Role of an Offensive Coordinator in Football (Duties)

By Coach Martin | Coaching


The offensive coordinator is one of the three main support coaches to the head coach in football. 

Along with the defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator, the offensive coordinator's job is to support the head coach by focusing on one aspect of the game:

The team's offense.

While much of the credit (or blame) for how a team performs lays into the lap of the head coach, the three main coordinators play a huge role, too.

While the head coach focuses on the overall makeup of the team, each coordinator has a much more granular focus on just one "side of the ball."

Below, we'll take a closer look at what an offensive coordinator is and what his roles are for a football team.

Roles of an Offensive Coordinator in Football

The offensive coordinator is ultimately responsible for all players on the offensive side of the ball, as well as the overall offensive game plan.

Their main responsibility is ensuring the offensive unit runs efficiently.

Some of their key duties include:

  • Designing offensive plays
  • Making decisions about who plays what position
  • Helping players understand their specific roles
  • Preparing players for game situations
  • Scouting upcoming opponents
  • Training, teaching, and helping players with execution

Just like any solid company, the offensive coordinator has support staff underneath him, all of whom will help with various aspects of these responsibilities.

Generally speaking, there is a coach for each position group on offense.

 Together, they are responsible for every aspect of the team's offense.

Offensive coordinator works with coach and players during a game

Teaching Basics

At the core of any coordinator's job is teaching the basics.

Even at higher levels of the game, offensive coordinators will work in tandem with their position coaches to teach all their players the basic skills and techniques needed to play their positions effectively.

The level of the game will determine how much time the offensive coordinator and other coaches will spend on the basics.

At lower levels, this will include actually teaching the techniques.

At upper levels, this will include just refining the techniques and making suggestions for improvements.

Designing Plays

One of the biggest jobs that an offensive coordinator has is designing football plays.

Generally speaking, the offense will have a base formation and plays that they run out of that base.

For example, the coordinator might employ a Spread offense out of shotgun in which there is typically one running back, one tight end, and three wide receivers on the field.

Of course, he can make adjustments to this by making substitutions to bring in extra blockers, extra running backs, or other players.

From this base formation, the offensive coordinator will then design specific plays that the team will run out of it.

He'll draw up both runs and passes, as well as misdirection plays that aim to keep the opposing defenses off-balance.

Installing Plays

After drawing up the plays, the offensive coordinator will work on installing them for the team.

He'll first work with his position coaches in the film room to roll out the plays to them and ensure that they understand what their players will be responsible for.

Then, the offensive coordinator will lead the teaching of the plays to all the players. This will happen both in the film room and on the field.

It'll happen in slow walkthroughs at first, and then at half-speed, before finally full speed so they can learn their responsibilities on every play.

Preparing for Games

Leading up to each game, offensive coordinators will be responsible for rolling out the specific game plan for the upcoming opponent.

Before he does that, he'll spend time in the film room with his position coaches, coming up with a scheme they think will work against the team they're going to play next week.

They'll come up with the plan that they'll then roll out to their players.

This will include whether they're going to focus heavily on the run, the pass, or whether they'll really need to find a solid balance.

Beyond that, the offensive coordinator will be responsible for preparing the players for what they're going to face with the opposing defense.

In practices, they'll have the scout team line up in the typical formation they think the opposing defense will employ.

This helps show the players the different looks that the defense of their upcoming opponent will give them.

Then, the coordinator will merge the two camps together -- the scheme the opposing defense might likely run combined with the plays the offense will call to counter that.

While the position coaches will be responsible for drilling individual responsibilities home to their group, the offensive coordinator will sit back and watch how it all unfolds, teaching and critiquing as it plays out.

offensive coordinator works with football players during practice


The role of an offensive coordinator in football is very similar to a top-level manager at a business.

He is responsible for handling all aspects of a team's offense, and -- along with the defensive and special teams coordinators -- will answer directly to the head coach.

He is responsible for overseeing the teaching of basic techniques, designing plays, installing the plays, and preparing players for upcoming games against the specific opponents.

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