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Expert tips from Coach Paul Runyon

Paul Runyon has been a part of a long running Championship team from 2005-2007 in several leagues.

In all the years of playing football, a few things have become paramount to any good team.  First, you need a core group of guys that trust each other.  That trust comes from knowing what the guy next to you, behind you or in front of you is doing. We had that.  We had a group of guys who were selfless.  We made sure there were no divas on our team.

Our league was the Fredericksburg Flag Football League which fell under the Virginia Flag Football League and the rules of 8 X 8 All eligible.  Our offense was a hybrid conventional/spread formation consisting of Center, 2 Tackles, QB, 3 Receivers and a running back.  Our QB played for the Florida St. Seminoles in college (Flag).  Our scheme was to attack defenses where they were most vulnerable, right down the middle.  Since everyone is eligible for a pass, the QB would attack the middle to set up the deep routes.  He was shifty and smart.

It all starts with a solid quick snap.  The snap needs to be crisp and elevated the QB’s chest so his eyes do not have to drop.  This gives him an extra second to survey the field. The tackles would hold their block for about 2 seconds then release up field.  The RB would flare out to the opposite side of the QB.  Depending on the coverage, the QB would hit the quick slants or throw back side to the RB.  Our RB was special, he was what you would call an “ankle breaker”.  He could run one direction full speed and cut 45 degrees in the opposite direction without missing a step.  9 out of ten times he was left uncovered.  All of our receivers were great with their hands.  In fact, everyone on our team had good hands.  The reason we had the tackles release is, we now send out 7 receivers against 6 DB’s  Most teams would rush 2 defensive lineman.  Normally one on one, the receiver has the advantage, but when you have more receivers than defensive backs, the math speaks for itself and someone will be open.

Our defense wasn’t as special as our offense, but we did have a couple good defensive line rushers.  Any defense starts with your line.  Your rushers need to have a good combination of size, speed and smarts.  Just like pitching in baseball, you have to have a change up.  If you rush the same way every play, the offense will exploit it.  We used stunts, delayed blitz and even the bull-rush to keep the QB guessing.  Your LB’s have to be the best flag pullers on your team.  most plays happen in the middle of the field and your LB core is usually the first one there.  Speaking of flag-pulling, this is undoubtedly the most important fundamental aspects of the game.  If you can’t pull the flags, then you will allow big plays.  The coverage was a 2-4-2 with the middle LB mixing in the blitz.  Sometimes we would line up 2-4-2 and then run the safety down and do a 2-5-1 or 3-4-1.

My advice for any new team or player is to keep it simple.  You don’t need 47 plays and 23 formations.  Start with 4 basic formations.  2 for short yardage gains and 2 for long yardage.  Most leagues have 20 yd first down sticks, so use all 4 plays.  Do the math, 4 x 5=20.  I like 3 X 7=21.  You don’t need 20+ yd throws to win.  The most important communication will need to be between your OL and your QB.  They need to know where the QB is going to be to block efficiently.

Give 100% every play and make sure to have fun.  Attitude is infectious.