Excerpt from The Blue Print by Dan Gonzalez. Chapter 1 – Language

Blue Print Cover DG.001

In part one of this series, a great deal of effort was made to make the point of the need for accountability on the part of the coach.  One of the most prominent areas where the coach’s commitment to the player can be exemplified is in the structure of language.  There are two primary aspects of language that will be examined here: systematic and instructional. Further, as we discuss here, it becomes evident that language entails much more than play terminology. The overall design of the attack must be considered.

Systematic Language

Obviously, the term “Systematic Language” refers to the communication structure in place for assembling formations, protections, pass patterns, and quarterback reads.  While the running game is relatively problem free in terms of finding solutions, the passing game components of an offense require much more thought and structure.  This is due to the fact that nothing in football becomes more entangled than the variables presented in a multi-dimensional passing game.

There are several considerations when pondering language.  However, NO MATTER what the ultimate choice (using names vs. numbers, for example), all teaching must be conceptual.  In other words, learning does not take place in a vacuum; there must be a tie-in between one player’s assignment and the rest of the offensive unit.  In mapping the structure for this communication, the following points were deemed “mission critical:”

  1. Unlimited personnel and alignment possibilities
  2. Minimal learning burden for RB and TE/ H-Back position groups
  3. A simple protection structure that can add or subtract blockers and support adjustments to problematic rush schemes
  4. A HIGH PERCENTAGE passing game that allows for the attack of…
  5. The vertical seams in zone defenses
  6. The areas of separation afforded vs. MAN coverage
  7. Pass patterns that are well-defined for the QB
  8. Routes that are able to adjust to multiple coverage categories
  9. The ability to change the outlet structure for the passer
  10. The ability to look at a singular pass pattern in different ways from the eyes of the QB and coach
  11. A running game structure that has a common link to the passing game that aids the method for signaling the play to the team
  12. The use of both ZONE and GAP blocking schemes as a core for the offensive line
  13. The ability to either “spread out” or “block up” the defense
  14. The ability to take advantage of a running QB, provided that he is a passing threat
  15. Rules in run and pass games that eliminate “gray” areas
  16. The ability to play at a high tempo
  17. Maximized practice repetitions for all the above

Overview of Personnel

Here, we look at an overview for personnel groupings:

  • QB- Extremely intelligent, tough, and accurate.  Nimble feet and can be taught anticipation. Can make all advantage throws in rhythm.  Athletic enough to break the pocket on scrambles and able to run designed QB runs is a plus but MUST be able to throw the football.  Great poise and leadership ability.
  • B- An all around threat.  Size and/or 40-time are not important.  Will attack in blitz pickup.  Will follow blockers and get the cutback lane.  Breaks tackles and gets the tough yard.  Can line up as a WR and run routes.
  • Y – Our most trusted receiver and perhaps best overall “football player.”  Smart enough to move around and run read routes.  Great in the slot or out wide.  Can run read/option type routes (Drag/ streak read/ Turn/ Option).  Cannot be covered man to man.  Can run speed sweeps and reverses.
  • X&Z- Big, physical receivers.  Great hands.  Able to go up for a jump ball.  Great on fades, posts, curls, speed outs, digs, and comebacks.  Great physical stalk and crack blocker.  Good enough to force a safety to play over the top of him. Great on screens and possession-type routes.
  • A- Physical receiver. The next Y with many of the same attributes.  Can attract both safeties on any deep middle route.  Great on option and underneath routes.  Forces bracket coverage in the slot.  Can’t be covered by a LB or safety (forces Dime).
  • H/Y (TE/H-back type) – Big and physical.  Can kick out DEs, wham DTs, and wrap/lead on LBers.  Can reach block a DE (perhaps with the help of motion).  Great hands.  Always reliable as a possession receiver.  Can run vertical routes.  Can pick up a blitzer.
  • F (2nd RB or FB)- Many of the same characteristics as B.  Attacks a LB blitz.  Good hands. Breaks tackles and gets the tough yards.  Can block in space.

    In addition to the method for bringing combinations of people into the game, there also must be a concise, conceptual way of providing alignment possibilities.  The terms used for the B Back, for example, are independent of the traditional formation strength calls:

Gonzalez explains more on using language to develop an effective and efficient offensive system.  He uses 10 more instructional videos/play analysis and 6 interactive presentations in this chapter.  These are all part of Gonzalez’s “Ballistic Full Field Attack.”  His system is player-based in that it considers how players learn as a core principle of development.

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