Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2009 Florida Clinic

I did a previous post on just Bill Belichick's outstanding portion of this clinic but here are my notes from the entire clinic, including Urban Meyer, Jon Gruden, and passing game notes from Scot Loeffler.

Also, I wanted to include the notes from the clinic shared by the late Craig Howard, who was a great coaching influence on my career.  Coach Howard was Tim Tebow's high school coach at Nease HS where he won a state championship in 2005.  He also won the NAIA National Championship in 2014 as the Head Coach at Southern Oregon.  Coach Howard was gracious enough to help me out as a young coach and I will always be grateful for everything he shared with me.  Much of my Football Program Manual includes his quotes and wisdom.

Coach Howard's notes:

Patriot Team Meetings

Bill Belichick
Head Football Coach
New England Patriots

“If you are spending all your time as a Head Football coach handling DISCIPLINE ISSUES you are not going to win.   You must have great discipline and great leadership if you want to win.”
Coach Belichick

HC -- Spend quality time in TEAM MEETINGS to get players on the same page and cover the things that WE HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO WIN THE GAME.

What do we have to do to win?”  Everybody MUST have an understanding of how they have to DO THEIR JOB and do it well……..DO YOUR JOB.
                We have to put the team first.
                But it is crucial that each player understand his role and DOES HIS JOB TO THE BEST OF HIS ABILITY.


                Point out the things our opponent is doing on special teams.
                In the Kicking there are two critical elements that determine your success.
1)      How you Handle the Ball……DO NOT MISHANDLE THE BALL.
2)      DO not commit a penalty.

                Games are LOST because of mishandling the football. 
                                Punt Returnsnot catching the ball, lost yardage, dropping the ball resulting in a TURNOVER
                                Punts and Field Goal unitsbad snaps will kill you.
                                KOR not fielding the ball, WE MUST FIELD ALL KICKS.

                No STUPID PENALTIES - It’s about Discipline and Judgment.  Make good decisions.
                       Players must understand WHAT WILL & WILL NOT be tolerated
ü  Running in the Kicker
ü  Blocking behind the Ball Carrier when he has broke away and you are trailing the play.
ü  Grabbing or holding because you are lazy
                Handling the ball and not committing penalties is the key to a solid kicking game.

Center/Quarterback Exchange – must never be taken for granted; work on it daily, work on it in the off-season. If the Patriots ever have an exchange problem in practice, it is a given, NO QUESTIONS ASKED, Tom Brady and his center go the goal line after practice and snap the ball and sprint to the other goal line, line up snap the ball, sprint the other goal line. (for 10-15 minutes).  If we only fumble ONE in practice.  Emphasizes the importance of the Center-QB exchange.

We get one chance a week to perform at our OPTIMUM LEVEL.

I Expect and Demand that we do our BEST!

Each week we need to IDENTIFY “what you need to do this week to win”
                Make sure the players KNOW and UNDERSTAND what we need to do to win and then
                EXPECT them to go out there and do it.

DISCIPLINE!        Do your job!!

Have a plan for every situation.  Football is a game of SITUATIONS. Prepare on a daily basis for those situations:
                Down and Distance Situations  P-10, 3rd & 10, 3-1, 4th and inches, etc,
                Field Position SituationsRed Zone, Goal line, Backed Up, Middle of Field, etc.
                Game Time SituationsFirst Drive of each Half, 4 minute Offense, 2 minute Offense/Defense
                                                                Last play of Half, Last Play of Game
                Kicking Game Situations – i.e. Downing the Ball inside the 10 yard line, +50 yard line punting, Punting out of  end zone, Kick-off after safety, etc

*Coach Belichick has an Anything Can Happen Category – expect the unexpected, have a plan for unusual situations that occur during the course of a game or season.

                Football is a game that starts inside-out.  Offense/Defense/Kicking game
                Field Goal Pro – Protect from the inside out.
                Field Goal Block – starts inside so that you can come off the edge.


ü  Players we have to stop
ü  Plays we have to stop
ü  Critical Situations “Gotta Have it” Plays - What are we going to do in those special “Gotta Have It” situations.
We MUST Take-Away something….Make them do something they do not want to do.
                Don’t let receivers run (UNMOLESTED….UNCONTESTED) down the field.
                Example of Arizona Cardinal Offense…. Just too good to let them run down the field we                     must re-route the the receivers.   Showed game film examples of times defenses just let                     Bolden and Fitzgerald go downfield uncontested.  They smoked people.  Patriot plan was to                 be physical and match receivers underneath with a man-under two deep coverage.

If everybody DOES THEIR JOB and executes the GAME PLAN, we will win.
“Our players try to do what we ask them to do” Coach Belichick

Patriot’s Plan for Defending the Run

I.                   Do not let the ball get outside.  “SET THE EDGE” ….Turn the ball back inside to the pursuit.

                When a fast back gets outside, how many guys on our defense are fast enough to catch                          him?    We must get him turned back inside where our defenders are.  You cannot let the                      opponent run the football outside uncontested.

