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321Offensive Play Calling in Key Game SituationsBefore calling a play against any defense, the offensive coach must knowand identify the strengths and weakness of the opponent. The opponentmay use different fronts, coverages, and blitzes, but they still have a basicdefense that they play most of time. Different teams, however, may play agiven system in different ways, depending on personnel and philosophy.One team may play cover 3 and have an aggressive run-support free safety.Another team may have a free safety who plays cover 3 deep and conserva-tively. Other considerations you have to look for include the following:•What blitz packages does the defense use? Do they zone blitz?•How aggressively does the front play?•Do the linebackers attack or read?•How big are the cornerbacks? Do they flip-flop?• Does the secondary support the run, or do they play in strong pass-coverage mode?After looking over this information, a coach should bring out the playsthat have been successful against those types of defenses in the past—runs,counters, play-action passes, drop-back passes, or sprint-out passes.You may need to adjust your key plays to take advantage of defensiveweaknesses. For example, do you want to attack their free safety with apost or a drag route? You also need to consider what plays and formationsappear to cause problems for your opponent’s alignment or matchups.The key to creating the offensive edge is to keep the defense off balanceby calling and executing plays at the right time.Key SituationsA useful idea we have borrowed from the business world is the 20-80 rule,which states that 20 percent of what you do produces 80 percent of theresults. Therefore, for maximum efficiency, learn what the 20 percent isand spend 80 percent of your time there. In coaching football, the secret isto define key game situations (that 20 percent) and put a high percentage ofyour time there.In six key situations, play calling can make a difference in the outcomeof the game: third down, at the goal line, after a turnover, the final twominutes of the half or the game, when the game is on the line, and over-time.Third DownThird down, considered by most coaches the most important down in foot-ball, is a key situation. You need to prepare for and practice third-downplays. We break down third-down plays by yardage and plays. Play calling
322Westeringshould focus on plays that enable you to get specific yardage. We look atplays that in theory should get us anywhere from 2 to 4 yards to 12 to 15yards or more.Another consideration you must keep in front of you is how you willdeal with pressure. Some typical options are to keep in extra blockers (tightends or running backs), to move the pocket by rolling the quarterback out,or to spread out the defense with four or five receivers.