Dan Casey: Roots Turn Into Branches With Syllabus-Style Installs [AFCA Virtual CLinic Series]

Dan Casey: Roots Turn Into Branches With Syllabus-Style Installs [AFCA Virtual Clinic Series]

Coach Dan Casey shares vital information on syllabus-style installs in his recent AFCA Virtual Clinic. Casey’s method of implementing syllabus-style installs throughout the season is something that can be helpful to all coaches, not only for this upcoming season, but in the future as well. This method can increase efficiency in your install sessions, as well as understanding the way your team learns.

Stacking Concepts

The key to being able to install new plays throughout the season is by stacking concepts. Coach Casey uses a triangle diagram to explain the different levels of plays you can stack on each other. Everything Coach Casey wants to do is protect the base run play, which can change each season. By stacking concepts, you create different families of plays that run off the same base run concept. The triangle starts with the base run plays and goes up levels to get to burner, gadget, and morale plays that could be more complex.

Coach Casey’s method for protecting both runs and routes are simply with reads and options. Remember the key is to always reference back to those base run concepts, so even if you deviate away from it – you should always find your way back. Lay the roots that will eventually become branches that your players can easily recognize and pick up no matter the variation. Same with routes, if certain plays have routes that you look to hit, run a receiver option away from that route and come back to it later in the game. By using Just Play, Coach Casey explains his methods and different versions of the same basic run concepts, and how reads and options can be stacked on them, as well as drop back and play-action passes.


RELATED ARTICLE: Adam Cushing: Creating Culture Virtually [AFCA Virtual Clinic Series]

Syllabus-style installs are exactly what they sound like, a calendar process that lets the team know what is being added to the playbook throughout the season. Coach Casey and his staff go through the teams in their schedule and create a schedule of when and what play to install. A key to getting the most out of this is knowing the learning curve of your team. For example, knowing how they see the field can translate to how fast they can pick up a play or two. The example that Coach Casey gave was having his team watch college football games with custom bingo sheets. The players cross off anything they see in the game that resonates with what they run as a team. He shares the psychology definition of chunking, how it relates to his method, and how his team can retain the information. The definition is as follows:

  • Chunking is a process by which individual pieces of information sets are broken down and then grouped together. A chunk is a collection of basic familiar units that have been grouped together and stored in a person’s memory. These chunks are able to be retrieved more easily due to their coherent familiarity.

The AFCA Virtual Clinic viewers had time to ask various questions regarding this coaching tactic. If you want to know more about gadget and morale plays, or even how to get the most out of your installs, go check out this AFCA Virtual Clinic!

RELATED ARTICLE: Adapting to Your Personnel in an Emergency Situation

Don’t forget to tune into other content in the AFCA educational library. This content includes anything from drills and coaching tactics to convention sessions and podcasts that can better help you and your football program.


For more information about the AFCA, visit www.AFCA.com. For more interesting articles, check out AFCAInsider.com and subscribe to our weekly email.

If you are interested in more in-depth articles and videos, please become an AFCA member. If you are ready to join, please fill out the AFCA Membership Request Form.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *