Play Calling 101

Before I explain the how and why of what we do, I should remind everyone that we run a ‘series based offense’ where the plays in our playbook all work together and most of them look the same for the first few steps of each play … I prefer a ‘series based offense’ because my mind works that way … but at least the first two of the following concepts will work for any type of offense and I happen to believe the third one will work as well …

We use 3 concepts when attacking a defense …

CONCEPT #1 – We Attack ‘Players’

There are 4 basic types of player on defense:
~ DISCIPLINED w/ SPEED
~ DISCIPLINED w/ SIZE
~ AGGRESSIVE w/ SPEED
~ AGGRESSIVE w/ SIZE

Each of these players is more susceptible to certain types of plays …
This is how we attack each of them:
~ Disciplined Speed – Run right at them
~ Disciplined Size – Run away from them
~ Aggressive Speed – Misdirection Inside (at them)
~ Aggressive Size – Misdirection Outside (away from them)

Obviously very few defenses are made up of entirely one type of player but if you can identify their studs (through scouting, league gossip or just paying attention during warmups and the first series of plays) … and by studs I mean those players that really make a lot of tackles and do a lot of damage to offensive schemes … then you can identify what type of player they are and attack them in this manner …

CONCEPT #2 – Perimeter Triangle

Jack Gregory wrote the book on using the ‘perimeter triangle’ to call plays in youth football (and more specifically for the Double Wing Offense) …

Perimeter Triangle for the YDW 

But the simple version is to ‘run where they aint’ … we look at the OLB, Corner and DE … we read their alignment and their technique (post snap movement) …
~ If 2 defenders are outside the Tackle, we run outside
~ If 3 defenders are outside the Tackle, we run off tackle
~ If 4 defenders are outside the Tackle, we run ‘inside’

I wont go into the numerical reasons but that is the gist of how we use the ‘perimeter triangle’ …

CONCEPT #3 – Cause & Effect

This is a concept we have used since we first began running the Double Wing and it has always worked really well … over the years we learned to add the 2 concepts above to complete our play-calling system or whatever you want to call it …

Anyway, cause & effect starts with JUST RUN TOSS !!! … we have a version of that sentence printed at the bottom of our play-calling sheet every year and it gets us started each game, keeps us grounded as the game emotions heat up and it allows us to close the show when the game is on the line … we believe and more importantly our kids believe that the defense CAN NOT STOP OUR TOSS PLAY without doing something ‘unsound’ or something that will weaken their ability to defend the entire field … we don’t just have 1 or 2 counter plays that accompany our TOSS play … our offense is set up so that the entire playbook is full of ‘counters’ … so what does that mean in simple terms ??

It means that we run TOSS until they stop it and we use their method of stopping our TOSS play against them … Cause & Effect … they had to do ‘something’ (cause) in order to ‘stop us’ (effect) … my job as a play-caller is to discern what the cause was and then call whatever play takes advantage of that situation … here are a couple of examples:
~ If the backside DE tackles my runner from behind we call REVERSE (outside)
~ If the playside CB tackles my runner near the line of scrimmage we call TOSS PASS
~ If the playside DE squeezes and stuffs the FB in the hole we call SWEEP
~ If the defense blitzes backside CB to chase we call BOOT/BOOT PASS

Everyone has different plays in their playbook and most of us use them a little differently but the processes of how we decide what to use should be pretty similar I would think … some people only use 1 or 2 of the above concepts … we try to incorporate all 3 into what we do each year …

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