American football: ask a coach! Page 2

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  • DAL9000 1 Aug 2008 08:57:30 72 posts
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    So, how DOES a play start? There are three phases of activity between plays:

    1) Playcalling. During this phase, each team's defensive or offensive coordinator chooses a play and signals his choice to a key player on his team. Each team then gathers briefly while the player passes on the word about what play's been called -- this gathering is called a huddle -- and, once the play has been called, the team breaks the huddle and takes up the appropriate positions.

    2) Pre-snap reads. Once both teams are in formation for the coming play, the quarterback looks at the defense to try to figure out what it will most likely be doing, and how that will affect the play called by the offense. This is called "reading the defense," and, because it's done before the ball is snapped (more on that in a second), we say that the quarterback is making a pre-snap read.

    Notice, though, that I said there are pre-snap /reads/, plural, going on. This is because, depending on the offensive system, several offensive players may also be assessing the defense and determining changes that need to be made to their plans. Moreover, at least one defensive player is charged with reading the OFFENSIVE formation and figuring out what, if any, adjustments the DEFENSE need to make.

    Finally, if either the quarterback or the key defensive player determines that the play called in the huddle is completely borked, he can change to a new play by calling an audible -- a pre-arranged verbal signal that tells his teammates to run a specific different play.

    But all too soon, it's time to run the actual play itself, which brings us to...

    Phase 3: the snap. One of the offensive linemen, called the center, is always lined up directly over the football. The quarterback, moreover, is lined up directly behind the center; it's the center's job to get the football off the ground and into the quarterback's hands.

    So, when it's time for the play to start, the quarterback signals to the center, and the center either hands the ball to the quarterback (if the quarterback is only a foot or two behind him) or throws it back to him (if the quarterback is several yards deep). In either case, this requires the center to make a very abrupt, violent movement of his hand to get the ball from Point A to Point B -- a sort of snapping motion, which is why, when the center puts the ball in play, it's called the snap.

    Aaaaand now the play itself has, at long, LONG last, started.
  • MrSensible 1 Aug 2008 09:10:50 25,070 posts
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    Yeah the tackles look brutal. It seems to hurt them enough with the padding!
  • speedofthepuma 1 Aug 2008 09:11:05 13,293 posts
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    All threads should be this good.

    Some kind of ownership of threads could happen, and if the OP doesn't keep up they get banned, or Killed, or something.

    I lurk. If I've spoken to you, I'm either impassioned, or drunk.

  • StarchildHypocrethes 1 Aug 2008 09:16:03 25,942 posts
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    What is the reasoning behind limiting the types of plays that can be reviewed by a coaches challenge? It seems one of the most insensical and frustrating rules there are.
  • DAL9000 1 Aug 2008 09:45:06 72 posts
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    Clive Dunn wrote:
    Can you explain the difference between a one gap and two gap defensive scheme on the DL ?

    Sort of. I can tell you what they ARE. I can't tell you what different techniques the defensive linemen should be using in each case, or what drills and/or teaching points can be used to effectively learn one or the other.

    Now's probably a good time to repeat my disclaimer from the beginning of this thread: I am not in any way an expert on football or football coaching, and you shouldn't take my word as gospel. Do I know more about it than the average person reading this thread? Well, yeah. But I'm the least knowledgeable member of my high school's coaching staff; on a 1 to 10 scale of coaching knowledge, I'm emphatically a 1. Vince Lombardi, I ain't.

    But, yes, I can explain the difference. It is, however, 1:15 in the morning; I'm going to bed. Hopefully, I'll have time to put an explanation up before I head out in the morning. If, on the other hand, I find I can't sleep, I'll be back here in a couple hours drawing up diagrams for you.

    In the meantime, here's the short version: a "gap," in football language, refers to the space between an offensive lineman and the player next to him. So, the space between the center and the right guard would be a gap. So would the space between the right guard and the right tackle. Aaaand so would the space between that tackle and the nearest wide receiver -- a rather larger gap than any of the others, obviously:

    WR....o.....T.o.G.o.C.o.G.o.T......o....WR

    where each "o" represents a gap. Please note, however, that the outside gaps begin where the tackle's body stops; I just put the o's in a roughly central position in each case 'cause that looked good.

