As an offense, we put great emphasis and stress on how we attack in the red zone. What we try to do each week is establish efficient, and effective concepts that we know we can attack with once entering the red zone.
By Jacob Knight
Offensive Line Coach/Co-Offensive Coordinator
Waverly High School (OH)
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As an offense, we put great emphasis and stress on how we attack in the red zone. What we try to do each week is establish efficient, and effective concepts that we know we can attack with once entering the red zone. In our 4 years at Waverly, we have learned a lot about ourselves as a red zone team. We have shown considerable growth in this area over our 4 years at Waverly High School. in 2015 we were a 60% score and 53% touch down. In 2016 this number went to 79% TD, and score, and in 2017 we were 82% score and 79% TD. Our most efficient season came in 2018 we were 95% score and 87% TD. I am firm believer our game planning, and practice process has lead to this. We changed this process prior to 2016, and it leads to a huge increase, and we have seen it slowly get better every season since.
Once we enter the red zone the first thing that enters my mind is that we want to take a shot and try to score from the RZ/Fringe area. Once we enter the fringe area I am a huge fan of taking a shot. We are either going to throw some form of play action, or vertical shot so that we can score, prior to entering the 5 to GL area. This area for a spread team is extremely difficult, and the field becomes so compressed (we learned this the hard way in 2015). We also really like to establish our best runs once getting into the red zone, this has created running opportunities for us. We are a pretty run heavy Red Zone team (56% run) So when we game plan our runs we decide what is going to be our best weekly run, and this a run we try to run once getting in the red zone, this has worked very well for us the last two seasons, and has allowed us to dress these runs up with motion, or with unbalanced formations once entering the red zone.
Game Planning Process
Above is the part of our game planning board that we use to game plan, and script our Red Zone Plays. This board has become extremely helpful to us over the last three seasons, it is a great way for us to collect our thoughts, and decide how we want to attack our opponent.
Creating Opportunities for Tight End
The last thing we want to do in the Red Zone is we want to create opportunities for our TE. Several times over the course of the 2018 season our TE made big plays in the red zone that resulted in touchdowns, specifically on 4th down. The nice part about using the TE is he often gets lost in the passing game, especially when bringing him across the formation. Man coverage dictates a matchup problem for the TE. Once entering the red zone, we like to use naked boots, and our zone slip concept in order to get the TE matchups in the passing game. We also like to single the TE up as a split our receiver and get him in a 1 v1 match up with a corner, you can see this in the previous cut up.
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- Concepts to exploit matchups for a dominant receiver in the red zone.
- Unbalanced concepts to exploit numbers advantages in the red zone.
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- Coach Knight’s game day call plan for red zone offense.
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The Red Zone has been a very efficient area of the field for us at Waverly over the past three seasons, and I feel a lot of this has to do with the emphasis that we put on this area from a game planning perspective as well as from a practice perspective. Our kids understand this is an area of the field where we have to be successful, and for them, it has become an expectation. I believe consistently practicing this area of the field, and placing emphasis on this area of the field has led to a great deal of our offensive success.
Meet Coach Knight: Coach Knight is in his 4th year as the Offensive Line coach, and Co-Offensive Coordinator at Waverly High School. Coach Jason Bolin and Coach Knight have led an offense at Waverly that has averaged 31 Points per game, and lead the Tigers to 3 consecutive Ohio playoff appearances.