PODS Drill (A-backs & Tackles): Part 1 - Setup

A lot of people are always asking about PODS, so I figured that I'd write a blog on it.  PODS is a drill that we do every day to help our Tackles and A-backs work on Zone Dive, Load tag (Inside Veer), Midline Double, Toss and Sprint Out protection.  We pair up 3on3 Drill and PODS Drill together in the same practice periods.  While the Center, Guards, QB's and B-backs are in 3on3, the Tackles and A-backs are in PODS.

Here's the basics:


  • Hand shields (4)
  • Agility bag with handles (4)
  • "Rope" or firehose

SIDENOTE:  Our hose is probably different than yours.  It's set up to match our OL splits and depth.  Here's a picture of the one we made at Burkburnett HS.  I also made one at Hahnville HS, but our coaches haven't warmed to the idea of using it yet, so it might be for sale soon.

8' x 6' x 9' ... give or take


I think the setup of this drill is the key to getting effective and quality reps.  I normally place the drill on the "rope" or firehose and have each side (right/left) alternate reps.  The Tackles and A-backs will line up on their spots on the rope.  The defense is a little trickier.  You have to coach your players on how we rotate and where they enter the drill and where they go once they take a rep.  This is how I do it.

Four players are going to play defense, while 2 players are on offense.  Tackles are going to play the DE (stepover) and ILB (hand shield).  The A-backs are going to play the OLB (hand shield) and the Safety (stepover).  The players will rotate through the drill as follows:

  • Tackles: DE to Offense to LB
  • A-backs: OLB to Offense to FS

The players enter the drill as DE and OLB.  After playing their 2nd defensive assignment the players will then rotate to the opposite side (Left or Right).  Depending upon our numbers, our players will get at least 1 rep on each side against each look.  Optimally, you'd like to get each player at least 2 reps on each side.


On the defensive side, we want to replicate the 2 main looks we get (from their perspective): BOB look and a Stack look.  I group a 50 and a 4-2 together as the same look because you've got a DE (4, 4i or 5) and an OLB with BOB look inside.  The other look is from a 4-3 or 3-3 Stack which is a DE (4, 4i or 5), Stack LB and possibly another OLB.  It's important to teach your players what Front you're working against and what we're running to beat that look.  We wouldn't work Load tag against a 50, but we are definitely working that against a 4-2.  The same goes for 4-3/3-3 Stack.  We won't Load a 4-3, but we will use it against a 3-3 Stack at times.

Here are the defensive alignments and drill setup:

Drill Setup & Defensive Alignments/Movements - Zone Dive and Inside Veer (Load Tag vs 8 man fronts)


On a daily basis, we will normally pick 2 plays that we want to work against the above Defensive looks.  Most of the time we would run Zone Dive and also Inside Veer (Load Tag).  Zone Dive will be run against all of the above Defensive Looks.  When we run Inside Veer (Load Tag), we only will run that against an 8 man front look (1 High Safety), which would be 3-3 Stack and 4-2.  There's no need to work Inside Veer in this drill against a 7 man front (50 and 4-3).  Most days, we will run both of those plays.  At least once a week, we're going to mix in another play like Midline Double, Toss, or Sprint Out protection to go along with Zone Dive or Load Tag.

The most important part of the drill is the defensive movements and looks.  The looks shown above are typical defensive movements that I will use while running Zone Dive and Inside Veer (Load Tag).  The defense has to move.  The worst thing is when guys just stand there.  That's not realistic and it's not going to help you get better.  You've got to work against the stunts that you'll see from the defenses you're going to play.


In the next blog, I'll go over the Zone Dive play and what we're looking for when we work this in PODS.