3 Things Ottawa Women’s Flag Football Does Better

By FirstDown PlayBook on May 23, 2023
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How does the Ottawa Womens Flag Football team almost always find a way to win? Watching the NAIA Women’s Flag Football Championship this past weekend got us thinking about just that. What actually does separate them from the other teams we saw playing in Atlanta.

Yes, they absolutely have good players. It all starts with Madysen Carrera. She is a handful to defend as the Ottawa Braves quarterback. She is a dual threat who makes everyone around her better. Not to say that she is Ottawa’s only good player because she is not. There are many well coached good players on this team who know their role.

Above and beyond all of that though, we have noticed some fundamental coaching things about a Liz Sowers coached team that we want to highlight. FirstDown PlayBook is all about coaches and we like to keep learning when we have a chance. Here are 3 things that the Ottawa Women’s Flag Football team does better than almost everyone they play.

1. The Ottawa Women’s Flag Football Players Are Great Flag Pullers

This is the most underrated and least understood aspect of flag football. Pulling a flag is hard. The higher the skill level, the harder it is too. You rarely see Ottawa miss a flag pull in the open field. That is why you don’t see many explosive plays against their defense.

It’s not a bit different than tackle football. If your defense closes fast and makes the offense work incrementally down the field, most will self destruct before they score. The Ottawa Women’s flag football coaches get that. It is obvious that they practice this all year.

The Ottawa Women's Flag Football Defense are great flag pullers.

2. They Understand Defense

There has never in the history of football been a quarterback who throws as well going away from their throwing arm as they do moving to it. Just a fact. When you watch the Ottawa defense rush the quarterback it is almost always to the quarterback’s throwing arm side.

One of two things is always happening. The opposing quarterback is almost always either throwing with a rusher in her face or throwing while moving away from their throwing arm. The latter often leads to under thrown passes or passes behind the receivers. This is how you create turnovers like the Ottawa defense does.

That is just one example. They also do a good job of showing a defensive shell and playing several different things out of it. This is harder to do with flag football than it is with 11 man tackle. The fact that there are only seven defenders minimizes just how deceptive you can be, but they still do a good job with it.

3. The Ottawa Braves Understand How To Extend Plays

This is historical for Ottawa. Yes, the Ottawa Women’s Flag Football team uses FirstDown PlayBook. We would like to think we bring something to the table when it comes to helping them. We have noticed that they wear wristbands on offense which makes total sense in the year 2023. We have witnessed college coaches literally give tight games away late because they wasted time getting a call in at a critical point in a game.

The Ottawa Women's Flag Football Offense understands how to extend plays.

It’s what Ottawa does when the play that is called breaks down that makes them different. They understand that Madysen Carrera can extend plays with her legs just like great NFL QB’s can. Once the first or second option is covered for Ottawa, you will see players moving into voided areas on the field. It’s a good old fashioned scramble drill that these women execute time and time again.

So as with any team or program that can win a National Championship, these women are doing a lot of things right. Congratulations to coaches and players alike. However, if we were a team trying to close the gap on them, we would look hard at mimicking what the Ottawa Women’s Flag Football program does in these three specific areas.

Angellica Grayson