Thursday, December 31, 2009

if you dont want to learn, go elsewhere

I am excited about this new blog. Coach Wright see things a lot of times thru the same eyes. We are both passionate about football, just like every other coach in Texas, but I guarantee you that there are not too many that have the passion to push the limits and and learn like Greg Wright. He has a great knowledge of the game of football has made me a better coach. I look forward to this blog spot making me a better coach and I hope we can throw some knowledge to others as well.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Battle of the Axe


Monday, December 28, 2009

Break It Down!

Do the kids choose to break out to a slogan of their own choice? Here at Denison Coach Cody White and our whole staff prefer that this be consisitent. Which is why we break out to
Just fininshing our third Fall with these kids I must say that the consistent approach has served us well.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Where can Technology take Football?

Scientific evidence for physical training and conditioning suggest that it is best to simulate the performance environment with gamelike conditions for best results. It seems that this is what we are to do as coaches to give our kids the best chance to succeed. Are we doing this now as a profession? What can we do as a profession to improve in this regard? Can technology help us to do this in a better way? I propose a great big YES to that last question.
We have all seen the professional and the college football players look up at the Jumbotron video replays to gain feedback to improve performance. More recently high school football venues allow for this same feedback opportunity. This got me to thinking a year or so back about something to possibly improve current football workout methods. My idea involves utilizing, combining and improving the use of the ever popular indoor workout facilities (controlled environmnt for great video sesions) and improved video technology specifically designed for coaching (now available to get fast and efficient feedback and play results for analysis ie. live capture). I truly believe we can combine or mesh the two together more seamlessly for a better workout. What? Change what we are doing now? Yes, I realize that many old habits die vey slowly and this holds true even in the world of coaching. In this regard I would like to quote Coach Chad Morriss of Lake Travis, Texas fame (just won his 2nd straight state championship there). Last year I heard coach Morris at the DFW coaches clinic and he referenced the fact that the world is changing at a much faaster pace than it used to and how this impacts us all even coaches. He referred to people in the business world who must adapt rapidly oftentimes re-inventing themselves and their whole careers due to "revolutions " in the business world. He boldly stated that unless we are going to be left behind "we must change too." This is so true especially when it comes to teaching our student-athletes on the field. They process information much differently than they did even 4 or 5 years ago. With gaming technology improving it is more challenging to keep them engaged as learners in the classroom and on the practice field.Just check the following link for more on this. We must change to teach them more effectively as they are conditioned and designed for more immediate feedback (video games again). This begs the question. How are we currently getting feedback to players using video?
Here I think it is best to take a look at how video technology has been been used in the past. I will just refer back to my own high school playing days in the early 80's. Typical of most schools we watched game film on Saturday mornings after the Friday night game. Our coaches pointed out the good and bad and we moved on with a better idea of what we needed to correct to improve our team for the next week game. We also analyzed our opponent on game films that were exchanged so we did not have to rely solely on scouting reports for information. Our head coach (Ronny Ray) was cutting edge purchasing a computer breakdown of oppenents tendencies from a service located in Plano, Texas.
The next breakthrough came with "video" technology allowing for more affordable and faster but oftentimes poor product. Some schools now attempted to utilize video better by using different angles (wide, tight, end zone). There has been differing degrees of success but there is no doubt that todays cameras and digital technology video systems (DSV,Hudl,etc.) with the ability to "live capture" for quicker feedback far exceed any prior methods. It is safe to say that very few staffs fully utilize the editing sytems available to them. It has become so specialized now that every staff has a "video guy". You know the guy on the coaching staff that is the "techie" who supervises the video crew. I will suggest here that all coaching staff members need to have some basic familiarities with your video editing system. The real point here is that we now have the technology to get immediate feedback to our players. So now we have all the pieces in place:
1. Indoor facility with adequate room providing for a consistent and great environment to video practice.
2. Video editing system with ability to gain instant feedback via live capture and a place to immediately show the video(Wall in the inddor).
3. Capable and trusted video crew.
How do I put these ingredients together to give our players the "immediate" feedback they so desire thusly improving learning and motivation during our workouts?
1. Design your practices(we could utilize this best during our "good vs. good" hull sessions. THis would be Tuesdays and Wednesdays and would include live pass hull and run hull sessions and at least one team session. The trick is organizing your workout (including transitions) to be more gamelike concerning reps and conditioning ( This actually allows for time between "drives"-5-7 plays mini-hulls to review the video just shot quickly projected on the wall of the practice facility. This also allows a brief teaching moment to reinforce good and bad and using the game-like tempo then go to next series or special teams-remember it is as gamelike as possible. This will also increase intensity and competition. THe trick will come in to customizing the modifications for the transitions which will have to be a very well thought out process due to various personnel who will move to perform their job during each phase whether offense/defense/kicking.
2. To increase the intensity have at least 1 coach be the official spotting the ball and whistling in time, etc. Defensive scouts can "tee up" and simulate movements and or blitzes (realistic look).
3. Fewer reps but greater intensity during these "mini-series hulls" will also allow for "scripting" plays into looks. Here is where the video feedback for great teaching is awesome. Take the time after each "series is over with to coach them up on technique, alignment and assignemnt.
4. Transitions- Transitions can be videoed just to grade body posture or reactions to something negative occuring on the field. Special teams transitions are huge too so remember to keep it gamelike go from a "hull series" to special teams segments and vice versa for best results.

A Coaching Retreat?

Gene Stallings

Some notes from the Lamar County and Paris High 'Bama Legend. We were very fortunate that my Mom and Dad are from Paris and coach extended the favor for my Mom Marie Wright. A great big THANK YOU to Coach Gene Stallings from the whole Denison Yellow Jacket Staff!

