In Week 5 of Summer OTAs, we install the Slide Protection used in our drop-back passing game. Our Slide Protection is a half slide. We NEVER full slide. We want to get the Running Back out as a receiver if there is no blitz and we do not want to have the matchup of a Running Back pass blocking a Rush End. We want offensive linemen pass blocking defensive linemen.
Our Slide protection combines two schemes discussed in earlier blogs: Man & Gap. Half the offensive line is in a Man scheme while the other side and the Center are in a Gap scheme. The Running Back blocks to the Man side. This allows for a 6-man protection with 3 blockers on each side of the ball.
Just like the Man Schemes in our running game, the Man side Guard blocks #1 on the Line of Scrimmage and the Tackle blocks #2, regardless of their alignment. The Center begins the Gap scheme Slide away from the Man Scheme. The Center has the A Gap, Guard has B Gap and Tackle has C Gap. The Running Back has a check release vs any blitz to the Man side.
On day 1, we will have the offensive linemen communicate from Tackle-to-Tackle on the Man side then the Gap side as follows: “I have #2, I have #1, I have A, I have B & blitz (with no DL in the B), I have C”. As we advance to protect vs stunts, the Man side Guard and Tackle can switch vs twists but those two offensive linemen have those two defensive linemen. The Gap scheme of the slide already accounts for all twists and blitzes.
If a defense attempts to blitz our protection to keep the Running Back from getting out into his pass route, we will bring the Running Back across the formation in his protection. Since the Man and Gap sides are predicated on the side the Running Back is going, the offensive linemen must identify where the Back is protecting then call the protection accordingly.
Note the importance of communication on the line of scrimmage. As discussed earlier in the OTA Blog Series, we are also working on team building and interdependence. Our team plays a high tempo scheme and we use offensive tempo as a key component of momentum. The only way to support that tempo is to communicate. Communications further reinforce roles, responsibilities, and convey a sense of understanding, purpose, and confidence. When we have a common vision of success and communicate effectively to achieve that goal, it feeds tempo strengthening both our offense and our team.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!