A Process For Adding A Wrinkle

Most of us have reached the midway point of the season or are into the second half. Now is a great time to take what has been successful in your offense and add a wrinkle to make it even more effective. As I mentioned in my first post “Creating An Offensive System,” http://www.afmservers.com/share/?p=333 consistently high performing offenses evolve. That evolution occurs not only in the off season, but in-season in incremental steps. When done effectively, the investment in time from week to week is very little, as you are taking something that is working very well and adding a formation or personnel grouping that can enhance it. The example I’d like to provide as a process for adding a wrinkle goes back to the 2010 season and starts with our stretch play, which was an effective run for us at the time.

Our stretch play gave us a way to attack the perimeter with a run. In facing an odd stack defense midway through the season, we felt that an adjustment to our scheme was warranted, so we added a pin and pull adjustment to our stretch play to give us a better way to attack the perimeter in that game. We did it with just one formation in that game, but the results were significant as that play provided us with the game winning touchdown with under two minutes to go in the game.

Jumping forward to 2011, the pin and pull scheme replaced the stretch as our way to attack the perimeter. For more detail on this component of our offense I suggest the video “Attacking the Perimeter with the Pin and Pull Sweep.”

As 2011 progressed, we looked for more ways to run the sweep. Our offensive line coach, Mark Jochum, who I refer to as “the mad scientist,” is great at watching film and finding a formation that may enhance our concepts. One suggestion was to use the bunch formation. Early on, we made the decision to add it to run just one play, our sweep.

When that formation proved to be effective, we quickly saw the need to build more of our run and pass concepts into that formation. Counter was an early addition and gave us an attack to the weak side. Furthermore, the wrinkle of adding counter added no new learning for our offense as we already used the counter scheme.

Naked and Spacing were two additions in the pass game that allowed us to break our heavy run tendency from bunch. The play action in a heavy run package proved to be very effective, and adding a drop back concept that we already used in other formations was an easy addition.

Later, a quarterback counter used our counter scheme with an adjustment and proved to be an effective run in a big game.

Finally, a reverse to the wide receiver coming back to the field was our wrinkle for the last game of 2011.

Adding a wrinkle is something you should think about in small increments. Our investment of time, repetitions and coaching from week to week was very little as it started with the “same as” concept based teaching. We focused on concepts that we already had in our offense and applied them exactly, or with a small adjustment. If our thought proved ineffective, little practice time and preparation was lost. We didn’t go in with an approach of doing everything from that formation initially. We would add only one or two things to that package each week.

Points to remember when adding a wrinkle in-season:

1. Focus on what you do best. What personnel grouping and formation could give you an advantage in using a new look to run an effective component of your offense?

2. How do you keep it simple in adding this and what adjustment do you anticipate from your opponent? It may be best to focus on just that one play and any adjustments you will need to attack to implement this wrinkle.

3. What is the tendency after the first game of using this wrinkle? Was it effective? If so, what do you need to do next to break that tendency and bring some balance to this wrinkle? This should be your new addition for the next game.

4. Progress this way in adding to the package, and you will find that you have effectively added a full arsenal of your offensive concepts to this formation or personnel grouping over the course of a few weeks. The added dimension for what your opponent needs to spend time on to defend will be greater than the time you have used to install it. The time you spend in adding these wrinkles will be efficient and effective because at no single point in the process did you try to implement everything at once, and you progressed in a logical fashion.

Good luck in the second half of your season, and hopefully these ideas provide a spark for your offense.