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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

Using the Ace Technique on Triple Option

Written by: Mark Kleinpeter, Former Offensive Line Coach/Athletic Director, United States Naval Academy  (Originally published by the Flexbone Association in 2011) Expanded upon by Scott Jazdzewski 2013

The shade is the Action Key, so your B-back should be reading the Center’s block on triple option. We don’t expect our center to dominate a playside shade, but we do expect him to either get the shade moving or at least cover him up. As long as we make good contact and keep our feet moving and stay on the guy, the block can and should be successful. The B-Back’s job is to make the offensive line right. If the action key is covered up by the center, the B-back has to make that block a textbook one.

If your offensive line (Center, especially) are trying to hook block or position block defenders then it’s not going to work very well. The B-back will hesitate because he’s unsure of his read. It will also expand the body surface of the line of scrimmage. We want to create natural holes for the backs to run it. We can’t do that if linemen are turning toward the sideline to block defenders. We want our linemen to stay square on defenders, keep their feet moving and get the defenders moving.

If the Center is finding that the Nose is falling off playside and chasing the play or getting into B back’s legs, the Center can make a Slip call for the playside guard (another article on the slip call will be forth coming). The playside guard will echo to the playside tackle, which will tell him he can outside release to the Mike-Backer (because he should not be a threat to the B-gap) The slip call will alert the playside guard to try to give a punch or shoulder to the shade if possible. The guard will still have responsibility for the B-gap, so if the playside linebacker fires, the guard has to protect the B-gap. If the Linebacker hangs or flows, then the guard is now free to give some help to Center and then work for the backside linebacker.

5236fcd8cd2f2.imageIf the Center can’t handle the shade at all, then you might have to make an ACE call, which the playside guard will echo to the playside tackle. In this case the guard will come down hard on the Shade and they will work together to block Shade to the backside linebacker. The playside tackle now has B-gap responsiblity and must inside release for the playside linebacker. You really don’t want to do this very much unless you are in Heavy. By blocking back/down you are losing a blocker to the playside. If you are in Heavy, then you could still possibly get the “over/under” concept that many Flexbone Triple Option coaches seek. Many coaches will default to an ACE call whenever there is an A-gap player. I dissuade you from making this a default call. Use it only when the center can’t handle the shade on his own.

The center’s technique against a playside shade should be the same as our normal base block with slight modification of hand technique.

Base block:
1. 6″ up/over step with playside foot
2. Roll backside knee/ankle at our playside foot
3. Cock arms to hips (hands on your guns)
4. Get 2nd & 3rd steps into ground moving towards defender as quick as possible
5. Strike defender violently with hands (upward strike, thumbs up, elbows in) and facemask
6. Buzz feet on contact
7. Lift hands and roll hips toward defender

For the Center, we need to make a few adjustments due to his proximity to the Nose or Shade and also due to snapping the football. The Center has to speed up his feet and hands throughout this process. Contact with defender is going to happen fast. Your center needs to get first step in the ground prior to making contact. He has to learn to snap and step at the same time. He also needs to take his off hand (non-snapping hand) and strike the defender.

The Center is almost like a pass rusher in this regard. He needs to snap/step/strike all at the same time. His second step is critical to getting movement. He has to get his second step in ground fast and it has to gain ground. On the second step he has to get his snap hand up to make contact with defender. From here it’s all about pad level and buzzing your feet.

There are three drills that should help your center and we do them everyday. First is the Bear Crawl drill that we do. This should get them used to playing low out of their stance. The second drill(s) is/are the Board Drills that we do. We do them everyday and work on our up/over steps as well as quick 2nd/3rd step. The third drill is the Permian Drill in which we use Boards steps (no boards) to strike a Heavy Bag and drive it. Make your Center do all of the drills while snapping a nerf ball or towel.

I will write more on the future, expanding on different positional requirements, but for the time being know this: your Center should be your best offensive lineman. If he plays low, moves his feet and hits the heavy bags everyday then he should be able to reach a playside shade with ease. How can the Flexbone Association help you in 2014?

Feature Photo: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY

Photo: Joshua McKerrow, Staff

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