The no huddle offense is the best way to effectively and strategically call plays. 90 % of coaches will just call a play that they think will work. That is pretty much just guessing. Say you call a sweep play, and the defense comes out and is aligned perfectly to stop it, what do you do? You are stuck running a play that goes right into the teeth of the defense. There are occurrences where your athletes will bail you out of a bad play call. When you do not have a dominate team the no huddle offense becomes even more vital. If you are facing a superior team, calling the right play at the right time is absolutely vital. The majority of coaches believe that when you go “no huddle” that indicates a hurry up offense. Yes, the no huddle offense is used to control the pace, but more importantly it is used to call the right play vs the defense alignment you are seeing.
The no huddle offense is not limited to only spread teams. We are a Wing T team and we run the no huddle out of the Wing T. If we ran the Wishbone formation, we’d still use the no huddle. We utilize wrist coaches that have colors and numbers on them. We also have 4 verbal commands that we utilize. We will give the kids a color & number and they will read the play off of the wrist coach. We basically have a coach watch the defensive ends, linebackers, and secondary. I will also count the defenders in the box and rely either “soft or loaded” to my offensive coordinator. If we like our match up inside or the defense has 6 or less in the box we will most likely run inside. If they are loading the box with 8 or more defenders, we will get outside.
There are occurrences where teams will show one look, then change into another look before the snap. That really doesn’t matter as long as we stick to our blocking rules. The defense can shift and adjust on the fly, it doesn’t matter. If we get a soft box we are hitting inside. If we get a loaded box, we are hitting outside. We attack where we have the numbers &/or blocking angle advantage.
Another tactic that works very well for us is something we call ‘pace control’. We will always have our kids line right back up on the line as soon as the ref spots the ball. The kids will get their splits and get right down. We will call 2 or 3 plays really quickly. After a couple of plays on fast counts, we will then hit them with an extended snap count or our “no play”. Many times the defense will jump off-sides. This also works very well against teams that just blitz everyone, every play. Again, you can go fast, or you can slow it down. Mix up the counts and make the defense watch the ball, rather than just timing your snap count.
The no huddle offense can be installed fairly quickly. We will usually install our no huddle strategy once we have our base plays installed. We utilize wrist coaches with all plays given a number and highlighted a color. We usually have 6-7 plays on our wrist coach. We keep it to a minimum. Only our base plays will be on the wrist coach. Every single coach and player has a wrist coach. When we want the kids to go to our no huddle offense, we will yell “tempo”. Tempo, tells the kids they have to get right on the line of scrimmage. Once the kids are on the LOS, our OC will give them a color and number. The kids will read the play under the given color/number. For example- OC yells “green 1”, the kids will then look at their wrist coach and run split right 38 jet.
It is always a good idea to have multiple ways you can call your plays. If you spend the entire game yelling just a color and a single number the defense will eventually catch on. I’ve seen opposing coaches write down each color and number we would call out. For example, on our wrist coach the play that is labeled “green 1” is our jet sweep to the right. So when opposing players and coaches hear “green 1”, they will know jet sweep is coming.
Our wrist coach has two columns of plays. We have a green column and a blue column. To throw teams off we will give a color and then three numbers. The third number is the live play call. The first two numbers are dummy numbers (you can use any random numbers). For example:
On our wrist coach “green 1” is our 38 Jet Sweep. So if the kids hear “GREEN 231” from our OC the kids will read and execute play GREEN 1 off of the wrist coach.
On our Wrist coach “blue 5” is our Trap Play. So if the kids hear “BLUE 125” from our OC the kids will read and execute play BLUE 5 off of the wrist coach.
This is very easy for the kids and the opposing coaches won’t be able to figure out what play you are running. If you want you can change the live play number at anytime. You can have the first number the play, or even the second number (middle number) the live play call.
If we don’t like the play we called, we can get out of it by yelling “CHECK” “CHECK”. Check means the kids will get out of their set stance and look & listen for a new play. If we call a sweep and the defense adjusts late and shift defenders to stop a sweep we can check out of the sweep and call a play that will work in our favor. You will see that teams will eventually start writing down your color and number codes as you scream them. Once opposing teams do that we will go to our visual play calling. Our wrist coach plays are highlighted green & blue. So when we want to call say, “GREEN 3” the OC will point to the ground and then hold up 3 fingers. You can take it one step further and have a coach stand next to the OC and have him give dummy calls.
I have been running the no huddle offense for several seasons with great success. The no huddle offense can be utilized on almost every youth football level. It is probably the most under utilized tactic/scheme in youth football.
(See Also) Shotgun Wing T Playbook
(See Also) Developing Consistency on Offense