From the foregoing, one draws the lesson to hide the intended play. At least, the play must not be indicated by any of these signs which the green player, and too often the experienced player, shows. Thoughtful self-control in every particular is what each player must cultivate, if he would do the greatest service for his team.

Now and then, also, in offensive play the maneuver resolves itself into a test of individual skill, speed, endurance, and headwork; but this is nearly always the outcome of team play in the first part of the movement. Occasionally a mishap furnishes a player a chance to make a run wholly through his own unaided efforts.

The history of the evolution of the hundred and more plays in American football is the history of the development of a "team" game. The perfecting of this has largely increased the number of combinations now possible and has given a wideness in variety of play, and at the same time a definiteness of action for each play, which makes it possible for every member of the eleven to assist powerfully in its execution. In fact, the execution of the play depends on every player doing his particular work for that play. Hence, the interdependence of the players is very close from the moment the ball is down until the run is made, or until a fair catch or a down by the opponents declares that the ball has been released. It is therefore exceedingly important that the adjustment of every factor in the play be made with perfect skill and in exact sequence, from the beginning till the end. It is most important, however, that the starting of the play be well made, for no amount of cleverness afterward can atone for a bungling start.

Team play from a scrimmage should begin the instant the center receives the ball from the hands of the runner (which should be immediately after he is stopped). Every rusher and back should be in position for the next play, and the signal be given before the runner has had hardly time to rise from the ground. The delay of one man in taking his place might be sufficient to spoil the play, whether that man be a rusher or a player behind the line.

As soon as the ball is in play the rushers must give their united support to the quarter-back and the runner, blocking their opponents, if necessary, long enough for the quarter to pass the ball and the runner to get well started. The center and guards especially must work together to protect the quarter while receiving the ball and passing it, and then all or part of them may move elsewhere to help out in the play, or may stay in their positions to make an opening for the runner. There must be the most united work in these preliminaries to the run. Irregular snapping of the ball, either in direction or in speed, which causes the quarter to fumble or to be delayed in getting it to the runner, a poor pass from the quarter, a muff or fumble by the runner, the letting of an opponent through too soon, are usually sufficient to spoil the play.

The rushers will do well in the preliminaries if the runner succeeds in getting up to the line without encountering an opponent, or in the end plays if he is able to get under good headway. They perhaps need only to make a strong blockade in those parts of the line where the particular play is in greatest danger of being checked, but in order to do this well they must regard each other's position as well as their own, touching elbows when necessary, or separating according to the line tactics deemed most effective at the time.

The work of a part of the rushers consists in preceding the runner whenever possible, working together by strategy and combination to make an opening for him and his interferers to go through. The others follow closely from behind to render what assistance they are able. This work comprises the hardest part of the whole play, for it must be executed in the face of the strongest part of the resistance. The rushers can block their men for a second or two, but to block them from three to six seconds is impossible against good players. It is here that the interferers come into especial prominence and value, for they are to clear the way of these free opponents. It is in anticipating the probable positions of the opponents in the vital stage of every maneuver, and in providing the cleverest team play to meet each contingency, that a team excels in advancing the ball by running.

Several things are especially necessary to produce skill ful team play. First there should be a wise selection of players, and they should be placed in their final positions as early in the season as possible. There also should be such judgment in the arrangement of these players for each position as will produce the least friction in working out the plays, and that arrangement will usually be most effective in which there is the least delay and ill adjustment in making the plays quickly. There should be hard, systematic daily practice, backed by a close study of every play by each player in his particular position. The same players should be used together as much as possible, so that they can become thoroughly acquainted with each other's style of play and know each other's weak and strong points. In this way only can the fine adjustments and combinations which go to make up team play be brought about.

Team play in interference can only be the result of a carefully-planned system in which every player studies the general directions laid down for each play with a view to perfecting his particular work, varying his position on the field whenever necessary, starting like a flash in this play and delaying somewhat in that, blocking his man in one game perhaps in a certain way and in the next in one entirely different, because his opponent plays differently, sometimes taking another opponent instead of his own, when he sees that he can be of more assistance by so doing, and, in fact, doing whatever will most conduce to the furtherance of the particular play in hand.