n behalf of the football staff atNorthland Community and TechnicalCollege, I would like to say what a privilegeit is to contribute to the American FootballCoaches Association’s
.Hopefully, we are able to add somethingbeneficial to your program by the way wedrill our offensive lineman.At Northland, we have been running theWi ng- Tfor the past two seasons and havehad great success with it. We usually havethe smallest line in the conference, yetover the past two seasons we were able tofinish tenth and seventh in the nation inrushing and average 257.3 yards on theground per game this past season. T h ereason we run this offense is it is very con-ducive to small linemen. Because we are asmall school in northwestern Minnesota,we are unable to recruit bulky athletes toplay in the offensive line for us. Our guardsare always pulling, so they need to bequick and aggressive. They don’t need tobe large, for they will be blocking corner-backs, outside linebackers or trappingdefensive ends. Our tackles are alwaysangle blocking. We feel a small linemancan handle a big lineman if he is blockinghim at an angle. Our tackles need only toget in the way of the person they areassigned to block. Also, due to our loca-tion, it can be very difficult to find a drop-back type of passer. We do like to run theball first; however, we do feel that we havean excellent passing game because thepasses are set up by the run.Before we get into the way we drill ourlinemen, I want you to know that we stillblock with our shoulder. We feel with all theangle blocking that our linemen arerequired to do, that shoulder blocking helpsin denying any penetration by defensivelinemen. We also feel that we get a muchtighter fit and our linemen are much moreaggressive when allowed to block with theshoulder.We begin our daily routine with starts.We start by coming off the ball hard andfast with a quick six-inch step with the rightfoot called the drive step. The second timethrough, we will step with our left foot andso on. The second start we use is an anglestep. We work on a six-inch step taken at a45-degree angle to the right and the left. Asa coach, you need to make sure that thetoes of the linemen are pointing straightahead. You do not want them to point theirtoes at a 45-degree angle when stepping.We use this step when we need to get atlinebackers playing to the inside of us. It isa very important step for the tackles andtight ends. The third step we use is a reachstep. This is a six-inch, 90 degree anglestep. It is used to reach block a defender. Itis a very important step for linemen awayfrom the point of attack.In the early stages of the season, thisfootwork progression takes about 10 min-utes. When we start to get these stepsdown, it will only take five minutes. Weneed the 10 minutes in the beginning of theyear because we are a junior college, andthese techniques are new to most of ourathletes. After performing each step, thelinemen will work straight up the field forfive yards, staying as low as possible.After these steps, we move to the line-men chutes. Chute work is very importantbecause our linemen are so small. We feelthey can defeat the bigger defenders bystaying low. We have a set of five chutesthat are connected (Diagram 1). We willstart with the drive step first, going throughthe chute hard, fast and low, making surethat the arms are pumping. We will thenmove onto the angle step. We will alignslightly, offset to the opening of the chuteand take our angle step and fire throughthe chute (Diagram 2). Next is the reachstep. We will align across from the nextchute over, take our reach step and firethrough the adjacent chute. (Diagram 3)Finally, we practice our short pulls that weuse for trapping. We align perpendicular tothe chute and we use a good short pulltechnique, making sure to open our leadfoot at a 90-degree angle to the directionwe are pulling. We also make sure to driveour pull-side elbow back to our hip. Thishelps turn our body quickly by opening upour hips and shoulders toward the directionof the pull (Diagram 4).Once we complete our chute work, wemove on to deep pulls. This is the pull tech-nique that we use on our sweep. We runthis drill three at a time. The first step takenis a deep step almost straight back, so isthe second step which takes us around a
• — •John OttOffensive CoordinatorNorthland Community andTechnical CollegeThief River Falls, Minn.
Drilling the Wing-TLineman —Pioneer Style