While most programs preach an A gap power concept, the University of Wyoming practices it. And it does so by teaching horizontal double teams at the point of attack, bump techniques for the backside guard on shuffle pulls and A gap minded tackles (not guards) to the play side. It’s purely an A gap to A gap forced entry point for the back and in Offensive Line Coach Scott Fuchs’ exclusive clinic report, he details the fundamentals and shows the necessary drill work he uses to ensure a pure A gap play. Read the report. Read the report...
By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
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The power concept is to Midwest football as five octave harmonies are to Mariah Carey. It’s tied into the culture, born out of the necessities of pounding the ball in colder climates at the end of the year. So, when Scott Fuchs took the offensive line position under former North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl, let’s say it was “suggested” that he learn the nuisances of how the Bison were running its A gap power play. Now nine years later at the University of Wyoming, Coach Fuchs is still finding ways to gut defense by getting the play to run as north to south as possible. And he’s doing so by coaching his linemen, and the back, several techniques to enforce an A gap entry point.
Lateral vs. Vertical Combination Blocks
The focus of this report is on Wyoming’s “baby,” the A gap entry power concept, which coincides the lateral double team. While this concept is certainly not foreign to most programs, Wyoming does supplement it with a C gap power play. “We use the C gap play if our FB is getting his butt spilled, then we will take it outside,” said Coach Fuchs. “We want to make them defend the A gap first which makes them more vulnerable to the C gap scheme. We need to have the C gap play ready if they are filling it.”
Double Bump Technique: Used to move a 2i or 4i technique defender. Same foot, same shoulder footwork (Diagram 16).
According to Coach Fuchs, the biggest coaching point in the double bump technique is training the eyes. “We are not going to look at a linebacker,” he said. “We are going to focus on the outside hip of the tackle and we have to know something is happening. Is the FB getting spilled? Is there a soft spot in front of me because the double team was really good and I have to insert on a linebacker? I have to fix that stuff. If I’m pulling to the right, I will skate laterally back and knock that defender back on the fullback so I can still get to my linebacker. We never turn on that and our head has to be inside on the linebacker.”
To study game film of the double bump technique, click on the video below:
Responsibility of the Back for the A Gap Power
Of course, this play doesn’t get executed well without the back taking the right footwork and making the correct read. Regardless of backfield alignment, the back will use a slide step and get straight downhill with the goal of not taking anything past the A gap. “It’s an A gap to A gap play,” said Coach Fuchs. “It’s like the old movie Days of Thunder where he wants to run through the smoke. We will never bounce the play.” While Coach Fuchs admits the A gap power is more suitable for a bruising back, it can be affective with various skill sets. “Sometimes you create a soft spot but you don’t blow everything up, so you want a back that says ‘there’s kind of a little crease here and I’m going to hit it as hard as I can.”
As far as the read, if the back hits it in play side A, he will read the tackle’s block. “If the tackle is U turning, then he would stick his foot in the ground and cut it opposite of that,” said Coach Fuchs. “If the backside nose is popping over the top and giving up the backside A gap, the back is going to take it there. That’s what he’s seeing and he’s seeing it quickly.”
Continue to the full-length version of this report…
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- Drill film and game film on how Coach Fuchs teaches the lateral double team for his play side guard and tackle.
- The Stake, Stab and Ground footwork Coach Fuchs uses to train the play side tackle on double teams.
- The Inside Settle and Stab footwork Coach Fuchs uses to train the play side guard on double teams.
- How Coach Fuchs trains the play side tackle (not guard) to clear the A gap for the back.
- Drill film and game film of the Shuffle Pull technique Coach Fuchs uses to train the backside guard and the 5-technique choices he’ll use to clear the A gap for the back.
- Plus the complete drill film and game film catalog Wyoming uses to teach its Power concept.
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It’s one thing to preach about the A gap power, but it’s another thing to teach it. It’s imperative to give your players the techniques and fundamentals necessary to make sure the play hits in the A gap, as Coach Fuchs does. The quickest way to gash a defense is north to south and running this play effectively ensures that’s the case.