How Western Michigan Drills Feet and Hands in Pass Pro

Nov 7, 2016 | Offensive Line, Pass Protection Mechanics, Position Groups

By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikekKuchar

Editor’s Note: The following research was conducted as part of special report on Man Pass Pro Drills. Continue reading to learn more about this special report.


When we initially began conducting our research on this topic, we were presented with a dilemma. We knew both the hands and feet were vital in pass protection, but we were curious to see which of these two components offensive line coaches placed more of an emphasis on. Of the ten contributors in this study, almost all of them suggested that the feet are more important than the hands and the reasoning is simple: The feet put an offensive lineman in the best position to stop an inside or an outside charge in man pass protection. While many offensive line coaches teach different techniques on the punch, the footwork to get him there remains vital. We started our research process by asking our contributors what the most important techniques are when coaching the feet in pass protection. Before we delve into the techniques these coaches use and the drill work that corresponds with it, a brief background on who our contributors are:

The Contributors (in alphabetical order):

  • Chennis Berry (CB), Offensive Line Coach, Southern University (8 sacks allowed in 2014, 4th in FCS).
  • Brian Callahan (BC), Offensive Line Coach, Western Michigan University (allowed 1.8 sacks per game in 2014).
  • Vin Giacalone (VG), Offensive Line Coach, Valparaiso University (5 sacks allowed in 2014, 1st in FCS).
  • Herb Hand (HH), Offensive Line Coach, Penn State University.
  • Art Kehoe (AK), Offensive Line Coach, the University of Miami.
  • Brandon Jones (BJ), former Offensive Line Coach at East Carolina University (371 passing yards per game in 2014, 3rd in FBS), currently at Cal Berkeley.
  • Jonathan Leibel (JL), Offensive Line Coach, Central Connecticut State University (11 sacks allowed in 2014, 10th in FCS).
  • Cameron Norcross (CN), Offensive Line Coach, Fresno State University.
  • Ryan Stancheck (RS), Offensive Line Coach, Alcorn State University (7 sacks allowed in 2014, 3rd in FCS).
  • John Strollo (JS), Offensive Line Coach, Ball State University (13 sacks allowed in 2014, 12th in FBS).

We started by asking a general question on footwork. Our contributors’ responses are categorized by their initials.

MK: What are some of the most important coaching points you emphasize when teaching the feet of offensive lineman in pass protection?