Why are Skins receivers creating drive-killing false start penalties? If we could solve that problem, we could win a couple more tight football games.
I have a theory about it.
The car you drive is probably the most evolved manmade system on the planet. The very first cars had to be started with a crank, outside, in the front of the car. Most women couldn't start it. Men broke arms when the crank didn't disengage.
Today's cars are much easier to operate. A child could start one. You car is much more complex than the first cars, but the complexity has been kept under the hood. That should be a common goal of all systems, including football systems. Make it simple to operate. Keep the complexity under the hood.
From what I've read, Archie Manning seems to have the right idea. I've read that Peyton had about 50 pass plays in his Indy playbook. The typical NFL playbook has about 150. And, I've read that, after Eli looked like a bust in his first year, Archie had his son suggest to his Giants coaches that they pare down the playbook to those passes that Eli felt most comfortable throwing.
It's simple math. Since your practice time is limited, you have three times as much time to practice 50 plays than you do with 150. The Manning brothers are not great passers. Their accuracy results, in part, from more practice time on fewer plays.
So, why does Logan Paulsen commit false start penalties? Most likely he's thinking about his assignment and not about the snap count. And... he does that because he hasn't practiced the play enough to just forget about his assignment.
Jim Haslett has said that the defense he's teaching takes three years to master. Mike Shanahan has said the same thing about his offense. If those statements are true, they are admissions of poor system design. They are too difficult to learn.
Every youth coach has been advised to apply the KISS principle. I think simplifying the scheme is a great idea at all levels. What many people don't realize is that simplifying the operation of systems is hard work. Keeping the complexity under the hood isn't easy.