3 more Coaches Edge Quick Hitters

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What is a Quick Hitter?

The Quick Hitter allows a coach to find information on a very narrow topic.  The coaches sharing this topic still provide great detail.  The Quick Hitters will be valuable tools for a coach looking for specific ideas.  This type of information is useful both the off season as well as during the season.  As we build our library, we will incorporate a cutting edge search tool allowing a coach to get the exact resource he needs to solve a problem or improve a certain aspect of his own system.  The Quick Hitter gives you the critical information you need right now.

Diamond Pistol in the Red Zone for iPad $4.99

Zach Tinker shares how they utilize the Diamond Pistol formation and a set package of plays to improve their scoring opportunities in the red zone. His approach allowed South Dakota School of Mines to score 42 out of 43    (.977) possessions in the red zone.

Offensive Line Play in the Power Scheme for iPad $4.99

The “Power” scheme is one of the most widely used schemes in all of football.  It is a scheme you will see used at every level of football.  What I love about the power scheme, and why I chose to add it as a core concept of our running game, is the wide variety of ways I can use the scheme.  This one core blocking scheme for the OL, can be used in an exponential number of ways, all dependent on the imagination of the offensive coordinator.  Power can be run from nearly any personnel grouping, formation, or backfield action. This Quick Hitter goes through the assignments and techniques of each offensive lineman.  Video shows exactly the footwork and technique that the linemen use.  This progression goes from learning on air to executing against shields.  This attitude play can be learned and repped without pads.

Adding Voltage to Power for iPad $5.99

Coach Girolmo has a unique application of the Power scheme which goes beyond the basics that he explains in setting up the play.  Girolmo explains what the “ formation formula” is as well as what he looks for in setting up the formations in his game plan.  He  follows with the assignments, techniues, and mechanics for all players.  Girolmo explains how to use the “coverage trangle” and the T.U.G screen to make the defense pay for exposing its weakness.  Girolmo uses a number of variations including one back and two back Power.  By adding a mesh read and a pitch man, Girolmo turn the Power scheme into a triple option attack.  This Coaches Edge Quick Hitter presents plenty of information and definitely adds some voltage to the Power scheme.

Other Coaches Edge Quick Hitters:

Marrying Stick and Zone Bubble (an RPO) iPad   iPhone  Google Play  more info

Something to Hang Your Hat on Inside Zone  iPad  more info

101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays:  Play Action iPad iPhone More Info

101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays: Pin & Pull Sweep iPad More Info

The Zone Offense-Define the System and Build the Foundation  iPad more info

The Zone Offense-Develop the Fundamentals  iPad more info

The Zone Offense-Structure a Starting Point and Develop Coaching Methods  iPad more info

Message from Coach Gonzalez on his Webinar series

From Coach Gonzalez:


I am VERY excited as the work for the webinar shapes up.  I’ve been putting the finishing touches on the presentation, and think it will be an excellent primer to both the upcoming iBooks and subsequent webinars.

We are scheduled to go for 90 minutes, but the content might honestly run over.  If we do, we hope you can stay plugged in.  We are set for Tuesday, February 10, from 8:30 – 10 pm Eastern.  The registration link can be found here.

As far as content is concerned, I will not simply regurgitate old information (though I might reference some previous work); these sessions are intended to advance and expound upon the iBooks, although the teaching is conceptual and it is not necessary to know my terminology etc in order to get the full benefit of the lecture.

The main bullet points are as follows:

•Know what you want to be on offense

•Dictate to the Defense!

•Creating conflict in defenses

•Using tempo as a weapon

•Down and Distance considerations

•The Scoring Zone

•Making all of the above fit your personnel

This is a very broad, 50 thousand-foot overview; each bullet will have several subtopics.  For example, will also dive into the GAP SCHEME run game that I have used, as well all attachments and tags.  I will cover formationing, and touch game planning and teaching considerations as well.

As stated earlier these topics will flow nicely into not only the iBooks, but into upcoming webinars as well.  For example, Webinar 2 will feature the Cover 3 section of my game planning tool that I call HIT LISTS – designed to give coaches brainstorming capabilities, while still allowing to stay in the confines of their offense.

I’m very excited about this stuff and am hoping you are as well


Get Dan Gonzalez’s The Need for Change and The Blue Print.

Dan Gonzalez webinar series will be packed with information that any offensive coach can use.  Check it out here.

Register here

Email me grabkj@gmail.com.  Put “Gonzalez” in the subject line. Upon your registration you will receive a code for A Coaching Arsenal iBook and be entered in a drawing to win 5 Coaches Edge current or future titles of your choice.

Romo and McClain argue about who is “Mike.” – Identifying and Declaring the Mike Linebacker

This happened in the Cowboys game versus the Giants.  Romo stepped to the line to identify the Mike Linebacker.