II.                 Teach players HOW TO DEFEAT THE BLOCK.  Every offensive play has a player assigned to BLOCK you.  You must beat his block.

                                Work hard on TACKLING FUNDAMENTALS.

III.              Defend the Deep Pass.  There’s nothing worse than giving up a deep pass for a touchdown. 
                        Each week we talk about which PLAYS and which PLAYERS, our opponent uses to                             attack the deep part of the field.
                                The #1 JOB of our Defensive Backs is to defend the deep part of the field. 
                                NOBODY ELSE CAN DO IT.

IV.               Rushing the Passer
                        Attack the pocket.  Don’t allow the QB to step up.  Challenge the quarterback right                               up the middle.  You can’t let a good quarterback step up in the pocket uncontested.
                            There is nothing worse than getting past the QB in your rush lane. Once you get                                   past the QB there is nothing you can do to stop the pass. You can’t do anything                                     behind the QB.  Against a great passer, it is suicide. 

                                PASS RUSH and PASS COVERAGE all need to be tied together.

“We had better being doing it the way we have coached it.”
                                                                                                                                Coach Belichick

We show the team what we don’t want them to do and we show the team what we want them to do.


We teach our players specifically how we want them to run the ball.  We teach our quarterback,”here’s how we expect you to pass it.  When you carry the ball for our team you carry the fortunes of everyone in the New England Patriot’s organization.  We cannot operate a football team when we don’t know what is going to happen to the ball when we give it to a given player. 

Ball Security is #1 
            We must Protect the football. 
                QB’s awareness of Ball Security – he must keep 2 hands on the ball until just prior to delivery, you never know when you are going to get hit from the backside.

We must Protect the quarterback.  In the passing game, never let the defender inside. Block them from the inside-out.  When they penetrate inside, we’re dead. There is no passing game. There is no chance to throw the football.  We must allow our QB to step up into the pocket to throw to his receivers.

The receiver’s job is two things:

·          GET OPEN - must use either speed, quickness or technique, but you must get open.
·         CATCH THE BALL

If the receiver can’t get open or can’t catch the ball there is no passing game.  It doesn’t matter how fast he is, how tall he is, whether he was a Parade All American or not.  I don’t care.  I care that he can get open and catch the football.  Anybody can run routes and not get open.  Anybody can drop the ball.  It’s simple….GET OPEN AND CATCH THE BALL.

Handling Pressure Defense
We’ve got to be ready every week for Pressure Defense. 
                How do they pressure and then what are you going to do about it.
                Going into the game, the offensive line, quarterback and running back and receivers know                   how we are going to handle pressure this week.  Our mentality on offense has to be: “We                     hope they blitz, we are going to kill them if they do!”
·         Get the ball out quick
·         Hot receivers
·         Maximum pressure
·         Screen game

Have a Plan for Critical Situations

These are the “Got to Have” plays in the game.  Plan, prepare and practice for these situations.
There are about 10 of them.
                3-6          We’ve got a 4 point lead.             There’s two minutes to go.  What are we going                                   to do?
                3-1…3-12…overtime…last play of the half….last play of the game…4th and inches on the                 Goal line
                2-1  What do we tell our RB?  YOU DO NOT lose yardage.  Put your foot in the ground                   and get downhill.  Get what you can get. We cannot call a play on 2nd and one and it                             becomes 3rd and 6. If we call a play on 2nd and 1 and they stuff it and its 3rd & 1, I can live                 with that.
                QB on 2-1 and we call a Pass……You cannot take a sack on that play.  This is an example of a Critical Situation that we would cover very thoroughly with our team.  We make sure that when CRITICAL SITUATIONS occur every coach and player are on the same page.

                Last Play of the Game – Where should all the receiver be… the end zone.

No Penetration on the LOS
Stopping penetration is a fundamental part of the running game.  Who is controlling the LOS, us or them?  Once they penetrate the LOS, the back is running for his life.

Passing in the Red Zone
Because we see so much zone in the Red Zone we utilize a lot of SPACING concepts. Spread the receivers out in the end zone to create spacing.

Our QB’s must EXEPCT the UNEXPECTED….We have a definite plan for those situations.   It is not left to chance.
                When I meet with the QB’s each week one of things I talk about what we are going to do when something unexpected happens.   For example, primary receiver falls down, the receiver runs the wrong route, a bad gun snap, the RB goes the wrong way, somebody comes free unblocked on pass rush.  These are the plays the winning QB has to make!!
                The Plan             
                        1)   Don’t lose the ball
2)   Don’t lose your poise…Do not panic.
3)  Get rid of the ball.
4)  Secure the ball and try to get positive yardage.

Gave example of Tom Brady in Super Bowl…critical situation on goal line – TE is primary receiver. He slips and falls down,  #2 receiver is bracketed…Brady throws a TD to 3rd progression on a throw that only the wide receiver could  catch.

Thanks again, Coach.

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