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Individual Skills and Team Tactics in Football

This section, some would say, is the meat and potatoes of football—the Xs and Os, the guts. Our contributors are a marvelous collection of career coaches who have won consistently at the highest level. Our coaches will share their thoughts about a phase of the game in which they have particular expertise.

Barry Alvarez of Wisconsin will outline the strong commitment to run offense that has made the Badgers the most successful Big Ten program of recent years.

LaVell Edwards, the legendary BYU coach, will tell us that it was his knowledge of the single wing that got him a job at BYU in the early days. BYU’s later emergence as a national power that relied on the pass is well known. Lavell will share his pass offense with us.

To be a good football team you must be able to stop the run. In R.C. Slocum’s career at Texas A&M, his “wrecking crew” was known as a difficult team to run against every year.

No coach in college football has done a better job over the last 10 years than Sonny Lubick of Colorado State University. Sonny’s teams play in the pass-oriented Mountain West Conference, so to be successful their pass defense must be sound, well taught, and multifaceted. And it has been.

Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer has built a reputation as a winner and as a coach who has given his team a better chance to win because of his special teams approach. Coach Beamer’s thoughts will have an effect on you. These five coaches are at the top of their profession. We admire their expertise and are fortunate to have them share it with us.

Although running the ball and stopping the run are still cornerstones to winning, the game has changed in many ways over the last 30 years. Special teams have become more appreciated, and techniques and schemes have been improved incrementally. This, along with improved training of punters and kickers, makes the kicking game a place where your team can make a difference.

Pass offense and pass defense have changed more than anything else because of the influence of pro football, the training of quarterbacks and wide receivers, the use of innovative formations, and football rules. To keep up, defenses have countered with man-to-man defenses, the zone blitz, and better pass-rush training, including training in martial arts.

Despite all these developments, the most important things are giving a great effort and continuing to rely on fundamentals. It is still true that winning the turnover battle wins games and losing the kicking game loses games.

Coaching has not changed much. The best coaches are still the ones who can create the right environment for learning and have a passion for excellence and unselfishness that translates into outstanding individual and team performance. This section will be a buffet for all who hunger for football insight. Enjoy!

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