Choose Your Press Box Coaches Carefully

By FirstDown PlayBook on Aug 8, 2023
FirstDown PlayBook has been helping high school football coaches & youth football coaches for 10 years!

Some high school football coaches are going to make the most important game day decision you will make in the next several weeks. You are going to choose your press box coaches. This will include everyone from possibly a play caller to someone identifying personnel on the field for your defensive coordinator.

To be perfectly honest the personnel ID coach may be more important. However, both are going to likely have more to do with your success on Friday night than the rah rah coach on the sideline will.

Think about it. Nick Saban goes ballistic as he calls a timeout. Belichick makes a note to chew someone’s rear on Monday morning. Who are they mad at? The press box personnel coach, of course. This is the young coach in the booth who must let the defensive coordinator know the opponent’s personnel on the field. Your press box coach in charge of personnel is often your most important coach on game day. The fans normally do not even know his name.

To say this is a hard job is a monumental understatement. Think about it this way. The offensive coordinator’s job is to confuse you with who is on the field. They understand that it’s always about matchups, regardless of the football level you coach.

Good coordinators will hide the personnel until the last second and then quickly run them out there late on the field, only to snap the ball three seconds later. Others will run personnel half way on the field and then run some of them back off. Why? To make the booth personnel coach’s life miserable. That’s why.

Your Press Box Personnel Coach Should Practice During The Week

You high school football football coaches and youth football coaches might be laughing about personnel matchups because your personnel can’t match with the offense. However, just because you can’t match personnel does not mean it is not happening to you though. If the offense runs five skinny fast kids onto the field and you leave Johnny who plays linebacker and runs a 5.8 out there, you are in trouble.

We would suggest that high school coaches have at least three personnel groups on defense. For example, having a Cheeta, (Fast) Bronco (Base) and Rhino (Big) personnel packages allows you to match the offense to a degree. Obviously this would be heavily tied into the down and distance as well.

Peel Pressure Let’s You Have Your Cake & Eat It Too

College and NFL level coaches have no chance unless you match personnel to some degree. You will have at least one coach who is looking for only that. If you have a young coach who is charting four other things and looking for personnel, you are asking for trouble. Assign that coach to the personnel job and leave them alone with anything else.

One final tip from my time in the NFL. Have that young coach practice before the game. Your press box personnel coach should turn on the sideline view of your opponents previous games. This will allow them to practice recognizing your opponent’s personnel.

Don’t turn the video off until the series is over. Go back and check your work. A combination of this and really studying your opponent’s depth chart and roster numbers will help immensely. This will help a young high school football coach understand the pace that they will need to keep up with too.

Trust us. No one wants to be that coach who causes the head coach and defensive coordinator to explode on game day even if no one else knows who you are.