Gap Double Teams vs a 3-Down Nose

Mar 19, 2021 | The LAB, Gap Run Concepts, Run Game Mechanics, Offensive Line, Position Groups

By Tom Doddy
Offensive Line Coach & Run Game Coordinator
Rowan University (NJ)


I believe that to be a championship football team, you must be able to run the football at high efficiency, not only against advantageous run boxes but against stacked boxes when everyone in the stadium knows you are going to run the football. Today's defenses pose problems that defenses back in 1983, the year I started coaching, did not pose. We see more multiple fronts, stemming, and movements than ever before. As a result, our run scheme and blocking techniques are simple but flexible enough, to handle all the different looks that we are going to see week in and week out.  It is my philosophy, like the late Coach Howard Mudd, that we will do a few things and will do them extraordinarily well.  Our run game consists of zone runs (inside, mid, outside) and gap runs (power, counter, and dart).  Power is a staple in our offense.  It is an “Alka-Seltzer” run play for us. If things are getting unsettled, running Power will allow us to be able to calm things down and get us back on track.

My philosophy as an Offensive Line Coach has been shaped by my experiences playing the position in high school and college and coaching the position at the collegiate and high school level.   My experiences coaching other positions in football (QB, RB, TE, DL, LB, and Safeties) and coaching other sports (baseball, women’s softball and throws in track and field) have also shaped my teaching progression.  I believe that you teach linemen HOW to block before you teach them whom to block. As you will see, our teaching progression will be broken down into the following:

  1. What is my job?
  2. How do I do it?
  3. Do it
  4. Repeat
By breaking it down into this simple progression, it will help our players become problem solvers on the field. If something goes awry, they will know how to go back and correct themselves appropriately.

Today, I would like to present to you the C/G double team technique, versus a 3-down front, we teach in our gap run game at Rowan University.  When running Power, Counter, or Dart, all our double teams, are executed with the same technique. It is a unified technique.  We are going to take two adjacent OL and apply mass and force onto the Nose.  For teaching purposes, we break down our responsibilities and techniques into a Post Man (Center) and Drive Man (Play Side Guard).

The double team block intends to displace the Nose vertically and/or horizontally.  As a result, our technique must match the intent of the block.  In doing so we will be able to displace the defender vertically (drive him to LB depth) or horizontally (widen a defensive gap) based on how the Nose plays the block.    Our thought process is we must dominate the first level first before we can even think about climbing to the second level.  Our shoulders and hips must stay as square to the LOS as possible and play with great eye discipline.    This will allow us to deal with defensive movement and or pressure, allow our hips to fuse, and utilize the complete width of our blocking surface.   In essence, we will not provide many open windows for defenders to exploit.