Jamboree - first scrimmage

We participated in the Tigard jamboree this weekend with mostly positive results. Our defense was stellar and is ahead of where I hoped to be by now - we've only had about 90 minutes of team defense practice but every player executed well and nothing got by us. I was stunting / blitzing on every play and just running down my slant and blitz list to get the kids used to our different packages. Over the next two weeks I'll install our old-school split-6 defense so that we can give a mix of even and odd fronts. Most of my players know the split 6 well so it should be an easy addition. Below is the raw footage from our defense, followed by our offense. Notice how well our hawks (outside linebackers in the 3-5-3) executed - great containment, pursuit, and tackling. We still need to work a bit on keeping their outside arm free and getting depth when they sweep wide, but their athleticism and quickness made up for some small fundamental issues.

Offense was a bit more of a struggle, but not a disaster either. We were running most of the offense with backup tackles and we have some work to do on our WB down blocks on sweep and down plays. So much of the Wing-T is timing and coordination between the backs and the line - it is often compared to choreography. The video below provides my analysis of key things we need to work on with our offense and this will be our focus for the next 2 weeks as we prepare for our first game on September 12.

Roads and Boats Again

Jacob and I were eager to play Roads and Boats again, so persuaded Matthew to join us for a Sunday afternoon game. I was a bit hesitant, not knowing if Matthew would latch onto a game that can be a bit of a brain burner and would hardly be considered light. Given he enjoyed War of the Ring, I should not have been surprised with his pleasure playing this.

Jacob is very much a natural at planning ahead on both logistics and production. He once again mostly ignored the wonder and focused on working towards coins and stock certificates. I was more aggressive in updating my transporters, getting to 5 wagons fairly quickly followed by a couple of rowboats. Matthew went long on the wonder, earning points in just about every row while learning his way around the production tree.

Matthew and I were fairly convinced that Jacob would be the runaway victor (again), but I researched specialized mines and new mine shafts (after building a "normal" mine so that I could grab some ore) and got a nice steady flow of gold. Jacob worked his way to a stock certificate and would have had a second soon, but Matthew forced the game to end by racing the wonder. I had a nice mix of wonder points, raw gold, and two coins and edged out a narrow victory (204 to 186). Matthew loved the game and this might become a staple in the house.

First two practices complete - what did we accomplish?

We had our first two team practices last week (technically only about 1.5 practices as we did warmups as a big group then announced teams on Thursday night). Here's what we accomplished:

  • Held our parent meeting after the first practice. This is where we introduce all the kids (and have them introduce their families), discuss team rules and expectations, and hand out the team handbook, offensive playbook, and defensive playbook.

  • Established our pre-practice and warmup routine. We expect the kids to be self sufficient in their warmups, lead by their captains for the week, with minimal guidance from the coaching staff. We assign each player a buddy for the week and designate 4 captains. We also hand out Captains patches from USA Football that the kids can sew onto their practice jerseys.

  • Established our indy (position-specific independent) everyday drill routine for the offensive line, offensive backs, and wide receivers. The o-line has a self-directed routine with four drills that they are able to lead on their own and get through in about 15-20 minutes. This allows the coaches to focus on observing, correcting, and even pulling a player aside while the others proceed.

  • Worked through our core buck series plays - buck trap, buck sweep, and the boot. Ran these separately by group, on air, against coaches and helpers with bags, and finally in a thud-style scrimmage on Friday night. Unfortunately two of our starting linemen were out the latter half of last week so we were pretty thin, but on the positive side it gave some backups a bit more time to work on these core plays.

We have our first live test this coming Saturday in our jamboree at Tigard High School. I suspect we'll be playing teams from Tigard and Tualatin - two first rate programs that generally have very strong teams. This week we hope to accomplish the following:

  • Add our core belly series plays. This includes our FB off-tackle play, our WB counter, and a play action pass off the fake off tackle.

  • Install our defense: at a minimum I want to get our core 3-5-3 installed, ideally our split-6 base as well which we can get to quickly from the 3-5-3. I've got about 3 of our 8 hours available this week - not much, considering. I also have a significant amount of observation to do to make sure I've got the right kids in the right spots.