ITP Glossary: Drive Block

[dt_divider style=”thick” /]As legendary college offensive line coach Joe Moore often told his players, there’s no greater feeling than being able to move a man from Point A to Point B against his will. No block represents this more than a base block.

The drive (base) block is a foundational pillar of offensive line play. A successful drive block is predicated on the feet, hips, and hands of the offensive lineman being in the proper position on the defender in order to generate sufficient leverage, thus creating movement at the point of attack.

This block is used primarily in gap or man blocking schemes when vertical displacement is the objective such as power or duo plays. This block typically occurs against a tight-shaded alignment, requiring more physicality, aggressiveness, and raw strength than any other block for an offensive lineman.

As with any successful block, starting in a proper, balanced stance is paramount, leading directly to efficient footwork at the snap. Having the feet and hips firmly underneath the frame allows blockers to unlock their hips at the point of attack.

The second step is crucial, acting as the most powerful step that gains ground, putting the blocker in optimal position to generate power and movement upon contact. Force should be generated off the in-steps of the feet throughout the block.

Having the elbows aligned with the hips, with quick, accurate hands landing inside the frame of the defender facilitates maximum power output through the ground.

The goal is to be lower than the opponent at the point with the aforementioned techniques in place. When this occurs, offensive linemen are in optimal position to gain control, sustain, steer, and drive their man away from the ball.

A great example of a drive block comes from Dallas Cowboys All-Pro center Travis Frederick against a tilted nose tackle:

FrederickDriveBlockPancake from Brandon Thorn on Vimeo.

Since contact occurs quickly on a base block, the importance of being explosive out of the stance with a strong base and tight hand carriage is critical.

Another excellent example is from Atlanta Falcons center Alex Mack against the nose tackle:

ATLMackDriveBlockPancake from Brandon Thorn on Vimeo.

Just like penetration kills the running game, movement propels it. The drive/base block is most fundamental block along the offensive line, representative of not just precise technique from the ground up, but also a battle of will that defines what trench play is all about; moving another man against his will.

Follow Brandon on Twitter @VeteranScout. Read more of his work here, including his 2017 NFL Draft Under the Microscope pieces on Pat ElfleinEthan Pocic and Cam Robinson.

One thought on “ITP Glossary: Drive Block

  1. I remember when a drive block was linemen firing off the line and hitting their man with their shoulder pads and moving him back. Just like they practiced by hitting the blocking sled. I don’t think to much of this stand up blocking. Especially on run plays.

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