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Norm Chow Offensive Coordinator Brigham Young University Provo, Utah
Lance Reynolds Runningbacks Coach
Chris Pella Tight Ends and Special Teams Coach
Roger French Offensive Line Coach
e want to express our gratitude to the AFCA and the program committee for the chance that we have to spend a few minutes with you. We have a very good football staff and you will meet our offensive guys, but we also have a very good defensive staff with Ken Schmidt, Tom Ramage, Barry Lamb and Brian Mitchell. We have been together a very long time. We have competed against a lot of you and we are friends with a lot of you, so a chance to spend a few minutes with you is very gratifying to us. Lance Reynolds, who is the runningbacks coach, Chris Pella, who is the tight ends and special teams coach, Roger French, who is our offensive line coach and myself will each spend a few minutes with you. I know we don’t want to spend a lot of time on philosophy, but I think if we express our basic tenets as the hour goes on, it will make a little more sense. Number one, we are going to protect the quarterback. If you decide to rush seven, we will block seven. If you decide to rush 10, we will try to block 10. We are going to try to protect the quarterback. Lance and Roger spend a lot of time picking up blitzes and that is the basic tenet that we have. You may be better than we are, but schematically we will try to protect the quarterback. If we do decide to run a hot route, it becomes very simple because what we try to do is incorporate the unblocked defender in the play call. Whoever the unblocked defender is, we will simply call that player’s name in the play call. That way the quarterback, receivers and offensive linemen all understand that is the guy we cannot block. We actually point to him and we say we can’t block him. If we don’t call him out, then the receiver progression is one, two, three. But, if we call out the unblocked defender, then the quarterback understands that his responsibility now in receiver progression becomes blitz one, two, three. We try to keep it as simple as that. Number two, we like to think we can control the football with a forward pass. I know that is something of an anomaly, but we want to do that. We played a game a couple of years ago, and we threw consecutive 18 completions. The only reason we did that, in my mind, is because they were simple throws. Throws that were eight and 10 yards that we thought we could make. We like to think that we can control the foot-
ball. No one is more aware of possession time than we are. We understand that we need to watch the clock and control the clock a little bit. Number three, we always try to incorporate the run and the pass. That is obvious, right? You aren’t going to win football games just running the ball and you aren’t going to win football games just throwing the ball. We like to think we can do both. We try to make it as similar as possible. Lance will talk to you a little bit about the path of a halfback on a run that is the same path taken on a throw that we have. We try to incorporate both running and passing and make it look as similar as we can to cause a little bit of confusion. Number four, we are going to take what the defense gives us. I know that is simple, but it is very true. We are going to try to take advantage of what the other team is doing on defense. During the course of a game, with the sophistication of defenses, coverages are disguised and the use of zone blitzes and fire blitzes become very hard to beat. We’d be lying if we said we sat up in the box and knew what coverages were being run. What we try to do is take a portion of the football field, the weak flat for example, and we will attack that until we can figure out what the defense’s intentions are. Then we try to attack the coverage that we see. It is very difficult to cover the whole field. We are not going to try to fool anybody. We are going to take little portions of the field and try to attack them until the defense declares what it intends to do. Number five, we feel very strongly that you need to KISS it. You need to KISS your offense. You all know what that acronym means, you need to Keep It Simple, Stupid. I think the biggest mistake we make as coaches is that we try to do too much. Lance does a great job of always reminding us, “Hey we are doing too much, we’re doing too much.” If you walk out of here with nothing else but the idea that we try to keep our offense as simple as we can, I think we have gotten the point across. A few years ago, I was talking to a former NFL coach who has since retired. He said, “What is the comfort level of your quarterback in a critical situation? Third and four situation, what is the comfort level?” I was trying to impress him and act like I knew what I was talking about so I asked him what comfort zone meant and he said, “Simply, how many throws does your quarterback feel confident making
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when it is third and four and you have to make the first down?” I said, “Maybe seven or eight.” Then I turned and asked him, “What about you and your quarterback?” He said, “Two.” This is an NFL coach coaching an NFL quarterback. That has always stayed with me. We really feel strongly that we need to KISS our offense. We will show you some diagrams and translate how we try to develop a football play. We like to think that you need a fivestep game, a three-step game, you obviously need to run, a play pass, a screen game and be able to move the quarterback. If you can’t handle the pass rush, the quarterback needs to be able to move. That is what we have incorporated in our game, a three-step, a five-step, runs, play pass off the run, screens and movement of the quarterback. That is simply how we try to put our offense together. The way we like to attack a defense is with the passing game remaining curl, flat, four verticals and creating triangles and mismatches against man-to-man coverage. That is a basic strong-side pattern for us. We try to create triangles. Everybody understands horizontal stretches, routes, and vertical stretch routes. At BYU, we like to develop oblique stretches. They are all done to create stretches involved in a pass offense.
two and the defense is in a strong zone with the strong safety trying to take away the tight end, we call this color flash. We see someone coming over to take the tight end away from his backside, who is probably a guy from the deep third, then we try to get the ball in that open area. We have tried to create a triangle. If, for some reason, they play route recognition and bring the stud linebacker to seal, we tell our quarterback to throw to the runningback. Now we want to present something different with the same idea. If your opponent is rolling the zone over to the right side of the field and they bring in a linebacker to cut off some angles. What we try to do is call play and use girl’s names for the hot linebackers. We call the play and we end it by saying Wanda. We cannot block Wanda if he decides to come. Wanda hits it, now we become hot. The look now becomes blitz one, two, three.
linebacker is outside, we break in and just play with the option game. We have taken one route or one pattern, if you will, and we tried to devise things to take advantage of what an opponent does defensively.
Lance Reynolds, Runningbacks
It is an honor to be with you. I am going to try to emphasize most of my time on trying to utilize the runningbacks in the passing game. The runningbacks have several key roles in the passing game. One is protection. It is a big responsibility and anybody who coaches runningbacks should take a lot of time and effort to try to make sure that they fill their role in that protection scheme, whether it be blocking guys or hot releases or dealing with the blitz in some kind of screen. Some way, we have to either block the blitz or attack the blitz. Some of it is in two-back sets, some of it is in single-back sets. The backs are critical to obtain the “stretch” that the quarterback guys are always talking about. You needn’t do an attack zone cover whether it be in some kind of horizontal fashion, some kind of vertical fashion, or where we get a triangle to stretch a defense in an angle. Again, we are involved in all of those. We are going to talk about using tailbacks in man-to-man coverage because most tailbacks are great athletes. We are going to learn how to use screens and hot routes to attack a blitz. Most of our five- and seven-step routes read from deep to short. Since I have never met a quarterback who didn’t like to throw deep, or didn’t think the deep guy was open, we added some terms to some of our throws to help get the ball to the backs and tight ends. A term like H-option will reverse the quarterback reads, instead of going from deep to short, he will go from short to deep. For example on the strong throw, if we just added the term F-option, what happens is the back becomes one, the tight end becomes two and the post becomes three. What that does is make the quarterback focus his eyes on that option of the blitz. If the blitz comes, he will throw it hot and the idea is now we can get our quarterback’s eyes and attention on throwing a shorter, higher completion percentage throw. We change terms to get attention back on the shorter route, both with the quarterback and the runningback. Some terms will change the quarterback’s reads from deep to intermediate to short and some will not.
