Proven Protocols In Defensive Game Planning

Aug 11, 2018 | Defense, Game Planning

By Mike Kuchar

Lead Research Manager

X&O Labs





In August, right before the season began, conducted research on what high school staffs are doing to prepare their players on a weekly basis.  This particular report focuses on defensive staffs and what they look for when breaking down offenses.  Sure, many of our reports are centered around scheme, but we wanted to provide readily available research to coaches in-season on some ideas they can implement today to gain more efficiency in game planning.   We broke down our research into the following categories:

  • Sequencing in Breaking Down Film
  • Delegating film work to coaches
  • What to include in scouting reports
  • What information needs to be presented to players
  • Gaining an advantage on your opponent
  • Opponent’s Top Formations- 69 percent of coaches choose to include this in their scouting report.
  • Opponent’s Key Players-  60 percent of coaches choose to include this in their scouting reports.  This information includes the player’s height and weight, their years as a starter and their individual strengths and weaknesses.  The majority of coaches will include only 3-4 of the top offensive players on their opponent each week.   There are even some coaches like Ron Anzevino, the defensive coordinator at Hampton High School who will include a two-deep depth chart as well for his weekly opponents.
  • Opponents Top Plays- Without question, this was included in nearly all of coaches’ responses.  But how many plays are addressed becomes the question.  We found that the majority of coaches will select between 3-5 of the opponent’s top run/pass concepts and include them in the scouting report.  Anything more than that is too much information. 
  • Goal Line/Short Yardage Offense- 19 percent of coaches are including these short yardage concepts on their scouting reports.
  • Red Zone Offense- 16 percent of coaches is including what an offense does in the red zone as part of its scouting report.
  • Weekly Theme- 16 percent of coaches are using a “theme of the week” as part of their scouting report.  This could be manifested in the form of quote, anecdote or story that players will read and reflect on.
  • Screens and Draws- 15 percent of coaches are including opponents screen and draw package as part of their scouting report.
  • Pressure Checks and Automatics- 15 percent of coaches include the various “checked” pressures they will be using against certain formations as part of their scouting report.
  • 3rd Down Offense- 14 percent of coaches include what an opponent does on 3rd down as part of their scouting report.
  • Pass Protection Schemes- 14 percent of coaches present a protection analysis in their scouting report for at least one type of protection.
  • Gadgets and Trick Plays- 14 percent of coaches will include their opponent’s most popular trick plays as part of their scouting report.
  • Two-Point Plays- 12 percent of coaches include opponents two-point plays as part of their scouting report. 


Editor’s Note:  It’s important to note that based on our research, 88.7 percent of coaches are using HUDL for scouting breakdowns.  All of the information below is based off using that program or something similar.