Vinny Lopez is currently at the head coach at Pacifica High School. He was also the head coach at El Rancho from 2011 – 2014. He led the Dons to a Del Rio League title in 2014.
By Vinny Lopez
Make the Defense Wrong Every Time
If you talk to 10 different offensive coordinators you are likely to get 10 different offensive philosophies and each feel passionate about why they do things the way they do. Having coached in nearly every offensive scheme out there, I have always believed that simpler is better.
That is why we have two formations and one word play calls that contain everything the players need to know in that one word. I was taught that if you can make the game less confusing for the players they will play faster because they no longer have to think. We run a very simple offense, but don’t let that fool you. It is still very difficult to stop.
We all have tendencies as play callers- what we like to do on first and ten or second and long. Some guys think that I am going to keep defensive coordinators up all night because we run 30 different formations. The reality is most guys just don’t have the time to teach several plays out of each formation so in fact what they are doing is making it easier on the DC. When they get in this formation eighty percent of the time they run that play. Because we line up in only two formations I would argue that DCs are less likely to know what is coming because we could run, pass, screen or all of the above with one just one play.
Let’s look at one of my favorite formations, what I call trips (three receivers to one side and one to the opposite). The play call might go in like this: “Trips Right Husky”. The word Husky is our play call which tells everyone in the huddle exactly what they are doing. The line knows that they are zone blocking right. The single receiver has a hitch route. Counting outside in, the number 1 receiver to the trips side is stalk blocking. The number 2 and 3 scan the defense and decide which of them is uncovered. The uncovered one runs a bubble and the other stalk blocks.
Now that we know what everyone is doing the quarterback walks up to the line and scans the defense before he starts his cadence. He works his way through his progression. Is the single side corner playing off? If yes, we are going to throw the hitch. If no, he then works to his next read, the trips side. He counts the number of defensive players covering the three receivers. If he counts two on three then he throws the bubble, knowing that anyone playing ten yards off or more does not count. If he counts three or more guys covering the three wide receivers then he runs the zone read. Again, the line is always run blocking the zone read so there is no need to change any of the blocking assignments for the line. They leave the last man on the line of scrimmage unblocked and the QB makes his read on the defensive end thus making him always wrong.
With that being said what is the most common coverage that DCs try to play versus us? Cover zero, man to man press coverage and keeping seven defenders in the box forcing us to throw to beat them. There are several reasons why this plays into our hands. Why? you ask. Well I just said that it is the most common coverage that we see, so our guys are used to it and have worked against it all year. The defense usually is installing it this week just for our game.
Another reason our receivers love to see this coverage is they know that they are going to have a huge night with big gains without safeties! Our single side receiver knows that if he gets pressed coverage he must convert his hitch route to a fade. We like this match up because our single side receiver is our fastest receiver on the team for just this reason. Also, when defensive coordinators play cover zero they now have safeties or linebackers trying to cover our inside receivers to the trips routes and those guys are not used to playing man to man. Again, we like these match ups because our receivers catch balls and run routes every day in practice but do those outside linebackers or safeties practice man to man coverage every day? Most of the time the answer is probably not, again we like these match ups. Trips Right Husky is a simple play that can be incorporated into any team’s offense and you will see big gains as it always keeps defensive coordinators guessing and defensive players always misaligned.