Monday, December 6, 2010

Run it up the Alley

This year, I coached both of my sons in flag football. It was my third year (2 as head coach) coaching my oldest son Jack and my first year coaching Charlie. It was a tremendous rush for me to be able to coach both boys and I definitely have the coaching bug. This particular blog is going to focus a little more on my experience with Jack's team.

One thing to realize with kids this age is that they still can be easily tricked or manipulated by misdirection (reverses, multiple pitches, etc). We won the championship this year (8-1-1) and we did it with very little misdirection. Footnote; The first year with Jack, I was an assistant coach and the head coach taught me a lot about coaching at this level. I also learned what not to do from him. He had this one play that was based off of total deception and trickery and had nothing to do with teaching the kids anything. I swore I would never go down that route if I were head coach. I started the year off by teaching the kids two basic plays...the fullback dive and the pitch/sweep. The kids worked at those two plays and by the end of the season had it down beautifully.

Take this to another level all together with the Wisconsin Badgers this year. They had one of their most prolific offensive years in their history due to executing the basics in the running game. They were successful in large part to a fantastic offensive line. There was one play in particular that stood out for me against Purdue. It was a picture perfect power sweep where the LT (Gabe Carimi), the LG (John Moffitt) and the C (Peter Konz) executed it beautifully. Konz and Carimi pulled while Moffitt made sure no back side pursuit got by. Carimi sealed the edge (actually blocked two guys), Konz kicked outside and there was a beautiful alley for the back to explode through. Touchdown...6 points.

These two examples at extremely different levels of football all point back to the man that has his own Broadway play about him right now. Vincent Thomas Lombardi and the power sweep. Lombardi's power sweep is iconic to football because it all came down to execution. Everyone knew it was coming but no one could stop it. He typically ran it with both guards (Thurston and Kramer) pulling, the tackle (either Skoronski or Gregg) sealing off the inside and the lead back clearing out anything that is left. Like most Lombardi plays, the sweep relied on a minimum of deception but a maximum of effort and execution.

The fullback dive and the sweep/pitch exemplify the simplicity, beauty and uniqueness of football. It really is the only true team sport where it takes all 11 guys doing the right thing on each play for that play to be successful. Whether it's flag football, major college football or pro all comes down to the same thing...execution.

Jack's team was successful...the Wisconsin Badgers were successful...and of course the Green Bay Packers were successful because of it.

One more thing...I am certainly not drawing any comparisons to myself and Lombardi. The only two connection points are the pronounced gap between our front top teeth and the Italian heritage.

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