You’re going to want to take notes as Dr. Cella goes through the five situations you must practice when running the Triple Option Offense. Dr. Cella transparently states the concepts for each of the five situations in this podcast.
There are certain aspects of the Triple Option Offense that must be focused; however, the aspects are not as many as one would think.
If you are the Head Coach and/or Triple Option Offensive Coordinator, this applies to you.
Are you tired of relying on your assistant coaches to teach and drill the Triple Option alignments, assignments, and techniques?
Do you insecurely live with the fact that your players are being undercoached?
Does it bother you that you have assistant coaches that really don’t know what they are doing or simply don’t care?
Then, learn how to practice the Triple Option with you individually coaching all 11 positions.
The coach must have answers when playcalling the Triple Option Offense.
- What happens when the offense gets 4+ yards on the Triple Option?
- What happens when the offense gets <4 yards on a Triple Option give read?
- What happens when the offense gets <4 yards on a Triple Option pull read?
The Triple Option and these answers are 75% of the Triple Option Offense.
Navy’s A-Back’s Coach, Danny O’Rourke recently discussed Midline at a February 2017 clinic. Here’s what he had to say:
- In 2016, Midline is often what they ran versus an Odd Front.
- The goal of Midline is to keep the Linebackers inside the tackle box through the duration of the play.
- Backside A-Back leaves at snap (unless directed with a specific tag).
- The Playside Guard veers–if 2i, the Guard veers into the 2i, and the Quarterback pulls the ball.
- Midline Lead/White (double options) are utilized versus slanting defenses.
- Midline Lead works well versus a 4-3 because the Backside A-Back has a great opportunity to out-leverage the Mike.
- Midline Triple (Zoom)- In 2016, Navy had the Center base the 0-technique, both Guards block the first Linebacker to their side, and the Playside Tackle veers outside.
- Midline Triple (Husky)- Midline is blocked the same as Triple Option.
According to Navy A-Backs Coach, Danny O’Rourke, once Navy executes the Triple Option, the coaches and players look to answer the following three questions:
1- What did the Mike do?
- We want him downhill.
- If he is scraping to the perimeter, then we must hand the ball off where the Mike is not.
2- What did #1 (read key) do?
- We want the Playside Tackle to effortlessly veer release.
- If #1 collisions the Playside Tackle, then we must make #1 play loose.
- If the Mike is a runner and #1 collisions the Playside Tackle, then the Playside Tackle must outside release (“Slip” call).
3- What is the Playside Safety doing?
- If he flies up then throw the ball over his head.
Danny O’Rourke, A-Backs Coach at Navy recently stated the following three ways Navy makes the Triple Option Offense work in a three-practice week.
1- Oversimplify the process as this is what makes players play fast.
2- Demand the following without any excuses:
- Great effort (grade this!)
- Perfect ball security
- Execute accurate technique
3- Have a plan without having an identity crisis.
- Have answers when you don’t get yards on the Triple
- Go over assignments on the sideline in between series if you see a unique defense
- Expect problems and expect that you’re going to have to fix problems right away
- Be cautious on the formations in which you’re aligning–they might lead to bigger problems that you can’t fix
In practicing the Triple Option with all six skill positions, the coaches serve as the look team. One coach is #1, one coach is #2, two other coaches rotate as #3 and the Deep Defender.
#1 and #2 keep giving the Quarterback blood stunts and easy stunts.
The other two coaches keep giving different looks. These looks include #3 as an overhang, both coaches aligning equidistant while one runs into the alley and the other drops over the top of the Receiver (Sky/Cloud), #3 as a press corner (Cover 2), and #3 in the middle of the field (Load).
Each player has a responsibility and they must technique their assignment versus these multiple situations.
Here is the Triple Drill in action.
Here is the podcast of How the Triple Option Offensive Coordinator Can Coach All 11 Positions in Practice. The podcast link was not properly working, so now here is the podcast–the podcast can be found right here.
In this episode, Dr. Cella discusses this unique practice methodology where the Triple Option Offensive Coordinator coaches the skill positions while the Offensive Linemen are on defense and then coaches the Offensive Linemen while the skill positions are on defense. This highly-effective practice format is presented to podcast listeners in this segment.
Would you want an expensive restaurant at which you ate to take shortcuts? We live in a microwave society; however, very few people would want to go out and eat at a restaurant who microwaves all of their food. Most people want to eat at a restaurant where the food is prepared through a specific process in the kitchen and the attention to detail is dramatically transparent.
