We have moved…

10 Feb

…to: www.football1oh1.wordpress.com.  That’s football 1-oh-1.  We’ve expanded our approach to include all fan’s of the game.

The Battles Along the Line of Scrimmage

8 Feb

OL - neutral zone (Matt Pasant)

Football is conflict. This conflict is no more evident — or violent — than in the battles along the line of scrimmage where strength and positioning — what coaches call “leverage” — often determines the winner.  Here among the down linemen – the guys in a three-point stance — there are no Davids; there are only Goliaths.

That which separates the combatants is a no man’s land.  It is a swath of turf called the neutral zone.  No one, except the offensive center, can intrude upon this sacred ground and him only because he must handle the ball to snap it.

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Selling the Nine

7 Feb

9 route (wisconsinfansite.com)

In a pass play, receivers run along specific, pre-designed paths that attack the “open grass” — or soft spots — in a defense.  These paths are called “routes” and a carefully crafted mixture of them is called a “pass pattern” or “concept”.

The “9” is football’s most basic and most important pass route and, yet, it’s nothing more than a race to the end zone – or at least as far as the quarterback can throw.

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Down and Distance

7 Feb

chain crew3
(Chain Crew)

You will routinely hear TV announcers use the expressions “first and ten” or “three and out” to describe the actions of a team’s offensive unit during a game.  They are referring to the “down and distance”.  A “down” is nothing more than a play.  From the second the ball is snapped — or “put into play” — to the moment the action is stopped by the officials that is one “play”.

To maintain possession of the football, offenses are given four plays or “downs” to either score or gain the yardage necessary to be awarded a “first down” which is another set of four downs.  Generally the yardage needed to gain a first down is ten yards but that can change due to penalties or tackles that result in lost yardage.

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Pre-Snap Movements by an Offense: Trade, Motion and Shifting

6 Feb

motion (flickr.com-gravely)

The thing you will often see an offense use to confuse a defense is pre-snap movement — either a formation shift or a man in motion.  Coaches believe it is two things: fun and lethal.

On offense, coaches want to create the illusion that they’re very complex when in fact they’re very simple. They work their magic by running a few plays from a variety of formations or “looks” that they create through various pre-snap movements.

The thinking is that they will be difficult to defend and, at the same time, they won’t overload their offensive linemen or quarterback with too much to remember as the teaching remains the same each week.

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The Center of Attention

5 Feb

In the 2008 NFL draft, eight left tackles were selected in the first round.   That’s some big money for some very big men. The right-handed quarterbacks whose blindside they would eventually protect would argue that it was money well spent.

blindside (crazyyh)

In the picture above, #76 (dark jersey) is the left offensive tackle who is protecting the quarterback’s blindside (#8) – the side he cannot see – from a defensive player’s “pass rush” from off the “edge”.

But football has changed. The advent of wide-open, quick-strike passing attacks have altered perceptions and, in many cases, reality.

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Flop Charts and Clock Management

4 Feb

C:workspaceDesigns11-8100s81201-8120-59-1 Model (1)

Time will decide our fates.  It is no less true in football where clock management – that is to say, the management or mismanagement of the time left in a game – will often decide its outcome.  The team who is winning will want to use or “eat up” as much time as possible, while the team that is losing will want to conserve time so that they can score. Much drama is played out at the end of many games because of the minutes — seconds even – left on the clock that allows one team to convert one spectacular play into one phenomenal and unexpected ending.

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