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terrypjohnson
(@terrypjohnson)
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Head Coach
September 5, 2020 8:11 pm  

Good evening everyone:

I hope that everyone is safe and that every who's playing is off to a great start.

I've seen a lot of talk out here about Mega Splits. I've even made jokes about it (e.g. that's how my team would social distance).

However, I'm still struggling to figure out why I would want to use Mega Splits. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's effective (in the joke above Coach @mahonz even mentioned that it did cure several ills). But, in my first season as coach, I got taken to school in a scrimmage because we kept getting beat through the gaps. I went shoe-to-shoe from that moment forward and haven't turned back.

Aside from wider holes for the backs to run through, what advantage(s) would I gain for my 8U team by going to Mega Splits?

Thank you in advance for the knowledge transfer!

Coach Terry

 

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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September 5, 2020 9:39 pm  

To answer your question .....Maybe none...maybe some....maybe a ton. 8u might be a bit aggressive plus you really cant use Sloths on the OL. Some of the better athletics with some ass have played OL for us...and still do in HS. 

YET...if you can formulate a plan your Backs will have a field day. Cant really say why EXACTLY....just the way it is. Spread the Box is the only thing that makes sense. 

BUT...a lot has to go into that formula. The Backs must have some vision and the OL must understand their Rules now more than ever. Any hesitation, false step or wrong step....its bad right away. When this happens foot to foot you are basically bumping butt cheeks. In mega splits you are getting your Back destroyed. 

What I thought would be an issue that went away rather quickly is identifying your man to block using mega splits. Its now clear as day for your blockers...for the most part. None of this...if a defender is shading or if a defender over loads or fans or pinches or if you are front-side do this...back-side do that other thing. Its all the same. Why is this important? Your OLM now become fully interchangeable. Move a kid from ROT to LOG....give him 5 reps....done. 

Plus it promotes climbing. Youth teams suck at climbing so youth Linebackers run wild. That ends after a season of training up your Bigs....if you coach the same team for a while you will reap the rewards. Coach them long enough and once they start to grow a little hair on their balls...you are a climbing machine. 

There is certainly a Sphincter Phactor involved here for the Coaches. I suggest putting in a very simple Beast Blast play with mega splits....run it in a game...see what happens. Get it on film and see for yourself. 

My first mega splits experience in a game was a disaster for the first half. We used a rhythmic cadence in our Wing T....an O that is wider splits friendly.   LB'rs times us up and destroyed us. So at the half we reviewed Beast with a first sound cadence and Wha-la. We crushed it. 

So even your cadence has to be part of the formula. 

Hope this helps get the hamster running on the wheel for you. 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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September 5, 2020 10:49 pm  
Posted by: @terrypjohnson

in my first season as coach, I got taken to school in a scrimmage because we kept getting beat through the gaps. I went shoe-to-shoe from that moment forward and haven't turned back 

Which is a great reason to stay foot-to-foot.

A large part of having success in youth coaching is simply eliminating what you don't do well.  You don't have to have a great team.  You don't even need to have good talent.  If you simply fix your own problems, you will inherit victories against the majority of teams on your schedule whose coaching staffs that can't get out of their own way.

TPJ, it sounds like you fixed your problem and are now wanting to fiddle with something that isn't broke.  I'd worry more about just fixing your next problem.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
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Posts: 4152
September 6, 2020 12:37 am  

Wider holes for the backs to run through is one perk. More "holes" to choose from is a bigger perk. Chaos is yet another. Think of how the US Military owns the night. They practice what they do in the dark all the time so that it affects them less than the enemy. That's us. We practice in chaos all the time so it affects us less than our opponents. 

Given all the hard lessons that had to be learned to run mega splits successfully, I frankly don't know why anyone would switch to it. Once you've figured out how to recognize and remediate 75% of the obvious problems that come with mega splits, I don't know why anyone would do anything else. Mahonz, Lonnie and I see a kick return from scrimmage on a good play. For us, the opposing team will kick to our best back so that he fields it cleanly maybe once every 3 games or so. When that happens, we like our chances. So we try to make that happen on every snap.

