11 offensive
players. It is like the option, but you are in the shotgun and you are safer. W hen teams started running the zone read play, the
defense would teach the frontside to fit in the gaps and the backside players were taught to run to the ball and watch for the
Now you see the defense fit the frontside one way and the backside fit another way. They have different ways to fit the
frontside and different ways they fit the backside. We have to make a couple of calls and adjustments to handle those

I want to spend a few minutes to talk about our profession. Coaches do not get the credit you deserve as a teacher. At
heart, we are all teachers; that is what we are. We are teachers of young people, and we hope they learn more than just
football. I take a lot of pride in our players in the fact they have an appreciation for what this game is all about. It is the greatest
game that we have.
Every day, I think of ways we can be better as coaches. I think coaches are better today than they have ever been. Part of it
is because of technology, right? Coaches are smarter because of the advancements in technology.

Here is a coaching point that we need to improve on. In practice or in a game, we see a player drop a pass. W hat is the first
thing most coaches, or the fans say to the player? Catch the ball. No kidding! Think about this. How is that helping that player
to catch the ball? I tell my coaches not to say Catch the ball. That player did not drop the ball on purpose. You have to
determine why the player dropped the ball. Keep your eyes on the ball. Put your thumbs together. There is a reason why the
player did not catch the ball.
If you only get one point from this lecture, this is one that can help your players and team. We are not going to say Catch
the ball. Give the player a descriptive point to help him catch the ball.
This applies when a player misses a tackle. Tackle him. Okay, how do you tackle him? Bring your feet up under you.
Bring your hip up. Explode up through the man. Wrap your arms is a great descriptive in tackling.

Our game is under attack and, in some respects, rightfully so. This is because players are using the top of their helmets.
Back when I played, we may have had a concussion, but we did call it a concussion. They were not diagnosed as such. The
point is this. Our game is under attack from a lot of people because of the concussions. They are concerned, and I understand
this point. The equipment has gotten better, but it has become a weapon to some players. Do not ever let your players put their
head down. I am talking about both sides of the ball.
I do not think the issue is the upper-body collisions. I think it is the crown of the helmet that is the main concern. It is when a
player puts his head down that result in injuries and concussions. I think they should outlaw tackling below the knees. Anytime
a player puts his head down, it scares me. I do not believe you should be able to run and make contact with your head down.
W hen you make contact with your head down, bad things are going to happen. Teach your kids to see what you hit and
always keep the head up.
A coach should never be put into a situation where he has to make a decision if a kid plays or not. I will never get involved in
that situation. You are smart enough to figure that out. If the trainer or doctor tells us the player should sit out, that is what we
are going to do. No question! We do not know how long a player will have to sit out because of a concussion.
As a coach, you can never step in and tell a doctor if a kid should play or not. That is left up to the medical people. As a
coach, you ask the medical staff what players we have and when can the others come back to the game and go with it. Dont
let the players put their head down. There should be dirt and scrape marks on the face mask. They should not have marks on
the top of their helmets. Check the helmet of the players. If they have a lot of marks on them, they are either banging their
helmets against a wall to impress their girlfriends or they are doing the wrong thing in the game.
In the time I have left, I want to give you a chance to ask questions.
Question: How much single-wing offense do you run in the shotgun spread offense?

I was talking to Coach John Majors earlier. He was an All-American at Tennessee, and they ran the single-wing offense. There
are a lot of principles in the single wing and the shotgun zone read. To me, the zone read is an option play from the shotgun. It
is a safe option. Instead of pitching the ball back, we are just reading the end. It is a matter of running at the numbers and
running at the best angles. We want to run the zone to a 1-5 techniques and not to a 3-5 techniques.
Question: How did you spend your time last year being out of coaching?
It was very interesting. W hen August came, I did not know what to do. I did work with TV with CBS Sports. On Tuesdays and
Wednesday, I was in New York in the studio. That was different. The most valuable thing I did was to study other teams. W ith
the modern technology out today, you can get the game films off the Internet and put them on your iPad. I got most of the
games downloaded to my iPad. All week, I watched games from all over the country. The hard part was doing the games in
that I had to prepare for two teams. If you are coaching, you only have to prepare against the opponents. So, when I was
broadcasting, I had to study both teams.
I learned some football, and I got to see some other campuses. I had a great situation, and I enjoyed it. The best part of the

deal is the Arizona job allows me to get back in coaching. I told all of my assistant coaches that we would have to take the
opportunity to learn football while we were not coaching together.

The one big point I learned in doing the TV was the visits I had with the head coaches on Friday. You could see the emotion
and intensity in the coaches as they were getting ready for the game the next day.

Question: W hich team will you fear the most: Ohio State or Oregon?

I do not fear any team we play. I think we will be competitive. I think the Pacific-12 Conference is going to be very competitive
as it can be. We have a lot of work to do in our program. I do feel I am in a great spot.

I do appreciate your attention. For what you do, regardless of the level you coach, you do a tremendous job. You are in the
greatest profession in the worldbar none. I loved doing the games on TV, and it was fun. But nothing compares to coaching.
It is the players you are with, the families you meet, and the coaches you work with that make this a great profession.
The last point I want to leave you with is this. The most important thing from a teaching standpointcoach to coach, coach
to player, player to playeris communication. I think the same thing is true in your family. I have two kids: a daughter who is 15
and a son who is 13. They come to practice and they know what I am doing and why I am doing it. They know the deal.
Throughout the last several years, when we left West Virginia and Michigan, they knew the deal every step of the way because
I always communicated with them.
This is the most advice I can give you. You must communicate. Right or wrong, good or bad, communicate so everyone is
on the same page. Lets enjoy this game. Life is too short not to have a good time. We need to enjoy what we are doing. I
appreciate you guys. Thank you.

The Shotgun
and No-Huddle Attack

Brad Scott
University of South Carolina

Thank you gentlemen. It is a pleasure to be here. As you can tell Im not a native of the area. Ive been lost since I got here. I
want you to know Ive already had a pretty good time since Ive been here. It is quite a flight from South Carolina. We are right
on the Atlantic coast. We came across the mainland and another five or six hours to get out here. I thought we had been in the
plane long enough to be here. I saw some water and land and thought we were here. We were in San Francisco.

It reminded me of a story I want to share with you. We were recruiting back home in south Georgia. It was a deal where we
were visiting prospects. Sometimes we visit two or three in one night. My assistant coach told me we had one more guy we
had to see. It was late at night, but we were afraid if we didnt go see him we were going to lose him. W hen we got to the
house it was right at 11 oclock. W hen we got into the house the mother, grandmother, and boy were sitting there. He was
barefooted wearing bib overalls. He really looked like an offensive lineman to me. W hen I got there the TV was playing. I knew I
couldnt compete with the TV. So I started to turn it off. Well the 11 oclock national news was just coming on, and I saw
something on the TV that I thought I could have a little fun with. It was a newscast about a guy standing on the Golden Gate
Bridge. It was one of those deals about whether he was going to jump or not. I looked at the boy and said Son, Ill bet you ten
bucks the guy jumps. He told me he would take that bet. Just as soon as he got his money out and laid it down on the coffee
table, the guy jumped. He was upset and began to wad up his money. I told him I couldnt take his money because it wouldnt
be fair. I saw that story on the 6 oclock news. That made him even madder. He grabbed the money and threw it at me. He
said Just take the money! I saw the 6 oclock news too! But I didnt think that fool would do it again!

I think some of the things Im going to talk about today can help you if you are trying to develop an offense or are maybe
looking for an edge. The game is changing and the guys that get ahead in the game are not the guys who keep doing the same
thing over and over again. I think you have to stay on the cutting edge. One way that you do that is attend clinics like this. You
listen to other peoples ideas. It doesnt mean you buy everything they are saying. But you probably should know what is going
on out there. I didnt invent any of this. I got it from other people. This was a reaction to what defenses were doing in the early

At Florida State we had been winning a bunch of games. I was on that staff. They continued to win after I left. That shows
you I was not much of a factor down there. There are a wide variety of ages in this room. I can see that. You younger coaches
can learn from the older guys. You should visit with those guys to make yourself better. I always talk to our kids about getting
better in the off-season. You are doing the same thing or you wouldnt be here today. Ask questions anytime you want to.

I coached high school football for five years. I was a head coach for a year and a half. I enjoyed those five years, and it gave
me an opportunity to be in touch with the high school coaches. I know what you go through and what you are up against. I have
a great appreciation for what you do. You have a tremendous impact and influence on the kids you coach. We do also. But
when we get them, a lot of them are 18 to 19 years old and are pretty much into the way they are going to do things. I believe
the discipline we give a kid in high school football gives him a chance to be successful in his life.

Young coaches must study the game and learn the game. W hen people are looking for coaches, knowledge translates into
authority. A lot of people out there want the position, but they dont want the accountability. It doesnt matter how young or old
you are, if you have the knowledge, youll get the opportunity to have some authority some day.

I wanted to talk to you before I started drawing plays about an offensive system. Im not going to spend a lot of time on it. But
I do think it is a good place to start. W hen I became a head coach in high school, I made the mistake of watching my favorite
college team. W hen I saw a play I liked, I copied it. Then I watched football on Sunday with the NFL and found me another
couple of plays. Before you knew it I had a big old smorgasbord of an offense. A little of this and a little of that was my offense.
Nothing complemented each other. It was just somebodys best plays. Anybody can draw his favorite play, but you have to ask
yourself whether it fits your system. Dont try to change everything you are doing based on what I might say. But there might be
something in there that fits your system.

A question you have to answer is, Does your package give you a chance to beat the best teams on your schedule? I
coach in the SEC. We have been in the conference about three years, and the teams we have to catch are Florida, Georgia,
and Tennessee. Those are the schools Im going to have to beat to stay. I dont need a package that will beat the other people
Im playing. I visit and study a lot about what Florida and Tennessee are doing offensively and defensively. I have to figure out a
way to equal the talent discrepancy that is there. Right now we are not as talented as some of those teams. Hopefully we are
catching them through recruiting. That is part of my system. I need a package that will beat the best people I play.

I need a package that keeps it simple and is easy to teach and execute. Coach Bowden used to tell me when I was the
offensive coordinator, if I wanted to add a play, I had to take one out. He told me if I didnt want to give up anything, I couldnt
add any plays. There is only so much practice time. It is execution, not schemes. That is a good point. Youve always heard
that, but do you practice it? Are you a coach who keeps adding plays and trying to rep everything? If you are going to run the
counter that Coach Marshall just went over, you are not going to run a lot of other things. That one takes time to develop. Find
out what you want to do and keep it simple.

