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Founder and Owner of the Flexbone Association. Since 2007 we have provided the tools necessary for teams to succeed running the Flexbone Association System. Over the last ten years over 200 teams have been instructed by the Flexbone Association. I've consulted with teams and or run camps everywhere from Belfair, WA to Key West, FL. The Flexbone Association strives daily to help coaches succeed with this time tested offense, I have been a football coach for 16 seasons, currently at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, GA I played at St. Mary's Springs High School in Fond du Lac, WI under legendary head coach Bob Hyland. I've been fortunate to be part of five state championship teams (1997,1998,2002,2011,2012). In 2011-2012 St. Mary's Springs led the state of Wisconsin in scoring and set consecutive school records for points scored, Psalm 27

Why You Must Commit to the Flexbone Offense Part Five – It Makes Game Planning/Film Study Easier


I had a little hiatus from the Flexbone Association this weekend. I drove from Alabama, back to Wisconsin and back again from Saturday morning to Monday night. Now that I’m back in Alabama I’m back in action.

In an ongoing series of articles, I will cover the poigniant reasons that coaches should adpat the Flexbone Offense through the assistance of the Flexbone Association either through the Flexbone Association Academy and/or a Flexbone Association Football Camp. Here is just a smattering of testimonials I have left over after losing much of the website content last year. The first part of this series discussed why the Flexbone Offense is system based, why that system should appeal to you and what the benefits of running the system are. The second part of this series discussed how the Flexbone Offense neutralizes your opponents defensive line, and how that in turn helps your offensive line significantly. The third part of this series discussed at length how the Flexbone Offense is personnel flexible, and why you don’t need highly specialized personnel to run the offensive effectively.  The fourth Georgia Southern football 2_0part of this series covered practice scenarios you will face during the season, and how the Flexbone Offense can simplify and focus your practice.

I’m sure you are asking now, how this translates into easier game planning. If you prepare your team properly on the practice field each week, the game planning takes care of itself. A story I share is back from one of my earlier coaching stops in Arizona. We had a very talented team with multiple division one players. We were playing our cross-town rivals who happened to run a 4-3 defense. In their previous games they had played a healthy amount of Tampa Coverage. We game planned all week to execute, especially our passing schemes against this coverage. The following Friday when we played them, they didn’t play one down of Tampa Coverage. Our entire week was a near total loss.

The Flexbone Offense eliminates this scenario from the rest of your coaching career. No more will you study a team’s film over the weekend and prepare all week to face a defensive front, or come up with a front specific game plan, that you will toss out on the third series of the game because they aren’t playing the defense you thought they would. End the frustration of putting yourself and your team in that situation.

The key is to prepare your team intelligently. It starts with studying film and game planning with specific intent. What should you look for? What if they’ve never played an option team before? What front are they going to run? How often are they going to change their front? Will they stem pre-snap? Are they well coached? Do they over pursue from the backside? Are their secondary players aggressive in run support? If you can begin to answer these questions, you are on your way to setting a firm game plan for the week. 

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What If We Played Them Last Season? If you played them the season before (and they have the same coaching staff) what you have to determine is how successful they were at stopping you the year before. What personnel changes have occurred? Were they playing a 4-3 to try to highlight and protect a Mike-Backer to get him to the ball? Were they a 4-4 team with two studs at defensive tackle? 

If you played them the season before, examine what they had success with. If they played a certain front or a certain series of stunts; or executed their run fits in a certain manner and they had success, you can assume they will run a similar scheme this year. If you played them the season before, and you had alot of success on offense, expect and be prepared for a different defensive look. You can never be 100% certain what they will do on defense, but if they played well against you last year, chances are the coaching staff on the opposite sideline isn’t going to reinvent the wheel to try to beat you this season.

4-3 vs FlexboneWhat Should You Look For? Depending on the number of films you have on your opponent, the first thing you should try to determine is; what is their base defense? I know some states mandate the trade of two films, some mandate three, some mandate the trade of the sideline and endzone copy. In some places you will have all the conference games on film. If you get to the playoffs, you might be able to get ahold of their entire season. No matter where you coach, the first question you need to answer is; what is their base defense. Assuming you have not played them before, this is the best place to start. 

Over the years I’ve found the teams that tend to have the best idea of how to defend you, or the best chance to play good defense are the teams that play you out of their base defense on Friday night. These teams tend to be well coached and they believe in their system to stop you. They also realize or understand that it’s hard to practice against this offense in one week’s time trying to teach option responsibilities out of multiple fronts in a week.

Once you determine what their base front is, there are elements of the entire Flexbone Offense that will work better against certain looks, than they will against other defenses. You should stress their base front, but do not neglect the other fronts during practice. There are a limited number of options a defense has to defend the entire Flexbone Offense. For instance a 4-4 team must play your triple option differently than a 3-4 team. You must put in the work in the off-season to understand the structure of each defense you will face, and how they might be able to defend your offense. A more detailed description of this is covered in the previous article in this series. How these plays adjust or fit against each defensive front will be covered in extensive detail with the Flexbone Association Academy.

b36lo82qkfyehtvwHow Do They Act Pre-Snap?

