Posted April 27, 2011 by
Under • Culture • Coaching & Athletics
I had the honor of learning from some of the great offensive minds in college football this clinic season at the 13th Annual One-Back Clinic. Staffs from major colleges like Houston, Arizona State, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, as well as smaller colleges like the Colorado School of Mines and Sam Houston State (just to name a few) all gathered at the University of Houston to talk shop and watch some video.
The clinic is strictly invite-only, and no more than one staff from a conference is allowed to attend. The key is openness—everyone comes here to learn, and doesn’t want to hold back what they share just because they may be facing someone else in the room the following season.
Why was I there?
I was invited by Arizona State head coach Noel Mazzone, a long-time Hudl advocate. I was one of the few non-coaches in the room (others included ESPN’s Bruce Feldman and Rivals.com’s Tom Dienhart) Unlike most of the clinics we attend, I wasn’t there to exhibit; I was there to learn. Of course, that didn’t stop me from talking a little Hudl—I just can’t help myself.
Why do you care?
I was only able to attend the first day of the clinic, but I heard some heavy hitters speak. I was really impressed by how quickly they got right to business—the clinic was scheduled to start at noon, coaches came in, grabbed seats, and the presentations began. Here are some quick-hit notes from the talks:
Kliff Kingsbury: Cougars’ “pop routes” and the “naked” series
From what I saw, their pop routes are quick-hit routes usually run across the middle of the field. The entire team works hard to sell the run. The linemen all block like it’s a run play, the back who is faking the run never tries to protect, and the quarterback always keeps his head and eyes down until the moment he is ready to throw the ball. Kingsbury also talked about their “naked” series—Houston tries to incorporate a “naked” play off all their run concepts, and will add 2-3 new variations each week.
Noel Mazzone: Sun Devils’ Screen Game
ASU never runs just a straight screen—they always add on something additional (e.g., a “bubble” screen with an “under” screen attached). With screens, Mazzone mostly asks his receivers to align for success—they don’t focus a lot of wide receiver splits in the screen game. He also talked about the “team takeoff” period they run at the start of practice. This is where the Sun Devils just practice the screen game from the 10-yard line going in, having the scout team defense play soft and mostly serve as landmarks.
Dana Holgorsen: “Pat and Go” and “stick” routes
The Mountaineers will spend time in practice on “pat and go”, throwing lots of deep balls over shoulders. They will have a “quick game” period to just rep their quick game work, and then spend a lot of time running routes. Holgorsen runs only eight total routes with his squad, and they practice half of them (four total) each day. They rep these four routes repeatedly and stress perfection—these routes stay the exact same in dropback and play action. He also talked about how he teaches their “stick” routes. They train receivers to run in a straight line as fast as they can go, never raise their shoulders until they have to, hitch after five yards, and then expect the ball over their back shoulder.
The first One-Back Clinic was held in 1999 at Washington State and was hosted by then-head coach Mike Price. Recently, Arizona State head coach Noel Mazzone and University of Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin took over coordinating the annual clinic. Last year, it was hosted by Arizona State; this year, it was Sumlin’s turn to host.
David is CEO at Hudl. He co-founded the company in 2006 to help coaches win.