By Steve Tucker, Football Coach & Instructor, www.Football-Tutorials.com
No matter the level of competition, the following four drills are excellent teaching tools and will ensure that your offensive linemen stay fundamentally sound and technically precise enough to execute the blocks you need them to make within your offense.
Drill No. 1: “Double-Team” Offensive Line Drill
Often called a “power block,” the purpose of this offensive line drill is to help your O-linemen learn good movement and develop necessary skills for chipping off the linebacker.
To run this drill, you need four players – two defenders and two blockers. The two offensive players at positioned at the “point of attack” and must focus on knocking one defensive player backward. And then at a certain point, one of the two players release and come off the linebacker … but not until there is movement back off of the football.
Double-Team Offensive Line Drill
Double-Team (At the Point of Attack) Offensive Line Drill – The post man will be on the defensive player’s shoulder and blocking the inside number. Both players will work together, with the drive man stepping, getting square (hip-to-hip) with the post man and blocking the outside number.
The defensive player resists, and then moves straight back. The second defensive player scrapes straight across, and at this point in the drill, one of the offensive players comes off and runs off tackle, toward the hole.
During the entirety of this drill, both the post man and the drive man are responsible for anyone running through the gap. It’s very important that your offensive linemen always know where the ball is going, so they can make adjustments and do what they need to do to properly execute the block.
For a left-side “point-of-attack,” (a variation of this drill that’s run to the left side), the offensive linemen use the same formation and steps to double-team the defense, only to the other side and with roles reversed.
Drill No. 2: “Draw Block” Drill For Offensive Linemen
Even at the youth and middle-school football levels, the draw is a very significant running play in almost every offense – be it a quarterback draw, a fullback draw or tailback draw.
In the video shown below, there is a demonstration of an excellent offensive line drill that helps offensive linemen to understand the importance of the power-set and showing pass.
Draw Block Drill For Offensive Linemen
Draw-Block Drill for the Offensive Line – Draw blocking is not passive. The most important coaching point to remember about the draw play is that the offensive lineman must set with power, and yet, that O-lineman must really sell and show pass.
For any type of draw play to be successful, you must be strong on the line of scrimmage because your focus is on not allowing your opponent to cross the line.
Once the defensive player in the charge decides upon which direction he is going, the offensive player gets himself into a reading drive-block. This means that the offensive player is set and lets the defensive player go one way or the other – but the offensive player must be taught not to become passive on this play. The offensive lineman shows pass with a power set, and then aggressively attacks, turning either way to keep the player from crossing the line of scrimmage.
Drill No. 3: “Cut-Off Block” Drill For Offensive Linemen
Cut-off blocks are used to block a defensive player located on the blocker’s inside shoulder, within the inside gap, or in front of the offensive lineman to the inside.
To execute a cut-off block, the blocker takes a short directional-step to the inside, while staying in front of where the defensive player is lined up.
The key points to executing a successful cut-off block are as follows:
- Anticipate the defensive player’s forward movement.
- Explode off the outside foot and make contact with the outside shoulder pad into the side of the defensive player.
- Keep the shoulders in front of the defensive player, cutting off penetration.
- Drive the defensive player down the line.
If the blocker fails to get the frame of their shoulder in front of the defensive player’s body, he must adjust the angle of his first step so that it is in front of the defensive player’s alignment. This adjustment places blockers into the proper position to stop the defensive player’s movement across the line of scrimmage.
Cut-Off Block Drill For Offensive Linemen
Cut-Off-Block Drill – A defensive player holds a tall dummy, and aligns himself inside the offensive player, with a running back placed about 2-yards behind the coach and offset a couple of steps (diagonally).
As the defensive player shuffles to the side to line up with the running back, the offensive player must fight to keep his head and shoulders in front of the defensive player so he can’t make the play and sweep to the running back.
To properly execute a cut-off block, the offensive lineman does not have to knock the defensive player back, but me must, at the very minimum, maintain inside position once he establishes it.
The offensive lineman’s aiming point is the far knee or thigh pad of the defender.
A successful offensive lineman understands where the ball is going and comes off the ball, while getting his head inside to establish position.
In a cut-off block, the offensive lineman is not in a position to get a lot of movement back off the ball, so it therefore critical that learns to fight to maintain inside position, and that should open things up enough for the running back to gain some yards.
Drill No. 4: “One-Step Starts And Take-Offs” Drill For Offensive Linemen
This work done in this drill is excellent for helping offensive linemen to develop sound techniques and physical skills necessary for improving speed and power.
One-Step Starts And Take-Offs Drill For Offensive Linemen
One-Step Start – The offensive lineman begins in his stance, and takes a short step with his back foot (power foot) and freezes. Be sure the lineman is not taking too big a step with the back foot – he must keep this step a short, 6-inch step.
You also want to see the chest-to-the-knee so that your lineman understands the importance of utilizing proper leverage. Remember, leverage is when one player gets lower than the other, and everything else being even, the player with established leverage wins.
Straight Take-Off – Begins with a one step start, and then explodes off the ball, moving forward, while staying low. The steps shouldn’t be too big and the feet must stay underneath the lineman at all times. Mastering this technique provides an offensive lineman with good power.
45-Degree Take-Offs – Many times, the O-lineman is not going to come straight off the football. More often than not, he will need to go right or left at an angle. Again, he begins this take-off with a one-step start, this time executed at a 45-degree angle, while letting his back foot naturally turn. He must stay low, in a good hitting position, and then explode off the ball, while moving forward at an angle with good body posture and power.
The hardest thing for offensive lineman to do while executing a one-step take-off is to maintain a good base. In addition to building great speed and power, this set of drills helps your offensive linemen understand why maintaining a good base is so critical to success.
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