By Sam Nichols, X&O Labs
Broken Arrow's Offensive Coordinator, Jay Wilkinson, reveals how he adds new twists to his playbook for the playoffs without confusing his players.
By Sam Nichols
Editors Note: Special thanks to Jay Wilkinson, Offensive Coordinator at Broken Arrow (OK), for his help in putting this piece together.
The season is approaching and many coaches around the country are already deep into their initial gameplanning for each game. This past fall, talked to Jay Wilkinson, OC at Broken Arrow HS in OK, about his unique approach to putting together comprehensive game plans.
His concept is based on the concept of "packages". These "packages" of plays allow your team to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage more efficiently and streamline play calling. Coach Wilkinson says that it "gives them answers" to the different looks. His teams come into the game with three basic types of packages; Quarterback Packages, "Check With Me" Packages, and Formation Packages. Each particular package is employed within the game plan for the week and is based on the most fundamental plays of their offense.
The simplest and fastest of Coach Wilkinson’s packages are the plays that the quarterback reads at the line of scrimmage and executes based on numbers or coverage. This gives the quarterback some control to keep his team in good plays without having to hand over the keys to the entire offense.
For example, one of Coach Wilkinson packages combines a zone run with a bubble screen (Diagram 1). The quarterback can then focus on identifying the leverage of the linebacker and getting the ball to the player that has the best chance of getting positive yardage. Of course this only works if the quarterback can make good decisions. Coach Wilkinson teaches his guys that if there is any doubt they should hand the ball off.
Another way that they give the quarterback options is by pairing passing concepts that attack different defensive schemes on opposite sides of the formations. These packages can include, but are not limited to:
Zone beaters on one side and man beaters on the other (Diagram 4). This concept has been around for a long time, but it fits into their packaging concept well and is a simple way to keep the QB from trying to "make a play work."
Quick game on one side and double moves on the opposite side (Diagram 7). This addresses situations where teams are try to use man coverage to stop their quick game. This allows the quarterback to read the quick game side and if the play won’t work due to a specific coverage, he can then work the double move concept on the backside.
The beauty of these concepts is that it can all be done without having to make a check at the line since the line will block both of the plays the same way. Coach Wilkinson pointed out that he goes out of his way to make sure that nothing has to change for the line as they create these packages. He says this ensures that even if the concept doesn’t mesh perfectly he knows they will at least have a hat on a hat.
"Check With Me" Packages
Unlike some no huddle coaches, Coach Wilkinson doesn’t believe in giving the QB unlimited control at the line of scrimmage. Instead, his team employs a "check with me" system where they team looks back to the sideline for confirmation of the called play or a change in play based on the defensive look that they are getting. Here are some of the concepts that he and his coaches use with his "check with me" packages:
Another way that Coach Wilkinson uses these packages is by combining similar run plays that work better against different alignments. This helps ensure that a defensive adjustment, change up, or even mistake, doesn’t put his team in a run against a look where they don’t have the numbers or angles to succeed. This can be seen in the example below where the "down and around" and "power" plays have been packaged to best account for the 4 front defensive end’s alignment (diagrams 8 and 9).
Initially, the power or down and around are called from the sideline. Once the offense is at the line of scrimmage and the defensive scheme is declared, the offense turns to the sideline to see if a change needs to be made. If the box tells them that the defensive end is in the wrong spot for that play, the sideline signals in the opposite concept (power or down and around). Ideally they are trying to run the down and around vs. a 7 technique (Diagram 8) and the power against a 9 technique (Diagram 9).
When asked why he doesn’t let the quarterbacks control these checks as well, Coach Wilkinson said that he does it for consistencies sake. He said that he doesn’t doubt that he could have one QB that could make the right call, but he is worried about what would happen if he had to work with a 2nd or 3rd QB. To keep it all simple in that eventuality, he has eliminated the potential problem and calls it himself.
The "check with me" concept also works well for packaging a run with a play action pass. Coach Wilkinson uses these packages to account for an extra defender in the box or a safety/invert defender that they cannot account for in their blocking scheme for a given run. For example, if the safety to the side of a called run steps up into the box, the sideline will change the play to a play to attack that defender (see the "crack post" route in Diagram 12).
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Join X&O Labs' exclusive membership website - Insiders - and get instant access to Coach Wilkinson's full-length report including:
- A behind the scenes look at how Coach Wilkinson conducts his weekly scouting and packaging
- Step-by-step instruction to help you create your own packages based on offensive formations
- Additional screen concepts that he packages with his base run concepts
- Details on how be pairs primary and secondary run plays to attack specific linebackers
Report continued from above...
This system has not only helped Coach Wilkinson’s team run more good plays, but it has also helped the players understand their scheme with much more detail. He said that since his players know what they are looking for within different packages, they are able to talk much more intelligently about what they are seeing on the field against a specific look. They now come off the field talking about the details of the defenses scheme and able to tell us when they see an opening to run a complementary play.
The key to this concept is that within Coach Wilkinson’s system nothing is new. All he has done is combine the concepts into simple pre-snap reads for his quarterbacks. This solves potential problems for his team before they even happen. By adding a few packages to your offense for this coming week, you can both stick with what got you here and refine the concepts to beat better opponents.
What do you think?
Do you already package some of your plays? Tell us how and why? Did you try this concept this week? Tell us about it in the space below.