Being efficient with practice time is one of the most important aspects of being successful on game day. Individual time is critical in terms of installing plays and working technique, but it is a struggle to get good looks most of the time. Full 11-on-11 live (or thud) work is very productive, but it increases the risk of injury. Coach Iske has found that working o-line versus d-line as much as possible helps make both sides better and is more efficient than trying to get back-up offensive linemen or scout team defensive linemen to give us a good look during individual. Read the report.
By Justin Iske
Offensive Line Coach / Co-Offensive Coordinator
Southwest Oklahoma State University
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Being efficient with practice time is one of the most important aspects of being successful on game day. Individual time is critical in terms of installing plays and working technique, but it is a struggle to get good looks most of the time. Full 11-on-11 live (or thud) work is very productive, but it increases the risk of injury. We have found that working o-line versus d-line as much as possible helps make both sides better and is more efficient than trying to get back-up offensive linemen or scout team defensive linemen to give us a good look during individual.
In terms of practice time, any practice where we have at least half pads, we will dedicate the last 10-15 minutes of individual to working run pods vs. the defensive line. Depending on the time of year and what our needs are, this could be done in one of four ways (one-on-one, two-on-one, half-line or full line). We will also spend 15-20 minutes, depending on how long we are running pass skeleton/seven-on-seven, with some combination of three pass protection drills against the defensive line (one-on-one pass rush, full line, or blitz pick-up). We work one-on-one pass rush no matter the dress for practice and will work full line and/or blitz pickup when we have half pads or full gear.
One-On-One Run Pod
The first type of run pod we do is one-on-one. We will line up the first string offensive line with about five foot splits on a yard line and align a defensive lineman across from each one. Starting with one of the tackles (or a tight end), we will execute a base block, reach block, down block or cutoff against the defender while he works his technique to recognize and defeat the block. We will then work down the line to the next player in rapid succession to get as many reps as possible. While we will get some coaching done “on the run,” filming this session is critical so that we can get a maximum number of reps and still be able to go back later and review each rep.
Two-On-One Run Pod
Two-on-one pods are a similar set-up to one-on-ones except for now we will align two offensive linemen across from each defender (with the exception of the open side tackle). If you are a team that doesn’t use a tight end, then both offensive tackles would be one-on-one. Procedure for this drill is the same as one-on-one pods, maximizing reps and coaching on the run, then reviewing film later to make sure correct techniques are being used. If desired, and they are available, linebackers can be inserted into the drill to work on climbing to the second level.
Half Line Run Pod
Half-line is another great way to work good on good. It is best to have a center on each side so that the defense can work on snap recognition and the centers get some extra work on snapping. Based off your offensive scheme, tight ends can be added on one side or both. This drill can be done against just the down linemen on defense or linebackers can be inserted. If desired, running backs can be added to the drill also. We recommend against this though because of the added wear and tear on the running backs. Again, key coaching points are rapid fire reps, minimal coaching so the drill is not bogged down and filming the drill for review later.
To study film of this drill, click on the video below:
Continue to the full-length version of this report…
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- Setup and film of the Stalemate Competition Drill that Coach Iske uses to teach offensive linemen hip and hand leverage.
- Setup and film of the Box Competition Drill that Coach Iske uses to teach eye discipline of offensive linemen in run blocking.
- Setup and film of the Triangle Competition Drill that Coach Iske uses to teach offensive linemen how to block in space.
- Setup and film of the Three on Three Competition Drill that Coach Iske uses, which combines the box drill and the triangle drill.\
- Plus film of five other competition drills that Coach Iske uses to pit offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen in the pre-season.
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The job of a coach is to create situations as close to game speed as possible during practice while keeping players healthy throughout a long season. Here at Southwestern, we have accomplished this goal by working our best offensive and defensive linemen against each other on a daily basis. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about anything mentioned in this report.
Meet Coach Iske: Justin Iske joined Dan Cocannouer’s staff at SWOSU in 2015 as the Offensive Line Coach/Co-Offensive Coordinator. In his first season on staff, he helped lead the Bulldogs to eight wins and a bowl game appearance. In 2016, SWOSU allowed five sacks in 430 passing attempts (one every 86 attempts). 2017 will be his 22nd year as a college football coach. He and his wife, Kelley, have a 16-year old son, Hunter.