Like many coaches, Tyler Roach is a creature of habit. He’s built a repeatable process around weekly game planning to create a culture of consistency and account­abil­i­ty among players and coaches at La Jolla High School. Let’s take a look inside their program to discover how they prepare for Friday night. 

Saturday: Turning the Page

After taking over as La Jolla's head coach, Roach stopped requiring in-person weekend meetings to give coaches some personal time. “I've got great coaches that I believe in and trust,” he said. “I know they’re going to get their work done.” 

Roach and his staff typically start Saturday by reviewing Friday night’s film, using tools like Google Docs and Hudl to stay connected without physically being together. He builds a playlist of about 10 plays—five good, five bad—to send to his offense. Position coaches do the same with their respective position groups. “It’s kind of our feedback to the players on Friday night’s game,” said Roach. “What went well, what didn’t, what we need to improve on.” 

That closes the book on Friday, and the focus shifts to next week. After he gets the film of his opponent, Roach, who also serves as the team’s offensive coordinator, dives into the opposing defense. Using film of their last three to five games, he analyzes their defensive alignments and builds sub-playlists on Hudl with filters based on formation and down and distance. 

The last step on Saturday is watching the opponent's most recent game from start to finish. This offers a collective look at how they play, their situational approach and a closer look at their special teams. And of course, to answer the question that keeps coaches up at night. Who are their game-wreckers? 

Sunday: Practice Planning

Sunday brings more formal communication with his staff, through Zoom, phone calls and group chats. The coaches recap things they’ve seen from their upcoming opponent and talk through tendencies and ways to attack. 

Roach holds a call with his defensive coordinator Sunday morning to get his early thoughts on the week ahead, and what his practice needs might be based on the opponent. “Maybe we’re facing a Wing T team, and he’s going to need some more alignment stuff and inside run,” said Roach. “Or maybe it’s a tempo team, and we need to get prepared from a practice perspective.”

The rest of the day is when Roach does his heaviest film breakdown. He’ll look through the sub-playlists he created the previous day to better understand how their opponent will play them. How are they going to align when we’re in spread? Or 2x2? What’s their 3rd down package? Do they like to bring pressure? 

For Roach, answering these questions is vital in forming the game plan. The last step of the weekend is finalizing the week's practices—building the install plan and scripts for various periods throughout the week. He’ll then share the final plan with his staff before practice on Monday.

Monday: Setting the Tone

By seeing the practice plan beforehand, the staff knows the emphasis for the week and can freely add their notes and ideas. On Monday, Roach also assesses injuries from the previous week and gets a sense of available personnel. 

It’s also a good opportunity to look in the mirror. “Monday is really about us,” said Roach. “Here’s where we’ve got to get better, and where we’ve got to clean things up.” They’ll lift, do some conditioning and individual work and finish practice with 7 on 7. 

In between, players will get a quick intro to their opponent. The coaches hold a film session to go over the opponent's base defense, base coverage and some plays where La Jolla can attack them offensively. 

On Monday night, it’s back to the film for Roach, with a focus on 3rd down and red zone defense. “The money downs, that make or break a win or a loss,” he said. He focuses on the opposing defense’s alignment, substitutions and anything they do differently in these situations.

He’ll also begin sharing clips with players. Roach sends small, digestible playlists of the opponent's base defense to his offensive players that they can review individually. “Mondays are about setting the tone for the week,” he said.

“We can be as smart as we think we are as coaches, but it’s really what the players can digest and translate to the field on Friday night.” Tyler Roach, Head Coach, La Jolla High School

Tuesday: Heavy Practice

La Jolla typically straps on the pads Tuesday for their heaviest, most physical practice of the week. Inside runs are a big focus, and the offense works on their first-down drive starters. “What the core plays are for the week, we’ll really emphasize those on Tuesday,” said Roach. In full team sessions, they’ll dive deeper into the opponent's base alignment and looks.

On Tuesday night, Roach shares more playlists with his players, specifically his quarterbacks, covering the 3rd down and red zone work he did the night before. 

Wednesday: Tempo Practice

The lights come on Wednesday night for an up-tempo practice in shells. “We’ve seen the base stuff now,” said Roach. “The second time through things are moving a bit faster, and we’ll also start to show some exotic looks.” 

They’ll hold a blitz period to cover what the opponent likes to do with pressure packages and work on blitz pickup to gain familiarity with it. 

Roach meets with his quarterbacks and quarterbacks’ coach to connect on the game plan and call sheet. They’ll cover what they liked and didn’t like over the week to help refine the call sheet. “I really want that player buy-in of what they’re feeling good about and confident in,” he said. They’ll continue the dialogue in a text thread as the game plan and call sheet get finalized. 

He’ll dive back into the film on Wednesday night, building a Hudl playlist of explosive plays against their opponent. Here, he looks for any trends that stand out and what other teams did to attack them. “I’m seeing if I’ve got any of that stuff built into my game plan, or any last-minute things I want to build in the game plan,” said Roach.

Thursday + Friday: Final Run-Through

On Thursday, La Jolla gets their final run-through practice in. Here, they’ll work on things like gadget plays, and situational elements like end-of-game or end-of-half scenarios. 

Friday brings some last-minute prep. The team goes through a pregame walk-through, and Roach gives the quarterback the call sheets to look over. “At that point, the work’s done and it’s time to strap it up and get after it,” he said.

When you zoom out from the day-by-day view, a few core principles of Roach’s approach to game planning emerge.

Keeping Things Digestible

Roach shares clips with players in small increments over the week. It’s an area he’s grown as a coach. “I've learned over the years if you try to do too much in a week…you’re not going to build a ton of confidence in your players,” he said.

Understanding that not everyone is as eager to jump in the film, he’s reworked his messaging to players, positioning film study as a 5-10 minute undertaking to help the team prepare and excel.

“We can be as smart as we think we are as coaches,” said Roach, “but it’s really what the players can digest and translate to the field on Friday night.”

Leveraging Technology

Roach’s full-time job is in IT, so it’s no surprise he relies on technology as a coach to be more efficient with the time of players and his staff.

Tools like Google Docs and Hudl allow players and coaches to review film, communicate and collaborate on their own time. 

Tech is also a way for La Jolla coaches to meet players where they’re at. “We try to get more involved on social media to connect with the players and relate things so it makes sense to them,” said Roach. 

The Importance of Delegating

With a family and a full-time job, Roach’s plate is already full. It would be even more so if he didn’t delegate elements of game planning to his staff. 

Helping ambitious coaches within his staff take the next steps in their careers has been an off-season focal point for him. “Don’t be afraid to ask,” he advised young coaches. “I guarantee the head coach has something you can get involved in.”

It’s been effective in giving more film study responsibilities and opportunities to share their thoughts to coaches who want it. “At the end of the day, we want everyone's opinion,” said Roach. “That’s what makes a cohesive team, a cohesive staff when everyone feels like their voice matters.”