Monday, September 26, 2011

RB High Knees Drill

The High Knees Drill is a great way to teach backs to drive their knees up while running to help them break tackles.  The best cut-up is at the end of the video of former 49er great, Roger Craig, as he demonstrates his high knee running style in ripping off one of the more memorable runs in NFL history.  As with any RB drill, proper Ball Security must always be emphasized. If I may critique, the RBs in the drill cut-ups have below average technique, because they should always have their wrists above their elbows while running the ball.

Monday, September 19, 2011

RB Quickness and Agility Drills

There are many different types of running styles, but all great backs have one trait in common: quick feet.  These quickness and agility drills should be a priority for the RB Coach.  A key coaching point for any agility drill is for the athlete to have a low center of gravity.  This allows the RB to be able to change direction quickly.  Good core strength and explosive calf strength also allows a RB to stick his foot in the ground and make a cut and accelerate quickly (see the cut on the run beginning at the 4:19 mark). 

Ball Security is priority number one for the RB Coach, and it is crucial to emphasize these fundamentals as the RBs do these drills.  It is a common mistake for younger RBs to forget Ball Security when they are doing footwork drills, so coaches must stay on top of them to help them to improve their awareness of securing the football properly at all times.

There are some other moves being executed by the RBs in this video (jukes and spins), but having quick feet allows a RB to effectively execute all of these moves.

Also, this Barry Sanders guy is worth taking a look at too:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

RB Balance Touch Drill

I will be sharing some RB Drills in my upcoming posts from a dvd I made for my RBs a couple of years back.  The actual drills were done by former Auburn RB Coach Eddie Gran.  He's one of the best coaches I have ever met and has coached some good ones: Deuce McCallister, Rudi Johnson, Heath Evans, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, and Monterrio Hardesty.  I added a few cut-ups on the video to go along with the Auburn cut-ups that he already had and put them in slow-motion so you can really see the skill being performed. 

The Balance Touch Drill is a good drill to start Indy time with to help your guys get loose and for them to get reps performing a very useful and important skill for the position.  If a RB is stumbling, he can put his hand down (balance touch) and keep on running instead of falling down.  This may not seem like much, but it is often the difference between scoring and not scoring, as you will see for yourself on the video. 

The key coaching point is for the RB to touch the ground first with the heel of his hand. If a RB is only touching the ground with his fingertips and he gets pushed, he will break his fingers.

The Running Back position is somewhat difficult to coach in my opinion.  A kid can have the worst fundamentals in the world (holds the ball like a loaf of bread, awful stance, etc.) and still be a great back.  These kids know that they are already good and may not be the most receptive to coaching.  I have ran into this in the past.  I think it is due to them not being sold on what it is you are telling them to do.  Coaches today often have to be salesmen and show players why what they are doing is important. 
In my most recent job as a RB Coach, I decided to make my guys a teaching video, and I stumbled onto something bigger than I had imagined.  All of the sudden I became a 100 times better RB Coach than before, although I wasn't teaching my backs any differently than in the past.  The video made all the difference in the world.  The upcoming videos will not only show the drills, but also the game cut-ups of the drills being used in the game.  When you show these videos to your RBs, they will be extremely motivated to learn these drills so they can put them to use in a game like the high school, college, and NFL players that they will see.  This intrinsic motivation where the motivation comes from inside the player (instead of the coach yelling at him) is a powerful thing.  Then once your players experience some success with the drill, they will become even more motivated and will bug you to practice these drills over and over again.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bryan Harsin Shift and Motion Package

New Texas Co-Offensive Coordinator Bryan Harsin is bringing hope, optimism, and the Boise St. playbook with him to the Longhorn state.  The Boise St. offenses under Head Coach Chris Peterson and OC/QB Coach Bryan Harsin utilized a sophisticated shift and motion package considered to be best in college football.  This offense is pro-style and similar to what the NFL guys run, but with a bit more creativity and certainly a flair for the dramatic.  The Boise St. offenses that Harsin presided over the past five years were very balanced, twice averaging more than 200 yards per game rushing and passing, to go along with a 61-5 record from 2006-2010.

Relax, I got this.
The Boise St. shifts are broken up into categories: 
1. Single shifts involving one player. 
2. Combo and Show shifts involving two players
3. Scatter shifts involving three or more (usually more) players.  

Many defenses line up based up on the strength of the offense and the use of shifts and motions causes defenses to have to adjust quickly and align correctly to not be out-leveraged.  Harsin will be able to run the same plays from different looks, making it tough for opponents, but easy for his guys on offense (similar to Manny Diaz's Fire Zone philosophy).

This video shows a few of the shifts and motions from Harsin's offense:

Boise St. Shifts and Motions from Barry Hoover on Vimeo.

Great article here by Mike Kuchar on Smart Football that gets into more details on the subject: