Saturday, June 30, 2018

Cliff Branch Belongs in the Hall of Fame

In July 2015, and Six-months before the late, great, legendary Raider's QB, Kenny Stabler was Finally posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I (and along with many others) wrote that he deserved to be inducted into professional football's highest ring of honor.

Now, it is Way past time for the Voting Body of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to induct incredible former Raider's WR, Cliff Branch.

From 1972-1985, Cliff Branch was an outstanding Game Breaker that drove fear into the heart of Defensive Backs and the Defensive Coordinators that were charged with game-planning various ways to try and stop him.

Branch's Career Statistics are outstanding from an era of the NFL when it was Not a pass-happy league:

501 Receptions
8,685 Yards
17.3 Avg. Yards per Catch
67 Touchdowns

Branch was a Four-time All Pro and Pro Bowl Selection.

Branch also earned Three Super Bowl Rings, and Branch was a Pivotal player in the Raider's Super Bowl XVIII win vs. the Redskins in 1984. In that game, Branch caught a TD pass, and provided the late-stage, downfield block against the speedy Darrell Green that enabled Raider's Running Back, Marcus Allen to score on his amazing 74-yard run, a stunning play that many fans believe was the greatest single-play in Raider's history.

Respectfully, there are several Wide Receivers that have already been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, even though their career totals and amount of Super Bowl wins are Not equal to that of Branch's.

Lastly, Branch's excellent fellow teammate and wily Wide Receiving peer (Fred Biletnikoff) has been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and his career totals are virtually identical to Branch's, but Branch was able to earn two-more Super Bowl rings during his career than Freddy did, respectfully.

Cliff Branch and Fred Biletnikoff pictured below...

And now, without further adieu, it is well-past the time for the Voting Block of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to reconsider their prior decisions, and to induct Cliff Branch into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Taking Steps to Preserve the Game's Future

In our first-year of leading the Arroyo Dons High School Football Program, we are undergoing a major rebuilding process from the ground up, a complete overhaul.

The Dons have instituted a Strength and Conditioning program for the first time in Four-years, and equally important, the coaches, the team and the administration have taken steps to help improve player safety now, and to also help preserve the game's future.

Take a look at the nationwide outcry and emphasis about reducing concussions and how to improve player safety.

Respectfully the Arroyo Dons have done just that, by implementing a super-spread offensive system stemming from the A-11 Offense, and aligning the offensive players in athletic two-point stances in order to protect their heads, necks and brains more effectively.

For the Football Players at every level of the game, the Millions of Fans that Love the game, and also for the thousands of Football Coaches now and into the future, we must do our part to help the game make Progress and Grow into a much safer future.

We can do it by working together to ensure an improved game for generations to come...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A-11 Going Nationwide in Rookie Football

UPDATED on July 4th, 2018: The Pop Warner National Youth Football Organization announced it has joined forces with USA Football to expand its Rookie Tackle football league! Please see my earlier post below!

TEN-years ago in 2007, the football coaching staff and players at Piedmont High School (CA) took a very big chance and decided to try something radically different and new, by implementing the A-11 Offense featuring totally interchangeable players on Offense, eliminating the 3-point stance on the Line of Scrimmage, and using Two starting Quarterbacks in the backfield at the same time for the whole season.

Fortunately, in both seasons of utilizing the A-11 Offense in 2007 & 2008, the Piedmont football team did very well, and made the Playoffs each year.

More importantly, while No Offensive system is without its many flaws, the other Valuable benefits of the A-11 revealed itself, when over a two-year period in 2007 & 2008, Not One Piedmont Offensive Football Player suffered a serious injury.

Better yet, in 2008, Many high school football teams nationwide began using the A-11 Offense with excellent results, especially in terms of greatly improving player safety.

And, now Today, USA Football officially announced the launch of its ROOKIE Tackle football league nationwide pilot program with over 24,000 players, that features several Key components of the A-11 Game:

1. Fully Interchangeable Players on Offense

2. Eliminates the 3-point Stance

3. More Spacing between the players

Overall, this Major Announcement is a Game Changer forever, and it's a great thing for football players, coaches and fans!

Humbly, as the game of Tackle Football continues to evolve to become safer and much more dynamic, the Two-Quarterback, A-11 Offense unveiled at Piedmont in 2007 & 2008 demonstrated the incredible possibilities and put forth the groundwork for others to follow.

From Scientific American Magazine on the A-11 Offense in 2008:

“In a standard formation with five fixed linemen, a play can unfold with 36 different scenarios for who receives the snap, and who ends up with the ball…including a quarterback sneak…

In the A-11 Offense, because the receivers and linemen (and even the quarterbacks) are interchangeable, the number of different possibilities for what can happen on a given play Skyrockets to 16,632.”

Imagine what the game will look like in the year 2018 and beyond!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Thank You and a New Journey at Arroyo

When you are fortunate enough to coach football for 25-years at the High School and NCAA levels in northern California, the remarkable people that you encounter along the way create the strong foundation for the fun, sad, amazing, heartbreaking, thrilling and breathtaking moments that form the entire body of a football season or seasons.

During my coaching career at Chico State University, Chico High School, Piedmont High School, Menlo College, St. Mary's College, Livermore High School and Piedmont High School again...I have had the great pleasure of working with outstanding Student-Athletes, Coaches, Administrators and Staff, the Parents, and also Family and Friends.

I am incredibly Thankful for the relationships that we built and shared together, whether it was for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime. We will always have the fond thoughts and great memories of those wonderful moments that we accomplished by planning and working together, and words cannot fully express how appreciative I am to have been a part of it.

Now, entering the 26th year of my coaching career and diving into my 1st year at Arroyo, I am humbled, honored and very grateful to the Arroyo Administration for the opportunity to lead the Dons football program.

I really look forward to working with the Arroyo Student-Athletes and my coaching staff, and the entire Arroyo Football Family to rebuild the Arroyo Dons Football program, and together we will make it a fun and exciting adventure!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Football's Future is at a Crossroads

Our Wonderful game of Football is at a Crossroads at this point in history. To be clear, it has happened before and we are in the vortex of it again now.

(Yale Football in 1905 below)

In more than 150-years of its evolution, the game of Football has soared to amazing heights, and it has suffered and prospered once again. All along the way, the game has adapted in order to thrive...most of the time those changes were voluntary, but sometimes the Game was Forced to change (in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt) and modernize some of its rules to improve player safety and push the game into a more mature and acceptable future.

(President Teddy Roosevelt) Legalized the Forward Pass in 1906

Now, at this point in its incredible "life," the game's key indicators are pointing towards important adjustments to improve the rocky path of player safety that it's been riding on, which will help to increase the critically important youth and high school football participation numbers that serves as the lifeblood of Collegiate and Professional Football.

Looking back at the game of Football about 100-years ago, does that model of the game resemble the game that we play today?

No...and, things either get better or they get worse...they do not stay the same.

(Circa 1912) Football Helmet Safety Test

Morally, and with the advent of medical investigative technology that reveals the health and safety of the players in a real-time format during practices and games, combined with the fact that the athletes of today are bigger-faster-stronger than virtually every football player from 75-100 years ago...the leaders in charge of shaping the future of football at every level of play should answer these basic questions.

1. Is the game of football going to become Faster and more Spread Out overall, or will it become a more condensed, smash mouth game?

2. Are the Athletes of today and into the future going to become slower and weaker, or Stronger and Faster?

3. Will the Football Players of today and into the future be able to process real-time information on the field of play at a faster rate than their predecessors overall?

4. Can the Game's rules be modified to help improve player safety, and also help the game become even More exciting and complex than it already is right now?

Looking back and evaluating the changes that have taken place throughout football's history, one thing reveals itself over-and-over again, and that is...the game of Football has always adapted to its Athletes and adjusted to the particular set of circumstances affecting the game at that point in time.

For those of us that love the great game of Football, we need to keep experimenting and find the best methods and new rules to greatly improve player safety.

The Great Answers to Improving Football Player Safety and Opening Up the Game are Right in Front of us.

We owe our best efforts to all of the football players, coaches and the fans of the Game's past, and also to all of the Future Generations still yet to come.

The Exciting and Innovative Future of Football Awaits...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Good Things Happen to Good People That Work Hard Together to Achieve a Common Goal

One of the best feelings in the world, is when a Group of people from various walks of life join forces and work incredibly hard together to achieve a common goal.

With a high-risk project, more often than not, those types of endeavors do not come to fruition, hence the term "high-risk."

However, the simple fact that there is no guarantee of success makes the task of undertaking a very difficult project even more rewarding - if the joint venture succeeds.

When you decide to Go For It and pursue Big Dreams, surround yourself with outstanding people, that have differing perspectives and excellent work ethics. Learn from one another, respect divergent viewpoints, implement proven methods of winning, and employ innovative theories and strategies when traditional approaches struggle or fail altogether.

Then, both individually and as a team, you must Prepare, Practice, Perform and Polish along the way in your mutual pursuit of winning.

Good things happen to good people that work very hard together and never quit to achieve a common goal...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Realign, Redefine and Reassign When It’s Time to Make Adjustments

When a head football coach is very unhappy with his team’s performance, often times the situation gets much worse – if those very tough decisions and choices that need to be made are prolonged, fretted over, and/or severely drawn out.

Things don’t stay the same – therefore they either get better, or they get worse.

The late, great football coach, Bill Walsh believed in clearly assessing the situation(s) at hand regarding his football team’s chemistry and performance. And then, once those issues were critically assessed, Walsh would firmly make those brutally tough decisions that he thought were necessary, and then he would instruct his assistant coaches and players to “close ranks” and move forward without pause.

As a head football coach, it’s vitally important to remember three key things when making the adjustments needed in an attempt to improve your football team’s lagging performance.

1. Realign: the definition, is to change the position or direction of (something) slightly usually in relation to something else, or to organize (something) in a different way.

When your football team is really struggling to win games and not performing up to its potential, then realigning your team’s Focus can help your team improve.

How and Why?

Shifting your team’s immediate Focus from winning games to improving its overall attitude on a daily basis, and ramping up each player’s basic fundamental execution can relieve bouts of stress that some players might be feeling, and refocus their attention on the day-to-day little things in order to improve their performance one-step at a time.

2. Redefine: the definition, is to reexamine or reevaluate especially with a view to change, or to transform.

Change is not easy, and delivering an overall platform of successful changes is even harder to achieve when you’re working with a large group of people. Asking yourself, your players and your assistant coaches to clearly reevaluate all-things-considered during unhappy times is one of the toughest things to do in sports.


Football coaches and players are naturally competitive, they are accustomed to winning, and they relish the thrill of victory. When a team’s performance sinks way below par, sometimes the players and coaches will tend to believe that if they just keep working even-harder, then “things will get better.”

However, as a head coach, it’s important to remain flexible in order to be successful. Therefore, transforming your team’s offensive, defensive and special teams attack can dramatically improve your team’s performance, if you are not afraid to radically adjust your tactical approach in the early to mid-stream phase of the season.

3. Reassign: the definition, is to move personnel or resources, etc., to a new post, department or location, etc.

As a head football coach, not only do you need to remain flexible in order to maintain long-term success, but your assistant coaches and players must be willing to adapt and adjust in order to thrive.

Tweaking some of your duties and responsibilities within your role as head coach, and those of your assistant coaches and players will often times provide for the influx of fresh and innovative ideas to emerge, and also enable some of your reassigned players to blossom on the field of play in new and exciting ways.

The goal is to win.

If you want to maximize your football team’s chance of success when the results are not going your way on the field of play, it’s prudent to remain flexible in your approach.

And remember, to be ready, willing and able to Realign, Redefine and Reassign.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Kenny Stabler Belongs in the Hall of Fame

UPDATED on February 7th, 2016: Congrats to the late, great Kenny Stabler and his family on Finally getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame!

Please read my article below written on July 17th, 2015...

I admit...that I am biased towards the late, great, Oakland Raider QB, Kenny Stabler.

