Several of us are probably working on those resolutions and improvements for next season. I have had a few coaches reach out to me about this topic, so I decided to give my take on some possible solutions because we have had the same problems getting our 2-way players and our backup players enough reps in practice at various stops I’ve made along the way.
The best solution I have seen: Split Defensive and Offensive Emphasis Practices.
Why Split Practices? At the end of the day, it is all about player development, program development, and winning (getting our best players on the field). This practice system allowed us to get all 3 goals accomplished.
Weekly Practice Schedule
Obviously most of our heavy work and fundamental development is getting done on Monday and Tuesday. This is the emphasis of this article.
Monday/Tuesday Practice Schedule
So here is the schedule for a sample Offensive Day. This means Offense has 70 minutes of practice to script, and Offense has the choice of ALL PLAYERS it wishes to have for VARSITY OFFENSE. Now, we would have some Offense Only players and some Defense Only players. They would stay on that side of the ball for the entire practice. Any CROSSOVER PLAYERS (2-WAY PLAYERS) would go to OFFENSE first since it is an Offensive Day. All JV/Sophomore/Developmental Players would go to Defense.
Segments like Inside Run/1 on 1, 7 on 7/Pass Rush, and Team Offense, we would come together and service/scrimmage each other as best we could. Many times I would take the Scout Team because our defensive coaches didn’t know what defense the opposing team was running, so I would let them stay with their older defensive specialists to work on their game plan and technique. It made things move smoothly, and I didn’t have to explain a card/read to the coach and the players.
Offensively, we ALWAYS had 2 huddles going in Inside Run, 7×7, and Team. We maximized reps for all of our developmental guys in every segment. This is why we were able to reload with players each year (program development).
We would switch emphasis after our Team periods, and Crossovers would head to Defense for 35 minutes of whatever they needed. As an offensive coach, I would coach our Scout units HARD for our Defense to get a look. It was also 2 huddles of Scout Offense, so we had more young guys getting great reps vs our 1 Defense.
We would finish with Special Teams for 20 minutes, giving several units (OL, QB especially) more time for corrections and Indy work as well at the end of practice.
Tuesday, we would rinse and repeat but flip Defense and Offense. We were able to develop our Crossover players and our JV/Second Unit players in a multitude of ways.
I hope you got a nugget or two from this article. If you have questions or comments, please leave them below or contact me. Thanks for reading, and PAY IT FORWARD as a BALL COACH!