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Coffee and Cigarettes: Educational Links for Friday

I am officially off the grid. Living it up in the Big Easy, forsaking my computer and phone. Mostly. With that in mind, here are some reads, mostly brought to you by the excellent Chris Brown of Smart Football, that will teach you and I a thing or two.

What were the seminal offenses/defenses of each decade? | Smart Football
Inspired by this post, remember the definition of seminal when answering.

Dick LeBeau, Dom Capers and the evolution of defense | Smart Football - While the media storyline for the Super Bowl is Aaron Rogers versus Ben Roethlisberger, or even Packers head coach Mike McCarthy versus Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, the cognoscenti understand that the most interesting pairing involves the defensive coordinators, Steelers’ defensive guru, Dick LeBeau and his former protégé (and boss) Dom Capers.

Capers, as defensive coordinator for the Steelers, coached with LeBeau back in the early 1990s, where Capers and LeBeau conspired to implement their madcap 3-4 zone blitz schemes that would help LeBeau land in the NFL Hall of Fame. (LeBeau, too, is not without his Green Bay connections, as he was an assistant for the Pack in the late ’70s under Bart Starr.) LeBeau took over as defensive coordinator in 1995 once Capers left to become head coach of the Carolina Panthers.

Wisdom on how to (try to) defend four verticals with Cover 3 | Smart Football - Question: How would you defend the four verticals pass play with Cover 3? Answer from mgoblog contributor (and defensive coach) Steve Sharik:

Big balls Pete Carroll | Smart Football - That’s the title of the new profile of USC’s Carroll in Esquire. Lots of interesting stuff, but here are two of the best bits. The setting for both anecdotes here is during USC’s summer camp for high school kids, some being recruited by USC, others just there to be coached for a week by Carroll and co.

Teaching a quarterback where to throw the football | Smart Football - If your quarterback can’t deliver the ball to the open receiver, it doesn’t matter how well designed, well protected, or otherwise well executed your pass plays are. Surprisingly, however, this supposedly natural skill — the ability to locate and throw the ball to an open receiver — is taught in a variety of ways, some more effective than others. To my mind, there are really essentially two legitimate methods: the progression read and the coverage read. (The illegitimate way is to simply "scan" across — the most common tactic when a quarterback who gets in trouble — but this should never be taught to a young quarterback as an every down technique.)

The Sight Adjustment Study | X&O Labs - Today, offenses are faced with a plethora of defensive alignments and a multitude of pressures and coverages, but the integrity of X&O Labs' Offensive Researcher, Mike Kelly, discusses his findings on how coaches are using sight adjustments to combat pressures. defensive play remains constant.  A defense must maintain gap control and if one player vacates, another must replace.  It’s that simple.  Don’t get overwhelmed, just find the inherent weakness of each concept and prepare your players to read and react accordingly with what we like to call the "unspoken communication" of throwing the football.

Dictating Coverage Based on Offensive Field Position & Personnel | X&O Labs - This report was prepared by Coach James McCleary of Notre Dame High School (LA). McCleary shares his innovative way of instructing his defensive secondary to play coverage based on offensive spacing and personnel. It’s important to note that McCleary’s system is a "check system" made by his corners and safeties pre-snap and is entirely predicated on how and where an offense lines up its personnel. Although this may seem to be consuming to teach your players (he draws up 200 cards a week complete with detailed hash marks so his kids can make the proper calls), once it’s mastered your players develop a complete understand of how offenses plan on attacking spacing and leverage in a defense.

Pre-Snap Movements to Gain Leverage | X&O Labs - Manipulating defenses seems to consistently be the main goal of most offensive coordinators in the modern era. How can I defeat a defense without even snapping the ball? It’s the thinking man’s "game within a game" that occurs pre-snap. Football is a game of moving parts, which explains the constant references it draws to the game of chess. In this report, X&O Labs is going to show you how to put your moving parts in a position to out-leverage, outnumber and outthink a defense.

Packaging three-step and five-step passing concepts into the same play | Smart Football - Modern defenses are very, very good. Too good, in fact, for successful offenses to expect to be able to simply call some traditional play in the huddle — ye olde 24 Blast or 42 Boot Pass — and be able to simply line up and run it with any hope of sustained success. Not only are defenses sound, defensive coordinators and talented defenders have become masters of deception, and the game has increasingly become a mental as well as physical struggle.

Can the West Coast Offense be taught anywhere besides the NFL? | Smart Football - Is it possible to run the "West Coast Offense" — the offense credited to Bill Walsh and those of his "coaching tree" — at any level other than the NFL? The answer is not necessarily clear. Indeed, despite being the most prevalent offense in the NFL, the WCO seems designed to overwhelm any college or high school team attempting to install it, whether from the voluminous playbook, playcalls that sound like something from NASA, or the difficult throws that only NFL guys can make. Despite its wonderful aspects and results, there’s a reason that many a high school coach with the best of intentions has junked the West Coast Offense after a few miserable games to return to some simpler and more trusted approach that has the advantage of being something his kids can actually do.