Thursday, October 27, 2011

Playoffs? Talking about playoffs.....

It is that time of year again!  The best time of year, the money maker time.... PLAYOFFS!!!!!

That is right Coach Mora, we are talking about playoffs.  As the playoffs approach, teams are cumulating a season of hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck.  Players and coaches have put in hours upon hours of work in the weightroom, off-season, 7-on-7s and doubles for this time of year.  Playoffs, what the game is all about.  Playoffs give teams a chance to prove that they are one of the best in their respected state, and it can never be taken away.  But what about the team that just qualifies for the playoffs?

Many teams across the country are happy to be in the playoffs.  Satisfied that they overcame adversity and injuries to qualify for the playoffs and provide pride for their team, school and community.  There is an amount of pride in that, but instead of feeling satisfied, challenge your team to rise above their ability in the playoffs.
The Stones got it, don't be satisfied!
If your team is satisfied with making it to the playoffs, challenge your team to meet and exceed their expectations.  Last year at this time, I wrote about how "PLAYERS BECOME PLAYMAKERS IN THE PLAYOFFS."  I strongly believe that as coaches, we can put our players, no matter their ability, in a spot to become that playmaker.  With that ability, you can help build up your players confidence to be that playmaker.  Teach them how to recognize a certain team's offense/defense, and know the other team's tendencies.  Provide the player with everything that you have, and in turn they will give the team everything they have.  By you modeling and showing that you are not satisfied, the players will pick up on this and mirror the same attitude.    

One of the key to the playoffs is keeping your team focused on the task at hand.  Players, specifically Seniors, will become distracted with the media, their friends/family, and that creeping thought in the back of their head that this playoff game could be their last game of their career.  Communicate with your players that all of these things going on are realistic, but the only thing that matters is the next play their in the game.  Focus on that one play.  Know the down and distance, and understand your own responsibility.  This focus will allow your players to calm any anxiety or anxiousness they feel before the big game.

Be proud of being in the playoffs, but don't be satisfied with just getting there.  Good luck to all the playoff qualifying teams around the country, working towards that goal of a state championship!

SHOUT OUT has got some great stuff coming up, including the webumentaries.  Give it a look!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Passing concepts (Air Raid) out of Quads

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quads- QB Running Game

Continuing on the discussion over Quads, is the QB running game out of Quads.  Many people feel that Quads makes an offense one dimensional.  Absolutely not!  With some creativity, many running plays can be used out of quads, including the QB run game.

Quads in real life, on Friday Night!

While discussing the spread quad game, I will use the common spread tags of letters for players.  Listed below are the description:

X- Split End
Y- TE/Slot
Z- Flanker
H- FB/TE/H-Back
A- Running back
Q- Quarterback

The athletic QB continues to become more popular throughout the high school and college divisions.  When a team has that QB that is able to run the ball, and take a physical pounding, but still put the ball on the money, it can wreak havic on a defense.  

QB Sweep
The most basic QB running play out of Quads is the QB sweep.  This play is usually run to the field, allowing the QB to find his running lane and attack it.

This play, when you have the athletic QB, is lethal.  Getting your best athlete into space, with crack blocks and angles gets an offensive coordinator excited!
Get him the ball, and in space!
QB Trap

Reasons to love the QB trap:

It's a trap!

1.  Angles, Angles, Angles-  Everyone has an angle!
2.  Attack aggressive DEs
3.  Simple rules for your o-line
4.  One more thing for the defense to defend out of the spread
5.  Has the ability to be a homerun on every play

Strong trap- Trapping to the Quads

Weak side trap- Trapping away from the quads

The key to these plays is to have the QB take a small jab step away from the hole.  This allows the guard to clear and trap, while the LB's hesitate.  With the LB's being hesitant, the O-Line can get to their blocks with better angles.

Bonus:  Running Game with Motion
Because I have been encompassed with my season, in which we are currently 2-1, I have been slacking off on Hit'em hard.  Today I am adding in a bonus, QB running game with motion out of quads.  Say that ten times fast!

Using a lead blocker out of quads is simple.  Look at your base formation out of quads below:

There are three different positions, A, H, or Y that can be used as lead blockers.  As a coach, you can really mix it up if your personnel is capable of being a lead blocker.  Today we are going to focus on using a lead blocker for the ISO play.

QB Iso
Iso is one of the simplest, yet most effective plays.  It is based off of "isolating" one LB with a lead blocker.  Below are two examples of running iso out of quads, with different lead blockers.

Strong Iso
Using the H as the lead blocker

Weak Iso
Changing it up, using the A as a lead blocker

There is a the base running plays out of the Quads look using your QB.  It is important that when using the Quads to include running your QB if he is athletic at all.  It is another weapon to cause headaches for the defenses.

MAKE SURE YOU CHECK OUT  for some unbelievable stuff.  They currently are filming multiple high schools from across the country and their documentaries.  Check it out!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Heading into the new age technology, I am excited to announce that you can now follow me at Twitter 


To those of you that start your season this week and the upcoming weeks, good luck!   As always, check out for the best football coverage on the web!

Follow CoachHjorth on Twitter

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quads Quads Quads Quads (That's four times!) Formations

Is every four sided shape a quad?
Quads formations (or 4x1) have become more popular in the past few seasons because of the predicament it puts defenses in.  Putting four receivers to one side causes the defense to become very vanilla, taking away their coverages and blitzing schemes.    

Quads defined is any offensive formation that puts 4 eligible receivers to one side of the formation.  Quads are mainly run by spread teams looking to get an advantage and take what the defense gives them.  

Here are some advantages to quads:
  • 5 man box for QB runs
  • Single coverage on single side
  • 4 on 3 deep to quads side

Below are the two base formations for Quads:


Even though you would think you a limited to ways to change up the quad formation, you are not.  

Quads can be run out of a bunch....

Running bunch out of Quads allows for single coverage on both outside receivers!

Quads can be run out of a diamond formation...

Diamond Quads are great for running bubble and spacing concepts.

Quads can be run with a TE....

Adding a TE beefs up the running game out of quads

This is the basic start of a quad offense.  Coming up, running and passing games out of quads.  It is going to be square.   

It's hip to be square

The football season has started and is in full swing.  This is the BEST time of year.  Teams have spent the last 8 months preparing, and  now it is their chance to prove what they have on the field.  I want to wish everyone the best of luck throughout the following season, stay healthy, keep your focus, fill your heart, and hit'em hard! 

Remember, for the best football coverage out there, get to

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two-A-Days Tips

As the summer heats gruelingly strikes the United States, it is a clear sign that football season is coming up!  Soon enough, the heat will give way to cool, damp mornings, where smells of grass and sweat blend together with the August sun.  We are approaching the greatest time of year, FOOTBALL SEASON!  
Bleachers and field in the hot sun

Young men from all social, racial and economical backgrounds are coming together with one goal in mind, to succeed in the battlefield known as football.  Football, I am talking about football here people!!!!  The greatest team sport on Earth!  If that doesn’t get your heart pumping, then nothing will. 
Heart pumping.... get it?

As football coaches, it is our responsibility to bring these young men together.  This job is a privilege and a great responsibility.  When talking to a fellow coach over the past few days, he asked me what I felt were the most important parts of the two-a-days season.  He talked about schemes and x’s and o’s, and while he talked; I felt that those are important, but what’s more important is developing your team and staff.   I wanted to share some of my thoughts going into two-a-days that have helped me be successful:

#1  Find the leaders on your team and get them to buy in

The leaders on your team might not always be the best player or athlete.  Your responsibility is to search them out, and let your team know that any one player could be a leader or captain.  Many teams and coaches automatically name the best player the “captain.”  I suggest that you do not follow this old model, instead search out for the player that all of the team respects.  It is easy to identify them, you’re your team gets water or is eating together, see who the players gravitate towards.  They can be the second string QB, or smaller DB, but they are popular and understand their role and the game of football.  Most importantly, they are VOCAL.  When crunch time shows up, they have the guts to stand up, be VOCAL, and lead their teammates to success.  Find that leader among your team!

#2  Promote position competition during two-a-days

Each season I have coached, I have realized how important it is to promote competition for positions.  Just because “Joe Schmoe” started at middle linebacker last year as a junior does not guarantee he has a starting spot this year.   Young players are smart, and if they know they have a guaranteed spot, motivation often drops off.  If they feel the heat of someone taking their position, two positives happen:  they perform under stress and they still motivated to continue to improve themselves.

Consequentially, the other players on the team are motivated to earn that starting spot.  There is nothing worse than a player feeling he “shouldn’t try” because someone has the starting position locked up from day 1.  These players staying motivated and invested also help get them prepared for when they do have an opportunity to play. 

QB Competition

#3  Make sure all of your coaches are on the same page

As a player, there is nothing more frustrating and confusing than having three different coaches telling the player to do three different things.  All off-season you have probably met with your coaches and discussed the schemes and plans for the season.  Make sure that your coaches are following the plan and running a tight ship.   
Same page right coach?

#4  Standards don’t float

Work with your team to understand what the following statement means “Standards don’t float.”  An Army General taught this saying to me recently, and I love it.  It means that just doing the standard or minimum is not enough. 

The General shared a story about how a recruit came to him and asked “Do you think I will be able to do the minimum on the physical training test?”  The General responded “Son, you should be asking me ‘Do you think I will be able to do the maximum on the test?”

The whole idea is to get your players to do more than just the minimum.  Block until the whistle, run to the football on defense, heck, even clean the tables spotless after team dinners.  Push your team to the maximum of its potential, because…. “Standards don’t float.”

#5  Remember, we are not perfect, but we will strive to be

Young men and women are raised to be perfect, and often struggle with how to respond to challenges.  Work with your players, and let them know that plays will sometimes not work, that turnovers will happen, and the other team will score.  This is not a time to tuck our tail and take our ball and head home.  This is a time to rise to the challenge.  Show character and exceed past the failure.  Communicate this to your players, and if mistakes happen, they will be able to push past it.   

With the ending of one of network tv’s greatest shows “FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS” I am reminded of Coach Eric Taylor’s speech to his players:
I am going to miss this show..,
“We will all at some time in our lives, fall. Life is so very fragile, we are all vulnerable, and we will all at some point in our lives, fall, we will all fall.  We must carry this in our hearts, that what we have is special, that it can be taken from us, and that when it is taken from us, we will be tested. We will be tested to our very souls. We will all be tested.  It is these times, it is this pain, that allows us to look inside ourselves.”

Let your team know that failure will happen, and it is what happened, it is how the team responds.  As a defensive coach, the best example I have of this is during a sudden change moment (turnover by the offense, blocked punt/FG).  We pride ourselves in stepping up to the challenge of a failed opportunity.  Instead of putting our heads down, we will find the character inside us and meet the challenge.  We may not be perfect, but we will strive to be.  

These are five basic tips for your upcoming camp.  With all of these, most importantly, have fun and enjoy two-a-days!  Football 2011 is upon us, and I wish the best of success for each and every team.

A couple of shoutouts

Check out for the best coverage of football on the web.  A great website

Also, Coach Hoover breaks down the fire zone out of each defensive front.  A great read!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Defensive Line Play in the 3-5

With the creation and popularization of the 3-5 Defense and all of its blitzing packages, it is important to understand that the game is still won up front.  Throughout this post, I will be discussing the fundamentals to positive defensive line play out of the 3-5 Defense.  There are three consistent essentials that all 3-5 defensive coaches emphasize.  They are:

1.  Get off the block-  Defensive linemen must be able to use their athleticism and aggressiveness to get off the O-Line's block.  

2.  Pursue the ball-  Defensive linemen in the 3-5 must be RELENTLESS.  They must have a great motor, always running to the football.

3.  Perfect Tackling-  Defensive linemen in the 3-5 must have perfect tackling technique.  When they do come through gaps and/or down the line on a pursuit, the linemen must be able to tackle that RB/QB.  

With these three essentials in place, 3-5-3 defensive line coaches stress perfect fundamentals.  The fundamentals of a 3-5 DL are the following:

1.  Proper Alignment-  DL must know where to line up in each call

2.  Proper Stance-  DL must know slant stance and run/pass rush stances

3.  Proper Steps-  While slanting and moving, it is important for the DL to take the proper steps to get themselves in the perfect place.  

With all 6 of these teachings in place, Defensive Lineman work themselves into the proper position to be successful.

Here are a couple of drills to continue to improve defensive line play in the 3-5.

