2013 Navy Football Trailer

The 2013 season is fast approaching and that means previews of the upcoming Navy football season. It’s no secret that I love these productions from the Midshipmen football program. Enjoy the newest video. Also look for upcoming posts on my top mobile apps for coaches and Flexbone offensive line play.

Know the option. Run the option. Love the option!

2013 Navy Football Trailer from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays by Keith Grabowski – A Ride and Decide Review

An iBook for Football Coaches

Why might a coach want to check out 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense plays? According to a report by the University of California, San Diego,  American’s consumed 3.6 zettabytes of information in 2008. That was about 34 gigabytes per person everyday. In 2010 it was estimated that data production doubled every 11 hours. It is now 2013 and many of us have a phone in our pocket that is more powerful than most laptops were 2 years ago. As a result, it is likely we are now consuming more information. As coaches, we try to consume as much new football information as humanly possible in the off-season. To this end, we are continually adopting new tools to make our learning more efficient and improve our ability to teach our athletes. We read blogs, use HD video on Hudl, attend webinars, buy coaching books, follow each other on Twitter, and attend thousands of clinics in the spring. It’s overwhelming at times.

Fortunately, coaches are often creative and use new tools in useful ways. Baldwin Wallace University offensive coordinator Keith Grabowski has produced a book on the Apple iBooks platform that is one of a kind and very interesting. His book, 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays, is the focus of this edition of Ride and Decide. If you are in education and you keep up with technology, you are likely aware of what iBooks is doing for the classroom. It is moving the textbook and other learning resources to a new level of interaction and scope that will probably revolutionize the way we teach our youth. So, lets take Coach Grabowski’s book for a Ride, and I will give my opinion on whether to Give or Keep.

101 Pro Style Pistol Offense Book Cover
Keith Grabowski’s new coaching book is available on the iPad only.

The Ride:

When you first download 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays on iTunes store and open it up you are greeted with the book cover, which opens up to an introduction video that gives a brief overview of what is included. This video demonstrates how to navigate through the material and shows some of interactive elements. This video plays automatically before sending you to the next section. Coach Grabowski then opens up with a Forward where he discusses the early evolution of his offense and a bit about the book itself. Right away we see another video, this time embedded in the book with the text. Once the first few paragraphs are read, the reader can play the video right on the page without leaving the document or going full screen. Of course, if the reader prefers, the video can be expanded to full-screen by reverse pinching the video as it is playing. In general, navigation is achieved by swiping across the screen to turn the page.

After the Forward, we see a very comprehensive and well-linked Table of Contents. This allows the reader to immediately find and navigate to a  specific section or play. Further navigation is possible by Pinching the screen. This action brings up a navigation experience that allows the user to access the content in a variety of ways. The first is the same as turning the page. Only this time, when swiped, the document navigates the user to the next chapter. Additionally, from this navigation view, the user can use a scrollable bar at the bottom of the screen that displays a thumbnail view of each page. The user can scroll through the pages and open any page by tapping the thumbnail. Navigation is easy and intuitive and very helpful.

(Click  on the Screenshots to get a better look.)

Picture showing what the Table of Contents looks like.
The Table of Contents has links to each section and play for easy navigation to exactly what is needed. Additionally, there are links directly to the videos and diagrams.
Showing how to navigate through the pages of the coaching book.
Pages are navigated by dragging a finger across the screen. The user can also navigate by scrolling through the thumbnails seen at the bottom of this picture. Once again, this makes navigation very simple.

Inside the 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays iBook

The document consitsts of 8 chapters, starting with the Introduction. In the intro, Coach Grabowski goes deeper into the evolution of the system he uses and discusses some of the advantages he gets from the pistol. We also see the first instances of interactive content in the document besides video. The first is a small gallery (labeled Gallery 1.1) of photos in which Coach Grabowski outlines a few of the mechanics of he teaches the run fake. Here he labels the pictures and provides a caption to further illustrate his concepts. A few paragraphs we see the second interactive element used to display content in the document. This one, labeled Interactive 1.1, provides access to a series of diagrams that can be viewed as a slide show. In this instance Coach Grabowski illustrates how he uses a few different screen concepts to protect his run game and the reader simply swipes accros the screen to move to the next slide. The third non-video interactive content used in the intro is labeled Interactive 1.2 and is similar to a Power Point presentation. It presents a main topic point and then introduces bullet points as the reader once again swipes a finger across the screen to move on to the next piece of information.

