Sunday, April 24, 2016

Running Power

“There is nothing magical about the Power play,”1 Paul Alexander, the Cincinnati Bengals’ longtime offensive line coach.
Playside linemen (tight end, tackle, and guard): The basic rule for each of the playside linemen is “Gap, On, Linebacker,” which means they first check their inside gap (i.e., if the run is to the right they look to see if anyone is lined up to their left), then look to see if anyone is lined up across from them. Finally, if there’s no defender to their inside gap or across from them, they will block an a wayside linebacker. The hope is that those straightforward rules help to produce at least one double-team block to the playside, typically with the guard and tackle double-teaming the defensive tackle. The basic idea for the double-team is for the two linemen to move the defender out of the way until one slips off to block the linebacker at the last second. Only when the lineman can “smell the linebacker’s breath,” as a college coach once said,  is there no hope for success unless the double-team is effective.
• Center: The center steps backside to stop any inside penetration.2
• Backside guard: Known as the “wrapper” because his job is to wrap around to lead block for the runner, the backside guard is tasked with pulling and blocking the first unblocked defender who appears.
• Backside tackle: The backside tackle steps inside to seal off penetration, then turns and hinges to stop any backside pursuit.
• Fullback (or another blocking back, like an H-back): He’s known as the “trapper” because his job is to execute a trap or kick-out block to create the alley. “The fullback is going to block the first thing off the tight end’s edge, inside to out,” Stanford head coach David Shaw explained at a coaching clinic in 2013. “We talk about having to pry the gap open. The fullback is the crowbar to the play.”

1Football 101: Why Power Running Works. (2015). Retrieved April 24, 2016, from
2The Coach’s Corner: Utilizing New Power-O Innovations in the Spread Offense. (2012). Retrieved April 24, 2016, from

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