Romo: “53 is the Mike!”
McClain: “No, I’m not the Mike! I’m not the Mike!”

Not all teams use this system.  It’s something that I did not start using until I coached at the college level, but it is a simple tool to help the offensive line block different fronts on both run plays and pass plays.

Procedurally, we had both the center and the quarterback identify the Mike linebacker.  The center would not say anything unless he disagreed, at which point we instructed the quarterback to use the center’s call.  The helped some of our younger quarterbacks.  We moved to the quarterback using this system because it allowed him the flexibility to marry protection with his hot routes which became important at times.

In the run game identifying the Mike allows the line to determine their assignments, especially when determining who is being combo blocked or double teamed, and which linebacker that double team is working to.  Here is a slide from our playbook in which we are running a two back power concept.  In this play, our rule is to declare the #2 second level defender as the Mike. The rule is that the combo on the 3 technique is working toward the linebacker past the Mike to the backside.  The Fullback will kick out #1 and the pulling guard will be pulling for the Mike.  Note that the defender the offense identifies as the Mike may not be the true Mike in the defense’s scheme, though they will typically not try to argue with the quarterback as McClain did with Romo.

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In the passing game, we used a man side and a slide or zone side.  This was called by giving an Roger (right) or Louie (left) call and identifying the Mike linebacker as being in the slide side sort.

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Last season, my 10 year old son asked me, “Why does the quarterback say ’52 is the Mike’.”  I explained and taught him, and then pulled up some plays on Hudl and had him declare the Mike.  He picked it up pretty quickly, so I know this is a concept that can be used at the high school level.  More than anything, this keeps the quarterback and the offensive line on the same page and helps give any play success because every defender is accounted for.

Coach Bill Mounty shared this information on designating the Mike. It lays out the procedure.




Learn more about Identifying the Mike in the videos below:

For protection in the West Coast Offense
Brian Billick with Mike Solari explaining Identifying the Front by Identifying the Mike
Brian Billick with Chris Foerster on how the Redskins identify the ‘Mike.’

Make a play concept multiple by utilizing personnel, formations and motions

Please check out my interactive books.  These present an innovative way to learn the game.    101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays and The Zone Running Game:  Create a Structured System. Both resources are filled with detailed information, interactive presentations, and game film.

QB Power Musky Wide

For an offensive concept to make its way into our system, it must meet certain criteria. In general, we want a running game concept to be able to do the following: Be run from multiple formations Utilize multiple personnel groups Be run to a tight end side and split end or open side Have an added dynamic when motion is utilized The plays we utilize that meet that criteria for us are inside zone, outside zone, power, counter and pin and pull sweep. While we usually favor three to four of these in any particular season, these runs are in our menu because we can use them in multiple ways to attack any defense. Let’s look at the power concept to illustrate our thought process. For us, it starts with defining each run. Power is a one- or two-back gap blocked play designed to attack the A-gap out. It is used to create angles and displace gaps versus penetrating situations. Read more…

On USA Football: Develop counters and constraints

My next article in a series of developing an offensive system is up on USA Football.  The series of articles presents ideas on building an offensive system that are further detailed in my newest book The Zone Offense:  Create a Structured System.  

The base play provides structure for your offense

Find the details that can enhance your offense

Create multiplicity with formations

Consolidate concepts for more efficient teaching and thought process

Once you establish a base play as a starting point for your offense, it becomes clear as to what answers a defense needs to stop the base play.

Develop constraints and counters for your base play:

As discussed in “The base play provides structure for your offense,” establishing a starting point gives you a thought process for play calling. The stretch play was the starting point for our thought process. We wanted to get the defense moving laterally to stop our intentions of getting the ball to the perimeter with the stretch play…read more

My first book 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays is available as the entire series or in chapters by play.


On AFM: Pairing Zone Read and Power Read to Attack Across the Defensive Front

Get my new iBook, The Zone Offense:  Create a Structured System

The read game allows the offense to attack the defense where they become weakest based on post snap keys. The power read allows for a gap scheme read concept that attacks inside and outside in one direction at the same time. The zone option allows for an A-Gap to A-Gap inside run that can hit front side or cutback as well as attacking the perimeter opposite the inside zone. The personnel we use gives us a fullback, running back and a hybrid receiver/running back in the backfield along with a dynamic quarterback. As seen in the diagram below, just two play calls allow us to attack the entire front.

PR ZBO.001

Read more

Read about developing an offensive system in my new iBook The Zone Offense: Create a Structured System. Learn more about our pistol offense in 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays. Both are full of dynamic content – diagrams, animations, presentations and game video and are available for the iPad or Mac on the iBookstore. 

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Base Plays, Constraint Plays, and Series Football

I love studying old football books. Though we think that this idea or that idea is cutting edge in football, you see that the coaches from the past had similar ideas. The game just evolves so that what we see on the field looks revolutionary, but really that idea existed somewhere in the past. For example, I found a video on the internet of the ball being snapped in three seconds. This was before the days of helmets, but even, some kind of communication system had to exist to let the players know what to do on that particular play.

In reading through Tiger Ellison’s Run and Shoot Football -The Now Attack, I read a section that seems to be a topic of interest:

Definition of Run and Shoot
…We made every pass look like a run and every run look like a pass. Offenses that pass from a pocket split their attack into two phases-their running game and their passing game. The setting up of the quarterback in the pocket screams “Pass” to every defender on the field. Even though pocket-passing teams often fake the ball to a runner before setting up in the pocket, still the fake wards off detection for only a moment, after which all defenders spring into anti-aircraft action. The Run and Shoot offense did not split its attack–it was just one game, running and passing performed anywhere anytime with no distinguishing clue to signal run or pass.

Whether we are talking packaged plays in which the offense is either running or passing based on a pre or post snap key, or whether we are talking “constraint” plays which look like and work off of a base play Tiger Ellison’s philosophy of attacking a defense holds true today. The concepts and schemes we use may be different, but the philosophy is the same.

For more on base plays read my post on USA Football.

For more on Constraint Plays
Joe Daniels
Chris Brown

For more on packaged plays check out my resources link.

My iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays uses a similar philosophy as that described as Ellison in creating a run game and pass game that look the same.

Constraint Play for Power Read

Colgate wrap

In studying game film from a previous season, I found a play that became of interest as we began to use the power read play more and more.  We were looking for constraint plays for the power read play and other than the pop pass to the tight end, we didn’t have many plays that worked off of the power read backfield action.

Colgate appears to be reading the frontside end.  The play would be diagrammed as follows.  The read player is outlined in red.

Colgate wrap

We were putting the play in at the end of the season, so we wanted to avoid the time on task the read would require.  Our plan included blocking the defensive end who was the read in Colgate’s scheme.  As the week progressed, we like the ice of pulling the guard as we do on power read to provide a false key and influence the linebacker to the play side.

Wrap vs Berg

The play show some really good potential.  We were left one on one with the safety and ended up just short of the end zone.  Below are tight view clips from practice and the game.

The power read is a play that can put stress on a defense.  Finding plays that complement it make it even more effective.

More on Power Read:

Keys to Effective Power Read: QB/Sweeper Mesh

Pop Pass off of Power Read

Power Read for a Non-Running QB

Follow-Up On Power Read for Non-Running QB

Power Read/Inverted Veer Resources

Learn more about our offense with 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays for the iBook or Mac.




Outside Zone Lead Play to Stretch and Poke a Hole in the Defense

The inside zone lead is an effective way to attack the split side of the defense.  Because the play typically hits down hill, linebackers who plug and cut sometimes cause a problem for the play.  Though there may be some vertical push by the offensive line, the linebacker plugging and cutting in the hole presents some potential problems.

When we faced a defense that used this technique, we felt it would be more effective to keep that linebacker on his feet  and running and getting more of a horizontal displacement of the defensive line by using a wide zone (outside zone ) scheme and technique.

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In the following play, defense aligns their safety/outside backer in their 4-2-5 scheme to the field. We motion an H-back who is aligned at flanker across to the split end side.  The free safety widens with the motion.  On the snap of the ball the offensive line and h-back take their outside zone steps which has the effect of widening the defense as they react to not be reached.

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The linebacker who was able to plug down hill and attack the fullback low must now stay on his feet to defeat the block.  The fullback can now work to reach or displace the linebacker.

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The defense is stretched horizontally, and the fullback and tailback can now poke a hole in the front as the fullback sticks his foot in ground and cuts vertically upfield.

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The play can be seen in the video clips below:

Oz Lead tight OZ Lead Wide


More of the application of our outside zone scheme can is illustrated with diagrams and video in my iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays, available for the iPad and Mac here.


Pin & Pull Resources

Follow me on twitter: @CoachKGrabowski

Pin and Pull has been a great play to allow us to get the ball out on the perimeter with force.  Here are a list of resources beginning with my own.  I have a detailed chapter on pin and pull in my iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays for the iPad and Mac. Here are some Pin and Pull Resources to aid you in learning more about the scheme:

From Me:

My article on AFM

Pin and Pull from the Spread

Trailer on my AFM Video on Pin&Pull

Sweep Read that Attacks Both Perimeters

Use the Proper Tool-Pulling Technique

Smart Football/Chris Brown:

Outside Zone Variant:  Pin & Pull

Sweep Read Play

Colt’s Stretch Play


Sweep Read Play

Strong Football

Loosening Up the Box


Pin & Pull Scheme Cut-Ups

Pin & Pull Cut-ups

Auburn Buck Sweep

Complementing the Power O

Offensive Line-Sweep Pulls