So how do we deal with defenders running through our giant splits?

a) we work very hard on identifying our man.

b) we work very hard on moving into our man's way.

c) we have a contingency plan for a defender who is successful at getting upfield because we weren't 100% effective at getting in his way. We call it "drinking from the fire hose" aka "take him where he wants to go with bad intentions in our heart"

d) we have an emergency plan for when we absolutely get smoked by our man because we failed miserably at getting in his way. Meet him at the ball with bad intentions in our heart.

e) we have "help" calls. Not a double team by a long shot, but giving a buddy just enough help to get his guy under control

f) we work very, very VERY hard on our communication, which I think is the "secret sauce" for mega splits.

Unless you have OCD and MUST run mega splits to keep the spiders at bay, I'd recommend working on getting your o-line communicating in the blocking schemes you are already comfortable with. 

This post was modified 2 months ago by gumby_in_co

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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terrypjohnson
(@terrypjohnson)
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September 6, 2020 9:17 am  
Posted by: @coachdp
Posted by: @terrypjohnson

in my first season as coach, I got taken to school in a scrimmage because we kept getting beat through the gaps. I went shoe-to-shoe from that moment forward and haven't turned back 

Which is a great reason to stay foot-to-foot.

A large part of having success in youth coaching is simply eliminating what you don't do well.  You don't have to have a great team.  You don't even need to have good talent.  If you simply fix your own problems, you will inherit victories against the majority of teams on your schedule whose coaching staffs that can't get out of their own way.

TPJ, it sounds like you fixed your problem and are now wanting to fiddle with something that isn't broke.  I'd worry more about just fixing your next problem.

--Dave

This is more of a "prepare for anything you might see that's different, understand why they're doing what they're doing" question. I know what three teams (technically four since I'll be coaching against my assistants in one game), but two guys are completely new to the league and I have no idea what they might run. I remembered that there were at least two coaches in this room that succeeded with it in the past. I was trying to get an idea for why they would do it and what they were trying to get me to do when they line up that way.

In other words, I was trying to make sure that I didn't "put a cornerback out to cover a receiver with no arms"-type of mistake that we talked about in a different thread 🙂

 

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
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September 6, 2020 9:38 am  
Posted by: @terrypjohnson

I was trying to get an idea for why they would do it and what they were trying to get me to do when they line up that way.

 

I am trying to get your defenders to spread out with us, exposing your less athletic defenders to play in space. DP has said many times that he would refuse to do that. Not one coach has ever taken that approach with us in 9 seasons. If they did, I believe we can take a leverage advantage. I would try to run the ball where the defenders aren't (in this case the edges) and I believe the defenders would have to run through our blockers to get to the ball. 

The most common thing we've seen is defenses stacking up the short side of our unbalanced formations. A handful of times, we'd see a defense stacked up inside our TEs. I don't think this was due to teams refusing to accommodate us, but rather the usual youth football poor alignment issue.

If I were trying to stop a good mega splits team, I would slow play them. Aside from my force defenders, I would discourage penetration. In IT Security, there's a term called "honey pot", which refers to a "bait system". Lure the bad guy in and burn him. That's what often happens when a defender penetrates into our backfield. They miss the RB by inches and within 2 steps, he is 4-5 yards out of the play. I'd work on 2nd level defenders meeting the ball at the LOS because that tends to make backs' job of blocking harder.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Joined: 10 years ago
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North Carolina
High School
September 6, 2020 10:11 am  
 Posted by: @terrypjohnson
 
This is more of a "prepare for anything you might see that's different, understand why they're doing what they're doing" question.
 
--Yeah, I remember a story about a doctor who was researching, and trying to "understand."  It was called, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."  It didn't end well.  
 
