Zone Blocking Part 5: Run Game Drills

December 9, 2011 2 Comments

This is where you develop your offensive linemen into play makers. It’s difficult to teach technique and fundamentals during team practice. Instead, in team practice, you should see your drills being put into use.

Here are seven important points when teaching drills.
1. Teach a handful of drills.
2. Teach the fundamentals. “Fundamentals Win Games.”
3. Rep everything and get as many reps as possible, but remember attention to detail. Repetition must be accepted as a way of life for an offensive lineman.
4. The drills you teach must transfer to the game.
5. It is important you coach the defenders in your drills.
6. Demand great effort from your players.
7. Your players must finish. Teach it. Coach it. Demand it.

The following is an overview of offensive line drills you can do everyday to work uncovered and covered steps for inside and outside zone as well as your overall run game.

1. Board Drill

The objective of the board drill is to work on covered and uncovered steps on zone. I have six, 2-x-4 boards that are 14 inches long. I place 6 linemen on a line. The boards are used as a visual reference and landmarks for the footwork on zone. This is also a great off-season drill. You can work against players, blocking dummies, shields or air depending on practice goals.



Uncovered steps: Place the board at a 45-degree angle to work the bucket step (set to reach). Have the linemen place their call-side heel at the top right or left corner of the board. Linemen will work on their angle of departure with hips open at a 45-degree angle.

Give a snap count and from a three-point stance have the linemen take the first step and hold. Then have them take their second step (to and through the crotch of the down defender) and finally their third step. Look for balance distribution and weight on the insteps and not the balls of the feet. Then have them execute all three steps without stopping.

Covered steps: Place the board beside the call-side foot of the lineman (parallel to the foot).

Give a snap count. From a three-point stance they will take one step, a 6-inch lateral jab step (set to drive), with the call-side foot over the board. Have them hold their step to make sure they are not losing ground. Look for balance and proper weight distribution on their instep. Then have them take the second and then third step (through the crotch of the defender). Then have them execute all three steps without stopping.

Board Drill Coaching Points:
1. Check for a proper stance.
2. Check to make sure each lineman is executing the proper footwork.
3. Check to see if each lineman is executing the proper punch when stepping.
4. Check for pad level and run blocking demeanor.

2. Zone Read Drill

The objective of this drill is to teach offensive linemen all the components of executing the zone block (inside and outside).

Both the down defender and the second level defender hold a hand shield. The covered lineman will execute covered steps and one arm bench his inside arm through the outside half of the hand shield while keeping his outside hand free. If the down defender goes away he will work to the second level defender.

The uncovered lineman will execute uncovered steps while reading the hips of the down defender (hand shield). If the hip comes to him, then he will take over the block. If the hip goes away, then he will work to the second level defender. The linemen practice making all their calls during this drill.

The first two steps and hand placement are very important. The aiming point is the call-side armpit of the down defender. The offensive linemen must anticipate stunts and blitzes but never guess.

Coaching Points:
1. Check for a proper stance.
2. Check to make sure each lineman is executing the proper footwork.
3. Check the eyes. Are they reading hips and landmarks and keeping eyes open for the linebacker attempting to scrape.
4. Check to see if each lineman is executing the proper punch when stepping.
5. Check for pad level and run blocking demeanor.

3. Zone Drill Without A Second Level Defender

The objective of this drill is to teach offensive linemen to block a first level defender when executing the zone block (inside and outside).

The down defender holds a hand shield. The covered lineman will execute covered steps and one arm bench his inside arm through the outside half of the hand shield while keeping his outside hand free.

The uncovered lineman will execute uncovered steps maintaining leverage on the down defender.

Remember, down defenders make tackles for losses. Second level defenders make tackles. Block the first level first!

Coaching Points:
1. Check for a proper stance.
2. Check to make sure each lineman is executing the proper footwork.
3. Check the eyes, are they reading hips and landmarks.
4. Check to see if each lineman is executing the proper punch when stepping.
5. Check for hand, pad leverage, and run blocking demeanor.

4. Run Blocking Progression Chutes

The objective of the boards and chute drill is to work on all steps and components of zone blocking. The boards help linemen develop a good base. The chutes help linemen to keep their shoulders (pad leverage) down (power producing angles) as well as maintain leverage hand leverage.

Here are the steps to the drill:
1. One step: Off set, bucket step (set to reach) with an angle of departure at 45 degrees (use towels as visual landmark).
2. One step: 6-inch lateral jab (set to drive) step (use towels as visual landmark).
3. Two step: Punch (load guns, deliver a blow up and through the defender).
4. Drive block down the boards.
5. Finish

Coaching Points:
1. Check stance.
2. Check for proper footwork and a good base.
3. Check eyes, make sure looking at landmarks and aiming points.
4. Check for run blocking demeanor, hand and pad leverage (maintain leverage).
5. Finish, unlocking the hips. Looking for all the components.

5. Zone Steps vs. 5-Man Sled

Sled work helps lineman to explode off the ball as a unit while driving their hands through the pad and extending the arms as they drive the sled.

Each lineman gets reps while offsetting to the left and to the right of a pad while working both uncovered and covered zone steps. They take two steps (getting the second step in the ground) and striking the pad. If the are covered, it is a set to drive step and then an attack step. If they are covered, it is a set to reach step and then an attack step.

Here are the steps to the drill:
1. First step is directional, the second step is attack: Off set, bucket step (set to reach) with angle of departure 45 degrees.
2. First step is directional, the second step is attack: 6-inch lateral jab (set to drive) step.
3. Two step: Contact on the second step. Punch (load guns, deliver a blow up and through the pad). Use all the blocking components: flat back, ankles and knees bent, proper punch with the thumbs up and elbows tight to the side.
4. Drive the sled in the proper run blocking demeanor and finish.

Coaching Points:
1. Check for a proper stance.
2. Check for proper footwork, good base, weight on the insteps of the feet.
3. Check eyes; make sure looking at landmarks and aiming points.
4. Check for run blocking demeanor, hand and pad leverage (maintain leverage).
5. Finish, unlocking the hips. Looking for all the components in the zone run blocking concept.

 



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Tags: , , Drills, Features, Ken Wilmesherr, Offensive Line, Post Patterns
2 Comments to “Zone Blocking Part 5: Run Game Drills”
  1. Greg Davis says:

    Just found your run game drills for zone blocking and I liked the progression.Also,thought the coaching tips were right on especially the eyes focusing on a target/aiming point.Let me know where I can view more drills.

  2. Mike says:

    Great demonstration of zone blocking drills with chute, boards and sled thanks a bunch.
    I have a great hybrid shotgun wing t offense that Tennessee Tech uses from the Glazier football clinic in Bellevue Washington.

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