This unique approach to PAT could win you a game or two this fall. Read more here...
By Nate Stierhoff
Benjamin Logan High School (OH)
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What if I told you a small high school that missed 13 extra-point kicks in 2 years actually scored 97 points in their 95 PAT opportunities over that same time frame?
If you do the calculations, that is a 102% return on PAT opportunities based on conventional football math. Yes we are that team that goes for 2 a lot, and you should know our data shows we should be going for 2 much more often!
In my two years as offensive coordinator at Benjamin Logan High School, we have taken a program that was scoring 13.2 ppg in 2013 (1-9) to scoring 43.1 ppg in 2015(6-4). I follow second year head coach Jeff Fay in creating a mindset in our players that we are trying to score as many points as possible every snap that we are on the field. A huge factor in creating this mentality in our program is our exotic, yet structured PAT muddle huddle concept. We have found this concept very cheap to install (10 minutes from install to scoring more points) and flexible to allow for endless tags and variations.
PAT Muddle Huddle System
Diagram #1 shows the base formation our players know to line up in as soon as we score a touchdown. The green players are eligible to receive a forward pass, however on a 4th down or special teams play non-eligible numbered players are allowed to line up at any eligible positions as long as they do not receive a forward pass. During team periods every practice our offense drives the length of the practice field. Upon scoring on our scout team players immediately line up in this formation and the kicker is ready beside the coaches with his block. If we do not like the look we get our kicker is ready to sub in for any player and we shift to a traditional PAT formation. Our players understand from day 1 of camp that trying to get a quick 2 point conversion is the last offensive play we run before we celebrate and head off the field.
Diagram #2 shows just how confusing the formation can look to a team who just gave up a big score.
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- The Pod alignment system that Coach Stierhoff uses to manipulate how defenses will align to his formations, including:
- The pre-snap play concept Coach Stierhoff uses based on how defenses align to Pod 1.
- The pre-snap play concept Coach Stierhoff uses based on how defenses align to Pod 2.
- The pre-snap play concept Coach Stierhoff uses based on how defenses align to Pod 3.
- The pre-snap play concept Coach Stierhoff uses based on how defenses align to Pod 4.
- Variations and tags of all these four play concepts.
- Plus video of all these concepts.
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The Numbers Say Go for 2
In 2014, our first year running muddle we were 16 for 21 on 2 point conversions(76%) while we were only 7 for 11 on kicking extra points(64%). Therefore, by going for 2 as many times as we did, we were plus 19 points on the season compared to if we would have kicked it every time assuming we would have made those kicks at the 68% mark.
Our second year running muddle, we were 15 for 26 on 2 point conversions (58%)but we were 71% the 2nd half of the season. At the same time, we were 28 for 37 when kicking (75%). That puts us at plus 10.5 points compared to if we would have kicked every time we went for 2 making those kicks at a 75% rate.
Some argue that they easily find the practice time kicker to make you kicker 100% on extra points. But in the end you can have your 100% and I’ll take my 58% going for 2 which is sloppy to our standards. Over the course of a season, I will score more points. Really if you are going to kick every time you need to know that you will be in the red on extra point opportunities just by missing 1 kick!
While every extra point is critical we have found it best to not over coach any aspect of this scheme. We do not want our players in practice saying “well what if they do this or that”, the speed in which we want this to happen and the mystery of how teams will line up to our pods each time we score, it almost has to have backyard football feel to it or the players will not execute fast and physical.
We are a program driven by our student athletes and our system adapts to their skill set and beliefs each season. With any concept or play we install our number one motto is “if the kids think it will work...it probably will work.” This mindset keeps players involved in the naming of all plays, formations, and a complete open forum for play calling and personnel each season. The days of young players doing things “because we told them to” are over. We want our players to always ask “why” and if they have a suggestion they must bring evidence to answer “why” before a student led change is made.
Meet Coach Stierhoff: Nate Stierhoff is entering his 3rd season as offensive coordinator at Benjamin Logan High School. Since taking over as offensive coordinator Benjamin Logan has increased from 13.2 points a game previously running the Triple-Option, to 43.1 points a game while leading the state of Ohio in passing touchdowns. Coach Stierhoff is a 2012 graduate of Wilmington College where he played Quarterback, a lot of Madden, and met his wife Keisha.