Skip Pull vs. Traditional Pull in the Wing-T

Skip Pulling vs Traditional Pulling in the Wing-T

I mentioned in a recent newsletter article that I’m evaluating a number of changes in the coming season, and one that I’m almost certain to make is a switch to skip pulling vs the traditional Wing-T style of pulling linemen. At least for some of the pulling we do.

First let’s make sure you know what I’m talking about.

Traditional Pulling Technique

The traditional approach to pulling looks something like this:

  • The lineman executes a drop or bucket step with his play-side foot, exaggerating his hip swing by throwing his play-side elbow back.
  • His second step is to crossover with his back-side foot. This might be to more depth (such as the play-side guard on buck sweep), or flat down the line such as on the down play.
  • A key point here is that the guard’s shoulders are now perpendicular to the line of scrimmage, square to the sideline his is pulling towards. His head is on a swivel as he finds his defender to block or his hole to lead through.

Skip Pull Technique

Skip pulling will look very different than the traditional approach. Imagine the lineman (or wingback, or H back, or whatever) keeping his shoulders square to the line while his feet work to his blocking point. Something like this:

  • The lineman drops his backside foot a few inches back, something like a toe to heel replacement.
  • The second step is with the playside foot, toward the point of attack, gaining a small amount of depth. This is going to be about a 12 to 18 inch step.
  • The third step is when the backside foot is gathered to the play side foot, or even comes across behind the foot. Some coaches don’t like to see any feet crossing, so think of this “skip” step in that case as the back side foot almost bumping up against the front side foot.

When Does it Make Sense to Skip Pull?

I think there are two requirements for skip pulling to make sense:

  1. The player skip pulling is leading or folding through the hole, not kicking out. Kickout or trap blocks, I believe, benefit from the blocker turning his shoulders.
  2. The player skip pulling shouldn’t have too far to go. My guess is 2 to 3 gaps maximum. So skip pulling for the backside guard on buck sweep may not make a lot of sense – will he be able to get to the lead position (ahead of the halfback) fast enough? I suspect not in most cases.

For a typical Wing-T offense, skip pulling might make the most sense in situations like these:

  1. You run power and lead with the backside guard. He can skip pull.
  2. Belly / Down sweep, when the playside guard is going to cross the tackle and log (really a fold block).

Other References to Help Understand and Learn