--What they're doing is giving you big splits, thinking that you have some sort of obligation to mirror what they do, so it will allow them to do what they want to do.  It's akin to putting 10 offensive players in a tight cluster, about 12-inches from the sideline while their best athlete with the ball is 40 yards on the other side of the field.  They're betting that you're going to stick 10 defenders on their cluster, leaving you with one tackler to deal with their best player, in the open field.  And the funny thing is, DCs WILL DO IT!  I see it every week.  And if that doesn't sound like a recipe for disaster for the defensive coach, I don't know what does.  But there are smarter DCs out there.  And in that ONE game that you play, that ONE smart DC won't fall for it.  Then what do you do?  In a Single Wing/Double Wing approach, (like The Rock said) "It doesn't matter what they do." 
 
I know what three teams (technically four since I'll be coaching against my assistants in one game), but two guys are completely new to the league and I have no idea what they might run.
 
--Well if they use big splits, then look at it as the gift that it is.
 
I remembered that there were at least two coaches in this room that succeeded with it in the past.
 
--Oh, you can succeed with ANYTHING if you a) Have the athletes, or b) Play low level competition.  Or, you may have a Mike & Lar Show in town where they've been around so long, they can get something to work well, even when they can't explain why it works. 
 
I was trying to get an idea for why they would do it and what they were trying to get me to do when they line up that way.
 
--I can't understand why some coaches put a wideout beyond the QB's capability and still throw to him, and yet some will do it.  I don't need to understand it.  I'll just take advantage of it.
 
In other words, I was trying to make sure that I didn't "put a cornerback out to cover a receiver with no arms"-type of mistake that we talked about in a different thread
 
--Then don't.  If he's flanked out so far that the QB can't get it to him, then there's no need to cover him.  And when I say "QB can't get it to him" I don't just mean being able to throw that far; I mean being able to get it there quickly enough.  Most receivers at the youth level don't catch footballs on the run with their back to the QB.  They run a "pattern," turn, stop and.........wait.  Then, here comes the punt.  I mean the...pass.  (It just looks like a punt.)  My Safety from 10 yards away has time to cover that.  And if they DO have that special QB and WR that can actually make plays (and some teams do), then will that QB also be able to complete that pass under pressure while on the run?  And how effective is he after that first hit?  Because if he's not under Center, then he's an unprotected target.  And if he's under Center, he'll never have the time.  And if your defense attacks their backfield in their passing lane (yes, singular.  That 10-year old QB isn't throwing bombs, speed outs, screens and drags successfully, unless the defense is simply pitiful) then the QB's having to throw the ball OVER defenders because the ball won't go THROUGH them.  Want to have fun?  Put an edge rusher 1 yard outside the QB's backside protector.  Even if he gets to the QB late, the QB's going to know there's pressure there.  And so will his header.  Then see if the backside protector splits further out, in order to reach him.  If they don't adjust, the QB knows that pressure is coming every play.  If they do adjust by setting up the protector so he can reach your edge guy (which is what Spread Guys do because they believe in widening), the unforeseen blitz (FROM A DEFENDER EVEN CLOSER TO THE QB THAN THE EDGE RUSHER WAS AT) will now be able to come through that widened gap, will take their QB out of his shoes.  That's why we don't change our defense to "adjust" to their offense.  We're too busy watching offenses adjust to our defense.
 
--Dave

 

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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September 6, 2020 11:41 am  
Posted by: @terrypjohnson

--Oh, you can succeed with ANYTHING if you a) Have the athletes, or b) Play low level competition.  Or, you may have a Mike & Lar Show in town where they've been around so long, they can get something to work well, even when they can't explain why it works. 

Correction...exactly why it works. Its a culmination of many things. No one definitive answer....like many things.  If this then that....if that then this or maybe none of the above. The simple answer is....it spreads the box. Every Defense has their Rules of Alignments as a base. It changes the dynamics of that base regardless. You trust your 44 D. A really good D to trust. But you still play Force Contain Alley while controlling gaps in some form. It all still applies regardless of formation. If you change up on one dynamic you are exposing another...less covering a WR that is beyond the limits of the QB of course. 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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North Carolina
High School
September 6, 2020 11:52 am  
Posted by: @mahonz

Correction...exactly why it works.