Our quarterback’s progression now becomes a cover three read. One is if the corner rotates over, throw the deep ball. If we can’t throw deep, we will look for the tight end and that is called a sail route. We try to put him in that imaginary spot where the three deep zones meet. Our back checks the protection and then goes to the flat. Now the quarterback reads one as the receiver, two as the tight end and three as the back. All we have done is try to create a triangle depending on how the defense covers. The quarterback’s read is to look for the go route and we tell him that two becomes both X and the tight end. As my receiver progression takes me to number
The reason we have done this is because we see that this linebacker is getting back into the tight end hole and we cannot get the ball to him like we want to. See, we have the tight end in a deep route, we have one back in the flat and we have the halfback right in the spot where the stud linebacker left. That is how we try to attack a route depending upon the coverage we see from the defense. If we see man-toman coverage and think we can get by with a back against a run support guy, then what we try to do is get that guy on a get-away route. We call a get-away an option route. If the stud linebacker hits it, we turn it out. If the stud linebacker plays him man-toman, then we give him room. If the stud
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Another option we can talk about is the angle. We will take the back and roll him out, plant his foot and return it into the hole. Sometimes that stud linebacker will get back to take away that intermediate ball. We will start like we are going to the flat and roll back quickly. I think these reads change into a real high percentage throw and you can utilize your backs to beat man two coverage and also get into seams of zones. We will call a play then add a term to it. The back is on a delay route, a term we call rip. When the quarterback drops, he is going to go through his reads, high to intermediate to low, but it emphasizes in the quarterback’s mind that if this linebacker drops to take away a sale, then he is going to throw the delay.
The first one we will start with is our halfback option game. It is probably one of the best ways to get the ball to a good receiver or a good runner. The first thing you need to do is evaluate your personnel and pick a guy who can run the H-option vs. man-toman so that he can separate from people. Some players have a feel for that and some players don’t and it is very difficult to get a guy that doesn’t have much feel to run it correctly. I think it can be a real equalizer sometimes. The option now being with the halfback, we can run this off the strong route or the weak stretch. In a normal route, a receiver would be one, tight end cross two and the back would be three. When we add the term option in the halfback option, he becomes one. The tight end becomes two and the receiver becomes three. So we will go from short to deep. First, he needs to align. You can’t run this very well from the backfield unless you get the back over behind the tackle. You can’t run this play from a split backfield or the offset I, but he needs to be where he can get a quick release. This release needs to be an arc that gets a little bit of width. We can be no tighter than the inside leg of the tackle and there needs to be a little bend to the release. It needs to be the same as if you were running a draw-trap. We want to
make it look the same to the defender on that side of the field so he cannot recognize the difference between the option or a comeback. Norm spent a minute on hot routes, that is the term we use to discuss when we are not going to block somebody, and on this play, we do not block the weakside linebacker. Depending on protection, we are going to adjust in one or two ways. With the back stretch release, the quarterback checks that if the linebacker comes, we will either turn or we will swing. We plant our foot and push hard for two reasons. One, the way people play now, you have to get away from the zone blitz. If they zone blitz an end to try and bring that weakside linebacker, make an adjustment and turn that end and push hard to the sidelines and stay away from the bad guys. Second, we need to be able to get ourselves in a position where we can get rid of the ball quickly, because we don’t want the free safety to be able to disguise and stay high. The precision between the quarterback getting that ball to the backs in a hurry and the width of the backs is critical. If the back gets the ball before the free safety gets there, we think he can make a play on the free safety or on the end. The timing and recognition of it is critical on the hot ball. If we are attacking a zone, then it is almost like playground football. We will tell him to release and he sees people drop, we tell him to go get the hole with your feet. So, if that linebacker drops wide and a corner goes deep, then the hole is going to be right between the weakside and middle linebacker. The second we plant our foot, we need to throw the ball so we can execute the play before the defense has an ability or has time to close on us and squeeze that route down. If you fish hook, it makes it real difficult for the quarterback. So we want him to run right into the hole, plant his foot and get the ball right now. If they do squeeze us, then we have the tight end coming over the top in the off curl and we will throw behind the guys that are squeezing. Now if they play us on another kind of zone, let’s say the width drops straight, the corner presses and they have some kind of two deep and there is a big hole. As we release and that width drops, we say go get the hole. We teach our players to crouch and become very small after they catch the ball so they are harder to tackle. You can do some other things like turn your protection so
there is no hot guy. The only disadvantage is when you turn protection, you have to peek on the other side to watch out for new hot guys. So there are some things you can do with it by changing your protection around. If you have the right kind of back and you do it enough, the players get a lot of confidence and they love to be one-onone with some grass out there. Usually the defenders work like crazy to get nine guys around the ball all the time. Especially when you are running the ball. When you release and you see man-toman coverage, you are going up and putting a move on and working it inside or outside. When they release, they need to get up to that move point, shake, push, put on a definite move and then plant a foot and now accelerate and use speed. I tell young players to take their time and really make a hard push. Now, at the move point, freeze the defender and go inside or outside. Make the defender run. Now to get this to where you are comfortable, you have to be able to release, having in your mind what you are going to do before you get there. You need to get the quarterbacks in a drill everyday with the runningbacks so they can learn to recognize quickly and make precision moves with good timing between quarterback and runningback.
Chris Pella, Tight Ends
Coach Reynolds mentioned that I have been at BYU for a little while. I’m the new guy on the staff. This is my 14th season. I feel that it has really been a privilege to work with the offensive coaches at BYU and to work with the tight ends. During our best years, the tight end was a valuable part of this offense. We are always trying to find ways to enhance our offense, as a lot of teams have done. Sometimes you see an empty backfield, five wide receivers in the game and people dislocate out of the backfield. Traditionally, for our tight ends to catch many passes, it creates a bit of a unique scenario in trying to recruit tight ends that can fill a different role other than line up, block a few times and run down the field and catch a lot of passes. In recruiting, people ask me, what is your profile of a tight end at BYU? I would like to recruit 6-6, 265 pound guys who run 4.5. I think everybody in the country would like to recruit guys like that, unfortunately, we’re not able to do that. So, I’d probably settle for 65, 260 pound guys who run 4.6 and maybe only have a 38-inch vertical jump instead of
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a 48-inch vertical jump. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to reach that goal either. Our tight ends range from 6-3 to 6-6, 240260 pounds. They all have good mobility and can run. When you have somebody who is 6-5 or 6-6 out there and you have a corner or a safety over there who is under six feet tall trying to cover him, we certainly think that enhances our ability to throw the ball down the field. We are also trying to find a tight end that can fit into a four vertical concept. He can be one of the four guys running down the field trying to put that fourth vertical stretch into that secondary. Traditionally, the fullbacks and tight ends run very similar routes and have very strong crossover ability. If we put our tight ends in a Y split-out position, they will generally make most of the catches on the team. I also think what is very important to understand is tight ends cannot be eliminated from blocking, protecting and helping the running game. I think that the biggest thing that I have to work on as a tight end coach is trying to find time to make sure these guys know how to block. They know how to pass protect. We are going to come up with a scheme that allows us a chance to protect our quarterback. That means keeping the tight end in protection once in a while. We run zone plays inside and outside to turn our tight ends into good blockers. All you have to do is block him in or block him out and the back will make a cut. That makes you a good blocker. That has taken a lot of pressure off of our tight ends on blocking certain run points. The hardest block for a tight end is to hook an outside linebacker. I think with the zone play, we have changed our aiming point and put a zone position where we just want our tight ends to knock him backwards and then block him wherever he goes. Traditionally the way we teach blocking has changed a little bit, but I also think it is a critical element. I am a real leverage type person. I think a lot, talk a lot and coach a lot about using leverage in blocking. I figured out that leverage is a creative development that can help you win the battle of trying to block big people backwards. If you can get your hands inside the defender’s hands and get your body in a position to control his chest, you can control his body. I think the most important thing if you teach blocking is understanding that the guy with his hands inside wins the battle. I think the other thing that is important for tight ends is
to get off the line of scrimmage. Get yourself in position to get to your route. Obviously, people are going to try to reroute you. The number one thing I believe is protecting your chest. So, our whole format is to release in a manner with a technique that allows us a chance to get our shoulders past that defender and get ourselves into our routes. Fundamentally, we always emphasize release steps which means to open our hips and get ourselves in position to drive our arms up the field, protect our chest and keep those linebackers and defensive linemen from getting to our arms or chest and rerouting us. The thing that we do that I think is creative is line up our tight ends in the backfield and put them in short motion and direction in the way we want them to go when the ball is snapped. I think this gives us a chance to have our tight end moving or put him in a formation where they can’t anticipate where he is going to be and have somebody waiting for him. Another thing we will do is split him out. Bringing tight ends across formations will give you different ways for them to get off the line of scrimmage into those outs. If the tight end doesn’t block, then they are going to think pass right away. So we think it is very important that our tight ends help sell the run also. We work hard on trying to release through people on playaction passes. We want to sell the run first, we run a bootleg where we have two tight ends running the first and second level on misdirection. If they take off down the field and the secondaries get a primary key of pass and they are running with them, then that whole play-action fake concept has been wasted. I have always felt very strongly about the ability to get guys motivated to play hard. I think we have a very narrow window of opportunity in coaching. Obviously when we have practices, that is an opportunity to coach and make ourselves better. I think the kids have to realize it. This window of opportunity closes very quickly. I spent a lot of my early career in coaching at Utah State and also played there with Merlin Olson. Merlin was part of the ‘Fearsome Foursome’ with the Los Angeles Rams. I was down in Ram Park one day just sitting there with Merlin and I asked him, “Hey Merlin, what do you contribute your success to as a football player?” He said, “I always had this one philosophy that I was going to play every play as though it was
going to be the last play in my career. It didn’t matter if it was in practice, the Pro Bowl, the Super Bowl, no matter what the situation was, I was going to take advantage of that opportunity.” That has always stuck with me and it has always been a part of my coaching philosophy. What happened earlier today, you will never have that opportunity again. What happens tomorrow is another challenge, but you can’t get to that until you get to tomorrow. I have always tried to instill that into my players. Don’t miss this opportunity because you aren’t going to get it again. I coach the kickers, also. I tell kickers all the time, once that ball leaves your foot, it has to leave your mind. You have to get ready for the next kick. I tell the tight end, if you make a bad block or if you drop a pass, that is history. Just think about the good one or think about the next one and get ready and make yourself visualize that you are going to catch the next one. You are going to overcome that little mistake that you can do it and try to create a positive environment for them to play and practice. I think it is very important that you take the opportunities in practice and make the kids the best that you possibly can. Tight end is a low level, mid-level route type of position for us. Certainly that fits the profile of the standard traditional tight end. We want our tight ends to have a chance to be successful. The word sale was mentioned in two formations earlier. Sale is a hole we try to create 15-20 yards deep, where the three-deep and the underneath zones meet. We emphasize to our tight ends, get 15 yards down the field before you even start to slow down. We try to sell into that spot and become a fixture and give the quarterback a chance to throw to you in an area that is going to be open. It changes a little bit from where the ball is on the field and those types of things. Two things that we are concerned about are getting enough stretch and that the wide receiver, flanker and split end have enough speed to force the corner to go deep and a safety to respect that deep post. That is when things open up for a tight end. We still like to create a scenario where that tight end has a chance to catch the ball. Obviously if it is just man-for-man, he becomes a primary receiver in this route. If it isn’t a hot ball, then our tight end knows that he has to get open. A man route is just a hard cut out. The big thing about teaching man routes is working on staying flat and
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getting separation. As soon as you drift up the field, if that ball is thrown in any kind of position where the defender can come underneath, they have a good chance for an interception. As long as you keep your body between the ball and the defender and the quarterback has a chance to throw that ball in front of you, it is almost impossible to intercept it. In the zone concept, the quarterback can throw the ball wherever he needs to throw it to get you to an open spot. In this alignment, the quarterback can throw the ball inside. If the safety is inside, he can throw the ball outside. The halfback option is exactly the same concept, only it is to the weak side and we bring the tight end across and create the same scenario, 1520 yards deep in his sell zone to get open. I think the other thing that is important about tight ends is they can be a factor in blitz control. We just want a little arrow route involved with a strong safety blitz. We have a free safety in a position to try and cover a tight end and we compress our body, drop our shoulders, turn up the field, break a tackle and have a chance for a big play. That play probably generates more yards after a catch than any play tight ends get involved with and I think it is a very good route. I think the number one reason receivers drop footballs is because they turn their eyes away from their hands before they catch the football. You cannot spend enough time teaching kids to watch the ball into their hands and watch that ball come to their body. I am a real believer in that and you can look at just about anybody who drops a pass and you will see their head turns away from their hands. If you can train an individual to be disciplined enough to always watch their hands, they will never drop a pass.
Roger French, Offensive Line
The one thing I have found out about football is that it is a demanding sport and when you coach the offensive line, it is even more demanding because things are changing. I remember when we would just line up and we could block five guys. Defenses are really gearing up to come after you. People are jumping on top of the quarterback and we aren’t sure where they are coming from. Everyone talks about cup protection. For me, cup protection is fine and relative to what a lot of people are trying to do. You
block the defensive people on the line of scrimmage in a cup formation to give the quarterback enough room to throw. Myself, I talk in different terms to my kids. I talk in terms of mug protection. But when I talk about a mug protection, it has a better value for what we are trying to get done because in this scenario, they are going to close to the quarterback. In mug protection, our thoughts are to go perpendicular. Everything we do, we want to be perpendicular. We want to come straight back. Our front three people are going to be the lockup men in the front to give the quarterback any opportunity to step forward if he has to. We will make it a four yard variance coming into the quarterback. So you have four yards on either side and in this situation they are going to close it a lot quicker. We try to maintain splits. We’ve got a three-foot split on each side of a player and we hope our tight end will go anywhere from three to four feet widening the area that they have to come through. A lot of people say you can’t over-split because they will jump people down inside on you. That is very true but you readjust or pick up the player with a back. We try to keep guys four yards from the quarterback. The hard part about anything is keeping your offensive linemen in a squared-up position. I think the number one thing you have to teach your offensive linemen is they have to keep square to the line of scrimmage. We have to keep those shoulders squared, they have to keep those hips squared, they have to keep those feet coming back in the proper setting. That’s not easy. That is the thing that you have to try to teach and the thing that we try to do. If the defense jumps down inside, we relock our backs and the guard makes a signal to the tackle to block outside. The back helps with the inside pressure. The one thing that you always find is you have a real tendency to get beat inside because of the movement. You want to come back square so that if this guy does arc in there, your ability to move inside or outside is made a lot of easier for you. One thing I have found that really helps our lineman is jumping rope. If you have a great athlete and he can’t move his feet, he cannot block. Jumping rope teaches good footwork and enables players to move their feet better. Blocking is a sliding and gliding technique. It’s keeping those feet flat on the ground. If you move, you have to move slow. When you move, you want to move
with smoothness and glide. You don’t want to bounce. Bouncing around will not get it done. People always ask if he has good footwork. If he has big feet, sure he has good footwork. The answer is how does he move on those feet? Which way does he move? If you look at a young man and he jumping and galloping everywhere, he does not have good footwork. The smoothness is something you have to have. We put our athletes in aerobics to add agility and smoothness. The number one thing I teach is getting in the proper stance. The important part of three-point stance is where the buttocks are. If you want to get out of a stance quickly and move your feet quickly, you cannot let your buttocks drop down. Your feet won’t move as fast when you are sitting on them. Another situation that you have is what you do to protect yourself in offensive line play. Number one, you have to be in what we call a stagger stance. A stagger stance will put you in a position to get the job done. The other thing that you want to prevent young men from doing is going forward on pass protection. That is an essential. When the lineman is in a stance, the number one thing I want is that knee over the toe. I want my foot down and I want my feet flat on the ground. I want to be on the instep of my back foot or my stagger foot, that way I can push off from any direction I want to go. The other thing I want to do is to have my back straight, shoulders back, hands up in position to block with bent knees. We have four nevers that we always talk about. If you can do all four of these things you will win most of your pass protection and one-on-one techniques. Number one, never go forward. If you go forward you are going to lose the battle. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you are going to end up in a footrace to the quarterback and the defensive man is going to win. This is a real must, never cross your feet. Now, we do go forward on certain individual things. If we are running a 50 protection or a three-step drop, our offensive linemen will fire forward. If we run play-action, our linemen will fire forward. But, the main thing you want to do is to prevent them from going forward on dropback protection. The next one is don’t drop your head. Once you put your head down, people are going to get behind you and get in between you and the quarterback. Always keep your body in-between the defender and the quarterback. At least that way they don’t get a free run and knock
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the quarterback’s head off, which occasionally does happen. The one that bothers me more than anything in our relationship is talking about never getting beat inside. The reason you never want to get beat inside is that by not getting beat inside, you are going to force defensive men to go the long way to the quarterback. The main thing is, don’t let your guys get beat inside. Anytime we are even beat inside, the first thing we try to do is force the man that is beating us inside to come back outside which buys us time to get the quarterback to throw the football. That is essential. There are a lot of others that you can add and one is, don’t let your kids lean. Sometimes, if a guy takes a lateral step or a polished step to the right, and the defender goes there, instead of continuing to move your feet, they start to lean with their hands. So, if you can prevent those things in an offensive lineman, you are going to be successful in your pass protection. The other thing that we want to try to do is get out of your stance. If you are in a stance, you want to get out of it. We will put guys in a two-point stance and we want them to move quickly to the snap. It’s got to be relatively automatic that that left or right foot going back, is going back. We talk in terms of a power step which is a head on position step maybe six inches to the inside and six inches to the outside. We have what we call a kick step where we are going to get our feet quickly back and get
into a position to take down an outside rusher. The importance of all these steps is that you get an anchor. You have to anchor the inside foot. That comes right back to that knee position. You want to be moving with your weight always distributed on the inside of the knee. When you move, you are keeping your center of gravity always in the same place and that is straight down the middle of you. At all costs, don’t get into the position where you are leaning out away from that foot. That foot has to move and you have to sit that weight right back down between those legs. So what if they change directions. I use a jazz step. You kick back and don’t just step the toe back in there but drive it into the ground. You are forcing the defensive man now to go into the line of scrimmage. When our kids get into a situa tion that they can’t take on a speed rusher, we want them to get a pre-kick and get into a position with that instep and that flat foot. The snap of the ball is the only time that we take the inside foot out. What we are doing is we have a pre-kick and I want him to get as wide and as deep as he can. Because the deeper this foot is, the further this one can come back. So if he does get a jump on me, or if I can get a jump on him, I am a yard deeper than I originally would be if I took a kick step. Here is a great drill for centers. If you can do this drill, you will be a good center. Number one, the center kicks back and he sets his position. The defender moves to
the outside, he slides over and punches him. The next defender crosses behind and the center slides over and punches him. You can keep this drill going over and over. It is a great reactionary situation. You can incorporate as many people in the drill as you need to. Another drill we use is called a recoil. Punch and recoil. On the snap of the ball, the defender is going to walk out and boom, I’m going to set him, he is going to come again, boom, I’m going to set him. The object of the drill is to hit him in the numbers in the proper position. If you do that, number two, you will want to stop his charge. You go for about 10 yards. The first time you do it, try to keep that knee over your toe so you won’t go forward. One more is called the balance drill. A defensive man puts his hand around a lineman’s neck and the other hand on his chest. All you are going to do is rock forward and back. I’m going to pull on that neck and then I’m going to push to the chest. It is an excellent drill for balance. It is a good drill and all you have to do is watch their feet, watch where their hands are, see that the head is up, see that the feet are moving properly, that they have the lead left knee over the left toe or the right toe depending on how they position and go from there. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope we gave you something you can use and remember. This is how we do it, if you do it another way, that is fine, it’s not etched in stone. Thank you.
It is important to know the AFCA Division and District in which your school belongs. Following are the four AFCA Divisions: Division I-A — Institutions that are in NCAA Division I-A Division I-AA — Institutions that are in NCAA Division I-AA Division II — Institutions that are in NCAA Division II and the NAIA Division III — Institutions that are in NCAA Division III
• Proceedings • 77th AFCA Convention • 2000 •