2016 Coaches Clinic- The best of the rest (as boiled down as possible).

Submitted by docwhoblocked on April 24th, 2016 at 12:51 PM

2016 Coaches Clinic- The best of the rest (as boiled down as possible).


Coach Hoffman, St. Joe's Montvale, N.J. and Coach Tyrell, Arkon Hoban, gave talks on running power.


Running power: Formation is key. You want lots of looks even if the basics of the play is the same.

Dress it up with motion. You need a nasty attitude. Get vertical as quickly as possible off blocks and as the running back hitting the hole. Double teams must kick ass at point of attack and if they do then on many plays designed to get 4-5 yards you can just forget blocking the LB as you will have 2-3 yards before he can get to the running back behind the double team. A good fullback is essential. If you are running one back then TE is crucial. If you are basically a power team you must still run some zone read as it forces your opponent to prepare for it. It helps to get an extra receiver outside the box as it forces a LB out of the box. Tail back must have patience on off tackle plays to let blocks develop and may even need to take a first step back to get the timing right. Pull two on sweeps.


Juan Castillo Ravens O line coach


Pass Blocking: I have attended the last seven UM coaches clinics and, in my opinion, this was the most clearly explained technique session ever. Each of the pass blocking techniques was shown on film as the drills were being done by the Ravens OL at practice. He then showed game film of the O line using these same techniques in game situations. He left me believing I could coach pass blocking technique to any young player. I certainly wish that someone had taught me these techniques when I was playing center in high school. I wish I could show you his talk on film. Below is my best attempt to do in words what he demo'd in person then showed in filed drills and then game tape. Wow!


You require these drills for ½ hour every practice as muscle memory is a must. Each drill must reflect what happens in the actual game. Use game film to show the technique and how these techniques relate to success and failure.


Body position is key: head up, shoulders back, hands in front of chest. Ar the snap, the lineman steps back at 45 degrees with the outside foot and re-square by quickly dragging the inside foot back to re-square. One foot on the ground at all times. Do it over and over to build muscle memory. Have the linemen hold a sand bag while doing it to keep hands centered and arms up and strong. The punch technique is important. Punch up and with elbows in and the hands punch into opponents armpits as this makes it harder to knock hands away. Hands can switch a bit higher and lower to avoid being knocked away. You must work on timing the punch at the best distance to get the best effect and must work on replacing the hands if they get knocked away. The the hand replacement move should circular, up or down and around the defensive opponents arm that knocked the hand away to be quickly replaced back to the arm pit. Practice mirror drills to keep separation without leaning in which allows the defensive lineman to throw you down or off balance. Practice mirroring and hand placement on spin moves as well. Against a bull rush, hop back with both feet and sink the hips to get leverage.


Mark Trestman Ravens OC and Mike Martz (past Rams head coach) spoke on QB play


Trestman -“A good coach needs three things: a patient wife, a loyal dog, and a great QB.”

QB must engage and embrace adversity, show humility in success, be the point of interconnection for all the players throughout the game, serve the team and expect and ask nothing in return. QB must be willing to listen to coaches and fellow players. The attitude is that we are better together. QB must be obsessive about drills. He must be relentless, demanding, detailed and creative and always want what is best for the team.

During the game job #1 is to protect the football. This means obsessively drilling on the technique of the center exchange, protecting the ball on the way to hand off, protecting the ball in the confines of the pocket, understanding how to locate the ball when passing to avoid interceptions, protecting the ball exiting the pocket and outside the pocket when scrambling.

Must practice with the back up center as well using real play calls and action. He must know the run sets and blocking scheme and the strengths and weaknesses of his O line. He must practice steps and drops and must know the course of the running back on the way to hand offs. Drops must be precise. QB must know the pass protection used by the D and the routes of his receivers.

He must learn to find a quiet spot in the chaos of the pocket. He must know what to do if a lineman misses a block, if there is a front side or back side blitz and if the wide receiver blows his route. QB must have courage to stand in and throw knowing he will get hit. He must know how to take a hit to avoid injury. The ball is held with two hands in the pocket with the tip of the ball at the bottom of the neck and never below the waist. Must practice movement in the pocket, climbing up, sliding to one side or the other and escape moves. Must protect the ball from the nearest defender. Must know when to take a sack and when to throw the ball away. Scrambles can lead to big plays but not at the expense of a turnover. Use tape as drill to make sure you are practicing the skill set that needs work to have success. Was an open receiver missed? Was the ball caught but in a bad location that did not allow for yards after catch? Avoid awkward throws or throws across the body. Coach must find drills that isolate these fundamental skills and find drills to effectively teach them and then practice these drills at game speed.


Martz- This was a session of detailed advice about QB play and impossible to summarize accurately but here goes:


Stance- Slight stagger helps to get first step back on pass and easier to turn to running back on runs or play action. Knees slight bent and head and eyes up to check coverage and for check offs related to defensive set.

Hands- Under center with index finger of throwing hand right up the crack of the center and heels of the hands with slight pressure together to keep the snap from separating the hands as this could lead to fumbled snap. Pass grip should be with palm slight off the ball and knuckles angled down. Carry the ball back with two hands with the ball over the sternum, tip down and shoulder relaxed and elbows tucked hands in tight to reduce the risk of getting the ball stripped. Never have the ball below the belt buckle.

Cadence- QB must practice this and can use clap drills with linemen clapping together at snap count. Hand offs- QB should bring the ball back from the snap at his belt buckle. Punch the ball into the target with eyes on the target all the way through the hand off. Settle and slow down just a little to get the ball to the target.

