The Silent Count for Youth Football
A silent count is often used in youth football by teams trying to gain an advantage. On a silent count, the ball is snapped to the quarterback after the offense has gotten set, the quarterback lifts his hands slightly signaling to the center it is time to snap the ball. What happens most often is these football plays go for descent gains because the defense isn’t expecting the snap. A handful of youth football teams even try and go “Silent” for an entire game.
The Entire Game?
While I’m somewhat of a fan of going “Silent” for a play of two each game, I don’t think it really makes sense for doing it an entire game. One of the biggest advantages for your offense is knowing the snap count, the defense doesn’t know the snap count. Hence your offensive linemen can anticipate the correct count and come off the ball a split instant faster than the defense, which should be responding to ball movement. If you go “Silent” both teams are looking for ball movement and the offense loses its advantage.
Once a team goes “Silent” for a play or two most defenses “get it” and the offense loses it’s element of surprise. Most well coached defenses work off of ball movement anyways, so this tactic even when used sparingly rarely works well against well coached teams.
Another problem with this type of snap count is motion. When using motion, timing is critical. Most motion backs leave their stances on a cue from the quarterbacks cadence. The motion back also has landmarks he uses to vary his speed again based on cadence. Example: Our cadence is Ready, Shift, Down, Ready, Set, Go, the motion back starts his motion on the “R” of ready, and he has to be at the midpoint of the tackle on the “G” of go. The motion back varies his speed based on the landmarks and cadence, if he sees he is approaching the tackle and the quarterback is still on the “Y” of ready, he has to slow down, on the other hand let’s say the motion back is 2 gaps away from the tackle and the quarterback is on the “S” of set, the motion back better speed it up. We use 3 different types of motion so this is very important to us to say the least. While a silent count team can signal motion to it’s motion backs with a flick of the heel, they can’t give the motion back any verbal cues as he goes in motion, a huge disadvantage.
In the Real World
In youth football, many of the teams that I’ve seen using the silent snap count often look like a machine gun coming off the line of scrimmage. First the center and quarterback move, then you see the rest of the offensive line coming off the ball like some kind of domino chain reaction event. It rarely looks like an effective way to get off the ball quickly and in unison.
Silent count, ok for a play or two, not very effective if used on every down when you are coaching youth football.
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