Coach Kyle's 2021 Journal
Week 6 day 2, 3, 4 - plus game report.
I give our week a 6 our of 10. We did what we needed to do, but we need to do something to improve ball handling and we need to mix something up in practice because we're going through the motions. Our two toughest games are the weeks 7 and 8. We need to find a way to jolt us next week. We're becoming a little soft - a little routine... I think next week we're going to mix up the warm up, and I'm going to add a couple of form tackling drills.
That all said we won 19 - 0. This week was a much better team. They had roughly 30ish kids. They had 2 stud lineman. For the life of me I can't figure out why they didn't play them at DE... they only played one at DE... so we ran the other way. It was tougher... but we still won. It was a bit frightening when we hit the mercy rule because we didn't get any positive yards with our 2nd string offense. We ended the game 5 yards away from our own end zone.
Our coaches were panicked today at the beginning... they kept wanting to call time out at the beginning because they backed us up, and I had to ask them to calm down. We calmed down. The quarter changed, and then we got a few large tackles for a loss, and we were back to our usual selves.
Several players had an amazing game. Our MLB was an absolute monster. Our MLB got a nice compliment, "JUST BLOCK THAT GUY!" Our tackling looked already better than last week.
We need to think harder about our substitution strategy. Right now we're vulnerable because if the QB goes down... and he plays on defense, we need to make a lot of substitutions. Our nose goes to cb... our wr goes to qb... we don't really have a backup WR... lol
Week 7 day 1, 2
Day one we tried to mix things up. Went pretty well. We did whose ball and mirror drill. We did a tackling circuit with hawk form, stutter step read, sideline push out, and gator roll. Also did scout defense. I think mixing things up from the typical starting practice meant we started on a better footing. Also it rained. And I don't think anyone cared.
Day 2... rained out... which causes me physical pain. The director decided to cancel practice due to field conditions... which is bad judgement in my opinion. It wasn't even raining during practice time. I went and saw the field and it was fine. Also I was told that it was very windy. And it was cold (55 degrees). Apparently that means "you won't get anything done." I hit them with the only reasoning that they have ever seen, "would they cancel a game for this weather?" And of course they said no. Some where they also said "we don't have anything to prove"... which is weird. Nobody was trying to prove anything... just want to play some football. It's honestly some of my favorite weather to have... and 8/9 year olds love it.
Week 7 day 3
Cold and rainy. Loved it. It was worse than yesterday. I kept the ball on a boot fake and slid on my butt. 🤣
We did a big 7 vs 7 inside blitz vs. an inside run play, and we did a big 7v7 passing skeleton. Our attitude was pretty darn good... but 2 of our QBs might be out with the sniffles... That'll be interesting. Learned the shotgun beast today though. That'll be fun. And we broke in a new X receiver. Let's hope it works out well for them.
Week 7 day 4 / Game report
They decided to do a massive construction project... I didn't realize it and it took me an hour to go 10 miles. I was about 20 minutes late to a one hour practice. On top of that, our hockey kids weren't there, and their dads, so we were 2 out of 5 coaches for the first 20 minutes. I showed up and it was lord of the flies... I had more faith in our program. We do the same thing all the time. That really made the kids crazy. Did a lot of running to the tree. That being said, we prepared to not have our full team, and I think we were successful.
Win. 21 to 13. We're 4-0. We had a week of heavy rain and 3 kids reported that they were sick. 2 came back in for the game. Our best player was out with a fever. The team we played was pretty darn good. They didn't realize that our best kid was out, but every time they got big yards, they ran it right to where he wasn't. Our 2nd string RB took a few plays off, and that's why we struggled at all on offense. Their defense had a gapping hole. They had a kid who backed up. We exploited that for a TD. We moved our tackle to receiver and he caught 2 out of 3 passes. Parents ate it up. When they caught the first pass they acted like the game was over. We actually almost scored twice. They stopped us on the goal line twice. Then we got a safety once. The other time the clock ran out. I looked over the film, and we almost all blocked very well. I was actually expecting to see poor blocking because these guys played us so much tighter... but we blocked well.
We still haven't shown the full offense. I think it's going to turn heads. I plan to spice up the no play for next week. We FINALLY got a first down with it. We keep having issues... lol
Our next game is big. It's very likely that the next team is our competition for the playoffs. And if we win, we'll probably win the last 2 games. Meaning we'll earn ourselves a bi-week. That's going to be big this year. The Bi-week will keep us healthy in winter. That being said, they're going to be tough. They're a team of big kids. I'm a big scared of their tackles. They run a 43... but their ends are big and fast, and their defensive tackles are big and kinda fast. Their corners are solid, and their line backers are probably the weakness. No clear holes to exploit aside from their choice of defensive formation.
Week 8 day 1
Not our best practice. Most upsetting is that our qb got hurt in slow oklahoma. Our backup has taken a lot of snaps. I just don't want to have to reach into the well and pick up a 3rd string. Today we worked on getting skinny on the line. We thoroughly scouted them, and we have our falcon ready to pick their favorite pass. They worked on beast. They worked on running our jet sweep to the sideline. Tomorrow we'll work on the wheel block.
Week 8 & game report
Wednesday was bad. Thursday/Friday were pretty good. We worked hard on our blitzing, and it paid off in game. We omitted the tackling drills... and it showed. Our game plan was pretty good, perhaps a little too cute.
Game report: We lost. 12-13. We held them for 38 minutes. Then with 2 minutes left they scored 2 TDs. They finally connected a long pass to the tight end. We actually made them go 4 and out. Then we fumbled on our own five. Then they ran their big QB on a bootleg, and our end got sucked in. For their first TD. Next we got the ball back at our 35, and we fumbled. They had a kid who was giving us trouble all day, and he became extra motivated. He shot through the line, forced a fumble, and they got the ball back. Then they did another QB bootleg, and our kids were just done. Momentum had swung so hard. Really hard to watch. What's crazy too is that they scored with 27 seconds left. I beat myself up a little because I didn't know how many timeouts they had left. Probably should have just taken a knee when we got the ball back.
We ran beast for the first time. It went okay, but our backs were a little confused. We went away from it.
Our size difference was extremely apparent. Several times their big/fast kid fired off the ball up the middle and caused problems. Our best players really didn't have their best day, but some of our other players really did well. I'm thinking about going shotgun full time to avoid such nonsense up the middle.
Week 9, day 1
Coaches are buzzing after the loss. Lots of “we should try this” and stuff like that. It’s not at all what I want to do. I’d like these guys to look for ways to improve their football player’s ability… instead I have people telling me to change the backs around and to move a good kid to a different spot… as if it doesn’t create a gaping hole in our starting lineup. Their solution to “Kid A misses blocks” is “Let’s use kid B”. I want their solution to be, “I will teach kid A to block”.
Practice went well despite the email conversations. We put in a shotgun set, which is our same plays out of shotgun. The team we play this week likes to blitz heavy and fill all 8 gaps. I think they’ll put their OLBs down on the line and blitz them from there, like a 7-1. We’re going to shotgun and run around the trash. They also don’t tackle super well. I think we will score if we can get the parameter. They’re also super aggressive off the ball. Need our red light/green light game. They run something similar to a beast formation, but the 3 backs are all in line with the QB, which kinda sorta helps a little on the sweep I think, but it’s an oddly obvious run formation for your main formation. We get to align specifically to it. We’re going to roll the coverage and stick our best OLB on the stack side. We’re also going to align our falcon in line with their lead back. He either leads, goes out for a pass, or runs the ball. So we’re following him a lot.
Game 6, loss. Again we lost in spectacular form. We're scared to lose. Per another thread, perhaps our reactions as coaches could have been better. We need to take pressure off. We seem to fumble, and then we get scared and choke. I think I need to give the ball to the kid with the best/biggest hands when I want to run clock. We'll run beast and nothing else.
Some things I wish I had done so far
1) I wish I never gave position assignments to my assistants. I don't like it. I told them what to do and how to run a drill. It was too much to expect. In the future I'm going to specifically assign every piece of practice, and I'm going to run around and make sure it's getting done. If someone tells me that they'd like to do something more than that, then I'll listen at that time. I think this is my mistake of thinking others were like myself. Not everyone wants to come up with stuff. Some people want to just show up. It seems like everyone wants to have input, but I don't like their judgement most of the time. If it was up to them, they'd have switched kids around constantly. I need to figure out how to get better buy in from assistants. At very least I need to probe them for their interest level.
2) I wish, like many times in the past, that I stuck to simple stuff. I started that way. I think one style of football is more than enough. I added beast in, and I think it's a borderline too much. I think we could have easily done the other complimentary formations though.
3) I have learned this year that quick up the middle plays are a nightmare at 8/9 years old. Lots of kids don't seem to understand the concept of rushing up the middle. I have also learned that blitzing/sending kids works amazingly well if you just really coach it. I'm glad I understand what I was missing. It's especially deadly early in the season.
4) I wish that with the easier stuff, we got better at doing things like going on two. I think a simple play book of 6/7 right/left plays with a hard count and 2/3 formations would be more than enough to win a super bowl at this age group. It seems like it's a lot. It's not. The teams that beat us did it because they jumped the snap and forced a fumble. We have small lineman. Going on two should have been a hallmark play for us.
Circle of death tonight. One kid made it. I've never seen so much fire and intensity from everyone. That's one hell of a drill.
Also... we did a sumo and a cone drill to test out who should replace our guard. We made a big circle... they loved it. Practice today was great. We had good energy the whole time. Everyone gave lots of effort. I think we should have drills like that... look at me drills that pump us up.
Game report 26-7 win. We're officially in the playoffs. I thought we should beat this team, but I didn't realize by how much. They got down on themselves, and they sort of imploded. They got one score off on a wedge play that squirted out.
Our blocking is not where I'd like it to be. I think we need more of the hand placement drills. The other teams just extend their hands and they get separation. Our contain still needs work.
The flag coach criticized our tackling, but I don't really think our tackling looks bad. In fact, some kids are really jiving.
We got 2 picks. We get after the QB much better than most of the other teams, and he just threw it up.
Our best dog was missing his CBR. We really need to fix our dogs. We're also down 10 more minutes of daylight.
We have a lot of work to do still, but it was enough today!