iBook Preview – Toss

We added a quick toss to our offense this season.  It became a wildly explosive play for us averaging just over 10 yards per carry.  We try to overload the defense on the perimeter by pulling multiple offensive linemen to the perimeter and using angle blocking for our WRs to stop inside pursuit of the play.  This is a great play for us to get our RB outside and away from the loaded boxes we see.

We will run this play the exact same from Pistol and with the RB off set to the side of the QB.  All of the blocking rules, drill video, and cut ups with my voice over are included in the iBook.

Here is a sample of the toss play I detail in the iBook.

Auburn’s Buck Sweep

Here is a brief break down of Auburn’s Buck Sweep.  They will run the sweep with different ball carriers and backfield actions.  It is a flexible scheme that can be used in any style of offense from a true power team to a spread offense.  The scheme is built on angle blocking and Wing t principles.  It provides a great constraint for how defensive ends are playing your inside run game.

Auburn brings a RB in motion from the slot to receive the mesh, while using their QB and Tailback to fake an option course backside, you will see the effect this has on slowing down the defense’s pursuit of the play.

 

iBook Preview – Buck

In the next preview of the schemes I discuss in my new iBook I will be introducing our RB Buck play.

Our Buck a RB version of the buck sweep.  It was the biggest addition to our playbook this season and we averaged over 10 yards per carry on it.  In the iBook i detail multiple ways we seal the edge and pull our guards to lead block for this sweep that can hit anywhere from the alley to the sideline.  I re use many of the skills we work on in our power and counter schemes and it gives us a great answer for team who are defending those schemes well.

This is a play that has become a huge part of Auburn’s success running the football.

Here is a clip of our buck play that begins looking just like power, and then pops out to the alley for a big gain.

iBook preview – Stretch

In the next little preview for the schemes I am writing about for my iBook I will discuss the Stretch or Outside Zone scheme.  This play is always a big part of our offense and is very simple for us to install and run.

We use a full reach scheme that stays the same for the OL regardless of personnel and formation.  That is what I like about the play… we can run it a number of different ways.  This play can hit ANYWHERE across the front.  We get so much lateral movement that creases can open up anywhere and our RB’s have done a great job at running to daylight on it.  Here is a clip of our stretch scheme from pistol.

OL Blocking Progression: Varying Drill Tempo

Rather than focus on a scheme, or a specific type of block, I want to focus on HOW I teach blocking and the progression I can and do use for ANY type of block.

I am a big believer in breaking skills down into smaller, more digestible pieces.  Beginning in Spring Ball I will focus on each individual step we will take in our blocks.  For the sake of this article I will be using examples and video from a basic “Down Block” but the PROGRESSION can be used for any kind of block.

There are 3 basic “phases” to all blocks and I break it down as follows

  1. – First step – the step itself will change depending on the play and type of block but we can agree we want to be gaining some ground (either vertically or horizontally) as well as maintain good pad level
  2. 2nd Step – This is the contact step.  Most OL coaches will agree this is when we will make contact with a defensive lineman.  Bringing the hips and hands  with a violent punch is critical.
  3. 3rd step -FINISH, we continue to work the feet with a good base and continuing working to maintain the block through the whistle.

Obviously this is a simplification but any block on a 1st level defender is going to include these 3 facets.

Terminology/Cues

The OL and myself need to be speaking the same language from day 1.  They need to understand what I want them to do, and I need to relay what I want in a clear and concise way.  To make it easier on us I have created a teaching system I use for ALL of our drills.  This terminology applies to the exact tempo I want a drill done at, as well as a CUE i include to help them associate what they need to be doing.

My tempo terminology is

-Steps

-2 Step

-Full Speed

 

I will get back to that more shortly.  As far as drill progression itself I will begin Spring Ball in the most basic form of drills possible… on Air.  From there we progress to working on bags.  Eventually we will begin blocking actual defenders.

Whether we are blocking on air, on bags, vs a defender, or any of the above in a chute I will control the drill with MY tempo terminology.

STEPS

Cadence – Stomp – Drive

This is a step by step breakdown of our first 3 phases.  I use 3 different cues to get what I want from the OL.

Our cadence will trigger the first Step of the block.  All OL will freeze after this Step.  At this point I am checking for the pad level I want, the step I want, and the general body positioning I want.  If any part of this is not what I want, we will start over.  You DO NOT get to move on until you can do the 1st step right.  When I feel good about their first step I will yell

“STOMP”

on Stomp, the OL will bring their second step by STOMPING it into the ground, bringing their hands and hips with them delivering a powerful strike (can be hands, flipper, or shoulder depending on what you teach).  I have found that by EMPHASIZING that the OL STOMP it becomes more powerful/assertive than asking them to take a 2nd step.  They will freeze at this point as I check that they have done what I want before moving on to the 3rd phase (some coaches call this position “Fit”). Next I will yell

“DRIVE IT”

This is their cue to begin driving the feet with a wide base.  We want to take as many short POWERFUL steps as possible, pounding all of our spikes into the grass/turf.  This is not “buzzing the feet”, they need to be POUNDING and I frequently yell “POUND, POUND, POUND”.  They do not get to stop the drill UNTIL I BLOW THE WHISTLE.  Having severe punishment if they let up before my whistle drastically improved how long we maintained blocks in practice and in games.  It changed our entire OL’s attitude of what it meant to block and we began finishing blocks better than any time in my coaching career.

Here is a video I shot  working a down block with the STEPS Tempo (please excuse there is no whistle, just shot this for the blog after our season ended)

2 STEP

2 Step is the next part of my progression and is actually my favorite tempo to use.  The problem with going step by step is I noticed my OL would often LAG between the 2nd step contact, and beginning to drive their feet when we tried going into full speed drills.  It seemed like it took them too long after bringing their hands and hips to go into driving to finish the block.  With 2 step I simply announce “2 Step” to the OL and they know the tempo of the drill.

We begin with our Cadence and freeze after the first step.  This allows me to still check their pad level and first step.  This first step is usually the first thing to break down if you are doing a lot of full speed reps so I like being able to freeze it and check to make sure a kid is doing what I want.  Now I will call stomp but rather than striking and freezing, the OL will bring the 2nd step, stomp it into the ground, bringing hands and hips violent AND go directly in to driving the block working to finish it.  They do not freeze after the 2nd step like my “STEPS” approach.  This helped get rid of that lag between contact and driving.  I use 2 step the majority of the time because IMO it is a happy medium between the breaking down of steps and assessing their steps, and the game like appeal of a full speed rep.  We still block through my whistle.  You have to be pushing your kids to finish in EVERY drill.

Here is a video I shot  working a down block with the 2 STEP Tempo (please excuse there is no whistle, just shot this for the blog after our season ended)

FULL SPEED

The last tempo I use would be considered the highest level of skill mastery, and that is to use a full speed rep.  For the drill I simply just call our cadence and they will put all of the pieces together into the block at full speed.  There is no stopping and checking/assessing.  When an OL is struggling to block at full speed the answer is to ALWAYS go back to working STEPS or 2 STEP in order to diagnose exactly which part(s) of the skill your OL is breaking down on.

Here is a video I shot  working a down block with the FULL SPEED Tempo (not a great rep, the kid was a little rusty)

 

 

iBook Preview- Counter

Once Power is installed the next part of our offense to go in is Counter.  We were actually significantly better running Counter this season and I called it more frequently, with more success, than our Power scheme.  We often see an extra player or two to the side we set our Fullback so being proficient at Counter going back the other way was critical to our offensive success.

The Basics:

Playside down blocks/doubles just like Power.  We pull the backside guard to kick out the end and have different calls to pull our FB, backside TE, a wing, or any combination thereof .  I prefer keeping the backside tackle home to block backside rather than the traditional “GT” or “Counter trey” that uses the backside tackle as the 2nd puller (2nd puller is the player wrapping up to LB).  This keeps the tackles rules and skills consistent between power and counter, helps in mastery of our backside B gap hinge technique, and allows us to pull a better athlete (FB/TE/Wr).

Below is an example of us running it both from our Pro set, and from out double tight set.

iBook Preview – Power

I run a power based offense at my high school.  I am stubbornly committed to running the football and everything is based off of our 2 back Power Scheme.  I have started working on an eBook series detailing how I teach our run game and I wanted to include a little bit on my blog so anyone who might be interested in it can get a glimpse of what they will be learning about.

Power is the foundation of our offense.  I teach a standard 2 back power with down blocking or doubles at the Point of Attack, a Fullback Kick Out on the end man, and a backside guard wrapping through to the playside LB.  Everything else in our offense comes off of us being able to establish our 2 back power play.

Here is a sideline and EZ shot of a 2 back power play from this season.  We get downhill now with everyone inside picked up and put the RB 1on1 with a FS on the Goal Line.  That is going to be a win for the offense just about every time.

Here is the Link to the iBook I made last year that extensively goes over my exact teaching progression and drill work for our 2 back power play. OL Play in the POWER SCHEME

 

Later this week I will be posting clips of our Counter, Bucksweep, Stretch, and Toss plays that will eventually all be part of the eBook series.

Update: here are links to my other iBook Previews

COUNTER

STRETCH/OUTSIDE ZONE

BUCK SWEEP/ PIN N PULL

TOSS

JET

AND I JUST ADDED A BONUS CHAPTER ON OUR EXPLOSIVE PLAY ACTION PASS GAME

Upcoming projects

I just wanted to announce that I am working on something big over the next month or two that will come out some time in 2016.

2 off seasons ago I put together the following iBook

O-Line Play in Power Scheme

I lay out exactly how I teach and drill our 2 back power scheme (the foundation of our offense).

I got a lot of positive feedback about the drill videos and teaching progression and  with the success of our other core run concepts this past season I am going to make a series of interactive digital books  with every detail of how I teach/drill

-Counter

-OZ/Stretch

-Toss sweep

and the biggest addition to our offense in 2015

-Bucksweep

These plays accounted for of our school record breaking 4,416 yards rushing this year.  We led our section (large school division) in rushing yards per game, total yards per game, and scoring per game.  I am blessed to coach an insanely talented group of kids, but I think we do some really good things offensively that utilize that talent.

I will be working again with Coach Grabowski and the guys at Coaches Edge to bring my written explanations, diagrams, step by step drill video, and game cut ups to coaches on their electronic devices.  With the previous content it was only accessible as an iBook on an iPad.  I believe the new series will be on a new format that will allow you to view it on any computer/tablet device.

Getting WRs involved in the Run Game

WRs by nature are usually the guy(s) you want with the ball in their hands.  Speed, moves, and the ability to break a long play any time they get their hands on the ball.  The problem, is that it can be difficult to get them the ball consistently in the passing game.  You see this even at the NFL and College level where a stud WR gets held to a rather pedestrian day.  I am  a big believer in using WRs in the run game for a few reasons

  1. It guarantees they are getting the ball in their hands, more touches = more chances to pop an explosive play
  2. Gives the ball to someone else so teams can’t just attack the tail back
  3. Adds a level of deception to our offense, which many coaches feel you lack being in the gun/pistol (we will run these WR plays as well as fake to them )
  4. Motion or a unique formation presents one more element for the defense to prepare for
The 2 concepts I will talk about today are
Jet Sweep
WR sweep
In the Jet sweep, we are bringing a WR in motion, timing the snap to hit him close to full speed and trying to get to the edge.  We use OZ blocking with the OL, and we use the FB and RB to kick out force and lead up for the Jet WR.
The first 2 clips below show our regular motion jet sweep.  The final clip shows a no motion jet sweep, where we experimented with a quick touch pass to the WR (no risk of fumble, technically a pass).  Up front I am fine with a little bit of penetration as long as we can get our hips around to seal off the box.  We need to improve how we coach our FB and RB to kick out force and lead through, but we felt we got a lot of bang for our buck, in terms of production vs practice time invested.
In the WR sweep, I wanted another way to get our WR the ball, that didn’t use motion.  As we started having success using jet sweeps, defenses started attacking the motion hard.  We used a Wing position to bring our WR closer to the ball.  You could accomplish this by using a slow motion or orbit motion as well.
The WR sweep differs from the Jet in a few ways
  1. We block it using pin and pull
  2. We fake to our RB  first and he blocks backside like traditional bucksweep
  3. Because of the blocking scheme, and the time it takes for the mesh, the play will typically get cut up into the alley, rather than attack the perimeter fast like jet
A great way to pair this if you wanted to keep the motion, would be to use a motion crack and run the ball, then motion, snap the ball with same timing, fake the run to the crack side, and have motion man bend around QB to get the WR sweep.
Using these WR sweeps is a great way to get your playmakers the ball.

COUNTER – The Ying to Power’s Yang

I can not imagine running Power without running Counter.  The two plays go together  very well and the cutback action of counter will hurt defenses who flow very fast to the RB’s initial path.  It is also a great answer to teams who want to load up to your FB  or strong side in an effort to shut down Power.

We run multiple variations of Counter.  The core of the play is down blocks and/or double teams play side, just like Power.  This is why I think counter is a must have in your arsenal if you run power, because there is so much carry over between the schemes.  In counter, our Backside Guard (BSG) is the kick out man, now rather than skip pull he will take a very tight inside path to kick out the first color that shows, which is usually the play side DE.
This is all the same in every Counter we run.  Our variations come from who our 2nd puller is and who secures the back side.  Our 2nd puller is also called the “wrapper” because they will wrap inside of the guards kick out block to lead up on the play side LB.  If the opposing DE steps down to wrong arm our guard will drive this, logging the DE, and our 2nd puller and Rb have to read this and bounce around it.

Counter FB
We will use the FB as our second puller, this tells the BST to stay home and secure the back side.

Double Tight Counter
This is very similar to counter FB, but we run it from double tight, we use our BS TE as our 2nd puller since we don’t have a FB in the game.  This was a great play for us, the extra gap in double tight was great for us because it isn’t something you see much with so many teams spreading out on Offense.  Being in this balanced look up front also helped to stop teams from loading up one side to shut down Power.  We could line up the same and call the play either direction.  We miss a down block in this clip but it is a great example of our 2nd puller working down the field to spring us for a huge TD.

Super Counter
I didn’t run this scheme often but it had serious big play potential because we are aligned in a heavy formation to the strong side, but then pull 3 players to the weak side.  In super counter, we have 2 wrappers.  We pull both the FB, and the TE up through the hole to lead for the RB.

QB Counter
The last type of counter I want to describe is often called GT.  The T represents the BST acting as the 2nd puller and wrapping up to LB.  If we ran GT to our RB we would either block the BSDE with the FB, or have to read him.  In this example (my favorite play if you have an athletic QB) we use the RB to block back side and have the QB keep the ball.  This maximizes our blocking while being spread because we use the back as a blocker, and it provides some misdirection by faking to the back and going the other way.

In most cases if the defense is shutting down power, counter is wide open.