SWAT Football Blog

Killing time

This is the most challenging time in football history to be a defensive coordinator. Offensive coordinators figured out that the rulebook allows the offense considerable leeway for creativity, including limitless formations and tempo variations. Holding the title of defensive coordinator is most challenging in amateur football where you are likely limited in resources, including preparation time, number of coaches, and inexperienced players. Your defense needs to raise its IQ in this era of offensive explosion. Knowledge alone is power to some extent but nowhere near as powerful as applied knowledge. Knowing the psychology of the opposing offense adds power to your defense but not as much as knowing what to do with that knowledge. You need to get in their head – dual meaning. Know the offensive coordinator’s thought and decision-making process, then disrupt it with intense pressure. Get in inside their head, then get inside their head. When you and you players are limited in film study time because of real-life commitments, you need to find an edge to get inside the opposing offensive coordinator’s head. We found an edge that has consistently worked out for us.

Everything you need to know about the opposing offense is found during crunch time – when time is running out. How your opponent manages or mismanages the 4th quarter clock tells you all you need to know. Fourth quarter clock-management is the best evidence that positively or negatively identifies an offensive coordinator and offensive players. The fastest most efficient scouting report is an investigation of what is done with 4th quarter time – is time killed or kept alive? It’s not our entire scouting report but it represents the core, the nucleus of what’s inside the OC’s head.

The best, most accurate way to scout an opposing offense is to investigate what they do when the game is on the line, literally and figuratively – how long it takes to get to the line, how long it takes to get set on the line, and how long they stay on the line. Add it up. Then add how they line up. That formula shows their 4th-quarter character. Fourth-quarter time-management is the best personality test that reveals an offensive coordinator’s thought process and decision-making process that applies to the rest of the game. What humans do under pressure reveals true self better than any other personality indicator.

When time is running out, decision-making is taken over by survival instincts. The decisions you make reveal your coaching personality – ideology, philosophy, beliefs, habits, and most of all, fears. They reveal what scares you and what you do about it. When you’re on the clock, your mind reverts to its safe place, the place you depend on most for decisions. The pressure of the clock winding down, winds you up or unravels you. Once you get inside the offensive coordinator’s head, then create urgencies that replicate the feeling of time running down. Get inside their head, then get inside their head.

The most compelling evidence that getting inside the OC’s head works, is how the opposing offense reacts to a big play, for them or against them, when the game is on the line. The relationship between big play and how much time they kill or save immediately after, is the best evidence of what they will do for an entire game. What your team does after a big play made by either the offense or defense with time running down shows every characteristic and trait that a defensive coordinator needs to know and teach to his defense about the opponent. Investigate the offence carefully by focusing on the major elements of Big Play Response and you are inside their heads.

Thinking straight under pressure doesn’t just happen. Nothing just happens. It takes life-long learning and practical experience. Blunt Talk Podcast is committed to higher education and higher performance with free downloads, permanently archived, compliments of X Fitness and Jordan Publication. Ken Taylor, 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX Champs and current speed coach, was a recent guest. Coming up are Coach Christian Vitale from Arizona and Coach Teddy Keaton from Alabama. Please visit Blunt Talk Podcast at:

Blessings & all good things.


Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)
Head coach – Niagara X-men football
Owner – X Fitness Inc.

Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of SWAT FOOTBALL Books are at:

His books include:

4th & hell: seasons 1 and 2, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, SWAT Tackling Video & e-book, X Fitness Workout System, and a 3 business book series called Soul of an Entrepreneur

He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks. A new 8-volume interrogation book series will be released in 2014. And just released, a new children’s book called “BE FIT – DON’T QUIT.” The first stage of his new Blunt Talk e-books is now for sale. His latest book on human potential called “Hashtag Peace” is at the editing stage. He is writing three other non-fiction novels book called Working with the dead, Midnight Shift from hell, and Another Bar Fight.


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