The Dr. Cella-lead program involves practice to occur as close as possible to how the game actually occurs. Practices must match game conditions in order to maximize realistic preparation. In addition, players and coaches must practice in weather conditions that match potential game conditions—this means practicing in the rain. Obviously, the exception are extreme situations and dangerous situations.
You do not rise to the level of the occasion—you sink to the level of your preparation. In the Dr. Cella-lead program, bad habits are broken in practice, and are broken long before game time. In the pressure and unpredictable flux of a game, nobody has time to think about what to do. Players and coaches react based on the instincts developed in practice, so bad habits that are uncorrected are sure to re-emerge during a game. This is implicit-based procedural memory, not intellectual, frontal lobe-driven thought that drives players’ actions at game speed. It’s amazing that when you have great practices you have great games.
This has been proven by recent cognitive research. The brain’s pathways actually reinforce themselves through utilization, so the concept of habits is simply not a nagging point from your grandmother—this is a fact, which is burned into the players’ brain through repetition against multiple situations. If a player aligns incorrectly in practice and he is not immediately corrected, expect that player to incorrectly align during the game. If you accept a lack of accuracy, expect the results of the game to result in a lack of accuracy.
Teach to the faster learner in order to create urgency among the brethren. In school, every student every student deserves accurate teachings, taught from multiple learning styles; however, once you are building a competitive program, that theory becomes disastrous. This is not a charity and coaches do not accomplish the task of communicating information. Coaches are creating a culture and an expectation for his/her team. The coach immediately sets the tone within the first minute of orientation. Do you demand the best and create a culture of excellence or do you except mediocrity and let the weakest link define the strength of the chain?
Everyone says they want excellence; however, how many coaches are willing to get tough enough in order to advance about mediocrity. No one enjoys this; however, this is necessary. The process must be fair, transparent, and results based. Within this process, learning is a three-step process.
I see (or hear) and I forget.
This refers to teaching with words or diagrams—telling a student what to do. Based on empirical studies, only five percent (5%) of information delivered this way is retained and brings to the forefront a subtle point. When coaches say to “cut at a 45-degree angle,” the player develops a visual picture of what this means in his mind; however, this picture is likely very different than yours.
Abstraction is a very powerful tool for condescending and delivering knowledge. Also, abstraction allows a tremendously-increased risk of miscommunication. Think of how many times you hear the lyrics to a song and understood them to mean something very different than from what your friend does. This abstraction has some very interesting uses, but it is a big liability in teaching specific physical techniques.
I see and I remember.
This refers to a skill actually demonstrated on video, or, better yet, by a teammate who “gets it.” The actual performance of a skill contains a much richer vein of information than the abstraction of words or diagrams depicting the abstraction.
I do and I understand.
People learn best by doing. This initially occurs at teach speed, which occurs during organized team activities during the summer. Then, the action gets executed at game speed, full bore ahead, running the concept as many times as possible versus as many different situations until the concept is accurately executed with no frontal-lobe utilization.
Leadership begins with example. The area of improvement is everything. Players and coaches will never fully arrive, and this is the key—to think that you have never arrived.
When you water bamboo in the first week, nothing happens. Next, you water bamboo in the second week, nothing happens. Then, you water bamboo in the third week, nothing happens. If you water the bamboo in the fourth week, the bamboo grows 90 feet in six weeks. The meaning is pretty clear. Whatever it is that you do, you have to keep working hard, because you are building strong and resilient roots, which eventually possess a high payoff.
Question 3: When designing your game plan. What considerations would go into your typical game plan? The game plan is being designed for a Friday Night Game (Home).
Answer: Every team we play is a nameless, faceless opponent. Professionalism and execution win football games and emotion loses football games. Offensively, the Triple Option is a built-in game plan. Navy, Georgia Tech, and the Citadel spend less than one hour/week evaluating the other team’s film; however, they spend time correcting the errors made in their own team’s previous week’s film.
We implicitly, procedurally condition our players to execute 96 offensive repetitions each practice versus every possible, realistic situation they could ever see. This process starts the first day of training camp and carries through until the last practice of the season. The Triple Option is always the game plan. Navy had their best season in 53 years during the 2015 season so obviously the Triple Option as a built-in game plan works well.
When we practice Special Teams, the Punt is done versus a live, constant rush. Kick Return is executed versus the Kickoff alignment, assignment, and technique that the opponent executed on film. The Kickoff is done versus different alignments as we squib the football 100% of the time. Field Goal is practiced versus an 11-man rush. The Defensive Coordinator is responsible for preparing the Punt and Field Goal Block units during the week for the expected alignments of the opponent. In addition, we practice Hands Team (onside Kickoff team) for one live rep/week.
