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The Scouting Report, Patrick Walsh - Serra HS (CA)

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“If the breakdown is done right, building a game plan becomes easy off of the printed reports that uncover tendencies and holes in the offensive gameplan.” Patrick Walsh, Serra HS (CA)

This coming fall Patrick Walsh begins his sixth season at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, CA. A high school rich in athletic tradition – alumni include Jim Fregosi, John Robinson, Lynn Swann, Gregg Jefferies, Tom Brady and Barry Bonds – Walsh helped bring the Padres the West Coast Athletic League title in his second year and the school’s first in the last 30 years.

A near legendary standout at De La Salle High School in nearby Concord, Walsh was California high school football Player of the Year in 1992. That season he rushed for 38 touchdowns and 2,029 yards, both state records. He was also De La Salle’s valedictorian. Walsh went on to play both football and baseball at San Jose State before transferring to Texas where he played baseball for Coach Augie Garrido.

Always wanting to be a football coach, Walsh met UT coach John Mackovic in Austin and was hired as a student assistant for the football program. From there, he spent three seasons coaching with his mentor – Bob Ladouceur – at De La Salle before interviewing for the head job at Serra. On the interview board was Tom Brady, who, after hearing his presentation, recommended Walsh to the committee.

Coach Walsh spent a few minutes with us about scouting; what the process is like – both opponent scouting and self-scouting – during a fall week at Serra.

1. What is the process in analyzing an opponent’s game tape? Can you take me through the breakdown of the tape?
We have a video team at Serra that consists of the coaching staff, friends of the coaching staff, parents and student video managers. The key to breakdown and doing a great job in video editing is getting a system that you believe in and trust. Then build a team around your needs. If you want the video editing system to produce, you have to put the right information into the system to get the right information out to help you win games. Immediately after the game, or when we get a scout tape, two parents come in and begin the capture process. By the time we are done with the kids and the media, the game is captured and split into offense, defense and special teams for Saturday’s meetings. During the mornings on Saturday’s, the student video managers will implement “The Shell” from the play call sheets. The Shell is Down and Distance, Hash, Ball Carrier #, Gain, Run/Pass/Kick, Highlight or Not, and Who Made the Tackle. Once this is completed the coaches will come in and add “The Guts” of the breakdown. The guts are Play Name and Formations, Protection Schemes, Play Direction, Result, Hit Chart for Run and Pass, and any other special tags such as clinic presentation marks, special highlights etc.

2. What do you look for in scouting an opponent’s offense? Are there general tendencies you specifically look for?
We scout by Down and Distance tendencies, Formation Tendencies, Pass Protection Tendencies, Hash Mark Tendencies, Run and Pass Strength Tendencies and Big Play Reports.

3. What about the opposing quarterback? Is there something specific that jumps out at you?
We are keen on the offensive protection. What type of protection scheme do they use? As we breakdown the film we enter their protection scheme into the computer. Do they slide protect? When do they do it? Are they 8 man, 7 man, 6 man, protection team? Do they Sprint Out? These are all questions that need to be answered to build a gameplan. If the breakdown is done right, building a gameplan becomes easy off of the printed reports that uncover tendencies and holes in the offensive gameplan.

4. In scouting your opponent, how much of an emphasis is placed on situational tenedencies? That is, third and long, second and short, etc.
The top situations we look at are 1st and 10, and downs with 3 yards or less, and 3rd and long situations. We need to win these situations one at a time. We look for tendencies in these situations. For example, their main first down run is probably their bread and butter run. We will analyze this through video breakdown and then determine how to win this down.

5. What are the keys you look for in scouting an opponent’s defense? Do you look for certain tendencies?
From an offensive perspective we analyze Fronts, Pressures, D-Line Games, Dogs and Blitzes. We are looking for tendencies on when and why they get into these fronts. If they have a tendency in a certain situation we will scheme a play into the gameplan to take advantage of that tendency.

6. How much attention do you place in zone vs. man-to-man coverage?
Zone vs man is a consideration. Again we use video and data analysis to take educated guesses on when and why they will be in a certain coverage. We will then make offensive calls based on those tendencies. If we know through analysis that they will probably be in man coverage in a goal line situation we will implement a goal line pass route to defeat the coverage.

7. Tell us the process of your self-scouting... how important is it and how often do you do it?
We self scout every week. Now that many people have Digital Sports Video we know that other good D Coordinators are doing the same thing we are doing. We must know our own tendencies.

8. How do you critique a player after the self-scouting evaluation of his performance?
We watch film by position group after every game. We analyze each player’s performance, footwork, etc. One thing that we do that we like is that we print out grade sheets for the players. Each player his his grade sheet and grades himself on each play using a +/- system.

9. What’s a typical week like in both breaking down film, giving it to all the coaches, and preparing a game plan for Friday night?
I pretty much covered that in #1. It takes a team effort to breakdown the five major areas… 1. Offensive self scout from current game 2. Defensive input from current game 3. Defensive self scout from current game 4. Opponents offensive input from game 5. Finally, and a totally different animal is inputing and breaking down opponent offense and defense.

10. Tell us about the digital editing system you use?
We use Digital Sports Video. We went through two video editing systems from other companies before we settled on DSV and we will never look back. We love DSV because their system is the most comprehensive and suits all of our needs. We started with a one desktop station and have built ourselves into a fully networked 8 station system that runs to 5 different rooms including classrooms. The best part about the system is that kids these days are usually smarter than coaches when it comes to technology and they love it more than we do!


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