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Basic Drills - O'Brien Part 7

I will not spend time on basic blocking drills. Instead, this will focus on the drills we run to perfect the blocking, snapping and pitching required to run the offense. The snap is very difficult to master because it requires the center to snap the ball to two different locations depending upon the play call. (Figure 1) Snapping is practiced separate from the pitch drill so we can get more reps at both. The center(s) will snap preferably to a Junior High or third team QB. If that is not possible then a coach steps in to take the snap. I prefer JH QBs because they are smaller with shorter arms which usually requires more accuracy on the part of the center.

The pitch/dive drill (Figure 2) is very straight forward. A coach snaps the ball to the QB who either pitches to the RB or hands/pitches to the FB. To insure more reps and to keep the rotation moving we set up to groups across from one another and they alternate sides. This drill is best run in groups of 3 but in the off chance you have 5 or 8 players then a group of two is fine with the RB moving to the FB position when practicing the hand off on the dive. We spend an enormous amount of time in the spring running these drillls.

To practice the blocking, we will have players with shields (no pads) or in shells line up in the key positions which need to be blocked. We then instruct them to alternate the following stunts.

• The NG through the A gap and the backside LB through the B gap. (Figure 3)

• The NG across the face of the IR and the backside LB through the A gap. (Figure 4)

• The NG over the IR and the backside LB through the A gap. (Figure 5)

• The NG over the IR and through the A gap with the LB through the B gap (Figure 6)

• The NG in and through the A gap, the LB in and through the B gap (4-2 front). (Figure 7)

• Two LBs (2-2 Front) with blitzing through either A or B gaps. (Figure 8)

Very important. We always repeat a play and blitz where the players blocked the wrong defender. We don’t replicate the play if the blocker simply missed the block. We are more concerned with him blocking an incorrect defender.

We will call out the offensive play while the players are at the LOS and the Line call will be made by the IR. The calls will be for blocking down, blocking out, pulling and trapping. These calls will often change post snap as the defense blitzes / stunts.


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