Introduce New Strategy On Your Opponents Side of the 50
In the August 22nd issue of ESPN the Magazine, Brian Fremeau's article “30 is the new 20” discusses the new Value Drive statistic, which measures a football team’s scoring power inside the 30 yard line. One of the research statistics about punting inside an opponents 35 yard line caught our eye:
"For most offenses, the 30-yard line is the most significant cutoff point for various strategic options. . . Last season, no punts were kicked from at or inside the 30, while 47 punts were kicked from between the 31- and 35-yard lines. So as the first step to creating our value drive metric -- to truly separate good offenses and defenses from bad ones -- we expanded the scoring zone from the 20 to the 30."
There are multiple opportunities throughout a game where a coach gets to make strategic decisions on short yardage, 4th down and field position situations. Some of the most difficult of these decisions occur between the opponents 50 and 30, with the majority choosing to either "go for it" or punt. Another option is to think of these situations as an opportunity to present a unique formation to the defense, creating maximum stress and advantage for your team.
Shifting Into A Unique Formation
With some advance preparation, your team can confidently shift from one of your base formations into a unique A-11 formation with your traditional numbered players at critical points throughout a game. If a defense has never seen the formation before and they have little time to react, there is very little chance they will properly align to defend the play. The most likely scenarios are defensive confusion and a time-out being called, both of which are positive for your team.
The key for coaches is to make sure the team is proficient running the A-11 play package you present and shifting into the play from a traditional formation at high speed to cut down the reaction time for the defensive players and coaches. Some coaches might choose to create a special A-11 unit that practices these plays or just shift with the normal players.
Strategically Force the Burn!
It's a tight game, you have the lead and the ball deep in your opponents territory. Your opponent has marched down and scored the last two possessions and now it's one of those see-saw games where the last team with the ball might just win. Your opponent has one timeout left and its 3rd and 1 on their 35 with 1:30 left. Both teams and the fans in the stands are on pins and needles, but your team has something special to unveil. From an offset "I" formation, your team shifts into a 43 set and prepares to run a fake burn sweep toss into the wall. Pandemonium erupts on the defensive sideline, with coaches trying to align their defenders. Players are scrambling to figure out alignment against a formation they have never seen before. The QB starts his cadence when one of the defenders panics, turns to the referee and burns that last valuable time-out.
At this point you have just gained a significant tactical advantage. With no defensive time-outs left, you still have two plays of your choice to win the game. During your time-out you can choose to run the same play, a different A-11 formation, or return to your regular offense. Even if you don't get the first down, you will burn significant clock over the next two plays and leave your opponent with very little time to win.
Create a Preparation Nightmare
Adding and running an A-11 package creates a significant preparation issue for your opponents. Even if coaches only run a few A-11 plays a game, it puts opponents in a difficult situation of committing valuable defensive time coming up with a scheme to defend your formations and plays. This decreases their proficiency at defending your standard offensive package. In the A-11 Winning Edge playbook we include 10 plays, so you can unveil 1 different play per game per week and at the end of the season, a familiar ten play package is ready for the play-offs.
What other advantages do you see with adding an A-11 package to your offensive scheme?