Formations Can Change Everything

By FirstDown PlayBook on Mar 12, 2020

Anyone who has seen FirstDown PlayBook knows we are thorough with our formations when we draw up the run game plays and our pass protections.  Not only do we draw them up against five different defenses but we also include two high and single high looks with each front.

We also draw your plays up out of a lot of different formations. We had a coach ask us the other day “Why do you do that? It’s the same play!”  Well, he’s right to some degree. It is the same play, but not to the defense. The example below is a very basic example but a very important one that explains our point.

When coaches get on the grease board and draw plays up they often treat all 22 players as if they were the same. The truth is that all 22 players are different and that will be the case 100% of the time.

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Regardless of the team you are playing, the Sam linebacker and the Will linebacker will be different. One will be a better tackler, a better cover guy, better in space, you name it. That is why job number one is to take a look at who you are playing and know the personnel.

If the Will linebacker is the better player don’t ask that F Tight End to block him in space all night because odds are it’s not going to happen. Let the offensive linemen block him and match your F up on the Sam linebacker who is not quite the player the Will is and he is on the backside of the play. Even if the play cuts back (and it will) the F has a better angle at making this block than he does with the running back’s aiming point starting right at him.

I know there are some of you who are thinking if the Will is the better player I’m going to try to formation him so he will LEAVE the box not stay in it. There is nothing wrong with this thinking as long as you can really get him out of the box. If he plays half way between the F and the Tackle then he will make most of those tackles because he will be unblocked.

This is just one very basic example and we may be preaching to the choir for half of you who already do a great job with personnel, formations, shifts and motion. The bigger point is that when you look at our FirstDown PlayBook plays we are trying to do more than just draw up a ball play.

We are trying to give you a little insight into how many different ways one run or one protection can look out of many different formations against many different defenses.