Once the Intro is complete, Coach Grabowski moves into the heart of his pro style pistol offense and discusses the Inside Zone in Chapter 2. Once again the text is complimented with a variety of interactive elements diagramming the nuances of the Inside Zone, Zone Read, and various Zone Insert concepts used at Baldwin Wallace. The way the material is presented really allows the coach to get a good understanding of the concept through a written explanation, video clips from both sideline and endzone perspectives, and in diagram form complete with positional breakdown of assignment. Coach Grabowski goes on with this process, presenting chapters on the concepts and variations of the Outside Zone, Power, Counter, Sweep, and Play Action Pass. The result is a comprehensive overview of his offensive run game and play action pass concepts.

Screen shot showing how the play pages are presented.
The plays are presented with video clips and interactive diagrams.
A diagram showing how a variation of the zone blocking scheme looks.
A diagram of one of the variations of the Inside Zone Scheme.
Interactive slide showing the player assignments.
Along with the diagrams, Coach Grabowski includes player assignments in an interactive slideshow.


The Decision:


Coach Grabowski’s product, as I said above, is certainly unique. It uses the iBook platform and is based on and produced with interactivity as a central focus. As a result, it more efficiently presents the information, and does so in a variety of ways to make sure that the concepts are understood. It completely redefines what a “coaching book” should be and allows the author to really provide a thorough explanation of his topic. The exciting part is that Apple is likely continue adding to the interactivity functions of the iBooks platform, which will lead to even more interesting ways to help us assimilate more information quickly and efficiently. If you are a Pro-Style Pistol coach, enjoy learning new concepts, or just want to see the progress being made in interactive media, check out Coach Grabowski’s book. You will not be disappointed. It can be purchased through iTunes and you can see the book in action in the video below.

NOTE: If you are not familiar with iBooks, you need to be aware that it is only accessible on the iPad. You can not view it on an iPod, iPhone, or Macintosh computer. Obviously Windows and Android devices are out as well.


Football Motivation: A Master Example

Navy Football team running on to the field carrying american flags. Football motivation at its best.
The service academies are steeped in college football tradition and it is still an awesome sight to see the Navy football team storm the field carrying American Flags. Photo from the U.S. Navy Flickr feed.

Football motivation. The idea is pervasive in football culture. There are videos, quotes, posters, and over 30 million results for the Google search. It’s also big on Twitter. There are also scholarly articles written on motivation and sport psychology.

Motivation is an integral aspect of any endeavor requiring hard work. This is especially true in the off-season. Players and coaches must be motivated to put in the work necessary to get better. This involves study and a great deal of training. It involves breaking down game film, learning from past mistakes and implementing new ideas. It involves hours in the weight room building strength and power. Then it requires many more hours on the track or in the gym to improve flexibility, speed and agility. All of this requires discipline and motivation.

Then there is also the emotional aspects of the game. Football and emotion are deeply entwined . We see this emotion on so many levels. It manifests itself in the passion of fans, in the joy of victory, and in the agony of defeat. We also see it at the close of each season, often with tears. Tears of joy after claiming  a title, or tears of grief when falling short of the goal. As such, it is possible to motivate by invoking emotion and inspiration. This is often done with music and narrative. Most of us have heard the great motivational speeches of Vince Lombardi and Knute Rockne. Many of us have also witnessed the effect of the music and voice overs in an NFL Films production.

So I want to showcase some of the best football motivational work I’ve seen. In my mind, the 2012 motivational campaign implemented by Navy’s football program is one of the most cohesive and effective I’ve seen. Plus they run the Flexbone, so as a coach of an option offense it is even more meaningful.  Navy released the following videos last spring and throughout the 2012 season. I’ve posted a few of them before, but wanted get them all up. The list includes a video entitled “The Journey,” a motivational video for each game, and a 15 minute highlight video for the 2012 season. Check them out and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Football Motivation Videos

Navy Football “The Journey” from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

2012 Friday Night Motivational vs Notre Dame from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

2012 Friday Night Motivational vs VMI from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

2012 Navy Football Motivational vs San Jose State from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

Navy Football Motivational 2012 vs Air Force from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

2012 Navy Football Motivational vs Central Michigan from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

Navy Football Motivational 2012 vs Indiana from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

Navy Football Motivational 2012 vs ECU from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

Navy Football Motivational 2012 vs FAU from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

2012 Friday Night Motivational vs Troy from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

2012 Friday Night Motivational vs Troy from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

2012 Navy Football Motivational vs Army from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

2012 Navy Football Motivational – ASU from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

2012 Navy Football Highlights from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.

Flexbone Option Football…2012 Navy TD’s


The progress of my Flexbone eBook has slowed somewhat due to some unforeseen circumstances, however, I am still plugging away at it.  If you sign up for updates from, I will send you a link for a free download when its published and you will get updates when something new is published here.

