The Game Practice System (GPS) has sparked a lot of questions. From time to time we will share our answers to better help coaches implement segments of this new way to practice.
From a Defensive Coordinator in Tennessee:
I don't see how the defense prepares for a split back veer team one week, a flex bone the next, and a wing t team the next. Do you have a separate practice plan for defense?
Currently, we do not have defensive schedules made for sharing. We created the book and its main tenants for our team(s) and primarily for our offensive system (S2A). If you employ a 2 platoon personnel team it's simple because the defense is doing their own thing while the Offense is doing theirs. If you are 1 platoon (majority of your squad going both ways) then it's tougher because in our view (and stated in the book) you must practice all 3 phases of the game everyday.
We feel the role of a HS defensive coordinator is the toughest job in all of football because of what you've brought up with preparation against Wing-T, split back veer, and flex bone, etc. No one at any level, other than HS, faces that variety - Belichick would struggle in HS.
With all that being said, lets be specific in terms of how a DC in HS would implement GPS (assuming you're a 1 platoon team)
First, and please note from the book, we utilize all 4 days (Monday-Thursday) in terms of full GPS practices. That means Team (11-11 Situations) is practiced for 12 five minute periods throughout the 4 day week (6 for Offense and 6 for Defense). So, if a 4 day week is utilized, you are stealing time for every facet of your prep. We feel many coaches make Thursdays an off day (walk-through). Science is proving that athletes need neuromuscular stimulation closer to game time, not the opposite.
Look at a Monday schedule (offensive emphasis - GPS) for a 1 platoon team.
Notice the O or D in front of Shells, Inside, S27, and 11-11 (O = offensive emphasis and D = defensive emphasis). As the DC you may structure your periods (D) how you like in order to see what you need. However, we argue that scout cards shouldn't be utilized until 11-11 (team). We feel players get better by competing and reacting to good competition, not necessarily to a poor scout team trying to simulate an offense they can't duplicate.
Walks (walkthroughs before practice): We feel we didn't make ample room in the book for emphasizing Defensive Walks. Walks is the time BEFORE practice that allows for teaching a concept in a slower paced environment. Because GPS is a shorter and more intense style of practice (12 five min. periods), time can be stolen (added) in walks - 10/15 min offense, and 10/15 min. defense. During this time a lot of Defensive concepts can be taught vs. a scout offense that won't look like a rugby scrum (as does happen a lot in scout team for defensive emphasis).
Now let's look at Day 2 for 1 platoon with D emphasis - NOTE typo (1) is supposed to be (2)
As you can see, the D and O flops to create more time for the Defense.
Again, it's our philosophy in S2A GPS that players get better by simulating things and competing at game speed. We feel a defensive player will get better if he's coached hard in Shells, Inside, and S27 REGARDLESS of the scheme he's defending. Stance, Alignment, General assignment responsibility (deep 1/3, C gap, force/contain), Read keys, and 1st steps transcend the offensive scheme being defensed.
It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, these periods for defensive players (regardless of O or D emphasis) should always be coached with a keen eye for pursuit, effort, proper block destruction, and overall defensive pride. If a coach and a player enters Shells, Inside, S27, and 11-11 with these thoughts then they will improve on a daily basis regardless of what scheme they have to face.
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