Coach Bowden used to ask his coaches when we got to talking about complicated plays, how much eligibility we had left. It
doesnt matter what the coach knows. It matters what the kids know. They are the ones who are going to play. Your job is to
develop a package and keep it as simple as you can keep it. If you do a little bit of everything, your kids will be just a little bit
good at everything. You win with execution, not schemes.
We have to constantly do the same thing over and over again. You win with repetition. Teach the same things in your drill
work. We try to run the same play a number of different ways. We disguise it with different formations, personnel groups, and
The game of football always comes down to blocking and tackling. The fundamentals of the game can never be forgotten.
As soon as we get back, our spring football starts. Our biggest emphasis this spring will be to get better at the fundamentals.
We dont go out in the spring and put a bunch of new stuff in. We try to get better at blocking and tackling. We have to get our
younger players who now are our starters used to playing. You do that through the basics. That is what football comes down

We have to be able to utilize our talent. High school coaches have to have this talent. You cant recruit so you have to build
what your kids can do. The coach has to recognize that. Charlie Ward is an example of this. Charlie won a national
championship for Florida State in the shotgun offense. He was great in that environment. He could see the field and had great
quickness. You could be in a phone booth with him and still couldnt hem him up. We took advantage of his ability. We tried to
start him out under the center and required him to do things just like Casey Weldon had done them the year before. Finally we
got smart enough to see it was not taking advantage of his best abilities. We had a young offensive line. He gave them a
chance to get better. We got into the Shotgun and the defense couldnt get to him on a five-step drop. I used to tell my linemen,
Son, I know you cant block him but get run over slowly. We took advantage of Charlies talent and protected some other

weaknesses we had on the team.

Part of your package should be to attack all areas of the field. You have to make the defense defend the field from sideline to
sideline. We did it simply by running reverses and the quarterback naked bootlegs. We only run the sweep to the tight end
side. We didnt have enough time to run it to the split end side, if we wanted to throw the ball. There just wasnt enough
practice to put all that in. But we packaged the reverse, naked bootleg, and the quick passing game with the sweep to keep
defenses honest. Every play we have has a companion play with a bootleg or waggle pass coming off it. You can do that
without having a complicated offense.

You have to have the ability to strike quickly. These are momentum getters. Coach Bowden used to call them barnyard
plays. These are the trick and fun plays that kids love. The ones you draw in the dirt when you are playing sandlot ball. We
never go into a game unless we have about three of those polished up for the game. We work on them every day in practice.
That is so our kids dont think of them as trick plays. It is part of our regular offense. I do it every day for five minutes. Twice a
week I put the defense out there and run them against them. I want my defense to see halfback passes, quarterback throwbacks on the goal line, reverses, muddle huddles, and plays like that. It has been a great part of our game. We keep these
plays greased up by practicing them all the time. We do it in the kicking game as well as our regular offense.
Your system has to have the ability to get the ball into your playmakers hands. If you have a great wide receiver, but your
quarterback cant throw, find a way to get the ball in that guys hands. If you cant throw it and he is your receiver, maybe he
should be your tailback. We script ways to put the ball in our playmakers hands. It is just like calling regular offensive plays. If
you dont have a plan to do those things, you wont. In times of crisis think about players, not plays.

The package you select has to have the ability to adjust. The other staffs pay their coaches to stop what you are doing.
W hen they do, you have to be able to adjust and go to another plan. Have a plan of who to attack on the defense. Study those
special situations in a game. Short-yardage plays are the keys to winning and losing. It is not 1st-and-10. It is on the goal line,
in short yardage, and third down. We evaluate and look at peoples goal-line personnel. There is always weakness somewhere
within that chain. There are no 11 players that play the same. They might have an All-American on that side and on the other
they have just another. There are big plays in these special situations. Study their personnel and find the weaknesses.

Well, lets get to the Shotgun. We probably operate out of the shotgun about 80 percent of the time. We still have the ability
to run and throw, but I feel it gives us an advantage. The kids love it. It is just a bit different so that the players like going to it.
The Shotgun allows us to get our best players in the game. If you are going to run the vertical stretch passing game you dont
need a big blocking tight end in the game. I replace our tight end and sometimes our tailback with a wide receiver. If we flex a
260-lb. tight end, I dont think many people will believe we are trying to get him deep. People dont cover the decoys. They gang
up on the receivers. This allows us to get the decoys out of the game.
The Shotgun fatigues the defense, especially the defensive line. Im talking about the Shotgun and the no-huddle attack. My
first year at South Carolina we beat some teams we were not as good as. It was a difference-maker in several games
because we kept the pressure on the defense. We used different cadences to keep the defensive lineman in his stance for
long periods of time. If you do that 60 to 70 times a game, that defensive lineman is looking for relief. They dont get the
opportunity to get into the huddle, hold hands, quote their motto, or gain any momentum from their teammates. They have to
get down and be ready. We want to spread out the defense where we have a 5 on 6 ratio. I want to get 5 on 5 and would love
to have 5 on 4. By spreading the defense, it defines their defense and reduces the numbers game.
The defense cant get to the quarterback in a three-step drop. It makes the defense show the blitz. That is a big thing
because defenses like to bluff a lot with their blitzes. The quarterbacks were checking out of plays that were good and into
plays that hurt you. W hen the linebackers dont walk out in coverage, there was a good chance they were coming.
If you spread your receivers, the defense has to show you their coverages. If the offense stays bunched inside, the defense
can disguise everything. We had a very simple running game, but it was productive. We had two or three runs, so that when it
was best to run the ball we ran it. W hen it was best to throw it, we threw it. We had five running plays from the Shotgun
formation. W hen you spread the defense you will see about two different looks. If you stay bunched inside, you will see every
front known to man.
There are disadvantages to the Shotgun. It does limit your running game. It develops a passing mentality. You have to be
careful of that. Pretty soon your kids are good pass blockers, but they dont have the toughness to get the ball in the end zone
from the red zone. That is your line coachs job not to let that happen. To run the spread offense, you have to have depth at
wide receiver. Your quarterback has to be able to execute from the Shotgun. You have to have a good trigger man. If your
quarterback cannot throw or run, this is probably not the offense you want to look at. Communication is a problem. We play in
some loaded stadiums. The center-to-quarterback exchange is something that you have to worry about.

