By Mike Fossum
Offensive Line Coach
Wisconsin Lutheran College
There are many challenges in coaching NCAA Division III football, but having consistently huge/physical offensive linemen is certainly one of them. At Wisconsin Lutheran College, we have been working for years to reduce our inside zone play to the simplest form possible to fit our personnel and our spread offense (wide splits and no tight ends). Our A gaps are typically 3 feet in width and our B gaps can get as wide as 4 feet at times. That width has forced defenses to quickly define themselves and puts our OL in advantageous leverage positions while also creating natural seams for our ball carriers. If our players understand what they see in front of them and know how to use their leverage, then we are able to effectively execute the zone/read play as a base part of our offense.
The drill sequence that I will demonstrate in this report will cover a few of the fundamentals we believe in for blocking the 1st and 2nd level within our zone scheme.
I am a big believer in having players understand what a good “fit” position is as opposed to a bad “fit” position. One of the real keys to great OL play is being able to correct yourself when you are out of position. We have a series of body/leverage drills that help with this.
Bad Block Drill
Here we are training the body to recover and understand how a proper fit position feels. A blocker starts out in a good fit position, squatting in front of a defender with inside hands, head up and a solid base (knees under armpits, toes under knees). The defender slowly walks backward while holding the blocker’s elbows. The blocker keeps his feet stationary and allows his body to get way out in front of his feet. Just as he is nearly going to fall forward we have the blocker widen and fire his feet, lower his hips and raise his eyes to “recover” back into his starting fit position. This is very much a low speed drill and is really all about body awareness for the blocker. On the demo video you’ll see a good look at this drill, the only coaching point I’d emphasize more is bringing the head/eyes upward during the recovery action.
To study narrated film of this drill, click on the video below: