Why This Offense...

As a defensive coach for most of my career, I have defended many offenses over the years.  One week of practice and the subsequent game, has been burned into my memory for many years. We were playing Air Force, we had a decent game plan, and the game was close at half time. As we started the 2nd half, it was obvious that Air Force had a better understanding of our game plan than we did. They ripped through us to the tune of 35 unanswered points and a 42-14 shellacking. I’ve never been beaten that soundly in my life.  They made simple adjustments, we didn’t. We were helpless!  That game cemented my belief in option football, specifically flexbone formations.  I decided that Sunday reviewing film, if I ever have a chance to be a head coach, I’m running this offense.  In subsequent years at other schools, I would get the chance to try and defend Paul Johnson (Georgia Southern) and Tim Stowers (Rhode Island) with mixed success. By the way, that Rhode Island staff had a young offensive line coach named Ashley Ingram. I will get back to that friendship later.

Fast forward to 10 years ago. I made the decision to transition into high school coaching to be more present with my wife and two young sons.  My first high school position was in Richmond, VA. I was going to be the head coach, and this was my chance to install option football, specifically flexbone formations.  I had been a part of two state championships at my high school in SC, and we ran split back veer. I wish I had remembered that offense better, but I didn’t. I had to start from scratch, knowing nothing about the techniques, alignments, assignments, or anything and no real idea where to start. So, fortunately for me, Navy is a three-hour drive and I had a contact. Ashley Ingram was the offensive line coach and run game coordinator and I called him.  That started a 10-year annual trip, on my quest to find out all could about flexbone option football.  I started with OL play and evolved to sitting in Ivan Jasper’s quarterback meetings, then watching the A backs practice.  For you defensive coaches I also watched how Navy defended themselves in spring, just in case I ever had to defend the option again, and it gave me more insight into how the offense works. The first couple of years I was just asking questions on the basics of how to run the offense and the nuts and bolts of the positions. How to run inside veer, every position assignment, I would sit in position meetings and watch film and continue to ask questions, basically until they threw me out.  

Five years ago, I had the pleasure to speak with Kenny Wheaton at Harding.  I was trying to better understand the midline option plays and what was supposed to be a 30-minute phone call, ended up being an hour and a half. I came away with not only the midline answers I needed but also a ton of resources on how to practice correctly, how to self-scout, perimeter blocking tags and an overall better understanding of how the big picture works.  It was like getting a doctorate in flex bone. I continue to pick his brain and use his expertise, as much as possible.  

I have a passion for option football and I know coaches will share that same passion, yet may not know where to start, just like me. I want to take the knowledge I have gained and continue to gain and pay it forward.  These blog posts are to help coaches!  I want to help other coaches be successful starting from scratch and work towards success in their own programs, just like I did.  

Nowadays, I’m an assistant coach at Lafayette High School in Williamsburg, VA.   I coach QB’s/DL and I am having a blast. My kids will eventually attend this school and I look forward to enjoying those years with them.

Our next blog post will continue with “How to Practice in an Hour” in-season and 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 my email address is lafayettefootball1@gmail.com


I wish you all the best,


Matt McLeod