Football OC 101
Lately I've been finding myself diving into the strategies and philosophies of offensive play calling for certain football styles. One thing remained relevant no matter what offense you were looking at - play calling.
Looking over playbooks and call sheets, a few things stuck out that I would enjoy diving further into with others that have more knowledge than I.
Base Runs & Passes: What constitutes a base run or pass? When I think of base, I think of the groundwork of everything else. If I was a Power Running team, this would be the Power O perhaps. But that doesn't mean that every Power O is the base running play. So then how would you best define these base plays and utilize them effectively?
You look at ISU and it's no surprise that the PA Read is the base play(maybe I'm wrong here too though). But as shown by Arnaud on Chalk Talk, there could be various zone reads/blocking that either end in a hand off to the RB, QB, or passing for a screen or possible longer down the field.
So does a base play just set the tone for the current drive - being either Run or Pass?
Also, how about Nickle plays (plays against a passing defense). Are we looking at plays that stretch the defense and open up running lanes/passing lanes? My uneducated guess is you could have two dive plays. One in a simple two TE set, the other in a Trips. The trips would become your Nickle play against a pass defense, stretching the field.....
Lastly, how do you define your play calling in a Redzone +15 yard situation versus a play call on the 25 yard line? I understand the limited space to run a Verticle play, etc., but would one run play work in both situations. Even some pass plays? Yet I see everyone is clear to define what plays work "better" in these longer Redzone situations and so and so forth as you get closer to the endzone. So what constitutes a better play to be listed as a Redzone play versus one that's not?
I hope this opens up some great football talk as well as it seemed the chalk talk got some great feedback.
If it helps, I'm been really studying the WCO lately, but have also studied the RnS and Power Run games.
Re: Football OC 101
In my mind, a "base play" is one that you can execute well enough to get 3-5 yards every time you run it when the defense is playing relatively straight up. It will relate to your offensive identity (run vs pass, power vs speed, etc). Basically we tell the other team "This is what we're going to run, and you have to stop it." If the defense doesn't adjust, you end up grinding out drives, eating clock and scoring points. Once the defense adjusts to take away your base stuff, then you start to throw in the constraint plays - things that look like the base play for 1 - 2 steps, but turn into something else. Think counters, the zone read screen pass Austin outlined, play action. It doesn't have to be "gimmick" stuff like flea-flickers or double reverses. Just something that forces the defense to stay home a second longer against your base plays so you can get back to grinding.
Your base plays could be power running from a double-tight I formation (power, iso, trap, dive), or they could be short crossing patterns out of a 2x2 single back formation (slants, curls, outs and seams). For the power rushing offense, you pound until they stack the box and then hit them with a play action for big yardage. For the ball-control passing offense, you throw the short/intermediate routes and when the secondary starts jumping the routes you run a double move with the QB giving a pump fake. Hitting on a big play will force the defense back towards their base sets, which should allow you to reestablish your base offense.
As far as formation is concerned, you can run one play out of a bunch of different formations, using the formation to dictate how the defense plays. That's part of the thought behind the "spread" - get the defense spread across the entire field and put 3 - 5 legitimate receivers on the field to force the defense to cover more ground with more defensive backs. If they do that, then you can run easier. If they don't, then you pass on them. Of course this assumes that your offensive line can compete with or beat their defensive front. If the defense has four all-american linemen, it's hard to get anything to work regardless of what you do.
For redzone playcalling, I think the compressed field forces the offense to choose either quick hitting plays or stuff with more misdirection. Since the same number of players are covering a much smaller area, you need to either get to the open parts of the field fast, or try to open those windows by getting everyone to take 2 steps in the wrong direction before pursuing.
Re: Football OC 101
Just do what works in a video game.
Re: Football OC 101
Thanks for the feedback! This has made watching football even that much more enjoyable. This weekend, between high school, college, and pro, I've been watching more closely to what and how teams execute their offense. Which formations and plays out of those formations they're running depending on the situations.
So it sounds with "base", not only do you have the particular plays, but then also those formations. Your base could be I-right, with up the gut base running plays and quick slants or curls for pass plays. Once the defense adjusts, you run a hitch and go, or stretch or toss play from the same base formation.
It would be interesting to sit down and work through someone's game plan and see how they implement that into a game. Looking at the ISU game this past weekend, it didn't seem we really could execute a game plan until the fourth quarter when we finally had a sustained drive.