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Coaches Corner: Prepare for Success by Diving into Film Study

Coaches Corner: Jon Kahle

Brookfield Academy began its football program ten years ago. We recently qualified for the playoffs for our third straight year. On average, we have between 25-35 kids in the football program. Our success relies heavily on our preparation, intelligence, discipline, and vigilance to detail. BA’s staff consists of 7 dedicated coaches who love teaching the game of football.

Each staff member is valuable and plays an important role in weekly breakdown and assessment of our opponent. A detailed scouting report is assembled for all three phases of the game. Have a plan and be efficient.

Here is our typical game plan for our weekly opponent on offense and defense.

Focus on US First: Saturday Film Review

One of my biggest mistakes as a young head coach was skipping ahead to the next opponent. I’d try to diagram every play and have an answer for stopping it. WE were neglected. Our mistakes weren’t fixed with the discipline needed to be successful. Learn to slow down and fix your problems with purposeful film analysis. In the offseason, do a meaningful self-scout and analysis of every game. It can be quite time consuming but it keeps you thinking about the game during the long Wisconsin winter. Use the benefits of this scout and analysis to save time during the grind of the season.

We always spend more time on our previous game and stress fundamentals that we can control and fix. Here’s a look into our typical Saturday morning on offense and defense.

Offense: Discipline in Execution 

  • Quarterback: His job is to analyze the accuracy of his reads on midline, option, and the pass game. Our quarterback coach sends all run and pass reads via HUDL. We use this data to measure his performance in the run and pass game. We also provide a detailed analysis of footwork--1st step, 2nd step, and pass drops.

  • Offensive Line: Using both the end zone and sideline view, we analyze the following with this unit:

    • Stance, start, first step: Don’t neglect the basic fundamentals and technique.

    • Did we block the right players? Who was the handoff key? - Who was the pitch key? Did we adjust to stunts/blitzes/stems/twists?

  • Backs: Using end zone film, we analyze their paths on midline and triple option. Did we have discipline in pass protection? Make sure you celebrate and recognize kids carrying out ball fakes!

Defense: Do Your Job

  • Linebackers: We focus on run reads and block destruction 90% of the time at practice. We obsess over things like stance, low butt, read steps, big chest, inside hands, and square shoulders. We can tell from the end zone view whether kids are trusting or cheating their reads.

  • Defensive Line: Stance and get-off is essential for evaluating this unit. We’re not blessed with great size. We must strike first and strike low. Stop the film after the snap and see if your unit has the lower helmet. Effort and fight is celebrated and graded. We praise things like defeating double teams and back side pursuit more than quarterback sacks.

  • Defensive Backs: This unit must communicate! They must confidently execute coverage rules.  We play many coverages-that all look very similar-with different rules that require defensive backs to communicate. They are engaged in film analysis because their feedback is essential to understanding in-game calls.

Begin Your Analysis of your Opponent: Offense

Our offensive coordinator Matt Wasmer and quarterback coach Geo Peterson do a great job of exposing defenses. Here’s a look into their preparation:

Diagram their base defenses

  • Include number, year, height, and weight 

  • How do they react to motion?

  • Any tendencies to the field or boundary?

  • When they change looks, do they have a change in personnel?

General Notes About the Defense:

Football Jargon

  • Will and Sam are the best, #52 show and go backer

  • Big DT #63 poor technique

  • Quick DT #51 worries us the most

  • DT’s stem during cadence

  • SS is very dangerous and active in run support

  • No flip-flop

  • Goal Line is 5-2, rolled up safeties and cover 0


  • Rate quality of position at DT, DE, ILB/OLB, and DB’s

Tackle Tally

  • Keep your own tackle tally when evaluating personnel: solos and assists


For example, counted 64 offensive plays and 13 blitzes.

  • Who blitzed?

  • Boundary/field/field zone tendencies?

  • Down/distance tendencies?

Ideas for Attack

Do not deviate from your offensive philosophy!
Based on your analysis of personnel and scheme, begin to develop a list of offensive run and pass plays.

Run Game: Option and Midline

  • Have we identified the pitch and handoff key in all defensive fronts?

  • Identify the specific technique for each handoff/pitch key.  For example, do they pinch, crash, stem, and/or loop.

Pass Game

  • Develop your pass game based on coverage, quality of execution, and experience in the secondary.

  • Cover 1/2/3/4 killers

  • Based on your analysis, tag a specific route to attack a weakness

  • Where are they weak?

    • For example, this week we will challenge DB’s on field ⅓ and boundary flat 

Begin Your Analysis on your opponent: Defense

Play and Formation Analysis

Goal: Identify and understand their most effective plays and how it relates to your respective position and assignment

  • The first step, and most time consuming, is plugging data into HUDL. Include play type, offensive strength, play direction, play strength, down/distance, hash, yards gained. The more data the better. Then generate a report to get an idea of any tendencies in their play calling.

  • Diagram top run and pass plays for scout offense and pass skelly.

  • Take their top plays and break them down for an individual skills defensive session:

  • If they are a trapping team, have DL work on chasing and anti-trap technique. Take LB’s and work on reading open/closed windows on their base run plays. DB’s must work on shutting down their most effective pass routes and combinations.

Personnel Scouting Report

Goal: Identify and understand their personnel packages along with talent at each position.

We attempt to understand personnel changes in any empty or spread packages. We track personnel in all formations/packages. These subtle changes can help identify formation and play type.

Make sure you evaluate each offensive player according to their strengths and weaknesses.

For Example, RB #44:

  • Best running back; always in the game

  • Adept at moving quickly laterally

  • Tries to bounce outside, but patient; dangerous when he gets to the edge

  • Primary rusher on belly, power, trap, iso, pitch back on option

  • Runs into the strong flat on boot

As a staff, begin to analyze the data. What tendencies do we see? Does this occur on down/distance or formation? How many checks/autos will we install?

Now that we understand play design and personnel, begin to make your initial play call sheet.

Written by Jon Kahle, who is the football coach and athletic director at Brookfield Academy.

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