Sentences of the Day: Bill Walsh Edition

TIGHT END – Ideal size: 6-41/2, 245

Requirements for a tight end depend heavily on the system being deployed. It’s almost a necessity to find the athlete who best fits your system of football….

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Now there is one more type of tight end — the great, all around type who is a Hall of Fame type. He is so gifted that he can do all of the things you would usually require two types of tight ends to do. That type of player makes this a unique position in the NFL. One man who can do all these things, the great, all around tight end becomes the essence of the National Football League. And there have been very few — John Mackey, Mike Ditka, Jackie Smith, are the only two who have made the Hall of Fame.

Interestingly, I believe Tony Gonzalez of Cal this year has the potential to become that type of all around great tight end.

Pretty good prediction. You can read the entire thing here, and read the full set of Walsh’s analysis of various positions here, which are interesting throughout.

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.

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Musical Chairs: Packaged Plays and the Evolution of “Option” Football

This article was written by Keith Grabowski, offensive coordinator at Baldwin Wallace University. You can follow him on twitter at @CoachKGrabowski, and see his monthly columns at American Football Monthly, where he posts new articles on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

pistol-cropThe option play has gained a resurgence in football with the popularity of the spread offense. Relying heavily on the run, option football forces a defense to be disciplined and play their responsibilities. It’s still a very sound way to attack defenses, but requires a commitment to running those base plays over and over. The spread has allowed teams that attack with option and to carry an effective passing attack that utilizes the spread to get the ball to players in space. The zone read and bubble have become a staple for spread option teams as well.

Option is no longer limited to teams who utilize the traditional dive back, pitch back type of runs. Two-in one plays or packaged plays are the new trend in offense that has the stick-draw concept at the forefront of this trend. What teams are finding ways to do is to isolate a defender in space and make him be in two places at once which makes one of those spaces a clean void to attack.

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Smart Links – Woody Hayes on the Triple Option, Lighter Linebackers, Hugh Freeze’s Recruiting, Cam Cameron, Snickers – 2/14/2013

Share Valentine’s day the right way: with Woody Hayes serenading you with his explanations of the triple option (“The NFL doesn’t even try it.”). Go to about the 18 minute mark.

Also make sure to go to the 9:30 mark to check out the fashions. (I have some Woody Hayes related shirts in the Smart Football shop.)

- Some thoughts on Cam Cameron as LSU’s new offensive coordinator.

- Bruce Feldman on Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze’s recruiting.

- Ronald Dworkin has passed away.

- Tragedy: Maker’s Mark is watering down its bourbon.

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Urban Meyer at the Ohio Coaches Convention 2013

Always good stuff here:

Super Bowl Special Offer: The Essential Smart Football for 99 Cents

As a limited time Super Bowl offer, I’ve made my book, the bestselling The Essential Smart Football, available in ebook for Kindle for 99 cents. Get it here. (And if you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read it using the free Kindle app for iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.)

This offer will expire and the price will go back up after the Super Bowl this weekend — make sure to act quickly. You can read more about the book here.

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Limited time offer

Smart Football’s Super Bowl Round-Up

Doesn’t get any better than this:

Below is a round-up of some pieces I’ve done relevant to the Super Bowl, as I’ve written about both the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens over the past couple of years:

Jim Harbaugh on coaching quarterbacks:

My final link is not about the Ravens or 49ers directly, as it covers some of the tactics Stanford used to defend Oregon this past season, but it contained some good wisdom from former Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker that I think applies to the challenge Baltimore has in facing San Francisco’s multiple attack:

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New Grantland: How the Ravens Will Try to Contain Colin Kaepernick and the Diversity of the 49ers’ Offense

It’s now up over at Grantland:

Making whichever choice this unblocked defender makes the wrong one is read option 101. It’s an idea that’s been around for more than a decade. When fully realized, San Francisco’s read option goes far beyond those basics, to places college teams haven’t even been. “We’ve gone down our own road and we do what we do, not just traditional things other teams have done,” remarked Roman this week. “We’ve taken it and are going down our own path.”

Most significantly, on many of the 49ers’ read plays, it’s not just the quarterback who is reading the defender. A lead blocker is often doing the same.

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Fullback Bruce Miller isn’t given every option on every play, but generally, there are three possibilities as the lead blocker on these plays: (1) If the end crashes down for the running back, Miller’s job is to feign blocking him and arc around to seal any linebacker scraping for the quarterback; (2) if the end stays home but slides inside, Miller can block him, opening a crease for Gore to slip through; or (3) if the end goes for the quarterback, then Miller slips inside of him and blocks the nearest linebacker.

Read the whole thing. Also, as a bonus, I had originally intended to describe the 49ers’ use of the Inverted Veer in the NFC Championship game but didn’t end up having a chance. Below the jump are some bonus diagrams.

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New Grantland: How Joe Flacco’s Big Arm Can Exploit the 49ers’ Secondary

It’s now up at Grantland:

The key to the 49ers’ success in that game, as well as for much of the past two years, is rooted in a common misconception about their defense. It’s often noted that the 49ers play almost entirely with two safeties deep, splitting the field into halves while the remaining defenders play man-to-man coverage. This tactic, which also relies heavily on the front seven to stop the run, is known as “Cover 2 Man” defense. The notion that the 49ers use this coverage almost exclusively is, like most misconceptions, rooted in some fact. The 49ers do use this coverage a great deal, but if they used it on every down, San Francisco’s defense would be much easier to attack than it actually is.

What Fangio and the 49ers actually do is mix and match their two-deep, Cover 2 Man coverage with a variety of “pattern match” zones — zone defenses that transform into a kind of man coverage after the snap. The 49ers use a variety of these pattern-match schemes (each of which is differentiated by a subtle change in a defender’s rules), but one I’ve seen them use with success all season is known to many coaches as “Two Read.

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Read the whole thing.

New Products and Designs in the Smart Football Shop

I’ve added new products and designs to the Smart Football shop — make sure to check them all out.

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As always, let me know if you have any feedback as well. I hope everyone enjoys these.