Last night I wrote about the importance of using a “Live Drive Sheet” during your games.   Simply put, writing down the plays called, the result, and maybe any notes about that play.  Read about how I do this here.

Usually the very FIRST thing I do when I get back to the office after the game is type up that drive sheet in to an Excel document.

Here is what it looks like covering just the first two drives.  This is an actual drive from our 2006 Capo Valley Christian game vs. Ocean View Christian of San Diego.  We beat them 57-6!  (This was my first year at CVCS; in 2005, they lost to OVC 26-10.)


FIRST HALF V. Ocean View  9/22/06
Base Right Jet Strong 5
Base Right Strong Pass inc
Wing Right Power 14
Tight Right Strong 8
Base Left Strong Waggle 10
Base Left Strong Option penalty
Base Left Strong 8
Base Right Strong Pass X Slant inc
Base Left Strong Keep 6
Wing Left Strong penalty
Wing Left Strong 5
Wing Right Power 3
Over Right Strong Flood 11 TD
Base Right Jet Strong Keep penalty
Base Right Jet Strong Keep 12
Base Left Strong Option 4
Tap Tap 6
Base Right Strong Pass inc
Base Left Strong Keep Out penalty
Base Left Strong 6
Base Right Strong Trap 4
Field Goal Attempt FG  FG

So, I will input every single drive in to an Excel spreadsheet.  For this particular game above, we had a total of 9 offensive drives, 70 total plays.  I feel good about 70 plays; this was before I incorporated our no huddle wristband system at CVCS.

I will evaluate the job I did, or the job the OC did If I have one, through this spreadsheet.  I will go through and break down each series.  I will analyze how a drive got stalled, or how we excelled.  I also use this drive sheet to input our plays on the film system so that when the staff comes in to watch film, all of our plays are titled on film.

Breaking down our first drive above, I see that we have an incomplete pass on the second play of the game.  First play of the game we get 5 yards on our bread and butter play, then go incomplete, sitting at a 3rd and 5 now.  This makes me think that perhaps we should have just ran the ball again on second down.  One thing I will do is go back and watch that incomplete pass to figure out why it was incomplete.  I see we got 14 yards on our third play of the game, the first time we used the Wing formation.  I will see if they made any adjustment to this formation during the game, and I will make a note of it on the drive sheet.  Our “power” play and “strong play” is all of the same blocking up front.  Just a different ball carrier, the weak back wing follows the fullback.  So, I can see right away, that play which is basically the same went twice for 19 yards, not bad!  Then it goes for 8 yards!  3 plays, 27 yards!!  NOT a bad average at all!  This told me very early on, our base running play was working well.

On this first drive, we ended up overcoming two penalties, and still managed to score. That is impressive.  You will see our base running game was going off pretty well this first drive of the game.

You’ll see on the second drive that we got away from our base running plays by having the QB keep the ball.  It’s all the same blocking scheme up front.  But we tried to get a little fancy.  You will see we ran the option for only 4 yards.  I’m over it now, but one weakness I’ve had as a play caller as a younger coach was getting too fancy, using too many different plays, getting a little bored, instead of just going with what works well.  I’m different now.  I will just keep pounding and pounding if it’s working well.

I will spend some time analyzing the game we just played, and make notes to discuss with my staff.  I put this drive sheet in to our Scouting Report for the next week just so the kids can take a look at how things worked and didn’t work.

I will start an Excel document and use the tabs on the bottom for each game of the year.  So, one document has the entire season on it.

At the midway point of the regular season, after five games, I will spend a few hours breaking down the offensive.  I will examine the effectiveness of our offense through an analysis of our excel spreadsheets.

Here is what I do:

1.  I make a “SEASON” file.  I cut and paste every single play we ran those first 5 games in to one document.  Remember, each play has with it the play call, result, and any notes.  This document will have every single offensive play we ran those first five games, so it has anywhere from 250-400 plays usually.