--Noted and agree.

The simple answer is....it spreads the box.

--Yes.  I get it.  I see it all the time.  We run Tony Franklin's Spread at my high school.  (The same Tony Franklin who got pounded by Army yesterday, 42-0.)  I watch our offense spread the field.  And I watch opponents try to defend us the same way.  So, yes indeed it works.  Just like in losing a gunfight when you're willing to give their offense not only the bullet, but the gun, cock the hammer and then hand over the gun, or you can play against a team that knows how to really run the football.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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ZACH
 ZACH
(@bucksweep58)
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Posts: 9395
Coach
September 6, 2020 12:39 pm  

Here's my experience: 

If the ball hits the Los fast from under enter wide splits are great. 

If your oline is quick out of their stance it's great. 

If you use a direct snap pistol/ gun their great. 

 

If any of the three previous is not accomplished you'll get mauled. 

That's why we start at a foot and begin to expand the splits to build a comfort level. Michael never agreed with me on that however that's the only way so far I've found sustained success in them.

I can explain it to you, I can't understand if for you.


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terrypjohnson
(@terrypjohnson)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 282
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Head Coach
September 6, 2020 1:13 pm  
Posted by: @coachdp
 Posted by: @terrypjohnson
 
This is more of a "prepare for anything you might see that's different, understand why they're doing what they're doing" question.
 
--Yeah, I remember a story about a doctor who was researching, and trying to "understand."  It was called, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."  It didn't end well.  
 

 

No worries about the wide splits this season. If I ever decided to do it (and it sounds like from the feedback above that I'd need kids with a very different skillset), I'd need at least six months to learn how to teach it properly. Heck, it took me almost the entire offseason to learn to explain SAB better than I was previously.

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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terrypjohnson
(@terrypjohnson)
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Head Coach
September 6, 2020 1:14 pm  

Thank you everyone for weighing in and explaining why this approach would work and what they're trying to do!

Coach Terry

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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September 6, 2020 1:21 pm  
Posted by: @coachdp
Posted by: @mahonz

Correction...exactly why it works.

--Noted and agree.

The simple answer is....it spreads the box.

--Yes.  I get it.  I see it all the time.  We run Tony Franklin's Spread at my high school.  (The same Tony Franklin who got pounded by Army yesterday, 42-0.)  I watch our offense spread the field.  And I watch opponents try to defend us the same way.  So, yes indeed it works.  Just like in losing a gunfight when you're willing to give their offense not only the bullet, but the gun, cock the hammer and then hand over the gun, or you can play against a team that knows how to really run the football.

--Dave

Army played yesterday? Dang I missed it. 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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September 6, 2020 1:55 pm  
Posted by: @bucksweep58

Here's my experience: 

If the ball hits the Los fast from under enter wide splits are great. 

If your oline is quick out of their stance it's great. 

If you use a direct snap pistol/ gun their great. 

 

If any of the three previous is not accomplished you'll get mauled. 

That's why we start at a foot and begin to expand the splits to build a comfort level. Michael never agreed with me on that however that's the only way so far I've found sustained success in them.

We did learn how to execute under center. We also gave our QB the green light to run sneak when ever he saw the D do dumb. You can see that this plays was going to be a toss sweep by the actions of others.....only the QB knows he is keeping. This particular QB was very good at this. 

 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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September 6, 2020 2:06 pm  

Here is a good view of the one on one battles you must win for one second to be successful. This is our version of 16 power. Our puller is actually a man in motion giving us 8 blockers to one side. The edge is confusing to the Defense because they know not everyone is eligible but only have a few seconds to react...and yes this QB could throw the football a Country mile. We also ran a whip action out of this where the QB would keep to the short side for those Defenses that cheated. Required some speed....which we had this particular season. But you can see the spacing nightmare created. 

 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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