Check out our in depth interview with NFA Coach and Jenks OC Dub Maddox. Find out how their R4 system is impacting programs across the country.
By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
Editor's Note: Dub Maddox is the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the 13 time 6-A State Champions Jenks Trojans in Oklahoma. In the off season he is the Director of Camp operations for National Football Academies and travels across the country training athletes and coaches. Under Maddox’s guidance the Trojan offense has generated the All-time Oklahoma 6A scoring record of 53.4 points per game in 2010 as well as the All-time rushing record of 3884 total yards in 2011. Maddox has produced the school’s All-time leading passer (Sawyer Kollmorgen) with 6,716 yards (73TDs) 2008-2010, along with the school’s All-time career TD record holder (Mark Ginther) with 76 TD’s combined with a 70% career completion percentage-2006-2007. In 2012, Maddox coordinated the Trojan offense to help win a State Championship that outscored opponents 458-73 in the first half alone. His QB (Kyle Alexander) set the All-Time best TD-Int ratio by throwing for 2034 yards with 27 TD’s and only 2 Int’s in 219 attempts. Dub Maddox is the co-creator and author of the R4 system and book From Headset to Helmet.
MK: What does the R4 System stand for? How did you get its name?
DM: R4 is a mnemonic that stands for Rhythm, Read, Rush, Release. The words create buckets for the Coach, QB and WR’s that will help them organize routes by their characteristics of timing and space. The understanding of the Rhythm, Read, Rush, Release structure gives them the capability to better sync WR routes, QB drops, and the mental decision making in a rhythmic progression that is in sequence with the timeline of the play.
MK: How has your offensive system increased since using the R4? Identify statistics, numbers, etc.
DM: Here are the five main offensive stats over the last 15 years of the Jenks Offense that jump out since the development and implementation of R4:
(1998-2006 is before R4, 2007-2012 is after R4)
QB completion percentage average per season –
1998-2006 = 56.8%
2007-2012 = 69.4%
Total rushing average per season–
1998-2006 = 2,893.6 yds
2007-2012 = 3,605.4 yds
Total passing TD average per season–
1998-2006 = 22.4 TD’s
2007-2012 = 30.5 TD’s
Total points averaged per game each season-
1998-2006 = 36.03 points
2007-2012 = 44.05 points
Total passing INT’s average per season–
1998-2006 = 9.3 INT’s
2007-2012 = 4.3 INT’s
*from 2010-2012 – only averaging 2.3 INT’s per season
An important side note to these stats is that our program won 7 State Championships from 1998-2006. While we were already producing good enough numbers to win, R4 was key in taking our offensive production to an even higher level than we thought was possible.
MK: How is the R4 System different than other methods used to teach QB’s read and progressions?
DM: Most offenses use some or all of these methods in teaching QB reads and progressions:
- Contain different progressions, reads, and decision making process for each play
- Focus primarily on pre-snap decision making and defender key to pick a side and make a throw
- Use multiple IF-THEN statements that are intended to provide answers to every situation that could arise on a play
- Provide sweeping statements like "Throw to grass" or "Throw the WR open" to teach the QB when and where to throw the ball post-snap
- Limit the QB ability to throw the explosive pass play through a pre-snap only "Peek Deep" process or by "Tagging" when he should throw deep on a play.
R4 is different because it provides a decision making system that:
- Maintains that same read and decision making process for every pass play in any offense.
- Reduces multiple IF-THEN statements allowing the Coach, QB and WR to find the highest probability of completion faster
- Choreographs QB footwork and decision making with route break timing to maintain consistency with in the post-snap timeline of a play
- Unites the Coach, QB, and WR’s through a common language that defines what "Open" really means and looks like on the field.
- Increases decision making ability and anticipation of explosive play opportunities by using post-snap R4 accelerators
MK: In your teaching methodology, you reference explicit and implicit learning. What is the difference? How can you use this to train your QB?
DM: Implicit learning is "learning without awareness". It is achieved by keeping a mental process simple enough that the QB can maintain quick decisions and reactions on a play. The idea would be to give your QB as little as possible to think about on a play so he does not lock up and slow down his reactions. While this method is needed and can produce results, the danger exists in knowing too little to process unplanned defensive reactions. Implicit learning requires the QB to learn through trial and error experiences so he can gain his own understanding of how to execute a play.
