Develop your offensive menu by focusing on double team progression with the help of X&O Labs Film Room.

Tight zone and gap run schemes are crucial parts of any offensive menu. It’s a challenge to find an offensive system (other than flexbone triple option outfits, of course) that doesn’t rely on these two schemes to move the chains.

So, what do both of these schemes have in common? Both rely on one key factor in order to make them efficient: interior movement of down defenders at the point of attack. And how do these defenders get moved? By violent double teams at the point of attack and on the backside.

We’re focusing on the double team progression for the post player on double team blocks in tight zone and gap runs. In case you don’t know, the post player is the lineman who is covered by a down defender to the play side or backside of the following run schemes:

  • Inside Zone
  • Power
  • Counter G/T
  • Counter H (H pulls instead of Tackle)

Examples of a post player could be the following:

  • Guard on 3-technique defender
  • Center on Shade technique defender
  • Tackle on 4i-technique defender

Jab & Crotch Technique

Diagram 1

At Tusculum College (Tenn.), offensive line coach Ben Luther teaches his backside guard to use the jab & crotch technique when there is a 3-technique and the Will LB is in a minus position, or directly behind the defensive linemen.

“The first step is with the play side foot forward while keeping a big bent knee and loading up with a single arm flipper (or under). The second step is a vertical step, getting the foot in the ground as quick as possible and through the midline of the defender while keeping the backside shoulder firm and square.” Coach Luther

After the initial two steps, the linemen will transition into a high leg (staggered feet), keeping a strong leg nearest to the down lineman. The play side arm will be uninvolved and pumping with two eyes on the declared linebacker. Both the guard and tackle must be hip to hip with shoulders square, with four eyes on the linebacker.

Check out film of this drill in Hudl.

Brace & Power Technique

Diagram 2

The backside guard will use the brace & power technique with a “B-Quick” call or against a “plussed” linebacker who's further away from the double team.

“The guard will brace for wide and depth, dependent on the linebacker’s location, with his play side foot while loading up with a single arm flipper (or under). The off knee will pivot in and the hips will open up at his angle of departure, the second step becomes the power high leg, with the backside shoulder firm and square.” Coach Luther

The play side arm will be uninvolved and pumping with two eyes on the linebacker.

Study film of this drill in Hudl.

Inside Settle & Stab Technique

Diagram 3
Diagram 4

In the University of Wyoming’s sacred “A gap” power concept, offensive line coach Scott Fuchs will use a lateral double team with the play side guard and tackle against a 3-technique defender. In order to block the play side 3-technique, the play side guard’s responsibility on the lateral double team is to use an inside settle & stab footwork technique, which is essentially a timing step or read step before delivering contact just to identify any movement from that 3-technique defender.

“We never work out to the 3-techique, even if he’s loose. The guard has the play side A gap. Inside settle is a timing step or read step. After that, I’m hoping things develop quickly. Is he spiking, looping or is the linebacker plugging? My second step needs to be in the ground a half of second after that.” Coach Fuchs

If there is nothing in the play side A gap, the guard expects the tackle’s footwork to knock the 3-technique over to the guard.

“I don’t want to drift away from him (3-technique). We tell the guard that the looser the 3-technique, the more work the tackle has to do (Diagram 3). If he goes inside or becomes 2- technique, it’s less work than the tackle has to do (Diagram 4).” Coach Fuchs

Against three down fronts, the tackle may often be by himself on a 4i-technique. A loose 3-technique may look like a vertical double team. A 2i may look like a lateral double team. If a 3-technique played out towards the tackle, it may look like a vertical double team, but they're still using lateral footwork. Whatever front is presented, it’s imperative that the guard cannot work outside off on a B gap defender because it will convolute the entry point for the back.

See the film of this drill in Hudl.

Single Under Technique

Diagram 5
Diagram 6

Southeastern Louisiana University placed in the top ten for rushing yards per game at the FCS level this past season and the Lions hung its hat on the inside zone scheme. And for offensive line coach Travis Mikel-Allen, the post block on the double team is all about the hands. He’ll combine a single under technique with what he calls “lateral, vertical” footwork for this player.

“If we had a 3-technique play side, we would try to stay lateral, vertical to stay on the inside V aiming point, so we can match what the back was doing for the first two to three steps. We used to go lateral, V of the neck to get the (defender) turnout, but we realized it was too much. We wanted to keep it simple. We needed to stay as lateral and vertical as much as possible.” Coach Mikel-Allen

Coach Mikel-Allen drills the play side post player both on the boards and in the actual combination with a teammate. On the board drill, he’ll have a defensive lineman adjacent to the board and will step over it on the snap. The offensive lineman will work his lateral, vertical footwork and single under the down defender while keeping his eyes on his track (Diagram 6).

Take a look at the film of this drill in Hudl.

While all of these blocks are labeled combination blocks for a reason—two linemen work in tandem to account for a first level and second level defender—most coaches will preach the importance of getting the down defender moved first. These are several techniques to teach the post player to do exactly that.  

All of the film referenced in this article can be easily accessed and downloaded in the X&O Labs Film Room, a searchable database with over 1600 concepts and drills in a viewable Hudl format. For more information on the film room, visit