By Cedric Pearl
Central State University (OH)
Editor’s Note: The following article was written by Cedric Pearl, while he was the offensive coordinator at Alabama A&M. Last March, Pearl was hired as the head coach at Central State University in Ohio.
The key to any successful offensive play is to have everyone identified and accounted for in the blocking scheme. When designing a play our staff always knows it’s imperative that everyone understand protection. This is extremely important to the quarterback because he will know where to throw the ball in case of blitz or change to another protection. At AAMU we employ what we call an Area/Man scheme with our five step drop, one back protection scheme. This allows us to get four receivers in the route combination called. Our protection is determined in the play call, which allows everyone to be on the same page.
Area Side of Protection
The Area side of the protection will alert the center, the play side guard and play side offensive tackle to slide to call side and block defenders who attacks their area (gap). The play side OT will block C gap defender, the play side OG will block the B gap defender and the Center with block the A gap defender. These defenders could be on or off the line of scrimmage prior to the ball being snapped. The uncovered lineman to the Area side must check the defender at the line of scrimmage to the call slide before getting eyes on LB’s who are off the ball. This is important because our first rule as offensive linemen is to block the line of scrimmage first.