I am trying to teach a bunch of Coaches how to Coach our game and tonight we had a huge philisophical stumbling block for which I seek the opions of the thousand years of football experience that come to this page.
Coaching what we call Colts football, 16-18 years old. The players in question are in their first or second season.
Our running back has a habit of coming out of the blocks slowly.
ARGUMENT A Coach A has told him to hit the hole at 100mph and rely on the QB and O-line to make sure the hole is there and ball gets to him. If it isn't, then he has to do whats best and become a football player.
ARGUMENT B Coach B has told him to slow down and look for the opening - bumping it out if the line isn't able to open the hole up.
I have my opinion (very strongly) but wanted to hear what the Football College of Knowledge feel is the right approach.
In my opinion, it would depend somewhat on the play being run. I generally want our backs to take his initial steps towards the called point-of-attack before looking for daylight to run through. On a give, dive or inside zone to our fullback with base blocking or double teams (vertical push) up front I'm going to want him to hit the called hole hard. Our tailback should have enough time on this type of play to glance at the backside V for a cut if there's nothing at the called hole. This cut must be made at full speed though and is predetermined before the snap as to where it will be made so its not quite the same as "picking" your hole so to speak. I will say that it is not often that we have a kid that is capable of making cuts or moves like that. They normally have good straight ahead speed but usually lack the vision and acceleration to run that way successfully. The few that I've seen with those abilities at a young age have really been a joy to watch. Barry Sanders was a lot of fun to watch but very few if any have been able to duplicate his running style for good reason.
The hole on an ISO play, for example, will sometimes actually be just outside the guard (2 or 3 hole using our terminology) instead of the called 5 hole because of the front alignment. We try to get the fullback to make a quick pre-snap read to see where the DT lines up so he can expect whether or not he'll need to adjust his path to the playside LB. On ISO our tailback is taught to follow the FB and to only bounce after passing through the LOS. Many young tailbacks are hesitant to run inside and if they have a little speed they'll try to bounce everything outside regardless of the play called. They do seem to be able to grasp that concept though after leaving their lead blocker and taking a good lick or two. It seems like the only plays I would not want to encourage the back to hit the hole full speed would be on an outside zone or stretch play.
In conclusion, I would also say that you're better off teaching your backs to hit the LOS at full speed with a good forward lean and low pad level.
Dave Hartman CYFL Coach
"It's not the will to win that matters - everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters."
Your back has to hit the hole with a move the pile mentality. If you run a zone scheme (as we do) or other plays that require the back to make a read, you may have to move him back a little. But, I'm with the rest of the guys here, you're better off instilling this mentality right from the get go.