Things to counter what the defense does are important. Dont make a steady diet of the Shotgun. Move in and out of it as a
change-up. Have a third receiver who can be in there for the tight end who can receive or block.

The no huddle does the same thing to the defense. It puts the pressure on the defense. If you are trying to guess what the
defense is going to do, you will come up wrong most of the time. The no huddle lets you take advantage of the defense. We
substitute in packages. We dont huddle but are constantly running different packages off the sideline. One play we are in the
conventional offense. The next we are in four wideouts. Then we go to two tights and two flankers with one back in the
backfield. That keeps the defense reacting to what you are doing instead of the other way around. It allows us to play cat-andmouse with the defense. If you get too conventional, people who are sharp on defense can take your advantage away.
The no huddle limits substitution by the defense. The defense doesnt have time to get their counter packages in the game,
if the offense is rapid-fire. If the offense huddles every time, the defense is smart enough to see the little guy come in and the
big guy go out. That lets them change their call or substitute. That gives the offense a chance to get mismatches, if the
defense gets caught with the wrong people on the field. It lets you get the wide receiver on that run-stopping linebacker. That is
where you get some big plays.

The no huddle limits the looks the defense can show because they dont have the opportunity to get in the huddle and make
their calls. W hen I was in high school and somebody no-huddled us, we had a base call we went to. Try it some time. Most
coaches give their players one or two things to do if somebody no-huddles them. That gives the offense an advantage
because they know what to expect.

The no huddle limits the stunts and games the defense plays. They cant communicate it without a huddle. The linemen are
told to stay in lanes and contain the quarterback. Now you get a standard pass rush. That is an advantage for the offense. The
defense gets in a pass rush mentality, and it is easier to run the ball. The ends seem to get wider also. We have plays to snap
the ball to the running back instead of the quarterback in the Shotgun.

The no huddle creates a lot of chaos on the defensive sidelines. If somebody forgets to cover one of the wide receivers, that
assistant throws his headset, grabs an assistant coach, and tries to walk away from the head coach, because the head coach
is coming. He is on his way. Once you get the coaches scrambling, the kids are a reflection of the coaches. If the coach loses
his poise, so do the players. Ive seen all kinds of things happen, especially if you get them on the ropes. We have a play we
call where all we say is alert. As soon as the umpire takes his foot off the ball we snap it. It created some big plays, because
the defense was trying to substitute or put out the fire on the sideline. We liked to call a play like this after a big gain. We would
actually run down the field to get lined up on the ball. They would have to move the chain and run the ball in. As soon as that
ball was marked for play, we snapped it. Sometimes the defense didnt even get lined up. We also like to do this on the goal
line or in short yardage. We run an entire short-yardage team off the sideline and into the game. The worst you will get is a

We accomplish some of these things by using different formations. We run from a pro set. That is a package with a tight
end, flanker, split end, quarterback, and two running backs. We call the tight end Y, the flanker Z, and the split end X. On our
sideline we have cards with colors on them. The coach holds up the card. Everyone sees the Green Card; they know it is Pro
personnel on the field. Our personnel know if they are a starter and part of pro personnel, they better get their butts on the field.
By doing this you have increased the number of starters on your team. That in itself improves morale. Defenses have been
doing that for years. A kid may be the fifth-best defensive back on the field, but he is a starter in the Dime Coverage. This is the
way to get the principals son in the game as a starter. You have got to think about that job security.

Diagram 17-1

Our next formation was called panther. It was the same set as the Pro Set except we substituted a wide receiver for the
tight end and flexed him out of the box. The panther meant three wide receivers. If we wanted to leave the tight end in the game

and be in this set we called Pro Flex. The panther call changed our personnel on the field. If you cant block the Sam linebacker
in the 4-3 look, formation him out of the box. If they dont walk him out, hit him with the ball. The panther call is a blue card for
us. We would show it on the sideline and show it on the field. A blue card meant the tight end had to get his big butt off the
field. We made the exchange as fast as we could. W hile this is going on the rest of the line is on the ball with the center over
the ball. As soon as the whistle blows to end a play, all the skill players look to the sideline to see what package is coming into
the game. The people on the sideline follow the coach who has the cards. That is all the communication that has to be made.

Diagram 17-2

The next set is called eagle. That is our four wide receiver set. If you have four wide receivers, use them. Sometimes we
dont take the running back out of the game, and he becomes the fourth receiver. In the slot away from the Z receiver we call
him T. Maybe the eagle is the Red Card. If a player is not in the eagle and he is on the field, he gets off.

Diagram 17-3

The next thing is our five wide set, which we call tiger. We have three plays we run from this set. It is the Eagle set with
the other receiver set to either side. Most of the time he is a decoy anyway. You dont have a lot we can do from this set,
because the defense likes to blitz when they see this. We run that fifth receiver on clears and hitches. But we can run
everyone off and bring him under on a delay. So we can use him.

