These are the 12 drills Coach Ingram uses during the season to develop the skill sets of his offensive linemen in pass protection.
By Ken Ingram
Offensive Line Coach
George Fox University (OR)
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Pass protection is all about the development of hands and feet, but it’s the eye discipline to play with the right leverage that often gets overlooked. Regardless of the time of rush an offensive lineman is combating, it becomes essential to be in the right position to get between the quarterback and the defender to ensure the ball gets released on time. These are the 12 drills we will work during the season to develop the skill sets of our offensive linemen in pass protection.
Drill 1: Kick Slide Drill
This is one of the first drills we do for pass protection. We want to concentrate on these skills.
- Balanced stance
- Push off the front foot, kick with the back foot
- Always coaching: hips down, head up, chest back, hands six inches in front of chest
- Looking for a base with the feet, both side to side and forward backwards.
- Once they have kicked four times, hold the position to see if they are in the proper position.
Drill 2: Kick Slide with Punch Drill
Now we add the punch with the kick slide.
- Only punch when defender gets into the strike zone, which is the zone that the defender gets in when he is in arms-length of the offensive linemen. He should never strike before that.
- When he punches, he should keep his head and chest back.
- Hands should always be together, before and after the punch.
Drill 3: Defending Club, Rip Drill
We start in the pass fit position with hips down, head up, chest back, not leaning forward, good base forward and backwards.
- Defender clubs with one hand and rips with the other.
- Offensive linemen will replace hands. If the defender is going to the offensive players left, his left hand will go to the defenders shoulder, and the right had will go the defenders hip. If the defender goes to the offensive players right then it is just the opposite.
- Coaching points, keep hips low, move feet, and push on the defenders hip.
Drill 4: Side-to-Side Drill
Here we work to develop lateral quickness.
- Start in pass protection stance with knees bent, hips down, head up, chest back, not leaning forward, good base forward and backwards.
- Feet should straddle a line.
- The defender takes one step to the right, then back to the starting position, then one step to the left, and back to starting position.
- Go for about 6-8 seconds.
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- Coaching points and film of the Mirror Drill, which can double as a leverage drill and conditioning drill in pass protection.
- Coaching points and film of the Walk, Jog, Run Drill, which trains offensive linemen on when to accelerate their feet in pass protection.
- Coaching points and film of the Christmas Tree Drill, which combines the kick slide and the power step in man pass protection.
- Coaching points and film of the Punch Against Angled Bags Drill, which helps offensive linemen time up the punch in pass protection.
- Coaching points and film of the Three Bag Vertical Drill, which combines the fundamentals to defeat a wide rush, inside rush and ball rush.
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While we may not get to all of these drills during the course of a game week, it’s important to introduce them during the pre-season so that your players get a feel for what is expected of them when developing their man protection fundamentals.
Meet Coach Ingram: Ken Ingram finished his fifth season at George Fox University as an assistant coach to Chris Casey in 2017. Ingram worked under Casey at Aloha from 2004-08, helping build that program into a strong one that eventually captured the Oregon 6A state championship in 2010. Following that, Ingram won a state 5A championship of his own in 2009 as the head coach of the Hillsboro (Ore.) High team, which he directed through the 2012 season before accepting his new position at George Fox. While at Hillsboro, he was one of the coaches for the annual Les Schwab Bowl high school all-star game in 2010 and 2011.
Ingram began his coaching career with three stints as an assistant at Linfield College (1988, 1990-91, 1993). He was the offensive line coach at Sul Ross State University from 1994-95 and Millsaps College from 1996-97. He moved to Texas Lutheran University from 1998-2001 to be the defensive line coach and special teams coordinator for two years, defensive coordinator for one year and offensive coordinator his last year.