Even at small schools, when we have enough coaches we can break off for indie time and small group periods before coming together for full team. My series that covers drills for beginning coaches and players takes us through indie period and into group periods during practice.
Now, one maneuver we have done to help our players get our most vital skills like mesh point and option pitch spacing is to have our QB’s and RB’s come together during indie and before inside run. Hypothetically, let’s say our indie period is 30 minutes on Wednesday, a day we dedicate to offense. After 20 minutes of drills, our QB’s and RB’s come together to work on read option mesh and pitch with live reads. By live reads I mean having a coach playing DE on front or back side to improve our mesh read or pitch read and spacing. With 5-10 extra minutes of practice together, we limited our mesh issues and actually had 100% effectiveness in our spring game (as determined by no dropped pitches or fumbled QB/RB exchanges).
During this time, WR’s and TE’s can continue working on routes, blocking, etc while the OL continues doing their thing. Once the period is over, we can proceed to inside run.
While coaches often refer to this period as ‘inside run’ it’s far from just time to run Iso and Dive. Instead, it’s simply our running period. This is where our OL/TE and RB’s will rep the run game with our starting QB. We will practice a scripted 5-10 plays over 10 minutes. I believe in this period because it’s easier for coaches to watch the small things like footwork and hand placement with less going on. We allow our offense to throw their play-actions as well during this period.
Pass skel allows our QB, RB’s and WR/TE to work on the passing game without a pass rush or OL in the way. This allows for our first team to move up and down the field while getting reps at a rapid-fire pace. During this period our OL usually works on 1/2 line pass protection and 1on1’s to correspond to the ‘passing period.’
Once indie, inside run and pass skel have been completed; our offense is ready for team period which consists of “install” and “thud” team drills. “Install” is an 11-man on air drill (however we always have 2 DE’s there because of the amount of option we run). Thud refers to the tackle of the ball carriers. During thud the OL and DL go live, while the tacklers will make solid form hits, but will not take the ball carrier to the ground. We employ a quick whistle during thud, but not as quick as whiz.
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