Growing up as a lifelong Raider’s fan, I had the privilege of watching the dynamic Kenny Stabler play Quarterback for the Oakland Raiders.

During his youth, at the University of Alabama, and even during his early years with the Oakland Raiders, Kenny “The Snake” Stabler was an incredibly talented and gifted athlete, until a few severe knee injuries greatly reduced his mobility.

Stabler in High School in Alabama.

Stabler executing a Jump Pass for the University of Alabama vs. Tennessee

Stabler with the Oakland Raiders.

Better yet, Kenny Stabler was one of the most poised quarterback’s, and one of the greatest players that were always “cool-under-pressure” clutch type of performers at any position in football…ever.

Many of Stabler’s breathtaking and heart-stopping gutty plays have become some of the best NFL Time Capsule Moments, such as, “The Sea of Hands,” vs. the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Playoffs, or the stunning 4th Down Long Bomb to Tight End Dave Casper that went straight down the middle of the field vs. the Baltimore Colts in the AFC Playoffs - forever known as “The Ghost to the Post,” and the infamous “Holy Roller,” vs. the San Diego Chargers, just to name a few.

Stabler was a great winner, a consummate teammate and always gracious towards his many fans. He was also recognized by his peers and the media as the best player, or one of the best players of his era several times, including but not limited to:

- 1974 MVP of the NFL
- 1974 NFL Offensive Player of the Year
- NFL All-Pro Player and a Pro Bowl Player Four Times
- Super Bowl XI Champion vs. the Minnesota Vikings
- Selected to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1970's
- Multiple Other Awards Earned during his Excellent Career

If you have any doubts about whether or not Kenny Stabler deserves to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, then please take a step back for a moment and imagine what the Oakland Raiders, and the entire Era of 1970’s Pro Football would have been like Without him?

Stabler was great for the game, great for the Raiders and great for the fans. And, he was a 'One of Kind' personality.

Thank you to the late Kenny Stabler for giving it his all throughout his incredible pro football career to provide so many great memories for us football fans to enjoy.

And now, it’s time for the Voting Members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee to return the favor, and demonstrate their sincere and eternal appreciation for the legendary and special player, Kenny Stabler.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

(Coaching Tip # 2) Utilizing A-11 Concept Screen Plays Helps to Improve QB Player Safety

Coaching Tip Number Two:

The dimensions of the Football Field have not changed in over 100-years, but for the most part, the incredible athletes of today are far superior to the great athletes from the bygone era of 1910-1930, respectfully.

In today's era, the dynamic speed and elite athletic ability of top football players puts maximum pressure on each athlete to react with rapidly escalating precision in the seemingly more limited boundaries of the football field...because the actual Dimensions of the field were established more than a Century ago, and the game moves Much faster than it did prior to World War I.

During the past several years, the Quarterbacks at the professional level, Collegiate level, and at the high school level have taken brutal hits to their bodies and heads that could potentially end their careers, or worse yet, even their lives.

ALL competitive sports are dangerous: soccer, football, baseball, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, racing, etc.

Currently however, ON the field of play, and with the advent of innovative high school, collegiate and pro coaches pushing the envelope of creativity and ascending the ranks at Every level, creative A-11 Spread concept Screen pass plays and Read Screens are Helping to Neutralize the overwhelming and physically dominating Defensive Linemen and Linebackers, which in turn helps to Protect the most Vulnerable Player on the field...the Quarterback.

One of the best tools to help preserve the health and safety of the Quarterback is to fully exploit the utilization of the Screen Passing game, and the Read Screen Passing game. (See Example Above).

When Defensive Linemen and Linebackers are Forced to become Even More Spread Out across the field of play to defend ultra-spread offensive formations, and also account for the Possibility of Getting Burned by one of these cleverly devised plays, they will often be more hesitant or less aggressive on some plays during the course of the game. Therefore, ultra-aggressive DL and LB's are less likely to arrive at the Quarterback to deliver a nasty hit, or sometimes they will be fooled into chasing down another offensive player that might potentially receive a Screen Pass.

