Monday, April 4, 2011

Oklahoma State Practice Observations

I attended the Oklahoma State University Football Coaches Clinic last weekend. The clinic talks were good, but the best part of the day for me was watching OSU go through a spring practice at the end of the clinic. There were two reasons why I was looking forward to it:
  1. I enjoy watching other teams practice. Our staff went to watch a couple of area teams practice after the season and you can pick up so many ways to organize and structure practice.
  2. Okie State ran the Air Raid the last couple of years under Coach Holgerson, who is now the "Head Coach in Waiting" at West Virginia. I was very interested to see how much, if any, of the Air Raid principles were still intact this year.
Here are my observations from watching practice:

1. Here are the offensive and defensive practice schedules for the day.

2. Practice started with the offense going through a walk-through of their team script plays vs. offensive players as the scout defense. No helmets or shoulder pads. The coaches were coaching and correcting a ton during this time. One assistant told me that this takes some time away from their meeting time, but they do this so they don't have to stop and correct during team time at the end of practice.

3. The segments were controlled by a scoreboard timer in the corner of the endzone. The home team "score" showed what period they were in. The timer counted down. An air horn sounded to start the next period. The coaches were moving from drill to drill based on this timer, but they weren't married to it. At one point, Coach Gundy was personally running a 1-on-1 lineman drill and it ran a minute or two over the time for that segment. The manager waited to start the timer until he was finished running the drill.

3. After the walk-through, the entire team came together to do dynamic and static stretches. The QBs warmed up on the other field by just playing catch and basic warm-up throwing drills.

4. They did not do Settle and Noose drill. In fact, I did not see Mesh at all.

5. The QBs and RBs worked a good drill after individual where they just worked on the swing/check-down route. The RB lined up in the Pistol or offset, and ran his swing to the numbers where he settled. The QB went through his progression and threw the check-down to the RB. This was a huge emphasis all day.

6. Pat and Go was 10 minutes long. They threw for 5 minutes to the right, and 5 minutes to the left. They threw a quick slant, quick screen (foot fire) and fades. I didn't see a huge emphasis on the WR squeezing the numbers or working on the over-the-shoulder fade. The fades were at full-speed.

7. Routes on Air was very standard to all Air Raid teams. Five quarterbacks throwing to all receivers. One difference: They didn't use pop-up bags. Instead, the coaches/managers stood where the secondary would be and gave different looks/alignments.

8. The primary routes they worked on during this practice were: Snag, Shallow (Y & H), All-Curl, Quick Screen, and Jailbreak Screen.

9. At the end of 1-on-1 time with the receivers and DBs, the offense lined up in trips on the 5-yard line vs. two defenders (outside linebacker and corner). They threw their quick screen to #2, and #1 and #3 had to block the defenders. It was live to the ball and they got after it.

10. Everything was no huddle. I spent a great deal of time watching the communication system they had. The coach on the sideline signaled in the play. The QB was the only one really looking at the signals. He yelled out the play to the OL, and gave a quick signal to the receivers, and they ran the play. The signal from the QB to the receivers was very quick and simple. The QB said to the line "23.. 23.." and that was it. They were very sharp with their communication.

11. During team they were working situations. Since it was spring ball, the first offense was going vs. a scout defense while the #1 defense was on the sideline. After several plays, they switched and the #1 defense came on. They may have been doing that since high school coaches were there watching, but it didn't appear that they were game planning at all for opponents, just working on doing what they do.

12. "Game Time" at the end of practice was a 4-minute offense/defense situation where the #1 offense was against the #1 defense. They put 3:40 on the clock and the offense needed to get a first down to win. They got it to 2nd and short, and the defense called a timeout. On 3rd and 2 the offense converted, but Coach Gundy called holding on the offense, which put them in 3rd and 15 or so. They ran a jailbreak screen, but didn't get it. It was a highly competitive and spirited session.

13. From what I could tell, all of the numbered routes from the Air Raid were the same.

14. They ran their "Diamond" 3-back formation a little. Outside zone, inside zone and power.

One interesting play: They motioned the back who was lined up to the left of the QB over so he was directly behind the RB on the right. Then they ran Power with the entire line blocking down. The back to the right of the QB kicked out the end. The back who motioned over led through (instead of pulling a guard), and the QB handed off to the back lined up in the pistol. It was like an I-Formation lined up to the QB's right, but giving the ball to the back lined up behind him. It was a nice wrinkle, and a way of overloading that side of the defense.

If you have any specific questions, please post them in the comments below!


  1. Coach do you have a copy of a practice schedule from their practice?

  2. Coach - item #1 above is a link to the practice schedule. Please let me know if it does not work for you.

  3. Coach do you know the backs rules or actions on those 3 plays (power, inside zone, & outside zone)

    Coach Chastain

  4. Coach Chastain - Check out my latest post. I drew it up to the best of my recollection.

  5. good work. I cant believe they ran no mesh though.