FanPost

FOOTBALL 101 - Offensive Line Techniques


This is somewhat of a partial re-post from two previous posts Titled:

Game 2 Preview - Seattle (Updated with new info)

http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2012/9/13/3330122/game-2-preview-seattle

And

Game Review Tampa Bay - Bull Rush Technique

http://www.sbnation.com/admin/entries/edit/3186121?community_id=57

I am re-posting it because I should have had it by itself.....so here it is again...

In this post, I will comment about the Left Tackle Pass Protection Technique. The Left Guard technique is very similar, but on the other side of the Center, the foot that is back is the Right foot. (Take a look at #68 Doug Free, and #73 BerneyMac, both have their right foot back.)

In other words, the anchor foot is always the one to the outside. The "Kick, Slide, and Punch" is the same technique, but using the other foot for the kick. It is the biggest adjustment to when you are going from the Right side to the Left, along with when your in the run blocking stance, your hand on the ground is reversed.

First the stance. In the shot below you will notice that Tyron Smith's Left foot is back, and he is ready for the snap of the ball. His job is to stay between JPP #90 and Romo. Balance is the key to stay "Anchored" and that requires that you keep your Left foot back, so if the defender tries to "Bull Rush" you, your back foot can get anchored. When both feet are parallel, then your in trouble and that is the reason for the kick. If you moved your right foot back without first kicking your left foot back, then your feet would be parallel. So, you kick your outside foot back first so as to "drag" your right foot into position and never allowing your feet to be side by side.

Try it yourself. Stand straight up and have both feet side by side. Have a friend/spouse push you in your chest. See how easily you fall backwards. Now put your left foot back and have them try again. This time your back foot allows you to stay upright.

A word about Leverage. One of the other techniques to be aware of is the use of Leverage. This is basically the ability to "get lower" than the other guy. I was going to talk about this when talking about the defensive player trying to get a sack, but thought it would be better to do it here.

The Defensive rusher will try to get lower than the offensive linemen and "get under his pads" and then lift him. This will often force his inside foot to slide back and he will then lose his anchor. So, it is also very important for the LT to get and stay lower than the rusher, so he can maintain his anchor and have the better "Leverage."

A very good example would be to look at all the shots below and see how well BernieMac maintains leverage, and see how is right foot in the last shot is still way back and his helmet is lower than his rusher.

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Now, an actual pass Play as the snap shot above was a penalty. Same stance as before but JPP doesn't know if Witten is going to help double him or not.

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At the snap of the ball, the correct technique is for Tyron to kick his left foot back and then without lifting his right foot, drag it back so he has moved to where he wants to so he can stay back to see where JPP goes and give himself distance to move again to stay in front of him. And the key to the Kick Slide is to insure your left foot stays back.

So, it is Kick, Slide, Kick, Slide until JPP gets close enough, and then.....

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it is time for the Punch. The punch is to be done while maintaining your balance over your feet. This means do not lean or lurch at your opponent, which we can see Tyron did a good job here. So, to recap....Kick, slide, punch. You want to keep the defender from getting too close to you because he can then easily spin and get by you. By keeping him away with your Punch, you can then see any spin move and have room and time to recover.

So, now when you watch the Left Tackle play, you can see for yourself if he is using proper technique. Hope this helps.

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Proper Technique against the Bull Rush

In this first shot, I will show how the proper technique to counter a "Bull Rush" was executed properly. Spears is going to attack the Right Tackle of Tampa Bay. The RT has his Right Foot back and is beginning to do his kick and slide. And Spears is going to try to "bull rush" him.

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Next you can see he has done his kick and slide and is preparing for Spears to attack him.

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In this shot, he has maintained his balance, his anchor and base by keeping his right foot back, and never leaning into Spears. He has also gained leverage by staying lower than Spears.

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Notice that the Offensive Tackle has not only stayed lower than Spears, but he has lifted him up to gain even more leverage.

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And now for the wrong way to do it. Notice that I have drawn a line that shows Free's feet have not maintained the proper base and balance by Free dropping his left foot back even with his right foot instead of Kicking his right foot back first. Having your feet parallel is a huge no-no and will be the flaw that will allow the rusher to "bull rush" him. Also notice that Tyron has the proper balance and anchor by having his left foot back.

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We now can see that the defender has gained the leverage where he can now lift Free up to gain even more leverage, and can now march him straight back toward the Quarterback. The key for the "bull rush" as far as what the Defensive player is taught, is to be able to "put your helmet on the Offensive Lineman's chest, right between his numbers", and of course that is why the O-Lineman is taught to use his "punch", and never let him get into his body, no matter what. Well, we can all see that the defender has his helmet in Free's chest and that is the main way he "gets leverage by getting lower than Free."

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And the first mistake is compounded by allowing both feet to be parallel a second time. Notice the line again. I should point out that Free was lucky on this play as Romo was able to get rid of the ball in time.

NOTE: In connection with the fine article by Tom Ryle, Free's problems are fixable with more practice time with Calahan. The most important traits/talents that a Tackle needs are present in Doug Free. First and foremost being Quick Feet. Free may be struggling to regain his RT footwork that he had before he switched to LT last year. He could also use more time with Mike Woicik to gain more lower body strength for his base and more upper body strength for his punch.

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Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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