Post #1 in a Series of Blog Posts about No Huddle Concepts in an Option Offense
In this blog post we will discuss the why’s of a No Huddle option offense. Hopefully, these series of blogs on No Huddle concepts will help you determine if throwing out the huddle in your option offense is worth the time and energy.
Why #1: Is going to a no huddle approach going to help our players and our offense become more successful? The short answer is yes, I found no huddle concepts forced me to find ways to coach/teach more efficiently and in simpler terms. Which in turn allowed our players to play faster and with less mistakes.
Why #2: Is going to a no huddle approach going to speed up the offense and the game? Isn’t an option offense supposed to allow me to control the clock/ball and limit defensive possessions for my team? Before you decide to make a change, please understand No Huddle doesn’t mean Up-Tempo. Sure, not huddling is important to teams that like to go fast but the tempo of your offense is dictated by the quarterback and offensive coordinator. Think of No huddle/Up-tempo offensive concepts as separate components of a 1-2 punch combo.
Why #3: Alright, give me the advantages to making the change. Personally, I think the advantages come in practice reps, simpler coaching cues, and improved execution. Oregon did a study several years ago when Chip Kelly was there, they were able to increase reps in practice by ⅓ when they went exclusively to a no huddle approach. I was apprehensive with this approach because I knew I had to coach on the run, but I decided to give it a try. The first thing we did as a staff is find a student to film practice. We used a ladder and an Ipad and we filmed within the HUDL app, we were able to upload the film right from practice as soon as we came into the office. Each position coach looked at practice film, made correction notes and we watched it in position groups before the next practice. There were times when some coaches couldn’t make it so we would watch film as an offensive unit and we would make corrections together. As we moved forward into doing all of this we decided we would make small correction cutups from practice film, to further organize our corrections and make more concise corrections to our players.
The next thing we did as a staff was to come up with a common language that would be short and concise wording to make corrections on the fly. For instance, “Clear Cylinder” was our wording for our QB to get his head and shoulders out of the running lane/mesh for our FB on mid-line double. It took some time to develop the language in the off-season for each position and to teach it to the players but once they got it, things went really fast.
Another advantage we found is that we could dictate tempo to the strategy we wanted. We still wanted a slower tempo, so we did a lot of scanning at the LOS. We signaled the formation right away and then took our time getting the play signaled in based on defensive alignments. As we progressed, we changed our philosophy to go really fast and the no huddle concepts we were already doing helped us make that transition easier.
Why #4: Alright, give me the cons to making the change and what road bumps did you incur along the way. The first road bump we had was communication, how we wanted to get the play into the players. We struggled for a bit, coming up with what we felt were the ways to properly get a play in. Would we signal the formation and play, would we use wristbands, would we use display boards? All are good methods, but we felt wristbands worked for us. I’m going to get into all the different ways to communicate in subsequent blog articles, so I won’t cover that yet.
The second road bump was more mine, I had been used to communicating the plays and intricate details to the QB every play and he in turn would provide me feedback on alignments and overall play calls . I really struggled not having that type of control, that type of feedback and subsequently not having that game day relationship with my QB. I almost scrapped all no huddle concepts after the first scrimmage that year but… we had committed to do it so I kept going. It all worked out in the end, but in the beginning, I was probably the worse critic of a no huddle approach. Sometimes change is hard but I had to realize it was best for the players!
The third road bump that arose was staff communication on game day. We hadn’t thought this area through enough and it showed scrimmage #1. All of our coaches had always been assigned an “eyes” responsibility on game day, watching a safety/safeties or figuring how #1 was playing the dive, so forth. What we didn’t plan on was the lack of time we had in getting those responsibilities communicated to each other. I was trying to signal in plays/formations, think about what plays we wanted to call, and before we knew it we would be 2-3 series into the game and we haven't made the proper adjustments. We just weren’t communicating and working in lock-step like we had in the past. We settled in on having a common language (one word typically that would get the point across to all of us).
The last road bump for me, was the extra possessions the defensive unit would take on in a game. Again, we still worked on controlling the ball early on in our transition, but when we went full on up-tempo and no huddle, we gave on average 2-3 possessions back to the opposing offense. Having been a defensive coach for many years this was concerning. I decided that our players could handle it but we certainly circuit trained (Tackling Circuit/Takeaway Circuit/Pursuit Drills) more on that side of ball and we explained the trade offs to all the players and they were all on board from the beginning.
Our next blog post will continue with an emphasis on No Huddle concepts, as it pertains to how to get the play into the players. As always feel free to discuss blog posts or ask questions on our forum page located here: http://flexbonenation.proboards.com/ If you have any questions please feel free to contact me on twitter @runthetriple or @themeshpoint and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the Best,