Explicit learning is "learning with awareness". It is achieved by knowing all the rules of the game, defensive reactions and the mechanics of a play. The idea would be to give your QB multiple IF-THEN statements to use to help him navigate through the various pre and post-snap reactions the defense can present. While this method is needed as well, the danger exists in "thinking too much" making the QB mechanical and slower in his decisions.
The best QB’s that excel in football have the ability to do both…"Think (Explicit) without Thinking (Implicit)". We refer to it as rapid cognition.
The R4 system builds a bridge for the QB to achieve rapid cognition through a common language and non-negotiable buckets that will streamline all of the Explicit football information needed to execute a play. Once the R4 Explicit learning is set, the Implicit decision making accelerators reduce multiple IF-THEN statements and provide the ability to process defensive reactions in real time.
MK: Why do you feel a QB can master a "full field read" system, particularly at lower levels of football? How can you train them to be decisive using a full field read?
DM: We have had 4 QB’s go through this system in the last 6 years. All of these QB’s had different learning styles as well as talent level. In spite of their differences each QB was able to operate our "full field" passing game with high efficiency by using the R4 system.
The key to training QB "full field" decisiveness comes down to a common language that defines what "Open" means, mental accelerators that anticipate what "Open" looks like, and syncing QB footwork in rhythm with WR route breaks. The R4 non-negotiable language, accelerators, and footwork keeps the QB a step ahead of the defensive coverage of a route allowing him more time to process other routes in the progression. Knowing what to look for and staying ahead of the defense through rhythmic footwork allows him to read "full field".
In order to define what "Open" means and looks like we need establish on the field frames of reference.
The frame of reference we use to define vertical space of the field is called the "Hard Deck".
The frame of reference we use to define horizontal alignment of the defender over the route is called the "Hallway".
The post snap accelerator we use to determine the dominate position of the defender is the CAP.
MK: Explain the concept of the "hard deck" and "hall way" and how it relates to your system.
DM: The "Hard Deck" is a horizontal line that will extend across the field at 7 to 10 yards of depth based on the athletic ability of the DB over the WR. This frame of reference allows the QB to evaluate the pre-snap probability that a WR will be able to beat that DB vertically on a route.
The "Hall Way" is a vertical line that represents the vertical stem of the route that is being run on a play. This frame of reference allows the QB to evaluate the area of pre-snap horizontal space the DB is a position to defend on a play.
Once the "Hard Deck" and "Hallway" are set the QB and WR now have a clearer picture on whether a defender is in the area to cover route side space of a play and what they must do post-snap to remain open or gain open space back.
MK: Briefly define what "CAP" is and how it relates to your system.
DM: CAP is the dominate position a defender is trying to be in order to cover route side space on a play. If a defender has CAPPED route side space then the WR is covered. If a defender has UNCAPPED route side space then the WR is open. The CAP is a key decision making accelerator for the QB that allows him to gauge the intent of a defender and gain the ability to anticipate the opening of a WR.
MK: How can a "CAP" change during the course of a play?
DM: The CAP will change based on a defenders assignment or technique he chooses to use to cover route side space on a play. Just because a route is CAPPED pre-snap doesn’t mean it will remain post-snap and vice versa. As a QB drops to read a route he will position his eyes on the route side space of the break and gauge the position of the CAP to determine if it will be open or covered.
MK: Without going into too much detail, explain the process by which you teach your QB’s the CAP accelerator (classroom, field, video, etc.)
DM: The process starts in the classroom by using diagrams and video to define the CAP accelerator. QB’s and WR’s will watch cut ups and communicate the pre and post snap CAP of routes on a play. Plays will be stopped at different points in the time line so they can process how CAPs will change on a play. I will help assist them early on the process if they get stuck. Once the athletes have a good grasp on understanding and can communicate the CAP concept with me then we will then go to the field to practice reading it on the drop.
When we install reading the CAP on the drop we will drill the process sequentially with various controlled CAP drills that build up to half line uncontrolled game like drills. These drills will then carry over into 7 on 7 and Team where we teach off of film after practice.
MK: How has the R4 system evolved since you first developed it?
DM: It has evolved quite a bit. What we found through the development of the R4 system was that it needed support from the WR’s in order to make sure that it runs effectively. We needed a common language and non-negotiable process that we could use to teach WR’s how to stay in rhythm and get into open space. We call it E4. E4 is a mnemonic that stands for EXIT-EXPLODE-ENGAGE-EXTEND. The E4 system streamlines all the information and primary movements a WR needs to maintain the R4 timing needed to get open on a play.
