Offensive Line Splits & Levels

By FirstDown PlayBook on Mar 1, 2022

Good offensive Line coaches and good offensive lines are very aware of offensive line splits and levels. This all starts as the linemen are waiting at the line of scrimmage for the next play. For you who still huddle, it is as you are breaking the huddle and coming to the line of scrimmage. Once the O-line has the play, they immediately want to identify the front they are blocking.

Let’s take a look at a sample play drawing and an actual drawing of what will happen on the play. A football drawing does not and really should not show every small thing that happens on  a football play. In fact, we used to have a saying in our tight ends’ meeting room in Buffalo. It went “Don’t let the drawing get you in trouble”.  Football drawings are designed to show assignments and scheme, not technique.

When we draw this QB zone read RPO for you we like to give you a nice clean picture with assignments clearly displayed. The offensive line is our focus here. The big guys are all on the same level at the line of scrimmage and all of their splits are exactly the same. If your offensive line plays the real game like this, they are playing at a severe disadvantage.

The Offensive Line Splits & Levels Should Account For Stunts Too

Let’s look at this QB zone read run pass option to the shade as shown in the two drawings. The offensive line should immediately be thinking about their splits and levels.

Depending on the course of the QB the right guard can anticipate the Sam linebacker mirroring the QB on the snap. He will do himself a big favor if he will get a little depth off of the ball. This will help pick up any line stunts in the event that the end comes inside on a pirate stunt and the Sam scrapes over the top.

How To Protect Your Pull Scheme

The right guard definitely wants to do tighten his split some. Most four down defensive lines take great pride in their ability to create penetration and disrupt blocking schemes. 3 Techniques make a living doing this. Both the right guard and the left tackle should tighten their split a little.

Veteran defensive line coaches will teach their players to read levels and splits. How much of that actually gets communicated in a game is debatable but it is valid enough to consider. Good offensive linemen will keep normal splits as they wait at the line of scrimmage or as they come to the line of scrimmage. It’s only when they get down into their stance that they cheat the split vertically or horizontally. By this time, the defensive line is usually frothing at the mouth for a sack or a tackle for a loss and don’t notice the last second adjustment.

FirstDown PlayBook Has Plenty Of Youth Football Help Too

Our point today is that there may be no other position group on the field who has to work in unison to be successful. Little things like offensive line splits and levels can make a big difference when coached properly. One last thing. If you are a FirstDown PlayBook offensive line coach you should be using the new “Linemen View” tool to show your coaching details. Our second drawing today is an example. Head on over and check mis out.