TOSS PART 1: BASE RULES & TECHNIQUES
How to block the Toss play seems to be a hot topic right now. I'm going to go over how I prefer to block the Toss play against various fronts, specifically against the 6-1, 50, Stack and 4-2. Not everyone blocks it like I do, but the way I do it is the result of analyzing our game film (high school) since 2009 and seeing patterns develop on who is making the play from different fronts/stunts and our formations/tags that have the most success. In college, we blocked it different. I've changed to our current scheme because the defenses in college are so much different than what we face week in, week out at the high school level. High school defenses don't pursue the football as well, nor read their keys as well as college defenses do. High school defenders are much more likely to rush upfield and will generally take poorer angles than college defenders.
For Part 1, we're going to cover our Base Blocking Rules and the techniques associated with them. The principles for blocking Toss are very similar to Inside Veer, as far as who we have to account for on the defensive side. For Toss to work, we've got to account for #1, #2, #3, NDD and the PSLB. Note that I said account for them, not block them. Ideally, we'd like to get them all blocked, but sometimes that's not possible due to leverage or alignment. Sometimes, we count on a defender getting caught up "in the wash" and being walled off from the ball carrier by other blockers. This is usually the PSLB or the Safety (could be NDD or #3, depends on the look).
For blocking Toss, we're really only worrying about PSWR, PSA, PST & PSG. The Center and backside will Scoop block. There are some very critical components that need to be taught to the QB and BSA, but in this post, we're only talking about the blocking schemes.
- PSG - (3 step pull) Block #1 to PSLB
- PST - (3 step pull) Block #1 to #2 to Safety to PSLB
- PSA - (Fast arc) Block #2 to #3 to NDD (alert for Switch from WR)
- PSWR - Explode off ball. Block playside # of NDD
Now, there are definitely variations we have to the above rules, but those are our Base Rules.
I know that other people use very basic Zone rules or Stretch rules (run, reach, overtake) and get good results. I feel that the use of our Option Count System allows us to tap into the basics & fundamentals of our offense and empower our players to execute this play at a high level. I've found that when we don't provide our players with an expectation as to how the play will unfold, we are doing our kids a disservice. We normally rep this play in Group Option and Perimeter in order to get the Skill guys on the same page as far as making adjustments with formations, tags and defensive stunts. It's also a very good play to run in our Team period because we then get a true look as to how the defense will react to the play. Now let's move on to coaching/teaching technique.
Let's talk a little about the 3 step pull technique. The 3 step pull is a similar technique to the A-back's ARC technique. The OL needs to adjust their weight in their stance in order to be able to pull flat down the LOS. We'll take a little bit of weight off of our hand to do it, but it shouldn't be a huge noticeable change in our stance. Both PSG & PST will step with their playside (outside) foot and open their hips to the sideline at the snap. I have the PST punch & rip his inside arm. This helps to keep the DE (#1) off of the PST. I have the PSG get his inside arm/hand up. This helps the PSG take #1 if he slants inside. When he hits the PSG's inside hand, it will naturally pivot the PSG around to hook #1. Both PSG & PST will take 3 flat steps as a general rule. After that, they should turn upfield. The only way that they override the 3 step rule is if the PSG gets on #1 or the PST gets on #2 in those first 3 steps. If they can get to those defenders in the first 3 steps, they'll stay on. We usually teach this technique by putting hand shields or stepover bags on the ground to make sure the OL pull flat down the LOS and then work upfield. The OL will struggle with 3 things, Stance, Pulling flat enough and not turning up after 3 steps (chasing a defender flat down the LOS). The shield/stepover drill is a good cure for those things. It's an easy drill to do and very low impact. If you're forced to be in non-padded practices, this is a very good drill to work on where you can get a lot accomplished.
The A-back is going to use Fast Arc technique and he's working to block #2 to #3 to NDD. Fast Arc is similar to Slow Arc, but it's obviously Fast steps all the way. We still tell them to "Open, Crossover" and then Run. Basically, the A-back's going to block the most immediate threat, usually the flat defender. It's important to teach the PSA not to hook the PST's man and also not to block down. If he does, then he basically stops the progress of the PSG & PST and you're going to have problems outside. If #2 is tight to the LOS (like Blood stunt), we tell the PSA to work thru #2 on his way to #3 if possible. Sometimes, all it takes is a slight punch and the PST can catch up to #2 and overtake the block, allowing the PSA to move up the alley to #3 (usually the Safety). If #2 is already wide (probably not the best play call), then the PSA will probably end up kicking him out if he can't reach him. Once this happens, we will probably start adding tags or adjust the formation.
In the next few posts, we'll discuss how to attack various defensive fronts (6-1, 50, Stack & 4-2) with the Toss play. We'll go over formation adjustments and tags that we utilize against these fronts, as well as having video cutups of Toss being run against those fronts.