SCOOP BLOCKING: Part 2 - Technique
In Part 1 of our blog on Scoop Blocking, we focused on the rationale and importance of Scoop Blocking in the Flexbone Offense. This week in Part 2, I'll be focusing on technique and important coaching points to help teach the Scoop block.
In my opinion, Offensive Line play begins from the ground up. If we have a bad stance, alignment or split, then we're going to have some problems doing our job. I try to stress to our players the importance of stance, alignment and splits. We start off with 3’ splits and adjust according to the skill level of our players. If we are having a ton of run-throughs on the backside, then we might adjust (tighten) the split a bit. We generally are going to avoid that at all cost in case we want to check into a different play where 2’ splits might not work as well. 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 OL a chance to get in front of the defender before making contact.
I get asked quite often about "smart splits." While "smart splits" might work for some people, they generally don't work too well for us. The main reason that we run into problems with them is because we check our plays at the LOS. If we change to a different play or run the play to the opposite side, our "smart splits" have suddenly become "dumb splits." We're also in 3 point stances, so we're unable to adjust our splits once we're in our stance. If we were 2 point in the Gun or Pistol, then maybe we could do it. Due to these concerns, we try to maintain 3' splits at all times.
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 cut 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 cut scoop 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.
The first point of emphasis is obviously the steps. I used to teach my guys the 30-60-90, and 45-60-90 stuff, until I realized that most of them had no idea as to what that meant. I showed them the J shaped path that I wanted them to run and even put down those plastic spot dots that lie flat on the ground for them to follow. I told them to aim for the football and turn up on their path. That worked a lot better. As usually happens, I heard Kenny Wheaton talk about Scoop blocking and I stole his term, "Run through the back of the football."
The second point of emphasis is that we want to ensure that the OL are not popping up out of their stance. They still need to gain ground and have that "falling forward" feeling. The 3&3 Drill that I use really helps with this. If the OL is popping up (legs straighten and hips go up), 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 an OL pop up and then dive down at a defender’s legs or knees. I try to teach my OL to stay low through the entire SCOOP. We want to lead with our facemask. We are aiming for 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.
SCOOP BLOCKING: PART 3 - DRILLS
In the next blog, we will go over the drills that we use to teach and work the Scoop block. Please check back or subscribe to the blog, on the right side of the page and bottom of the page. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or on my cell. Check out the ABOUT page or CONTACT page for my information.