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By Jerald Pierucci, Head Football Coach/Offensive Coordinator, Shafter High School (CA)


As a tempo team, Shafter High School (CA) relies on the ability to be flexible in play design but not be overly complicated. So while the all hitch concepts were staples in their system, in order to protect them offensive coordinator Jerald Perucci felt it necessary to combine the hitch and hitch option into one play call and have receivers, not the quarterback, dictate the route they will run based on defensive alignment. According to Coach Pierucci, it is an inexpensive concept with the potential to be productive no matter what alignment or coverage the defense is in. Read the report...

 



By Jerald Pierucci
Head Football Coach/Offensive Coordinator
Shafter High School (CA)

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Introduction

The hitch/9, 9/hitch and Hitch/Hitch concepts are staples for nearly all passing offenses.  We have recently combined these two concepts into one play call giving your offense the capability to hit the homerun ball and take the five-yard hitch without a check at the lines or coaches checks from the sideline. This is a concept that can be installed in one practice period, and ran at any time on the field. 

Necessity for Flexibility

Being a tempo/no huddle team. The ability to be flexible in play design (not complicated) is critical for us to play fast and have success on offense. With defenses becoming more flexible in coverages, we found ourselves relying more on “check with me” calls. While we are not against using “check with me’s,” the slow down allows defenses to change coverage while you are trying to change your offensive call.

A concept we use a lot is the Hitch/9, 9/hitch and all hitches. Each one is good against certain coverages, but can be taken away against others. As a play caller, I found myself calling an all hitches and a defense would align in 4 across all sitting at 5 yards, or other times calling 9/hitch and the defense aligned in Coverage 3.  Over time, I felt that it was more about getting lucky on having the right call at the right time.  

For that reason, we started using check with me and sideline checks to get into the right play. This was successful at first and we were able adjust to what the defense was aligned too. We continued this until we came against a team that stemmed alignment every time we checked.   

This last set back, made us really look at the play and decide to make it a pre-snap option that would put the decision the hands of the defense. We let their alignment dictate the route that will be ran. This is ultimately what allows this play to be successful. No matter what alignment or coverage the defense is in, we had an answer.

Continue to the full-length version of this report…

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  • How Coach Pierucci uses the hard deck framework to teach receivers how to convert their routes.
  • The communication protocols he uses between quarterbacks and wide receivers.
  • Why he’s gone away from a post-snap read to more of a pre-snap read in his hitch controls.
  • Why he teaches a half-field concept for the quarterback to speed up delivery time.
  • The variations Coach Pierucci uses when coverages start to tilt to defending the hard deck.
  • Plus game film on these concepts.

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Conclusion:

This concept is simple, effective and safe as it takes what the defense gives you. We have found that this concept allows for you to get in a nice rhythm in play calling as well. It is also a nightmare for DC’s to prepare for because it has 16 different combinations out of a 10 personnel grouping. Thanks for your time and best of luck this season.

Meet Coach Jerald Pierucci:

Coach Pierucci is the Head Coach at his alma mater Shafter High School in California. He has been coaching for 17 years and has been a head coach for 7 of those years. His coaching experience ranges from high school to the junior college level. He was awarded the Max Preps California small school coach of the year in 2013, when he led his team to the California State Championship Game.

 

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