By Jimmy Durkin, Staff Writer
FOOTBALL SEASON is still months away, but Piedmont High and its creation — the A-11 Offense — is taking on a life of its own. "It's just absolutely exploded, and that's great," Piedmont head coach and A-11 co-creator Kurt Bryan said. "Chalk one up for the little guy."
The A-11 — a six-receiver, two-quarterback, scrimmage kick formation that has all 11 players potentially eligible — is the feature story of the April issue of American Football Monthly.
The magazine's cover has a game-action picture of quarterback Jeremy George receiving a snap with a warning label plastered over it that begins "Although completely accurate, the following information may seem preposterous, even downright offensive, to some defensive coaches ..."
Additionally, a series of five instructional DVDs is available, and today marks the release of the A-11 Offense Installation Manual and Playbook, with all products being sold at http://www.americanfootballmonthly.com.
"What's fun is you have your detractors, and that's fair," said Bryan, who created the offense along with assistant coach Steve Humphries. "But the overwhelming positive response has been a huge positive to the kids."
The offseason has been a busy one for Bryan. He was flown to Florida in December to film the instructional videos, and he spoke at a coaching clinic in Burlingame at which there were some familiar faces in the crowd. (Hint: Expect to see some other local teams implement parts of the A-11 into their offense next season).
Piedmont will also be hosting an A-11 coaches clinic on June 28 that will include a chalk-and-film session, one-on-one sessions with position coaches, and an on-field walk-through. "It's going to help coaches open up their minds in terms of creativity," Bryan said.
The time spent working on the offense ("It's been thousands of hours between Steve and I and the staff") have been worth it, Bryan said, but he's most curious to see what other teams and coaches do with the A-11. "We can't think of everything," he said. "It's really exciting to see what spice or what slant other coaches put on it."
Bryan has taken confidentiality vows with the teams that are looking to start running the A-11, but it's no secret that interest has been sparked.
"Many coaches are dealing with us in the Bay Area that are going to use the A-11 as a package, and there's several coaches that are dealing with us throughout the country that are converting and making it their new base offense," said Bryan, who revealed that there's considerable interest within the Oakland Athletic League.
While there was widespread initial skepticism, the eventual success Piedmont enjoyed showed the possibilities. The Highlanders' season ended last year with a 56-21 loss to Las Lomas in the first round of the North Coast Section 2-A playoffs, but it was a game in which the Highlanders gave the Knights fits for a while and trailed by only 14 points with seven minutes left.
With a season of the offense under its belt, Piedmont is eagerly awaiting the start of spring football on May 19. "The first four to five weeks of (last) season was like learning how to walk," Bryan said. "Now, we're going to begin where we left off at the Las Lomas game. The offense is going to be much more complex and much more difficult for teams to prepare for."