By Jerrod Clowes
Offensive Line Coach
Utica College (NY)
The key to having a great pass protection scheme is to keep it simple and to rep the scheme multiples times against your most common looks/pressures. It is vital that the offensive line communicates with each other every play and that we are all on the same page.
Here at Utica, we are a base 6-man protection: man-slide team. We have been fortunate enough to have great offensive linemen, that have a great sense of understanding and communication. We have also been fortunate to have quarterbacks that understand where pressure is coming from and that throw the ball on time.
In 2019 we averaged over 31 points per game, 2nd in most passing touchdowns, and gave up the least amount of sacks.
We believe in these three pillars when teaching the players, in order:
1) Know what to do.
2) Know how to do it.
We start all of our teachings with defensive identification. We do not put as much emphasis on what type of front we see, as opposed to am I covered or uncovered/on my body or of my body. This will affect how many are on the slide. We then Identify our "Point". Center calls the "Point" – which is the first LB type in the box to the call-side. We then identify "+1 from the Point" – which is the next 2nd level defender outside of the point, to the call-side. We then Identify "-1 & -2 from the Point" – which are the next two LB type defenders from the backside of the Point.
WHAT TO DO:
Our Pass Protection Philosophy:
Tackles set the width – GCG set the depth.
We are a Man – Slide Protection.
4 man slide – Rocket or Laser, based on slide direction.
3 man slide – River or Lake, based on slide direction.
2 man slide – HammeR or NaiL based on slide direction.
Man – BIG, BOB, Solo, Vader
Fan – used for BST. Fan call creates an auto Hammer or Nail call.
Bump – Used for PST
To the Slide Side:
PST is responsible for C Gap.
PSG is responsible for B Gap.
Center is responsible for A Gap.
BSG is responsible for A Gap (If applicable).
You are only allowed to let 1 defender cross your face (post-snap) if no defenders are aligned behind you pre-snap.
If you have a defender aligned behind you pre-snap, then you can not let any defenders cross your face post-snap.
The slide side is responsible for the Point to the +1.
If the center or guard are uncovered to their gap, they will have their eyes through the gap and up to the point. Wherever the point goes in a blitz, their eyes should follow. They would either pick up the blitz or pick up a slanting defensive lineman and exchange with their fellow offensive linemen to the stunt side.
Tackles will "bump" any edge blitz – as long as they have backside help.
Defender on my body – Big on Big.
Defender off my body – Part of the Slide (Communicate).
We will "Fan" to any walk OLB outside of the Tackle – as long as the guard has no one on his body. The guard will then make a "Solo" call to the center – letting the center know he has no backside help.
We will use what we call "Lock Squeeze Technique". This technique allows us to handle any long stick stunts that are in combo with blitzes. When a defender will try to long stick two gaps over, we will squeeze it down and pass it off to the guard or center (whichever applicable). We will then move our eyes directly up for the blitzer.