This week I wanted to take a few moments and talk about an oldie but a goodie and that is the power play. As any offensive line coach will tell you, you cant run this play enough times during a game. Often referred to as “gods play” by several offensive line coaches, the power play has been around for some time and like counter trey, this play was used most famously by Joe Gibbs’s Washington Redskins teams in the 80’s.
Today, the power play is used at all levels and all styles of offense. From Alabama’s power run game to Oregon’s up tempo spread offense, almost every offensive style can benefit from the power play.
What is the Power Play?
The power play in a nutshell happens when the offense pulls the backside guard and the tailback follows the guard usually through the B or C gap. The offensive lineman on the play side essentially block down walling off the defenders. This play is typically used with two backs but can be used with one back as well.
The full back will kick out the the widest front side defender essentially creating a nice seam for the running back to follow the guard through. If this sounds a little confusing, I will have a diagram and a video below which will hopefully make better sense.
Advantages of running the Power Play:
It allows the offensive line to come off hard and aggressive in an attempt to establish the line of scrimmage.
It can be used in many situations, such as short-yardage, goal-line, or four-minute offense.
The nature of gap blocking allows the offensive line to handle any variety of slants, stunts, and blitzes.
you can use any number of personnel groups or formations based on how you choose to attack the defense.
By nature, gap blocking is very simple and results in few assignment errors.
The downhill nature of this play reduces the possibility of tackles for loss.
In the diagram above, you can see we are in 21 personnel (2 backs, 1 TE) and we are running power to the tight end side.
The play side TE (Y) will work a combo block and double team the Defensive end with the Tackle.
The play side guard will base block his man.
The Center will block the backside tackle covering for the guard who is pulling on the play.
Backside guard will pull to front side “C” gap
Backside Tackle will base block his man.
The “H” (Full Back) in this scenario will Kick out the Sam linebacker who we have left unblocked. (in this type of set, many defenses who run a 40 front will slide the end down to a 4 technique and walk the Sam backer up on the line.)
The “T” or tailback will take a delay step backward giving the guard time to pull through the hole then head downhill following the guard through the hole.
In the above diagram, the rules are the same we just moved our full back into a slot (this could be a WR, but sometimes they are not big enough to kick out a backer so some teams will use a second TE or an actual fullback.) The slot will go into motion and kick out the Sam Backer virtually running the same play from a different look.
Below is a video clip from Boise States Fiesta Bowl last January. This particual play only goes for a few yards but it gives you a good view of the pulling guard and the kick out which is so critical in the success of this play.