Opposition Film Study: 20 Tells
It’s great when you are able to run fast, jump high and hit hard. After all, playing football requires a lot of physical strengths. These physical strengths inch you one step closer to maximizing your productivity. But what else can you do to maximize your productivity? What I’m about to talk about was completely foreign concept to me when I first starting playing football: Mental Preparation. The mental aspect of the game of football can play such a large role for you. Your ability to anticipate what is about to happen puts you one step closer, and one step is all the difference you need. What’s the difference between a 4.5 and 4.7? Is it even a step? If you make it a point to mentally prepare, you can make up for below average speed, and if you have a good speed, watch out. This preparation will be the difference between making a great play, an average play, and missing the play. You prepare by becoming a student of the game, your position, and the opposition. This post will aid the latter, helping you break down opponent’s film.
(Tip: when you are watching film, be sure you are not just following the ball. Leave this for the fans in the stands–you are a student of the game.)
20 Tells for a Defensive Player:
- What “Personnel Groupings” does the other team use? Ex. 2 RB’s 2 WR’s 1 TE
- What advantage are they trying to create with this grouping? Ex. Run advantage, or Pass advantage
- What are their “Top Formations” within each “Personnel Grouping”? Ex. I-Formation
- What plays do they run out of these formations? Ex. Toss Sweep, or QB Sneak
- What are their “Top 3 Running Plays” that must be stopped?
- What are their “Top 3 Pass Concepts” that must be stopped?
- What is their “Option Running Game”? If any?
- Are there certain linemen/WR/RB that give “Run/Pass Keys”? Ex. Lineman forward lean in his stance, ready to fire off to make a run block? Or is he back in his stance, ready to set up in a pass block? Does the WR split or stance change in runs or passes? Depth of the RB change on run or pass?
- Do certain line splits determine “Run/Pass Keys”?
- Are there any motions or shift that would require defensive adjustments? What are they?
- Are there any tips from the QB on their “3-Step Passing Game” or “5-Step Passing Game”? Does the QB stare down the WR he is throwing to? Does the QB mainly throw to his right or left?
- What does their “Play Action Passing Game” consist of? Boots? Sprint-Outs? Screens?
- Do they have a “Go To WR” that should double covered? In what situations?
- Does the QB handle pressure well? What do they “Check To” when they see a blitz coming? What are the hand signals for the checks?
- What is their play selection after they “Recover a Turnover”? Ex. Take a shot deep?
- What is their “Red Zone Offense”? How does their offense change in the “Red Zone”?
- Have we seen any “2-Point Plays”?
- What is their favorite “Short Yardage Runs and Passes”? (3rd & Short / 4th & Short)
- What is their “Waste Down Pass Game?” (2nd & Short)
- What are their “Gimmick Plays”? Reverses? Reverse Pass? TE Screen?
15 Tells for an Offensive Player:
- What “Defensive Packages” does the other team use? Ex. Nickel, 4-3, 5-2
- What is the Defensive trying to take away? When? Ex. Stuff the run on 3rd and 1
- What is the Defense giving up when they do this? “Weak spots”? Ex. 1-on-1 coverage
- How do they determine the “Strength” or “Fronts” within each “Defensive Package”? Ex. Set to the run strength (TE), or pass strength in passing situations (Most WR’s)?
- What is their base coverage? Ex. Cover-2 What are the holes in the coverage? How can you tell they are running the coverage?
- What are their “Blitz’s” that must be stopped?
- What are their “Top Stunts” that must stopped?
- Do certain alignments indicate “Blitz” or “Stunt”?
- What “Blitz’s” require adjustments in blocking?
- Are there any tips from the Safeties on the coverage being run?
- What is their pass defense? Ex. Nickel 2-Man
- Do they have a “Weak Player” that should be taken advantage of? How can a mismatch be created?
- What are the defensive hand signals for coverage calls?
- What is their “Red Zone Defense”?
- What is their favorite Defensive to run in “Short Yardage Situations”? (3rd & Short / 4th & Short)
Film Study Recap
Studying opponent game film will help you pick up on their tendencies. If you can pick up on their tendencies, your ability to anticipate the opposition will place you in the right spot at the right time. Make the extra effort, and you will get the extra results!