About the Post

Author Information

Founder and Owner of the Flexbone Association. Since 2007 we have provided the tools necessary for teams to succeed running the Flexbone Association System. Over the last ten years over 200 teams have been instructed by the Flexbone Association. I've consulted with teams and or run camps everywhere from Belfair, WA to Key West, FL. The Flexbone Association strives daily to help coaches succeed with this time tested offense, I have been a football coach for 16 seasons, currently at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, GA I played at St. Mary's Springs High School in Fond du Lac, WI under legendary head coach Bob Hyland. I've been fortunate to be part of five state championship teams (1997,1998,2002,2011,2012). In 2011-2012 St. Mary's Springs led the state of Wisconsin in scoring and set consecutive school records for points scored, Psalm 27

The Definitive Guide to Backside/Scoop Blocking

Mark Kleinpeter, Former Offensive Line Coach/Athletic Director, United States Naval Academy Prep School  (Originally published by the Flexbone Association in 2011)

While many coaches focus on playside blocking techniques, I feel like the backside blocking oftentimes is more critical to running the Flexbone Offense successfully. On the frontside, we usually have a 2-on-1 or 3-on-2 blocking situation with the numbers in our favor. On the backside, however, we are usually faced with a 3-on-3 or 3-on-4 situation while also being out leveraged. In this article, I’m going to discuss some techniques, drills and ideas that I find are important to improving your scoop blocking.

It is important that you work diligently on improving your scoop blocking. This is where 90% of our cuts come from, which helps to slow down tho opposing defensive linemen. We need to slow the d-line from coming upfield and attacking us every play. I really stress to my offensive linemen that we need to get the defensive linemen on the ground as often as possible early in the game.

If the d-line are coming hard every play, then our job is going to be tougher and our B-back is not going to have a very fun night. We want to get the defensive linemen on their heels worried more about protecting their knees, shins and ankles, than they are about trying to tackle the dive. If we can get them on their heels, then we will have an easier time running the ball.

You’ve probably read some of the complaints about cut blocking from opposing coaches (Virginia Tech, Rutgers and Notre Dame) when playing against Navy and Georgia Tech. None of the techniques that we teach are illegal. We teach techniques which are consistent with rules of our governing body, be it NCAA or NFHS rules. We don’t teach hi-lo blocking and we work hard to cut block correctly. We take a lot of pride in it.


We start off with 3’ splits and adjust according to the skill level of our players. Do everything you can to keep a minimum of 3’ splits on the backside. Before changing the splits, check the OL depth off the  football. We want to be as deep as possible without getting called for being in the backfield. This will help with your scoops and releases. By being further back off the ball, it gives our linemen a chance to get in front of the defender before making contact.

The 3 types of SCOOP blocks that I teach are a tight scoop, regular scoop and a slice scoop. We use the tight scoop (called a SOLE at Navy and a VEER Scoop by Kenny Wheaton) when the defender is aligned tight on our backside shoulder (3 tech on BSG or Shaded Nose on Center) and no threat to our playside gap. The steps for tight scoop are 45-90. We use a regular scoop when trying to reach a DL to our playside gap. The steps for regular scoop are 45-60-90 and then tunnel (throw body upfield vertical).

We use a slice scoop when a defender is so far inside that our only chance is to go flat and try to throw on him. Our steps for the slice are 30-30-45 with an emphasis on 3 steps to the cut. We want to explode our body and uncork it through our ankle, knee and hip joints. They should extend both arms, lead with the facemask and attempt to bear crawl out of it.

Coaching Points
The first point of emphasis is obviously the steps. Secondly, we want to ensure that the offensive linemen are not popping up out of their stance. This will slow us down and we will not cover as much ground. Consequently, this will lead to us missing blocks. It also increases the chance of getting called for an illegal block. Officials don’t like to see one of our linemen pop up and then dive down at a defender’s legs or knees.

I try to teach my linemen to stay low through the entire scoop. We want to lead with our facemask. We are aiming for hips to thigh pads, but sometimes we will take knees, shins or ankles if that’s all we can get. The important thing is that they’ve got to get going and run. They’ve got to go fast and outwork people to make these blocks work. It’s all about effort.


I work scoop blocks quite a bit in the chutes. I also use a couple different bear crawl drills that help train the linemen to play low and get off the ground. For the scoop drill we put a defender on the outside of the chute with a hand shield. The defender holds the hand shield in one hand and lifts both hands away from his body 45 degrees extended.

The offensive linemen begins the drill in the chute, aligned on the defenders empty hand. On the snap count, the offensive linemen will take the 45-60-90 steps past the defender’s body and then try to tunnel upfield through the hand shield. I want them to throw both hands and their body upfield like Superman.

If they hit the ground, I want them to bear crawl out of it and get running. For the slice scoop, we work a cut drill in the chutes, as well. We place a cut bag on top of a stepover bag. We lean the cut bag against the edge of the chute so it stands up by itself.

The OL line up in the chute and on the snap count they execute the slice steps. For tight scoops, we usually work those in a group drill outside the chutes where we can go over certain defensive looks.

Again, we work very hard to ensure both linemen are making contact through the hip to thigh area. This helps to cut down on hi-lo calls and it also helps us get more movement on the d-line. Our lead man on the tight scoop also has a better chance to come off to the next level when staying lower.

Navy v. Army Photo – Getty Images

Navy v. Air Force Photo: Rob Carr AP

Navy v. Delaware Photo:  Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell

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