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Posted Sunday, May 08, 2011 by Ed Dalton

Power Play

We begin with what might be considered the oldest play in contemporary football—the power play (figure 1.2). There are several advantages to carrying this play on your running game menu:

  • It allows the offensive line to come off hard and aggressive in an attempt to establish the line of scrimmage.
  • It can be used in many situations, such as short-yardage, goal-line, or four-minute offense.
  • The nature of gap blocking allows the offensive line to handle any variety of slants, stunts, and blitzes.
  • We seldom, if ever, audible this play, which allows us to use any snap count (first sound, on one, hard count).
  • We can use any number of groups or formations based on how we choose to attack the defense.
  • By nature, gap blocking is very simple and results in few assignment errors.
  • This play can be run either toward the tight end or toward the open side.
  • The downhill nature of this play reduces the possibility of tackles for loss.

The tailback aligns with his toes at 7 yards deep. He takes a short lateral step to the call side and comes hard downhill, attacking the B gap. He should always be aware of where the double team is coming from. The power play is not a cutback type play, so the tailback should be aware of staying outside the double team. He must be patient, knowing the hole could open late.

The fullback attacks the tight end’s inside hip and stays on a course that allows him to kick out the first defender to show outside the tight end’s block. The first defender could be the outside linebacker, defensive end, strong safety, or another defender. It’s important for the fullback to maintain a tight course and not lock in to any particular defender, knowing that things might change on the snap of the ball.

The quarterback open-turns at 6 o’clock and takes the ball back to the tailback, making the exchange as deep as possible. He should carry out a bootleg fake in an effort to hold the backside contain defender.

The flanker force-blocks. The split end convoys through the free safety. Figure 1.2 shows some blocking patterns versus four basic fronts.

Slice Play

The slow isolation, or slice, play (figure 1.3) is one of the most popular plays in football today. This play gives the tailback an opportunity to use his vision without being rushed to do so. The slow developing nature of the slice play helps the tailback pick his hole after the defense declares its gap control. Here are the other advantages of running this play:

  • The initial pass look serves to get the pass rushers upfield and to soften the linebackers, which helps the fullback execute his block.
  • This is great action to use for play-action passing.
  • The offensive line is not asked to blow the defense off the ball. They simply must prevent penetration to give the tailback the opportunity to exercise all his options.
  • This play can be run from any two-back formation as well as from various groups, such as two backs, one tight end; two backs, three wide receivers; or two backs, two tight ends.
  • The slice play is excellent to use with a hard count, which forces the defense to declare their looks.

The tailback aligns 7 yards deep. On the snap of the ball, he shuffles slightly to the playside, but no wider than the A gap. He starts downhill, following the fullback’s block.

From his alignment, the fullback shuffles slightly to the playside, looking to block the first linebacker inside-out. The fullback must be aware of any line movement so he can adjust his track, if necessary.

The quarterback opens to his arm-side at 6 o’clock (right for a right-hander, left for a lefty). He shows pass on his first couple of steps. It’s important that the ball is exchanged as deep as possible so the tailback can get a quick read of the defense’s intentions. The quarterback must understand that this play should not be run against every defense and must be prepared to audible as necessary.

The flanker blocks the corner. The split end convoys through the free safety

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