2.  I make a “RESULTS” file.  I use the tools with Excel to “sort” these plays by “RESULT.”   Here is what the 2006 season’s top 10 plays from the first 5 games looked like:

Base Right Y Loose Strong Pass Y Stop 73 TD
Over Right Strong Waggle Flood 59 TOUCHDOWN
Wing Right Strong Pitch 36
Over Right Strong Flood Y Screen 33 TD
Over Right Strong Flood Y Screen 30
Base Right Strong Waggle 29
Base Right Weak Keep 26
Base Left Strong Keep 25 TD
Tight Right Strong Pass WX Switch 25 TOUCHDOWN
Base Right Strong Waggle 24

Here are the bottom five plays:

Base Right Jet Boot -3
Base Right Strong Pitch -3
Base Right Jet Sweep -4
Base Right Strong Trap Keep Option -5
Wing Left Wap Strong -5

Breaking this down by “RESULT” will tell me a LOT of information.  For instance, you can see above from my top ten plays that 2 of those are my favorite screen.  This is positive news and tells me that screen is pretty darn effective, at least on THIS breakdown it does.  More on that screen later.

I notice that our Waggle plays look to be pretty effective as well as far as yardage goes.  One thing that is dissapointing to me here is that our “base” pass play (Strong Pass) doesn’t appear on this list.  That is not good.  So, I need to watch some film on it to see what’s going on.   What do you notice about our “Weak Series?”  I notice it’s pretty weak!!  To be balanced for the rest of the season, we have got to incorporate more weak series stuff or teams will shut us down.  I remember well seeing this, and I remember well that during our bye week which was smack dab in the middle of the season, we worked the weak series about 75% of the week!

As far as our worst 5 plays, I see that our third best play of the year, Strong Pitch is also here.  Interesting.  I will definitely make a note to take a look at that Strong Pitch that went for -3 yards to see what happened.   I also remember looking at our practice plans and seeing that we hardly EVER worked on Wing Left Wap Strong.  Don’t use plays in games that you don’t rep the heck out of.  We actually took this play off of our play list for the rest of the year after evaluating it further.  That certain “wap” motion did nothing for us.

So, after studying the RESULTS breakdown, I move to step 3 of this self analyis.

3.  I make a “BREAKDOWN” file.  I then make a few different lists and compile some stats on this BREAKDOWN tab.

Here is the first one:


This was my first season with this team.  I don’t like the 5.84 per yard average.  However, I will take it.  I took over this team that was 0-10 the year before!  I taught an entirely new offense.  I was hired in May, very late; not much time to teach the offense.

I also don’t like the 56.8 plays per game.  I was at about 72 per game at the school I had just left.  But we did have a no huddle system there.

Here is my next chart on this BREAKDOWN file:

STRONG 65 4.8
JET SPLIT 15 4.4

This is our “Frequency Chart.”  It ranks the number of times we called a play from the most amount of times to the least.

As you can see, we called our Bread and Butter running play, Strong, 65 times over the course of the first 5 games, averaging 4.8 per play.  This is down from my last school where we averaged in the 7.5 range over three years.  I just remind myself that the offense is new.

Since I see that Strong Keep is at an average of 8.2, I will make a note of that and you will probably see us run it more the second part of the season.    I do not like that our base passing play is at 5.5 yards.  Again, we spoke in the last section about me not being happy that Strong Pass wasn’t on the list of the top 10 longest plays.  So, we have some work to do on Strong Pass.

The next chart is our “Highest Yard Average Per Play Call Chart.”  It ranks the plays with the highest average per play call.


Strong Flood Y Screen is my favorite screen!  Can you see why?  22.8 yards per time called!  Pretty stinking effective.  Obviously, a screen like this you can’t call too much.  Only 7 times in 5 games is fine.

I remember being very impressed that Strong Pitch was doing so well.  That’s a stinking first down every time it is called, not bad.  This particular play didn’t work so well at my last school.

I will share more about this process of analyzing our offense tomorrow.