“Expand to Build” Teaching Progression for Play Side OL in Wide Zones

Feb 1, 2020 | Offense, Run Game, Wide Zone Run Concepts

By Shawn Byrnes
Offensive Line Coach
Ottawa University (AZ)
Twitter: @fbcoachbyrnes


Wide Zone blocking can be employed in a variety of different ways. Here at Ottawa University – Arizona (OUAZ), we determine our lateral vs horizontal displacement of defenders depending on their alignments, structure of the defense, and where we would like to create the running lanes. We teach our Offensive Line, Fullbacks, and Tight Ends that we need to “Expand and Build.” We define that by expanding the front-side running lanes and building a backside wall to prevent the backside collapse. We believe these concepts can put your offensive line and running game in a great position to be successful.

The coaching points for the Offensive Line and Tight Ends are identical when it comes to our front-side zone blocking. We use multiple techniques when it comes to our blocking assignments and teach them across the board from Center to Tight End. In our front-side blocking system, the coaching points we emphasize are body landmarks of the defenders, footwork techniques to get you to those landmarks, and your helmet/body placement once you fit the defenders. We blend or combine a bunch of techniques from week-to-week.

Body Landmarks of the Defenders

We use two landmarks when talking about attacking the body of a defender. We use our outside armpit landmark and our helmet landmark. We practice attacking these landmarks every day in pre-practice and individual in our combination pod work. We work different DL shades, linebacker alignment and style of play i.e. slanting/read defenders, scraping or downhill LB play, etc. These practice clips below show you how we practice and execute our landmarks for the covered/uncovered lineman.

Covered Lineman: Outside Armpit Landmark

Regardless if you are in a solo assignment or you are the covered linemen in a combination assignment, we teach our blockers to aim their helmets to the outside armpit of the defender.

To study game film of this concept, click on the video below: