The Simplest Things in Life: Run the Dive!

In today’s world, it is easy to get caught up in the complexity of life. The economy is sour, and technology has opened up a new world of communication such as cell phones, texting, Twitter, and Facebook. Editing for coaches has evolved from 16mm to VHS to DVD to the Internet. Things are not as simple as they used to be.

Referring to the coaching field, there is no profession that spends more time trying to figure out a better way to do things. Coaches go to clinics, buy DVD’s, videos, and get on the Internet to gain a wealth of knowledge. There are no secrets in coaching football, as we all steal ideas from one another. 

Steve Hancock

Offenses have evolved over generations. We have gone from single wing to wing T, from wishbone to flex bone, dead T to multiple and power I, shotgun to spread offenses. We have different personnel packages: full house, double tight two backs, 1 tight 2 WR, 3 WR, empty, all to try to get an advantage on the defense. 

So as a coach, what do we do with our offense? I talked to Dr. Tom Osborne once about why a person with a PhD coaches football. He answered with something like that he loves the chess game of the things you can do with eleven men on offense. I don’t have a PhD, so I try to stay away from all the chess games. If you ask one of my former players or former coaches, they will give you a simple answer: Brown 44 Dive. The simplest and fastest way to get from one point on the field to the end zone is a straight line. Yes, I did listen in geometry class. 

I asked a coach once why he didn’t run the counter (pulling guard and tackle), and he said there are too many moving parts. The simplest most effective way to move the football down the field is to knock the defender off the line of scrimmage and run the ball straight ahead. Yes, I know that is old school, but if old school means getting your back flat and knocking someone off the line of scrimmage and running down hill, then yes I am old school.

I was always brought up a meat and potatoes guy. My figure proves that point. My dad had simple rules growing up: don’t talk unless you have something good to say, love God and country, respect your elders, vote Republican, and drive a Ford. Like all coaches, I have experimented with many things on offense, and have always come back to running the dive. I even went through a mid-life crisis and ran the spread for three years. My spread offense is now going double tight, spreading out the D-linemen and creating two more gaps to defense.

A wise man in the booth told me during a ballgame, just run the dive. I said I couldn’t run the dive every play. I was wrong. I can remember a game when I was frustrated with the offense, and I called a time out. I told the offense that we were not going to run anything other than the dive, and we were going to get our backs flat and get off the ball. Twelve plays later, we scored a touchdown.

We as coaches try to make the game of football too complex. We like the challenge of a chess game and try to out coach our opponent. Why make things so difficult? We take our tailback, line him up in the “B” gap, adjust his depth according to his speed, and tell him to out run the QB to the hole. We tell our linemen to zone step to the hole, and have a run through block to level 1-2-3. Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best. Through my many years of coaching I have believed in these simple things:

Simple Truths I Know About Everybody:

  • We choose to be happy or sad, believe or doubt, work or loaf, succeed or fail.
  • We all look to either get or to give.
  • We are all basically lazy.
  • We do not like to get out of our comfort zone. (I tell the kids everyday I get paid to keep you out of your comfort zone.)
  • We are inclined to be jealous of others.
  • We like to procrastinate.
  • Complaining is our national past time.
  • We will pass the buck in pressure situations.
  • We will do anything for those we care for.

Simple Truths I Know About Athletes:

  • Athletes respond better to positive reinforcement than negative.
  • Athletes like to be disciplined and follow a regimen.
  • Athletes are no different today—you just have to find what trips their trigger.
  • Athletes do work as hard today—their expectations and demands are much greater today.
  • Weight programs are critical—athletes do not have much manual labor.
  • Athletes have less parental support.
  • It is harder and harder to convince athletes to play secondary roles.
  • Athletes will rise to the level of expectations you demand.
  • Very few athletes love the game as coaches do. (Athletes play for a variety of reasons.)
  •  An athlete who is goal-oriented is much more motivated.

Taking all of these things into consideration when developing a core of beliefs, we came up with the Branson Pirate football program simple formula for success:

  • We will strive to keep our priorities in order: GFFI (God, family, friends, and I)
  • We will strive to become a football family.
  • We will strive to make our athletes better people.
  • We will strive to have a program that operates with mutual respect. (coaches, players, and parents)
  • We will give our athletes the opportunity to be the best they can be.
  • Everything in our program will revolve around the team first attitude.
  • We will strive to run a disciplined and fair program.
  • We will be committed to a common goal: to out work, spend more time, and out prepare our opponent.
  • If we do the right thing the right way often enough, then winning will take care of itself.
  •  We will strive to make our parents, school, and community proud.

So when life bogs you down and things get too complicated just use the KISS theory (keep it simple stupid): RUN THE DIVE!

Originally published in the November 2010 issue of Ozark Preps Illustrated.

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