A great H Back can be the hardest thing for the defensive to deal with. A truly great H Back has the ability to make a block inside on the run game while still being able to run routes and beat a linebacker in the passing game. This makes locating the H Back very difficult. It is truly a balancing act where you want an athlete who is able to make the blocks that are required while still being able to run routes. Here’s what to look for in the Spread H back:
What to Look for in the Spread H Back | Spread Offense
Great H Backs come in all different shapes and sizes and can carry a diverse set of tools that allow them to be effective. Our H Backs have looked very different over the years but all have been effective and able to fulfill their role in the offense. Physically, the major thing you are looking for is a base level of strength. These H Backs do not need to be the strongest players on the team, but they must be able to at least stalemate a Defensive End. The majority of these blocks are based on toughness and technique, but there is a base level of strength that they need.
In terms of agility and speed it really depends on what you are looking to do with the H Back. The H Back, at the very least, needs to be able to run a five yard hitch route and a flat route. These routes are critical to the offense in forcing the defense to account for him at the second level.
Related Content: Coaching the H-back in the Spread Offense
Beyond these base levels of blocking and catching it depends on what your offense will base out of. If you are going to be a Power based offense that has the H Back blocking the C Gap Player the majority of the plays, it’s not as important that the H Back can run deep routes. On the other hand, if your offense is going to be a throwing based offense that looks to have four wide and look for the mismatches, the H Back should be more of a route runner who can come in and stalemate a C Gap Player if he needs to.
While the physical abilities like strength and route running are important, and dictate what your offense will ask the H Back to do, the most important characteristics are the mental ones. With the variety of information that the H Back is going to be asked to learn, intelligence is an important consideration. Ideally you want an H Back who can understand the scheme and where his block or route fits into the scheme. But, just like physical strength, this intelligence level can be made up for by a player who wants to get on the field and help the team win. The absolute key characteristic is that the H Back wants to be on the field and help the team win. This will allow them to learn the necessary routes and make the blocks.
Related Content: Utilizing a Wing-back in Your Offense
What the H Back is asked to do can be a little tough and a little complex, but they are within the grasp of any player that wants to learn them. The physical abilities and characteristics are important but these can be overcome by a player who loves the game and team and wants to contribute on the field.