I am projecting the book to be over 100 pages long and will include breakdowns for the Inside Veer, Midline (Iso, Rocket, Triple), Outside Veer, Rocket Toss, and much more. It will also include discussions on each of the offensive groups (quarterbacks, fullbacks, slotbacks, offensive line, and wide receivers) and will cover topics such as terminology and count system.

On another note, option football fans should definitely check this video out. Every touchdown from Navy’s 2012 season.

Just over 4 months till the 2013 season!

Navy Option Offense

2012 Navy Football Touchdowns from Navy Football Video on Vimeo.


Another 5 Myths about Option Offenses

Bad Weather Option Offense by Kiyotaka Okami Crop
Option offenses are often associated with a number of myths that have become conventional wisdom. Most of them, however, are easily busted.

In my last post I started a top 10 myths about option offenses list and have finally found the time to wrap it up. In the last post, I argued against commonly held beliefs that option offenses are risky, gimmicky, and vulnerable against defensive speed. Today I will talk about option football in bad weather, long yardage situations, and efficacy in the NFL. So once again, lets wade through the B.S. and get on with some mythbusting.

Myth #6 – Option Offenses Don’t Work in Bad Weather

Option offenses have been used in all types of weather and are no more susceptible to the elements than any other offense. A wet ball is hard to handle whether you are engaging in a mesh and pitching it, or if you are trying to throw the ball down field. In bad weather, just getting the snap to the quarterback can be a challenge. Once again, this is just a function of being prepared and working on the fundamentals. Incorporating wet ball drills, and practicing in inclement weather will help prepare any team to handle poor playing conditions when necessary.

This myth is a function of relativity. Obviously an offense that just takes a snap and hands the ball off to a running back will probably have fewer problems with ball security than other offenses, but they will also be predictable and will have to face a stacked box without the advantage of a horizontal space. As usual, execution is more relevant than scheme.

Myth #7 – Option Offenses Struggle with 3rd and Long

All offenses struggle with 3rd and long. It doesn’t matter if you are throwing the ball, running a power scheme, or optioning the defensive end. The numbers don’t lie. If you need to gain a larger number of yards in one attempt, your odds of converting go down. The problem here is perception. People believe that throwing the ball on 3rd and long is more effective than running the ball. This comes from average yards per play. People see that a pass, on average, will gain more yards than a run. What is rarely considered is that the chance for a completion is also reduced and you also run the risk of throwing an interception. Another overlooked aspect of this myth is that option teams tend to average more yards per carry than more conventional offenses. Football is a complicated game with many variables. As such, one-off statements about effectiveness are problematic and not easily verified. Conventional wisdom isn’t always true.

Myth #8 – Option offenses can’t play from behind

This myth is similar to the idea that option offenses struggle on 3rd and long, and are run-only offenses. The truth is nobody wants to play from behind and all offenses face certain challenges when trying to overcome a large lead. Again, the problem is one of perception. Conventional wisdom states that running teams are less likely to mount a comeback and that passing the football is more likely to result in quick scores. In reality option offenses often lead statistical categories such as points scored, total yardage, and explosive plays. When playing from behind, the game changes in many ways. I assert that defensive stops and turnovers are far more relevant to staging a comeback than the style of offensive play involved.

I will concede, however, that clock management are a bit tricky when running an option bases system. Additionally, when throwing the ball, a team can attack the defense nearer the sideline and an incomplete pass kills the clock. I again assert (a theme perhaps?) that option teams can be efficient as a 2-minute offense if they drill tempo and fundamentals like getting out-of-bounds and ball security.

Myth #9 – Option Offenses are Easy to Defend if a Long Prep Period is Involved

This is another idea that has firmly rooted itself in the conventional wisdom of commentators. I could spend some time laying this one out, but TBuzz over at SB Nation has done an excellent job of it in his excellent article on dispelling the extra time to prepare myth. In this article he breaks down the statistics for Georgia Tech games and finds that length of prep time has a “weak to negligible” correlation to winning and losing games. The article also offers further anecdotal evidence from when Tom Osborne used an option offense to dominate college football and win several national titles. The article pretty much sums up the idea that, in general, good rushing defenses slow down option football, not the amount of time for preparation.

Myth #10 – Option offenses won’t work in the NFL

RG3 by Keith Allison
Until recently, conventional wisdom held that option offenses wouldn’t work in the NFL. Over the last two seasons we have seen evidence to the contrary. Photo by Keith Allison.

Finally we come to Myth #10. We’ve all heard this one. Option football will never work in the NFL. The defenses are just too fast and the scheme is too gimmicky to really be viable in the League. The past couple of seasons have seen some very successful implementation of option football with athletic quarterbacks like RG3, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, and Russel Wilson. The reality is option football can work in the NFL. Just like any offense, with proper execution, can work in the NFL.

Finally there is a lot of talk about whether the read option is just a fad, or if it is the “offense of the future.” Additionally, many are saying defenses will be more effective after studying the offense in the off-season. So once again, it comes down to execution. Is option football here to stay in the NFL? The answer is easy. If teams can execute the offense better than opponents can execute a defense for it, it will continue to thrive. In other words, some teams will run it and run it well, while other teams will be shut down by good run defenses.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Agree, disagree, or have something to share? Please join in the conversation and thanks for reading.

Developing Zone Scheme OL via

Oregon Option Football by John Martinez Pavliga
Photo courtesy of John Martinez Pavliga.

I have an article up at on developing zone scheme offensive lineman. Its an in depth article breaking down the techniques and introducing some drills that will help improve offensive line play in a zone scheme. On a cool note, the article has been linked to from ESPN. The article is referenced in the 5th bullet point down. Check out the excerpt below and be sure to click through and check out the rest of the article.

When watching the Oregon Ducks execute their high octane run game it is easy to get caught up in the playmaking ability of their skill players. Watching guys like Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas is exhilarating.  What some fail to realize is the success or failure of the run game hinges on the offense’s ability to control the line of scrimmage (LOS).  This portion of the field is patrolled by the big guys up front and it is their ability to execute blocking techniques and schemes that allow Thomas to rip off his electrifying, and often unbelievable, jaunts into the end zone. As such, it is vital for these players have the skills necessary to pave the way for ball carriers to display their talents…Click here for more.

Thanks for reading and I will be posting the second half of the option mythbusting article very soon.



5 Myths Surrounding Option Offenses

There are many myths surrounding option offenses. Most are half truths at best or completely untrue.
There are many myths surrounding option offenses. Most are half truths at best or completely untrue.

Search for option football related content or listen to a commentator on TV and you will inevitably come across some commonly held beliefs about option offenses. Someone will probably make the claim that option offenses are gimmicky or are susceptible to turnovers. Obviously, sometimes these assertions are true, but applying them generally to a conceptual aspect of a very complex game is as ridiculous as any other stereotyping.

Below are the first five of ten commonly circulated myths surrounding option offenses and some of the reasons I believe they are busted. Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to tell us your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below. I’m always interested in hearing new perspectives on the game of football and don’t forget to sign up for regular updates from You can do so by entering your information in the sidebar to the right or by going to my subscribe page. Remember, by signing up you will also receive a free copy of my Flexbone eBook when it’s published.


Myth #1 An Option Offense is a Run Only Offense

An option football scheme is obviously run oriented. So when people say this, my initial reaction is to wonder if they have been listening to John Madden. However, pegging option offenses as a run-only is absurd. A team’s run-pass ratio is based on philosophy and play calling. I could easily line up in a pro-set, let’s say an I-formation, and run the ball 75 times. Or I could mix it up. If I wanted to get really crazy, I could throw the ball most of the time.

It depends on offensive philosophy and game plan.

As is the case with most offenses systems, option offensive coordinators probably base play choice on what the defense is doing. If the defense is allowing the offense to run the option, they will. If they load the box, the offense will probably adjust and call some plays to loosen the defense up a bit. Kind of like other offenses right?

Note: I do see some validity to this argument. It is true that to be effective in an option offense you have to dedicate the majority of your practice time to running the option. This will certainly reduce the amount of time available to work on complicated passing schemes. This does not mean “run only.” What it means is that the offense utilizes run game concepts to set up big play potential in the passing game.

Myth #2 Option Offenses are Risky (e.g. turnovers)

In my opinion, this is a logical fallacy. It’s known as the Questionable Cause Fallacy. This fallacy establishes that just because two things exist in correlation, it is a not possible to conclude one causes the other. In short: correlation does not equal causation. In this instance, because some option football teams turn the ball over, some decide option football is the reason for the turnovers.

Again, absurdity abounds. Taking care of the football is a skill that should be developed and therefore must be addressed during practice. If you run an option offense, you will probably want to incorporate some things into your practices every day. Emphasizing key coaching points for the option quarterback (e.g. Give unless, and never pitch under duress) is important. Ball handling and security drills are a good idea too.

Myth #3 Fast, physical defenses can shut an Option Offense down

Again, John Madden probably thought this one up. It would make sense, at least to me that fast, physical defenses can shut any offense down. It is a function of execution. If you execute your scheme better than the opponent does, you will be successful. This being said, there is some compelling evidence to the contrary. Florida, with Tim Tebow, ran an option offense very successfully against SEC defenses. So did Cam Newton and Johnny Football. Most people would consider SEC defenses to be among the fastest and most physical in the country. And now we are seeing option schemes being successfully run in the NFL. Defenses don’t get any faster or more physical than those found in the National Football League.

Myth #4 Option quarterbacks have to be fast

As a coach of an option offense for the last seven years, I have a lot of personal experience that says otherwise. Some of the best option quarterbacks I have seen are those that compete and can execute the reads effectively. I would take a quarterback with average speed who makes 90% of his reads over an athlete with a 4.3 second 40-yard dash who makes 25% of his reads. Obviously a faster quarterback with high read percentages is preferable, but running an option offense doesn’t need speed, it requires execution.

The only difference speed makes is big play potential. If you choose a really fast option quarterback who misses most of his reads you will have an offense that hits occasionally on the big play but is unable to sustain drives. This will result in inconsistent scoring and a defense that is probably on the field too much.  Choose a player who is slower, but makes most of his reads, and the offense will sustain drives, dominate time of possession, and score points.

Myth #5 Option Offenses are gimmicky

According to, the word gimmick is typically used as a noun and has several possible definitions:

  1. An ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, especially one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.
  2. A concealed, usually devious aspect or feature of something,
  3. A hidden mechanical device by which a magician works a trick or a gambler controls a game of chance

OK, so maybe option offenses are gimmicky. They are ingenious schemes designed to attract attention by gaining yardage and scoring points. Additionally, option offenses are deceptive and work to confuse defenses. So option football is a gimmick and so are play-action passes, zone blitzes, and counter plays. And so is the forward pass by the way.

Option Offense Myths
Some equate running an option offense to cheating or at least consider it to be a less noble way winning games. This myth is certainly busted.

But, as is often the case with language, definitions are fluid and dynamic. Their meanings can shift depending on the context. Within the context of football, a gimmick is a word used to describe a scheme or play that is less legitimate than other schemes and is viewed in a negative light. It brings with it connotations of cheating or at least a less noble method of achieving success.

Again, absurdity abounds. Option offenses are highly technical schemes that need an in-depth understanding of various skills and techniques and are based on near perfect levels of execution. Just like other football offenses. The difference is that option football can be effective with less talented players.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed this article, or any others here, please share this article with others. I can’t wait for the start of the 2013 football season! Until then, Know the Option. Run the Option. Love the Option!

Coming Soon: Option Offense Article

Option offenses are a hot topic right now. With the recent success of Pistol concepts and exciting players like Colin Kaepernick and RG III everyone is talking about it.

Navy is commonly associated with an option offense.
Navy is commonly associated with an option offense. Photo courtesy of  the official U.S. Navy Flickr feed.

Of course these concepts aren’t new. Those of us who coach in an option offense and follow college football aren’t surprised  We’ve been touting the effectiveness of these schemes for years. Still, it is a relatively new development in the League and as such is now reaching a critical mass with the hundreds of thousands of football fans across the country. It’s an exciting time for proponents of option offenses.

Option Offense Myths

Whenever we see a successful implementation of an option offense, there are always a legion of detractors ready to make some of the following assertions:

1. Option Offenses are a gimmick

2. Option Offenses can’t work in the NFL

3. Option Offenses are run only

4. Option Offenses won’t work against good defenses

5. Option Offenses are too risky

And so on…ad nauseum.

I will be publishing an article early next week that busts these and some of the other myths floating around about option offenses. Check back soon for this article, or better yet, subscribe for option football updates and a free eBook when it’s published.

Offensive Line coaches should check this out….

Coach Peterson recently published an eBook on developing offensive lineman. I haven’t read it yet, but his other content is fantastic so I have no doubt this will be an awesome read. Click through the following link to read about what he is offering.

Developing a Physical and Aggressive Offensive Line by Curtis Peterson at

 Option Offense Cutups

Below is a video with some great clips of the option in action.