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Understanding Your Opponent In Football

Jan 3, 2008
The most important thing a modern football player as an individual, and players as a team, should know are the men they are to play against each week.

Every player should know well the techniques and habits of the fellow across the line from him before the game starts. Coaches give you detailed scouting reports of the various opponents and show you movies of different games. This is very good. But, for a player to be really effective instead of just average, he should look at game films before practice and at home all during the week on his own time. So you have to buy a projector! But you also become a better player who takes in more at the payroll window!

Although the coaches can tell you all about your opponents, remember that the coaches do not have to play against them. Once the game starts, it's just you and the other fellow, just as it is in the prize ring. If you are not prepared, it can be a long, hard afternoon. And a losing one, too.


As the opponent changes each week, so must the quarterback's thinking in terms of personnel. In reality, the offense is trying to beat personnel, and not so much the defense which, after all, is manned by personnel. The quarterback must know the individual characteristics of his opponents, as well as their tendencies when working as a unit. Some of the problems that the quarterback must face up to each week are set forth in the following .
1. Who calls the defensive signals? Check the files for a historical report on this individual's tendencies.
2. Who is their best pass rusher? Does he rush hard on every play, or merely when the defense signal calls for it?
3. Who is the passive type of rusher? Is he passive because of the defensive calls, or because of his own characteristics?
4. Is one of the defensive linemen very aggressive? Or are all of them aggressive. Conversely, is one of the defensive linemen of the passive type?
5. Can any of the defensive linemen be trapped? Which one? Which two, or three, or even four?
6. Does the defense "read" offensive linemen, or does it charge on a predetermined call?
7. What defensive end is hardest to run outside of? Does he square off? Does he pinch? Does he float? Can we run inside of him? What end can we screen? And on what down?
8. Do the defensive linemen use their hands effectively? Are they catchers or throwers?
9. Do any of their linemen rise up to charge?
10. Which linemen have the good lateral pursuit? Which do not move well laterally?
11. Do they hold up ends well, or poorly? What types of players are the defensive secondary? Who are the fast boys? Slow boys? Which one comes up the fastest? Slowest? Which back or backs can be beaten on the long pass? Who are strong against the long pass? Do the corner backs react swiftly to a quick pass in the flat? Slow? Who can we work on best on the third down to sustain a drive? Which back, if any, lies back and plays cautious? Which one has a history of making mental errors? Are there any backs who like to gamble on interceptions in an attempt to make the headlines? Who?
12. .Who are their best tacklers in the secondary? The weakest?
13. Is there one defender who is so good that we should avoid throwing in his area? Pick him, or them, out and keep them firmly in mind.
14. Who are the leaders on defense? Which individual seems to inspire the others?
15. What player or players discourage easily when his team falls behind?
The foregoing considerations are phases of the game that must be worked on each day of the football season.
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