    Now, why does the defense care about these gaps? They care because these gaps are what running plays are -- for lack of a better word -- aimed at, which is why the defense has to cover them. And the first choice to cover a gap is naturally going to be the player who's closest to it -- which will always (well, almost always) be a defensive lineman.

    The question is how /many/ gaps you can ask each of your D-linemen to cover.

    In a two-gap system, you tell a defensive lineman: "You're responsible for TWO of these gaps. In the event of a run play, you have to figure out whether the play is headed left or right, go to your gap on that side of the field, and disrupt the play."

    In a one-gap system, you tell the lineman: "You're responsible for one particular gap. On every single play, I want you to attack it aggressively -- I want you to OWN that gap, to do your damnedest to be in the gap every time so they can't even THINK about running the ball towards you."

    Obviously, the one-gap system has a huge advantage: simplicity. But there are a couple of key disadvantages, too -- most notably, if you have X defensive linemen, but there are X + 3 gaps to cover, guess what? Those three extra gaps still need someone to watch over them. So you end up either having to:

    1) defend the extra gaps with linebackers or safeties (which keeps these vital defensive players from doing other and possibly more productive things with their time);
    or 2) choose to leave one or more gaps undefended.

    That said, the two-gap system has its own problems. Also it's been 25 minutes since I claimed I was going to bed, so... I really AM going to bed now.

    Also-/also/? It's painfully obvious that I'm REALLY bad at giving short answers.
  • DAL9000 1 Aug 2008 10:07:58 72 posts
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    thefilthandthefury wrote:
    Yeah the tackles look brutal. It seems to hurt them enough with the padding!

    Awright, one last post before I go to bed. No, really. I really mean it this time.

    Ahem.

    "Aw, yeah, the violence is awesome. That's the best part." -- Mike Leach, mild-mannered Mormon (also head football coach of Texas Tech University).

    aaand:

    "'Thinking man's football' is a bit like 'classy stripper:' if the adjective modifies the noun too energetically, it undermines the nature of the thing." -Michael Lewis, author of Liar's Poker, The Blind Side, aaaaaand the article where you can find the happy conjunction of these two quotes.

    I bring this up for two reasons: first, to say that those of you who are thinking about getting Madden might consider reading this article and getting NCAA 09 instead, to poke around at the many different (and very fun!) offenses that exist at the college level but not the NFL, including Leach's particular brand of offensive craziness down at Texas Tech. (New Mexico State also runs the system, which is called the Air Raid. But trust me when I say that Texas Tech is about 8,520,000 times better.)

    And reason #2? Mike Leach is right! The violence really IS the best part. Nothing gets the blood pumping on cold October nights like seeing some poor hapless S.O.B. get absolutely leveled. If you're ever in the US during football season, I STRONGLY urge you to go watch a college or high school game in person -- it's a hell of an experience.
  • StarchildHypocrethes 1 Aug 2008 10:09:41 25,942 posts
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    If only we could get NCAA...if only we could.

    /curses EA and their European releases
  • otto Moderator 1 Aug 2008 10:37:17 49,320 posts
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    This thread is fantastic. I *heart* DAL9000!

    say no to Eurogamer sigs

  • Salaman 1 Aug 2008 10:37:19 19,140 posts
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    The one thing I'd like to know is why Madden is allowed to comment on any game at all.
    I bought Madden 0somethign on the PSP and Madden 0somethingelse on the Wii and they're both great games but Madden's commentary is VERY annoying and actually detracts from the enjoyment.
    The man sounds like Boris Yeltsin by 10:30 pm. Very sloshed. he then jabbers on with some nonsense stuff and a lot of times just spouts the most obvious, not insightful, not funny stuff.
    WTF!?
    Why?
    How come he wasn't banned from the commentary booth the first time he went in there?

  • StarchildHypocrethes 1 Aug 2008 10:39:10 25,942 posts
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    Think of him like John Motson (although that might not mean much to you Sal :) ). He's an institution and no matter how useless, senile or annoying he becomes, no-one will ever dare to cut him off.
  • otto Moderator 1 Aug 2008 10:39:10 49,320 posts
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    He's an institution, like Mottie. Good commentary doesn't come into it, he *has* to be there otherwise it's not American football.

    say no to Eurogamer sigs

  • StarchildHypocrethes 1 Aug 2008 10:39:36 25,942 posts
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    JINX! :o
  • otto Moderator 1 Aug 2008 10:39:37 49,320 posts
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    Starch you shitbag! >;p

    say no to Eurogamer sigs

  • StarchildHypocrethes 1 Aug 2008 10:40:01 25,942 posts
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    \o/ :D
  • MrSensible 1 Aug 2008 10:41:29 25,070 posts
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    Go long!
  • Clive_Dunn 1 Aug 2008 11:06:58 4,780 posts
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    Unless you went to the Giants / Dolphins snorefest in Wembley last year....
  • StarchildHypocrethes 1 Aug 2008 11:12:44 25,942 posts
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  • StarchildHypocrethes 1 Aug 2008 11:22:52 25,942 posts
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    Very true :(

    Hopefully if they can sort the pitch out and the weather holds off, this years should be a bit of a belter.
  • Stickman 1 Aug 2008 11:54:01 29,666 posts
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    Why is David Carr shit? Why have the last three versions of Madden been shit? Why was this year's draft shit? Does the QB sometimes put his finger up the centre's poohole? Is he really calling him a Hutt because he's so fat?

    THIS SPACE FOR RENT

  • StarchildHypocrethes 1 Aug 2008 11:59:06 25,942 posts
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    Hehe, poor old David Carr.

    I think he just started suffering from post traumatic stress after his first couple of seasons at Texas, where it seemed every down led to a lineman or linebacker having a free run at him.

    He had talent but I do think that damaged him. Always quite fancied the Dolphins trying to trade for him and give him a shot. Not any more though.
  • StarchildHypocrethes 1 Aug 2008 11:59:39 25,942 posts
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    The new Madden sounds quite good nin the previews I've read.

    However, that has been the case for every 360 version so far...
  • JYM60 1 Aug 2008 16:47:33 16,832 posts
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    I'd like a bit of an explanation on laterals. You can, like in rugby throw behind at an time. Right? Assuming this is the correct, why isn't it used more? I've only seen it used on 4th quarter kick returns really. Surely it could be useful to use it more often.

    Also. Can you fake fumble, and does this happen often? I mean dropping the ball on purpose so a teammate can pick it up and continue the play. I think I maybe seen this before, any rule on it?

    [8/10] http://www.youtube.com/lllBetterThanHalolll

  • StarchildHypocrethes 1 Aug 2008 16:53:10 25,942 posts
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    The lateral isn't used that often purely due to the risk involved. As the game is based around trying to gain 10yds each time with only (usually) 3 attempts, if you passed backwards and then got tackled, you'd whack a huge hunk of yardage on top of the required 10.

    No you can't fake a fumble. If the refs believe it to be intentional the will review, then overturn the play if confirmed. his is more likely to happen if you fumble it forward.
  • DAL9000 1 Aug 2008 21:48:07 72 posts
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    StarchildHypocrethes wrote:
    What is the reasoning behind limiting the types of plays that can be reviewed by a coaches challenge? It seems one of the most insensical and frustrating rules there are.

    Actually, I don't have the faintest clue. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that the intention is to make sure that only the most vital, game-changing plays will be challenged. But that's only a guess, and I could very well be wrong -- for the ways of the Rules Committee are inscrutable to mortals such as we.

    @all the folks who said nice things about this thread: Thanks! You've pumped my ego up like Hans und Franz!

    I'll put a couple more posts up shortly, the first one finishing my thoughts on one-gap versus two-gap, and the second one expanding a bit on Starchild's /very/ perceptive answer to the question above re. laterals. But I know that you'll be cold -- so very cold -- without the warm light of my presence to sustain and guide you, so I'm leaving you a gift before I git to workin' on them posts.

    The gift's for all of you, but it's ESPECIALLY for Salaman, because this gift... is the authentic, on-air wisdom of John Madden.

    "Here's a guy who, when he runs..." Here Madden pauses for a half-beat, then continues, GENUINELY EXCITED. "... he goes faster!"

    That's quality announcing right there, folks.
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