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swosuBy Justin Iske, Offensive Line Coach, Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Discover the best ways to adapt your power scheme to various looks that defenses will throw at you this season.


By Justin Iske
Offensive Line Coach
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Twitter: @justiniske

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swosuThe One-Back Power play is a simple scheme that is easy to teach assignment wise and can be adjusted to account for any defensive alignment or post-snap movement. This play and our Counter play are taught in tandem as they are both gap schemes that are very similar, especially on the front side. The game film attached to this clinic report shows all of the techniques discussed below done improperly and properly.

Base Assignment Rules for Power:

Tight End: C Gap - Man if covered by a down lineman. C gap to second level if uncovered. Must account for any C gap run through.

Play Side Tackle: B Gap - Create a double team if possible with either the tight end or play side guard. Account for any B gap run through.

Play Side Guard: A Gap - Create a double team if possible with either the play side tackle or center. Must account for any A gap run through.

Center: Back side A Gap to second level. Must account for any back side A gap run through.

Back Side Guard: Skip/Square Pull to play side linebacker. Read the play side double team and/or tight end’s block for entry point. Work for a kick out on your linebacker but don’t pass by opposite color.

Back Side Tackle: Back side B Gap to hinge. Must account for any B gap threat first and then hinge to the back side C gap if no B gap threat.


Having a tight end that can base block a defensive end is the number one factor for having a consistent Power play. If you aren’t blessed with that type of player at the tight end position, you have some options besides deciding to scrap the play altogether. Those options are as follows:

  1. Run Power from a two-back set and assign the fullback to kick out the front side defensive end.
  2. Put the Y off the ball either aligned in the B gap or in motion to the B gap in order to give him an angle to get a kick out on the front side defensive end. This also has the advantage of being able to flip the play based on alignment and/or matchup.
  3. Flip the Y and back side tackle’s alignment to get a better blocker at the point of attack. This will result in an overload formation and will also force changes in the secondary.

Double Team Coaching Points

The double team on the front side of a gap scheme is different than a Zone scheme double team. Key points to make for both players on the combo are as follows:

  • Each lineman is responsible for anything that runs through their back side gap.
  • The must keep shoulders square to the line of scrimmage.
  • Getting movement on the first level is more important than blocking linebackers.
  • They players must be hip to hip in order to not get split.

Down Block / Fill Coaching Points

First step is a six-inch step for width with the backside foot. Second step mirrors the first step with the play side foot. Two-hand punch to the near number of the defender. He needs to get his eyes to the chin of the defender and roll his hips on contact. On contact, he must wheel the hips up field to pin the defender. Either lock out the play side arm or use it as a club to the defender’s elbow.

Square/Skip Pull Coaching Points

We use a square pull technique on the power play because it allows us to get depth from the line of scrimmage while staying square to the line. This allows out players to better locate our entry point and track our linebacker.

First step is a six-inch drop step for width and depth with the play side foot. Second step is a skip with both feet working for width and depth while keeping the shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. He will then locate the front side double team and/or tight end’s block for entry point. Work through the first open window and get a kick out.

Hinge Coaching Points

It is important to stress to the back side tackle that he is responsible for the B gap first. His first step is a 12-inch step for width with the inside foot. His second step mirrors the first step with the outside foot. He must attack the inside number of any B gap threat. It is critical that he does not allow defender to cross his face (note: he may chop inside thigh board if necessary).

If no B gap threat is present, he will hinge to the C gap. To do this he will start with a six-inch drop step for width and depth with the outside foot and mirror with the inside foot. He will attack inside number of C gap threat. He can club with the inside arm if needed. 

Running Back Alignment and Technique

All backs are different in pace and footwork. As a coach, there is a fine line between being consistent with alignment and being flexible to different types of backs. Regardless there are a few points that must be made to the back:

  • The initial aiming point for the back is the inside hip of the guard. This is an A gap play!
  • Get downhill quickly. In order to avoid negative plays, the back must get downhill, make one cut and get vertical.
  • Get on the inside hip of the puller and trust that he is going to get a kick out.
  • The quarterback must get the ball to the back as deep as possible so that he can make his read and get vertical.

Under Center or Pistol: We start with the backs heels at 7 ½ yards. First step is a drop step with the backside foot. Second step is a lead step at the front side guard’s inside hip. Depending on the game situation and the type of back, we have ended up with the back anywhere from six to nine yards deep in his alignment.

Shotgun: Typically we will align the back with his toes on the QB’s heels splitting the guard’s outside leg. We have aligned the back to the call and away from the call and had success both ways. With the back away from the call, we use the same footwork we use on Inside Zone (open, crossover and roll). With the back to the call, we use a slide-shuffle technique. The key point here is that the back must keep his shoulders square to the line as he gets the handoff.


What You’re Missing…

Join X&O Labs’ Insiders (an exclusive membership-based website) and get the full-length version of this clinic report. Here’s just a short list of what Coach Iske reveals in this powerful report…

  • Coaching points for the tight end against six, seven and nine technique defensive ends.
  • Coaching points for the covered and uncovered linemen in double teams against both play side and back side shades.
  • 2 adjustments that can be made when blocking a back side 3-technique in the Under front.
  • 2 adjustments that can be made against a seven-man box in an Over front.
  • 2 adjustments that can be made against the Bear front.
  • 3 ways to account for the force defender on the play side.
  • VIDEO: Watch game film of the One-Back Power concept.

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The Power play, paired with Counter, makes up our Gap scheme concept. This is a critical piece of our running game here at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. It is a very simple concept to teach and can be adjusted based on personnel and match-ups. If you have any questions please feel free to contact here at SWOSU.




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