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Thread: Teaching the Cross Block

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  1. #1

    Default Teaching the Cross Block

    To those of you that run belly and will use an XB scheme vs. a 3 technique to the playside, how are you breaking down the Cross Block between the Guard and the Tackle?

    This is something we really struggled with on our Belly play (and Down, to boot) and I think can be traced back to our footwork for the playside guard, we are having trouble getting him on a good tight angle into the hole. Too often he is pulling flat, not into the hole. With trap, we don't have a problem as we tell him to point his playside foot to the centers playside toe, and we are on a good angle. However, if we do that with Belly (or Down) we end up running into the PST on his trap block (because we are all on the same level).


  2. #2

    Default Xb

    Coach: My reaction to that would be... your Tackle is toooooo slow! Why doesn't your OG run into your Center of FB Trap??!!
    One thing that might help... the OT's block on Belly XB is a "down" block and not a "gap" block. Thus, the OT doesn't have to come as flat. But, he does have to come with speed and plow into that DT.
    Two little things: 1- as you said "OG is deeper in alignment" so cheat your OT up just a little so the OG stays back. 2- when you introduce it, get your OG to "hold up" just a little (I'm thinking like Waggle... where the G needs to "pause" for the Fullback to get through). As your G and T get more reps, start pushing the T to go faster cuz the G is coming.
    I think the KEY is the angle of the G. You can't let him go "flat" and then try to kick out the DE. You're doing it right... just start it a little slower and build up the T's confidence.
    Hope that helps.

  3. #3


    Thanks coach, the pause idea was kind of what I was thinking about too. I saw Coach Herman's camp DVDs and when he does the the XB belly in bird-dog fashion the PSG does not take a step when the rest of the OL take their second step.

  4. #4

    Default Xb

    There ya go...... "Timing takes time!"

  5. #5



    In the paragraphs below i explain how I coach the Front side Tackle and Guard to block Belly Cross Block. Equally important to the FSG and FST is the coaching of the FB and Lead Halfback. If you don't coach them properly it doesn't matter how you coach the Offensive Line. It all fits together. I basically took the following explanations from my Wing-t Playbook.

    Objective: This is the Traditional Wing-T play that is intended to be a very physical. In Gerry Gallagher’s
    mind this is still one of the most staple plays in the Wing-T Offense. In my opinion, Belly X Block is one
    of the most staple plays of the Traditional and the Contemporary Wing-T Offense. To Gerry it is the
    Wing-T’s Version of the Isolation play.
    In today’s Wing-T Offense, the Belly XB is being run out of many formations, but no matter how
    many formations you may use to run Belly XB, it is my opinion that it should always be initially inserted
    out of 100 and 900 formations. Once the Half Backs learn to run it from a dive back alignment, then it is
    OK to run it out of 400 and 600 formations (Red & Blue). It is very important that the FB and the LH (in
    this instance) understand the concept of staying tight to the FST’s block. This is the main reason why it is
    important to initially insert XB out of a Dive Back Formation.
    Many true Wing-T Teams never run Belly XB out of a double wing formation. The variations of
    Belly Cross Block that we will show you are Blast, and Belly Ice. We will also run these plays run out of
    our Double Wing formations, such as 400, or 600 formation (Red & Blue).
    FST - Gap, Down, On
    1. The front side tackles alignment call is even more important when we run XB. The fullback and the
    play side halfback are both listening for his call, so they can make a better pre-snap read.
    2. Vs. a 5-2 Defense
    A. Versus an “04 Call” (an odd Defense with a 4 Technique)
    If the offensive tackle gives an 04 call he knows the defensive tackle could be a B or a C gap
    player. I let the OT in this situation perform a Shoulder-Hand techniqued On block. An ON
    Block using his outside shoulder and hand. This way our FST can react better to any quick
    inside or outside movement of the DT and stay with him better. The FST tackle doesn’t have to
    make a devastating block, he just has to stay with the DT, and once the DT chooses a side, he
    will wash him in the direction he chooses.
    Our FST knows that the FB and FSHB are reading his block and that he can’t make a
    mistake as long as he stays with the DT.
    B. Versus an “05 Call” (5-2 Defense to a 5 Tech)
    A 5 technique tackle in this situation is almost always a contain rusher and a C gap player. If
    the DT is a reader you can perform a Fire influence block on him. This means that you will
    initially step to Fire block his outside number. When the DT fights to the outside, jam him with
    the heel of your inside hand and keep driving him outside.
    Our backs in this situation will forget about the 5 technique and focus almost exclusively
    on the nose guard. If you are not sure if he is a reader, On Block his inside number and block
    him to the outside.
    Our Fullback and FSHB understand that the NG will most likely be responsible for the play
    side “A” Gap and will really fight play side, in order, not to get reached. This play has a good
    chance of cutting behind the NG.
    3. Vs. a 4-3 or a 4-4
    The FST will use the Down part of his rule and will primarily perform a Down technique unless the
    DT is a definite penetrator. Then he will use a Gap technique.
    FSG - Gap, Pull Kick Out
    His base rule tells him to pull and kick the first man positioned outside the FST’s block. He must
    take an inside - out trap angle and drive the DE to the sidelines.
    1. Two Exceptions
    A. “Gap Call:
    If there is a defender aligned on the inside half of the FSG (a 2I Tech) or in the “A” gap, the
    FSG and or the Center will give a “Gap, Gap, Gap Call” or a Gap Right call. This tells
    everyone that the play has been changed to 87 On. This gives us better blocking angles up front
    and it tells the FB and the half back that there is no read, so shorten your foot work, gear it up
    and run through the hole quicker than normal.
    B. “Off Call”
    If there isn’t anyone on the LOS outside the FST for the FSG to kick out, the FSG will give an
    Off Call. This situation usually occurs to the split side vs. a 5-2, or Shaded 4-3 Defense. The
    OSLB is in an “Off Alignment” 3 or 4 yards from the LOS, the FSG is uncovered, and the FST
    has a 5 technique aligned over him. The FSG will now make an “Off Call”. The FSG will
    take a reach step to the inside, jam the NG with his right shoulder and hand to aid the center,
    then he will climb and block the first backer from center. This also tells the halfback to release
    outside the FST like he is going to run Keep Pass and then block the OSLB to the outside. This
    is also an excellent key breaker to teams that read the half back, in order, to determine if you are
    running Keep Pass or Belly XB. They coach their defensive players that if the HB takes a path
    inside the FST we are running Belly and if he takes a path outside the FST we are running Keep
    Pass. An “Off Call” breaks this key.

