Your Press Box Personnel Coach Is Critical

By FirstDown PlayBook on Oct 27, 2021

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 personnel coach is often your most important coach on game day. You normally do not 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.

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 coaches and youth football coaches might be laughing about personnel matchups because you can’t match with the offense. 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 you 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

Back to the college and NFL level though. For you, it is all about how to match up. You have no chance unless you 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. A good personnel coach will often pick up other tips as they watch the offensive personnel when your opponent’s defense is on the field.

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.

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.