The Most Overlooked Tendencies That Make a Difference in Scouting

With the abil­i­ty to add your own cus­tom columns to the analy­sis fea­ture, con­sid­er track­ing these under­uti­lized data points in your scout­ing workflow.

The Most Overlooked Tendencies That Make a Difference in Scouting

With the abil­i­ty to add your own cus­tom columns to the analy­sis fea­ture, con­sid­er track­ing these under­uti­lized data points in your scout­ing workflow.

Hudl’s new analy­sis fea­ture is allow­ing coach­es to work even quick­er this sea­son as we all hit the ground run­ning. And now with the abil­i­ty to add your own cus­tom columns to this scout­ing fea­ture, the pos­si­bil­i­ties are limitless.

When it comes to what data points coach­es track in Hudl, there are rarely two coach­es using the same work­flow. That’s why cus­tomiza­tion is such a game-chang­er for this feature. 

When you add cus­tom columns to your grid, they auto­mat­i­cal­ly pop­u­late under in your analy­sis fea­ture under the Other” section. 

Moving them to anoth­er sec­tion, such as Offensive Tendencies, is easy. Just open the card, and click where you want it to go.

I spoke with a hand­ful of coach­es that are devis­ing cus­tom scout­ing tags in Hudl to make their scout­ing meth­ods more defin­i­tive and, in turn, get­ting a leg up on their opponents.

We came across some pop­u­lar exam­ples, such as home bench ten­den­cy for offens­es that like to run cer­tain con­cepts to the side­line. But we also found less­er-used tags like these ones below can be instru­men­tal in expos­ing cru­cial ten­den­cies that may nor­mal­ly fly under the radar.

The Next’ Custom Tag

Rob Everett
Head Coach
St. John Paul II High School
Huntsville, Ala.

When scout­ing his next oppo­nents’ offense dur­ing game week, Everett will cre­ate a cus­tom col­umn labeled next”, where he will input what hap­pened on the pre­vi­ous play from scrimmage. 

For the first offen­sive play of the game, he’ll tag the word Game” in the next col­umn. If the quar­ter­back throws an incom­plete pass on that first down, he’ll tag incom­plete” in the next col­umn on the sec­ond play, sig­ni­fy­ing the pre­vi­ous play. 

During the course of his break­down, he will use the fol­low­ing tags:

  • Tackle for loss 
  • Sack
  • Complete pass
  • First down completion
  • First down run
  • Turnover
  • Penalty
  • End of game
  • End of half 

When this data is fil­tered and ana­lyzed with all oth­er impor­tant sit­u­a­tions like down and dis­tance and field zone, it gives good sit­u­a­tion­al insight into an offen­sive play-caller’s rhythm. 

Now you can get a real­ly strong insight into the play caller and what he likes to do in those flu­id sit­u­a­tions,” said Everett. When you com­pare those num­bers with their gener­ic over­all num­bers from per­son­nel and for­ma­tion, you can zero in and cap­i­tal­ize on those spe­cif­ic situations.”

Virtual Alignments

Steve Erxleben
Defensive Coordinator
South River High School
Edgewater, Md.

On top of tra­di­tion­al data points like play con­cept, field zone and down-and-dis­tance, the defen­sive staff at South River charts both the width and depth of offen­sive linemen’s splits. This comes in handy par­tic­u­lar­ly on ear­ly, run-heavy downs such as first and 10, sec­ond and medi­um, and sec­ond and short. 

The goal is to iden­ti­fy a ten­den­cy towards a par­tic­u­lar run scheme. Using the end zone cut, they cre­ate a cus­tom tag with the labels wide”, tight” or nor­mal.” They’ll work through the same pro­ce­dure with run­ning back loca­tion in shot­gun align­ments using the tags deep,” side­car,” and wide.”

Once these data points are fil­tered with the spe­cif­ic play con­cept, they’re able to make accu­rate pre­dic­tions on align­ment and con­cept marriages. 

For Erxleben, the impor­tance of track­ing these data points lies in the pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of his no-hud­dle defense, where calls are pre­dom­i­nant­ly made from the side­line and in the booth. 

