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How To Play Offensive Line In Football – Complete Guide

The offensive line is one of the most critical positions in football. It requires a relentless and selfish attitude. The offensive line is also one of the most technical positions in football.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to play offensive line in football and how you can become the best offensive lineman on your team.

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Offensive Line In Football

The offensive line in football consists of 3 different positions: center, guard, and tackle. These are three different positions that require different skill sets and body types.

Below, we will teach you how to play offensive line in football.

Getting In A Proper Stance

The foundation of a good offensive lineman is his stance. Offensive linemen need to start in a power position to drive defensive players off the ball properly.

To get in an athletic offensive line stance, first, make sure your feet are no less than shoulder-width apart.

Place your hands on your thighs, and slowly sink your hips back. When your hands start to go over the top of your knee caps, stop. This is the optimal depth for a lineman in a 2 point stance.

The chest should be upright, and the player should move 360 degrees.

Unlike defensive lineman (whose main job is to move forward), the offense needs to move forward, side to side, and backward.

See more from Coach Swingle on how to get in a proper stance here:

Because of all of these movements, the stance needs to be balanced. If the player is too far forward, they will not kick step in pass. If they are too far back on their heels, they won’t drive block.

Each step, hand position, and shoulder location matter for an offensive lineman when the ball is snapped.

If one of these three items is wrong, there’s a good chance the lineman will lose leverage and let the defensive player in the backfield.

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How To Play Offensive Line As A Center

A center is the quarterback of the offensive line. He is the player in charge of making all of the calls, blocking schemes, and helping his teammates on each play.

To be a great center, you have to be an intelligent player who takes pride in his craft.

The job of a center is to snap the ball and block defenders from getting at the quarterback.

You have to execute complex blocking schemes and help your other offensive linemen on every play.

The center has to be very quick and agile. A center should be able to snap the ball quickly to get the ball out before the defense has a chance to react.

When you’re a center, your job is also to help your other linemen communicate with each other on every play.

Your teammates should know where they need to block so that you can all open holes for your running back.

How To Play Offensive Line As A Guard

A guard is a player in charge of blocking the defensive players directly lined up across from them.

For example, if you’re playing left guard, you have to block the defensive player who’s lined up directly across from you as well as the left & right side of you.

Guards also need to be able to block all different types of defenders.

Whether it’s a fast linebacker or a large nose tackle, you need to have good technique and stop them from getting at your quarterback.

How To Play Offensive Line As A Tackle

The job of a tackle is to open holes for your running back and make sure that defenders don’t get in the backfield too quickly.

You have to be big and strong so that you can open up holes for your running backs and take on any defender that tries to get in your way.

Your job is also to protect your quarterback by blocking the defensive ends, often the defenses’ fastest lineman.

A good tackle needs the strength to get his hands on any defender while maintaining proper balance and footwork.

How To Run Block In Football

Run blocking is one of the core techniques of playing offensive line. It requires impeccable technique and the tenacity to move defensive players out of the way.

Run blocking requires proper steps, hand placement, and shoulder placement.

There are three main types of blocks for an offensive lineman:

Down Block (Back Block)

The down block, otherwise known as a back block, is a 45-degree angle block.

This block is typically used when an offensive lineman pulls, and the offensive lineman needs to fill for them.

This block requires the offensive lineman to fire off at a 45-degree angle, put both hands on the defensive lineman’s shoulder and chest plate, and place the head across their body.

If the offensive player does this block correctly, the defensive lineman is pushed out and away from the play.

Base Block

Man on man, this block is a power block requiring an offensive lineman to block a defensive line straight up.

No angles are needed on this block, as the defensive player is lined up directly across from the offensive player. The goal is to get lower than the defensive lineman and remove him from the line of scrimmage.

This technique requires a wide base, hand placement underneath the shoulder pads of the defensive lineman, and strong exploding from the hips.

Pull Block

The last block is a pull block. This block is when the offensive lineman comes out of his stance, often running or skipping laterally, to block the offensive lineman.

The pull block is often to remove the defensive end from setting the edge of the defense.

This block requires precise timing and control as the offensive lineman moves toward the defensive end.

A skip pull is when the offensive lineman moves laterally to start, then moves upfield to block a linebacker. This is a common technique used in the offensive play “power.”

power play in football

How To Pass Block In Football

Pass blocking is a technique used to prevent the defensive lineman from getting a sack on the quarterback.

This requires an offensive lineman to fire off the ball, using hand placement and foot quickness to stop a pass rusher from getting at the quarterback.

You need to be quick enough to get under their hands and beyond them to stop pass rushers.

You also need to control their moves by blocking them with your arms, sometimes with a shoulder or a hip.

To strike on a pass block, have your thumbs facing the sky, which perfectly fits on the opponent’s breastplate. Striking the breastplate allows you to grab it and control the offensive lineman.

Remember, it’s a penalty if you hold them while they try to move away from you.

If you keep the defensive player in front of you while your feet are moving with them, then it is perfectly legal.

Offensive Lineman Attitude

Offensive linemen need to be the most selfless people on the team. They don’t get stats and will hardly ever touch the ball.

However, they are very important to the offense moving the football down the field. If one offensive lineman fails, there’s a good chance the play will be ruined.

While they will never be in the limelight, the offensive line plays a significant role in football. You should aspire to be like Quenton Nelson or Trent Brown if you’re young.

Keep Learning

Below are offensive lineman articles to help you learn even more.

How To Snap A Football & The Different Types Of Snaps

Offensive Line Play: The Proper Stance

Why Offensive Lineman Wear Knee Braces & Elbow Sleeves

Who Protects The Quarterback In Football?

Playing offensive line requires size, strength, and a selfless attitude. Offensive linemen don’t have individual stats, but their success is measured by the offense’s success as a whole.

If you want to learn more about the offensive line position, we recommend checking out our list of courses here.

If you want to learn more about football in general, we recommend you check out our learning center for more!