Backside B-Gap Block Fundamentals in Zone Runs

Jun 17, 2018 | Offense, Run Game, Run Game Mechanics, Offensive Line, Tight Zone Run Concepts, Position Groups

By Ben Luther
Offensive Line Coach
Tusculum University (TN)
Twitter: @Coach_Luther


First and foremost, I would like to thank Jerry Odom and Brian Ferguson for giving me the opportunity to coach the offensive line at Tusculum University and also to thank X&O Labs for allowing me to discuss how we at Tusculum University teach and execute combinations on the backside of our tight & mid-zone schemes. The combination, in particular, that we would like to discuss, is the backside “B-block” and drills to help reinforce the fundamentals to achieve the desired outcome. The “B-block” occurs when we run our zone scheme to the inside playing tackle (shade / 1 technique) on the front side, and there is an outside playing tackle (3-technique) on the backside guard, which is your traditional under front look. At Tusculum, we spend a lot of time in our individual periods on combo blocks and believe in emphasizing the details of individual skills in a part-part-whole teaching sequence to achieve a desired outcome on all of our combo blocks.


General Info & Key Points

Before hitting the field and introducing drills and fundamentals of the “B-Block,” there are a couple of key points that must be covered and understood in the meeting room.

  • Our general zone philosophy
    • In our zone schemes, the offensive line is responsible for moving the down lineman, and the running back is responsible for moving the linebackers.
  • What type zone scheme are we running? (tight vs mid zone)
    • The OL must understand the types and difference of each zone scheme that is being called. They must understand the goal and what the running back’s aiming point is for each type of zone.
      • Tight zone aiming point: RB = Play side leg of the center.
      • Mid zone aiming point: RB = Play side leg of the guard.
    • The importance of understanding these components will help the OL predict what type of Linebacker flow could occur, which will dictate how much time we can spend on the double team.
  • Linebacker Location
    • One of my mentors taught me, “Linebackers are like real estate. It’s all about location.” As an offensive lineman, knowing Linebacker location is crucial. The location of the Linebacker allows the offensive lineman to:
      • Determine defensive gap responsibility.
      • Set the correct angle of the play side hip and eyes, make appropriate calls based on if the linebacker is.
        • Plussed alignment- LB is lined up on the front side of the 3-technique)
          • Will make a “Quick” Call
        • Minused alignment- LB is lined up on the backside of the 3- technique)

Diagram 1
Diagram 2

  • The Components of the “B-block”
    • The Post player: In the “B-block,” the post player will be the backside guard. The post players job is to step with his play side foot & stand up the defensive lineman.
    • The drive player: In the “B-block,” the drive player will be the backside tackle. The drive player’s job is to deliver force and continue driving into the defensive lineman, helping create vertical movement.


The Rules of the “B-Block”

The General rules of the “B-block” are that we never leave a down lineman to chase a linebacker. As the offensive line, we are responsible for creating vertical movement at the point of attack and for securing the first level before we come off to a linebacker when he flows. We will not come off until he unstacks or threatens our front side gap.  Next, if the 3-technique slants across our face, we must collect and two-hand overtake with a strong play side hand, and the adjacent offensive lineman will foot fire up to the declared Linebacker. Lastly, when a linebacker flows and come off we must understand where we are trying to run the football.


The Components & Fundamentals of the “B-Block”

In the “B-block,” the backside guard, who is covered by the 3-technique, is responsible for lifting (posting) the down lineman.  Whereas the uncovered backside tackle is the drive player. He is responsible for delivering force into the down lineman and to continue driving into him to help create vertical movement. Both the post and drive player will use different techniques depending upon linebacker location.