Because running tempo offenses can lead to running or throwing into bad looks, being able to call multiple plays while using a single code word is placed at a premium. Springboro High School (OH) has incorporated three of its base runs with a base quick game and RPO relief concept into one-word calls, which include the formation, play direction, and snap count. They are packaged with a specific formation and indicates the formation strength and play direction. Read the report...
By Heath Feldman
Wide Receiver Coach
Springboro High School (OH)
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One of the biggest negatives to running a tempo offense is the potential for running or throwing into a bad look. The concept of being able to call multiple plays while using a single code word allows for protection against this. We have incorporated 3 of our base runs with a base quick game pass and included an RPO / Relief into one-word calls that include the formation, play direction, and snap count.
In our system, the one-word calls are communicated to the players through signals and large posters. Each run concept is paired with a specific formation and the one word call also determines whether the formation strength is to the right or left as well as determines which direction the play is to be run. For example, all our one-word calls may consist of NFL cities for plays run left and NFL nicknames for plays run right. With the one word, we always let the linemen know which direction the run play is to be run and we then rely on the skilled players to know which side to set the formation. For our 3x1 Inside Zone we may call it Cleveland or Browns. If the call comes in Cleveland the “L” tells the line we are running inside zone left and the receivers know that the corresponding formation to this play is Trips Right. The call is then echoed by the players to insure they line up as quickly as possible and are ready to execute the play at the ready-for-play whistle. It is then the QB’s responsibility to run and execute the correct phase of the one word play that is called.
In regard to usage, one of the best things we found out about the one-word calls is that they are effective in most situations. There were times when we felt our team needed a little boost of energy so we came right off the sidelines using them to start drives. We also used them frequently after a big chunk play when we felt we had the defense on their heels. Most often, however, we used them when we wanted to play as fast as possible at a time when we felt the defense was tired or vulnerable.
The other aspect of these calls that we really liked was we could call the same play multiple downs in a row and not worry about the defense hearing the same call. In addition, playing at break neck speed forced defenses into base calls and limited what they could do in regards to their blitz packages and coverages.
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Playing with tempo has been a difference maker for us the past couple of years. Now, because of the multiple play one-word calls, we feel we have an answer built into our tempo offense for anything a defense can throw at us. If our QB makes the right decisions, our offense should be running or throwing against the looks we want.
Meet Coach Feldman: Heath Feldman has been a varsity assistant coach for 27 seasons at 4 different Division I schools in Ohio. During that time, he has been both an offensive and defensive coordinator. For the past 4 seasons, he has enjoyed coaching the wide receivers at Springboro HS. He has also had the privilege of being the position coach for players who have earned 1st team all-state honors and players who went on to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes.