6 Tips to Effective Scout Team Organization

Jul 26, 2018 | Practice Organization, Program Development

By Jim Dawson
Senior Consultant, Secondary
Trinity University (TX)


We all know that we need a “good look” on our practice fields from players running the opponent’s scheme. The task of asking lower level players on a depth chart to perform and execute at a high level is a daunting task. For me, managing good scout teams has always been one of my passions. I am speaking primarily from the defensive side of the ball. That said, I’m sure these principles will apply to all scout teams. Perhaps these tips may help the situation and provide the best “show” in our weekly preparation against opponent schemes.

Tip #1 – Use Your Best Available Players

Over the years, I have found that nothing can beat reps against talent. For this reason, we go “good on good” in 7v7 and inside run. The team portion of the practices is then manned by our scouts. Everywhere I’ve been, we have subscribed to the adage that if you are not in the 2 deep you are servicing on scout team. These guys are our resource so try to make the best of the talent available. This means that position coaches need to know that they cannot be hoarding talent. They must be bought into the understanding that all players that are not in the 2 deep should be available.

Putting the best huddle on the field can be a challenge. Finding offensive linemen and getting them to give a good look is the first challenge. Many times injuries and banged up guys deplete this group. There are times we’ve used a TE as a tackle, a large back as a TE or even one of our own defensive line or LB to create an OL to service. Skill spots seem to run a little deeper but there are times we use a DB to simulate a receiver, a running back or an option QB.

Tip #2 – Use the Classroom

Preparing the unit begins in the classroom by showing video of the opponent scheme and teaching them the look. This provides a foundation that we can build off of in our pre-practice walk through. It is important to note that we sometimes will not teach our scout groups the more difficult concepts like an option attack or a timed wing T, (fly motion), that requires reading skills and timing. Instead, we will teach it in our group drills or walk through the play and check the fits. We try to match talent in the spots that best imitate the opponent.

Tip #3 – Full Time Assistants Draw Cards

The “playbook” or scout cards are drawn by full time assistants with attention to the detail the staff wants to see. If a play can be called in our terminology we will label it as such. Our part-time, GA, or student coaches assemble the book the day before the intended practice. This avoids the last minute scurry to get things done and increases accuracy. The book is then organized according to the script. We always double check to be sure pages are in order to ensure that there are no issues during the period.

Here are some of the items we ensure are on every card: