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Get Organized - Having an efficient and effective play calling system can help maximize your offensive potential.

by: Rich Holzer
Head Coach, Meade High School (MD)
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As the offensive coordinator, there are many ways to organize your play calls. After six years as an offensive coordinator, I have experimented with several formats to find what works for me. What I have settled on is a format that is flexible in games and helpful in game planning on the weekends.

When structuring my call sheet, the first thing I did was to create landmark calls. We broke the field down by zones, similar to what air raid teams do. But we decided to get more specific and have calls for the different yards lines within each zone. At first, we attempted to break it down further by hash mark but found that it overloaded our QBs, who typically play both ways. Our zones of the field are as follows:

•  0-10 = Coming Off
•  10-30 = Yellow Zone
•  30-30 = Open Field
•  30-20 = Orange Zone
•  20-10 = Red Zone
•  10-5 = Green Zone
•  5 and In = Goal Line

In addition, we break our call sheet down by situation. We try to carry calls for the following situations:

•      Openers
•      Drive Starters
•      1st Down Calls
•    3rd Downs (short, medium, long and
    extra long)
•      4th Down (short, medium and long)
•      2-Point Plays
•      Shots
•      Gadgets
•      Screens

    We also designate specific colors for plays designed for our playmakers. We try and create three plays per athlete to get them the ball (See Chart 1).
Our actual plays are divided into various categories (Chart 2).

•  Zone – zone is our inside zone concept and is a vertical push zone concept. Our intent is to pound double teams and displace the defensive line. This is an A gap backside run.

•  Stretch – this is our horizontal zone stretch concept. We are looking to get the defensive front moving. This leads to horizontal displacement of the front, causing cut up lanes. It is a C-to A-gap run.

•  Power – this is our attitude play. It’s the play we call when we need a yard. We try to create as many double teams as possible and carry them into the backside linebackers.

•  Horn – this is our pin and pull seep concept. We pull covered linemen out in front of our backs in an attempt to circle the defense.

•  Fast – these are our advantage screens on the perimeter. We are trying to get the ball to our athletes in space and force the defense to make one-on-one open field tackles.

•  Trap – we call this our counter trey.

•  Option – this play is a standard double option pitch key depending who we feel is the most difficult defender to block.

•  Naked – this includes a naked boot pass off our zone run game.

•  Boot – this play is a protected boot pass with the guard pulling out to protect the QB.

•  Pop – this is a play-action pass off of our power scheme.

•  Shallows – this is our air raid shallows crossing concept.

•  Deuce package – this is a double tight end set of plays we use to create extra gaps for the defense to defend. We attempt to cause the defense stress by attempting to out-leverage defenses through the alignment of our tight ends.

About the Author: Rich Holzer just completed his fourth season as head coach at Meade High School (MD). His teams won back to back regional titles (2012 and 2013) for the first time in school history. Holzer previously was the head coach at Parkdale High School (MD) and has also coached at Hofstra University and Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, NY.

More article like this:

Coach to Coach: An Efficient and Effective Play Calling System – February, 2014
Cheat Sheets: An Effective Play Calling System – February, 2014
Game Planning Your Coaching Career – August/September, 2013


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