As a coach, if you want to Help protect and improve your Quarterback's health and overall safety, then spend a lot of time mastering the art of employing some Super-Spread Offensive Sets to "thin-out the defense across the field," and Utilize more types of Screens and Read Screens in your offensive arsenal.

Your Quarterback will really Thank You for it...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New England Patriots Use A-11 Offense in 2015 Playoff Win vs. Ravens

In their dramatic 2015 Playoff Win vs. the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots used a trio of Innovative A-11 Offense plays to obtain nice gains, and in the process managed to further push the game of pro football into the future.

Utilizing the A-11 Offense at the Pro Level to Win NFL Playoff Games:

On Three Separate Successful Plays in the second half of their game vs. the physically superior Baltimore Ravens defense, and after having fallen behind by 14-points to the Ravens, the New England Patriots Needed to try something new with their own team, and they employed some innovative and strategic A-11 Offense by using 6 (six) Eligible-Numbered POTENTIAL Receivers on three Plays - instead of the normal amount of only 5 receivers and a Quarterback.

The Patriots had QB Tom Brady set up in the Shotgun formation in those Six-Receiver sets. The Patriots then coyly aligned the 6 Potentially Eligible Receivers in such a way as to confuse the Ravens' defenders Before the terms of WHICH 5 of the 6 (six) Receivers WOULD be Eligible to Go Downfield to Potentially Catch a Forward Pass on those Three plays.

New England Patriots, Superstar Quarterback, Tom Brady said, "It was a play that we liked and we thought would work. We had a couple versions of it. It's kind of an alert play for our team and we made them figure out what to do. I think that's what it looked like to me. We had to execute it, we had to make the appropriate calls and block it, and make the plays, and I was proud of us. That was a good weapon for us. That's part of football. You have to prepare for everything."

Brady also said, “Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out,” he contindued, "We obviously knew what we were doing and we made some pretty important plays. Maybe we’ll have something in store next week.”

“I don’t know what’s deceiving about that,” he added. “They should figure it out.”

See Below:

1. The Patriots had All Six of the POTENTIALLY Eligible Receivers Align Near the Line of Scrimmage

2. The Patriots technically had a Double Trips Look of Receivers set on each side of the Center BEFORE the Snap

3. However, the Patriots Keenly used a Basic A-11 Offense Concept to Correctly and Smartly Allow No More than 5 Eligible Receivers to then Proceed downfield after the Snap

4. The "covered up" Ineligible Receiver (Circled Above and Shown Below) is aligned on the Line of Scrimmage in the Slot to the Right side of the formation. Eligible-numbered Players aligned in this type of formation are called "Anchors."

5. An Anchor is a Game-Breaker type of athlete set up as an Ineligible player on a certain play. An Anchor Cannot catch a Forward Pass, but an Anchor Can touch the football via taking a Handoff, catching a Negative Hitch or Backward Pass behind the Line of Scrimmage, and/or catching a Pitch Out. On this particular play, the Anchor simply Retreated into the backfield as a Decoy after the snap, while other Eligible Receivers ran their routes accordingly

a. NFL rule 5.3.1 states that “an offensive player wearing the number of an eligible pass receiver is permitted to line up in the position of an ineligible pass receiver, provided that he immediately reports the change in his eligibility status to the Referee, who will inform the defensive team.”

b. New England Patriots Head Coach, Bill Belichick explained, “It’s a play that we thought would work. We had six eligible receivers on the field, but only five were eligible. The one who was ineligible reported that he was ineligible. No different than on the punt team or a situation like that.”

A smart and innovative A-11 Offense approach by the New England Patriots to help them win a very important game.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Evolution of Football

Walter Camp (pictured below) is the "Father of American Football."

Mr. Camp was the greatest Innovator in the history of American Football. He was the Head Football Coach at Yale and Stanford. Among many other groundbreaking contributions to the game, Mr. Camp introduced the Line of Scrimmage, a Set of Downs, the Safety enabling the Defense to score 2-points, putting and marking the Lines on the Field, the Snapping the football back from Center, and the 7-man offensive line.

