TeachTape Thursday Looks At Joe Mixon

By will.cinelli on Jun 25, 2020

By Will Cinelli, The Scouting Academy

Each Thursday here on the FirstDown PlayBook Coaches Community website we will feature a breakdown of personnel and technique. This is provided by our friends over at The Scouting Academy who are our go to experts in this field!

Running backs can be difficult to coach, because the position requires a nuanced skill set that balances timing, feel, and an understanding of the run concept with the physical tools required to play the position at a high level.

Here, Joe Mixon’s run highlights all the different pieces that come together to make a successful run. What immediately jumps off the screen to me is the patience he displays. He presses the run front side, really drawing the linebackers to move in that direction, inserting themselves into the playside gap.

Once he’s gotten them to commit, Mixon executes a jump-cut that gets him to the backside of the blocking scheme where the linebackers have voided and there is more space for him to operate. If he doesn’t press the run enough initially and jumps backside too soon (an error that inexperienced backs make all too frequently) the backside linebacker would be there to meet him. But instead, by pressing the run, he’s helped his OL block the LB.

The next critical aspect to the run is Mixon’s ability to restart quickly. These holes close quickly, but because Mixon stays square and possesses tremendous acceleration, he is able to burst through the first and second levels of the defense and get positive yardage.

There’s so much here that makes this run successful, but the patience and understanding of the play allows the runner to show off the athletic talent. Without that key element, this run goes nowhere.