The traditional days of one coach holding the clipboard or drawing and trying to install the Wing-T in three minutes were wasting time and costing our guys valuable reps both physically and mentally.
By Joe Pearson
Oxford Area High School (PA)
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We, at Oxford, value reps and decision making while in practice. To do so, we needed to look at other ways to increase scout team effectiveness and efficiency. The traditional days of one coach holding the clipboard or drawing and trying to install the Wing-T in three minutes were wasting time and costing our guys valuable reps both physically and mentally. We needed to increase reps and reduce the number of guys standing around. This led to our Scout Offense sheets.
We developed and adapted a scout offense sheet that consists of 12 numbered plays, 6 on each side. We would have scout sheets draw for the different sessions of practice (Combo periods: pressure, pass concepts, inside run, 7 on 7 and Team Periods). As last season progressed, we made sure we included a few essential points to allow the sessions to run effectively.
- Must include the defenders
- This allowed the scout to see where the defenders will be. This helps reduce the possible talent gap and any surprise of pressure.
- Defensive call (highlighted for the scout team to see quickly)
- It allows the scout team to see our defensive call system and allows them to have an advantage in seeing movements and pressure.
- The offensive plays are drawn.
- Used for blocking responsibilities and/or pass routes.
- It allows you to indicate any specific blocking responsibilities.
- Use terms that describe your blocking and play-schemes (highlighted for the scout to see quickly)
- We will never be able to replicate schemes we do not run with the effectiveness to teach the details. We want our scout to play fast and develop in our offensive scheme, so we run our closest scheme (i.e.: Opponent A runs buck sweep; I will write our terms used for pin and pull on the sheet and highlight. Opponent B runs inside zone, I will write the term used for Duo on the sheet and highlight).
- Put the letter for the hash mark in the location of the ball (M in the middle of the play box, etc.).
- Allows for our center to see the location and move there as quickly as possible.
- Finally, the offensive skilled position must use your terminology and/or position letter indicators.
- Reduce all teaching and translation (i.e.: we call our TE the Y, use Y not TE on the scout sheet. i.e. FB is H).
- This allows for scout players to fill in their position quickly, feel more confident and play faster.
How is the sheet used?
We will use the same sheet for multiple sessions and multiple days. I prefer to hand draw and write the plays on the script. To avoid having to draw separate forms, I organize plays within the script in clusters or concept to even or odd sides of the form. The formation recognition is drawn early in the game planning process, so that is usually a separate sheet that I will make copies for further use.
Use During Combo and Team Sessions:
Here are the guidelines:
For the OL (super skilled): Use only one group.
1) Provide ALL OL that will be in the session with their copy.
2) The OL does not huddle.
3) OL will tuck their sheets into their belt in between plays. (always have extra copies)
4) If an OL must tap out, his replacement MUST have his sheet and he only needs the play number to move forward.
For Skilled players:
1) Organize two separate groups run by a QB or coach.
2) Provide 2-3 Copies for each skilled group. Group A runs even number plays, Group B runs odd number plays.
3) In between plays, the skilled groups will make sure they organize formation and verify the play.
4) Returning to a play, simply communicate with the specific group. Simply provide the OL next play number immediately after the play if we are going off-script.
How to maintain the pace. The use of color copiers assists in making the plays easier to see and you can use consistent colors for the ball carrier and the blockers. Also, using the different color highlighters for the offensive scheme and the defensive scheme will allow for faster transitions.
With a game plan that is based on a specific offensive player, provide a colored jersey or have the scout player representing that player raise his hand as he aligns.
Your coaches will need to make player specific corrections by subbing for the specific player. DO NOT hold up all the drills for individual player correction. The only time that the drill will be stopped is to address communication or multiple alignment concerns.
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This organizational use of the scout team sheet has made our scout sessions highly effective and fast-paced. This follows our up-tempo program philosophy as well as adds stressors that are faster than game speed.
Meet Coach Joe Pearson: A 22-year high school coaching veteran serving as multiple position and coordinator roles. Those years have been spent between Solanco High School and currently at Oxford Area High School. Served as the head coach of Solanco High School for 9 years, winning the school’s first league title and playoff appearance in 16 years. Joe moved on to Oxford Area and served as the OL coach and LB coach for the last 4 years taking over the defensive coordinator position this past season. Oxford has reached the district playoffs each of the last three years, which broke a 20-year drought for the program.