Training the Y/H in Split Zone Runs

Apr 9, 2017 | Run Game Mechanics, Tight Ends, Position Groups

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



The following research was conducted as part of special report on “Zone Inserts,” which can be accessed in full below.

Training the H Back

Because the role of the H/Y is vital for insert zone run concepts, we wanted to find out two things from our contributing coaches:

  1. What kind of personnel do they look for in this position? Do they need to be physical blockers? Do they need to be as big as tight ends or fullbacks?

  2. How do they find the time to train these players in practice? Do they work with the offensive line or backs? What drills do they use?

We took direct quotes from our sources and segmented our research based on question.

H Type Personnel

Scott Wooster, offensive line coach, Wayne State University (MI): “We’ve had our best success with a 6’2, 6’3” bigger body types. Athleticism isn’t necessarily the primary trait. One of our best guys isn’t very athletic but is a thumper and loves contact. Our senior tight end was about 6’4”, 255 lbs. and was good on the split vs. defensive ends, but had some leverage issues on the insert on linebackers. Our senior fullback was 5’11”, 260 lbs. and was good on the cut iso but struggled with length on defensive ends on the split. The guy I referenced before will be a junior H and is 6’3”, 260 lbs. but he struggles a little with stiffness and flex on linebackers and is long enough for defensive ends, but is a great Wham guy. We like that body type, even giving up some athleticism for a physical guy that’s long enough for defensive ends and can get under linebackers. In Division 2 there is no “perfect” guy and we try to personnel what we are doing.”

Tyler Bowen, offensive coordinator, Fordham University (NY): “Ideally, we are looking for a 6’4 - 6’6, 235 to 250 lbs. guy. We always want to have guys that can stretch the field vertically from a pass game standpoint before anything else. I think this player needs to possess a mentality of physicality and toughness. You don't need an ass kicker as long as you stress where the landmarks are. It’s all about displacing the defense. When they are displaced laterally, you can move them laterally. The running back and press and make his read.”