Coach's Corner: Stinson Dean 10/28

Stinson Dean

By Stinson Dean Assistant Coach MidAmerica Nazarene University
Posted: October 28, 2010 - 3:11 PM

With the advancement of “film” as Brian Spano pointed out in his column a few weeks ago, teams can be more prepared than ever for opponents.


During the course of a week, between coaches and players more than a hundred hours of film will be watched. Around 2007, everyone was switching to DVDs and now the trend is to go online with services such ass where players and coaches can study film from anywhere. Most places, everyone has great resources to get prepared for Friday nights.


I want to focus on what to look for when watching film. My favorite shows on NFL network is when the analysts get on the screen, point things out and really break down plays. Players and coaches do the same thing for hours throughout the week.


For coaches, a weekly schedule looks like this (assuming game is on Friday):


Saturday – Review past game with coaching staff. The coordinators will make sure his position coaches know what to emphasize with their players. Then they watch it again with the players, working each play down to the smallest details. This often takes many hours.


Sunday – Begin breaking down the next opponent. Coaches have endless staff meetings to begin forming a plan to win. Every play has to be broken down into defensive fronts, coverages, blitzes or offensive formations, personnel, run/pass types, results, hashes, yard lines, down & distance, etc…. Everything is scrutinized to find weaknesses and tendencies. Do defenses tend to blitz more once you get into its territory? If the tight end lines up to the sideline, do they run weak or strong? All these variables are quantified into tendencies and give coordinators an idea of what to expect.


Monday – The coaches formulate a game plan on paper after watching a whole lot of film. After initial breakdowns, coaches will watch games as a whole to get a feel for play calls, personnel and the flow of the games.


Tuesday – At this point coaches are focused more on their own team. Maybe some finishing touches on some film break downs, but now the focus is practice planning and teaching the gameplan.


Wednesday – First thing is to watch Tuesday practice, refining the game plan. Take out the plays that didn’t work well and improve on the ones that did. Watching practice is the most important element of film study during the week because it is focusing on your product. You can draw up anything, but execution is what counts.


Thursday – Before Thursday’s practice, coaches must know what the opponent does in “situations.” What does the opponent do in the red zone? On third downs? Backed up to its own end zone? You show your players what you saw on film and they’ll be ready on Friday night for these situations, which win games. Scoring in the red zone, and third downs.


Friday – By Friday, it’s too late. You can watch film to make yourself feel more confident, but all game planning, polishing and study is done. Some coaches use Friday to get a jump-start on the next week’s opponent as well.


As for players, they need to know how to watch film. Different positions watch film their own way. Defensive linemen watch the offensive lineman for weaknesses, strengths, stance and ability. They look at the ‘person.’ Quarterbacks watch the defense as a whole. When the safetys are lined up outside the hashes, it means this coverage is coming, or when the ‘Will’ linebacker is bossed inside the box it means that blitz is coming.


Defensive backs are looking at wideout’s releases. Do they fire off hard on run plays? If the outside wide out lines up on the ball, what routes does he run? What route combinations do they run out of each formation? Defensive backs have to look at personnel and scheme.


Players have to know what specific ‘looks’ to focus as prescribed by their coaches. The coaches have to teach the players how to watch film to make it worth their time. 

Overall, with the resources available to players and coaches, there is no reason they aren’t completely prepared for what a team will bring on Friday night. The only way to play fast is to know exactly what you’re doing and what you’re doing it against.