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oldunclemark

Why do teams 'script' plays?

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I have often heard that some offensive coordinators 'script' the first 15 plays of a game.

The decide during the week what they'll run in what order.

Is that for the QB?  How does that help?  What if there's an early turnover. Do they break the script?

 

..and why 15?  Why not 10 or 20.?

Anybody?:scratch:

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This is my understanding of scripts, what I was taught throughout my life playing football, what I have used it for as a coach, and what I assume it would be used for at a professional level based on what I know.

There maybe other reasons and things I am missing but this is probably a good starting point. 

 

As far as I know, the game script is typically used for 3 main reasons. 

 

The first is that they get a chance to see how the defense reacts to a handful of different looks and situations, which helps give coaches a chance to see what the defense has gameplanned against them, and how best to beat what they are doing. 

 

The second reason that scripts are used are to show certain looks to the defense so that they key in on these looks. They do this so that they can exploit it later by adding a different wrinkle into the play.

Example: over the course of the first 10 plays, the Colts run a couple quick hitches to Hilton which he takes for moderate gains. The defense then starts looking for that Hitch route from that formation and a well timed pump fake causes them to bite on what they think is another Hitch, but is actually a Hitch and Go route, giving Hilton a huge gain and potentially a touchdown. 

 

The third reason as to why a script could be used has less to do with schemes and more to do with getting a young or struggling QB some easy plays to build up their confidence and/or get them into a good rhythm to start the game. Using scripted plays gives the QB lots of reps in those specific plays during the week and has them better prepared to make the correct reads, as they can try it many times against a bunch of different defensive looks (zone, man, blitz, etc)

 

The 15 number you hear is really just an average. Depending on the game plan and the coach it will differ anywhere from 8 to about 20 plays. Also the script can be abandoned at any time based on what they see, as they could have found a way to exploit the defense after only 9 plays when they scripted 16, but even then they ususally stick with it to see what other concepts are going to work (or they can decide to do a few plays off script and then go back to it). They typically wouldnt abandon the script early if things werent working, as the script often has a bunch of different things they want to try to do. If play #2 was an INT on a play where the 1st read was a Wheel Route to Hines out of the backfield, it wont have much bearing on play #3 in the script, which has a crossing route to Hilton as the 1st read. That being said, they may decide that play #2 didnt work, so they may skip it if it was repeated later in the script (if it is also play #8 and play #13). 

 

Hopefully this info helps your understanding. Lmk if you have questions and I will answer to the best of my ability. 

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Here's what I learned about it from Pat Kirwan-

 

Typically, a team that does this is fully ready with them, the offensive players know them, and know they'll be running them; essentially come hell or high water.

 

The goal is to gather as much information as possible in the first series or two.

 

Send a steady rotation of personnel and alignments into the game and see how the defense lines up against each one.  Once they've seen 15 different match ups, they determine the 5 or so most advantageous and may 'feature' those up to 4 or 5 more times during the game. Thus by the end of the first quarter, the game plan has been fine tuned and refocused that is smore pecific to the match ups they are getting that day.

 

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I also imagine it builds comfort in the offense. When the offense first goes out onto the field, they need to get warmed up, and you can't replicate the feeling of bodies colliding full speed in practice, so to minimize the unfamiliarity, they give the offense some plays they know 100% so all they have to worry about is execution without mentally taxing themselves.

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17 minutes ago, ColtsBlueFL said:

Here's what I learned about it from Pat Kirwan-

 

 

 

I love reading Kirwan's stuff. 

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1 hour ago, ReMeDy said:

I also imagine it builds comfort in the offense. When the offense first goes out onto the field, they need to get warmed up, and you can't replicate the feeling of bodies colliding full speed in practice, so to minimize the unfamiliarity, they give the offense some plays they know 100% so all they have to worry about is execution without mentally taxing themselves.

 

This is the approach I took when I was an OC. I'd also take a shot for a long-range TD in my opening script. Be whether the play was set up based on what the opposition scouted from us last week, or based on setting it up within the script. I'd also have an opening script for the second half, again where I had something built in for big play potential. 

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  Thank you all..

I had not considered the part about making sure you show the defense plays from which you can later vary.

Setting them up, if you will.

 

Maybe that's why some teams appear timid or conservative at the star of a game.

They haven't laid the groundwork for their preferred means of attacking...

Maybe the script is partially based on (or limited to) initial field position?

 

 

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13 minutes ago, 18to87 said:

 

This is the approach I took when I was an OC. I'd also take a shot for a long-range TD in my opening script. Be whether the play was set up based on what the opposition scouted from us last week, or based on setting it up within the script. I'd also have an opening script for the second half, again where I had something built in for big play potential. 

If you remember the first Chargers-Baltimore game...Phil Rivers took a deep shot down the sidelines on the first play of the game.

Sounds like what you are saying..

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4 minutes ago, oldunclemark said:

If you remember the first Chargers-Baltimore game...Phil Rivers took a deep shot down the sidelines on the first play of the game.

Sounds like what you are saying..

I remember the early Manning era playcalling used to do this a lot as well especially off play action. PM/Moore put fear into defenses to open games by making them decide between respecting the run and deep ball. 

Rivers was probably taking a calculated deep ball shot to make the safeties respect it. I don't watch the Chargers much, but James likes to play the run?

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4 minutes ago, 18to87 said:

I remember the early Manning era playcalling used to do this a lot as well especially off play action. PM/Moore put fear into defenses to open games by making them decide between respecting the run and deep ball. 

Rivers was probably taking a calculated deep ball shot to make the safeties respect it. I don't watch the Chargers much, but James likes to play the run?

Yes, Baltimore just sits on the run..their new defensive coordinator is an attacker..