Diagram 17-4

We let our linemen name our plays. You can start off with a play like 44. But pretty soon the defense will figure out that
means the 4 back through the 4 hole. We ask our linemen to come up with code words for our plays. They might come up with
Bill. That comes from the guy on our team who wears number 44. So 44s code name became Bill. We named plays after
Fred Flintstone. All the quarterback is doing is calling Fred to the line and Fred to the backs. We have run and pass hand
signals for our wide receivers.

W hen we called a pass, the linemen had to know what protection to block. We have a 500 protection. We could call that
Daytona or Indy; both of those are 500-mile car races. We had a 60 protection last year; we used #60 on our teams
nickname. We had a polkie protection scheme. After we called the coverage, we hand signaled our routes to our wide
receivers. We had hands to the head gear and all kinds of movement that meant routes. Scouts film the quarterback so we
took two sets of hand signals into most games. We decoyed run signals with pass signals to keep the scouts confused.

If you dont want to run the no huddle all the time, this is just a way you can do your two-minute drill. You can lose a lot of
valuable time by huddling throughout the course of a game. We practice the substitution patterns and automatic every day
during practice. We have a five-minute period. It generally comes after a ball-busting drill for the linemen. We let them come on
the field and take a knee. My coach has his cards, and we run through the different packages and automatics. We try to get 15
to 20 repetitions in that five-minute period. We are not running the plays 40 yards; we are only working on substitution. In case
we have someone on the field miss the card, we have hand signals for each set. As the sub comes off the sideline on the field,
he is giving the hand signal. That works better than someone coming on the field trying to yell out the set.
If noise is not going to be a problem, we use the normal cadence. Otherwise we use the heel kick. That is a nonrhythmic
snap count. The center snaps the ball when he is ready. The heel kick just lets the center know he is ready. We want the
center to have some rhythm because of the big tackle. They have a tendency to get their weight started back. If that happens,
they cant stop it and they are in motion. We dont want to hold them in that stance that long. I have the center yell when he
snaps the ball. I dont want the tackles looking inside for the snap. Our center is going to yell hike when he snaps the ball.
Before I go to the film I want to show you one little series that has helped us a lot. It is called the shallow cross series. Ill
show it first out of the pro set with the quarterback under the center. He could be in the Shotgun. This one is called Y shallow
cross. It is run to the tight end. The Y receiver takes a jab step and runs an inside drag no deeper than three yards. The
quarterback runs the five-step drop. If the Mike linebacker drops right away, we hit the Y right away. We feel like he will catch it
for three and move forward for five to seven yards. If the Mike linebacker blitzes, the Y is the hot receiver. The flanker or Z is
running a 12-yard hitch. The back to the Z checks his blocking assignment and runs a flare release. We want him to lose one
yard and press his pattern all the way to the sideline. If he hasnt got the ball by the time he reaches the numbers, he pulls up.
The quarterbacks read is Y first, Z second, and the back third. Our back last year caught 62 balls, and most of them were on
this throw. If they squeeze the Z, the back has to be open. That is like running a sweep, knocking everyone down, and having
your best back one-on-one on the outside.

Diagram 17-5

We dont run this so much out of the pro set. We ran it a lot from the panther. That looks like a better play. In the flex the Y
takes one step up the field and then drags in the three-yard deep pattern. The quarterback reads the Mike linebacker. If he
drops, we hit Y. If he blitzes, we read hot and hit Y. If he brackets the Y and starts to punch on him, that read is off. The Z uses

an inside release at the strong safety. He runs about a three-yard stem and then goes up the field to 12 yards and sets down
behind the strong safety. We want him to cover us. W hen the back flares, he is the one who uncovers the Z. If the strong
safety holds, the quarterback hits the back. W hat generally happens is the strong safety comes to the back and opens up a
throwing lane to Z. On the backside we run a simple flat curl with our X and T receivers.

Diagram 17-6

From the tiger set the pattern is the same. The only difference is the back is set wide instead of running the flare to that
position. We have the same stretch and reads.

Diagram 17-7

That is the same play from three different formations. But the beauty of the play is this. That play was called Y shallow
cross; the next play we would run is called Z shallow cross. This is the same route, except Z is running the three-yard drag
and Y is running the choice route. Everything is the same. W ith this play you can dress it up with motion. You can bring him in
short motion toward the ball or away from it and run him through.

Diagram 17-8

If we wanted to run it to the other side, you can run T shallow cross or X shallow cross. Nothing changes for the receivers
except the call side runs the cross and choice, and the backside runs the flat curl routes.

For the sake of time Im going to turn this off. Ill finish up by telling you we have a nice vertical passing game out of three,
four, and five wide receivers. Ill stick around and show that to anyone who would like to see it.

Our football team is not as talented yet as we want it to be. I think we are gaining ground because we recruited well over the
last two years. We have to give our kids a chance to be successful in a very tough league. We feel like this is an equalizer for
us. It gives us a chance to stay in most ball games. We still have to develop our running game. I didnt talk about that today.
Just dont sell out to the pass and not have the ability to run the ball. That was a problem for us this year. If I had to line up in a
base offense right now against the people we have to play, we couldnt move the ball. We were not a good defensive football
team last year at all. But on offense we were third or fourth in the league in scoring with about a 38-point average per game.
That is the kind of stuff we threw. It was high percentage, move the chains type of stuff. We had a scheme that gave us an
advantage even when we were outmanned.

Ive spoken to groups all over the country. Ive never spoken to a group that has given the attention you guys have given here
today. That says a lot for the quality of football that you have here in the islands. I wish some of you would call me and tell me
you have someone who wants to come to South Carolina. It only takes about four days to get there from here. You all take
care. Youve been a good group, and I look forward to visiting with you in the future.

The No-Huddle Shotgun

Offense: Why and How

Rob Zimmerman
DeWitt High School, Michigan

It is a pleasure to be here today. This is a great clinic. It is the one clinic I have attended over the years. I brought my head
freshman coach with me today to assist me with the audio visuals. If anything goes wrong with this lecture, we can blame A.J.
I want to get into our lecture on the no-huddle offense and how we got to where we are today with this offense. In the past
30 years, Dewitt High School has run the following different offenses:

1980s and 1990s: W ishbone

1999-2001: Flex (military academy option football)
2002-2007: Spread shotgun no-huddle
2008-Present: Spread shotgun/pistol no-huddle

I took over the program in 1999. We switched from the wishbone to the flex option offense, similar to the offense that the Air
Force academy runs. Army and Navy also run the same type of offense today. We ran that offense for the first three years I
was at Dewitt. In my first year, we were not any good. The second year, we got a little better, and the third year, we went to the
state semi-finals.

You would think we would want to keep the same offense going. We looked at our kids and felt we needed to make some
changes in our offense. We agreed we needed to fit our offense to the personnel we had coming back at Dewitt High School. It
becomes a philosophy issue. Some coaches say, This is what we are going to run, regardless of the talent we have each
year. Other coaches are willing to change their offense, based on the talent they have each year. We felt we needed to adjust
to the personnel we had coming back. So, we switched in 2002 to the shotgun offense. At the time, there were not as many
schools running this offense in Michigan. For us, it was a great move. We were able to go to the state finals that season.
Following are the reasons we switched to the no-huddle shotgun offense:

We did not have much size on the offensive line.

We had short, but good, throwers at quarterback.
We had a solid number of receiver- and defensive back-type players.
We had smart kids.
We had players willing to make a significant commitment.
We had parents (for the most part) that understood commitment.
We knew that hardly anybody else in high school was running it in Michigan.

In the last two years, we have added some of the pistol offense to our scheme of things. We are not running the all-spread
offense anymore. We ran a lot of the pistol scheme this year. The reason we did this was because of the personnel we had. I
thought we had players that fit the pistol running game. We ran almost 40 percent in the pistol offense this season.
We have been very effective with the shotgun-option attack. We will continue to run this offense, because we think it is a
great fit for our kids.
People ask why we went to the Shotgun no-huddle offense. We did have some size this year. Normally, we do not have a
lot of big kids. Back in 2002, our offensive line averaged about 200 pounds. That was a big reason we considered going to the
no-huddle offense.
I was talking with a college coach a few weeks ago when we were discussing the no-huddle offense. We concluded one
major factor in making the decision to run the no-huddle shotgun offense. If you run this offense, you must have good athletes
to be successful. If you are trying to cover up the fact you are not as athletic, it is not a good thing to do. I have seen some
good coaches switch to this offense who have not had much success with it. They just did not have the athletes to run this
offense. We have been fortunate in that we have had some good athletes and we have been successful running this offense.
We were successful with the offense, because we had some quarterbacks who could throw. If you are going to run the nohuddle shotgun offense, you must be able to throw the football. We felt we had kids who could throw the ball.
We had good receivers in our program. We had a lot of them. We did not have a lot of linemen, but we had a lot of good
In our school and on the football team, we have been blessed to have had a lot of bright kids. It takes smart players to make
all of the checks and reads in this offense. It helps if you have bright kids on your team. I adjust from year to year, depending
on what we can and cannot do. This past year, our quarterback was a 3.9 student with a 30 ACT score. However, I have had
quarterbacks who were not as talented and did not have the honor grades. They could not do the things that the quarterback
we had this year was able to do.

You must have players willing to make a significant commitment. If you are going to run this offense, you must be willing to
put a lot of time into it. There is a great deal of time you must be willing to commit to become good in this offense. If your kids
are not willing to work, it will be difficult to win. I am not just talking about weight lifting. You have to do speed training and go to
individual workouts.

You must also have parents who understand commitment. Even if you feel you have great parents, you still have some who
are critics. Our parents are not any different from the ones that you have, but they are supportive. We have a lot of
professionals in our community. The work ethic is a big part of the commitment and the parents help in this respect.
W hen we made the switch to this offense, very few high schools were running it. Now, it is a different story, as most teams
are running some form of this offense.
I have listed the advantages of the no-huddle shotgun offense. In addition, I have given comments as to why we went to this
system. I am sure these points would apply to other similar offenses, but following are the reasons why we went to the nohuddle game:

We can control the tempo of the game.

It is easy for the coach to change the play.
It is fun for the players and the fans.
It is easy to recruit players to play in the system.
It allows teams to score points quickly.
It gives you more offensive snaps.

Our opponents two-way players can be fatigued.

Defenses must be standardized in the scheme.
It is hard to simulate in practice.
Defenses have to spend more time than normal preparing for you.
It makes it harder to pick up tendencies.
It causes the opposing defensive coaches to get out of their normal routine.
The opposing defensive coaches have to decide how to communicate.
A two-minute offense is built into the offense.
Defensive personnel changes are difficult (particularly in the red zone).

We are no-huddle, but we can still snap the ball when we want to snap it. We have the ability, tempo-wise, to hurry up or
slow down the tempo and control the clock.
W hen I went to Dewitt High in 1999, they did nothing in the off-season program. They did not have a weight program and
they did not do any speed training. They just had good kids and good coaches who got them ready to play each season. To
change the culture with what I wanted to do was very difficult. Once we got it rolling, the parents have been great.

