Play Calling From The Sideline

It is so very tough to see everything from the sideline … especially when you run a compressed double tight end formation (like our Simple DW) and all 22 players are lined up within a few feet of each other on the far hash … lol

I have found over the years that I need someone, anyone (mom, dad, older brother or sister) to watch specific areas of the defense for me and report back when they see exactly what I described to them …

The idea came from the ‘Eyes In The Sky’ chart that Derek Wade gave out at DWS 1 oh so many years ago … but having no one in the sky means no way I can use this chart right ??  WRONG !!!!

Instead of giving this chart to someone else, I incorporated it into my Play Sheet I carry on the sideline during the game … below each of our ‘base’ plays on the sheet, I have 2 or 3 ‘keys’ to look for … we only do this for ‘base’ plays because those are the plays in our offense that we have ‘counters’ based on …

The 1st (sometimes 2nd and 3rd) key is a reminder about who I should be watching on this play to help keep me from focusing on the ball … The last key is what I ask my ‘helper’ to watch for me … they only report back if they see exactly what I asked for … And depending on the ‘helper’ we will either go immediately to the ‘counter’ play that goes with this scenario or I will call the base play again and this time watch that area for myself … Either way it has been a big help for me …

Everyone’s chart is different because playbooks are different … In fact, my chart with the DW is actually kinda short … Because we really only watch for defensive keys on a few plays … The other plays in our offense are basically ‘counters’ when we catch the defense doing something specific to stop our base plays … So the first thing you will need to do is sit down with your playbook and write down what keys YOU should be looking for and at least one simple YES/NO question you can have your ‘helper’ keep an eye on … Try to color code your chart so you can quickly pass the information to the ‘helper’ … In this example, my keys are in BLUE and my helper’s key is always a YES/NO question in RED …



1. LB FLOW – If they flow too quickly we run CUT (Counter)

2. STRONGSIDE DE – How he is affecting the play and use a TAG to adjust (ON, OVER, TUNNEL, WINDOW, DOUBLE) or if he is squeezing too much we run SUPER TOSS

3. QUICKSIDE DE – If he touches the runner from behind we run REVERSE

4. Did STRONGSIDE CB come up to LOS to defend the play?

(If the answer is YES, we call TOSS PASS)



1. LB FLOW – flowing too quickly after WB


2. STRONGSIDE CB – Is he ignoring the TE (BOOT PASS)

3. Did the STRONGSIDE DE ignore the QB?

(If the answer is YES, we call BOOT / BOOT PASS)



1. FROGGERS – Remind the boys to FORKLIFT

2. Did the STRONGSIDE DE ignore the QB?

(If the answer is YES, we call BOOT / BOOT PASS)

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