When you hear announcers or coaches talk about the “First 15” they are referring to the first 15 plays the offense will run in the game. When the First 15 goes smoothly it will most likely end in points scored.
On a classic First 15 drive, the offense will use a variety of personnel groupings to keep the defense off balance and try to get them out of rhythm. The First 15 is fast-paced when the offense stays on schedule because it is already scripted and the play caller simply goes down his list. The offensive players are in tune because these 15 plays were reviewed in detail the night before the game.
The offensive not only changes personnel groupings, but also changes the complexion of the plays from play action pass, run, screens, draw, drop back, reverse or some other gadget.
The First 15 will try to test every aspect of your defense and that’s why it is difficult to stop.
When the defense gets an early stop within the First 15 it is a great confidence boost; while it is a letdown for the offense because so much effort was put into choosing, practicing, reviewing, and scripting those plays to open the game.
Good defensive coaches categorize and study the first 15 plays of the game as a special category. It is important for the players to be prepared for a fast pace and a multitude of personnel and variety of plays to defend.
The First 15 has become a game within the game!