When I put out my second book
in late February, it was a departure from the terminology I used when I was coaching. As I had previously mentioned, the impetus was an attempt to create a structure so that little guys (like the one below) can start learning real passing structures, as opposed to the trick play fest (that, or 1-receiver routes) many teams will run at this age. While most of the feedback I got was overwhelmingly positive, there were some detractors, expressing concerns that the pass system was not simplified. All I have seen is proof to the contrary.
Despite being as green as you could be (only 2 of our 11 kids have played organized football before this summer), the progress has been outstanding. With just one initial installation meeting, the rules, route tree, and backside tags used were introduced. I made parent participation mandatory (which also gives them ownership and understanding, curbing questions like "why won't you let my son play quarterback"), and the basic nomenclature was laid out using the same PowerPoints seen here
. The assimilation has been astounding!
We used 2 of the 3 Advantage Principles, and have installed the following possibilities backside:
- Slide (we are calling "half" - as a 5 yard in is half of the basic 10 yard in
- Beam/ Box (backside streak reads and switched streak reads)
Over the course of summer 7 on 7, we'd hit all 4 different advantage routes for scores (Flag, Seam, Post, and Hook), as well as Wheel, Drag, and Switch routes. Even more astounding is the availability of the THIRD FIX -- the principle that allows us to attack the full width and depth of a pass defense. When a group of 8- and 9- year olds can digest this, it is hard to give credence to claims by a few who think the system presented is "too advanced for high school players."
Moreover, I keep getting notes like the one below, from one of my clients in Ohio:
"Two years ago my staff and I went on a search for an offensive system that would help incorporate all of our schemes into an organized pattern and read system. We were lucky enough to find Dan’s first book and implemented his stuff into our program for the 2012 season. We finished with an undefeated season and over 5000 yards of offense. We changed all language and didn’t miss a beat. It is that simple. This past off season Dan’s new book Recoded and Reloaded really brought things together. Dan’s new book is as comprehensive, thorough and simple as they get. We have been lucky enough to have 5 straight All Ohio Quarterbacks at our place over the past 10 seasons. We have had a tremendous amount of team and offensive success over the years. Some coaches feel you shouldn’t mess with successful schemes. We believe you should continue to find better ways to do the things you do well. I can say without reservation we found that in Dan’s new book. Our skilled players have a much better understanding of the offense and our Quarterback has a complete understanding of his reads and progressions. We decided to have Dan fly up to Cleveland and spend a weekend with our staff. Dan is fantastic to work with and the whole weekend was spent on the passing game. We did not have to gut our offense and start from scratch. We found, in Dan, a way to re –language everything and have the ability to add in any of the best schemes at any time. I can tell you this, we have had several years with 5000 or more yards in a 10 game season and I feel we are more explosive in the passing game than ever going into camp this season. How the system uses advantage routes as a first progression has proven invaluable. In addition, the backside route system is fantastic. I find myself hoping the advantage route and the concept are covered so we can get to the third fix!! I would recommend his book to anyone searching for a complete system. Lastly, I would recommend having Dan come see you and your staff as he is a fantastic teacher. Five months later he is sending updates and texts as he develops new things. Great stuff!!"
Head football Coach
Willoughby South High School
The further my clients get into the teaching phase of this pass system, the more convinced I am that this structure of calling pass plays is superior to what I did previously. Many coaches are hesitant to make such a leap (overhauling a system that had worked so well for so long), but I felt like it was an opportunity to offer the teams and coaches I work with a “catch-all” system of passing that could be taught to literally any level of player, but could also attack a defense with virtually any pattern structure.
Likewise, high school teams that have switched to the system have reported a great ease in installation, and have added their feedback to improve the overall system in general. Because of the frontside tree (seen by some as too cumbersome), we are able to make adjustments that bring not only flexibility, but minimize learning burden as well.
In this post, we'll look at some very inexpensive (from the offense's standpoint, in this way of teaching) adjustments to the "Big 3" patterns in this offense: Stick, Verticals, and Drive.
We first examine STICK:
The diagram above represents the way I learned the play, with the backside “Glance” or “Quick Post” providing an individual Advantage Route, discouraging defensive rotation over the Stick/ Flat combination. This setup, however, had a “point of no return” when the passer chooses the glance; if he chose incorrectly, there was no way to get back to the stick/ flat combo. However, if we deepen the depth of the Stick, giving a receiver more ability to adjust, we can now give the passer the best of both worlds:
Further, with the rules built in to our system, we can alter the QB’s thought process, without the need for a Sideline discussion in between series:
The 9 is NOT an individual Advantage Route, and we can tell adjust the Z’s route when we don’t need him to be on a post. Because the passer’s eyes will be inside, there is no need for a post. Because of the system, we can adjust a receiver’s assignment without burdening memorization. Another example of a situation specific adjustment could feature this pattern in anticipation of tight man coverage:
Another nifty adjustment that takes advantage of a team’s gifted option-route runner is seen below. Using the RAM principle, the W is always in a bind. A complete write up on this can be found.
We are also able to incorporate the option route from 3-1 sets, utilizing the option route described above and mating it with the popular “Y Cross” pattern:
Though this pattern isn’t technically a member of the vertical game, I included it in this article to give an example of how to attack a specific response by a defense. The changeup above specifically attacks a pass defense’s attempt to cover up the 3x1 Four Vertical pattern, with M and F riding the #3 and the S walling off the #2 receiver:
Once again, our system can help a QB navigate the murky waters of a pass defense, and use Streak Read adjustments to or away from the 3 receivers. Keep in mind that the streak read is a univeral route in this system; the core routes of the offense are taught to all position groups so that there is no new learning when making such an adjustment.
We are also able to “slow down” the locked seam for the QB, and try to manipulate the S who is taught to wall #2, once again with no added learning burden:
This method of re-distributing rules on the backside also greatly aided the DRIVE pattern; the utilization of a THIRD FIX of the passer’s eyes frequently finds a receiver the defense cannot account for.
Getting the ball to a drag route in a vacated flat area is a primary goal of the DRIVE pattern. Once again, we are able to attack defensive responses without increased learning burden, and without changing the picture for the QB:
DOT is a tag that stands for "Drag with an Outside Two;" the "2" route enters the area that was previously occupied by the back. Since we are wheeling him to the frontside, this a cheap, easy way of creating the same look for the QB.