Therefore, how would Mr. Camp look at our great game of football today, and how would Mr. Camp help to shape the future of football moving forward from this year of 2014?

a. 100-years ago (in 1914), please see below, is an example of the great athletes of that era aligned within a standard football formation. Back then, this was a normal set during that time period.

Note: *The Forward Pass had already been Legalized eight-years earlier in 1906.

1927 Cal Poly University Football formation below:

1953 Football Formation below:

1980's West Coast Offense Basic Set & Play Below:

b. Now look at a few “Spread Offense” sets in our Era of football (2010 - 2014) below.

c. Compare the vast differences and changes that naturally occurred between 1914 and today, and Imagine what the Athletes will be like in 2114, and what the Game will look like in 2114...Wow!

d. Think about it: Do you believe the Athletes will become Slower and Less Athletic, or will they evolve to become even Faster and even more Dynamic? And, do you think the game of Football will become Slower and more Condensed, or will the Game become Faster and More Spread Out?

*For a simple type of Comparison, take a Look at How Things Change Over Time from the "Car Family" below. Even though all Three of the vehicles below are Cars, they are incredibly different, in terms of Technology, Power and Performance capabilities.

1914 Racing Car:

2014 Racing Car:

2114 Racing Car Concept:

e. Therefore, in the future of football in 2114, will the average professional OL weigh 400 lbs. each or more? Will the average professional QB be 7 ft. tall or more. Will the average WR run the 40-yard Dash in under 4.0 seconds?

f. Will the standard length and width of a Football Field increase to be 100 Meters Long and 53 Meters Wide to accommodate for the much Bigger and Faster Athletes in 2114? Instead of the football field being measured in Yards, as it is today?

*See Below from 2008, one of Piedmont's various A-11 Offense base formations featuring Interchangeable and Dynamic athletes at Every position.

Will the game evolve to feature Incredibly talented Athletes at EVERY position on the field that are also Interchangeable? It certainly appears to be rapidly heading in that direction, especially when Eliminating the jersey-numbering requirement for the Offensive team Skyrockets the playmaking options after the snap from its current number of 36 a thrilling and innovative 16,632 options in terms of which player can receive the snap and advance with the football.

We are now in the exciting Vortex of a Football Revolution, and Big changes are taking place in our great game.

100-years from now in the year 2114, when the football coaches, players and historians take a look back at this Era, they will see the genesis of very creative concepts and remarkable high-level athletes pushing the game forward.

Get Ready for many more Innovative ideas that will modernize our great game of football coming soon!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Coaching Tip: # 1

Worldwide, there are, have been, and will continue to be numerous excellent male and female coaches whose efforts and errors have helped pave the way for sports fans to enjoy thrilling moments of triumph, suffer through painful losses, or even endure the dreaded tie game.

Bill Walsh, the late, great, innovative and legendary high school, collegiate and professional football coach deeply and truly believed that coaches have to be flexible to be successful over any substantial length of time.

Walsh lived, breathed, preached, taught and thrived upon his own football teams' tight execution of his bold systems that forced opponents to alter their own personalities on the gridiron. Walsh wanted his opponents to be very uncomfortable in their attempts to defend his unique systems, and by design -- Walsh wanted to force all opponents into a more iffy and adaptive type of position -- so that Walsh's own football teams could execute his own specific and desired style of play -- which during the time of his coaching tenure was considered very contrarian, as compared to most of the opponents that his teams played.

And, as a transition into my first Coaching Tip piece...the late, great and legendary University of Notre Dame Head Football Coach, Knute Rockne said, “Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points.”

At every level of football, youth, high school, college and pro, innovative coaches are pushing the game forward to the benefit of us all...players, coaches and fans.

Therefore, it is with great humility and respect for my peers that I begin this open-ended series of “Coaching Tips” (in no particular order), as gleaned so far during my 25-years of coaching football at the high school and NCAA levels.

Whether you are a sports fan, a coach at any level of the game, a player, or a professor, I hope you find these series of tips useful, interesting, and/or informative…


“Identify Your Weaknesses as a Coach and Turn Them into Your Strengths”

I’ve never met one person that truly enjoys admitting their weaknesses to other people.