….They bring 7 or 8 up on first down (against a basic formation) and then run blitz after blitz on 2nd and 3rd

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4 hours ago, SaturdayAllDay said:

This is my understanding of scripts, what I was taught throughout my life playing football, what I have used it for as a coach, and what I assume it would be used for at a professional level based on what I know.

There maybe other reasons and things I am missing but this is probably a good starting point. 

 

As far as I know, the game script is typically used for 3 main reasons. 

 

The first is that they get a chance to see how the defense reacts to a handful of different looks and situations, which helps give coaches a chance to see what the defense has gameplanned against them, and how best to beat what they are doing. 

 

The second reason that scripts are used are to show certain looks to the defense so that they key in on these looks. They do this so that they can exploit it later by adding a different wrinkle into the play.

Example: over the course of the first 10 plays, the Colts run a couple quick hitches to Hilton which he takes for moderate gains. The defense then starts looking for that Hitch route from that formation and a well timed pump fake causes them to bite on what they think is another Hitch, but is actually a Hitch and Go route, giving Hilton a huge gain and potentially a touchdown. 

 

The third reason as to why a script could be used has less to do with schemes and more to do with getting a young or struggling QB some easy plays to build up their confidence and/or get them into a good rhythm to start the game. Using scripted plays gives the QB lots of reps in those specific plays during the week and has them better prepared to make the correct reads, as they can try it many times against a bunch of different defensive looks (zone, man, blitz, etc)

 

The 15 number you hear is really just an average. Depending on the game plan and the coach it will differ anywhere from 8 to about 20 plays. Also the script can be abandoned at any time based on what they see, as they could have found a way to exploit the defense after only 9 plays when they scripted 16, but even then they ususally stick with it to see what other concepts are going to work (or they can decide to do a few plays off script and then go back to it). They typically wouldnt abandon the script early if things werent working, as the script often has a bunch of different things they want to try to do. If play #2 was an INT on a play where the 1st read was a Wheel Route to Hines out of the backfield, it wont have much bearing on play #3 in the script, which has a crossing route to Hilton as the 1st read. That being said, they may decide that play #2 didnt work, so they may skip it if it was repeated later in the script (if it is also play #8 and play #13). 

 

Hopefully this info helps your understanding. Lmk if you have questions and I will answer to the best of my ability. 

 

4 hours ago, ColtsBlueFL said:

Here's what I learned about it from Pat Kirwan-

 

Typically, a team that does this is fully ready with them, the offensive players know them, and know they'll be running them; essentially come hell or high water.

 

The goal is to gather as much information as possible in the first series or two.

 

Send a steady rotation of personnel and alignments into the game and see how the defense lines up against each one.  Once they've seen 15 different match ups, they determine the 5 or so most advantageous and may 'feature' those up to 4 or 5 more times during the game. Thus by the end of the first quarter, the game plan has been fine tuned and refocused that is smore pecific to the match ups they are getting that day.

 

 

Great, great answers,  both of you!

 

Couldn’t be better.   Thanks to both of you for sharing.    :thmup:

 

:colts:

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 I couldnt agree more NCF...Thank you both.

I really did not know

 

 

I think the Colts were up 14-0 after their first 15 plays at Houston ..and coach Frank talked about how the pass to TY Hilton on the first drive was 'scripted'

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23 hours ago, SaturdayAllDay said:

This is my understanding of scripts, what I was taught throughout my life playing football, what I have used it for as a coach, and what I assume it would be used for at a professional level based on what I know.

There maybe other reasons and things I am missing but this is probably a good starting point. 

 

As far as I know, the game script is typically used for 3 main reasons. 

 

The first is that they get a chance to see how the defense reacts to a handful of different looks and situations, which helps give coaches a chance to see what the defense has gameplanned against them, and how best to beat what they are doing. 

 

The second reason that scripts are used are to show certain looks to the defense so that they key in on these looks. They do this so that they can exploit it later by adding a different wrinkle into the play.

Example: over the course of the first 10 plays, the Colts run a couple quick hitches to Hilton which he takes for moderate gains. The defense then starts looking for that Hitch route from that formation and a well timed pump fake causes them to bite on what they think is another Hitch, but is actually a Hitch and Go route, giving Hilton a huge gain and potentially a touchdown. 

 

The third reason as to why a script could be used has less to do with schemes and more to do with getting a young or struggling QB some easy plays to build up their confidence and/or get them into a good rhythm to start the game. Using scripted plays gives the QB lots of reps in those specific plays during the week and has them better prepared to make the correct reads, as they can try it many times against a bunch of different defensive looks (zone, man, blitz, etc)

 

The 15 number you hear is really just an average. Depending on the game plan and the coach it will differ anywhere from 8 to about 20 plays. Also the script can be abandoned at any time based on what they see, as they could have found a way to exploit the defense after only 9 plays when they scripted 16, but even then they ususally stick with it to see what other concepts are going to work (or they can decide to do a few plays off script and then go back to it). They typically wouldnt abandon the script early if things werent working, as the script often has a bunch of different things they want to try to do. If play #2 was an INT on a play where the 1st read was a Wheel Route to Hines out of the backfield, it wont have much bearing on play #3 in the script, which has a crossing route to Hilton as the 1st read. That being said, they may decide that play #2 didnt work, so they may skip it if it was repeated later in the script (if it is also play #8 and play #13). 

 

Hopefully this info helps your understanding. Lmk if you have questions and I will answer to the best of my ability. 

All this is true, PLUS, you will run your scripted plays in practice.  So when the game comes you're execution is at a very high level which is why you see so many great opening drives and then some fall off.  You may spend half a day on your first 15.  Those same fifteen plays may be called 30-45 times in any given game with different looks.

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