The Offensive Line the Heart and Soul of The Offense


By Jerry Campbell

It is my belief that the heart and soul of any good offensive football team is its offensive line. An offensive line coach if he is to get the necessary technique and skills developed, he must be provided adequate practice time prior to going into group and team periods to give his players the necessary tools for success. There is no position in football that requires more discipline or technique than being an offensive lineman. The success of an offensive football team hinges on its ability to control the line of scrimmage. To win consistently, you must win in the trenches, and that means playing on your opponent's side of the line of scrimmage and not yours.

My approach to coaching the offensive line is to out execute our opponent's. This is a lot easier said than done! To take this approach and to believe in this philosophy means a great deal of time must be spent on understanding fundamentals and blocking technique as it applies to the type of athlete being coached. I feel that an offensive line coach must understand what he is teaching and how it applies to the offense. Don't introduce a technique or drill if it doesn't apply to your offense and only teach what you know how to fix.

Remember, strive to keep your blocking rules simple and consistent. By keeping your line calls and rules simple, it will give you the coach a better chance to perfect your technique and drills. You want your offensive linemen aggressive not confused. Whatever your offensive line starts they must be able to finish.

To be a good offensive line requires more than just discipline or good blocking technique, it requires "PRIDE" in yourself, your group, and your team. A team with "PRIDE" is a hard team to beat because they are willing to do the "LITTLE THINGS" that most teams are not willing to do. No detail should be overlooked, regardless of how non important it may look on the surface to you as the coach.

The difference between SUCCESS and FAILURE often lies in your ability as a coach to prepare. Prepare your offensive linemen for the unknown; what I mean here is to make sure that your system of calls and rules will apply to sideline and half-time adjustments if needed. Not every offensive lineman that you coach will start, make the all-district or all-conference team, be an all American, play in college, or play in the NFL, but every player you coach can hustle and practice hard and be a good team player. It is your responsibility as their coach to give them the drills and blocking schemes to help them be successful and they must understand that you care about them.

It is my approach, like many other line coaches that we out - execute our opponents, this is a lot easier said than done! My primary goal as I prepare our blocking schemes is that they be simple and that they have a basic rule that can tie them all into one another. Thus, I try keep the rules and line calls simple, it will give us the chance to perfect our techniques and perform them in an aggressive manner.

The more techniques an offensive lineman can learn and master, the easier it will be to cope with various situations. Repetition must be accepted as a way of life for an offensive lineman, success can only be brought about with tremendous confidence in one's ability. Concentration, selfdiscipline, communication, and the willingness to pay the price are part of being a respected offensive lineman.

Determined, intelligent, and aggressive blocking is an indispensable quality of a great football team, from both a technical and psychological standpoint. It is difficult for a team to have outstanding morale, confidence, and enthusiasm when it lacks the ability to sustain a great ground game or provide adequate protection for the passer. As an offensive line coach, you must reinforce daily to your players the importance of controlling the football. A goal for any football team should be that whenever they start the game with the football, they must make a first down in both the first and second half of the football game, this sends a message to your opponent that they are in for a long night and builds confidence in your offensive line and their teammates.


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