Evolution of Concept Based Passing

I recently read an article titled, “Re-Thinking Concept Based Passing” by Jay Mathews, a 23 year high school coaching veteran from Birmingham, Alabama.  Mathews writes, “Football is forever evolving and if you aren’t re-tooling you will find yourself struggling. At the same time- it is so important to never leave what you are good at or forget the fundamentals that has made you successful.”  He goes on to break down the different components of the passing game as a way of looking at possible ways to restructure passing game concepts and thought processes.

The philosophy of evolving as an offense is one that I have utilized throughout my coaching career.  I discuss evolution of offensive systems and layout steps to work through that process in my first online article on American Football Monthly, “Creating an Offensive System.”

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I’ve been speaking about the idea of evolution vs. revolution in clinics for some years now.  Just because someone presents a good idea doesn’t me that you should or could adopt it.  Finding the idea is merely the first step, figuring out how it fits and how to implement it requires much more work.  I cover Andrew Coverdale’s process and some other ideas here and here.  The process of evolving your system needs to begin with quality control.

Our system has continued to evolve, and the process is already underway for the 2014 season.  There are plenty of great ideas out there.  Remember that research is only part of it.  To get your research started, I have shared links that I have accumulated over the years.  There are over 700 links to different offensive topics in this post.

Here are three examples of how we have evolved our offense at BW.  First is the use of the pistol set.  What started as a way to take away defensive check to the back set evolved into our base backfield set. Read more in “Our Evolution of the Pistol Set.”

Our four vertical package evolved when we saw opportunity for it to be a concept we could utilize against any coverage.  We incorporated variations with little new teaching across the variations. Read more in “Four Keys to a Successful Four Vertical Package.

Finally, we the spacing route was already in our offensive system, but we integrated curl, corner/flat(smash) as well as play action components into what we call our spacing concept. Read about it in “A Multiple Passing Attack with the Spacing Concept.”  The way we incorporated several route combinations into one concept by finding the commonalities and tagging the differences allowed us to streamline our passing game though process and practice time.  This is similar to what Mathews is writing about in his article.

In terms of concept passing, Dan Gonzalez shares his ideas on conceptualizing the passing game on his website.  You could spend hours here reading through his ideas.  Gonzalez laid out concept based teaching as a framework for the passing game in his first book Concept Passing:  Teaching the Modern Passing Game.  Recently, he re-thought the whole idea and reworked how he calls and thinks about the passing game in his second book, Recoded and Reloaded: An Updated Structure for a Complete Passing game at Any Level.  Read my review of Dan’s book here.  Both books are great resources to have on your book shelf. Dan also wrote a guest post for this site, “Creating Explosive Plays in the Passing Game.”9851177_orig

I’d be remiss to not mention Dub Maddox and Darin Slack in an article about the passing game.  They provide a very sound structure or operating system for any passing game. Their R4 system is explained in detail in From Head Set to Helmet.  I’ve benefitted greatly from both their coaching materials and the time I’ve spent talking ball with Darin and Dub.

Finally, my iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays provides concepts that can be utilized in any offense, not just the pistol. The interactive multimedia book contains 229 pieces of dynamic content and a total of 30 minutes of game film.  I have received some great feedback from coaches who adapted all or some of those ideas in 2013. I was able to consult with several high schools around the country who were interested in this offense and implemented this system.  If you are interested in consultation on the Pistol, please email me grabkj@gmail.com.  Get 101+ PRO STYLE PISTOL OFFENSE PLAYS for your iPad or Mac from the iBookstore

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