By Mike Slattery
Huntley High School (IL)
We base our pass game at Huntley High School on our pass protection. We will run quick game, rollout, and play action. If we cannot protect a route we probably will not put it in game plan for the week. What do we mean by protect the route? If we are putting 3, 4 or even 5 receivers out we have to have a very good idea of what we think our opponent is going to do against each particular look. This is where our weekend game planning session pays off. We put up each set against the looks we’ve seen on film and decide what we think will best attack the defense. We start and finish with protection, most of which is based on 6 man protection schemes. We will protect the 6 most dangerous gaps with our offensive line and running back.
We try to keep our rules very simple for our drop back/quick game which allows for more time to work on technique and recognition. The protection we will discuss, and one I would bet many others use is our slide protection. The rules are as follow: back side (BS) is “Big on Big.” The slide starts with first uncovered lineman away from call. This means that if the call is to the right then any covered lineman on the left side will block Big on Big and we will start the slide with the first uncovered lineman back to the right.
How do we define covered vs. uncovered? For us, if the defensive lineman is in an inside, over, or outside shade we consider our lineman to be covered. Against a standard even front, this would typically mean that our left tackle and left guard (covered) would be B.O.B. and the slide would start with the center. It is important to note that we will have our TB blocking inside to outside linebacker opposite the call side. Against the typical odd front, our left tackle would be covered and the slide would start with the left guard.
For us, slide means the line is blocking the gap to the call. This typically allows us to block 3 to the call (even) and 4 (odd). What we teach our lineman is that if they are covered but still supposed to slide, they step to the slide but stay put if there is no threat to the slide side. For example, the Center against an odd front nose with noone threatening the slide gap, there is no reason to just jump out there. Instead, we coach him to step and wait for the guard to come and help (if no immediate threat). The actual uncovered lineman will make the call so all know where it is starting. For us, it may be as simple as the lineman calling out his own jersey number.