In Part 1 we looked at the importance of adding an analyst to your football staff. The experience, knowledge of the game and desire to do the work are important factors in choosing an analyst to help your coaches scout teams and create game plans. Some coaches are just film gurus, and if you can find one he might be a great analyst.
So just what kind of things would an analyst do for a defensive staff? There are no hard and fast rules. In fact, a defensive coordinator may have some special information he wants that other DCs may not. It is the job of the analyst to know exactly what information and data the defensive staff wants and provide them with what they need. Let's remember, the analyst works at least one week ahead of time so that when the staff turns its attention to next week's opponent, the information must be ready for them.
Hudl Assist is the analyst's best friend. The analyst will take the data broken down by Hudl and interpret it for the staff. Most defensive coaches start with formations, plays, plays by formation, run/pass percentages, run/pass percentages by formation, running plays to and away from strength, etc. If the offense aligns with a tight end, do they run to that tight end a large percentage of the time? Do they use motion? If so, what is the run/pass percentage? What plays do they run toward motion and away from motion? Instead of spending hours breaking down film and analyzing it to understand the offense, the defensive staff is given all of this by the analyst.
Every defensive coach wants down and distance, hash mark and left/right data to help determine the possible direction of the play. All of this tendency information is critical to setting up the defense and teaching players what plays to expect. Again, the analyst can provide all of this to the staff.
What are the four best run plays that the defense must stop? What are the favorite pass plays of the opponent? What are their 3rd and 4th down plays? How do they attack in short yardage and goal line situations? The analyst can give all of this information to the defensive staff and allow them to go ahead and start game planning as soon as they have read the scouting report.
But evaluating data is not the only thing that defensive coaches need. The analyst can be most helpful in evaluating the opponents offensive personnel. It starts with size and speed of both linemen and backs. But the analyst can spend time watching the offensive line and determining who is strong and who is weak. Which linemen have pass protection issues? If the defense knows that the right guard is a poor pass protector, the coaches can set up their best pass rusher on him or run stunts in passing situations at that guard. How good is the center? Can he handle a quality nose guard on him? Who is the back up center?
The analyst always needs to evaluate their pass protection schemes. How do they handle stunts? Will the running backs pass block? What stunts have they had difficulty with in passing situations?
The analyst will spend time evaluating the quarterback - is he a run/pass threat? How accurate is he? Strengths and weaknesses? Who is the back up? Who is the best receiver-speed and height? Evaluating the running backs is important as well. In a critical situation, who is going to get the ball?
A list of starters, backs ups with their size, speed and grade is very helpful. Younger players tend to make more mistakes and it would be great information to have that most of the offensive line is sophomores.
One of the things that the analyst can do for the defensive staff is to determine what other defenses have done to hurt the offense. This allows the defensive coaches to utilize the strategies of previous team's as they worked to stop the offense.
Finally, the analyst can make suggestions of defensive tactics, keys and coverages that might be beneficial in defending the offense. He should be available to the defensive coaches and answer their questions that might come up as they develop their game plan.
If the analyst is near the school, he may want to attend the first coaches meeting and present the plan and answer whatever questions the staff might have.
In Part 3, we will look at how the analyst can aid the offensive staff as they work to develop a successful game plan.