Toss plays- The toss should be dead ball with no spin and let the running back run through the football to get it.

Traps- QB must rotate the hip a bit more to get legs out of the way

Draws- Keep eyes down field and the drop must be the same as any other passing play.

Play action- Put the fake hand into the running back like a hand off and let the RB turn the QB back open ready to pass.

Drops and throws- 3 step is 4 yards deep and use for pass of 4-6 yard up field. Finish with feet apart and slight knee bend and weight slightly loaded on the back leg and the back toe and hip slightly rotated out as you start the throw. The shoulder should be parallel and turn the belly button to the target with the throw. If throwing left or right, get the belly button left or right. 5 step drop is 6 yards deep and use for pass of 10-12 yards. Deep ball and play action uses a 7 step drop and never any more than 9 yards deep. Hitch with the feet to buy time with the weight centered. Must not tip direction with hips or body on the drop. The come out should always be the same regardless.

Against Zone- be very specific about where the ball is to be thrown and it does not fell like it is then then go to check down receiver.

Man to man- Need to know who has the best route likely to be open and make the best aggressive throw.

Deep Ball- throw early with lots of air and let the receiver run under it. The throw for best distance should be at 45 degree angle. If a defender is running with the receiver throw the ball to keep the receiver on line. Make the defender adjust.

Knowing the defenses and terminology is essential for QB. Must know what and why. You and QB must spend lots of time on this.

Throw on run- Key to arc back toward the line of scrimmage and step down toward the receiver.


Teryl Austin- DC for the Lions


Developing a Defense.


Meetings- Everyone come prepared players and coaches. Must learn a lot in as little time as possible.

Dress- Look like a team in issued or agreed upon gear. Not sloppy

Practice- Practice with speed, purpose, and precision. Be competitive but not combative. Game standards in practice. Fight and you are out. Bitch and you sit.

Off the field- Communication is key and you must be clear in all aspects as coach to player, coach to coach, and coach to staff. Better communication leads to fewer foul ups and fewer hard feelings. Teachers need to know about your expected behavior standards for the players and your desire to have them communicate with you about your players.

Desired player traits- Look for toughness, football smarts, a great motor, production, and the right size and speed for the position.


Team traits= B.E.T.A.


Body language- Demonstrate team togetherness and encouragement only. Do not show negatives.

Effort- Best effort at all activities: classroom, weight room, training room and field

Timely- Be punctual and ready to work.

Attitude- This determines success. Ask where else would you rather be? Devalue stars. You are only as good as the whole team. Everyone has a role from scout team to special teams to the best player. Each person is integral and you need to find a role for every player and make sure they see their importance to the team.


Proper technique-Allows players to rely on basics no matter what the overall scheme is. You need thousands of reps on technique for every 10 plays run. Proper technique makes for efficient practices. Fewer reps and fewer repeats of plays. In games, you do not get repeats. Every practice needs at least 20-30 minutes of individual and small group work on technique.


Foster and develop leadership-this starts with the atmosphere the coach creates. Some players are just best at playing and they do not need to all be leaders. Leadership can come from anyone associated with the team and encourages and engages more players to help the team. Do not let a bad guy lead your team no matter how good a player. The past does not matter. What you do now is who you are.


Be physical and tough-Win against the guy across from you


Be smart-know your assignment, no penalties, know the scheme and game situation.


Be fundamentally sound- Play with great technique, great effort. Play fast (you can if you practice this way and are prepared). Maximum effort with a minimum of mistakes. Look for all the things you practiced in the game tape. Finish every play in practice and it will show up in the games. For example, DL runs to tough the RB on every practice play and everyone picks up every loose ball no matter how the ball got on the ground.


Game philosophy- Convey to the team the most important winning factors. Play each game, and each play like it is your last. The past does not matter. This play is what matters. Try to play to your strengths.


Defensive Goals- Best in turnover margin and best at avoiding big plays.


That's it. See you next year (maybe)!






April 24th, 2016 at 2:25 PM ^

You're right--the Castillo read was fascinating, even for a layman like me.  Thanks for the lessons, doc.  It's great to have a better understanding of the game's nuances.


April 24th, 2016 at 2:49 PM ^

yeah castillo is great, hes one of the games better OL coaches and his players love him.  harbaugh mustve liked what he saw duing their time in philly and made sure to grab him.  castillo offers some great info like significance of remaining square, re-squaring, sinking hips, etc and some finer points like re-punching or always keeping 1 foot on the turf.  

im always impressed when coaches can instruct on a variety of levels and leave their audience informed and confident bc its not the easiest task.  it takes special coaches to be able to interact with 9 yr olds, 19 yr olds, 29 yr olds, 59 yr olds, etc across different levels of players / coaches and relay instruction and finer points in a manner that truly hits home for all involved.  

also really liked austin's comments re practice:

"Practice with speed, purporse, and precision.  Be competitive but not combative.  Game standards in practice.  Fight and you are out.  Bitch and you sit."

i always respected and enjoyed playing under coaches with that type attitude

Goggles Paisano

April 25th, 2016 at 6:14 AM ^

Good stuff man!  There is no harder position in all sports than QB.  Some make it look easy but you can see from reading some of the notes (and these are just notes) all of the details that go into the position.  So demanding and so difficult and yet the QB is the most criticized player in all of sports.  


May 3rd, 2016 at 9:17 AM ^

Impressed by the comments..but just as impressed by your note taking skills :) 

How does this clinic compare to others you've attended? Seems like a strong line up of coaches from different levels and positions.