OFFENSIVE LINE CONCEPTS
INSTALLING THE HYBRID DIAMOND and PISTOL WING-T OFFENSE
This is part 1 of a 2 part article. I have included a link to part 2 at the bottom of this post.
To be fundamentally tough and sound, each offensive lineman must know what is required of him and how to master these requirements. Descriptive words can help this process. Blocking can be developed to a greater degree than any other phase of football because it is the most un-natural task. It requires patience and many hours of “hard work” there are many things to learn.
The more techniques you can learn and master, the easier it will be to cope with various situations. Repetition must be accepted as a way of life for a blocker, success can only be brought about with tremendous confidence in one’s ability. Concentration, self-discipline, communication, and the willingness to pay the price are part of being a respected offensive lineman.
Determined, intelligent, and aggressive blocking is an indispensable quality of a great football team, from both a technical and psychological standpoint. It is difficult for a team, to have outstanding morale, confidence, and enthusiasm when it lacks the ability to sustain a great ground game or provide adequate protection for the passer. As an offensive line coach you must reinforce daily to your players the importance of controlling the football. A goal for our football team is that whenever we start the game with the football, we must make a first down.
You must make a statement to your opponents, that indeed, we can move the football on them. Make a psychological statement as well as a physical one.
The difference between a great blocker and a fair one is the fractional time between contact and the follow through. The finishing off of any block must be constantly repeated and reinforced on a daily basis. Effective line play begins in the huddle. Upon hearing the play called by the quarterback, start to visualize your assignment and possible adjustments or calls at the line of scrimmage. Keep the snap count continually in mind.
If an offensive lineman is slow getting off on the snap count for any reason, he can expect to get beat. It is impossible to be aggressive when you are uncertain. The following phrases and words help me describe technique.
Nine Phases of A Proper Base Block: (one – on – one)
1.Short first position step, also called base step.
2.Second step must be an explosive up field base step.
3.Low shoulder level. (pad control)
5.Good arm extension.
6.Strike a blow.
8.Heels in – toes out.
A term I use and one I picked up from Les Steckels when he coached for Denver Broncos is “THE FIRST STEP TIES, THE SECOND STEP WINS” its that second step that helps the finish. Keep your feet alive. Plays with a base don’t allow your feet to come together. The following terms are descriptive terms that I will use throughout the following chapters.
SO GOES THE OFFENSE; SO GOES THE OFFENSIVE LINE. “THE LITTLE THINGS”
Descriptive Terms To Be Used:
1.Get off! Ability to accelerate off the L.O.S. using proper technique.
2.Short steps – never allow yourself to over stride (big, long, or high choppy steps). Must keep your feet in the ground where you have power.
3.Keep “heels in – toes out” focus your energy on the inside of your feet, this gives you more push power.
4.Never get too much weight going forward, don’t allow your weight to get out over your toes. Be fast, but also under control.
5.Make contact by rolling the hips through the defender. Hit on the rise, head-up, bull the neck.
6.Punch up through the defenders chest. Control the peck plates on the shoulder pads.
7.Become part of the tackle on each play. Stick to the defender. Maintain a good wide base at all times which will allow you to stick to the defender without being shed off.
8.Versus any type of movement, nothing should change. Short steps will allow you to react to the defender. To get a feel for when a defender is going to stunt, he usually is going to change his alignment up, sense it and prepare mentally, make your calls accordingly.
9.Once you’ve developed the art of the one – on – one base block, this will now carry over into all different types of blocking schemes.
10.Two important points to remember when run blocking:
a. Always take the proper step in the direction you are going (no false steps).
b.Proper point of aim. Must understand the play and where it is going.
The word “Base” is an alert word used in a one – on – one blocking situation and you have no combo responsibility. Any combination block such as ACE, DEUCE and TREY alerts that two adjacent linemen will be working in combo with each other looking for a down lineman and linebacker combination.
THE BASE BLOCKING TECHNIQUE – INSIDE RUN PLAYS
A. THE BASE BLOCK – The BASE BLOCK is the “BREAD and BUTTER” block in your running game. This technique will be used by our offensive linemen when blocking at the point of attack. Our offensive linemen will have the option of blocking the defender whatever way the defender wishes to go as long as he gets movement. The type of movement desired is to blow the defender straight back off the L.O.S. or at least get movement that takes a defender back and parallel to the L.O.S., but this sometimes is unrealistic because of defensive alignments or stunts.
1.Landmarks: On each running play, you will be given a landmark which is an aiming point for your head gear. This landmark or aiming point is the near ear to give you the leverage to force the defender away from the point of attack. In running the inside zone (BEND, DIVES, TRAPS, and COUNTERS) we ask that our offensive linemen always keep their shoulders parallel to the L.O.S., we don’t want to open any doors that the defender can run through. We want to force the defender to take a side allowing the back to option his run off the offensive lineman’s block, while reading the defenders path. This is very important in the approach part of the base block.
2. Approach: Explode off the L.O.S. on the correct snap count. This is accomplished by first taking a lateral step (flat step) with the near foot or playside foot and exploding or rolling off the takeoff foot. As our offensive linemen take their base step or lateral step, it is important to work to get a BASE (width of the feet). As the offensive line explodes out of their stances it is important that we always keep our backs parallel and our shoulders square to the L.O.S. (don’t open doors). This will aid in our offensive lines ability to get under the defender’s pads. Aim the “nose” of your helmet (hairline) for the proper landmark making sure that your head is up and the neck is bowed forming a “bull-neck” position.
3. Contact: First contact MUST be with the hands followed by the “nose” of the helmet in order to control the charge of the defensive man. Upon making contact, we want the blocker to whip his “fists” or “palms” up into the defender’s chest with a lifting type action. This will aid the blocker in getting the roll-of=the-hips into the block and to control the defender. It is important that the power producing angles remain in the legs and that the shoulders remain higher than the hips. The blocker must now arch his back and get
his feet underneath him.
ZONE BLOCKING PRINCIPLES – Combination Blocks
Zone blocking consists of offensive lineman blocking an area instead of a man. The purpose of using the zone blocking scheme is to stop penetration, create movement on level one and also seal off the onside linebacker, level two or filling linebacker to the call side. ALL ZONE BLOCKS initially start out as an inside out double team. As movement begins, either the OUTSIDE blocker or INSIDE blocker will gain control over the down defender on level one, allowing the other blocker to come off his block to handle the linebacker on level two. In this type of blocking scheme, it is critical to create movement on level one before coming of for the linebacker.
A. INSIDE BLOCKER – (uncovered offensive linemen). Take a drop step with the playside foot followed by a crossover step aiming for the near hip of the defender aligned on the next offensive blocker to the playside. This is refereed to as a ZONE STEP. As the inside blocker takes this zone step, it is important to read the movement of the defensive man aligned on him. Use a one hand read if the linebacker stays in front or just behind the offensive blocker. Concentrate on his playside number, look at the linebacker and feel the defensive end. If the offensive blocker feels the defender’s near hip coming towards him, explode up and under the defenders chin making sure to stop penetration. Upon making contact, whip your arms and your feet like pistons working to get movement up the field. If the defender has locked – on or is widening with the outside blocker – PUNCH and PUSH OFF the defender and explode to the 2 level to block outside or playside breast of the linebacker. NOTE: When in a pre-stance alignment read the positions of the defender
on the outside blocker. This may give you a feel by his alignment if he is going to come inside or not. Listen for slug or moby call by outside lineman for possible inside slant by the defender.
B. OUTSIDE BLOCKER – (Covered offensive lineman). The outside blocker must read the alignment of the defender aligned on him so he can hit the proper landmark and initially create movement on level one. If the defender is aligned outside eye or shoulder the outside blocker will drop step with his near foot and then crossover step with the back foot, ripping the backside arm through and aiming your head gear for the outside breast or number. If the defender is aligned head up, he will step with his playside foot aiming his head gear under the chin of the defender. If he is aligned inside-eye or shoulder, you will pivot step with your outside foot to block the near number of the defender. If the defender loops-out or locks-on, you want the outside blocker to maintain contact and work the defender off the L.O.S. This movement off the L.O.S. is important in ZONE BLOCKING PRINCIPLES. If the defender remains inside of you, continue to drive and maintain contact – once you feel contact from the inside blocker now you can block the scrapping linebacker on level 2. If the defender aligned on you that slants inside – PUNCH and PUSH-OFF the defender and explode to the 2nd level to block the onside linebacker. Block the linebacker by exploding up and through his numbers by using a good base block technique. DO NOT allow linebacker to cross your face, you may have to run with him.
This is part 1 of a 2 part article. Click here to read part 2
About the Author of this post:
Jerry Campbell has over 30 years of high school and college coaching experience. He has experience as a head coach, offensive coordinator, and various position coaches. He has written numerous football coaching articles in various publications, is the author of over 30 books on coaching football, and has produced 12 coaching video series. Additionally, he is a nationally sought after speaker on the coaching clinic circuit.