How to Practice in an Hour (Monday In-season)

When trying to figure out a starting point for installing and becoming proficient at running option football, practice time and organization are a huge part of success. Whether your practices are split O/D or if you focus on one side of ball each day, there are some consistencies that need to be incorporated into your practice schedule. At my current school, our practices are split. We take 30 min for special teams each day and then our offense gets an hour and our defense gets an hour. Sometimes these things change and we extend a little or cut back a little but we try and keep things as consistent as we can. Let’s look to a sample Monday in-season practice and break down its components.

Sample Monday Practice:

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Ball Security Drills/Circuits must be practiced everyday!! The way you as a coach emphasize it and drill it, tell your players how important it is. We use several drills that you can find here:  I have also started incorporating ball security drills with the Fumble Pro and Silk Football covers. We introduced them into the ball security circuit and they both have really helped. The Fumble Pro really puts torque on the ball and the silk covers really make the players have to squeeze the ball and focus on the points of pressure while carrying the ball.

Individual skills and drills are essential in establishing the techniques used in option football. We typically divide our position groups by the above positions: QB/B, A Backs, WR, OL.  You might find that your individual periods need to be longer in the beginning of August practice and you may decide to dedicate a certain amount of time every day but in the end individual periods are essential building blocks to practice. Once I have outlined the weekday schedules, I plan on going back and covering each position drill in the blog.

Option Drill is a group specific drill using the QB/B/A/WR. Here you rep timing and perimeter blocking assignments. I’m referencing a link to a previous blog post that covers this drill in more detail.

Group Pod is a similar concept to Option Drill where you will utilize the QB/B/A/OL. The goal of this drill is to Rep 4 of the “Big 5” (Inside Veer, Midline Double, Midline Triple, Zone Dive, Toss) vs. all possible techniques. If you are utilizing no huddle concepts you could get as many as 30 reps in 10 min. Looks you may give the players might include a 3/5/Hip LB or you might give a 2i/5/Stack LB and lastly you may give the players a 0/4i/9. You can also include stunts to further the quality reps you need during this drill period. Your calls vs. these looks might include 12/22 – 13/23 (Triple & Zone Dive) 10/30 – 11/31 (Mid-double & Mid-Triple). For example, you may rep two groups of players and run 12/22 vs. a 2i/shade, then run 10/30 vs. a 0/4i/9. A question that sometimes arises is how to correct players in these types of drill periods without sacrificing time. My answer is simple, correct glaring answers as concise and as quickly as you can, but you should be filming these drills everyday and correcting the details in film meetings before or after practices.

1/2 Line Drill is one of my favorites and is also where you get a lot of bang for your buck. This drill utilizes all the offensive players, broken into a right and left side, on each hash. Your 1st group of right side offensive lineman, 1st QB, 1st B Back, 2 A Backs and a WR all work the right hash, while your 1st group of left side offensive lineman, 2nd QB, 2nd, B Back, 2 A Backs, WR all work the left hash. You can vary the looks each side will receive defensively and you can get quality reps to backup players in this drill. Typically, we work in rounds to give the players all the varying looks they might see each week and the focus is on a small group at a time. Again, correct the glaring errors but film this drill so you can fine tune the details in film meetings. This is where working techniques, alignments, assignments vs. all fronts/stunts/coverages comes in handy for preparing players for Friday nights. I never really knew how we would be defended and this drill really helps the players work your base plays vs. a ton of different looks. Below are some examples of ½ line Rounds.

Half Line Round 1.PNG
Half Line Round 2.PNG
Half Line Round 3.PNG



I wanted to provide some images of how the stunts look in case you weren't sure of my terminology. 

4-2 X Stunt.PNG
4-2 Up Stunt.PNG
4-2 Lightning Stunt.PNG
4-2 A Pop.PNG
5-2 Blood Stunt.PNG
5-2 X Stunt.PNG
5-2 Box  #3  #2 Exchange.PNG

The last thing I want to explore is the reads you give in practice to your players every day.  It is critical that your coaches give the reads as #1 and #2.  I have found over the years trying to have players do it never works out and creates more frustration than anything.  We have gotten to the point now where #1/#2/#3 are all simulated in practice by coaches. The rest of our scout team is made up of our players and they do a fine job of giving our players good looks.


Our next blog post will continue with Tuesday In-season practice and as always feel free to discuss blog posts or ask questions on our forum page located here:  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me on twitter @runthetriple or my email address

I wish you all the best,

Matt McLeod