Gus Malzahn’s Offensive Philosophy


– [Voiceover] Next thing’s the insights before implementation. The first thing, you have
to be an average or better offensive team to make this work. If you’re not an average football team, then you’re just gonna link the game and you’re gonna be worse,
but if you’re at least average pick up some first
downs and score some points this definitely is for you. You do not have to be a passing team to make this thing work. You could run the wishbone, the wing-t, the run and shoot,
remember it’s a philosophy, it’s not an actual offense. We’ve thrown for all
kinds of amounts of yards and had some great
quarterbacks this past year. We ran the football
probably 75% of the time and it was real successful, ended up going to state championship game. So, it does not make any
difference what your offense is, it’s a philosophy,
you can make it work. Now one thing here, you can’t worry about time of possession and
I know that old coaches, field position, time possession, this is thrown out the window. We’re just concerned
about offensive snaps. You can look, we had four state
championship games in a row and you can look at the
different times of possession. ’97 we lost 54-30, we
had the ball for 13:28. In ’98, we won 49-14
and we had it for 15:27. ’99 we won 47-35, had it for 14:13. In 2000 we got beat
30-29, had it for 16:31. So, you can kind of see it
doesn’t make any difference about time of possession. They’re real pretty close, the wins loss, it’s just number of snaps. In ’98 I believe we had the
ball for eight minutes and 22 seconds of a 48 minute
game and end up winning 42-21. So time of possession
doesn’t mean a thing to us. Next point, can’t worry
about defensive stats and this is big because I know
in our profession a defensive coordinator is the way they
move up to head coaches or move up to other jobs is
through defensive stats, but my defensive
coordinator was the same way at the very first in ’97, the first year, but after he saw the advantage it gave us, now he’s wearing a few rings, I would definitely say that’s
he’s say it’s the best move we ever made but at first
he was real apprehensive and I understand that. So you just have to talk to
your defensive coordinator and understand that your link
to the game to five quarters so the stats, you just gotta readjust your defensive stat chart. The next is players have
to be in great shape. Our guys, we run the same amount week one all the way to week 14. And the reason I think this
is if you think about a track runner and he’s gearing
up for the state championship, he’s not gonna slow down at the end like a lot of football teams do so we kind of use that same philosophy. We wanna be in great shape, we’re gonna practice the
hurry up at a fast pace and all of our drills and
at the very end we’re gonna run gassers and do some different things. Your kids buy into being in great shape and the first time they see
it as such an advantage, then you won’t have to
worry about your players running hard at the end of
practice or during practice. Next point, offensive staff
has to be prepared to make quick decisions. Now, our offensive staff is
not smarter than anybody else’s but the advantage we feel like we have is we are used to thinking quick. We do have a system we’ll be
talking about here in just a minute where it’s a
fairly organized system where the play caller or
offensive coordinator, running game coordinator,
all gets together and with also with a booth coach. The next point, you have
to be committed to it. At the very first, it may be some growing pains for some of you. And I really think the main
thing, it’s easy for kids, but as coaching staff it’s
a little bit of a challenge to get yourself out of your comfort zone and I think the more you do it, it’s like anything else, the
better you’re gonna get at it. Okay, the next thing we’re
gonna cover is communication and your current system of
whatever your plays or calls, number or names, or whatever,
there’s a couple questions you’re gonna have to ask
yourself before switching to this philosophy to be able to signal plays in and for all the communication
to work like it should. So, the first question that I ask myself before going to hurry up no huddle is, will you be able to call all
your plays from the sideline? And so I would think through that. Also, will you be able to audible any play into your offense at a quick pace? And then the last question
that I ask myself, can you make these calls
without giving the defense any indication of what play
is about to be executed? And if those three questions, if you can’t answer yes
to each one of them, then you’re gonna have to sit down and change the way you call
the plays and all that. So, naming of the plays. The first thing I would do
if I couldn’t answer yes to all three, is I would choose a theme. And choosing a theme, a
theme needs to be simple for the players to
remember and to relate to. It should not be too
detailed or too confusing. The next thing, the
theme needs to be taught with a word association that is easy for your players to
understand and remember. The best way for your players to memorize and then recall your system,
is for them to be able to associate a theme with another idea. The theme needs to have a relationship, some relationship, within
itself in order for play action passes to complement running plays. The theme must allow a verbal
commands to be interpreted with physical motions by the signaler. And the theme must be flexible enough to expand in the future if necessary. When we first started out, the first year at Shiloh Christian, our theme, we were a
private Christian school. So we were thinking, what
would be best for our kids. Well, we knew they knew the Bible, they’re at a Christian school, so what we did is we changed all of our plays to Bible characters. And so our theme was actually the Bible and then we used different
characters with the stories, figuring they already knew those and that was the easiest thing for us. So a couple little examples here. The old running play was a 46-47 power. We changed that to Moses. Now that sounded weird at first, but it took about two practices to where it was actually normal. Then, so Moses was our outside power play. Our play-action off of
that we called Egypt. And we told the kids the association, Moses led God’s people out of Egypt, so it was real simple. We signaled in Moses,
that was outside power, if we wanted to go power pass off of it, we’d signal in Egypt. It was real simple for a signal for Moses, it was real simple for a signal for Egypt. Also, the next and last example. Our counter we called David,
44-45 counter, we called David. And the waggle pass off that, the counter pass we called giant. Well, our kids all knew
David killed the giant. Now your theme can be anything from NFL teams, states, capitals, anything that you think that
would be easy for your kids to understand and also for
your coaches to understand. And it was kinda fun
going through this process and trying to think of a theme and it makes you think
a little bit as coaches and try to be creative and
so it was a lot of fun. So I would choose a theme
and I would go with it and I would change my plays
over to be able to signal in all your plays in these
points that we just covered. Make sure that your theme fits and all your signals
fit within these points.

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