Our latest development has been taking the R4 process and using it to accelerate learning and decision making for all facets of the offense including game planning and play calling. We built this out during the 2012 season and used it during our 4 game playoff run in route to a State Championship where we outscored our opponents with a average score of 47.2 – 10.2 per game. We found that while R4 served the QB in his decision making during a pass…it was the Coaches that needed a common language and accelerators to make better decisions on what play to call for a run. By identifying run game accelerators we now had the ability to use the R4 language to build out a sequential game planning and play calling process that allowed the coaches to read the reality of what they are seeing and making a better play calls to take advantage of it. We will be releasing this in the off season of 2014.
MK: Coach, thanks for the time and insight.
DM: I would like to thank X and O labs for their great work and platform to help coaches. I hope some of this can serve coaches and their programs like it has done to ours. It was an honor to contribute with the other great coaches that have done so on this site. I am looking forward to doing it again.
What You're Missing:
Only X&O Labs Insiders can gain full access to Coach Maddox’s report on the R4 system, which includes the following:
The C.A.P. Accelerator dynamic and how it is used for QB’s to make full-field recognitions and reads pre-snap.
How QB’s can effectively diagnose the angles, leverage and personnel of cover players to hit open targets.
How landmarks such as the "hard deck" and the "hall way" can simplify the QB’s decision making process.
The distinction between routes that are "capped" and "uncapped" and the identifiers used to train QB’s to recognize them.
How Maddox teaches receivers to "snap off" covered routes to win back space against defenders.
Four video tutorials provided exclusively by Dub Maddox taking you through each of the components of the CAP Accelerator and how you can train your QB to complete explosive plays.
Others who have implemented NFA’s R4 System have said the following:
"R4 has allowed me to be multiple within our passing game without having to teach different concepts separately. Now I can get to 4 verts, post dig shallow, snag, inside out, smash, and anything else I can imagine with my QB only having to know R4. We are always on the same page and communication is vastly improved because I know exactly how he thinks." - Shane Savoie, Offensive Coordinator / QB Coach, St. Thomas More Catholic High School, Lafayette, LA
"The concept of creating a universal language for QB read progressions is a breakthrough and will help you throw the football much more effectively and R4 does just that. The season prior to R4 we completed 54.7% of our passes. Our first season in R4 we completed 72.7% of our passes and our TD-INT ratio went from 13 TD - 5 INT to 33 TD - 6 INT and a State Championship. We did not change any schemes only our terminology and how we progressed through our concepts." - Ricky Meeks, Offensive Coordinator / QB Coach, Henderson High School, Henderson, TX
"The implementation of R4 is the best decision we've ever made in terms of our offense. The clear and concise language, techniques, and principles of designing the passing game were vital in helping us throw 4,000 yards and 40 TD's over the last two seasons. I highly recommend it to any coach that wants to maximize their ability for explosive plays in the passing game." - Brett Taveau, Offensive Coordinator / QB Coach, Franklin High School, Franklin, TN
"R4 has not only changed our offense, it changed and improved me as a coach. We fully implemented the R4 passing system before the 2011 season and it has allowed us to pass for more than 4600 yards and a touchdown to interception ratio of 48 to 10 the last two seasons. As a coach, being able to have a common language and process with my quarterback and receivers, not only allows us to effectively communicate and make quick in-game adjustments, but also encourages them to take ownership of the offense and provide me as the coach with feedback. R4 is an amazing system that any offense can benefit from." - Colin Thomas, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterback Coach, Dover High School, Dover, DE
"R4 is a proven system that has tremendously improved all areas of our passing game. The ability to gain 1-3 more explosive pass plays per game was a game changer for us. The beauty of R4 is that it is not an offense. It is an operating system that makes your existing offense run better! R4 puts you a step ahead of the defense and keeps you there. R4 was a key component in helping us win a State Championship this year. Our QB was 24-27 for 380 and 6tds in state championship game using R4." - Tripp McCarty, Head Football Coach, Brookhaven Academy, Brookhaven, MS, 2012 AA State Champions
"The R4 system is a game-changer for the passing game. We implemented R4 five years ago, and began to see immediate results. Our quarterbacks became more confident, which improved their accuracy and decision-making immensely. No matter what offensive system you run, the R4 system will instantly improve your offensive production." - Court Allam, Offensive Coordinator / QB Coach, Olathe Northwest High School, Olathe, KS
To learn more about the R4 System and National Football Academies, please go to: www.NationalFootballAcademies.com.