The faster your no-huddle goes, the less time you have to read defenses. But there’s a catch. The trade-off for the time limitation to make pre-snap reads is the fact that defenses are limited in what they can call when they are defending a high-speed no-huddle offense. In 1985, we tested a “Quick Read” as a solution and stuck with it for the next three decades.
Our original no-huddle operated on an 8-second time-clock – the ball had to be snapped within 8 seconds of the official spotting the ball. We became proficient at the 8-second speed in high school, then semi-pro, and then at the collegiate level. By 1997, we tested cutting the no-huddle time clock in half, to 4 seconds. Finally, we tested a one-word no-huddle and a silent no-huddle. Spot the ball, snap the ball. The faster we play, the less significance we place on pre-snap reads because our film study resulted on an assumption that, at our level, defenses stick to similar calls the faster the pace gets. Our offense is instructed to assume that defenses would minimize their calls to extremely predictable coverages and blitzes based not on down, distance, or score but on time available to communicate the call.
To be on the safe side, we tested a V-shape triangle “Quick Read” over our Bravo receiver. Bravo started out as the conventional tight end in 1985 and evolved into the center-piece of our offense. He’s more than an H-back. He became the FB – “Feature Ballcarrier,” replacing the tailback as the feature-back in our original ground-and-pound SWAT offense. Bravo evolved into a ‘positionless position,’ where we moved him everywhere – online, offline, wide, back-field. Every inch imaginable along the width of the field. We use a simple code-word to align Bravo anywhere. Film study revealed that the defensive intention of coverage and blitz in a high-speed no-huddle can be accurately determined with a “Quick Read” by reading inside the V-shape triangle directly over Bravo, regardless of where he’s lined up. The QB looks inside two imaginary 45-degree angles directly over Bravo. The total number of defenders and the distribution of defender by level gives the quarterback ‘reasonable grounds’ of what the defensive call is. ‘Reasonable grounds’ is a belief I borrowed from my past law enforcement career that defines a belief of justifiable near-certainty based on concrete evidence.
Our ‘Quick Read’ became the focus of our pre-snap read in our SWAT offense. But there’s a caveat. The accuracy of the Quick Read is contingent on ‘high-production’ by Bravo. We define ‘high-production’ by a set of performance-goals that have not only set the bar higher than we did in the 1980’s, it re-defined the way we play offense and defense. What we learned by a high-performance Bravo and its impact on defense was transferred to our SWAT defensive system, by becoming the top-priority of what we don’t want to happen to our defense.
The ‘Quick Read’ is another example of the need to test and innovate to compete against better teams and the growing complexities of defenses that we’re facing. Defensive coordinators are a creative group. They have transformed the game since the mid-80’s. They are the reason why we expanded our SWAT no-huddle system. We had to keep up to defensive ingenuity and the proliferation of bigger, faster, and stronger players and defensive units.
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 books are at: www.ginoarcaro.com
His books include:
4th & hell: seasons 1-5, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, 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.” His latest book on human potential called “Hashtag Peace” is at the editing stage. He just finished another book called “Lifter’s High.” Both will be released soon.