Thursday, September 20, 2018

Full Gear Football

I've been busy. Busy helping coach an awesome group of 7th graders.  Naturally, my background playing on the O line is lending itself to coaching the line. This is my second season of coaching; commensurate with my son starting to play tackle football. 

He actually got a couple of year jump on me. I didn't start seriously playing football until 8th grade. I did play earlier on, but in those days the rules for bigger players were different. Instead of "striping" the players where you limit the positions the bigger guys can play. I was moved up into an age group according to my weight. For me that meant I was a 4th grader playing with the 7th graders. Not only was I physically not there with the other kids being as big, but stronger/more developed, there was a gap in the playing mentality. Anyhow, more on this another time.

This year's team is pretty good with only one loss. That loss was our first game of the season and could easily be written off as we didn't have our special teams technique installed fully. The opponent scored on a punt return and a kickoff return. Since then our guys have played hard and been fortunate enough to outmatch the other five teams. 

Our biggest challenge was this past Tuesday. We took on one of the undefeated teams on our home turf. Right away we had some adversity with having played just that Saturday. The opponent didn't play so they had the advantage of being rested. We were operating on one day of rest and one day of practice. The first practice after a game is typically less than stellar as we're just regrouping. Still we pushed on. 

This team was quite physical and quite good. Their quarterback had the best arm we've seen all season and they had quality wide receivers and backs. Still, our defense ruled the day. We had the stamina and tenacity. Most importantly; we played smart. 

Being an "O" line guy the term "smart defense" is a little of an oxymoron at times, but our guys played their assigned roles and adjusted. We were eventually getting some shots in on the QB from the D-line, keeping the ball from going outside and found ourselves in position to make two or three interceptions. Still there was some adversity with a missed call or two and our guys playing at that high level of emotion that made stopping at the whistle a challenge at times.

This was also a tough challenge on offense. Playing tough teams, while more exhilarating, can be very frustrating on the offensive side of the ball. Blocking is tougher and it can be hard to get the ball going. The key is to develop rhythm and have an O line and backs that are willing and able to "pound" at the defense. Get them tired. Run enough misdirection and such that their heads get tired along with their bodies. Avoid turnovers and penalties. Create lateral movement and flow. Again, rythm and pace are essential. My O line may be tired, but they become okay with that discomfort. Things become more reactive, more automatic. 

Eventually that seeming wall of bodies develops some cracks and the yards start coming and the big plays start happening. It's an amazing thing to watch the adversity brought by a solid defense be overcome. We were able to get at them enough to put the ball in the end-zone three times. Here's one of those big play runs. Our running backs are quick and smart. They find seams. One cut and go!

At the end of the day the score ended up being 18-6. Their score came after a big special teams play for them (there'll always be something to work on). We are a little more tired and a little more sore than some of the games, but more satisfied in knowing that we gave it our hardest-best effort; putting ourselves in the position to win.

No comments:

Post a Comment