Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ball Security Refresher Course

It's all Ball Security these days!  Perhaps you need a refresher course!

Thanks to Chris at Smart Football for giving me a refresher course with this article link he provided.  After reading the article I realized, "I was wrong!  There is a better way to hold on to the football!"  Let me show you the old way that I learned from a national championship coach:


I have two hands on the football in the picture above and this is not awful, but I have both an upward force and a downward force on the football.  Tyrone Willingham has a RB video that talks about the instability created by having your arms work against each other with the football in the middle.  Below is the way that LSU RB Coach Frank Wilson describes from the above article link that I believe is the best way to hold onto the football:

Besides the superior picture quality of my new laptop vs. my old laptop, the new method has some advantages over the old method.  First, both of my arms are working to press the ball upward against my chest.  This helps to keep the football tighter to my chest (Fundamental #3).  Second, and even more importantly, this method helps to keep my wrist above my elbow (Fundamental #2) unlike the previous picture where my top hand is pushing my wrist down to where it is almost below my elbow.  I re-did the video and added the corrections.

This link should allow you to download this video.  To download any Google Drive file from this website, go to the top left of the page, click on File then on Download.

Fundamentals of Ball Security:
1. Two Finger Claw
2. Wrist Above Elbow
3. Ball Tight to Chest
4. Tuck Elbow In
5. Opposite Hand Over Football on Contact
6. Keep Pads Low

This Sports Science video with Rudi Johnson has MMA guys trying to knock out the football in an old-fashioned gauntlet drill.  To see how they do actually knock the ball out, go to the 7:00 mark.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Solving the NFL's Safety Problem: The 8-2-1 Kickoff Return

I believe that Duece's 8-2-1 Kickoff Return can be the solution to the NFL's concussion problem. Not that he needs me to validate him, but this idea should not be so easily dismissed without evaluating it on its merit.  Let me start by saying that when I first heard about the 8-2-1 KR that I thought it was the Special Team version of the A-11 Offense (read: gimmick), but I let Duece clinic me on the subject recently and I became convinced. 

Roger Goodell had a conversion with Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano about some "outside of the box" ideas to make the game safer (Time Magazine article).  Schiano proposed that if a team scored, they would get the ball on their own 30-yard line and it would be 4th and 15.  They could "go for it" or Punt in this situation.  I would guess the percentage of converting a 3rd or 4th and 15 is higher than that of the onside kick, but this still is not a bad idea to get the ball rolling on possible solutions to the problem at hand.  The idea that I have heard a few times is that the Kickoff needs to be more like a Punt Return, which is exactly where the 8-2-1 Kickoff Return fits in.

There are two things I really like about the 8-2-1:

1.  Better Production - as evidenced by statistical data (albeit limited)
        a. Increased Block Efficiency - less whiffs and easier blocks than with the standard KR
        b. Better Field Position
        c. More TDs and more KRs returned past midfield

2.  Increased Player Safety - the 8-2-1 is more like a Punt Return with less high-speed       
     collisions.  The blockers are running with their man and they "cover" him like a CB would 
     cover a WR.  

The talk of eliminating the Kickoff is evidence of how drastic the NFL's safety problem is and will continue to be.  Moving kickoffs from the 30- to the 35-yard line was an okay idea, but a better solution would be to make a rule that teams have at least 8 men within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage.  It is important that we preserve our great game by maintaining a play that is an essential part of the sport itself, and this idea is just crazy enough to work.

Monday, February 4, 2013


The Bullets concept is the final primary passing concepts of the Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen Florida Spread Offense (the others being H OptionFollowFollow PivotHouston).  Chris Brown of Smart Football / Grantland wrote a post on this same concept here that I would recommend reading as this article is quite brief.  Bullets is a Play-action Pass concept that was Florida's "home run" play during the Tim Tebow era.

The #1 WR runs a Post unless he sees Cover 2, then he will run a 12 yard Curl route.  The play doesn't need to be run with Jet Sweep action, although this action is very good for putting the Force player in a bind if he comes up for the run.

Bullets from Barry Hoover on Vimeo.

Tony DeMeo is on the Coaches Corner show here.  You can also check out his webpage at http://tonydemeo.com/

Also, Pistol guru James Vint has a new blog: http://coachvint.blogspot.com/
Strong Football with Offensive Game Plan: You Be You