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By Ryan Schleusner, Offensive Line Coach, Fairmont State

Execution of a proper cut block is centered on two components: proper landmarks and impeccable timing. And since most offensive play concepts vary in these two regards, it makes sense to teach a different cut block technique for each. It’s something Fairmont State offensive line coach Ryan Schleusner introduced this year to his unit as the Fighting Falcons finished 10-2 and ranked 23rd in the final AFCA Division 2 coaches poll, making the playoffs for the first time in school history. Coach Schleusner details the varying cut blocking techniques he teaches in the quick game, screen game and on the backside of wide zone schemes. Read the report...


By Ryan Schleusner
Offensive Line Coach
Fairmont State


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The cut block can be a highly effective weapon in almost any offense when used properly. A well timed and executed cut block can level the playing field at a position where you are usually athletically outmatched by the guy across the ball from you. The effects of these blocks include:

  1. It immediately takes the defender you are tasked with blocking out of the equation on the play.
  2. It can put a great deal of doubt in a defender’s head about how hard and fast he wants to play when he knows there is a good chance he will wind up on the turf if he goes full speed.

We teach cut blocks throughout our offensive structure. They can be used in any of the following concepts (each of which I will detail later in the report).

  1. Quick game pass protection
  2. Backside of outside zone
  3. In space on screens
  4. Reverses
  5. Draws
  6. Trick plays
  7. Backside punch/hinge on gap plays
  8. Down blocks in any pin/pull type of schemes

Continue to the full-length version of this report…

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  • The cut block technique Coach Schleusner teaches in the quick game, including why he feels the lineman should wait until the defender is an arm’s reach away before doing so.
  • How Coach Schluesner teaches the cut block on the backside of outside zone concepts, including the timing necessary to throw the upper cut technique.
  • Why the aiming point changes- not the footwork- when cut blocking at the second level.
  • How Coach Schleusner teaches the cut technique on screens and draws and why he gives his linemen freedom to cut in space on these concepts.

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In summary, the cut block can be a very effective weapon to even the playing field in the trenches against defender’s who are just plain more athletic than you. There are many situations that a cut block can be a very valuable tool in an offensive lineman’s tool belt.  That said, you must be sure they know how to do it, not only in the most effective way possible, but also within the rules of the game. I hope everyone can find something in this article to help you be successful this upcoming season.

Meet Coach Schleusner: Ryan Schleusner just finished his 7th year as an offensive line coach. He has served in that capacity at Fairmont State for the past 2 years with them going 6-4 in 2015 and 10-2 in 2016. Fairmont State finished the 2016 season ranked 23rd in the final AFCA coaches poll and made the NCAA D2 Playoffs for the first time in school history. Schleusner had 2 linemen make the All Mountain East Conference team in 2016. 



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