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

Sprint Out Protection & Double Options:

This is the last installment in a series of blogs about our PODS drill.  In this blog, we're going to talk about Sprint Out protection and Double Options.  While we wouldn't work these two plays every day in PODS, they are still critical to our success.  We might work these two when the plays are first installed and then again as needed to correct errors or certain defensive looks that we might anticipate during a game week.  On these two plays, the Tackle and A-back are setting the edge which is critical to the success of both plays.


Our Sprint Out protection is different from most.  We are not a "Reach/Overtake/Zone" type mindset, nor are we a "Down/Back/Turnback" style protection.  We're sort of a combination of the two.  We tell our OL to step straight upfield with the playside foot, punch the playside arm and pivot 90 degrees (legs straddling the LOS and belt pointing to the sideline).  We want their head tilted at a 45 degree angle looking upfield and in their gap for threats.  If something is in their gap, they will attack.  If there is nothing in their gap, they will shuffle backwards, straddling the LOS.  The A-back will widen his alignment from the Tackle and pivot at a 45 degree angle inside and block anything in his gap (outside the Tackle).  The B-back will lead around for the QB and block anything outside of the A-back.


The Sprint Out Script is very basic.  We'll work it against the same scenarios as we did with the Load tag.  Here are the defensive stunts again.  Please note that the blocking shown on the diagram is for Load blocking, NOT for Sprint Out protection.

Defensive Stunts are the same, but the Tackle & A-back blocking scheme for Sprint Out protection is obviously different than listed in the diagram.


  • Tackle must Step straight upfield with outside foot (gain ground), Punch with outside arm, and Turn 90 degrees with his belly button pointing down the LOS towards the Center.
  • If no one shows in the gap, shuffle backwards and keep looking for threats to your gap.
  • Maintain 90 degree posture.
  • Once a defender shows in the gap, attack him.
  • Don't try to hook a defender!  Don't down block a defender!
  • Be quick and aggressive with your step, punch & turn.


  • Take a Wider alignment from Tackle.  This makes defenders usually choose pre-snap which gap they will line up in and rush in.

  • Try to determine who will rush your gap pre-snap, but DO NOT "lock on" that defender.

  • At snap, step with outside foot and then drop the inside foot back to set up in a Quarter Turn, or 45 degree position.

  • A-back usually has to take no more than a couple shuffle steps in order to get someone to rush his gap.

  • Block whatever shows outside Tackle's butt.

  • NEVER arc out or try to reach block a defender outside of your alignment.  You are giving up a gap inside when you do this.  All threats outside you are handled by the B-back.  Trust him to do his job.

  • Be aware of LB's scraping through your gap as the QB sprints towards you.

  • Do not chop block the rushers unless you play NCAA rules.

If you plan to utilize the Sprint Out passing game from the Flexbone, this drill is vital to your ability to get to the edge.  The concepts seem simple, but you have to train your players not to chase defenders.  That's the most common error that I see, besides guys simply turning the wrong direction.  Repetition is the key.  The players must trust their technique.  If they do, it's the simplest protection in the world.  If they don't, you'll have tons of run-thru's and your QB will be running for his life.

Check out some drill videos and cutups against various defenses by clicking the button below:


Double Options are very good compliments to your Veer running game.  These Double Options are good answers when the defense is playing games to dictate who gets the ball when you run Veer.  We currently run 2 types of Double Option off of the Veer play, both of which we will block #1 and pitch off #2.  On one of these Doubles, the Tackle & A-back will work together to block #1, much like the Zone Dive play.  On the other Double, our Tackle or Guard will block #1 (depending upon the defensive look), and our A-back will Load block to the PSLB (Mike or Bob backer).

There are two ways to work these plays in:

  1. Devote a day to working both of them, so that your players associate them as separate plays.
  2. When you work Zone Dive, also work the Double Option in which the Tackle & A-back work together to block #1.  When you work Load blocks, have your Tackle down block a B gap #1 and have the A-back Load the PSLB.

There is no right or wrong way.  Determine which way is most effective for your players.


When the Tackle & A-back are working together to block #1, we will work against a 4i, 4 and 5 technique.  We'll slant #1 in different directions and include a PSLB as the scraper.  The goal is to drive #1 into the PSLB.  If we get a 4i and he goes down, the A-back will climb to Load block the PSLB.

When the Tackle & A-back are working separately (Tackle on #1 and A-back on PSLB) we will give the Tackle a 3 or 4i look and A-back will get both a Mike and Bob as far as LB alignment goes.


  • Good 1st step (6" up/over step on 4 or 5 tech; Down step on 4i).
  • Hands on guns.
  • 3 quick steps and shoot your hands.
  • Run THRU contact, not TO contact.
  • Buzz feet.


  • If you're working with the Tackle, move closer to him like Zone Dive alignment.

  • Step with Inside foot.  Can't be slow off ball.  No False Steps.

  • Keep shoulders down.

  • If the PSLB disappears, work upfield for BS Safety or Single High Safety.
  • RUN!  Run THRU contact, not TO contact! Don't position block.

These are good plays to have in your arsenal if you get a mixture of defensive adjustments to stop your Veer game.  While it sounds easy enough to just tell your Tackle and A-back to "double #1" on the sideline of a game, it still requires some practice time to run this scheme efficiently play after play.  Don't cheat your players.  Take some time to invest in this play, so that you can have answers to defensive adjustments.

Check out the Video below to see some examples of Double Option techniques:


As with the previous 4 blogs, I hope this gives you some ideas to incorporate in your practice schedule.  We are always looking at ways to improve on our technique and maximize our reps in practice.  These practice ideas have definitely helped us to improve on problem areas.

This concludes the PODS Drill blogs.  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.