Smart Notes – Learning defensive coverages, Bear Bryant’s 1958 D playbook – 8/8/2010

Via Ron Jenkins, learning defensive coverages:

Because I can. Check out Bear Bryant’s 1958 Alabama playbook. Note that playbook designing technology did not advance beyond this pen and typewriter method until apparently around 2006.

Good morning, Dave. Buckeye Football Analysis breaks down Tressel’s favorite play — the “Dave” play, which is what he calls his variation of the “Power O” which he has been running since at least his Youngstown State days. Well worth the read.

The most important thing a college football fan can read: This fall’s ESPN announcer pairings, complete with commentary from EDSBS.

Watch Mark Sanchez make figure eights. This kind of drill reinforces my advice to all young quarterbacks: jump rope.

Good article from Billy Witz of the Times about Dick Enberg. Enberg has gone back to doing play-by-play for the San Diego padres:

But the reason Enberg was here became apparent on a recent afternoon as he entered his small office at Petco Park, arriving four and a half hours before the first pitch with a news release in his hand describing the Padres’ trade-deadline deal for St. Louis outfielder Ryan Ludwick.

Picking out pertinent statistics, Enberg fretted that he did not know much about the prospects San Diego had dealt, but he said that he liked the gumption the Padres, the surprise leaders of the National League West, had to acquire Miguel Tejada the day before.

“We’re getting serious,” Enberg said seriously. It was clear, at that moment and for the rest of the night, that baseball stirred him.

– How badly do you love football? If you’d be happy playing through this, then you probably qualify.

Study on NFL field goal “choking.” From the Sabermetric Research Blog: Upshot is that a study found evidence of choking, but it’s also possible that there are other conclusions to draw regarding difficulty rather than pure mental breakdowns.

Football Outsiders on Rookie Cap Salary Considerations (say that three-times fast). Check it out here. Learn all about the 25-percent rule.

Bleg. In the comments, please feel free to request topics for future coverage on the blog. I’ve got some projects I’m working on but I am always looking for new ideas.

  • PRoales

    Chris – Would love to hear your predictions for wins by teams in the major conferences…

  • Trip


    I’d like to see you write an article on how offenses are actually installed. Your articles on how offenses and defenses actually work (like the smash concept and levels and similar entries) are very entertaining reads (and would be even more useful if the stupid tv producers would show more of the field and not just the qb). But I’d like to see you take that concept to another level by explaining how coaches get the routes ingrained and what they could do better when implementing their ideas.

  • birdland

    I’ve heard of some coaches droping the Tightend and FB positions in favor of the H-Back position, which is a combination of the two. What are the advantages of this and how does it play out on the field?

  • dazz

    Whats the story on that fire anyway? Was sorta shocked I never saw it before when it showed up on “the board”.

    Unrelated, one thing I’ve never known the history of and would be interested in is the decline of split back formations at the college and pro level (high school is another story, as you see plenty of wing t and split back veer teams)
    – pro set
    – far/near
    – split back veer
    – how pro declined as the go to sets of the west coast and BYU offenses

    Not exactly a “timley” issue that would probably increase hits to this site but I wonder how many different factors lead to a much harsher decline than the “I” ever had.

  • dazz: There’s probably more to say, but I think the decline of the splitback and near/far sort of sets can be traced by the rise of the zone blocking schemes. Deep set backs (particularly from one-back sets) are more conducive to zone schemes, and that’s the direction people have gone. Fifteen and twenty years ago you saw a lot more in the way of man blocking than you do now. Why the zone blocking schemes are so dominant now is an intriguing question.

  • SC Gator

    That’s some hardcore high-school ballers in that photo. A little digging around got me this:

  • dazz

    I would be interested in the rise of zone blocking generally. I mean I know the popular media take, but it’d be great to read something deeper/more complete

  • Don Jones

    Anything 4-3 defense related.

  • Alen

    I’d be interested in more Pattern Reading stuff. I’ve got Olivadotti’s book and its quality. I understand it, just interested in more detail of it.

  • DrB

    I for one would like to see a couple articles on some of the older offenses that are no longer run anywhere and why they disappeared or how they adapted. You know, something like the Delaware Wing T or Maryland I, or even some old basic Single Wing.

    More time on the old offense itself rather than its current incarnation (e.g., the Wildcat or Urban’s offense), if that points you anywhere.

  • ABC

    In the solid verbal podcast, you mentioned about how you compensated for the poor camera angle of the broadcast in order to analyze games…you watched the Linebackers instead of perhaps looking at the safeties to read the defense… maybe you could write something up on how to watch football the smartfootball way, what you pay attention to, etc… maybe one article on watching the game on TV and one on watching game at the stadium… this topic may be of interest for us non-coaches… seems like I can never see as much of the action as I would like to.

  • Will

    Blog ideas: (1) Dynamic formationing. Sean Payton supposedly uses formations where player positions (not just splits but backfield vs. deployed) are dictated by defensive alignment. Do you know anything about this? (2) Minimalist offense. What is the bare minimum necessary for offensive football? Hal Mumme says Mesh and Draw. Agree? (3) Loose tackle sets. Anything on formations that put tackles outside receivers. (4) Whatever you want. It’s all good.

  • Tad Young

    I agree with what ABC Said. I would love to see an article on that.

  • Adam

    I too agree with ABC on watching football the smartfootball way.

  • endersgame

    I agree with Trip’s suggestion (how you actually go about installing an offense) and ABC’s. I have my own way on how to watch TV games but I’d like to hear your’s as well.

    I’m happy with almost anything though, even (gasp!) non-football articles.

  • ABC’s idea would be great. I’d love to read about it.

  • MOP

    What about a piece on naming plays for the high school or college level? The NFL guys have the practice time to learn paragraph-long plays, plus a 40-second clock and radio in the QB’s helmet. What’s the best way to name plays that are simple to remember and to signal/call, but also contain all the info you need. Also, a good system should let you compartmentalize so that you can mix and match parts, like tagging the pass action from a slant, a bubble screen, or a hitch onto your draw. Your thoughts?

  • BC

    In the book Football Coaching Strategies, Steve Axman mentions that there is a relationship between front and coverage. I understand the defense may be unsound if this relationship is not respected. Maybe you can give us a more easily understandable explanation than what is in this book.