Tony DeMeo


The Essential Smart Football by Chris Brown

The Essential Smart Football
By: Chris Brown
I can count on one hand how many thought provoking football books there are out there. That’s not to say there not a lot of good football books around but most deal with some technical aspect of the game. But this book, The Essential Smart Football by Chris Brown really makes you think. It challenges some of the traditional conventional football wisdom and presents some new ideas about an old game. As someone who has challenged conventional wisdom throughout my 38 years as a college football coach, I really enjoyed this book. I certainly didn’t agree with everything in it but I enjoyed wrestling with it.

His chapter on the Urban Meyer is very interesting. Urban Meyer basically took bits and pieces of different offenses and melded them together into the Urban Offense. His influences were Dennis Erickson and Joe Gibbs quick passing game and then added Rich Rodriquez’s Zone Read to turn around Bowling Green. Meyer felt that defensive coaches hated defending the option so the option would always be a part of his attack. He felt the option gave you a chance against great DEs. Meyer’s philosophy was a simple numbers game. One high safety, throw the quick game. Two high safeties, run the ball.

The 33 Stack was also a topic. Interestingly enough Rich Rod and his defensive coordinator, Jeff Castell were an early users of the 33 Stack defense. So with a unique style of offense and a unique style of defense, it’s easy to understand why WVU skyrocketed up the polls. Charlie Strong & Joe Lee Dunn were also pioneers in the odd stack. The idea was to blitz where there are no blockers.

Brown also has a nice review of Mike Leach’s Swing Your Sword ( a book I also reviewed). I enjoyed the explanation of the “Four Verticals Concept” which is Leach’s “go to” pattern. I’m a big fan of Mike Leach, so this was a good refresher on the Vertical concept.

The chapter on “The Greatest Play in Modern Football” – the Inside & Outside Zone combo and how Alex Gibbs helped the Broncos to Super Bowls with this run game. The running back reads the DE if he is inside go outside & if the DE is outside go inside. I believe The Gun Triple is the best play in football but I added this Zone to The Triple Gun Offense as a complimentary play & it was a nice change up.

I found the chapter on why Bill Belichick changed his offense and went with a two Tight End offense very interesting. Both TEs were hybrids that could also be split out. I found this interesting because I am a believer in hybrid players. I like guys who can do many things. This chapter is a statement of why Belichick is so good.
Brown has some good defensive chapters as well. Frank Beamer & Bud Foster’s Robber Coverage is well covered. Foster has had a great run at VPI. Dick LeBeau and Dom Capers changed defense forever by giving birth to the Zone Blitz. They found a way to attack a team’s pass protection while playing zone coverage. Nick Saban’s defense is also explained and gives the Saban Robber Coverage.

Another good chapter discusses the merits of spiking the ball. I love talking about clutch offense and clock control.
This book is an easy read, well written and is a book that will really make you think about the game. Chris Brown also has a very good blog that I would also recommend http://smartfootball.com/

Note: The first ever Triple Gun Webinars are coming up & we would invite you to take part http://tonydemeo.com/clinic/
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ony DeMeo