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October 2012

October 2012

Subscribers Ask - With Tony Sanchez Head Coach • Bishop Gorman (NV)

© October 2012

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Coach Tony Sanchez took over as Bishop Gorman’s Head Coach in March of 2009. The results over three seasons have been spectacular. The Gaels have won three straight state championships with records of 15-0, 13-2, and 16-1. Last fall, Bishop Gorman played three ranked top 25 teams – Chaparral (AZ), Armwood (FL) and Servite (CA). Their only loss was to Armwood, 20-17.

Sanchez believes in playing the best teams he can schedule each year. “It was tough to lose the game to Armwood but it showed our kids that we can play with anyone in the country,” Sanchez said. “On exceptionally talented teams, kids with average skills become above average and players with already strong abilities rise to an even higher level. That defined our team this past season.”

Bishop Gorman defeated Reed High School in the Nevada 5A Championship Game in December, 72-28, scoring the first 41 points of the game. The Gaels scored more than 50 points in ten different games and had season totals of 4,480 yards in rushing offense and 3,171 yards of passing offense. Bishop Gorman runs a pro-style offense using 21, 11, 10, 12, and 22 personnel groupings. Zone and power are the two most frequently used running plays. Defensively, Bishop Gorman uses a multiple front utilizing both the 4-3 and 3-4.

Sanchez was a WR at New Mexico State and came to Bishop Gorman from California High School in San Ramon where he was Head Coach from 2004-2008. He answers your questions –

When writing practice plans or meeting as a defensive staff, how do you ensure that your team understands who sets the edge (or has force) against multiple formations? Jake Messina, former Head Coach, Golden Valley High School (CA).

In all of our defensive calls, we have a defined primary and secondary force player. If the offensive set forces us to make a change of the defensive call based on our game plan and/or automatics, we have built in the defense we will change to. The pre-determined force players are already set. For example, if we have cover 3 called, the strong safety and Will linebacker are the force players if flow comes to their side. If we check to cover 2, then the flow side corner becomes the primary force player.

In applying for a job, what types of questions are you usually asked during the course of an interview? What do you have to be ready for? Josh Barham, Assistant Coach, Sterlington High School, Monroe, LA.

There are a variety of topics that will be covered in an interview. I think it’s important to find out how many members will be on the interview panel, what their job titles are, and who they are, if possible. This information may give you an idea of some of the areas that will be addressed outside the Xs and Os which quite honestly is the least discussed topic, in my experience, interviewing for head coaching jobs. I have seen players, parents, teachers, alumni, school administrators, and coaches on hiring panels. It’s important to be ready to discuss each area that will affect the individuals named above. The following are topics that I was asked to address in my past interviewing experiences:

 •      Philosophy on education and football.

 •      Development of character.

 •      Community building.

 •      Program organization.

 •      Hiring of assistant coaches.

 •      Goals and objectives for the program.

 •      Personal goals and objectives.

 •      Player and parent relationships and communication.

 •  Strength and conditioning program.

These are some of the subjects that have come up during my interviews. I have always put together a program guide specific to the school I am interviewing with that covers all aspects of the program I envision running, if hired. From my philosophy on football, offense, defense, special teams, etc. to practice plans, off-season workouts, summer calendar, and motivational quotes, this guide really is a reflection of who I am and what I believe in.

What does your strength training program look like? Bill Bollman, Offensive Line Coach, Enloe High School (NC).

I am really proud of the strength training program we have put together at Bishop Gorman. Sean Manuel is our strength coach and I believe he’s one of the best at any level. Sean’s been an assistant coach with me since 2004 so I have a tremendous amount of respect and trust in Sean facilitating this portion of the program.

This is a very in-depth topic so I will cover it on the surface. Our objective is to address the following by making each player attack the following areas for individual growth:

•  Power

•  Speed

•  Athletic functionality

We split our team up by position and have the offensive and defensive linemen along with the TEs and LBs in one group and the secondary, WRs, QBs, and RBs in another. This allows us to make subtle differences in the workout that are more specific to the player’s position.

Starting in January, when we return from Christmas break, we begin the off-season working five days a week for two hours. Our core lifts are still focused around the traditional lifts – cleans, squat, and bench presses. However, we use a variety of lifts within each of these categories. For example, overhead squats, single leg squats, etc.

We really want to work on explosive power. Coach Manuel uses a variety of equipment with various drills to accomplish this – Vertimax, Austin leg drive, flipper, chains, med balls, jump rope, Kaiser machines, etc.

We also want to create great tempo in the weightroom that begins to build the competitive atmosphere we foster. One of the ways we do this is with our Shirt competition. Everyone starts off wearing a plain white T-shirt in the weightroom. When we get six weeks in, we have our first maxes of the year. We test for clean, squat, and bench press, along with the 40-yard dash, shuttle, and vertical jump. In order to wear our colors in the weight room, players have to accomplish the following.

Blue Shirt: 200 lb. clean, 300 lb. squat, and 225 lb. bench press.

Orange Shirt: 225 lb. clean, 350 lb. squat, and 275 lb. bench.

Iron Man: 275 lb. clean, 400 lb. squat, and 300 lb bench.

This past off-season we have 32 Blue Shirts, 11 Orange Shirts, and 5 Iron Men so far. We have been doing this since 2004 at California High School. It’s remarkable how a T shirt can be motivating. It’s really about taking pride in the accomplishment and achieving goals.

On your 4-3 defense, what dictates your decision on the alignment of the front four between over, under, and normal alignment? Bill Nash, Walton High School Youth Football Coach (GA).

We will use the over and under looks based on our opponents’ tendencies and offensive strengths. We look at what our opponent does best. Are they a big trap game team, or an inside and outside zone team, or an option team? All of the previous are factors that come into play when developing a game plan and setting our defensive front. We don’t want to just sit in the same front all night and give the opposing team the luxury of knowing where we’ll be for the entire game. We are also a relatively high-pressure team. Our base front is an over front but we will run under, out, both DTs in 3 techniques in, and both DTs in 1 techniques. All of these fronts are specifically called against an offensive tendency.

Many teams shift their formation to gain either a numbers advantage or to confuse the defense. How do you communicate that shift in your play calling? Bill Cretaro, Assistant Coach, Chittenango High School (NY).

We use a pretty simple form of communicating our shifts in our play calling. We use the term “trade” to communicate a TE movement and “shift” to communicate a group movement. For example, if we called “trade I right,” the TE would align on the left and trade on the QB’s command to I right. If we are moving a group of players, we will call out the ending formation. Each ending formation will have a built in starting formation. The huddle call might be “Shift Ace Right Cluster,” and built into this movement would have been a starting formation

I have just taken over a program and we are going with the inside and outside zone as well as a power play. What are the most important drills you teach for your inside and outside zone plays? John Stewart, Head Coach, Silver Valley High School (CA)

We spend the majority of our time working a two-on-two double team drill creating as much movement as possible on the DT and working up to the LB as he commits downhill, attacking the first level. One of things we want our offensive linemen to understand is that we cannot leave the double team on the defensive tackle or end too early. Our objective is to create movement on the line of scrimmage. The linebacker will come to you as he attacks the ball carrier. Be patient and keep all eyes on the linebacker. Here is a drill we use:

The center and guard execute a double team on the defensive tackle and react to linebacker flow.

We will start under the chutes working on the boards for angles and footwork. We’ll progress to a double team under the chute and then to this drill.

What adjustments out of a base 3-4 do you make vs. a spread zone read option offense with 10 personnel and both 2 x 2 and 3 x 1 alignments? Jeff Schaum, Head Coach, Warner University.

When we are in our 3-4 package, we are very aggressive with our defensive calls and will be zone blitzing on almost every snap. As far as adjusting to the read option, we will change the QB and HB responsibilities based on the call to give the QB a tougher time of executing his reads. The zone read option out of 2 x 2 and 3 x 1 are both double option schemes so we feel comfortable being really aggressive against these sets. It becomes a bit more difficult when a second back is in the backfield because the threat of the triple option now exists. We always believe that it’s imperative to make the QB execute all three phases of the triple option and  make him pitch the ball.

At what age are you looking to develop a future starting varsity quarterback? In the off-season, when do you start working on footwork drills with your quarterbacks? Doug Heslip, USA Football Instructor (OH).

We do not have a feeder program or middle school team so we don’t work with any QBs until summer workouts begin in June before their freshman year. I think you have to begin developing your QBs immediately, both physically and mentally. In the past, I’ve had QBs start only their senior season, I’ve had two and three-year starters, and we currently have a great QB, Jarrett Solomon, who will be a four-year starter.

Traditionally, after the season ends and we begin off-season workouts, we look to continue developing all of our returning QBs in the program. Our QBs will focus on basic functional movement patterns with the team in the strength program in January. In February and through the entire off-season, our QBs will begin and continue to practice footwork drills.

How do you structure your in-season week, Sunday to Saturday, and what does your daily practice schedule look like? Tim Carlson, Head Coach, Bloomington Jefferson
High School (MN).

Our week begins and ends on Saturdays during the season. I’ve listed our weekly schedule and have also included a weekly practice plan (For the weekly practice plan, please go to


7:30 am - Coaches arrive and begin to watch Friday night’s game.
9:00 am - Players arrive and begin running and lifting.

10:30 am - Team film review with position groups and coaches from Friday night.

12:00 pm - Team meeting and players depart.

12:05 pm - Staff will begin breaking down opponent’s trade film on HUDL. (We’ll be there until all the film is broken down which takes anywhere from one to two hours).

5:00 pm - The staff will meet to create game plan.

Monday (school gets out at 1:45)

2:05 – 2:15 pm - Team meeting.

2:20 – 3:20 pm - Lifting.

3:30  - 6:00 pm – Practice.


2:05 – 3:00 pm - Film/Meetings.

3:15 – 5:30 pm – Practice.


2:05 – 3:05 pm – Lifting.

3:10 – 3:25 pm - Film.
3:30 -5:30 pm – Practice.


2:05 – 2:25 pm – Film.

2:25 -3:30 pm – Practice.

4:00 – 5:00 pm - Team meal.

Friday - Game Day

2:05 – 3:05 pm - Team mass.

3:15 – 4:00 pm – Pre-game meal.


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