The power concept has continually been a staple in prep powerhouse Catholic High School (LA) offensive system, but the advent of the 4i technique in Odd fronts proved to be denting the point of attack. So, this past season run game coordinator Sanders Davis made one minor tweak to create more force on play side doubles.
By Sanders Davis
Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line
Catholic High School of Baton Rouge (LA)
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Over the past 4 years, our primary run play at Catholic High has been Power. On average, we have run the play 100+ times per season and averaged 7.4 yards per carry. However, in the 2017 season, our yards per carry on the play reduced. After studying our season, we realized that we significantly struggled running Power to odd fronts, specifically those that aligned their defensive ends in 4’s or 4i’s, and we needed an answer – we certainly weren’t going to stop running Power against these looks. After much trial and error, our outcome was an unconventional double team involving the H/sniffer or fullback and the play-side tackle; we refer to this technique as the FAT (fullback and tackle) technique. Notably, we removed the need to win a 1-on-1 battle at the point of attack. This minor adjustment was possibly our most influential and innovative tweak to our run game this year.
Editor’s Note: This report solely focuses on the development of our Fullback/Tackle double team. For more information on how we teach power against odd front, including our center-guard double team, you can find the following article written by our head coach, Gabe Fertitta on X&O Labs: Cardinal Double Team Technique in Gap Schemes
Trial-and-Error (Potential Answers):
Our first attempt to solve this issue of running A-Gap Power against odd front involved switching the responsibilities of our fullback and play side tackle. Instead of the tackle blocking the 4 or 4i and the fullback kicking the edge defender, the tackle would work out to the edge defender and the fullback would kick the 4 or 4i. We felt that we could potentially widen the 4/4i with the tackle’s movement allowing the fullback to kick the 4/4i with inside leverage. While this technique works well against teams that play the tackle’s shoulder with the 4i or play a static front, we found that this technique was not resilient against front movement or 4i’s that simply play the B-Gap.
Next, we attempted to advance what Rice’s Head Coach, Mike Bloomgren, calls “swabbing the gap” with the skip puller. We would make a call for the play-side tackle to base the 4/4i and alert the skip puller to be hyper-aware of any “meat of the defender” in the B-Gap. The puller would slow his pull and help chip the defender out to the tackle who would simultaneously torque the defender on the puller’s contact. We felt that this technique would allow us to be more aggressive against 4’s/4i’s with the tackle and give us an answer against movement as the puller could get around an inside slant. While this technique works well against teams that declare their gap responsibility early in the play and proved to be more capable of establishing a double team, we found that it did not work well against teams that 2-gap their 4’s or played with aggressive, down-hill linebackers due to the slower timing of the pull.
Ultimately, we found that both of these techniques were valuable, but we did not feel that they gave us the answers to every scenario that we might see. In an effort to make a more resilient technique/scheme, we developed the FAT technique to solve most of our issues at once.
Benefits of the FAT Technique:
Included in the below explanation are these benefits that we found in using this technique:
- Able to create a double team at the point-of-attack on Power against an odd front
- Able to maintain A and B-Gap integrity against 4’s and 4i’s to allow A-Gap track on Power
- The technique can be used by a variety of players: fullbacks, H’s/sniffers, and receivers
Continue to the full-length version of this report...
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- How the coaching points on the FAT technique are different than traditional gap double teams.
- How the FAT technique is able to handle pre-snap movement of the 4i technique.
- How the FAT technique can be effective in ensuring the A gap power entry point against 6-technique defensive ends.
- How the FAT technique is adapted to handle edge pressure or outside linebackers on the line of scrimmage.
- How the FAT technique can be adapted in blocking other run concepts such as divide zone, insert zone and duo lead play.
- Plus, raw and narrated game film of the FAT technique.
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As more teams begin to shift to odd and bear fronts that make it difficult to run the ball, we have to create new ways to handle the issues that these fronts cause. Because these fronts often remove the ability for linemen to double team with each other, they can cause some anxiety and uncertainty in running the ball. We believe that the answer is unconventional yet simple. I hope this technique will benefit you and your program and help give answers to odd and bear fronts. Good luck as you prepare for next season.
Meet Coach Davis: Sanders Davis is the Offensive Line Graduate Assistant at Rice University. Before leaving for Rice in February of 2019, he was the Run Game Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach at Catholic High School of Baton Rouge for the past 2 seasons. Prior to being named the Run Game Coordinator, he was the Offensive Line Coach at Catholic High for 2 seasons. This past year, Catholic High finished as the State Runner-Up in the highest classification in the state with a record of 12-2. Among their achievements was their prolific run game, ending the season with over 3,000 rushing yards.