How To Protect Your Puller

By FirstDown PlayBook on Mar 22, 2022

Pulling a Guard or a Tackle is a pretty popular thing in youth football. It is understandable because zone blocking can be a difficult thing to teach younger players. Pulling your offensive linemen is great but you should look to protect your puller when possible.

There are some defensive fronts that are set up perfectly for a pull scheme. One player pulls and the adjacent player pins or blocks back and you are off and running. However, there are some defensive looks that do not fit so neatly when you want to use a pull scheme with your run game.

If you pull your backside guard on a sweep and there is a 3 technique playing over him, your center has a hard block. You want to look for a way to protect the puller. If that 3 technique is taught properly, he may just get in the back pocket of your pulling guard. This will generally take him to the ball and the tackle. We call it protecting the puller but you are actually helping the player who is protecting the puller.

You may not be able to help your center with this block. Some of this depends on how the rest of the defense is lined up to the backside. However, if you can, you want to let your tackle work to help your center with this block. It actually turns into a zone block. Once the 3 technique declares his intentions, either the center or the tackle can work up to next level.

There Are Fronts That Don’t Allow You To Protect Your Puller

One of the great and hard things about coaching the offensive line is that there are a lot of moving parts. They all must fit together and the defensive front will often dictate your rules. You will see in this video where we talk about there are times when you can’t protect the puller. It is important that you and your player understands this when it happens.

NFL Coaches On 12 Youth Football Formations To Consider

We also touch on the fact that some offenses, like the Wing T, regularly pull both guards. There is a reason why they can get by with that. In it’s purest form, this offense gives you a fullback to help with the blocking scheme. The fullback may help block or just simply force the defensive linemen to tackle him. So take a quick look at this short video. It may make you want to go back and rethink some of your pull schemes.