Philosophy vs. Methodology

I was the sucker on this deal and bit on the bait. "We believe in running the ball"is NOT a philosophy.

Zone defense vs. Man DEFENSE!

Be a technique coach and know always what technique your players are using and you are teaching and why. Everybody is an X and O coach and can win with the pencil last. Develop players that have great fundamental techniques that work for them in your scheme and it makes the game much simpler. The game is blocking, tackling, and some pitching and catching and kicking. Get better at that. Put team emphasis on getting better in good on good live super intense game situations. Zack nailed the "what do I have to give up to play "nickel defense" question. (in reference to the 49'er drive in (the catch" game where Dallas got killed with nickel runs on end hand sweeps and Charlie Waters was in coverage). Coach was merely sharing with us the valuable lesson he learned that day. Great job Zack! The correct answer was that you have to give up a force player for end run plays to put the 5th DB in the game playing "prevent nickel". Coach Stallings also re-emphasized the importance of responsibility football with the example of "forcing" wide plays. "One man to force, one man to play cutback, and one man to play the play action (fooler) pass." He emphasized that as coaches we must reiterate the importance of developing "TRUST' in each others assignments. ie. COACH-"Why are you not playing the cutback like you should? PLAYER-I was getting to the ball coach and we stopped them.COACH-Your job son is to play the cutback. If he cut the ball back you would not have been there to make the play. Do you not trust that your teammate can do his job?PLAYER- Uhhhh..END

What is a Blitz?

This is a great lead question that Coach used to prove a point. Simply put to be effective a defender can fundamentally with great technique and talent defeat a blocker or blockers to make a play on the ball. When struggling to get to the passer or the ball carrier the simplest way to "fix" this is to bring "one more defender than they can block".."that is a blitz". Point made.

  1. Marty Criswell

Coaching Trips as a Staff..Really cool professional development opportunitues..

As a member of the football staff here at Denison I enjoy the opportunity to visit with other caoching staffs in a variety of ways. One obvious way is through various clinics like the THSCA clinic (see Staff Retreat) and a variety of others. Some of the best known to our staff that many of us have attended are the DFW coaches clininc, Glazier Clinics, Lone Star Coaching Clinic, and the FCA Coaching Clinic. A really nice way to learn as a staff is to find a college that will make time for your staff and help you with some new ideas, techniques, and or plays that will be beneficial. I have had the pleasure of visiting Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina in the Spring of 2008 with the Denison offensive coaching staff. We spent three days with them right at the first of Spring Ball (no pads). This was great because we sat in meetings with palyers and heard their coaches reiterate many of the same basic things we tell our kids. It was also special as they were just finished winning their third straight NCAA College Division National Championship and had the historic victory over Michigan that year. We benefitted greatly on this visit where we discovered the beauty of some old single wing power sweep rules (Truck Sweep) that still hold true today and meshed really well with soon to be secret weapon 175lb. center (obviously we knew he would be good at pulls). We also discovered we could put his athleticism to good use in reaching out to the weakside 1 and or 2 technique so as to stretch defenses more and utilize our more athletic linemen who were more capable of runnning and fitting than drive blocking and powering down on people off the ball. We have also had the opportunity this past year to visit the Univesity of Texas. Two great days we had the free run of a meeting room and much of their "cut-ups" to learn their throwing game. Coaches Bobby Kennedy and Greg Davis made themselves very available to talk about routes and concepts. The "two man" game is what coach Davis is famous for going all the way back to his "option route" successes as offensive coordinator over fifteen years ago Tulane. Double out, spots, cube and in are all further concepts that we have benefitted greatly from. We also simplified our play action some by going with the "naked" boot play. The Horns are happy to let Colt McCoy go 2 on 1 in space but we just could not see that being a good idea so we went with part of our old boot rules which tells the backside tacle to leave 1 guy. This does affect how much he can sell play action though. Coach Mack McWhorter shared with us too his offensive line drills and progressions. These were very good for us especiall the pass pro drills.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Coaches retreat versus coaching school?

Just about three years ago I was fortunate enough to join the teaching and coaching staff at Denison High School. Traditionally the Dension coaching staff (like 95+% of all Texas coaching staffs)would attend the THSCA coacning school usually held in July (right before most football staffs return to full time work getting ready for two a days) at one of Texas' fine large cities(Dallas/Fort Worth,Austin,Houston,San Antonio). Rather than continue that trend our head coach ,Cody White, proposed to our staff that we look into using this time to go on a coaches "retreat". The idea was not a completely new one but it was something we all decided was worth a shot. We booked some "cabins" Broken Bow, Oklahoma and arranged our own guest speaker Gene Stallings..

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Perspective of the Pros

This article is a few years old but relevant still to the question of coaches as responsible, ethical role models and leaders. Too often the leadership goes in the wrong direction. Here is a great article from 2008 by FATHER RAYMOND J. DE SOUZA (from the Catholic Education Resource Center) regarding the Super Bowl and the not so likely winners the New York Football Giants.
The football gods have spoken
Now think of yourself being a high school or even a college football coach truly wanting to challenge young men to become not only better players and teammmates but better people. It is definitely a challenging task especially with the aforementioned examples fron the pro players and coaches alike. One can only hope to use this possibly negative information as a good guide of what not to do and how not to be.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Inspiring Story..Fortitude and Perseverance Baby! Texas Community is able to keep coach and is rewarded!

No coach is foolish enought to think that they will always avoid adversity and conflicts. This guy's willingness to hang in there with a few of his "believers" to remain on the job is rewarded with a state chanpionship. No easy feat anywhere especially in Texas!