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Author Information

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

Don’t Just Because You Can

I’ve been running this offense for a number of years, been a proponent of it for longer, and have spoken with coaches about it’s implementation for a number of years.  I’ll start the article with an aside then get into what I really want to write about. 

Invariably the conversation always comes down to “how much offense do I need”. I’ve written previously about the Three Requirements of a Flexbone Team. I spoke with a coach this past week who was interviewing for an offensive coordinator job at a large school in the South. The head coach appreciates option but is reluctant to get chest deep in it. This coach really thinks he can get the job but wants to know how to approach it with a guy who may not want to completely sell out to the offense. 

I told him you need to tell this coach you have this toolbox you need. In it you have triple, midline, toss, counter and play action off of triple and toss. This is the bare basics of the toolbox. Everything beyond that is window dressing. If the head coach is that worried about running other things or how to recruit kids to the school or whatever else, those concepts can be incorporated into the offense but the toolbox cannot be compromised. Nothing can be taken out of the toolbox, but things can be added in, you just cant do too much. You can’t date the option.

Now the flip side of this coin, and the real topic of the article.  I see coaches running into this problem at the opposite end of the spectrum too. Here is the scenario: you are running the offense for a good to great team, think 7+ wins, deep playoff runs, in contention for or winning state titles. What inevitably happens is either you, someone on staff, the head coach, someone coaching defense, the booster club or the principal wants you to start running other things. It’s suggested that you expand the offense. That means either throw it more, get in the gun, or utilize any number of more recent developments in offensive football. 

Since your team is good, you CAN run more things and it will work, simply because your talent is better than your competition. If you bite off a piece of this pie, the urge will be to continue to add and do more. Before you know it you are running and offense that has some option but you are really running a conglomeration of all sorts of different concepts. I’ve seen great teams go from Power-I to five wide from one snap to the next. It was astounding.

Dont do this to yourself. If you expand beyond the basic toolbox, make sure it fits within the framework of what you are trying to do. Have a plan. The very simple criteria I’ve always used is this: If I add a play will it help me run triple option better? Triple tags, midline, toss, counter, play action, double option, roll out passes; all of these solve problems within the framework of the offense. If I get into the gun and run power-read that doesn’t help me run triple option; it controls the 5-tech in a different way than triple option does. They aren’t complimentary pieces. 

That’s just one example. A great coach I’ve known for years, Jed Kennedy, once said when his assistant coaches would bring up adding plays; his simple response was, “If we add this play, what play do you want to take out?” Lets see if you read this Jed. Get good at what helps you win. Dont add plays into your offense simply because you can.

What happens when you add too much is you wont have the reps during the week or the focus to run your offense effectively on Friday nights. You see what the college guys and NFL guys do on the weekends. Look at their play-sheets. Keep in mind how much more time they have with their players. If your play-sheet has pages it’s too much. I’ve never used a play-sheet. I write down reminders for myself about things we expect to see, or reminders about specific situations that aren’t common. Don’t do more just because you can. 

Photo: (AP Photo/Denis Poro)

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2 Comments on “Don’t Just Because You Can”

  1. Coach P July 21, 2016 at 12:03 AM #

    Wow thanks coach I needed to see this! That criteria of whether or not to add another play is so simple but will save me from trying to add too many plays!

  2. Coach P July 21, 2016 at 12:01 AM #

    Thanks Coach J on the key reminders. Definitely needed to see this before the start of this season as I was contemplating on adding too much

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