Defensive Coordinators have one of the hardest jobs in football. They must prepare for an offense that can run just about any formation or play out of that formation. They can easily fall into the trap of trying to prepare for everything the offense might run, instead of focusing on what the opponent is best at and shutting that down. Here are the biggest mistakes defensive coordinator make.
The Biggest Mistake Defensive Coordinators Make
The hardest part of being a defensive coordinator is staying out of the what if game. Because of the variety of offenses it’s easy for the defense to become worried about all of the possible plays that an offense can run. When the coordinator starts to look at their own defense they immediately start thinking what if and prepare for the worst case scenario.
The greatest minds in defensive football all share one common belief, they believe it is most important to take away what the offense does best. There are a million ways the offense could attack the defense but it’s impossible to prepare the defense for all of these possible scenarios. Instead, it’s important that the coordinator works to identify who their most dynamic players are and create a way to stop them.
Once the coordinator has figured out who the best players on the offense are he needs to think about how the offense will try to get them the ball. Very rarely does the offense changes the primary way they get the ball to their most dynamic players. As a general rule, if they normally get the ball to them through the air, they will continue to try to get them the ball by throwing it to them.
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When the defense has determined who the most dynamic player is and how the offense is going to get them the ball, they need to determine how they are going to shut this down. This is the area that requires the most creativity and separates great coordinators from good ones. Good coordinators will figure out one way of stopping the most dynamic player on the offense from getting the ball. The problem with this is that the opposing coaching staff can find a weak spot in this and exploit it.
Great coordinators develop a variety of different ways to shut down the offense. Ideally, there should be two different ways to shut down a dynamic player in the first half and a third option to use in the second half. By changing up how the defense is shutting down the most dynamic player on the offense, the opposing coaching staff will always be one step behind.
One of the hardest things to do as a defensive coordinator is to not over prepare. As a coach you see all of the different options of how an offense can attack you, and it’s human nature to prepare for these scenarios. The great defensive coordinators avoid worrying about all of the possible ways the offense can attack them and instead focusing on shutting down the top playmakers on the offense.