PODS DRILL: PART 4 - Toss & Midline Double

Toss & Midline Double:

In the previous 3 blogs, we've discussed our PODS drill in great detail.  We've talked about the setup and equipment needed for the drill and practice schedule particulars.  We've also discussed the 2 main things that we're going to work on during this drill, Zone Dive and the Load Tag on Inside Veer.  In Part 4, we're going to discuss how you can use this drill to work on the Toss play (some might call it Rocket) and also the Midline Double play.


On the Toss play, our PSG, PST and PS A-back are taking the same steps, which is pretty much open hips to the sideline, sprint for 3 steps and then turn upfield.  The words we use are, "Open, Crossover, Plant-Accelerate."  While this seems very basic, we still need to practice this skill.

For High School, here are the play rules that I use:

  • PSG & PST - 3 step pull, you two are responsible for DE and PSLB
  • PSA - Fast Arc, block Flat defender (1st defender outside of Tackle) or most dangerous


For Toss, we are going to work 2 specific Defensive Looks that can give us some problems if we don't work on them.  The first situation involves the PST and PSA having to work together to block a reading DE in a 4-3 look, basically an EZ stunt.  This will be from a 2 high look where the PSA will have time to help chip the DE and still come off in time to block the Safety.  In my experience, the DE in a 4 man front is the guy that makes the play most of the time.

The second situation is where we are in a Flex formation or Over formation and our WR is coming down to crack on the Flat Defender (#2).  We call it Swap.  In this scenario, our PST and PSA are trying to pull around the WR's block and turn upfield.  Against pretty much every defense except a 4-3 defense, the OLB (#2) is going to be the most dangerous player when running Toss.  To counteract this, we normally utilize the Swap call and we need to work our PST and PSA to get around that block.  We've had situations where we Hi/Lo the OLB with the WR and PSA.  We've also had the OLB blow up the WR into the PST and PS A-back like bowling pins, so we really want to work on this situation to ensure we know what to do.


  • Assume that the DE will flow outside.  If he goes inside, life is good...PSG will get him.
  • Sit back on your heels so that you can pull.
  • Good bucket step with outside foot and pull outside arm back to get your hips turned to the sideline.
  • Get inside arm up and extended to keep any defenders off your body.    RUN!
  • If you are not in contact with the DE after 3 steps, turn upfield for Inside-Out defenders (Basic Rule).
  • If it's a 4-3 defense (LB's Stacked and in Box), not 6-1 (LB's Hip or on LOS), you need to outsprint the PSA.  The PSA might be able to give the DE a nudge, but it is your responsibility to overtake the DE as the PSA turns upfield.
  • If it's a Swap call, you must pull around the block of the WR.  Get around the WR's block and turn upfield looking for Inside-Out defenders.


  • Take a Wider and Deeper alignment from Tackle.

  • Recognize the defense and make your calls/signals.

  • Use Fast Arc Steps (Open, Crossover, Plant-Accelerate).

  • Block flat defender (1st man outside Tackle) or most dangerous (Basic rule).

  • If it's a 4-3 (LB's Stacked in Box), AND PS Safety is slow filling or you have him outleveraged, work through DE with a punch on your way to PS Safety.

  • If it's a Swap call, you must pull around the block of the WR and block most dangerous defender.

  • RUN!  Don't position block.

Practicing against these 2 common looks has allowed us to execute this play at a high level.  It's also helped our players to make adjustments, literally, on the run and get the play blocked correctly.  If you run Toss frequently, I encourage you to add this to your PODS script at least once a week.


There are several ways to run Midline Double, in regards to A-back motion that is.  You can Twirl, Lead, Nomo, etc.  The thing that we're trying to work on here is the A-back's blocking path in relation to the PST.  In the past, we've had A-backs collide with our Tackles because they didn't know what the Tackles were trying to do on the play.  The Tackles have a hard enough job on this play without having to worry about an A-back running over their legs or knocking them off their block.  You can work a Nomo Insert block, Twirl Insert, Lead block or Arc block by the A-backs, or any combination that you use.

This year, we are going to steal a page from Kenny Wheaton at Harding University and run our Midline Double play in conjunction with our Toss play.  Essentially, we are going to pair the two together to respond to how the DE is playing.  If the DE is making the play on Toss, then we are going to run the Midline Double play.  If the DE is giving us blocking problems on the Midline Double play, then we're going to run Toss.

Here are the play rules:

  • PST - Reach-Pin.  Make it look like you are going trying to Reach the DE and then get your Head inside and get your butt between the DE and the ball.  Expand the hole.
  • BSA - Go in Toss motion on "Down."  Stretch it and sell Toss.  Don't loaf! 
  • PSA - Insert for PSLB at the snap.  Step inside and slightly back.  "Snapshot" the PSLB (See him) and then explode through the hole.  You are blocking for the QB.


For Mid Double, we are basically going to work against an Even front and an Odd front.  We want to teach both the Tackles and the A-backs how the count changes against each front and with it, the blocking scheme.  We're also going to work against BOB look and Mike look with the LB's.  This drill is mainly about Identifying the front and working on the timing of everything.  We also want to give the A-back various looks that he might face in the game, like the Read key sitting in his path or the PSLB disappears.


  • Make the Count.  Block #2.
  • Utilize Reach/Pin technique against an Even front.
  • Turn hips, but keep shoulders square.  Sell the Reach.
    • Get hands on the guns, don't lead with them.  See the defender move.
    • Attack inside number of DE.  Shoot your hands and run your feet.
    • Work butt inside between DE and the ball.  Expand the hole.
    • Don't allow defender to fall back inside or downfield to "his grass."  His only escape can be into our backfield or "our grass."
  • Back/Down block technique against an Odd front.  Permian block.


  • Take a Deeper alignment from Tackle.

  • Recognize the defense and make the count.  Make your calls/signals.

  • Step slightly back and inside at the snap.  Snapshot the PSLB.

  • Explode through the hole and block PSLB's playside number to hip.
    • If the Read key is in the way, blow him up.
    • If the PSLB disappears, work upfield for BS Safety or Single High Safety.
  • RUN!  Run THRU contact, not TO contact! Don't position block.

The play is simple enough, but a lot of things can happen inside during this play.  By working on the various looks that we will get, our players get comfortable (especially the A's) with the defensive looks and where to go.  I would normally add this to my PODS script when we install Midline Double, and also when we feel that our guys need more work on it due to bad execution.  If you run a lot of Mid Double then you will probably run this at least once a week.


Hopefully, this blog has given you some ideas to incorporate into your PODS Drill or has highlighted some areas that you might be able to work on to improve your execution of these two plays.  Again, this is not our main focus in PODS on a daily basis, but we definitely work one of these two plays at least once a week during PODS.

PODS DRILL: PART 5 - Sprint Out Protection & Double Options

In the next blog, we'll be talking about how we utilize PODS to work on our Sprint Out Protection and also one of our Double Option plays.  Stay tuned.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at mark_kp@hotmail.com or on my cell.  Check out the ABOUT page or CONTACT page for my information.