We tend to check our pres­sure based upon cer­tain align­ments, which comes from the booth first,” he said. Those align­ments can often dic­tate our calls because our booth staff is iden­ti­fy­ing them pre-snap and mak­ing the right calls accordingly.”

P.J. Fleck’s 78 Percent’ Matrix

Jeremy Plaa
Head Coach
Thomas Downey High School
Modesto, Calif.

University of Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck swears by his 78 Percent Rule”. The rule says that you have a 78 per­cent chance of win­ning the game if you win one of three stats: explo­sive plays, turnovers or missed/​broken tackles. 

If you win two of those stats, Fleck says your chances improve to 90 per­cent. All three? You can prob­a­bly guess.

Plaa has not only altered his focus in prac­tice to address­ing three ele­ments, but also start­ed chart­ing each of these cat­e­gories for his oppo­nents for both sides of the ball. This fall, he’s tak­ing extra time study­ing how take­aways occur sit­u­a­tion­al­ly, then he builds in his defen­sive prac­tice plan to devise reps to attack those weaknesses. 

If a quar­ter­back rou­tine­ly has deflect­ed pass­es, Plaa will spend more prac­tice teach­ing defend­ers how to bat pass­es and cor­ral them. From an offen­sive per­spec­tive, he’ll study all of the explo­sive plays (20 yards or more) the oppo­nent has sur­ren­dered and work to mir­ror each of those sce­nar­ios and build a game plan around it. 

For exam­ple, one of our for­mer oppo­nents likes to play sev­en in the box and play loose cov­er zero,” said Plaa. So, one team last year hurt them with a mir­rored Post-Wheel com­bo. The safeties on both sides would freeze their feet and react to the inside receiver’s route. We throw a lot of posts in our offense and we made sure we have to have this play call all over our play sheet.”

And because there is a sig­nif­i­cant cor­re­la­tion between yards/​first downs giv­en up and missed tack­les, he will cre­ate a cus­tom col­umn to chart his defens­es missed tack­les. Then he can eas­i­ly sort and cre­ate a playlist on the types of missed tack­les (in the hole, side­line, open field, etc.) with the intent of devot­ing more time on those sce­nar­ios in-sea­son. He has also start­ed to track his player’s bro­ken tack­les to rein­force the 78 per­cent matrix.

Pass Pro Efficiency

Nick Davis
Defensive Coordinator
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Terre Haute, Ind.

At Rose-Hulman Institute, Davis cre­at­ed a Pass Pro” cat­e­go­ry in Hudl when devis­ing his week­ly game plan. He’ll study each pass con­cept from the opponent’s offense, then add a col­umn track­ing whether or not the quar­ter­back com­plet­ed the attempt and if he was moved off his spot. He’ll quan­ti­fy these num­bers and com­pare their effi­cien­cy to make deter­mi­na­tions on cre­at­ing pressure. 

For exam­ple, if the quar­ter­back shows he is 90 per­cent effi­cient when stand­ing in his intend­ed spot, Davis will design most of his rush pat­terns to get the quar­ter­back on the move. Conversely, if the quar­ter­back is 85 per­cent effi­cient when he is either hit or moved off his spot, he might devise a con­trolled rush plan instead. The goal is to get the quar­ter­back off his spot on more than 50 per­cent of snaps. 

***

Football has always been a copy­cat game, and good scout­ing is a byprod­uct of study­ing how oppo­nents’ defi­cien­cies get exposed dur­ing the course of the season. 

Each oppo­nent has flaws, either by per­son­nel or scheme, and it’s our job as game plan­ners to iden­ti­fy and exploit these weak­ness­es. And as we con­tin­ue to nav­i­gate through the most uncer­tain peri­od in our coach­ing tenure, uti­liz­ing cus­tom tags like the ones above can pro­vide sta­bil­i­ty in your game plan­ning methods. 

Log in to your account and start adding these ideas to your data work­flow. Then, watch how quick­ly you pick up on these key ten­den­cies in the analy­sis feature.