Football Formations Affect Personnel Too

By FirstDown PlayBook on Feb 24, 2022

FirstDown PlayBook draws up all of our plays out of a lot of different football formations. Some may think “Why do you do that? It’s the same play.”  They would be right to some degree. It is the same play but not to the defense. Football formations can affect defensive personnel too. The example below is a very basic example but a very important one that explains our point.

When coaches get on the grease board and draw plays up they often treat all 22 players as if they were the same. The truth is that all 22 players are different and that will be the case 100% of the time. Regardless of the team you are playing, the strong side linebacker and the weak side linebacker will be different. They will be different because they are different people.

One will be a better tackler, a better cover guy, better in space, you name it. The other may recognize plays better, or bite on play action fakes harder. The point is that you cannot and should not treat the two players as if they are the same when you game plan. We don’t either when we draw plays.

Often Times You Can Dictate Where Defenses Line Up

If the Will linebacker is the better player don’t ask that F tight end to block him in space all night. Odds are it’s not going to happen. Let the offensive linemen block him. Match your F up on the Sam linebacker who is not quite the player the Will is.

Now he is on the backside of the play too. Even if the play cuts back (and it will) the F has a better angle at making this block than he does with the running back’s aiming point starting right at him.

How Do You ID Your Personnel Groupings?

I know there are some of you who are thinking if the Will linebacker is the better player, I’m going to try to formation him so he will LEAVE the box not stay in it. There is nothing wrong with this thinking as long as you can really get him out of the box. If he plays half way between the F and tackle, he will make most tackles because he will be unblocked.

Your Football Formations Matter For RPOs Too

This is true when you are designing your latest greatest RPO too. Read the wrong player all night on a run pass option and you won’t look like a smart coach. Change the football formation to pick on that sophomore to the other side and it will be a different story. The formation that you run your RPo from can get you the matchup that you are looking for.

The plays above are just one small example about how a formation can make a big difference to the same football play. The bigger point is that when you look at our FirstDown PlayBook plays we are trying to do more than just draw up a ball play. We are giving you a little insight into how many different ways to run one play or protection.