By Mike Kuchar with Lucas Orchard
Offensive Line Coach
Southeast Missouri State University
At SEMO, the play is called “stretch” but don’t be confused with outside zone; the pin and pull has supplanted the alternative because of its simplicity. It’s become the RedHawks primary run scheme. “We played around with some other things, but wide zone takes too much time to develop,” said Coach Orchard. “The combinations in outside zone are difficult and the back has to be perfect. This concept gives you more wiggle room. It’s difficult getting the offensive line, tight ends and running backs synced all. This was easier for us.”
And this season, the offensive staff of offensive coordinator Jeromy McDowell, running back coach Luke Berblinger and tight end coach Cole Cook relied heavily on using 12 personnel groupings to run the play. It alleviated the responsibility of the second puller, often times allowing him to be an extra puller on the perimeter picking up any additional hats in the secondary.
Mixing Pistol and Off-Set Aiming Points:
While Coach Orchard concedes that off-set alignments are his favorite way to run the scheme (because it keeps the back’s tempo with the second puller) SEMO does choose to utilize some Pistol alignments as well to negate tendencies. In gun alignments, the back is flat through the quarterback’s toes, while in Pistol alignments, he will take QB’s toes, get in relations with the second puller. In Pistol, he may have to take a delay step to tempo the second puller.
“Stretch” is a Day 1 install at SEMO and they will follow the base rules below:
- Inside gap covered- block down
- Inside gap uncovered- pull
While these rules can be manipulated based on scheme structure and personnel, consider the following pictures when blocking an Even front:
The Odd front picture does have its challenges- particularly against linebacker run-through’s when its run to the boundary- it’s something Coach Orchard explains later in the report. But the concept has consistently been a productive field side run scheme even against field pressure because the first puller is able to get that defender kicked and get the play going.
Pin Block Technique:
Coach Orchard teaches a down step for the pin block technique. The first step is intended to split the defender’s midline with his inside foot. “If they are a little looser, we’ll take two steps than one big step,” he said. While the first step sets the angle, the aiming point is near V of the neck. “We want our inside hand on near sternum and the outside hand we want to rake the ribs and end up on that armpit area.”
Coach Orchard talks about the second step building the wall. “Some coaches talk about dragging the backside foot, we talk more about stopping penetration with our hips,” said Coach Orchard. “We don’t want to position block, but it doesn’t need to be a devastating block. As long as we don’t give up penetration, we need to be ready to fight over the top.” And if defenders try to cross face, they are taught to press him vertical, not working to hook him.
Pull Block Technique:
As far as the pull block, Coach Orchard teaches a skip pull which helps clear the line of scrimmage. “Penetration kills you, so we want depth to get around the tight end and around the first pin block,” he said.
Tight End Block:
It’s the most important block on the play and SEMO will use both an inline and offline three surface structure. He’s responsible for the defensive end to his side.
- The easiest scenario is an inside shade, which converts to a pin block.
- If the defensive end is in a 9-technique, the tight end works to reach the play side number and then transition to a kick out if he can't reach him. This makes it an easy read for the first puller- more on that below.
Coach Orchard will also use a good deal of motion to get that Y in an off-set alignment and block the same rules above. “With motion it’s ability alignment that we want to align for success,” he said. “ We tell him to align where he can best pin the defender which is usually toe to toe.”