Wing-T Reader Q&A: Blocking Rules

Wing-T Reader Q&A: Blocking Rules

I got an email from Coach Mike earlier this month with some great questions on blocking rules for the offensive line. I’ll do my best to answer them here. I love reader questions like this so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any!

What are the blocking rules for play side lineman who are not doing a special block like Trap or Sweep (inside gap, man on, then LB or 2nd level)? What are the exact terms you use to keep it simple for your kids?

There’s usually going to be one of two blocks executed by play-side line, so I’ll cover each one.

  1. Down block – this is the most common, and will be used on most of our sweeps when pulling guards, on Down, etc. I use the “gap, down, backer” language in this case, and we reinforce this with proper first step footwork. I cover this in more depth in my offensive line drill routine. We drill a lot of the gap block vs. down block routine, with the teaching point being the “cover block” so that they keep their options open.
  2. Reach block – some of our sweeps involved play-side linemen reaching to play-side. We’ll use this in our power sweep schemes (both jet and “normal” power sweep) when we don’t want to force the play-side guard to pull. A local high school coach here in Portland that just installed the Wing-T last season calls this a “reach sweep”. In our power sweep play, the only complexity we will introduce is giving the play-side guard the option of pulling if he is uncovered and no blitzing linebacker shows up.

How do you define “Man on” blocking (2nd part of the rule)…inside shade, head-up, and outside shade? For example: If there is no defender inside of you (gap), are you blocking man-on if he is somehow positioned on you (inside shade, outside shade, or head-up)?

We define “man on” as being head-up or outside shade. If the rule is to down block (e.g., running the buck sweep to the right the TE rules is “down block left”), the player will stick to his rule and only block this man if he ends up slanting hard towards the gap responsibility for that player.

This is one of the hardest concepts to teach. Players want to block a man that is heads up on them.

Does the playside guard or tackle ever block out for a double-team? Does he make some type of call?

We don’t do much of this. We have two plays in our Power series (these are in the full playbook) where we look for double-teams and execute more of an on-blocking scheme at the line. The plays are:

  1. Blast – which attacks the A gap and we will usually double-team a nose (odd front) or play-side tackle (even front) with the play-side guard and center.
  2. Hammer – we run this from an unbalanced look and it looks almost like Down for the QB and FB, but instead of kicking out with the guard we have the play-side tackle make a simple call on where the double team will be. He will look outside to in and call “Trey” if there is a man from heads-up on TE to heads up on him (the tackle). Trey means a double team with the tackle and TE. If not, he will call “Deuce” and then work on a double-team with the guard.

What are the blocking rules for the center?

The center spends a lot of his time reach blocking to play-side to help seal for a pulling guard. Trap is obviously different, and is one place where we will make a line call. On the Buck Series FB trap, the back-side tackle will make an ON or IN call, with IN being called if there’s a man from inside shade of the tackle to the back-side A gap. This tells the center that he will need to block down away from the play, sometimes getting a full gap-and-a-half away. We can’t cut block in youth football, but at the high school level he will likely need to learn how to cut block to execute this properly. Otherwise (on the “ON” call) he will usually double-team with the play-side guard, usually on a heads-up or shaded nose.

On the backside (play away) do those lineman cut block?

Like I said, cut blocks aren’t allowed in our youth league so wasn’t something we would teach. We do often have the last man on back-side doing a cut-off block (we call it the “touchdown block”) where he rips through line and works to about 5–6 yards down field just up from the point of attack to be an extra blocker / screen.

What calls (if any) do you make on your pulls if your are over-manned in the A gap area with LB stunts?

Not much here – we will usually address this through play calling rather than line calls. For example, if they are packing the box and attacking A gaps hard with LBs, we will usually go to our power sweep, rocket sweep, or hammer which all can allow the play-side guard to stay home.

On the inside traps…how do you define which guy to trap? What happens if a LB walks up in the playside A gap? Do you call off the trap and block it normal?

We haven’t done much in the way of allowing the QB to check out of the trap play. Sometimes the defense is right. We usually have bigger issues when the back-side A gap backer blitzes and the center is unable to see him or is pre-occupied with a nose.

Do you run any type of power play? If so, how do you block it? Who kicks out the DE?

The hammer play which I described is close to this, and of course so is the down play. Hammer is one of my favorites and we have the back-side wingback responsible for the kickout, and he does this from jet motion. Almost like using a sniffer / H-back. So we have the wingback kicking out off jet motion, and the play-side halfback leading through the hole for the fullback.

I hope this helps! Coaches if you have more questions feel free to leave a comment.