This report will analyze how an offense running power and counter schemes can account for the most common defensive adjustments. Opportunities for RPOs and play action passes are prevalent, but this report will focus on strategies that keep the ball in the belly of your running back.
By Wendell Fevrine
New Utrecht High School (NY)
Insiders Members: Login here to access the full-length version of this report.
Gap scheme runs are great foundational concepts for any offense. They force the defense to play assignment football, which displaces defenders in order to overcome the favorable angles for the offense. This article will analyze how an offense running power and counter schemes can account for the most common defensive adjustments. Opportunities for RPO’s and play action passes are prevalent, but this article will focus on strategies that keep the ball in the belly of your running back. Handing the ball off for first downs and touchdowns has a visceral effect on an opponent’s pride that will pay dividends late in games. Getting gutted in the run game is discouraging to a defense and often leads to undisciplined play, which in turn can lead to explosive plays for the offense.
On power, there is a front side combination block to the backside backer (2nd backer in the box). Giving the down block options to stay on the DT or go to backer softens him at the point of attack on the DT. Coach Sam Pittman of the University of Arkansas was the offensive line coach of Northern Illinois when QB Jordan Lynch assaulted the NCAA record books using gap schemes. Coach Pittman teaches the combo block with only the post block reacting to the backside backer. The down blocker stays on the DT no matter what, going down like an avalanche, to ensure movement on the DT. The post block will take a tough step and lift the DT vertically while eyeing backside backer (Inside gap threat). In essence only one person is looking at backside backer in the combination; the running back is responsible for hitting the point of attack with a head of steam and the confidence to make an explosive decision at the heels of the down block while reacting to flashes of color.
The Power play is a part of the gap scheme family. Transversely, there is no gap scheme without a gap block (aka down block). Not getting movement on the DT at the point of attack is the most problematic feature of the play. All the other components of the play mean nothing without maximizing movement at the point of attack. The more movement you have at the point of attack, the more room you have for error with the other components. Movement at the point of attack on the DT is the foundation of the play, trying to fix anything else is futile without ensuring this component.
Problem 1: Play Side Movement
Answer: RB Bang Cut
If the linemen being down blocked tries to play over the top of the down block or is trying to play 2 gaps, the down block will snap his hips into him while staying engaged like a man blocking scheme. The running back needs to maintain eye discipline on the down block and press the A gap full speed. As he approaches the A gap he will break to the tail of the down block (bang cut) and hit the hole “face first” to ensure body lean and low pad level.
Continue to the full-length version of this report...
Join X&O Labs' Insiders, an exclusive membership-based website, and you'll get instant access to the full-length version of this report—including access to everything X&O Labs has ever published. Plus, if you join today, you'll also receive up to 4 FREE books mailed directly to your home or office. Here's just a small sample of what you'll find in the full-length version of this report:
- Coaching points and film of the “Bang Cut Drill” used against LB’s that stay underneath double teams.
- Coaching points and film of the “Roll Back Drill” used against LB’s that work over the top of double teams.
- Coaching points and film of the “Fold Technique” used if no vertical movement is created to get to backside linebacker.
- Coaching points and film of the “J Block” used against physical spill defenders at the point of attack.
- Coaching points and film of the “Dot the I” technique used to teach ball carriers to adjust to physical spill defenders at the point of attack.
Join the Insiders today and get your FREE book(s)!
An offense that can play with physicality and fundamentals demoralizes a defense into a helpless and desperate state. Play action and RPO’s can be a viable part of any game plan, but it’s important to send a message to your team (and your opponent) that you are dictating the tempo and flow of the game. These adjustments can allow you to troubleshoot against a defense without straying away from dominating a game physically. A commitment to the gap scheme allows you to dominate and impose your will on the opponent. They enable young men to develop into detail-oriented problem solvers - qualities that will lead to success in any walk of life. Power encourages toughness and is an on-field expression of all the sacrifices made in the off season.
Meet Coach Wendell Fevrine: Blessed to be a coach, mentor, legal guardian, brother and proud son. Born to Haitian immigrants out of Flatbush, Brooklyn in the thick of a tumultuous 80’s and 90’s era. Survived the traps of extreme poverty and lawlessness, of the Westminster and Caton section, because of the guidance of my no-nonsense football coaches Robert Gentile and Keith Matone. Greg Lusardi (William Paterson) introduced to the coaching profession while I served as a player, captain and assistant coach at Pace University during his tenure. I returned to the same community that molded me to pay forward the lessons that football can teach. Coach Alan Balkan, NYC’s National Football Foundation Senior Member- Board of Directors, has served as a mentor to me as a coach. The principles of the article were influenced by a deep study of Sam Pittman (Arkansas), Kyle Flood (Alabama) and Bob Wylie (Ottawa, CFL). I am currently, developing my kids into great men, fathers, sons and husbands through using the fundamental principles of football.