    FB - Ball Carrier – Lead Step, Cross Over, Plant, Receive Handoff, bend path for inside leg of Left
    Tackle – Read Defensive Tackles block, select opening.
    1. Basic Coaching points for the Fullback
    A. We want the Fullback’s steps to be very deliberate. We tell him to be deliberate, have rhythm,
    and be patient.
    B. This is not a play where we want the Fullback to smack up into the LOS as fast as possible.
    C. The basic concept of this play is that, both the FB and the QB must understand that we want
    to get the ball to the Fullback as deep in the backfield as possible.
    D. We expect our FB’s shoulders to remain square to the LOS during all phases of his foot work.
    E. The worst thing your FB can do is gain ground as he is taking his footwork. When you first
    put it in, your Fullback will take faster steps and gain ground with is footwork and he will get
    the ball about 2 feet behind the LOS. You have to watch this closely because if this happens
    your Fullback has no chance to read it.
    F. The other thing that staying deep on your first three steps does, is that, it allows the left Half
    Back to get up in front of the Fullback, and lead him through the hole. When your FB runs
    through the hole, the lead halfback (Left Half) should be an arms length and a half in front of
    you (a yard & a half).
    G. Your read is the front side tackles tail and your aiming point is the inside leg of the FST.
    2. Footwork
    A. Your first step is a 6 -8 inch Reach step with your left foot without gaining one inch of
    ground towards the LOS.
    B. On your second step, cross over with your right foot and gain no more than 12 inches of
    ground towards the LOS. Keep your shoulder square to the LOS. To do this the main
    concept you must remember is, if your toes stay north and South, your shoulders will stay
    North and South. If you take your toes and you turn them out, automatically your shoulders
    will turn outward.
    C. On your third step square your feet up.
    i. Some coaches tell their Fullbacks they can gain up to six inches of depth on their third step.
    I prefer that the FB gain no ground forward on his third step.
    ii. I want the FB to get the ball as deep as possible. When the FB receives the ball he should
    be 1 foot closer to the LOS than when the play started.
    iii. The aim point of the Fullback on your 3rd step. On your third step your left foot should be
    just about behind the original inside foot of the left tackle. This is a rounded Belly path as
    you hit it up in there.

  6. #6


    Thanks Tom, when the Cross Block occurs "live" how much of a pause happens as the FSG allows the FST to do his down block? I know when you Bird Dog the drill at the camps the FSG does not take a step on "2". Just curious as to how all of that plays out in full speed.

  7. #7


    Coach, It would be better if you called me and we discussed this topic. 814-824-2269. Tom Herman

  8. #8


    We have our guard reach for the tackle's hip to help the tackle and help him pause and get the right angle.

    Cross block left, the left guard would reach would his left hand to the left tackle's left hip while stepping with the left foot. How many times can I say left?

    Once the tackle's hip clears, he then steps with his right foot and replaces where the left tackle was which puts him inside-out for the trap block on the DE.
    Last edited by silkyice; 06-15-2012 at 09:32 AM.

  9. #9

    Default X block

    An excellent "picture" to teach your kids! Nice job, Coach!

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