Offensive Line Pass Fundamentals

Ed Warinner, Offensive Line Coach, University of Notre Dame

Stance to Set

Notre Dame uses a 2 point stance.  Toe to Heel stagger.  Turn the outside foot out, to get all 7 cleats in the ground. 

Defensive Linemen assess your set to decide what to do, based on your 1st two steps.  If you donít make a mistake, he will be tentative.

Set 2 kicks, maintain body position.  Your nose is on his inside hear.  Favor the inside half, to stay between him and the Quarterback.  Pass blocking is a slow retreat.

Use Left Handed & Right Handed stances.  This gives you an advantage in pass protection. 

The Left Tackle works Right Tackle footwork every day, and visa versa.  Everyone needs to be able to work both sides so that you can put your best 5 Offensive Linemen on the field, even if injuries occur.

Wave Drill:  Being able to move with good body position in all directions Ė up, back, right and left. Pay attention to his feet on this drill.

Hand Placement Drill:  Hand replacement.  DL knocks his hands off, use tight circles and replace hands back on DL pads.

Punch Over Top:  Jab a defensive lineman in the chest as he jumps to bat the pass.  We have to get his hands down.  The goal is to knock the wind out of the DL. 

Mirror Drill:  Many different versions of the mirror drill.  Start with a Defensive Lineman standing on one side of the line with an Offensive Lineman on the other side.  Set cones about 5 yards apart.

        Hands Behind the Back:  Maintain the nose position on the inside ear.  Hands behind the back makes you have a big chest, giving the OL the right feel. 

        Hands Ready

        Hands On:  Get the feel of being connected to the Defensive Lineman.  As you progress, have the DL add in a spin move. 

        Mirror ĖWeave Drill:  Staying connected, giving ground.  Let the defender weave us back.  Can add in a spin move on this too.  Put the DL hands on your OLís shoulders to give him more control. 

Versus the Spin Move, give a little ground and keep active hands.

Slide & Punch on the Sled:  He does not use the sled much, trying to avoid putting wear and tear on the guys.  For this drill though, they are simply sliding down the line, punching each sled as they go by.

Ladder Progression:  The reason for the ladder is to keep guys from overextending your base.  Short, fast steps.  Take a million short, fast steps to get there instead of two big steps.  Maintain balance.

1.      One Foot In, One Foot Out: Helps to maintain the stagger as he moves.  Nothing is natural in pass protection, everything is a trainable skill.

2.      Work Forward:  So you can maintain a good base when a DL pulls on you. 

3.      Work Backward

4.      Work Sideways punching hold a  sand bag:  Can use a 25lb plate or 35lb plate too, not many guys can handle a 45 lb plate.  Tough drill, donít use it in season. 

Push-Pull Drill:  Work connected to a Defensive Lineman.  Key points are to not hop, just step and slide. 

Punch Drill: Working on the timing of the jab.  He uses a pop up dummy, with a one-handed punch and a two-handed punch.

Rapid Fire:  For blitzing linebackers.  Have a line of bag holders starting at Linebacker depth over one OL.  They attack him one after the other, veering off right or left.  The OL delivers a good punch to him. 

Mirror Drill w/ Ball (or Medicine Ball):  Working the mirror drill while the coach tosses a ball to him.  The OL pushes the ball back in a punching motion.  Can use a basketball out of season.

Vertical Sets:  Work on a line.  You canít set for width if the OT has a 3-tech next to him.  If the gap next to him is open, he can set for more width. 

Deep Wide Rush:  Versus a wider rusher, working on a line.  3 kicks and a punch. 

2 on 2 vs. Twists& Games:  OT canít set out to the wide 5 because he wonít be able to handle the penetrating 3-technique. The guy who has the first man has to stop his charge.

Combine Ladder Progression with Sled Punch

All of his Offensive Linemen wear gloves and tape their wrists to protect their hands.  Once their hands are hurting them they will not give you the same punch, so take care of them.

Live vs. Defensive Line Ė One on Oneís and also working vs. Twist game.

For every one snap of opponent film, he watches 10 snaps of his own team.  Try to film everything.

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