While it is the easiest thing to do, PLEASE DO NOT have your QB run to the sideline to get the play call each time. There have been studies done about the distance that players travel in the course of a game. Chip Kelly has been on the cutting edge of monitoring his players with on field technology and we are learning more about it everyday. In a 2011 article on the Coach and Athletic Director website, Chris Metcalf broke down the distance traveled by quarterbacks. I think the results speak for themselves. If you have your QB run to the sideline on every play to get the next play call, he will run more than one mile in the typical game!
Whatever you choose to do with your team’s huddle, make sure you are detailed in what you expect. Everything in your offense starts in the huddle!
No Huddle Offense
The No Huddle Offense coaches have a different set of procedures to design. The no huddle communication system that the coach chooses will be the biggest factor in how the play call procedures will work. I am currently writing an eBook about No Huddle Offense Communication Systems and will post links when it is completed.
The main communication systems you can use in your no huddle offense are wristbands, hand signals, verbal (shouting), boards, or some combination of all of them. Keith Grabowski has a very advanced system that he covers in detail in his great Enhanced iBook. See his article about it HERE.
A very important part of your communication system is how you tell the OL what the play is. There are different ways you can get this done:
- Give them the same rules as the rest of your team
- Have the QB communicate the play just to them
- Short huddle with just the QB and OL
There are positives and negatives to each of these ways, but it is up to you to decide what best fits your team and your system.
You also need to determine what you will do with your skill players. Will they flip sides (takes longer)? Do they always meet in the middle of the field? How do they get the call from the sideline?
Our System of Play Call
Our goal was to play as fast as possible. We accomplished this when we played simple, but too many times we were complex with motions and tags on plays. That is something that I would change for next year. We will play faster and simpler next year with a renewed focus on execution.
We used a system that combined verbal communication from the sideline with hand signals. The only thing we communicated verbally was the Tempo. If we were in the same tempo from one play to the next, then we did not say anything. Everything else we did was hand signals. Our QB uses code words to tell the OL the play and the direction. Here is a look at our procedure
It is important to understand how our play calls work to understand the system. Our run plays are named after NFL cities and teams. For example, GT Counter or Counter Trey is called Chicago Bears. When we teach it, we do not give a direction to it, but we use the city to the left and the nickname to the right, just like it would be read. Counter Left would be CHICAGO while Counter Right would be BEAR. So, if we signaled in Counter Right to our QB, he would tell the OL “Bear, Green, Bear, Green”. We had the ability to make the first or second word live before series or games. Colors were used for pass protection so it became difficult for the defense to pick up on.
We also have multiple ways to call the same play to further confuse the defense. For Counter, we use all Chicago based teams and players. We will typically go into a game carrying only 2 of these sets of calls.