Now that all the camps are in full bloom, someone’s finally mentioned the O-Line. Figures. All the glamor stories have been told so what else is there? The O-line, yea, let’s talk about them. Seems like an after thought, right. NOT.
That’s where the games going to be won this year if you ask me. Good flat backs, short choppy steps, lead with the face mask, head up, follow with the hands grabbing the opponents chest and jersey (always), accelerate the hips and rotate them simultaneously upon contact and keep driving the guy until the whistle blows….sounds easy right. Guess again.
The guy across from you usually runs faster and is suppose to be a better athlete, which I beg to differ. The smartest guys on the field play offensive line.
Now pass block a guy who’s running full speed at you while your moving backwards….yep backwards. Who’s the athlete now?? Try it sometime. Head back, squatted position, feet apart a little wider than shoulder width, chest out, hands up in the ready position, ready to slam into your opponents chest like a jack hammer to slow his speed or stalemate him in stride, grab everything inside you can get your hands on and be careful of the rip, or the opponent grabbing your hands off of them. This is the inside hand-fighting game that goes on every down. Also look for the leaning or the shoulder tilting as they may be preparing for a rip and spin move and know the arm bar may follow. Sometimes you give them the hands then take them away in a double pump move to get them reaching for you and to keep them off-guard as to when contacts coming.
Never hop, only shuffle steps, or quick half steps with a good wide base, whatever rings true in your brain, (never hop), never cross over, that’s a cardinal rule you never break. Never back out too fast, you only give them running room at you, stagger or vary your set (short to medium) unless your guys way outside, then never, never, upon contact (open the gate) which means open your hip. It’s tough to explain but easier to show, meaning stay as square to the line of scrimmage as much you can even when a guy is on your outside, like when the opposing D-ends line up on our tackles to pass rush on long yardage like 3rd and 8, they get at a 45 degree angle to our tackles to try to get an advantage on the corners of the tackles. If you drop your outside leg as a tackle you create a short corner (death to the QB).
What do you think….easy stuff, huh? And that’s just an overview, we could talk about steps, depending on where the opponent lines up across from you, body positioning, double team blocks, feet again there and hips together and the list goes on per situation. Hand placement and countering a rip move when your beat or in trouble and the list goes on and on. So who are the smartest guys on the field? Who has the most to think about while the ball is being snapped, while the defense is sometimes shifting and the adjustments are made incrementally in nano-seconds?? You be the judge.