Advanced Running Back Drills – Part II
By Mike DiMatteo, Running Backs Coach
The final read we practice is the tackle’s hips turning in but the 3 technique crosses the face of the playside guard into the A gap. The RB will then press the hole (bang) and accelerate to level two, again working hash, numbers, sideline. The cut here is a slalom cut, as indicated on the diagram. The key here is to accelerate without slowing down or stutter stepping, maintaining and gaining speed throughout the cut. It should be
noted that our speed cut and slalom cuts are to be executed without slowing down or stuttering. After the cut is made, acceleration is imperative. Again, these cuts are drilled in practice as well.
We work these reads every other day during August camp, and two out of three days during our spring session. These reads and the training of our players’ eyes are paramount whether it be for the outside zone play that we are discussing here, or any of our other running plays. We always emphasize where the eyes of the player are to focus. It should be noted that we always begin our drills going to the left first. Since most players are right handed, going left is a bit more difficult for them. We want to practice the most difficult direction first.
One of the other items that we will drill is what to do after we get through level one. We teach our RBs that they are to get their eyes on the inside leg of the first defender in their line of vision. Generally speaking, it will be a scraping playside LB, or in the case of a cut back, the backside LB. The inside leg of that player will determine the type of cut that the RB will be forced to make. With the outside zone play, any of our four basic cuts will be put to use. There are specific drills that we employ for this “second level” cut as well, eventually culminating during the season in a “combo” drill that will incorporate a variety of cuts and scenarios for our RBs to ensure that they are as efficient
I hope that you found our RB drills for the outside zone helpful in your off-season preparation. Should anyone have questions, you can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org