However, as a coach, once you've learned to admit your weaknesses and are willing to absorb something totally new, it liberates your mind and allows you to become the pupil once again – your mind reverts to being that thirsty sponge reborn again, seeking valuable nourishment in the form of fresh ideas and innovative methods that can help to creatively solve complex problems.

In Just One Case in Point: prior to our creation and implementation of the A-11 Offense in 2007 at Piedmont, I had already coached football for 21-years, but I was not a fan of the Shotgun formation at all, nor that much of the Spread offense. In fact, I had only used the Shotgun formation one-time prior to the 2007 season.

However, after admitting that a coaching weakness of mine was in not having had used the Shotgun formation before, I decided to jump into the fire with both feet and went for it.

Bluntly put, it was a very unpleasant and uncomfortable coaching experience to endure at the beginning of those harsh lessons being learned, especially when our team began the 2007 season with a poor record of 0 – 2, it would have been very easy to end that Shotgun/A-11 experiment, and get back to something that I was much more comfortable with.

But together, the coaching staff and I saw glimmers of hope upon diligent review of the game video, and we always kept in mind the best interests of our team; which was the entire reason we decided to try something new like the Shotgun/A-11 system...the simple fact that our team’s personnel was ideally suited for such a unique plan of Super-Spread offensive attack.

*In fact, we had TWO Quarterbacks aligned in our Shotgun/A-11 system during the ENTIRE 2007 season. Yes it is true, we played the whole season with Two Starting Quarterbacks set-up in the Shotgun formation in the A-11 system, because that was the best fit of the personnel we had that year.

And then during the third game of that 2007 season, our Piedmont team “clicked” and they took full ownership of the Shotgun/A-11 system we employed, and they never looked back. The team rattled off seven straight wins, finished the regular season with a record of 7 – 3, and earned a trip to the California state football playoffs. It turned out to be an incredibly successful season full of exciting and dramatic moments for the team.

In retrospect, what would have happened if we had never attempted to try something totally new, or if we had merely decided to scrap the entire mission after opening the 2007 season with those two losses before our Shotgun/A-11 system had been given the proper amount of time to mature, or totally fail?

It is OK to attempt something new, give it your best shot and fail. Yes, it hurts big time, but it's OK. As coaches, we are striving to win every game, every year, but when we do our best and we fail, it stings bad, but it does happen.

Fortunately in 2007, we tried something brand new and gave it every ounce of energy and grit we had. And, because of the hard work and commitment from the assistant coaches and the players, together we turned our weaknesses into the actual strengths of our team, and it turned out very well.

That very risky approach with the Dual Quarterbacks in the Shotgun/A-11 system paid big dividends for our team. But then afterwards, beginning in 2008, it caused an exciting and innovative ripple effect nationwide as Hundreds of coaches began creating and implementing their own versions of A-11 concepts to help their team...truly remarkable.

In 2008, we adjusted the Shotgun/A-11 system into a more traditional set, using One QB and One RB in the backfield and we earned much success. Also, we watched with great appreciation and satisfaction as other football teams around the nation unveiled their own wildly creative A-11 concepts with record-breaking success.

In 2009, we successfully blended A-11 concepts into traditional football jersey-numbering rules, further establishing the A-11 system as another example of football innovation helping to advance the game into its exciting future.

And now as of today, thousands of football coaches and players have downloaded all of the free A-11 Offense concepts playbooks, manuals and videos, and several million people have watched A-11 videos or read about it. Furthermore, many of those innovative football coaches have also shared their new strategies with us.

It's really good to try something new, to Go For It...and to see what happens.

My advice, is to take a look in the mirror and evaluate your coaching weaknesses, be honest with yourself. Then, after you've identified the areas that you need to work on, take the time to educate yourself and to learn from other coaches whose demonstrated strengths happen to reside in the areas of your weaknesses.

Turn your weaknesses into your strengths, learn from others in the process of doing so, and if you succeed, then take the time to share with other coaches what you have learned along the way.