If you have read my last two articles, you figured out they were mainly about the finishing part of the run block. Moving the defender once contact has been made. Basically starting in a fit position. The last step in the process is putting it all together coming from the stance. Which in my opinion is a whole other subject, because I believe the stance is a skill to teach as well. Anyways, no matter what the run play is in my opinion the fundamentals from the stance to the block are the same. Only thing that changes is the angle at which the block is being done.
To be clear, this whole article is about a base block or drive block by the covered offensive lineman. The first step, or drive catch if you will, is all about getting on the right path. Depending on the run play called or the combo you are working all it does is change the angle at which the block is being done. I believe in teaching the first step or drive catch really simple, “Did you get on the right path or angle?” I don’t name steps anymore, I don’t want it to be complicated. Bottom line, did my first step get me to my landmark or angle. One thing to emphasize is the first step should never go up the field. The second step or drive catch is the punch step where contact is made. On the first drive catch, we are looking to be powerful and end in a power position. Driving through the inseams and catching through the inseams. Loading the hands to strike by keeping the elbows in the drawer or tight. That way on the second drive catch the offensive lineman can torque as he strikes. Which leads into the fit position from the last two articles. Here is a drill on just working the first step. Have the defenders move around to change the angle, so the offensive lineman has to change his path.
Next we hammer home the second step in run blocking which most will say that it is the most important step in run blocking. I don’t disagree but I always say that if your first step isn’t good then your second step won’t be either, so you can argue that both are just as vital. The first drive catch gets you on the right angle and the second drive catch brings the punch. This step comes up the field. I like to call it the “Punch Step” sometimes for a point to hammer home with the athletes. We will work the skill of the second step by freezing after the first drive catch. We do this for two reasons. First is to check there first step. Is it on the right angle and are you in a powerful position. If they first step up the field or they over step, they will notice they are in an awkward position and can’t get there second step up the field. Basically they will false step on the second step. On the second command the offensive lineman then takes there second drive catch up the field striking the defender with a torque action. Then comes the work from the other two articles, creating movement and winning the stalemate. The first video is an off-season drill you can do with bands to create some resistance. Plus when they freeze on the first drive catch, the band gets stretched, and it will move them around if they aren’t in a powerful position. The second video is putting into punch step into live practice drills. You will notice the defender is on a knee. Two reasons, one it helps maintain some pad level as they are coming off the ball. Second it keeps enforcing the strike and torque to lift the defender up and put force through ground as the hips roll into the block.
To finish this series on the fundamentals of the drive block, I added a clip of just a base block with no freezing on first step. Just putting it all together. Nothing revolutionary at all. Believe me when I say these are just my opinions and do not know it all. I am always looking to learn and get better as a coach. I try to evolve all the time. Just how the video above has boards in it and hardly use them anymore. I love talking football with anyone. Please leave feedback or reach out to me.
Aaron Danenhauer Bentonville High School Offensive Coordinator / OL firstname.lastname@example.org 479-685-0721 @CoachDanenhauer