Preparing an offensive line from week to week can be a challenge. That is why Coach Kirby has put together a schedule / package to ensure his guys are as prepared as they can possibly be for game day. Check out his weekly preparation plan here...
By Adam Kirby
Offensive Line Coach
McMurry University (TX)
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I believe that the offensive line, more than any other position, is one that requires a strong work ethic, attention to detail and meticulous preparation. Perhaps this is why I heard so many of my peer offensive line coaches talking about the challenges of the weekly preparation that their linemen need.
I have always prided myself as a coach on these attributes and want my offensive line to be the hardest working and most disciplined group on the team. The players know that playing offensive line at McMurry University is a privilege and they take pride in that. My goal for my guys is to go into each game confident that they know what could happen in any given situation.
Obviously, if this is to be accomplished, the work ethic must be there in order to achieve the goal of winning on Saturday. That goes for coaches and players alike. Here is a look at what we expect our players to know going into every game:
- What are their favorite fronts?
- What are their favorite blitzes based on down/distance?
- What is the percentage they run a certain blitz?
- What are their favorite stunts based on down/distance?
- What is the percentage they run a certain stunt?
- What do we feel comfortable with in the run game?
Contents of Weekly Scouting Report
Scouting Reports have become such a big part of today’s game. Everyone has them and uses them; from the overall offensive plan, to quarterbacks, to the offensive linemen. With the explosion of Hudl software, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, information on your opponent is as easy to access as it’s ever been. But the struggle that I have heard from other line coaches is that they have trouble harnessing and delivering this information in a way that works for their players.
One key to addressing this issue is creating a line specific scouting report. While understanding the overall game plan for the offense and our goals that we’re looking to accomplish that week is necessary, having an offensive line that knows and accepts their role in how the offense will function is vital.
Our offensive line scouting report is broken into six sections:
- Starters (Linebackers/Defensive Line)
- Roster (Linebackers/Defensive Line)
- Stunts/Blitzes by Down/Distance
- Blocking Adjustments
Contents of Notes Section
We also include miscellaneous information about the scheme that we will be facing that week. (ex. when the 3-technique is to the strength of the formation, watch Will blitz)
We also include tips and tricks that will work to our advantage as an offensive line (ex. #96 plays deeper when he is about to stunt).
Players have found this particularly helpful as we watch film during the week. Quite regularly, there have been comments where they are seeing what I’m telling them as a coach.
Now that we’ve talked about the scouting report, let’s move on to day-by-day preparation. For the coaches, preparation for the next week’s opponent will usually start on Thursday night after our last practice of the week. For the purpose of this article, I will start on Sunday so you can get a feel for what we do each day.
Sunday at McMurry is our players’ day off. We tell them to sleep in, relax, and catch up on any homework that they may have to get ready for the upcoming week. I will usually get to the office around 10:00am and start looking at the opponent that week. When breaking down an opponent, I identify the defensive family (4-3, 4-2, 3-4) and defensive front (32i, 2i3, 33). I focus the majority of my game plan on the front. I want to know what they’re putting to the strength and how we can attack it.
Our offensive staff meeting will be at 1:00 as we review the previous day’s game in its entirety. We watch every play on offense and grade our positions for our individual meetings on Monday. After the 1:00 staff meeting, I’ll meet with our OC to discuss my ideas in the run game before heading back to the office to finish labeling the upcoming opponent’s film.
Monday morning, I will finish the opponent’s film and start looking at percentages of what they do and when they do it. This will help out when we go into our 10:00 am staff meeting to start looking at what we want to install during the week of practice and what we feel we need to work on as an offensive unit. Up until the team meeting at 4:00 pm, the offensive staff is finishing up the film on the opponent and putting together scouting reports.
Monday night, I will meet with my offensive line and hand out the scouting reports. We will introduce our “keys to success” as well as watch the previous week’s game to correct and point out the mistakes we need to improve on.
At noon, we will meet with the entire offense to discuss the scouting report and reminders to focus on in the upcoming week. After practice and dinner, we will get together at 7:00 pm to watch the opponents 1st down plays. In this meeting, it is important that they see every stunt, blitz, and regular alignment on 1st down. It is mandatory that the players bring their scouting reports so that they can write their own notes and reminders.
Remember that the players are the ones playing the game…LEARN FROM THEM! It has helped me as a coach tremendously to know what my players are seeing on film.
Wednesday morning, we will meet as an offensive line at 6:00 am to watch the previous day’s practice. We will go through inside run period, team period and individual period in order to prepare for that afternoon’s practice.
We will usually meet for about an hour and fifteen minutes so that the players can go to the cafeteria, get some breakfast, and head to their 8:00 am class.
That night, we will meet at 7:00 pm and go over 2nd down and coming out (-1 yard line to -10 yard line). This evening meeting should mirror Tuesday night’s meeting over 1st down.
Thursday is identical to Wednesday except in the night meeting, we will go over 3rd down, red zone and goal line.
During the night meeting, I will also give them a “cheat sheet” that has what I feel are the most important points or things that I have seen during the week that can contribute to us having success on Saturday. This should be shorter than the notes section in their scouting report and doesn’t need to exceed 5-7 points.
Friday mornings are identical to Wednesday and Thursday mornings. We will have a team meeting at 10:00 pm every week, whether we’re on the road or at home. This will be to go over the game plan one last time before the kids check in for their 11:00 pm bed check. It is during this time that we go over 4th down and I’ll answer any last minute questions the players may have.
What You’re Missing…
Join X&O Labs’ exclusive membership website, Insiders, and get instant access to the full-length version of Coach Kirby’s clinic report. Here’s a small list of what you’ll find in the full-length report:
- How Coach Kirby breaks down his statistics section of his offensive line scouting report and why he divides it game by game rather than using cumulative statistics.
- The type of information Coach Kirby publishes on opponent’s starters and the 2 to 3 things he feels you must give your offensive linemen on each player.
- Why Coach Kirby feels that the roster section of his scouting report is the most important component.
- What he expects his players to know as it pertains to pressures and blocking adjustments.
- The tips and tricks that Coach Kirby includes in the notes section of his offensive line scouting report.
- A complete scouting report that McMurry University used last season that can be downloaded and adjusted to meet your offensive lines needs.
My hope is that something in this report will help you in your preparation and in turn, help you win more football games this season. Coaching the offensive line isn’t glamorous and offensive line coaches are usually the last to get credit for a win, but that’s what makes it fun. We get to work with the most important group on the field and that’s what’s important.
I want to thank my Head Coach, Lance Hinson and my Offensive Coordinator, Matt Kalb for contributing to this article and giving me the freedom to operate an offensive line the way I see fit.
Meet Coach Kirby: Adam Kirby is entering my 2nd year at McMurry University in 2015. In 2014, Derek Baldeschwiler earned NCCAA 1st Team All-American honors. Previous to joining the staff at McMurry, Coach Kirby served as the offensive line coach at Independence CC, Lon Morris College and Texas College.