Personnel Nomenclature and how you can use it

Submitted by michiganfanforlife on September 2nd, 2011 at 11:19 PM




        Game Chart      
Play   Formation Down & Distance Field Position Run/Pass 1st Down?  
1   OO          
2   O1          
3   O2          
4   1O          
5   2O          
6   11          
7   12          
8   13          
9   20          
10   21          
11   22          
12   23          


My first M-Go Chart. So what does this crazy thing mean? The plays of an offense are numbered down the left side. The second column is full of several different personnel packages. In a real game a team wouldn't really run 12 different personnel packages in a row, this is just several examples of different ones. Some coaches use this number system to easily identify what the other team is up to. It's a really simple system where the first number represents the number of running backs, and the second number is the amount of tight ends. You assume 5 lineman and a QB, and so the final number (WR's) is implied.  For instance the "21" Formation is two RB's and 1 TE which means there are 2 WR's in play.

What can you do with this new way of looking at personnel? Well, create a simple chart like the one above. You can add whatever columns you want (mine are just an example). Obviously you want to watch the game live without a chart in your lap, but the idea is to go back through the offensive plays and write down the data as it happens. (Brian already does an awesome job of this, it's just a different way to look at it...)

You can then create statistics that will tell you things like, "On first down, the opposition runs 75% of the time." Or, "This team likes to run the ball in their own territory and pass more in yours."  There are endless ways of breaking down the small amount of columns I used.

Teams like to do this to gain an advantage in knowing what other teams might do next. They will look at data like this at halftime to make adjustments and look for keys in playcalling. Teams also run this type of analysis on themselves (self-scouting) to make sure they don't have any glaring tendences.

You can call them whatever you want, but this simple system allows you to focus on how these different allignments effect what the team will call in any given situation. Most teams don't run every play from every package. 

I just learned about this a few months ago, and I wanted to start charting our team under the new head coach. It will be fun to see if any of you create some badass charts of your own. I mean, this is MGO, right?


Space Coyote

September 3rd, 2011 at 9:07 AM ^

This isn't really formation nomenclature as it gives no information in regards to what the formation actually is (ie, it could be "21" I formation with the tight end on the right or it could be a split backs with the TE on the left).  This is typical nomenclature in football for describing personnel packages.

Other information that the chart may want are field/boundary, right/left/middle, and probably target number.


September 3rd, 2011 at 10:21 AM ^

that this is describing personnel packages rather than formations.

So when running the statistics, the analysis would not be "Michigan ran out of X formation on first down Y percent of the time" it would be "When Michigan has X personnel package they run Y percent of the time".

Blue in Seattle

September 3rd, 2011 at 3:28 PM ^

in addition to the two numbers for personnel, I think you need a flag for shotgun versus under center.  At least if the goal is to determine percentage of Shotgun versus Under Center.

This is a great way to look at it though.  I think it may get tricky when TE are lined up in the backfield though as an "H Back".  Something they did quite a bit last year, especially when they called the QB's number to run.



September 4th, 2011 at 9:26 AM ^

You're right - 2WR's in 21 - and you're also right that this is personnel packages, and not really formations.  I have edited it to reflect your suggestions.  It will be fun, though, to break down the last game this way and see where we are good/bad. I noticed while being drenched yesterday (I think I'm still wet from that game) that when Western was in 20 personnel they ran a draw play every time. Hopefully future opponents will have tells like that...