Hands & Footwork in the Run Game

Jan 11, 2014 | Run Game Mechanics, Offensive Line, Position Groups




By Justin Iske - @justiniske

Offensive Line Coach

Fort Hays State University



fthayesst Editor's Notes: Justin Iske begins his fourth season on the coaching staff at Fort Hays State in 2014. Iske coaches the FHSU offensive line and serves as the team’s strength coach. In Iske’s first three seasons at FHSU, he has coached seven All-MIAA selections on the offensive line, led by two-time second team selection Hawk Rouse in 2011 and 2012 and second-team selection Mario Abundez in 2013. The Tiger offensive line helped produce an average of over 2,000 rushing and 2,000 passing yards per year in Iske's three seasons. Iske came to FHSU after two seasons at Northwestern Oklahoma State University where he was the offensive coordinator, special teams coordinator and offensive line coach. His 2010 team won the conference championship and led the conference in rushing offense, sacks allowed and kickoff returns.


Two of the biggest debates amongst offensive line coaches are whether to load the hands in the run game and whether to use a bucket step on zone runs. This article will take a look at the pros and cons of these two questions.


Many coaches teach their o-linemen to draw their elbows back on their first step (grab your guns) and to throw their hands forward (shoot) on the second step. Three main reasons for doing this are shown below:

-          More powerful punch by drawing the hands back on the first step

-          Times up punch with the second step

-          Keeps the hands tighter for leverage


Other coaches teach their o-linemen to shoot their hands directly from their stance to the defender. Some of the reasons for doing things this way are:

-          Gets your hands on the defender quicker