Slanting Drill
This drill is designed to work with the defensive linemen through repetition and focusing on proper footwork.  The coach stands in front of the three linemen, and calls out the defense/blitz/line stunt.  He then proceeds to call out a cadence and moving the ball when he is ready.  This helps teach the D-linemen to move when the ball is snapped.

Coaching points:
     -  Watch footwork and make sure DL is stepping with proper foot.
     -  Check for flat back and explosiveness out of stance
     -  Use get off techniques (club/rip) on snap of the ball

Pursuit Drill
The pursuit drill goes hand in hand with the 3 essentials of the d-line, and allows players to drill pursuit over and over.  On the snap of the ball, the player will slant to their gap and get their eyes up on the coach.  The coach points in a direction and the player redirects themselves, pursuing after the ball carrier down the LOS.  This is a hustle drill, so make sure the use a lot of excitement in the drill!

Coaching points:  
     -  Watch footwork and make sure DL is stepping with proper foot.
     -  Make sure players eyes are up, looking for the ball carrier
     -  Play aggressive and transition to the ball carrier 

These are the basics of 3-5-5 defensive linemen.  The most important thing is to get these linemen to play fast and aggressive, so that the 6 key essentials comes shining through their play!

Happy belated 235th birthday America!  Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th!
As always, check out  for THE BEST coverage across the web!  Coming up........... it is up to you!  Let me know what you want, a certain offense, defense or special teams explained! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011



Just wanted to invite everyone to get signed onto their computers, as I will be presenting my first Webinar for the Glazier Clinic's online on Thursday June 30th.  Topic:  4-3 Fronts Build and Spill

So, if you have a Glazier membership, get signed on as I go on at 5:00 pm Central time.  I am looking forward to it!

Coach Hjorth

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

3-5 Zone Blitzes

Throughout the last post, the message was made clear that the 3-5 can complicate blocking rules because of the different amount of pressure packages defensive coordinators are able to put together.  Today's post is based on just two of the hundreds of zone blitz packages that a 3-5 defense can use to disorient the QB and opposing offense.

The focus is on the TORCH and CLUB zone blitzes.  Each complicates the QB's read, because they use simple zone blitzing techniques to confuse the offense.  TORCH is the DE and SS/OLBs zone blitzing games, and CLUB is both DEs and both SSs moving.

 *** A key to zone blitzing, the defensive lineman must always step forward, checking for run, before he takes off into his zone. ***


Torch alerts the callside DE that he will be dropping into his zone.  His zone is defined as the shallow flat (5 yards depth).  Torch also alerts the callside stack linebacker and strong safety they will be blitzing the B and outside gap.  The advantage of torch is the simplicity of bringing four man pressure.

By tagging OPEN into TORCH, assignments can be changed simply.  Open designates the open (or weak) side to perform their TORCH responsibilities.  Now the Open end drops into his zone coverage, and the Open stack linebacker and strong safety attack their gaps.


Club alerts both defensive ends (DE) that they will be dropping into their shallow flat drops.  This compliments the Torch blitz, because the DEs do not have to learn a new technique or zone to cover.  Club also alerts both strong safeties that they will be blitzing the outside gap, using their speed to rush past the O-line.  Club is based off of bringing three man pressure, dropping 8, but giving a different look to the offense.

When wanting to bring more pressure out of the club look, a tag can be added, such as "Mike."  This alerts the Mike that he will be blitzing, allowing the defensive coordinator to bring 4 man pressure off the edge and up the middle, while dropping his defensive ends into their zones.

The best part about the simplicity of the defense, is that additional blitzes that were covered earlier can be added into the zone blitzing scheme.  For example, Bear was covered in the last posting.  This let the two stack backers (Sam and Will) know they will be blitzing the B gap.  Now with Bear Club, those stack backers will be blitzing, while club alerts the DEs they will drop into their zone and the safeties will blitz the outside gap, ultimately bringing 5 man pressure from multiple different positions, while still maintaining the integrity of the Cover 3 Shell behind it.  


Zone Blitzing is one of the most effective ways to get pressure on the QB, and confuse the offensive line.  When run effectively, QB's are often hit by many defenders, leaving them on the ground and frustrated.

Take advantage of the advancements of zone blitzing, and get it into your defense today!

Coming up.... defensive line play out of the 3-5

As always, you MUShead over to for the best coverage of football on the web!