Scheme Less,
Score More

The operating system built for the passing game has become a total offensive game-planning template for playbook design, practice scripting, and play calling.

“This is the best professional development I’ve done in years! I get better every time I sit down and work through one of the sessions.  I can’t say enough good things about how it has helped me be a better teacher and coach.  I love it.”

Andrew Coverdale
Offensive Coordinator Trinity High
2016 State Championships (KY) 15-0

One of my quarterbacks recently asked for help. He wasn’t sure how to build a good highlight film with his best plays from the previous year. Making a highlight film stand out begins with having great highlights. But before I could give advice, I wanted to make sure I covered my bases. Like anyone looking for answers, I Googled it. What were other quarterbacks doing with their highlight films? Fifteen minutes in, my eyes went numb.

Many videos had great plays but even more distractions. Soon, my numb eyes caught a pattern.

The biggest mistake was forgetting the target audience. The why behind a video is to get a college coach to recruit you…period. Not your friends, followers, and family. If you keep that at the forefront, mistakes will fall away.

Here are the 10 most common mistakes in a quarterback highlight film.

1. The film is TOO LONG

Target 5 minutes or less.

Understand, the college coach has a limited amount of time in his day. Don’t waste it with a 12-minute video that no one watches to the end. 4 to 5 minutes, closer to 4, is the optimal video length. This limit forces you to include only the best plays.

2. Your intro is TOO INFORMATIVE

Put your basic information on one opening title slide.

Short, sweet and informative, the opening

Imagine being Josh McDaniels (Patriots OC) after Tom Brady’s Superbowl LI pick 6 that put the Falcons up 21-0 in the 2nd quarter.

What do you say on the sidelines to arguably the greatest quarterback that has ever played the game?

How do you quickly process his decision making and coach him through it in the biggest game in the world?

These were the questions in my head as I replayed the interception over and over. I found myself in Brady’s helmet trying to see what led his decision making to throw the ball in that situation.

Watching the live video of the play, it looked like Brady predetermines to go to Amendola on the angle route. He stares him down the entire duration of the play.

“What is “open”

This was the question that was stuck in my head as I sat in an office listening to a respected D1 offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He had been mentored under some of the best passing game minds in football and was illustrating his methods for reading a Shallow concept.

I built up enough courage to ask the question. “Coach, how do you teach your quarterback to know what is “open”?

I will never forget the look on his face. I couldn’t tell if he was stumped or if he was offended that I asked such an elementary question. There was a 7 second pause that felt like 7 minutes. Then he said, “He just knows…” and continued drawing and talking progressions.

“He just knows…”

I was deflated by the answer. All I kept thinking was, “What if my quarterback just doesn’t know”.

I will never forget my first big playoff game as a quarterback coach. We were on the road in a hostile environment. Down by 7 late in the 3rd quarter, we called a simple Curl-Flat concept against Cover 3. I had drilled this read with my quarterback a hundred times. If the flat defender runs to the flat, then hitch up and throw the Curl. If the Flat defender drops to the Curl, then throw the Flat. It was the simplest read a quarterback will make—but something broke this simple process in that game. The pressure of the game, combined with the flat defender not doing what he was supposed to, forced my quarterback into a tailspin.

The cause? The flat defender didn’t move.

He just stood there and my quarterback threw the ball right to him for an interception. I will never forget the look on his face as I met him on the sidelines. He was the most confident under-pressure player I have ever coached, but the look on his face after this play was one of fear and desperation.

He looked at me and said, “I have no idea what I’m seeing out there!”

That is the most isolated I have ever felt as a coach. In that moment, I was exposed and I had no method to bring

As an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach I get asked all the time to share my favorite drill to help quarterbacks handle pressure and read defenses better. My answer is always the same, “playing in a game.” There is no substitute for the accelerated learning of “In Game” experience. The hard reality of this fact is that game experience is not very forgiving. For a quarterback to earn more of this valuable “In Game” experience he must win, and keep winning.

Confronted with this same “in game” experience dilemma as an offensive coordinator, I realized 3 things:

Game experience is a non-negotiable to becoming a great play caller.
The key to increasing game experience is to limit your mistakes.
The best way to limit your mistakes is to learn from others.

In my effort to improve as an offensive coordinator through others I discovered a common problem. It’s very difficult to find offensive coordinators open to discussing their mistakes and weaknesses as play callers.

My hope is to bridge that learning gap for other play callers out there with 10 mistakes I’ve made as an offensive coordinator.

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