Watching the Idalou Wildcats this week has been a lot like climbing in a time machine. From the style of the Saturday morning scout to their offensive and defensive philosophy, much of what this staff does is deeply rooted in the football of a different era.
While most staffs scout film on laptops in their own corners, Idalou coaches all watch the film, start to finish as a staff. While many programs are increasingly relying on the spread offense, Idalou runs a smashmouth, two back offense that relies on getting push on the line of scrimmage. While most defenses have gone to attacking schemes, with linemen getting through gaps, while the linebackers fit into the other gaps, Idalou uses a key reading scheme where defensive personnel read the linemen opposite them.
This isn’t to say that the Idalou staff is behind the times, they aren’t, they know what they’re doing and it works. The Wildcats are currently 4-2, the two loses coming against quality 3A schools; they’ve made the postseason the last 13 years straight and won a state championship in 2010 using this prescription.
The Idalou staff has mostly been together since 1990, and while they have adapted their schemes to fit the teams they see, they haven’t thrown out their knowledge of football to fit someone else’s idea of the ‘right’ way to win. Idalou is another example of how, in football, there is no right way to do anything. There are almost endless ways to play football effectively. Many approaches work as long as the philosophy is well thought out, well taught and the kids buy in.
With only 8 coaches covering 5 teams (7th, 8th,9th jv and varsity), practice organization is impressive. Players at Idalou have great technique and there isn’t a lot of wasted time on the field. From a coaching standpoint it’s a lot of fun to watch a team that still does things the way they were done when I started coaching. It reminds me that the roots of the game are still important; blocking, tackling, sound defensive technique and ball control will always work.