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The other two-minute offense.

That nervewracking two-minute offense in the closing minutes...why not use it at halftime?

When football coaches consider their two-minute offense, they usually are thinking about a scenario in which they are trying to come from behind to win in the final two minutes of a game.

This desperate situation is extremely nervewracking and extremely difficult to handle. We consider ourselves fortunate in having managed to avoid such situations. Though we usually have come up short in our two-minute forays, we have managed to win once and convert two tie-breakers into victories.

But that doesn't cover our entire record for two-minute ventures on offense. We actually have had a lot of success with two-minute offenses when we've used them at the end of the first half.

One other thing: I've known coaches who have used the two-minute offense effectively in almost every game. In fact, I am surprised why many coaches refuse to use it the end of the first half and why others appear willing to just run out the clock.

Unlike the desperation inherent in the end-of-the-game situation, the atmosphere at the end of the half is psychologically different. The defense is unsure of what the offense has in mind and will often allow the offense to use all of its weapons, eliminating the pressure of a must-score situation.

At this point in time (end of the first half), the offense may have to move the ball just a few yards to score or go a fairly significant distance - requiring maybe a dozen plays - to put a number on the scoreboard.

That is why we practice using the scoreboard on the field. We can put two minutes on the clock and act as the time-keeper, starting the offense on the 20-yard line. The first thing we will teach our QB is what starts the clock and what stops it:


1. Enforcing a penalty (except Delay of Game).

2. An Officials Time Out:

* measurement

* first down

* change of possession

* injured player

* equipment repair.

The clock starts with the snap when:

1. The ball goes out of bounds.

2. A fair catch is made.

3. The ball becomes dead behind the goal line.

4. A forward pass is incomplete.

5. A charged Time-Out occurs 13 per half).

6. A penalty for Delay of Game occurs.

The second thing we teach is our play series. We try to include about six plays that we run extremely well. We run them throughout the game, but we practice them with time running out and as much mental pressure as possible. We include a power sweep, trap, counter, a short yardage play, and two play-action passes that put the QB on the perimeter.

The day before each game we practice with the clock and our play series for about 10 minutes. We start with a coach calling the plays and finish with the QB calling his own plays on the final series. We get about four repetitions each session against a live defense.

Whenever the clock starts on the snap, we huddle up. Otherwise, the QB calls the play at the LOS, using a code of words and phrases devised by the offensive players.

We assure the QBs that they'll never make a bad call as long as they use our six-play series. The key is knowing how to use the clock, emphasizing a few basic plays, and practice the situation prior to the actual game.

Last season we gained about 75 yards in three plays to score. We then recovered a fumble on the first play after the kickoff and had a second opportunity to score before the half.

We discovered that by scoring right before the half, we could knock our opponents out of the game.

Perfecting our two-minute offense also enabled us to use it at the end of both halves.
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Title Annotation:Football
Author:Keenan, David
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Mar 1, 1999
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