Check out the Winning Answer to the Question of the Week
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This past Monday, I asked subscribers what some of their favorite drills are, and why. The winning answer came from Coach Ben Osborne.
For submitting the winning answer this week, Ben won a free copy of my latest book, Every Play Revealed: Breaking Down Oregon and Ohio State in College Football’s Biggest Game.
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Assistant Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line Coach
New Richmond HS
New Richmond, OH
My favorite drill to do with my offensive linemen is one that focuses on combo-blocks, calling the combo, eyes and hands placement, how to communicate who is coming off, and when it is ok to come off to the next level. We are a heavy zone concept team which translates to a lot of combo blocks. The number one killer of a good combo block is penetration. In order to prevent the potential for play-killing penetration, we have to work combo blocks each and every day.
We work this drill in a few different ways. When I first teach the drill, I do it on air. My main focus is identifying the combo call, who they would be working to and keeping hips tightly together. In order to emphasis the hips together piece, I use a blocking shield. I put the shield between the two players and have them squeeze the shield between their hips. We work low, heads and hands up, and duck walk straight ahead. Really get on them about that inside leg being up and driving off back leg. The focus is staying square and not letting the shield slip. In order to do this it’s like Forrest Gump stuff: “I’m gonna lean up against you, you just lean right back against me. This way, we don’t have to sleep with our heads in the mud.”
The next step is to add in who is coming off to the LB. Again, for this early part, there are no defensive players across for the linemen. They will still have the blocking shield between their hips and make the combo call. A coach will stand about 5 yards in front of them and give the direction to start the drill. After about 3 yards or working together, the coach will point to a direction to come off (I usually yell “Climb.” This will help with the next drill). The direction given is the guy that climbs to the LB. The guy that is still on the down man will swing his hips hard in the direction of the guy that came off. If he does it right, the shield will follow the guy that came off to the LB. The communication piece is up to your discretion. I’ve used a “You/Me” call. I’ve used an “Off” call. My guys will mix and match. Biggest thing is the communication! Never assume your partner sees the same thing you are.
The 3rd part of this drill is to add a wave to the mix. They will still have the blocking shield between their hips and make the combo call. A coach will stand in the same spot as the come off drill, but will point one direction, then the opposite, and then back to the original direction. This simulates the guy that is moving all over the place to get off the combo, but the LB is not filling right away. To finish this drill, I will give them a direction and yell “Climb” like the previous drill. Same expectations for the finish carry over to this drill as all the others.
The 4th part of this drill is when you add a defensive lineman to the mix. Just like other 3, they will still have the blocking shield between their hips and make the combo call. They will work from the locked-in, fit position on the down lineman. The coach will stand at 5 yards and give the command to start the drill. The d-lineman is asked to give some resistance, but not attempt to get off of block. Just like part 2, a “Climb” command will be given, but this time the guy staying on has an actual person to turn. Really stress not to hold, keep hands inside the chest plate, etc.
The 5th part is to add a LB to the mix. They will still have the blocking shield between their hips and make the combo call. This time I will stand behind the offensive linemen so I can give a direction that I want to LB to go after about 3 yards. The coach will give the start command and that is it. I leave it up to the guys working the combo on when they should come off. I will ask them why they came off when they did and if the guy left blocking felt he had a good handle on the down man when his guy came off. I want to hear the communication and see the shield chase.
The 6th and final piece that I work is to have them complete drill #5 without the shield between them. All the same coaching points need to be in place, and after a few times through, you can have the d-lineman attempt to split the combo.
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