Football Coaching Resources

Below is a collection of some of my favorite football coaching resources, broken down by topic. Rather than list everything I’ve ever read or watched, I’ve tried to streamline it to my favorites. Make sure to check frequently — I’ve got a link to this page at the top — as I will be adding new resources over time, and feel free to email me with further suggestions. Enjoy!

A good start

A good start

General Offense

  • Finding the Winning Edge, by Bill Walsh. The bible. The book’s strength — literally everything is in there — is also its weakness, as every page is a relentless surge of information. I include it here under offense as that is where it has influenced me most, but it covers almost every aspect of football. This is a great article on this brilliant, flawed, mercurial book, and its brilliant, flawed and mercurial author.
  • Developing an Offensive Gameplan, by Brian Billick. Exactly as the title implies, this slender book is an efficient, no-nonsense primer on how to prepare a gameplan for an upcoming opponent. It focuses not only on scheme but also on personnel and other, broader strategic elements as well, including red zone strategy and generating explosive plays.

Passing Offense

  • The Bunch Attack: Using Compressed Formations in the Passing Game, by Andrew Coverdale and Dan Robinson. Although nominally about “bunch” formations, this is my favorite resource just about the passing game. It presents a comprehensive system — which can be run from bunch or non-bunch formations — and presents countless variations and, most importantly, responses to various coverages and techniques. Also great are Coverdale and Robinson’s three-volume set on the quick passing game. e here for volume one, volume two, and volume three, and as a DVD package.
  • Concept Passing: Teaching the Modern Passing Game, by Dan Gonzalez. Drawing on west coast, pro-style, run and shoot and other influences, Gonzalez weaves together a “conceptual” approach to the passing game in a way that quarterbacks can execute and can be adapted to almost any offensive system.

Rushing Offense

  • The Assembly Line, by Milt Tenopir. An overview of maybe the best rushing offense of all time — Tom Osborne’s Nebraska teams — by the man who coached them, legendary offensive line coach Milt Tenopir. This book covers all of Nebraska’s running game, and they ran just about everything, from triple options to double options to power and counter schemes to inside zone and outside zone to traps and draws. And, as it must be, the focus is on the men who make it go, the guys up front.
  • The Pistol Offense: Inside Zone Progression, by Chris Klenakis. This DVD set is a great resource for installing the inside zone and building out from it the rest of the run game. Klenakis, who was Chris Ault’s offensive coordinator at Nevada, does a great job explaining all this and it’s a must have if you’re adding the pistol to your offense, but I found the teaching here adaptable to almost any offense.


  • Complete C4 Self-Correct System, by Darin Slack. I played quarterback, have coached quarterbacks, and have been around a number of tremendous quarterback coaches, and I think Darin Slack’s materials are my favorites. This set focuses on quarterback mechanics. 
  • R4 Quarterback Expert System (DVDs) and book, by Darin Slack and Dub Maddox.  This set meshes a quarterback’s techniques — footwork, throwing on rhythm, etc. — with the overall structure of the offense, so as to ensure proper timing between quarterbacks and receivers and, maybe most of all, to improve quarterback decisionmaking through the use of “accelerators.” The DVD set and book complement each other well.

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Offensive Line

General Defense

  • Coaching Team Defense, by Fritz Shurmur. Far and away my favorite book on defense, reading it made so many disparate strands of defensive football come together for me. Highly recommended, though somewhat hard to find.
  • Arnsparger’s Coaching Defensive Football, by Bill Arnsparger. A bit of a dense read, this covers an incredible amount of football history and information, including the early history of the zone blitz (which Arnsparger is credited with inventing). It’s not the type of book you sit down and read straight through, but it’s been an excellent resource to me over the years.
  • Football’s Eagle and Stack Defenses, by Ron Vanderlinden. Although very scheme heavy, this book does a fantastic job walking through the defenses described, particularly in tying together fronts, coverages, blitzes and stunts into a coherent whole. Maybe the best book out there if you’re trying to get insight into how to “build” a defense from the top down and bottom up.
  • Coaching the Under Front Defense, by Jerry Gordon. Pitched at high school coaches, this great book on installing and coaching the 4-3 Under provides a very comprehensive approach to installing the defense, defending common run plays, and playing sound coverage.

Defensive Line

  • Coaching the Defensive Line, by Fritz Shurmur. Anything from Fritz Shurmur is must have, and this is no different.
  • Coaching the 46 Defense, by Rex Ryan. This book, along with the accompanying DVD from Ryan, covers  the history and implementation of the 46 defense, but my favorite parts are Ryan’s insights on coaching defensive linemen, particularly how to defeat the common blocks (down, scoop, etc) they may expect to see.


  • Complete Linebacking, by Lou Tepper. This is actually one of my favorite football books in general; Tepper covers all aspects of coaching linebackers, but touches on broader defensive themes as well.


Special Teams

  • Maximizing Special Teams, by Bill Blankenship. Great head-to-toe resource for designing, teaching, and implementing special teams. 


  • The Complete Handbook of Clock Management, by Homer Smith. The title is self explanatory but, like everything Smith wrote, it will make you evaluate (and re-evaluate) about everything you currently do in terms of offensive football — in a good way.

  • Chris: My only add would be (big surprise here) Football Defense of the Future: The 2-Level Model, by John M. Thompson and (nominally) Bill Arnsparger. The most scholarly work I’ve ever seen on American football, and I’ve seen a few.

    Oh, and also — Winning Single Wing Football by the late Dr. Kenneth Keuffel. As fine a book on offensive football as you’ll ever see, regardless of the system you use (from my Amazon review):

    “To me, the most important section of the book starts with Chapter 8 and runs through Chapter 10. Here is where Dr. Keuffel’s decades of experience truly shine through — he discusses the smallest details of pre-game strategy and mid-game tactical adjustments. He tells coaches exactly how to use the spotter in the booth, how to break down film, and how to create and use a game plan. It is among the finest discussions of coaching strategy and tactical application during the game that I have ever seen.

    “Offensive coaches of all stripes should purchase WSWF for these three chapters alone. The effective use of: variations in formation, cadence, alignment, and personnel; pre-season preparations; and focusing on and exploiting defensive weaknesses, are all addressed with Dr. Keuffel’s typical economy of expression.

    “This book is pure gold, whether you run single wing, Power-I or five-wide shotgun spread, because he teaches coaches how to THINK.”

  • smartfootball

    Good stuff Ted. I’ve never read the full 2-Level model defense book, and I need to get the Keuffel one as well. I plan on adding to this page over time with subsections for specific schemes (Air Raid, flexbone, 3-3-5, etc), but those would be good summer projects for me.

  • Daniel Morris

    I have a copy bill walsh’s book. Brand new. Unopened. If anyone is interested. Let me know

  • I’ve been looking for a copy of Tenopir’s book for over a year now. The only copies I have found have been on Amazon or EBay for $120+. Does anyone have any ideas on obtaining a more affordable copy?

  • Ryan

    I am interested in the Bill Walsh book. What is your asking price?

  • Ryan

    I am interested in the Bill Walsh book.

  • Daniel Morris

    I’m asking $500. I have some interest so let me know soon.

  • Daniel Morris


  • Ryan

    Go ahead and sell elsewhere.

  • …and here’s a must-read for coaches who want to understand the true nature of this little wargame of ours: