In Uniball, you often don’t know what your team will look like until a few weeks in, so do you stick with your scheme no matter what or work out what’s best for your team?
How do you decide what scheme to run at the Uniball level? For me, I can find it frustrating as with graduations and fresher recruitment being a bit of a lottery, my best-laid plans can often get thrown out the window. How often we have dreamed of running a Mike Leach Air Raid offence only to have those hopes dashed at our first practice when we discover Andrew Luck has not decided to study Brewing at Heriot-Watt. With my dreams left in tatters, I retreat back to double wing football and being shunned at the BAFCA conventions.
But it is a concern, how much time do you put into planning for the season ahead when, often, you do not know until the first couple of weeks what you will have. Do you put in place your Air Raid offence and stick with it no matter what or do you wait and see, hoping for the best?
When I was a DC for the team I took a glass half full approach, I reckoned I wouldn’t have a great amount of depth at D-Line so, why try fighting it? I decided to switch the team to a 3-4, my thinking behind it was if I have five D-Line then I have spares and I can rotate. I can also have my D-line learn every position on the line so that we can switch people about and get as many reps as possible.
In terms of the scheme, I am a big believer in K.I.S.S, from my own studies I find it easier to remember a concept if there is something attached to it. So instead of calling Mike Sam Go, we called Bullets. All our plays were named like that which helped the linemen and LBs to know where to go on every play and cut down our communication time. In the end, we ended up not needing to huddle as we could just call out and repeat the calls so everyone on the field got them.
As coaches it is important for us to put our ego aside, we all have dreams of grandeur and envision ourselves as Sean Payton calling in plays. But just as we are constantly emphasising to players that they must put the team first, how many of us as coaches can say that we do the same? Sure we give up our time to coach and we do the extra stuff like practice plans and breaking down film, but do we put our ego aside when it comes to our scheme?
During this offseason as coaches, we should take this extended time to evaluate what we can do better to help our players win. I’m interested to hear feedback in the comments on how you think you can do this! What schemes do you think teams should be running? How do you decide what to run?