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Chalk Talk: Offensive Line Fundamentals

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Please note that the actual blog link I post has the post with all the html on it. So don't be confused by all the stuff going on if you choose to read from there. :)

Enjoy :)


So I did a little bit on defensive line technqiues, thought it would be polarizing to go over some OL basics.

Terms to Know:

3-Point Stance: An offensive lineman stance that has two feet and one hand down on the ground. Three points of contact with the ground.

2-Point Stance: An offensive lineman stance that has two feet on the ground, without the hand down. Two points of contact with the ground.

LOS (Line of Scrimmage): The line where the previous offensive play ends and where the next one begins. It's also where the OL lines up pre-snap.

Shoulders Square: Shoulders parallel to the LOS.

Get Cloth: Grabbing the defensive players jersey without allowing any separation.

Base Fundamentals

- Get off the rock!: In english, I'm saying when the ball is snapped, you should be out and ready to block immediately. You must get into the defender quicker than he can get his arms extended into you on run. In pass you want to get out of your stance quick enough to locate the defender that you want to block. Getting off the rock should be easy for a lineman, seeing how they know the snap count, but alot of times they're still slow, or they're too fast and cause a false start.

- Keep Leverage:Defensive linemen want to get leverage so that they only half to beat half a man. What this means is that they are trying to get their hands on side side of the OL's body, more than likely at the pec (chest muscle) and the shoulder (especially in a one-gap assignment). If they succeed in doing this, they can turn the OL and get passed them with ease. So what the Ol needs to do is make that DL have to beat 3/4 of a man by getting directly in front of him using good footwork and staying low. Once the block is engaged the OL must stay lower than the DL and drive with the insteps (on run).

- Eyes on the Target: See what you hit! Period. If your eyes/head are up you can also pick up a sightline on a blitzing backer much easier. It is important that the OL is always communicating with one another regarding blitzers, stunts, alignments, etc.

- Know Your Steps: Know and master the footwork necessary for each play and blocking scheme.


- Different schools/colleges/teams use different stances. I'll go over the one I like best.

Feet parallel to the LOS with the foot of the side that you play on slightly back. It's a staggered stance. For instance, if you're a right guard/right tackle, your right foot is back. Left guard/tackle, your left foot is back. Center has his feet even with one another. Centers are always in a 3-point stance, guards are almost always in a 3-point stance and tackles are usually in a 2-point stance.

- Shoulders must always be square to the LOS. It doesn't matter if you're in your stance or in midblock. An OL should NEVER turn their shoulders. Thou shalt not open the floodgates :)

- Bend at the waist with knees slightly bent. Coaching keys are butt down, proud chest (arched back). If your back looks like a table top, you're easy to defeat. 45 degrees is about right. Weight needs to be evenly distributed between both feet.

- In a 3-point stance, the hands that's down should have minimal weight on it. Putting too much weight on that hand puts you off balance. A good, quick DL that can get off the ball quickly can throw you to the ground easily if there is too much weight on the hand.

- Off hand should be ****ed just inside the thigh ready for contact.


- When the ball is snapped, on run, the OL must get out of his stance quickly and take a short (6 inches of less) step towards his man, while keeping his shoulders square to the LOS. He must stay low through contact. Whoeever gets lower generally wins, but strength, speed off the ball and talent level are factors that can effect the match-up.

Rules of Thumb:

- Thou shalt not open the floodgates (heard that one before? :))

- NEVER cross your feet.

- One foot must be grounded. The second you come off the ground, you'll come back down on it in a hurry with your back flat and a 300 pound man running you over.

- Keep your head back. If your helmet is forward your weight isn't centered and you're giving an opportunity for the defender to push you head first into the ground.

- Never lunge at a target. Get into them with a strong base, staying low, feet shoulder width apart, helmet back, back arched. This will prevent the defender from eating you alive.

When Blocking:[/u]

- Explode through the defender with hips and drive defender with legs (on run) through the insteps.

- Hand placement needs to be on the breastplate of the defender, grab cloth.

- Holding occurs on every play. An OL needs to get cloth with their hands. You can do that by using flexion in the wrist so your palm is towards the defender and fingers up. Advantage is it's comfortable. Disadvantage is that your elbows are far apart and a defender can chop your hands off of him pretty easily. Another way to achieve this is the double under. The double under is palms towards the defender, fingers down and gripping the breastplate with fingers. The ref won't call a hold unless the defender gets his hands on you and separates, so don't allow separation and there's no issue. :)

Types of Blocks:

-Base Block - Normal block, going against the guy in front of you.

Reach Block - Reach step. Get your helmet and hands around the outside of the defender and get your butt around towards the hole that the runningback is running towards. This type of block is used primarily with a toss play. Hand placement is under the outside armpit and outside shoulder of the defender. Gain ground with the first two steps and drive the defender out of the way.

-Gap Block- Power block to the inside. 45-degree step inside. One hand needs to be on the inside of the defenders body and one on the outside. Keep the helmet in front of the defender and get him out of the way. Drive and drive hard. Violent block. Open the damn hole :)

There's much, much more on OL play, but I figured we'd start there and see where that takes us for now :)

As always, if you have any comments/questions/whatever, let me know. I tried a little bit different format this time with the terms to know. Feedback is welcomed :)

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