The H Back is one of the most difficult positions to coach because of its versatility and the amount of different skills they must learn. For an H Back to be truly successful they must know the entire run game and the complete passing game. This allows them to be a threat not only in the run game, where they can handle the larger defensive linemen and linebackers, but also in the pass game where they can exploit a match up and gain easy yards.
Coaching the H Back in the Spread Offense
In order to effectively coach the H Back it is critical that you must be a great teacher. As a coach you must be able to take a complex position that has a variety of different roles and condense them down into a clear picture for the players. We have found the best way to do this is to create base rules that serve as defaults.
I discuss our rule for Trips in a separate article, but it plays a huge part in keeping life simple for our H Back. In our Rule of Trips, we have automatic routes for the number 3 receiver. In our short game (three step) the #3 receiver has the same route that he would have if he was number 2. This makes one less route he needs to learn. In the drop back passing game (5 step) he has a through route unless he is tagged. This serves to split the Safeties and helps us get a clearer picture on the outsides. The major effect of the Rule of Trips is that our H Back, who will be in the position of #3 frequently, has a set of rules to default back to and needs to learn less routes.
In the run game the H Back almost always has the C Gap Player. As a result, it’s important to teach him the scheme and where the C Gap Player will be unblocked. On Power the playside C Gap Player will be unblocked while on Inside Zone the backside C Gap Player is going to be unblocked. When the H Back comes between the Tackles he knows that his default rule is to block this C Gap Player. From there we just need to teach him the different techniques that he will need to accomplish these blocks.
Related Content: Mesh Passing Concept out of Spread 2×2 Formation
The majority of C Gap Blocks are essentially the same block. There is not much difference between a Wham block on Inside Zone and a Kickout Block on Power. With the way we teach each block the only major difference is the approach, once the H Back locks onto the defender they are the same block. When the H Back is blocking the C Gap Defender there is a pretty good chance that he will be outmatched in terms of size and strength. We tell him he only needs to block half the man. The only thing he can not do is let the defender beat him to the inside. As long as the defender does not come inside of him then he will not make the play.
The key in coaching the H Back in the Spread Offense is creating a simple set of rules and limiting the amount of skills they need to learn. The hardest part of the H Back is that they must have a command of the run game as well as the pass game. Anything you can do as a coach to limit the amount of information they have to learn and process will help your athletes to understand their role and play faster.