Michigan Football: Coach's Corner on the "New" Offense

ErocWolverineSenior Writer IJuly 2, 2008

I've been planning to do something on Michigan's offense based on what Coach Rod and Coach Magee talked about at the Michigan coaches clinic.  However, I could not find my notes and did not want to misquote either of them.

While spotting a player in the squat this morning someone said something about West Virginia.  Then it hit me—I had put them in my West Virginia file for some dumb reason.

Blame it on old age, or orneriness, but I can know I can share at least some of what Michigan’s offense will look like, or the strategy and theory behind the offense.  I know this is choppy, but this how the coaches presented it to us, and I do not want to put any spin on it.

If I miss something, just e-mail Eroc and I will do the best to answer.

I will start with Coach Rod's lecture.

Coach Rod spoke about coaching as nothing but teaching.  Experienced vets teaching youngsters are just as important as coaches teaching players.  Always practice fast, and teach to your least-smart player.

As for the actual offense:

1) Run north and south as fast as possible; avoid running east and west.

2) The Running Back needs to react to the guy who is tackling him.

3) Controlling all aspects of the game is essential.

4) Conditioning is the most underrated thing in football.

This is how Coach Rod recommends teaching his offense:

1) Teach from back end up: Teach Running Backs and Quarterbacks first, and then to slots, Offensive linemen, and Split Ends.

2) Shrink what the defense can do.  This gives you less to prepare for and makes reads and blocking the defense easier.

3) Attack the defense where they are not.  Make them run to cover you, either high to low, or east to west.

4) Make them defend what they are defending.  If defense is trying to take away Running Back in Quarterback read option, make them defend the Running Back before using Quarterback.

5) Quarterback gives the defense a false snap look to fake defense into tipping what they are doing.  After this, coaches will take second read of defense and signal new play/scheme to Quarterback.

Here is the key to what Coach Rod is talking about when he says to make the defense defend what they are defending.  If opponents sell out to stop the run—more specifically the Quarterback read option—one of the benefits of zone blocking is the scheme alone helps to alleviate the eighth man in the box.

In addition, if a defense sells out to stop the run, they have to give up something else.  Therefore, if I give them what they expect, I do two things:

1) I set up everything that comes off the base play.  Therefore, they must stay in that defense to continue to stop what I am doing.

2) If they line up to stop the run and I still am able to run the ball, the defense is in a world of crap.  Now they have to add another body to the box, or let me continue to have success.  Everybody they add to the front creates more space and better mismatches in the secondary.

Example: If the Defensive Coordinator decides to play nickel, but rolls nickel into the box and I can still run the football, Defensive Coordinator will probably go to base.  Now that makes a mismatch in space.

They have set a scheme or package, pre-snap.  The defense is trying to confuse pre-snap reads.  Therefore, the Quarterback fakes the snap so the defense gives away what they are planning.  Some teams actually give players wristbands to make the process smoother.

All offense is eventually about execution. Y ou will not consistently fool or trick good defenses.  Eventually all offenses have to block and make plays.

Coach Magee used a slightly different tack in his lecture.  He gave us two lists of things the offense needs to accomplish, or make the defense do.

The first list is things the offense needs to do:

1) Create mismatches—the biggest is slots on Outside Linebackers or Safeties.

2) Get the ball to your playmakers.

3) Use Shotgun so Quarterback can see the defense.

4) Make the defense defend all skill players, including the Quarterback.

5) Keep it simple for the Offensive Line.  Confused Offensive Linemen can kill an offense faster than anything can.

6) Make the defense play in space.

The second list is what the offense does in a game:

1) Make defenses defend the entire field.  Quarterback has pre-snap and post-snap reads.

2) Always play at multiple tempos to keep the defense off balance and control their substitution patterns.

3) Make the defense prepare for a dual threat Quarterback, both run and pass.

4) EXECUTION—You want a simple, not predictable offense (most of you should love this one, LOL).

5) Execute your base plays to perfection: Reps and Reps, and more reps—get good at something!

6) It is a numbers game.

7) Create the best angles to block for both Offensive Linemen and Split Ends.

8) The final one—Find empty Grass!

The first key number is one or two safeties.  This is from my personal experience—this read is the single most important in this offense.  It tells you what Outside Linebackers and Cornerbacks are going to do.

All three Coaches—Coach Rod, Coach Magee, and Coach Frey—said Outside Linebackers are the most dangerous defenders to this offense.

The second key is how many defenders are in the box.

In zone blocking, the Outside Linebacker is almost impossible to account for.  He is free to flow to the ball.  The defense has both the Defensive End and Outside Linebacker outside of the Offensive Tackle.  If positioned correctly, he is also in position to disrupt the short passing game.

In blitz packages, he can cause an overload of one sideline.  What Defensive Coordinators have been doing lately is walking the Outside Linebacker out with slot, but splitting the difference between Slot and Offensive Tackle.

This way he can take away some of the short routes but still be effective in run defense.  This is especially true when defenses are playing cover two.  They can lineup cover or eliminate No. 2/the Slot and then have the Safety to help over top.

Offenses have adjusted to put Outside Linebackers in a bind.  What they came up with is the vertical access play.  The Slot to the side you are attacking does exactly what the name says—he heads vertical, Slot to back side, then runs a drag to area vacated by defender.

If the defender sits, you hit Slot going vertical.  If the Outside Linebacker also goes vertical with Slot, you hit the drag.  If the Safety sits over top of Slot, you either throw a hitch in front of the Cornerback, or you throw a fade over top depending where the Cornerback lines up.  This is the brainchild of Brian Kelly and the Cincinnati staff.


written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine

Thanks for stopping by http://gobluemichiganwolverine.blogspot.com/

If you have any questions please e-mail erocwolverine@gmail.com


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