Training the Modern Day TE in 11/12 Personnel Offensive Systems – Case 4: Pass Game Responsibility – Protections and Routes

May 1, 2018 | Pass Protection Mechanics, Tight Ends, Position Groups

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





There is no sense having a tight end on field if he can’t be a threat in the pass game. If that’s the case, you might as well bring in an extra offensive Tackle. It is Texas’ philosophy to have a tight end that cannot only pass protect but be a viable threat in the passing game. Because his offense is a downhill A/B gap system, much of Coach Tom Herman’s pass game is based on play-action concepts that complement these runs. Remember, this system produced three NFL caliber tight ends in James Casey (Rice), Collin Franklin (Iowa State) and Jeff Heuerman (Ohio State) all of which had the ability to not only pass protect but also catch footballs. And there is no better run/pass disguise to the defense than keeping this player on the field. It’s one of the goals of co- offensive coordinator Tim Beck who told us he’d like his tight ends to be on the field more than 80 percent of snaps this coming season, that includes third and long.

In this case, we are going to present our research on the main protections in Texas’ system and the tight end’s responsibility in those protections. We are also going to uncover the main routes in this system, particularly the ones that the tight end is expected to know.

Editor’s Note: Many of the nearly 200 football play diagrams in this report were drawn by FirstDown PlayBook, a digital football playbook website that has over 33,000 football plays all drawn by coaches with NFL backgrounds. For more information on this product, go here:

Just as footwork is put at a premium in the run game, it’s also stressed in the pass game. Although Coach Warehime doesn’t have the amount of time devoted to pass protection as the rest of the offensive line does, he focuses his teaching on some core drills in pass protection. There are the EDD pass protection drills he will work his tight ends through:

Demeanor Drill-This is more of a demeanor drill that emphasis leverage, and keeping feet under the body. It’s essential fundamentals in working against bigger offensive linemen.

To study drill film of this technique, click on the link below: