No Huddle: Case 6 – Exclusive Clinic Reports

May 12, 2016 | Offense, Tempo and Communications, Game Planning

By Sam Nichols
Managing Editor
X&O LabsTwitter: @SNicholsXOLabs


In creating this special report, we set out to make the most complete review of the no huddle to date. As part of that plan, we reached out to coaches across the country (and the world) and had them write about areas of the no huddle where they have a particular expertise.
Each of these reports is included in this case and they cover the following topics:

  • Utilizing a Comprehensive “Check with Me” System: Jay Wilkinson, Offensive Coordinator, Broken Arrow High School (OK)

  • Play-to-Play Mechanics of an Efficient No Huddle Offense: Matt Kerstetter, Offensive Coordinator, Trinity High School (FL)

  • No Huddle Philosophy and How to Go Fast: Chuck Markiewicz, Head Coach, Arundel High School (MD)

  • How to Coach On the Run: Dan Ellis, Head Coach, W.C. East High School (PA)

  • Implementing a Communication System: Zach Harrod, Offensive Coordinator, Prague Lions (Czech Republic)

Utilizing a Comprehensive “Check With Me” System

By Jay Wilkinson, Offensive Coordinator, Broken Arrow High School (OK)

How many times have you reviewed film the day after the game and said that a play you called was dead before it started  because of the defensive look you got? The freeze and check with me methods are a way to eliminate dead play calls. We use the freeze and check with me methods to take a quick picture of how the defense is lining up and making the best play call we have versus that look. Some of our biggest plays have come from these methods.

On its most basic level, the “check with me” concept allows an offense to make the play call or change the play at the line of scrimmage. We have two different ways that we have this built into our offense.

Here is a more in-depth look at each concept:

Freeze Concept:

When using the freeze concept, we will signal in the formation and no play. The QB will go through the pre snap process and signal for the snap. If we don't draw the defense off sides, then we will call a play from the sidelines. This allows us to look over the defense and call a play based on the look we are getting.

Check Concept:

The check starts with us calling a formation and a play and tag a check to it. The QB will dummy signal for the snap and look to the sidelines. If we like the play called, we will leave it on and the QB will call for the snap and run the play. If we don't like the play we have called, we will tell the QB to erase it. He will then tell the team to look to the sidelines to get the new play and we will signal the new play and run it.
We prefer this method as opposed to the ‘fast as you can’ model because it helps us from running a play into a look we can't be successful against. We do have some plays that we feel like we can run vs. any look. We include these plays in our fastest tempo mode.

We have found that checking at the line of scrimmage gives us many advantages. It allows us to look at the defense and call a play based on the look we are getting. For example, if it is 3rd and 7 and we don’t know if we are going to get base defense or coverage. We can freeze it, see how the defense is going to play us, then call a play that give us a chance to be successful. Similarly, if we want to run the zone at the 3-technique, we can call zone right and tag check. If the 3-technique is on the left, we can just flip the play.


Building either or both of these check concepts into your system is really just a matter of mechanics. We use our normal play calling as the base and build from here. Here is what our kids expect to see on a normal play:

1. Set personnel (if changing)
2. Signal formation
3. Signal play
4. QB will make sure everyone is set and then signal for the ball
5. Center will call snap count and snap the ball when he is ready