The number of plays which can be run from these formations is almost limitless. There are perhaps fifty or sixty good ones, but it is quite impossible to teach that number thoroughly to any team in one season. It is good judgment, therefore, for the coach to select from twenty to thirty and limit himself strictly to that number. It is also of great advantage to run all of them from each formation. In other words, it is advisable so to consolidate the number of formations and plays that they together form a comprehensive unit of attack.

Having decided on the nature and number of formations and plays, how then can the coach best teach them to the players? Few people realize the difficulty of executing even the simplest of football plays. Consider the center rush, who-is called upon to pass the ball between his legs accurately to a moving backfield which he sees inverted. The co-ordination between him and the quarterback must be deft, accurate, and performed with the utmost speed. The mere catching of the football by the backfield is made difficult by its elongated shape; and when one considers the trying circumstances under which a forward pass is often caught, when the opponents are also trying to catch it at the same time, handling the ball cleanly is a remarkably skillful feat.

In teaching the various plays it is always best first to diagram the whole team, showing the position of each man before the ball is put in play and his course and duty after the ball is snapped. A signal should be attached to the diagram. Usually each play is numbered.

The theory and use of the particular play in question should then be thoroughly explained.

Having thus visualized the play, an eleven is lined up, the proper signal given, the ball snapped, and each man starts at a walk in his designated direction. When the interference reaches the line of scrimmage all the players stop, and their various duties at the time of contact with their opponents are thoroughly explained and demonstrated. In order to make this more realistic it is well to have another eleven lined up in the proper defensive formation, and each man should act his part as naturally as possible: in other words this team should move as the defense probably would move against a play of this nature. The play should then be practiced at a trot, and when all players have assimilated their assignments it should be practiced at full speed. The amount of rehearsing necessary to perfect a given play is enormous. The author was once reminded that he had compelled an eleven to repeat one play seventeen times before he felt satisfied that it was properly executed.

The team formation in punting practice must not give the play away. In other words, both ends and the backfield must be so disposed that a running attack or forward pass still appears to be probable.

That the reader may in some degree realize the amount of detail in a given play, the following main points to be observed in practicing a punt are here given: a. The center must neither alter the position of his hands on the ball, nor give to the opponents any hint as to the direction or length of the forthcoming pass.

b. The line from tackle to tackle must form a solid wall, to guard the punter from direct frontal attack.

c. The ends must be free from their opponents, ready to start down the field on the snap of the ball.

d. The backs must be placed so that they best protect the kicker, thus affording him sufficient time and space to get off his kick.

e. The kicker must attend to:

1. Assuming the correct stance.

2. Catching the pass from the center and manipulating the ball with the fingers into the proper position. 8. Maintaining this position during the transit of the ball from hand to foot.

4. Position of the kicking foot when contact with the ball takes place. i. e., toe well pointed.

5. Nature of the blow imparted to the ball.

i. e., the action is similar to a golf stroke: - the snap of the knee supplants the wrist motion of the golfer.

6. Proper respect to quickness, height, direction and distance.

The entire play, from the time the ball is snapped till the ball is kicked must be consummated in less than three seconds.

Perhaps another illustration will impress upon the reader the various functions of the players in such a simple play as an end run: a. The opposing line from tackle to tackle must be boxed.

b. The opposing end must be put out of the play by two interferers.

c. Second line of defense must be taken care of by two more interferers.

d. Third line and fourth line of defense must be dodged because all available interference has been used up.

e. Pursuers must be cut off.

If any one of the first three assignments is not carried out the play will be theoretically stopped. The spectator may wonder why the quarterback keeps trying the same play over and over again without apparent success. It is in the hope that all the assignments may be carried out perfectly at the same time, in which case a good gain will result.

Before the ball is put in play it appears easy to the spectator to gain ground by utilizing a sweep, but he should remember that the defense move as fast as the offense, so that an attempt at flanking the enemy usually results in a lateral run to the side lines with little gain. It is surprising how frequently the spectator ignores this fact. The author has received many anonymous suggestions in the form of beautiful diagrams, of a runner encircling the opposing end for a forty yard dash to the goal line, with apparently no movement by the defense to impede his progress.

The rides must also be observed. Once a particularly keen observer travelled one hundred miles in order to present to the author a play which he assured him had never been tried. Briefly, his conception of how to score was as follows: - Upon receiving the kick-off the runner should advance as far as possible and then hurl the ball forward to a player stationed at the opposite side of the field, who, if threatened by a tackier, should in turn again pass the ball forward to another player, who by this time should have reached the opponents' goal line. This well-wisher had entirely overlooked the fact that the rules clearly state that a forward pass shall be made only from scrimmage and furthermore that only one forward pass may be tried during any one play. Otherwise his methods and conclusions were quite correct.