Coordinating Your Call Sheet and Practice Script
California University Pennsylvania
CUP Team Clinic
There is nothing a coach can do that is as important as preparation. I spend the majority of my time during the week working on my call sheet.Each script lists the play number, which quarterback is getting the reps (1 or 2), the down and distance, hash, the personnel group, play, front/stunt and cover/blitz.
At California we try to cover every conceivable situation that may come up in a game. We want to practice all these situations so that the players and the staff know how to react when these situations occur.
The reason I work so hard on my call sheet is that it helps me with the amount of offense needed for the week.
When setting up the call sheet and the practice, you must keep in mind that a football game is nothing more than a series of situations. The team that has a plan and feels comfortable in those situations has a distinct advantage.
I feel it makes little sense to work solely against a scheme that you may see and to never work on situations that you are definitely going to be in.
Everyone has heard that when you script the call sheet you are making decisions in the calm of your office instead of the frenzy of the sideline.
I have found that by scripting each situation in practice, that during the game I don’t need to look at my call sheet. I have practiced that situation often enough that I know what I want to run, and more importantly my team knows what we want to run.
Not only do we script practice according to situations, we also walk-through situational offense and cover situations during our film sessions.
Weekly Staff Schedule:
Our weekly staff schedule goes as follows:
Sunday: Breakdown opponent, tendencies, evaluate personnel, start formulating ideas.
Monday:(players day off): Cover base offense versus opponent defense. Basically how are we going to attack their scheme, personnel? What is their blitz game?
Tuesday: Introduce game plan to offense, walk through adjustments, practice normal situation offense, practice third down situations (7-10, 4-6, 2-3, 1). End practice with 2-minute drill.
Wednesday: Walk through corrections from Tuesday. Have a brief review of normal situation offense and third down situations. Have lengthy Green Zone (starting at +25) and Goal line (starting at +4) period. End practice with 2-minute drill.
Thursday: Walk through corrections from Wednesday. Total situational practice. All situations will be practiced, starting with Coming Out (-1, -2, -3, -5) and ending with 4-minute and 2-minute offense. The situation will be scripted but I will call the plays off my call sheet just as I would in a game. I have found it helps me get more comfortable with how I want to attack an opponent.
Friday: Walk through entire game-plan. Cover all situations and substitutions.
Saturday: Walk through entire game plan. Cover all situations and substitutions. Go play the game.
The scripts are listed as practice 1, 2, 3.
Practice 1 (Tuesday): Skelly (7-on-7) or PUP (pass under pressure), whichever we want to work on that day; Inside Run; Team.
Practice 2 (Wednesday): Skelly or PUP, whichever we want to work on that day; Team Run; Team Green Zone (+25); Green Zone (+10).
Practice 3 (Thursday): Skelly or PUP, whichever we want to work on that day; Coming Out (inside own 5); Team; Green Zone; Goal line (+4 and in); 2-point plays; 4-minute offense; 2-minute offense.
When we put together the game call sheet, while the plays may change from game-to-game and opponent-to-opponent, usually the goal of each category remains the same.
Here is our category list and our philosophy on each one as we prepare our game plan, call sheet, and practice scripts:
Base Runs:We sort our runs according to concept. For example all our Zone Runs come first, then all our Trap plays, etc.
Action Pass:Off all our runs we install a action pass. We define an action pass as a play in which we play-fake one direction and throw to a receiver crossing the field in the opposite direction.
Play Pass: A play pass is when we play-fake in the pocket and throw the ball down the field.
3-Step Pass: We sort our three-step throws by concept. For example, all our hitches come first, followed by slant, Y-Stick, etc.
5-Step: We sort our 5-step game by concept. For example, our vertical package will be followed by our hook package, etc.
7-Step: All of our 7-step passes. Sorted by concept.
Screens: All of our bubble screens, followed by WR slip screens, followed by our drop-back screen game.
Movements: All motions and shifts that we have in for the week.
Best Player: What ways do we have to get the ball to our best player. Usually these are ways the defense has not seen before.
Vs. “0” Blitz: We always have a play to beat man blitz and a play to convert a 1st down vs. man blitz.
Vs. Zone Blitz: List the plays that we like vs. Fire Zones.
Nickel Runs: Runs that we like vs. pass defense. Usually called in long yardage situations.
Reminders: I always list seven reminders. I will glance down at them in between a series. This helps me stick to the plan and also will remind me of a thought or "must call" that I had during the week.
Home Run Plays: I try to break a tendency or take advantage of a defensive tendency with one or two Home Runs per game.
Cover 2 Beaters: Plays that take advantage of cover 2.
Cover 4 Beaters: Plays that take advantage of cover 4.
Cover 3 Beaters: Plays that take advantage of cover 3.
Seven-Man Protections: Plays that enable us to protect and throw the ball down the field.
Openers: Lets us maintain balance. Want to see how the defense is going to line up to our formations.
1st Down Earned: Plays that are called after we make a 1st down.
2nd and Long: Try and get back into a manageable 3rd down.
2nd and Medium: Best down in football. Most defenses have a tendency for this down and distance. Take advantage of this tendency.2nd and Short: Have a conversion play and an attack play.
3rd and 7-10: Call this according to the game situation. If winning or with bad field position be more conservative. Calls are usually Draws, Screens, and Verticals.
3rd and 4-6: Call plays to the sticks. Do not be afraid to throw the ball down the field.
3rd and 2-3: Usually our best runs and a couple of action passes off those runs.
3rd and 1 or Less: Have an identity. Don't worry if opponent knows what is coming.
4th Down: Have a play for 4th and 7-10, 4-6, 2-3, and 1.
Short Yardage: Have a list of plays that the team feels comfortable running when you need a couple of yards.
Rob the Run Plan: What is our plan for when teams blitz off the edges trying to stop our spread running game?
Coming Out: Plays that we run in the shadow of our own goal post.
Diesel: Package we have for a particular player.
Green Zone Runs: Runs we like going in to score.
Green Zone Passes: Passes we like going in to score. Try and call passes that you are likely not to take a sack with. Stay in field goal range.
Green Zone Attackers: Plays that attack a scheme, tendency or player. Be aggressive in the score area.
Green Zone 3rd and 1: I like tight formations with some pre-snap movements. Use best runs.Green Zone 4th Down: Have a play for 4th and 7-10, 4-6, 2-3, 1.
Green Zone Plus 10: I think that 1st and goal from the 6-10 needs to be treated differently. Hard to pound the ball in from the 7 yard line. Be aggressive, have a package.
Goal line: Have a definite set of plays that have been rehearsed to perfection. I like base plays that are ran off pre-snap movements. We start goal line offense on the 4 yard line.
2-Point Play: Always have at least two 2-point plays ready.
4-Minute Offense: A list of plays that you are going to run when you need to run out the clock. Practice it, snap the ball with 2 seconds left on the play clock. Stay in bounds, make the official take the ball away from runner.
2-Minute Offense: Practice every day. Have a specific set of plays. Never trade yardage for time (unless its to convert a crucial first down). Get out of bounds. Teach the offense to get first downs and the touchdowns will come.
This is our approach to incorporating our game plan into practice. It has been very productive for us. Feel free to use these sample scripts and call sheets and if you have any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.