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The Scouting Report© More from this issue
All you have to say about Jenks High School in Jenks (OK) is the fact that they’ve won 7 state championships over the past decade. The architect for much of that success is head coach Allan Trimble, compiling an overall 122-12 record during that stretch. A number of his players – year-in, year-out – go on to receiving scholarships at Division I-A programs. In addition to losing a number of blue chip players yearly, Jenks' success has enabled many of Trimble's assistants to go on to head coaching positions; over the last few years, five of his position coaches and coordinators have become head coaches throughout the area.
Coach Trimble and his staff have also been honored for their charitable work. Selected as one of the nation’s Most Caring Coaches, Trimble has encouraged his team to host a dinner honoring students participating in the Special Olympics. His players have raised over $1,000 for the Special Olympics and $1,650 for an opposing team's cancer-stricken quarterback.
We spoke to Coach Trimble and his staff about preparing for his next opponent and, more specifically, scouting the offensive line protection schemes...
Q. In scouting your next opponent, what are the most important items to look for on tape as they relate to offense, defense, and special teams?
There are different ways to look at it but we try to determine the amount of athleticism at each position of our opponent. We try to see if, for example, one of their guards is not an effective pass blocker so we can create mismatches. Our staff then puts together 10 minute highlight videos for our kids so they can look at next week's opponent specific to their position.
Q. How do you go about scouting offensive line protection schemes?
We first look at the passing offense of the opponent; that is, are they a 3-step quick route offense, 5 step intermediate route game, and/or 7 step deep passing team. We then look at their 6 man front (five linemen and the tailback) and see how they line-up and the positioning of the running back. We look at how they set up and based on their formation try to create mismatches. As a staff, we also look at their run blocking stance as well as their pulling and passing stances and what tendencies the offensive linemen have. Does their center slide to primarily zone block or are they more a man-on-man blocking team?
Q. Do you prepare for all the different kinds of protection schemes your opponent will potentially use?
Yes... we are primarily a four man rushing team with three linebackers but have variations into a 4-2-5....We first ask are they holding their tight end in or is he releasing? We also want to know their slide protection and, from scouting this part of the game, develop our own 5 and 6 man pressure packages and blitzes. We want to create situations where we outnumber them in whatever combination and get to the runner or QB. Depending on their passing tendencies – 3, 5, or 7 step drops and the down and distance situation – we will prepare different kinds of pressure and some zone blitzes to counter them.
Q. Do you develop a specific defensive plan to attack the passing game and, specifically, the screen pass?
We do two things in preparation for the screen pass....we have a ‘spy’ concept in which one of our defensive players – an inside linebacker, free safety, strong safety, or nickel back – watch the tailback man-to-man. The assigned player, and this changes play-to-play and game-to-game, watches what the tailback does and it’s his responsibility to follow him whether he stays in and blocks or releases,
We also have what we call a ‘mush rush' where the scouting report indicates to us – based on tendencies and down and distance – that a screen pass may be coming. Our nose guard will occupy the center or tackle and watch the tailback for a screen rather than try to get through to the quarterback. He can then make his decision on where to pursue the play based on the protection scheme and if the guard releases.
Q. Do you base your defensive set on their odd or even front?
We look at their tendencies to be balanced or unbalanced and react accordingly. If they’re in a center-guard, tackle, tackle, tight end front, we’ll slide over to that side. Their formation may vary from play to play and they may run counters and misdirection based on an unbalanced line. We will adjust based on an odd or even front and we make sure our secondary is positioned where their receivers line-up.
Q. What kinds of blitz and stunt packages do you develop against your opponents’ blocking schemes?
After scouting our opponent, we try every way we can – blitzes, stunts, and different kinds of pressure – to get the best mismatch we can against their weakest blocker. This relates to different tendencies as well; for example, we may blitz if the ball is on a particular hash or bring extra rush pressure if they slide block or zone block. We build our pressure to their personnel and it could be the wide side passing game or man protection. We want the best matchups we can get.
Q. Do you develop a specific plan to counter zone and man-to-man blocking?
Again, through scouting, we look at their tendencies and develop a plan for both types of blocking. A lot of it is dependent on where the running back is aligned in the backfield. We are constantly making adjustments with our defense as is our opponent with their offense but we clearly want to pressure the quarterback as much as we can.
Q. How important is the running back in pass blocking situations as you analyze tapes? Do you develop a specific plan to counter the blocking assignments of your opponents’ running back?
A running back that's a good blocker is crucial to the success of a passing game. He has to be able to pick up blitzes and, at times, block a much larger defensive end. If our opponent is a strong passing team, we want to make sure our inside and outside linebackers know the tendencies of the tailback in blocking situations.
Q. What type of digital editing system do you use?
We began working with DSV about five or six years ago and it’s been great. The system keeps getting better and better and the best thing is that they hear what we say as coaches. They’re coach friendly and when we go to DSV and ask for something specific, they get it done. A good example is what we call the ‘snap-shot.’ Our quarterback can take home with him 25 or so still shots of coverages he’ll see the following Friday. This is based on various formations and personnel groupings but it gives him time to prepare and by Monday, when we go over our opponents’ defense, he's that much ahead in recognizing the different defenses. They’re the ultimate classroom for our players.
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