14 No-Huddle Do’s and Don’ts

Aug 12, 2012 | Offense, Tempo and Communications, Game Planning

By Sam Nichols

Wide Receivers Coach

Hope College (MI)

Sam Nichols, Wide Receivers Coach, Hope College (MI)

Like many things in life, much of what I have learned about the no-huddle I learned from trial and error.  But the older I get the more I don't feel I have the patience or time to deal with failures on my path to success.

This fall thousands of teams across the country will be installing No Huddle concepts as part of their offense, so I thought this would be a perfect time to share what I have learned through years of using and consulting on the no huddle to help you avoid the common mistakes and encourage important concepts.

#1:  Don't Change Just to Change 

Too many coaches add or re-tool offenses without understanding why they are doing it.  Make sure that you know exactly what you are hoping to get out of the no huddle and be prepared to make sacrifices to reach those goals.  Obviously, I believe that it can help your offense, but it will not fix an offense that is poorly run in the first place.  If you are to this point and you cannot convincingly explain why and how the no huddle is going to take your offense to the next level, it might not be worth your time!

#2: Do Use a Preset Formation

Another way to take precious seconds off your time between plays is to set a default formation.  Even better at the HS level where most of the game is played from the hashes, you can set defaults from the left middle and right to help eliminate the movement between plays.  This coming year, will be having our players pre-align in a trips formation to the field when we are on the hash and a 2×2 formation in the middle of the field.  The default formation will be determined weakly based on the defense we plan on seeing that week.  This eliminates the extra movements and speeds up our rate of play.

#3:  Don't Add No-Huddle to an Already Bloated Playbook

Chapter two discussed how to trim your offense to fit within the Full Throttle  system.  While most people will take that advice, there are a few people who will insist on keeping every single formation, motion and play into their new system.  This may work, but you will likely not get the most out of the system.  Remember the K.I.S.S. principle and use this as an opportunity to focus your offense on what you do best.  You can always add once the system is up and running.

#4:  Do Use Your Personnel Wisely

Here are a few things we know:

  • We all know that receivers in a pass centered offense can get tired and not run great routes.
  • We also know that defenses usually only scout 1 deep and know little about the subs you bring in.
  • We know that DB’s are always told to not let anyone behind them.
So what does this mean in the No Huddle?  Well, teams will usually be playing their studs against your studs and they likely will not change when you send in a sub.  Therefore, you will have their starting TB, for instance, against your 5th, 6th, or 7th best receiver.  No contest right?  Wrong.  If you shift your mentality from beating that defender to wearing him out, you will make real hay with the 7th receiver of yours.  Here is what you do.  Tell him to run to the end zone every play.  Gas that TB and force them to sub.  If they don’t, you just killed their running game in the 4th quarter.  If they do then not you put your stud back in and throw right over their backup.