A team’s pre-snap personality is often a reflection of the program philosophy or of the defensive coordinator. Are they going to disguise their front with different pre-snap alignments? Will they stem pre-snap? How often are they going to change their front?

From experience at the high school level, there are a few different philosophies you might face. Some teams may chance fronts frequently. Others might prepare two fronts to face you; while other teams may only start changing fronts once you have success on them. Experience has shown me that the teams that are coached well tend to stay in their base fronts longer. Teams that are not will abandon their base defense more quickly. This is why many times at the college level, the defense will tend to remain a little more static in their scheme.

In any case you need to be prepared for teams that stem their front, especially if you change plays at the line frequently. This is the only situation that might cause you to spend more practice time on it. You do have some tools at your disposal to counter this tactic. You can go no huddle and send plays in once the defense is set. The quarterback can call the direction at the line, you can start using quick counts, or you can use the freeze technique. Pre-snap stemming fronts should be of little concern if you use two or more of these tactics. 

Trey Braun, Will Jackson, Tremayne McNairHow Do They React Post-Snap?

How well are they coached? This is a question you can answer either from experience or by watching the film.  If they are well coached, they will likely have predictable post-snap reactions to your offense. This can be advantageous to your team. The only exception to this point would be how they defend triple option in particular. A well coached defense will have a few stunts for you or be able to change their option responsibilities during the game. This is difficult to do, but the well coached, well disciplined teams can do it. Against well coached teams, you will have to be very detailed in your practice week, because you can beat them with the details. 

If they are not well coached chances are their post-snap reactions will be inconsistent. Against teams like this, it’s only a matter of time before they make mistakes. You must be patient against these teams. They will beat themselves. You can often times beat teams who are not well coached, even if they are more athletic than your offense by remaining more basic. Over the course of the game they will make mistakes which you will be able to capitalize on. 

Do they over pursue from the backside? Does the entire defense tend to over pursue or do particular players over pursue? This reaction by the defense can be ascertained regardless of the type of opponent they’ve played the week or weeks before.  If your opponent has a penchant for over pursuit, you should make sure your counter plays are ready. Use the aggression or undisciplined nature of the defense against them. .

Are their secondary players aggressive in run support? In some cases its the entire defense, and their philosophy, in other cases it might just be one player. The opposing defense can be exploited regardless if its a one-high defense or a two-high defense. Find the player who abandons his pass responsibilities the quickest. This is the player you can attack in the play-action game. If a team shows over-aggression on film, be ready to inflict maximum damage via the play-action pass. 

9408523What About Their Personnel?

Read part two of this series to learn how the Flexbone Offense minimizes the ability level of your opponents defensive line. When considering all levels of an opponents defense look for players you can exploit. Which D-Linemen is the weakest? Which one shows the most aggression and can be read more easily? If they have very good players in the interior of their defense, exploit them with scheme.

At level two, which player is the poorest tackler? How are they using their linebackers to stop triple option. Which one is the most undisciplined, or has the slowest feet. Are they trying to protect one player with their defensive line to get him to the ball?

When looking at level three, find their best athlete. This is usually the player who has the ability to make the most tackles from level three. Can you exploit this player in any way? Does one corner need to be avoided over the other? Lastly as stated above, which players can be exploited with play-action? All of these scenarios will be covered in more depth in the future. 

lrfirstteaHow Do I Formulate a Game Plan?

Now that we’ve made it this far, how does this all fit into a game plan? First, commit totally to the offense. Here are some reasons why and how. Know the offense inside and out; achieve mastery of the subject. Don’t run just parts of it, or try to incorporate it with something else. Secondly, as part four of this series made clear, make sure you prepare each week for the fronts you could see on Friday. If you are prepared against each front, with the full arsenal of the Flexbone Offense, you will be very difficult to stop. In our playoff game Friday, we played an opponent who had played very few running teams all season, much less an option team. Our team was prepared to face anything. I had notes written to myself regarding each and every front we could expect to face. The Pelham offense racked up 460 total yards and 35 points.

Success starts and ends with you as the head coach and or offensive coordinator knowing this offense to the fullest extent available. Next, look for weaknesses in your opponent, either in their personnel, their post-snap reactions or in their pre-snap alignments. Know how to exploit these weaknesses by running the entire Flexbone Association system. The holes are there for you to find. The Flexbone Association can get you there. In one way or another.

Georgia Southern Photo: Georgia Southern Athletics

Citadel Photo: Citadel Athletics

Georgia Tech Photos: John Bazemore AP

Lenoir-Rhyne Photo: Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Playing Against the Flexbone Triple Option Is No Fun | Flexbone Association - December 9, 2014

    […] Part Five – It Makes Gameplanning Easier […]

  2. Flexbone Association November Mailbag | Flexbone Association - December 4, 2013

    […] See the article I wrote a few weeks ago.  […]

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