“To me, it was never about what I accomplished on the football field. It was about the way I played the game. I played the game with a lot of determination, a lot of poise, a lot of pride and I think what you saw out there...was an individual who really just loved the game.”- Jerry Rice
- Be on time and prepared for all meetings and practices
- Give full effort every practice and game for every play (Do not cheat yourself, your teammates or your coaches)
- Learn from your coaches and each other. Push each other to obtain greatness!
- "Win" every practice, meeting, game, class, etc. (Excellence on and off the field)
Approaching the LOS
- Before the huddle begins: FORGET the last play
1) Alignment (side of the ball, split, motion, etc)
2) Assignment (responsibility and rules of the play)
3) Action (how to do it)
4) Adjustment (Cover 0, zone, press, blocking assignment)
- Go through the play 1 time in your head: SEE THE BIG PICTURE
Stance and Start
- As a wide receiver, you are going to be in a 2 point sprinters stance. Your inside foot (foot closest to the quarterback) is always going to be forward.
- Feet should be a little less than shoulder width apart, with the back foot being 8-12 inches behind (get yourself in a comfortable sprinters stance).
- Your body weight should be positioned 70% on your front foot, 30% on your back foot. This will allow you to get your chest over your toes, and become ready to “explode” off the LOS.
- It is often taught that wide receivers should turn their front foot into their body 45%. This allows them to have a great surface area to explode off of at the snap, especially in bad weather.
- Your hands should be no lower than your midsection and no higher than your chin, allowing you to be prepared for hand to hand combat in press coverage.
- LOCK YOURSELF INTO THIS STANCE. YOUR STANCE AND START SHOULD BE CONSISTENT EVERY PLAY.
Stance Line: Players line up across a yard line and get in the proper stance (70/30 or 50/50 as announced by coach) with the proper foot forward in relation to where the ball is (as announced by the coach). Players hold the stance as coach goes around and checks for proper weight distribution, feet placement and hand placement. (In 70/30, players should fall forward if pushed, while in 50/50 they should not).
Starts Line: Players line up across a yard line and get in the proper stance (70/30 or 50/50 as announced by coach) with the proper foot forward in relation to where the ball is (as announced by the coach). Players explode out of stance for five yards on cadence or movement of ball.
Eliminate false steps: Partnered drill where one player will get in his stance and the other will place cones right behind each of his partner's heels. Players will explode out of stance for five yards on cadence or movement of ball. The cones should not be touched at all.
Starts Race: Two lines of players compete against each other. The lines will be in the same stance and explode off the line for 10 yards on cadence or movement of ball. The winners get to watch the other do 20 push-ups.
- Receiver alignments are very important to the timing of our passing game.
- Our “X” receiver will align himself on the LOS.
- Our “Z” receiver will align four feet off the LOS, yet “crowd” as close to the line of scrimmage as allowable.
- Reminder: Locate the official who can help you locate the LOS by placing their foot as the LOS.
- Our outside receivers are always responsible for making sure the inside receiver is eligible and aligned properly.
- As receivers our alignments and splits are outlined and diagramed in the playbook.
Reading Coverage at the LOS (EYES)
- Before you “start” or release off the line, it’s imperative that wide receivers become comfortable in reading coverage before the snap of the ball.
- As you lock yourself in your stance, scan the defense with your eyes. There are 3 key reads that are easy pre-snap reads.
- Defender over you.
- Coverage shell.
- After reading the coverage, it is imperative that you call it out loud enough for the quarterback to hear you. This not only helps the quarterback, but also ensures that we are all on the same page.
- EYES OF THE DEFENDER: If the defender is looking directly at the receiver, it’s probably man coverage. Eyes of the defender into the quarterback, it’s probably zone.
- ALIGNMENT: Defender has inside leverage to receiver, MAN. Outside leverage to receiver, ZONE.
- DEPTH: may align closer if man coverage, deeper if zone (cover 3).
Blocking (#1 Priority)
- We demand that our receivers become great blockers in both our run game and screen game. The ultimate difference between an average gain and a big play or touchdown can be your downfield block. Blocking is often said to be 90% Desire and Effort, 10% Technique. Effort equals results. It doesn't have to be pretty, but you have to find a way to get the job done.
- There are 5 general rules to follow when teaching the basics of stalk blocking:
- Keep your butt between the defender you’re trying to block and the ultimate destination of your ball carrier (the ball).
- Don’t ever wait, engage early- and keep engaging! The defender will undoubtedly try to disengage. You must be relentless in reengaging!
- If at all possible, split the DB in half and be the aggressor in deciding where the defender is going to go.
- Hips stay low, feet slide, and always have active hands
- It doesn’t have to be pretty; these are TOUCHDOWN BLOCKS!
- Our general rules of blocking our run and screen game is outlined in the following:
- Inside Run Rule: On inside running plays, play side- we will block our man, trying to get inside leverage, and backside- we will cutoff safety taking a flat route to get to where he is going to be.
- Outside Run Rule (towards you): On these plays, we will block our man head up, giving the running back a two-way go.
- Cutoff Rule (Outside run away from you): On plays to the other side of the field, the defender will recognize where the ball is and pursue it; therefore, you must take the proper angle and hustle to cut off his angle of pursuit. You never quit until you hear the whistle. CUT BLOCKS ARE EFFECTIVE HERE.
Blocking is like playing basketball, just move your feet.
If you lose the defender, open-step 45 degrees to get there, don’t cross over.
*OUR MOTTO = HOLD WITH YOUR FEET! AND
PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE*
- Keep pushing vertical on your route until he reacts to the play.
- Just prior to contact, gather yourself for contact by establishing a good base, lowering your center of gravity, and get your head and eyes focused on the aiming point, the base of the numbers.
- Block up and through the man with back arched and hips low, punch with 2 hands thumbs up on breast plates, keep your feet moving on contact and maintain a good base.
- Stay between the defender and the ball carrier, and mirror his movement getting your hips in front.
Partnered Punch: Players partner up right across from each other, one as a receiver and the other as a defender. Receivers get in proper blocking stance and deliver strong punch to defender's chest on command. Can also add the aspect of the defenders chopping down on arms each time and having the receivers reengage as quickly as possible with another punch.
Partnered Punch and Drive: same as above just adding driving the defender for five yards.
Partnered Punch-Drive and Steer: same as above just adding the defender swerving left and right, while the receiver has to move his feet to stay in front.
Stalk: Players partner up and line up ten yards apart with one being the receiver and the other the defender. Receivers get in normal 70-30 stance and release on command or movement of ball. Receivers break down into proper stalking stance when they get within five yards of defender, creep up to defender and strike with a forceful punch. Same as above this can then be done as Stalk and Drive, and Stalk-Drive and Steer.
Mirror: Two cones are put five yards apart with one single file line. One player gets in proper blocking stance in between both cones and another faces him as a defender. The defender simply goes back and forth as quickly as possible, switching up speeds and direction. The receiver needs to move his feet to stay in front. This is done for 15-20 seconds and then defender goes to receiver and the next player in line becomes the defender. Receivers can be told to keep hands behind back to highlight the importance of moving the feet.
1on1s: Receivers will compete against DBs. One line of receivers will act as running backs and the other will be stalk blocking (with possible cut blocks).
- Sprint off the LOS working for desired position on defender
- Throw your far arm and shoulder at the defender’s far thigh in the direction the defender’s pursuit, use his momentum, the head should be in front of the defender, between him and the ball
- Upper body in front, explode at contact and roll three times. This will force the defender to give ground and protect his legs, even if you don’t knock him down. Rolling will also give you second effort to knock defender down and off his feet.
- If the defender is passive, the block is not as effective.
- Can be used when you engage in a stalk block and then lose the defender. Once you lose him then cut him.
- Best used against an aggressive defender coming downhill on you.
Bag Cut: Players will form a single file line with the coach about 10 yards away and 5 yards inside with a stand-up bag. On cadence, the players will release off LOS, get squared up with bag and make a proper cut block.
1on1s: Receivers will compete against DBs. One line of receivers will act as running backs and the other will be stalk blocking (with possible cut blocks).
- If the defender is playing you man-to-man, eye balling you, “run him to the fence” in a convincing manner, making him think it’s a deep pass to you.
- You can block safety, taking two, the corner and safety.
- On the goal line, run him off, then block him in the back of the end zone, don’t allow him to come off and make a tackle.
- If he slips off, try and get him, but do not clip him by hitting him in the back. You should know though whether he will go with you or not.
Run-offs: Players will form a single file line, with the coach playing inside, press-man. Players will release off LOS on cadence. Coach should feel threatened deep. (Can also be down with receivers playing the defender and the coach viewing from side)
Crack and Push-Crack
- Crack- Minimum split, release flat down LOS after taking one step up field. Take a shallow angle on the defender so he cannot react underneath. Make him beat you by going deep or “over the top”.
- Push-crack- same as above except split the difference between minimum and normal split and take four steps up field ("push" the corner) before cracking down.
- Aim to where the defensive man will be, not where he is.
- Aim for the front half of his body cylinder.
- Head and shoulder in front of his shoulder and rib area nearest you. Don’t hesitate.
- Come under control; explode into him keeping your shoulders square and feet wide.
- Stay on your feet, you cannot block below the waist.
- Block with your hands, not your shoulder (we do not need knockout blocks- just get the job done!)
- Sustain your block, do not let the defender slide off and be sure to adjust to his movement. Never let him cross your face!
Crack-back: The players will form a single file line with the first guy coming out to play the defender (the receiver will go to defender and the defender to the back of the line). The defender will line up 10 yards inside and 5 yards deep with a hand shield. On movement of ball or cadence, receivers will release flat off LOS, staying under control and under the defender as they execute a proper crack block. Variations of this drill can be performed by having the defender stay standstill or moving.
Push-crack: Same as above except coach will act as a corner lining up over the receiver. Want to make sure they are pushing the corner vertical.
Release off LOS
- A receiver must realize that each release must look the same no matter if a pass play or run play. Sell VERTICAL on every snap. Be consistent on every play so that you don’t indicate any of your route or blocking intentions to the DB.
- Rid yourself of false steps as you release from the line. Be fluid!
- Attack and stem the defenders FRAMEWORK in your first 2-3 steps. Force the defender to cover a "2-way-go" on your behalf.
Stem-up: Partnered drill where one is the defender and the other the receiver. Players are put ten yards apart with the defenders either 3 yards inside or outside of the receiver. With proper stance, receivers release and stem the defenders head-up. The key is to get stemmed-up as quickly as possible so as to attack the defender vertically as much as possible.
Double-move: Partnered drill where one is the defender and the other the receiver. Players are put five yards apart with the defender on either the inside or outside shoulder of the receiver. With proper stance, receivers release and stem the defenders head-up. They then want to attack the defender's shoulder where they want to release, give a quick fake the other way and release back to the initial push. It is important to dip the shoulder and get skinny as you release past the defender and to stack the defender immediately after you pass them. THIS DRILL EMPHASIZES A RELEASE BY A SLOT WR VS A LB/DB TRYING TO GET HANDS-ON.
Releases off the LOS against press or jam coverage
- WE HAVE TO GET OFF THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE! Our mentality must be one that allows us to believe that we can’t be touched as receivers. As a collegiate receiver, once you see that you will be jammed at the LOS, you must have a plan!
- Foot fire is the number one most important aspect of receiver releases off press coverage. Your feet should never stop moving.
- The best receivers can beat his defender by simply attacking half the man to the side you want to release, foot fire the opposite direction and speed release back on your track.
- We must be ready to perform hand to hand combat with our defender. It’s imperative that we have quick hands and know how to dominate the opposition in hand to hand combat.
- Aiming points in hand to hand combat off the LOS (Weak points on a DB).
- Lower forearm
- We will usually attack our defensive back’s weak points with a “hard C.” (cupping your hands as to strike points with your palm.)
KEY POINT: Protect the 6-8 inch box that forms at your chest area. Be very deliberate and quick with your hand motions. Remember, we want to get into our routes and pass the jam defender the quickest way possible. Do not waste motion by "swatting" at defenders arms.
- Foot fire/Speed Release: Foot fire while at the same time turning your shoulders 45 degrees in the opposite direction you’d like to release. Get defender to turn his hips or lean one way so you can hard plant and speed release hard the other way.
- Rip: Foot fire in opposite direction of release, while coming with a hard “C” through the defenders release side elbow with your release side arm, and then “rip” with your opposite arm through release side of defender as you punch to the sky. Step with the same leg at the same time that you rip to gain leverage on the DB. Dip inside shoulder nearest the defender to reduce your surface area. Finish with a pick ax (coming down forcefully on defenders arms) as you release past and the defender tries to grab.
- Punch: Foot fire in opposite direction of release, while coming with a hard “C” through the defenders release side elbow with your release side arm and then "punch" with your opposite arm through release side of defender. This is not a swim! Stay compact; do not expose your rib cage by getting too high. Finish with a pick ax (coming down forcefully on defenders arms) as you release past and the defender tries to grab.
- Chop: Foot fire in opposite direction of release, while coming with a hard "C" through the defenders release side elbow with your release side arm, and then chop down forcefully with your opposite arm onto the defenders arms as he tries to reengage. Finish with a pick ax (coming down forcefully on defenders arms) as you release past and the defender tries to grab.
- Take pride in the fact that our number one priority after the catch is to secure the football.
- After a reception, while in the open field or traffic, we will use 4 way leverage on the football:
- The nose of the ball will rest snugly at the base of the middle finger with the fingers spread over the point.
- The hand should have a tight grip on the nose of the ball. (Eagle Claw) (One)
- Pressure is put on the rear tip of the ball with the inside of the elbow. (Two)
- The ball should also be squeezed with the inside of the arm. (Three)
- The ball should then be “squeezed” high and tight against the breastplate, with the points of the ball facing north and south (tuck the elbow in!). (Four)
- We will strive to carry the ball in our outside arm whenever possible.
- Also remember that it is our job to break up any badly thrown balls that might be intercepted. “If we can’t catch it, nobody will catch it.”
Gauntlet: Players form two lines about 2 yards apart and rotate going through the gauntlet with proper ball security.
Partnered punch/claw: Players partner up with one being the receiver and the other the defender. On cadence, the receivers will begin a slow jog and the defenders will either punch or claw at the ball for 10 yards. Players will do this 2-4 times and then rotate.
Components of a Pass Route
- A receiver should always stay low off the LOS and continuing on through the route. “Play low, shoulders down.”
- Keep the DB’s hands off at all times.
- Approaching your route break point, reduce the cushion of the defender as much as possible. Seldom will you ever make a move “on air.” Attempt to get on the toes of your defender.
- There should be a strong vertical push on ALL routes. Make the defender think you are beating him deep every time!
- Body lean remains forward (remain a sprinter). Use your head and shoulders to “lean” and maximize space for your route.
- Accelerate out of breaking point for optimal separation. Throw your elbow through and snap your eyes around to your point of destination, the body will follow.
- THROW YOUR PLANT FOOT INTO THE “MUD.” “STICK YOUR ROUTE.” (Be Emphatic)
- Get rid of false steps or stutter steps as you break out of your route.
- DO NOT turn your head until the point of your break. DO NOT “banana” a route that is not designed to do so.
- Must be definitive in either going over or under a defender at the break point. Going over the top must be done quickly with little contact so as to gain the necessary separation. Going under must be done with a little more force, utilizing a nice slip move by. The receiver should subtly put his hand on the small of the defender's back and "gently" escort him by.
- Do not use your hands excessively. If needed, use your forearm to fend off a defender.
- It is imperative that you "bang the drums" keeping your elbows inside the frame of your body at your breaking point. DO NOT give the airplane look or stop motion at your break.
- *Important Note- against 0 high or if you are held up at the LOS because of press coverage, it may be necessary to cut the route down a few yards because of timing.
4-cone drill 90s: Arrange 4 cones in a box about 5 yards apart. Run 90 degree cuts around the cones until you get back to the starting cone. These cuts should be very sharp and the focus should be on getting in and out of the breaks as quickly as possible.
4-cone drill 45s: Same as above, but run 45 degree cuts, by running straight up from the start cone and cutting through the middle after the second cone, straight back after the third cone and back through the middle, ending up at the starting cone. (Path is like a figure 8 or hour glass)
Quick feet circles: Arrange 4 cones in a straight line about 2-3 yards apart. Run straight from cone to cone performing tight circles around each cone. Do this twice through clockwise and then counterclockwise.
S Drill: Arrange 4 cones in a staggered S shape about 1 yard apart. Make quick rounded cuts at each cone, making sure to turn hips each cut.
Stutter W: Arrange 4 cones in a W shape about 5 yards apart. Run post/corner cuts at each cone.
Star Drill: Arrange 4 cones in a box about 5 yards apart and put the last one directly in the middle. Start from one of the corner cones and make the first cut at the cone in the middle. Continue to make quick cuts in the shape of a figure 8 or hour glass.
*All of the above drills finish with a catch*
- Timing in the pass game is very critical. The quarterback and receiver need to be on the same page.
- As a receiver you need to be familiar with the passing windows of each play.
- The window is the particular area where the ball needs to be completed.
- It is vital that the receiver know who he is running his route off of so that the receiver will be in the proper window for a completion. For example, whether the route is being run off of the corner, a linebacker or a safety.
- It is also important not to be a robot, as a window might close and you may have to adjust on the fly and find the next window.
Adjustment drill: Receivers form one single file line. Coach plays defender and makes the receiver either sit down in window or move on to next one.
Sit down drill: Two cones are put 7-8 yards apart. Receiver runs to the first cone, breaks down, sits down, and opens up waiting for the ball. If not thrown after a two count, receiver runs back to the first cone and continues process until ball is thrown, catching and turning up field quickly after. CATCH:
- Focus on the point of the football (Imagine there is a string from the tip of the ball to your nose- never break that string!). Have your hands prepared to receive the football- form the diamond.
- Catch with your hands. Keep it off the pads.
- Tuck it away and secure the football immediately.
Concentration drill: Two lines of receivers line up about 10 yards apart with one line staggered in front of the other- one is designated as the catching line and the other the distracting line (this line is not allowed to touch the ball!). On cadence, receivers begin to run at each other and the coach throws the ball to the receiver in the receiving line when the two get just about even.
Line Catching: Receivers form a single file line and run straight ahead. The coach throws from their right hand side, then left hand side, and then from straight on.
Bad Ball: Same as previous, just with purposely thrown bad balls.
Goal Post: Players are thrown balls while sticking arms around the goal post- forcing them to catch with their hands.
3 balls and score: Two cones are put about 7-8 yards apart. The receiver runs back and forth catching 3 balls and turning up field to score on the third.
Over shoulder harass: Partnered drill where one is the defender and the other the receiver. The defender should stick their inside arm straight up in the receiver's face. This drill has four different variations: 1) Deep- Receiver creates separation away from defender with sudden burst of speed 2) Fades- Receiver holds the box and fades with the ball 3) Under thrown- Receiver throttles down in order to still catch the ball out front (defender must run through receiver to get to ball) and 4) High Point- Receiver goes up to catch the ball at its highest point.
High Ball: Players get together in groups of three. A high ball is thrown to the middle of the group. The middle receiver is the one making the catch with the other two jumping up and distracting. Players rotate being the middle receiver.
Improving your hands and hand strength should be an ongoing process throughout the season and offseason. Here are a few we may incorporate at times throughout the year:
1. Catching tennis balls 2. Around the world (around back)
3. Figure 8 (thru legs) 4. Flip up (on back of hand) 5. Drop and around (thru legs) 6. Toss ups (catch with one hand in mid-air)
- Everyone is eligible, there are no decoys. You are always the intended receiver.
- Always know the down and distance, “know where the sticks are.”
- Always secure the football!
- Be an artist of your profession. Work on all the little things and scout your defensive opponents and tendencies.
- Catch the ball at its highest point.
- Fatigue makes a great player average, and an average player a spectator
- Hold with your feet!
- Catch with your eyes! (Don't break the string)
- DOMINATE, FINISH!!!