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Scouting Report© More from this issue
Coach Jim Kunau just completed his 13th year as head coach at Orange Lutheran High School. In 2004 the Lutheran Lancers received the ultimate prize: a CIF Championship. With an overall record of 131-32-3, Kunau has seen it all and established LHS as one of the elite programs in southern California. From a school approaching 500 students in which 22 players were football players a decade ago, Orange Lutheran has evolved to an enrollment of nearly 1,200 with 200 student-athletes now a part of a highly successful program.
According to Kunau, a principle reason for the program’s continued success is the stability of his staff. Offensive Coordinator Rod Sherman has been on Kunau’s staff for 12 years and Defensive Coordinator Brent Vieselmeyer has been coaching at Orange Lutheran for 7 years. Brent’s father, Dean, is the leadership coordinator for the school as well as defensive ends coach.
We recently spoke to Coach Kunau and his two coordinators about Lancer football; more specifically, what are the elements necessary in successfully scouting an opponent and preparing for your next game…
AFM: Tell me your basic philosophy of coaching football?
JK: We believe football is a vehicle for transferring lives…our ultimate mission is to mold ‘champions for life’ with football being a major part of a student’s academic, athletic, and spiritual life.
AFM: What is the procedure in scouting an opponent’s offense?
BV: With our digital editing system, we break down the tape of our next opponent and our position coaches get the cutups they need to analyze and then share them with their players…as the defensive coordinator, I scan the entire tape and try to see the flow of their OC; that is, determine his personality during the game. More specifically, I want to know when he takes risks, what are his favorite plays, what are the team tendencies on various field position situations and what are the breakdowns on down and distance. Do they run or throw more on third downs? I then look at their top plays and protection schemes and what their blocking schemes are…after breaking the game tape down, we print all the important elements and are ready to distribute it to our players.
AFM: What are the tendencies you look for in an opponent’s offense?
BV: We have to be open-minded because all teams have different tendencies. For example, if we’re playing a Wing-T offense, there may be 100 different formations that have to be sorted through. I always look for the first play of a series, whether it seems the opponent has a scripted series to start the game, what their first play is after a turnover, and little things that affect both formations and down and distance. By sorting through these plays, the personality of the OC may come out.
AFM: Is there something specific you look for when scouting your next game’s opposing quarterback?
BV: I try to determine what he does best; that is, is he more comfortable and effective with a 3, 5, or 7 step drop? Does he always drop straight back to throw or is he more effective rolling out? Who is his favorite person to throw to? How does he perform under pressure and/or when he’s blitzed? Is he an effective scrambler? Does he move well? And, one of the most important parts of analyzing the tape is how does the QB react to pressure?
AFM: In opponent scouting, how much of an emphasis is placed on situational tendencies? That is, third and one, second and long, etc.
BV: After analyzing the tape we want to feel we ‘know’ our opponent; it’s not just looking at tendencies in game situations but getting a ‘feeling’ for what they’re going to do on specific calls. We don’t emphasize stopping a specific play but rather try to become knowledgeable about what we feel they will do in various situations.
AFM: As an offensive coordinator, what’s the procedure in scouting an opponent’s defense?
RS: We take an in-depth look at the secondary and see how they react to certain plays. We also analyze defensive tendencies and try to create mismatches that plays to our strengths. Because we’re primarily an option offense, we try to see how the defense adjusts their schemes and alignments during the course of a game and what we can do to counter their basic formations.
AFM: Tell us the process of your self-scouting…how important is it and how often do you do it?
RS: It’s very important to us as a football team and we self-scout each week during the season. We look at long-range vs. short–range tendencies, our play-calling tendencies on specific down-and-distance situations as well as looking at plays vs. formation; that is, are we run or pass-heavy against a specific formation. We also look at the quarterback’s read-progression. Is he checking off plays in the run and/or passing game? With our editing equipment we put together personal packages for our players to look at and then print them out so they can be studied.
AFM: How do you critique a player after your self-scouting evaluation of his performance?
RS: As coaches we do as much as we can to determine how each student-athlete is motivated. After so much interaction with them, we feel we really know them. We give them grade sheets on their performance as well as cut-ups so we can critique them on a regular basis.
AFM: When an opponent has an outstanding passing attack, what’s the procedure in breaking down tape and preparing to defend this type of offense?
BV: Our first goal is to see if our opponent is more of a horizontal stretch or vertical passing team. That affects our coverage of basic cover 2 and cover 3 defenses. After studying the tapes we would want to make sure we get the match-ups we want. Even though they may be a strong passing team, we want to know when they run the ball and what those tendencies may be. Our goal is to make them completely one-dimensional by making them have to do what they don’t want to do…if they normally throw 15 times a game we want to make them throw 60 passes or the reverse if that will frustrate their offense.
AFM: What’s a typical week like in preparing your offense for next Friday’s game
RS: We look at a package of plays we want to run and how do we want to run our passing plays off the option. We may look at tendencies we have when scripting out plays…we often will script out 10-15 plays before a game…we’ll go through our offense and our position coaches will show their players individual cut-ups of the opponent. Some of the things we’ll do preparing for Friday include:
MON: show our team the opponent’s basic defense….we’ll give our players tape with a purpose: to be studied as a game plan is implemented.
TUES: We review the game plan but work on our third down plays and may review our basic plays in 7 on 7 drills.
WED: We’ll work on our goal line plays.
THUR: Our team will have a basic jog through the offense getting ready for Friday night’s game.
AFM: What do you feel are the most important elements to your football program in the off-season?
BV: We stress goals with our student-athletics – both short and long range. We encourage them to play additional sports but also encourage and help their academic advancement. Since they have more time available to them (without football practice) we want them to exercise good time-management. We also emphasis our strength and conditioning program, their diet and nutrition as well as proper rest before spring practice.
AFM: What editing system do you use?
JK: DSV-Digital Sports Video which we’ve been using for three years. It’s outstanding and gives us all the information we need for both preparing for our next opponent as well as self-scouting.
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