Spread'Em and Shred'Em

Spread'Em and Shred'Em.Com- Dedicated to the Air Raid Offense

 

SMALL SCHOOL AIR RAID ...

The Sting of The Hornets

 

by  Neil Weiner

Head Football Coach

Catholic High of Pointe Coupee

New Roads, LA

 

It is a privilege to be able share part of our program with others, since we can’t take credit for everything we do, but have used ideas from others to best fit our program.  Following our 2005 season, and losing Offensive Coordinators two years in a row to the Head Coaching ranks, we made a decision committing to throwing the football.  We had used “Spread” principles as a part of our two previous systems, but we weren’t a “Spread” team.

 
 

The old saying is true, that, “If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”  I decided I was going to take over play-calling duties and as a staff we were going to sell-out to the Tony Franklin System.  I spoke with Tony at length over the phone, voicing my concerns about the practice time and depth needed to successfully install his brand of the “Air-Raid” offense.  He assured me if, we were willing to coach as hard as we could it would be the best thing we ever did.  He even offered to refund my money if I wasn’t satisfied with his services.

 

We installed the offense one week before our Spring Practice began in May, and never looked back.  We went from 3-7 (2004) to 4-6 (2005), made the switch to the Tony Franklin System and went10-0 and District Champions (2006).  This past year we went undefeated in District play and won back-to-back championships.

 

Our school, Catholic High of Pointe Coupee, located in New Roads, LA (population under 4,000), has 197 students in Grades Nine through Twelve.  This year’s squad dressed out 38 players.  We participate in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association in Class 1A (smallest football division).

 

Offensive Package

We use as a part of our offensive package: 7 Drop-back (3-step from the “gun”) routes, 6 Quick game (1-step or no-steps from the “gun”), 5 Screens, and a wide variety of run plays (Zone Read, Counter/Power/GT, Veer Option, and the popular “Spin” offense).

 

“Platooning”

We feel that our best football players must play, meaning sometimes a player may need to start on both sides of the ball.  However, when possible, we like to “start” as many different players as possible.  For example, in 2006 we were able to limit our two-way starters to only 3 players, while in 2007 we had 3 players limited to only offense.

Because of our platoon philosophy we must practice both Offense and Defense on both days with portions of our practice devoted entirely to one side of the ball, or the other.

 

Practice Organization

The following are percentages of time spent each day on Offense and Defense:

Monday – 60% Offense, 40% Defense

Tuesday – 80% Offense, 20% Defense

Wednesday – 25% Offense, 75% Defense

Thursday – Game Simulation/Walk-through

The following is a list of practice segments for each day on Offense:

 

Monday

Settle and Noose

Pat and Go

Mesh Drill

Routes on Air

Run Game Review

Team Screen versus barrels

Team Script: Openers, Coming off, 3rd and Short

 

Tuesday

Settle and Noose

Pat and Go

Individual

Mesh Drill

Routes on Air

Run Game – Inside Drill

11 on 11 Pass-Under-Pressure

Team Screen versus Scout Team

Team Script: Openers, (-5 to -20), 3rd and Medium

 

Wednesday

Settle and Noose

Pat and Go

Mesh Drill

Routes on Air

Team Script: Red Zone, Goal Line, 3rd and Long

 

“Numbers” problems

 

The traditional “Air Raid” offense uses their “Routes On Air” Drill as a staple in practicing route packages.  The drill calls for five Quarterbacks lined up almost “shoulder-to-shoulder” throwing to the five eligible receivers in the pattern.  As many small school programs probably know, having five quarterbacks on a team of less than forty players is a rare thing.  So to keep all five receivers in the drill, we asked two of our assistant coaches to rotate in with the Quarterbacks.  So, our coaches rotate along with the QB’s so that they can throw each part of the progression throughout the drill.

 

One concern we had going in to our first year with the system was the ability to install our entire package while having players spend time on both sides of the ball.  In other words, can our players remember their plays?  Using the Tony Franklin System wristband technology, our problems were erased.  Players have an individualized wristband insert, so that only their assignment is on the wristband.  This allowed us to not only install our entire package but we were able to interchange personnel and positions through the course of a game if injury would occur.  For instance, in one game our starting Strong Safety, was bale to fill in on offense at X, H, and F positions, without ever having to learn what each player does on each route.

 

Another issue was conditioning.  With most of our squad playing both offense and defense, would we be able to effectively run a “No-Huddle” offense and still be strong in the Fourth Quarter?  Our practice tempo enabled us to practice for a full two hours without having to “waste” 15 minutes at the beginning of practice on stretching and 15 minutes at the end of practice running conditioning drills.  We used our “Settle and Noose” and “Pat and Go” drills to warm-up and still coach the fundamentals and individual techniques needed in our passing game.  Our up-tempo style of play is even sped-up during practice, so we “condition” while running our ROA Drills along with our Team Scripts.

 

Final Thoughts

 

The last four years turning the program around has been very rewarding for our staff.  Once we “sold-out” to the spread two seasons ago, we really started to have some fun, which is spelled “W-I-N” in the world of football coaching.  Is the “spread offense” the answer for you?  Is it the best offense to run?  I don’t know.  It was for us, because it is what got our staff the most excited.  We have other offenses in our state that are very successful “option” teams, while there is plenty teams lighting up scoreboards running the Wing-T.  I think we all agree that the offense that works best is the one that you and your staff can get excited about enough that you don’t get bored coaching the small things.

 

You can contact me with any questions you may have by emailing me at nweiner@catholicpc.com.

 

Neil Weiner

Head Football Coach

Catholic High of Pointe Coupee

New Roads, LA