We have three coaches who are paid on the varsity level. We have six volunteer assistant coaches. I have nine coaches on
our varsity staff. Only one of these staff members is a teacher. All the rest of them are willing to give up a ton of time. They
work extremely hard, because it is a year-round job for us. In all of the winning programs that I have studied, the coaches have
been willing to put in extra time.
We feel that it is important to have programs within a program that develop team concepts. This is an important aspect of a
winning program. We have had great administrative support, and we all know that is important. We feel the off-season
strength and conditioning program is vital to a good program.

W hen we decided to go to this system, we looked at ways to learn about the offense. This is what we did to find out the
details about the no-huddle shotgun offense. We went to clinics as much as possible. We read books and articles on the nohuddle. We watched videos of the system. We taped games from TV to study. We talked to other college and high school
coaches who were successful running this offense. We spent as much time as possible at several colleges.
We visited and talked with the following coaches and their staffs:

Northwestern (Randy Walker)

Grand Valley (Brian Kelly and Jeff Quinn)
Michigan State University (Dave Baldwin and John L. Smith)
Central Michigan (Brian Kelly and Jeff Quinn)
Central Michigan (Butch Jones)
Cincinnati (Jeff Quinn)
Florida (Urban Meyer)

First, we had to decide if we wanted to run the option offense. We came up with the following reasons to run the option

It provided a comfort level for us.

It forces the defense to play assignment football.
It is very difficult to prepare for in one week.
Urban Meyer: Spread & option = trouble for the defense.
It fits the type of athletes we have.

Next, we had to decide which scheme of the no-huddle option we would run. There were several types of option offense to
chose from, including the following:

Speed option (University of Florida)

Zone (run based) (West Virginia, University of Michigan)
Zone (pass based) (Texas Tech, Northwestern, Kansas)
Military academy option (Navy, Georgia Tech)
Combo (Oregon)

From our studies and discussions with other schools that ran option football, we felt the ability to communicate what we
were going to do on offense was a key factor in all of the different types of option programs.
Communication is the key to a Successful no-huddle offense. We had to develop a system to be able to name and to call
these plays:

Run play
Pass play
Pass protection
Snap count

For example, we include states, colors, terms, numbers, and right and left directions. We knew we must also have a signal
or name for different techniques or schemes. Examples would include perimeter blocking and line calls. You must be able to
deceive your opponent with communication. You must have multiple ways to call your base plays. You must have the ability to
give fake signals or calls.

We knew we had to develop a strong off-season workout program. This would require a lot of hard work. We had to pick a
coaching staff that was willing to come in and work extra hard that first year. The coaching staff must be willing to schedule
and run four-man off-season workouts. This is particularly important if you are going to run the option. We begin in January and
we go until Memorial Day weekend. We go for 30 minutes per group. The number of groups that we will work with depends on
how many are in winter sports and gym availability. This is a great opportunity to start teaching terminology for your no huddle.
It is very important to work on both run and pass plays in these sessions.
There is a lot more to running this system than you may think when you first start working on the program. You must decide
if you are going to use audibles. If so, what type of audible system will you use? Are you going to allow your quarterback to
change plays? Are you going to allow your quarterback to check off from running plays and run passing plays? How much
freedom are you going to give your quarterback? Can he change protection? Are there automatic checks, based on the
defensive alignment? Do you signal the snap count or does he have the choice? We know that tempo dictates how much of
this you can do.

The next big question you must decide on is this: Are you going to huddle or not? This is a very important decision you must
make. Players get very comfortable without getting in the huddle. Getting in a huddle becomes much more difficult, once they
get use to not having to huddle each play. If you are going to huddle, then you must continue to practice it every day to stay

We huddle when we are running out the clock. It helps the players mentally to think about slowing down the pace. The same
thoughts apply if you are going to get under center. Practicing snaps is imperative.
Next, I want to mention our summer schedule and some key elements of our program:

Team camps (we attend two)

Quarterback/receiver camp (we host one for grades 7 to 12)
Seven-man individual workouts
Strength and speed program
Team unity events (leadership camp, Grand Haven Beach, all-star game, Lugnuts game, canoe trip, etc.)
Seven-on-seven competition (Imperative to being successful in this system. We travel as far as we legally can to
compete against the best competition.)

Getting into the specifics of our offense, I want to talk about personnel groupings. We are a multiple-formation offense that
uses several personnel groupings. We use 10, 11, and 12 personnel. We have used 11 personnel with an H-back a great deal
the past two seasons. We have the ability to change personnel groupings on the fly. We do not match our groupings with our
defensive personnel changes.
Our base shotgun/pistol plays include:

Inside veer
Speed option
Belly/outside veer
Shovel triple option

We do have the following complementary plays for those plays:

Tackle trap (read)
Counter trap
Inside veer
Always use whatever communication system that you have decided to use. This should begin in winter workouts.
This helps the players and coaches to learn it.
Practice formation and personnel grouping changes all summer and with the appropriate form of communication.
W hen practice begins, make sure to use the chosen form of communication as much as possible for the entire
We install the majority of our signals and calls during summer camps.
Let the players help determine signals, if that is what you are using.
All signals must be easy to remember and relate to the offense.