The Defensive Coordinator is responsible for preparing the defense for the top 20% of what the opponent has demonstrated on film. The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. While at the University of Lausanne in 1896, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto published his first paper “Cours d’économie politique.” Essentially, Pareto showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; Pareto developed the principle by observing that 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas. The Defensive Coordinator is responsible for practicing versus the top 20% of the successful concepts the opponent executes while maintain the program’s Defensive Philosophy as the following: Eliminate the verticals, set the edge, and penetrate.
So if you want to do things the right way the first time with the Triple Option, this is how you practice.
Dr. Lou Cella
Dr. Lou Cella, is a Sport & Performance Psychologist, and a 20-year coaching veteran of the college and high school level.
Dr. Cella assisted in the turnaround of numerous high school football programs through his triple option-based camp system. Just months after Dr. Cella served as camp director, Cashmere (WA) and Timmonsville (SC) went to the state semifinals, Bayfield (CO) went to the state championship game, and Falls City (TX) won their first regional and first state championship in school history.
Also, Corning (NY), Hereford (MD), Johnson (NJ), Lakewood (SC), Odessa-Harrington (WA), Petaluma (CA), Piedra Vista (NM), Poland (ME), Riverwood (GA), San Benito (CA), Seminole County (GA), and Temple City (CA) posted drastic turnarounds just months after Dr. Cella served as their camp director.
In 2015, Dr. Cella served as Head Football Coach at Montrose Area High School (PA). During the 2015 season, Dr. Cella lead Montrose Area to their first 4-1 start since 1998, their best final winning percentage since 2002, as many wins as the previous six (6) seasons combined, and Dr. Cella was named Northeastern Pennsylvania Football Coach of the Year (NPF Sports).
Additionally, Dr. Cella has coached three current NFL players who have been drafted within the last two years. In 2015, Kevin White (Wide Receiver) was drafted #7 overall by the Chicago Bears and Mark Glowinski (Offensive Guard) was drafted in the fourth round by the Seattle Seahawks. In 2014, Lorenzo Taliaferro (Running Back) was drafted in the fourth round by the Baltimore Ravens. All three players were coached by Dr. Cella as an offensive coach at the Junior College Level. During Dr. Cella’s time at Lackawanna College, he coached the Running Backs, Tight Ends, Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Linebackers, and Defensive Backs. In addition, Dr. Cella served as the Special Teams Coordinator and the Recruiting Coordinator for the winningest active Junior College Coach in the country, Mark Duda.
Dr. Cella received his Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.), Sport and Performance Psychology Specialization from the University of the Rockies, and his mission is to lead the high-performance football environment through sports science and mental conditioning process-based practices.
Connect with Dr. Cella at 570.332.0265.
The definition of each period is listed below:
Specialists/Ball Security Dynamic– Each coach is assigned to a different specialist section. One coach has the Kickoff Specialists; one coach has the Kick Returners; one coach has the Long Snappers, Punters, and Punt Returners; one coach has the Short Snappers, Holders, and Placekickers; and one coach has the Centers and Quarterbacks. Each individual involved in specialists must get a minimum of four accurate repetitions tasking the special activity. Once they accomplish this, if they are involved in another special activity, they repeat the process within the new special activity. At the five-minute mark in the period, the horn goes off and indicates that this is the one-minute warning as the Ball Security Dynamic occurs with the Offensive Skill positions and the Dynamic Warmup occurs with the Offensive Linemen. The Offensive Linemen will be working at their defensive positions once the horn blows to start period two.
Skill 1- This is where the Triple Option (12/13) is practiced with all of the skill positions and the Defensive Coordinator is working with all of the Offensive Linemen at their defensive position. Listed below is the Triple Drill as done at Dr. Cella’s Triple Option Football Academy Camps.
Skill 2- During this period all of the other concepts are practiced with the skill positions. The Offensive Linemen continue to work with the Defensive Coordinator at their defensive positions. Listed below are all the drills done with the skill positions during Skill 2:
Line 1- During this period, all the Offensive Linemen are with Dr. Cella and all the Offensive Skill positions are with the Defensive Coordinator and another assistant where these players work at their defensive positions. The three drills listed below are run during Line 1:
Line 2- The Offensive Linemen continue to work on the five-on-five drill (listed above) with Dr. Cella and staff while the Offensive Skill positions continue to work with the Defensive Coordinator and an assistant.
