Defending Warp Speed No Huddle Offenses – part 2
My toughest challenge as defensive coordinator happened in 1992. I had to prepare for a warp-speed No Huddle Run and Shoot offense that was demolishing a 22-under AAU-style developmental league. A league unprepared to defend The Unfamiliar – the most radical departure from conventional football that the league had ever seen.
The toughest challenges facing defensive coordinators in Post-Modern Football are the spread of The Spread and warp-speed No-Huddle offense. An unprepared, untrained defense will get slaughtered by a highly-trained warp-speed no-huddle. If your defense doesn’t evolve and adapt, you risk extinction. Part 1 explained our first priority in defending warp-speed no-huddle – physical conditioning. If you can’t keep up, they will run it up. Part 2 explains our second priority – academic conditioning. We designed an academic curriculum that teaches the ‘Mental Essential,’ referring to the basics of warp-speed No-Huddle objectives that our defense has to learn in order to stop it.
You can’t stop what you don’t understand. The objective of our academic plan is to teach players a deeper understanding of the no-huddle. We start from scratch. We take nothing for granted. Even though the objectives of a warp-speed no-huddle seem obvious, they need to be taught and clarified so that every defender learns exactly has to be stopped.
Lesson #1: No huddle objectives: The main objective of any warp speed no huddle is more plays. Run more plays – more run plays, more pass plays. Increasing the number of plays changes the landscape of the game. A highly trained warp speed no huddle turns the game into a double-header. More plays means more decisions have to be made, resulting in faster decision-making, for both the offense and defense. Whoever wins the decision-making battle, wins the game. Our defensive mission is to prevent the offense from executing more plays by making better, faster decisions than their offense. Our first goal is not to be outworked physically. Our second goal is to not be out-smarted.
Lesson #2. Strengths and weaknesses. The main strength of a warp-speed no-huddle is limitation. Ironically, the main weakness of a no-huddle is the same – limitation. The strength limitation of the no-huddle is the limited time for the defense to respond and communicate. Limited defensive response time and limited defensive communication time forces the defense to make strategic choices that they are not used to making. Traditional game-planning needs modification. One key to defending fast-pace no-huddle is defensive simplicity. Complexity of defensive strategy and communication are guaranteed to get you beat. The simpler the defensive approach, the better, especially in amateur football where teaching time and practice time are limited. The solution is the Proactive Approach.
The weakness of a no huddle is offensive limitation. Our film study research of no huddle offenses at our level revealed the Rule of 5 – consciously or sub-consciously, no huddle offenses stick to Five Basics, referring to five things including formation and plays. No huddle offenses do expand on the Five Basics but inevitably they resort to the Five Basics when faced with pressure of: (i) situation (ii) defensive proactivity.
The worst pressure that makes a fast-pace no huddle crack is failure. Failure to achieve offensive no huddle objectives affects no huddle offenses worse than how failure affects huddle-offenses. No huddle teams need more consistent approval, more immediate gratification than huddle offense because of investment. No huddle requires a significant investment physically, intellectually, and emotionally. No immediate Return of Investment (ROI) crushes the soul of a no-huddle unless they have been conditioned to handle the pressure of no huddle failure. If you commit to running more plays, you face the risk of being disappointed more often. There’s the biggest advantage a defense has against a warp-speed no huddle – for the no huddle offense to suffer more disappointments early in the game and more often.
Nothing causes chaos in offensive coordinator decision-making and QB decision-making than no-huddle failure. Warp-speed no-huddle offenses define failure differently than huddle-offenses. Warp-speed no-huddle offenses expect more – more big plays, more points, more often. When that doesn’t happen, frustration sets in leading to a predictable pattern of offensive decision-making. The first reaction of a warp-speed no-huddle offense in response to frustration is slowing down. Frustrate them early and they will slow down – guaranteed. Our film study has revealed enough evidence to prove it.
Attacking with a warp-speed no huddle offense and defending it boils down to a game of limitations – who can do the most with the least – the least recovery time between plays, the least decision-making time between plays, the least communication between plays.
The following is a summary of our academic plan that we teach coaches and players regarding the defense against a no huddle offense:
- Think like a no huddle offense. Be on the same wave-length. Never make the mistake of thinking differently from the offense.
- Develop a no huddle defense as a part of your system , not apart from your system. A no-huddle defense must be mastered so you can seamlessly revert to it against hybrid offenses – those that combine huddle and no huddle attacks.
- Develop one defensive language that communicates defensive calls with or without a huddle.
- Invest quality and quantity of reps in practice. Simulated training is the only way to master the defense against warp-speed a no huddle offense.
- Make things go wrong for a warp speed no huddle offense as soon as possible in a game. Every warp speed no huddle offence defines ‘things gone wrong’ differently than huddle offenses.
- Refine and define. Scale back your defensive game plan, cut the fat, and go on the attack. Never sit back.
Part 3 will explain the basic strategies our no huddle defense. There is no sport tougher to coach than football. One key to coaching survival is to never stop learning. My gym, X Fitness, sponsors Blunt Talk Podcast. The mission of Blunt Talk Podcast is to lift in mind, body, and soul. All 305 episodes are free, permanently archived at: www.ginoarcaro.com
Blessings & all good things.
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)
Football Head coach – Niagara X-Men Football
Gym Owner – X Fitness Welland Inc.
Podcast Host – BLUNT TALK PODCAST www.blunttalk.libsyn.com
Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. Currently, he is finishing another book in his non-fiction series: Mystery of Murder: Working with the Dead. All published books are available on on www.Amazon.com and www.Chapters/Indigo.ca, in both soft cover and eBook format. Additionally, his website, www.ginoarcaro.com features his books including:
- Football coaching and non-fiction books: SWAT System: Offense and Defense, SWAT Tackling Video (with accompanying eBook), and 4th & Hell: Season One and Season Two
- Business Books: Selling H.E.L.L. in Hell, True Confessions, and eBooks: Soul of Selling,and, Real Business Relationships = Sales
- Fat Loss Book: Fat Losing
- Workout System: eXplode: The X Fitness System
- Motivational Books: Soul of a Lifter, and eBooks: The Pledge, and, The Focus
- Children’s Books: Be Fit Don’t Quit,and, The Beauty of a Dream
- Policing Textbooks: Arcaro’s Interrogation Case Law