Practice Guidelines
Our offensive practices are for two hours and five minutes. This includes offensive specialty teams. Keep them as up-tempo
as possible. Script all formations and plays and change on every down. Start every practice with an up-tempo drill. We use a
drill that we call on air drill, which is a scripted, lightning-tempo drill. Make sure to have pre-practice meetings. Up-tempo
practices do not allow for as much on the field coaching. Have a goal of 30 plays in a 10-minute period, and during a team
period, move five yards each play. Make sure to have a spotter for the football, as well as someone to get the ball back in play.
We use injured players or assistant coaches to do this.

Run plays in six to eight seconds if you are up-tempo. Use no-huddle communication for everything that you possibly can.
Realize that this type of practice can cause problems that include the following:
The defense may know the signals or calls and cheating.
The offense cant finish plays because of the no-huddle tempo.
I want to go over the inside veer play. For the sake of time, I will go over the rules quickly.

Inside Veer

Offensive Line Rules

PST: Veer insidePSLB to MLB
Evencenter and guard combo (must have name and call every time) to MLB to BSLB
Oddtriple team to BSLB (must have name and call every time)
Evencenter and guard combo (must have name and call every time)
Oddtriple team to BSLB (must have name and call every time)
Oddtriple team to BSLB (must have name and call every time)
BST: W heel out on end
Perimeter Rules

PAW: Stalk versus closed; crack safety versus open (X call)

PSRB or slot:
Stalk versus closed: arc to 31
Versus open (X call).
BSW R: Stalk safety

Backfield Rules

BSHB: Rip/Liz motion to heels of fullback; 5x1 with quarterback

FB: Run track to outside leg of PSG
QB: PS foot deep at 5/7 oclock; stab ball back; read first man on/outside PST; ride and decide; if keep, pitch off next
man on or outside dive read
Quarterback Reads
Dive key (#1): give every time unless #1 squeezes down to fullback
Pitch key (#2): Pull and explode off mesh; attack outside shoulder of #2. Keep or pitch.

Shovel Triple Option

Perimeter Rules
Receivers: Stay blocking on man on as in #1 and #2. Be patient.
Backfield Action
A (one back): Must get in pitch phase 5x1. Toes at 6.5, inside leg on guard, outside leg may go in whirly motion
(empty) or jet motion.
H: Two-back set. One-step open then aiming point of frontside guards outside leg; buzz feet to give QB time. If lined
up as slot, must get outside leg of playside guard; 4x2 get shoulders square; once receive the ball, various motions.
QB: Flat down the line. Pitch key is (gap exchange) C gap player. Not necessarily the DE. Do not attack outside
shoulder of DE. If read key squeezes, it becomes speed option.
O-Line Rules

PS tackle: B gap to backside LB (never pass up run through LB)

PS guard: A gap
Center: Block back
BS guard: pull to frontside LB (continue up if gone)
BS tackle: gap, seal, hinge block

W ith gap exchange and shoveling off the C gap defender, if the defensive end squeezes flat down the line of scrimmage
with the linebacker exchanging to play the C gap, then the puller can log the defensive end and shovel in from the linebacker.
The gap exchange concept also applies for the playside tackle never passing up a linebacker run through (an outside stacked
backer blitzing the B gap). We prefer to run to a 1 technique, however, running to a 3 technique has an advantage.
W hen blocking a 3 technique on the playside, the playside guard and playside tackle double and read through to the
backside linebacker. If the backer comes over the top, the guard overtakes and the tackle climbs. If the backside backer
comes under for a run through in the B gap, then the guard is off the double-team for the backer.
On double-teaming the 3 technique with the playside guard and playside tackle or a nose with the playside guard and
center, if the down defender disappears (stunts away), then climb immediately to the second level. For instance, if the nose
stunts into the opposite A gap, then the playside guard climbs immediately to the second level, and the center stays on the
block. If the end squeezes, but stays square, we will trap and shovel the ball. If the end wrong arms, then we log block him.

Offensive Line Rules

C: Combination Block C/G (name and call every time) to BSLB
BSG: Combination block C/G (name and call every time) to BSLB
BST: W heel and seal end

G/T Fold: Guard kicks out on EMOL; T is under G to PILB (name and call every time)
G/T Cross: Tackle veer blocks PILB TO MLB; G KO EMOL

Perimeter Rules

Both W RS: Crack near safety

PSHB: Rock/lock motion; lead through B gap to PSLB; if TE, arc to safety
BSHB: Pitch back; rip/Liz motion and lead through the B gap inside/out
FB: Run on the midline, slide to the PS hip of C
QB: Step deep off midline; stab ball deep; ride and decide; keep through the B gap. Give, unless drive key squeezes
flat on FB.

I will be around if you have questions. I know everyone wants to go to the tables and win a lot of money. Good luck and
thanks for staying around.

About the Editor

Earl Browning is a native of Logan, West Virginia. He currently serves as president of Telecoach, Inc.an organization that
conducts the Nike Coach of the Year Clinics (www.nikecoyfootball.com) and produces the annual Coach of the Year Clinics
Football Manuals and Clinic Notes . A 1958 graduate of Marshall University, he earned his M.Ed. and Rank I education
certification from the University of Louisville. From 1958 to 1975, he coached football at various Louisville-area high schools.
Among the honors he has been accorded are his appointments to the National Football Foundation and to the College Hall of
Fame Advisory Committee on moving the museum to South Bend, Indiana. He was named to the Greater Louisville Football
Coaches Association Hall of Legends in 1998. From 1992 to 2010, he served as a radio and television color analyst for
Kentucky high school football games, including the Kentucky High School Athletic Association State Championship games.