Screens Part 3: Offensive Line Play

Now to the sexy Stuff!!!
I think our OL play on screens is what really makes these screens so great.  Sure we have some good athletes that do special things with the rock in hand but the 5 up front set it all up.

Now to the BEAUTY of what I teach my OL on our screens.

  • Every screen is essentially blocked the same way
  • works vs any front/coverage/blitz/anything
  • Since its the only thing we have to work for screen we get really good at it
  • All 5 OL have the exact same steps, path, rules, everything so if guys get moved around up front due to injury, grade problems, anything, it doesn’t matter. No new teaching if a kid moves from Lg to RT or any other switch

So the first thing one needs to understand is that our path and cue words are the same on all screens.  The only thing that changes is what they do at the snap of the ball, ex. how they set up the defense before releasing .

I will first cover how we block screens, then I will cover the actual releases in each screen (since that’s all that varies)

First off we release all 5 linemen on all of our WR screens, on Slow Screen we have both tackles high wall DEs and only release the GCG.

On all screens we open up and run flat down the LOS for a MINIMUM of 10 yards.
We do not pass up color if someone crosses your path you pick them up

  • This is what allows us to release all 5, and not have to worry about penetration or DE getting hands up to stop the screen.  If anyone comes up the field then they will run right into one of our OL who is running flat down the LOS and we will rip and run right through him.  I teach them to work through him like a reach block and continue down field, this has effectively stopped or at least slowed his penetration and gotten hands down so we can get the ball off.

I cant stress enough how important it is for them to run flat down the LOS, I scream run flat all day long.  it is so much easier to adjust their path by working flat as compared to coming up field then trying to get back flat.

So you might be wondering, how can you release all 5? yet have some guys possibly getting caught up on DL? while blocking it as sexy as you say? and doing same thing for all the different screens?

The Answer my friends is a Mantra i have created…


That’s it, that’s the key, Out, Up, In.

OUT: As we release down the LOS we look Out ( to the sideline we are running towards) we are looking for any unoccupied color.  If we see any defenders from the outside/flat area that are unblocked by WRs then this is where we are going

UP: Now if we see all of the “out” defenders accounted for either by WRs or by another OL who has released ahead of me, we now transition into UP.  We turn our head and shoulder up the field (facing the goal line) We are looking here for OLB or safeties who are coming up the field unaccounted for.

IN: So we work flat down LOS looking out, transition into looking up, then if everyone is accounted for UP, we turn our eyes to the IN (Opposite sideline of play direction) basically for everyone pursuing from the backside, scraping ILBs.

That’s it that’s the key.

I hate man style screen blocking systems because you cant predict the Defense before the play.

Sometimes our WRs wont even know who they are blocking until the ball is snapped, so by teaching my entire OL Out, Up, In they are able to account for any possible unblocked defenders on that side of the field.

I don’t know which of my OL will get a clean easy release on a given snap, that’s why they are all taught to run flat.  Sometimes tackle gets caught up with DE, keeping him occupied.  And we will get G blocking out, C blocking up, and backside G and T blocking in.

Or a couple guys get locked up and the backside guys hustle and make a key block.

The key is that they sprint flat down LOS!

Best way for them to “feel” what out, up, in means is live reps in practice.  They will begin to see WRs in position to block certain guys, and see who they have to pick up.
If you dedicate 10 minutes a day to screens (10 for drills, 10 for live screen) you will get pretty darn good at an amazing offensive weapon.

Since this is all we do on all screens we can work it over and over and over again until they fall asleep mumbling out, up, in.

Now to what makes the screens different.


We go right now! As soon as it is snapped we bucket, rip through and try to run flat down LOS, executing screen technique discussed above. Simple.

On bubble (since we stalk with outside WR(s)) once they get out they will instantly see all the “out” defenders accounted for by WRs, and begin to turn up, (to in) and effectively lead blocking for the bubble.  This year my LT was so quick getting out there, that at times my #3 WR would bubble, catch the ball, and just get right on my LTs back, literally like a human shield, and follow him down the field.

On Quick they really have to work their EYES, and keep flat until they see for sure all “out” defenders are going to be blocked.


We take 2-3 Zone steps to the opposite direction.  ex. if we have solid Left the entire OL takes 2-3 zone steps to the right, then turns and uses above screen technique to the Left… That’s it, see how just the first couple steps change

Jail Break

We 90s Pass Set. We use 4 step vertical set, swing and whiff, clubbing/punching the defender past us and we execute above screen technique.

Slow Screen

Tackles 90s Set and high wall DEs
G C G does exact same thing as Jail Break

I really don’t think it can get any simpler than that… We have a base set of rules used for all screens, and the only that that changes is the first couple steps.

I have to admit this post was very difficult for me to type out.  I came up with this system in my head, and I taught it in person to our kids and coaches.  This was the first time I really put it down in written word.  I hope it didn’t turn into an ugly incoherent rant 🙂

I truly feel this is the easiest way to do screens.  We didn’t have any stud OL in fact it was a below average group overall, however like I said in another post there were times when all we could run was screens.  Screens were our best play because that’s what our OL did best.


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