Football is a great game on television, but there’s a risk to the most telegenic of plays: The kind of downs that end up on highlight reels often have little to do with fundamentals and lots to do with sheer athleticism. That means while they look like the most exciting plays on film, they often aren’t the best representatives of how a team should play.
That may sound like a fine point, but it’s actually an important distinction, as you’ll see in the clip below:
Follow Coach Kyle Trudell of Cal High’s logic. It’s unimpeachable.
In the play above, Cal successfully passes for an easy first down when a defensive back pops off a read coverage at the line of scrimmage to tussle with and take down one wide receiver. All the while, the second receiver roams right into the flat and is wide open for a first down pass.
Making matters worse, the defensive back in question was wrong on the play in multiple ways. First, he technically lined up offsides before the snap was even taken. Then there is the matter of the defensive back’s hands to the face, which knock off the receiver’s soft helmet and would certainly qualify as hands to the face in any normal competition.
There are plenty of good things that come out of high school 7v7 competition. Teams can become more cohesive. Quarterbacks can gain confidence with their receiving core. Unfortunately, the competitions tend to breed plenty of bad habits, too. When plays like the one above get glorified as major “truck stick” hits on different social media and digital accounts, there’s even more incentive to do things the wrong way. Let’s all hope that changes, though there’s little to be overly optimistic about.