Find out how Coach White ties his quick screen concept into his practice progression to teach pace and precision.
By Brian White
Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (IN)
Editor’s Note: Coach White begins his third season on the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology coaching staff and his second season as offensive coordinator in 2013. White also serves as the team's recruiting coordinator and the offensive line coach. White joined the Rose-Hulman coaching staff after serving assistant roles at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Maryland. In his first season at Rose-Hulman in 2011, White's offensive line provided blocks that allowed Kyle Kovach to earn the NCAA Division III all-purpose yardage championship. The Fightin' Engineers also established a school record for total offense with 625 yards in a 53-50 win at Anderson as part of a second place season in the HCAC.
For the Rose-Hulman offense, as with many offenses at every level of football, playing fast is of critical importance to our success. In 2013, we averaged 85.5 plays per game. However, we strive to ensure that we do not sacrifice speed for precision. Our goal every year is to identify the plays we feel are critical to our success as an offense and then find ways to drill these plays. Our staff works to develop drills that teach the requisite skills to execute the play and simultaneously emphasizing how to play fast.
Each play we install follows a similar teaching progression. We will start with the coordinator presenting an overview of the play. During this portion of the install, the coordinator will inform the offense of the purpose of the play, when and why the play will be called and the method by which the play will be relayed to the unit on the field. Each position coach will then meet with his unit to cover all of the particular rules and skills required by that position group to execute this play. All of the major coaching of the play is done in these meetings. On the field, we want to be able to practice as many reps as possible without stopping the drill to coach.
During our individual periods, each position coach will drill the skills necessary for each play. These periods are the last opportunity for the position coach to work with his players at a teaching pace. Once we come together as a full offense, we want to play as fast as possible. We will employ many different drill formats to practice our players. One of our favorite ways to drill a play is in a Half Line format. In this setup, one half of the offense preforms a rep of a play, while the other half of the unit will prepare for their rep. Coaches can choose to work the same play in each group or they can choose to work complimentary plays. For example, we will run the frontside of a Zone Read scheme on one side then flip to the other group to work the backside. We will also perform the same drill with both groups work the backside (or read side).
Before detailing how we practice our Quick Screens, the rules of the screen should be covered. We will run our Quick Screen to both the Boundary (Diagram 1) and the Field (Diagram 2).
Now that this article has detailed the assignments required to run the play, we will detail how will drill the screen.
Half Line Screens vs. Cones (Diagram 4)
The first drill we practice to work our screens as a group is Half Line Screens. We will do this against both cones and bags. We like to first perform the drill against cones so that we learn how to execute the course the Offensive Linemen need to take as well as the timing of the screen for the Quarterback and ballcarrier. On the Offensive side of the ball, we have four coaches. One coach will organize the offensive personnel, another coach will evaluate the execution of the screen and two coaches will organize the defense, whether we are using cones and Agiles or defenders with shields. The coordinator will script and organize the drill before practice. The script will detail the formation and personnel for each screen, as well as the defensive look and personnel. Something as simple as which coach, player or manager will hold a bag or setup a cone is critical to detail.
The setup for the Half Line Drill vs. Cones requires two Agile Bags and two cones on each side. We place an Agile Bag on the appropriate Sidewalk. The other Agile Bag is placed in the Alley, which we determine as eight yards deep by two yards inside the Agile Bag to the field. We may also use Pop-Up dummies in place of the Agile Bags. One cone is used to represent the Rat Kill block. We place this cone two yards behind the original alignment of the Playside Tackle. The other cone represents the crack block executed by the blocker. The placement of this cone will vary. We place this cone in the location where we expect the first defender inside the blocker will align.
To execute the Half Line Drill, we usually begin with the boundary screen. As the screen is run the boundary, the group running the screen to the field is readying themselves. The Quarterback for the group to the field knows that the indicator for him to begin his cadence is the whistle ending the repetition to the boundary. The whistle ending the rep to the boundary also indicates to the second offense that they should align to execute their repetition of the screen to the boundary. Once the whistle ends the first group running the screen to the field, the second offense will execute the screen to the boundary. The second group to the field will then align for their rep.
Our Team Tempo drill is the core of our offense. This drill does not specifically work the screen package as any play can be called during this period. One group will execute six to eight scripted plays, on air, in succession. The ball will move up five yards every play, regardless of the result. At the end of each play, each member of the unit will execute an up-down facing the goal line. We do this in order to simulate the finish required on each play. The ballcarrier must remain High and Tight throughout the entire course of the up-down then hand the ball to a coach, representing the official.
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- Specific coaching points for each position including the "Sidewalk" concept that he uses with his offensive line.
- A detailed explanation how Coach White teaches this concept against the odd front.
- 4 complete drills to teach the screen execution as part of an uptempo offense.
- Many coaching points for implementing this concept including 4 separate, detailed scripts
- Plus game film of his quick screen and practice film of 4 drills in action.
The most important aspect of this article is not the application of our screen package to your offense. Instead, the goal is to show you how to take a scheme you feel is important to your success and drill it. The Half Line teaching progression can be used for almost any of the schemes you deem important to your success. We like the format because it allows our players to not only perform repetitions of plays while allowing our staff the opportunity to coach our unit with energy and impart them with the importance of tempo.