I don't follow coaches. I used to, but I can only stand so many #BOOM's, tiger emojis and endless tweets all ending with exclamation points. Plus, you'll retweet them for me when something important happens anyway, right?
If there's one exception to be made, it's for OL coach Herb Hand. His tweets really are
. But what really sold me was when he shared the following video.
OL teaching progression— Herb Hand (@CoachHand) May 23, 2016
Right knee high post from RG 71 Braden Smith
Crowther Sled➡️2-on-1 Combo➡️1/2 Line➡️11-on-11 pic.twitter.com/T2SWL2AAbq
So what are we seeing here? A glimpse into how offensive line play is taught, practiced and ultimately executed on game day. We normally only get to see the end result on Saturdays in the fall, but this shows us the stepping stones from individual repetition to the full game of football.
The first video is of Braden Smith. In the first five seconds, we see him take on a sled with his right shoulder. He starts straight up with the dummy, so to get the correct angle, he takes a wide step with his left foot first. But after that, it's all straight ahead.
It's a good thing the practice vs the sled was there because live action is a bit faster.
The rest of the video shows Smith using the same technique against actual defensive linemen. Devaroe Lawrence (94) and Montravius Adams (1) get a heavy dose of Smith's right shoulder. It's pretty cool to see the same footwork that was used against the sled used in a live play, but even faster.
You might notice that the defenders are pretty much getting whipped in the videos. Well, first of all, this is offensive line coach Hand sharing the video, and he's trying to show how his teaching works, so, of course, he's showing when it works and not when it doesn't.
Another reason Smith was having so much success on these plays is because this block is designed to be used as part of a double team. In each live play, the tackle to Smith's right is joining in on the block. Remember that double team blocks are a cornerstone of Auburn's base run plays Inside Zone and Power/Counter.
This GIF shows a diagram for Power, Counter, and Inside Zone with the H-back to the left and right, but keep your eyes on the right guard and tackle. They are double teaming the defensive tackle on every play. So when I say cornerstone, I mean cornerstone. Well, actually when Hand says cornerstone, he means cornerstone.
The 'Crowther Post' is THE cornerstone of our vertical displacement double teams.— Herb Hand (@CoachHand) May 23, 2016
A non-negotiable fundamental. pic.twitter.com/G7BKxVrBgc
This video is more of the same, but with more live plays. In each play, the defensive lineman gets no penetration and is instead pushed back 3-5 yards. That's the first and second objectives of zone blocking.
"Get 1st level movement (DL) with eyes on 2nd level (LB)." The first objective is basic but necessary. Move the defensive linemen. If the defenders go where they want to, no running play will succeed. However, the offense needs to be aware of what the linebackers are doing, too.
"Take the 1st level into the 2nd level. Knock defenders off the ball." Pushing another collegiate athlete backwards against his will sounds like an impossibility, but remember, the offense is double teaming some of those players. It is much easier for two players to push one off the line.
In the last three of the five clips, one of the offensive linemen, Smith or his tackle partner, eventually leaves the double team and get a linebacker. And that's the last objective of zone blocking.
"Pull off on 2nd level blocks. Must have a reason to come off." If a team is going to run Inside Zone, they need lots and lots of practice because these second level blocks are hard to coordinate. If a double team lasts too long, a linebacker might blow up the runner. If a double team ends early or is skipped entirely, a defensive lineman might win his one-on-one battle up front. If both offensive linemen leave the double team at the same time, the running back will likely be clobbered. But if the offensive line gets enough reps and builds some chemistry, they can get combo blocks, reach linebackers, and open huge holes for long gains.
Overall, a pretty neat thing for Coach Hand to share, if you ask me. Of course, it being Twitter, there's bound to be some negativity.
So on second thought, maybe Coach Hand should stay off of Twitter. It looks like he's giving the Tide the bulletin-board-material/chip-on-their-shoulder/nobody-believes-in-us adversity they'll need to pull off another miracle run on the road to 17 built by bama.