Teams- The Punt, Kick Return, Kickoff, and Field Goal units are executed a minimum of four times each versus a live look. Each coach is responsible for two members of each Special Teams and these responsibilities are assigned during the August meeting.
Bullets 1/Team 01- Bullets is when two groups compete versus a defense. The coaches and some players are holding shields on the other side of the field and align in different defensive alignments. The goal is to execute 48 accurate repetitions within the two groups in eight minutes. Bullets is done in all non-live contact days and on Day 1 of the three-day practice week. Team O1 is when the first offense goes against the 11 best on defense in live-contact days as regulated by the state. The defense aligns in different defensive alignments versus the offense. Listed below is Bullets in action:
Bullets 2/Team O2- The same as Bullets 1/Team O1 as this represents the second half of the extended drill.
Team D1- The Defensive Coordinator is responsible for coordinating an 11-on-11 segment in practice to cover active situational football within the defense. In Team D1, the goal is for the defense to get as many repetitions as possible facing a live offense.
Team D2- See above.
Players learn the concepts through implicit, procedural conditioning. These concepts are instinctively carried during the game and do not involve players to utilize their frontal lobe to execute the concept. This dramatically increases the speed and execution level of each concept.
This culture of urgency is consistent during every practice. Talking is minimized during practice. Instruction is done during organized team activities (OTAs) in the summer. Practices, which are limited in time to maximize the attention span of the athlete, focus on the actual game situation at all times. In order to maximize effectiveness, during individual time, concepts are executed every 10 seconds with one group running a live concept versus the defense and then the next group executes the concept immediately thereafter. This process is repeated every day and at every practice.
Part Three is upcoming in the next few days…
Nothing is more distinctive in the Dr. Cella-lead program than the practices, which are fast and uniquely structured into alternating individual and team periods. Loud music blares throughout so that players get a taste of the excitement and confusion of a game, and so they don’t get used to communicating with their voice—which is non-vital in game situations.
Everything is done to mirror the way the game is to happen. The team runs as many plays as possible. Each Offensive starter runs 96 live concepts in 32 minutes. Many of the practices, especially during training camp involve the second and third teamers executing 96 live concepts in 32 minutes.
We do not condition at the end of practice as we functionally condition during practice. In an eight-minute individual period we get 48 live repetitions among the first, second, and third team.
|1||Specialists/Ball Security Dynamic|
|7||Bullets 1/Team O1|
|8||Bullets 2/Team O2|
All periods are eight (8)-minutes in length. When skill position players are on offense, offensive linemen are on defense and vice versa. This is so the Offensive Coordinator can coach all 11 positions during individual time.
Answering Commonly-Asked Questions
Question 1: Design in detail your practice plan for the 9th day (Wednesday) (4th day of Full Contact) of practices. Your 1st contest will be a four-way scrimmage on the on the 12th day (Saturday). This practice should be design as a double session workout.
|1||Specialists/Ball Security Dynamic|
|7||Bullets 1/Team O1|
|8||Bullets 2/Team O2|
|Practice 2 (immediately follows Practice 1)|
|6||Bullets 1/Team O1|
|7||Bullets 2/Team O2|
Question 2: Design in detail your practice plan for the 3rd game of the season. This practice would be on a Wednesday with the game being played on Friday Night.
|1||Specialists/Ball Security Dynamic|
|7||Bullets 1/Team O1|
|8||Bullets 2/Team O2|
Part Two appears in the next few days…
The Five-on-Five Offensive Line Blocking Drill prepares the Offensive Line to block the four most common defensive alignments that they will face.
4-4, 50, Odd Stack, and 4-3 are all included.
Here is the drill:
When it rains, don’t head to the gym or cancel practice….
Get good at practicing the Triple in those conditions.
What are you going to do when it rains on gameday during the season?
Practice the Triple Drill in these conditions:
Practice Scoop, Veering, and Ace Blocking in these conditions:
Work on throwing the ball in these conditions:
Prepare your Triple Option Offense for the rain…
About the Author
Triple Option Football Academy Owner, Dr. Lou Cella, is a Sports Performance Specialist, and a 19-year coaching veteran of the college and…
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According to the data from our clients, there are specific defenses they see the most.
Thus, these are defenses against which to practice the Triple Option:
1- Split (4-4 Defense)
Triple Option versus 4-4 Defense.
Triple Option versus 50 Defense.
3- Odd Stack
Triple Option versus Odd Stack.
4- 4-4 Stack
Triple Left v 4-4 Stack
5- Triple versus 50 Eagle
Triple versus 50 Eagle
When running the Triple, spend your 2016 training camp working on these situations.