Often referred to as “God’s Play”. Its physical, its downhill, brings bodies to the point of attack and can be downright punishing. The edge defenders must be physical and mentally strong or risk being exposed. The Play I am referring to of course, is the Almighty, Power O. The Power O is aptly named, and it is also one of the most versatile plays in the offensive world. Power O Can be run from any formation and personnel group, tagged with reads and assignment exchanges, and dressed up with formations, motions, fakes and trades. All this done without changing rules for the offensive line, what’s not to love about that? There is only one other scheme that can replicate that kind of versatility, the zone play. This article will focus the basic blocking rules for the Power O against different fronts, the different variations, and how to dress the play up.
I love to run plays as a series, blame it on growing up with a Wing-T coach as father. I pair the Power O with Widezone, because of this I want every player in the offense to make the first step of Power O look just like Widezone. With that in mind, here are the general rules.
QB-The QB will reverse out and sprint the ball back to the tailback. He will put the ball on the mid-line and keep his body clear for the back. After the hand off the QB will carry out a 3-5 step burst opposite of the play for a boot fake. However, it is not just a fake, he is looking at the defensive edge player and checking him. If that edge player is not checking the QB on boot, we will play action.
FB-The FB will take a path aiming at the inside leg of the tackle. He is going to kick out the first man who shows on the tackles outside leg. This rule accounts for any stunts and prevents the “I got my guy” quotes lol. the FB will put his outside shoulder on the defensive players inside breast plate. We would love for him to destroy this player, but he really doesn’t have too. Just getting a body on him quickly will suffice.
TB-The tailbacks first step will be as if he is running Widezone the opposite direction. He will then go straight down the mid-line for the hand off. The TB cannot come of the mid-line until his first step after the hand off. He then takes a path to the C gap and is looking at the edge defender for a bounce or bang read. He will bounce if the edge player spills and bang it in the C gap if he gets kicked.
PST & G-The play side offensive linemen will use the rule “gap to backer”. They will step with their inside foot at any defender from their nose to the adjacent lineman’s nose. The aim point for the gap defender is his near shoulder, placing the head in front to stop penetration. The blocker will try and wash the defender inside. If nobody is in his gap, his first step will be an inside step to clear any stunts into the gap and then he will go to the “BACKSIDE” linebacker and seal him off. This rule also applies to the tight end, with one caveat. If the C gap defender is shaded on the TE we will arc release him to the Sam or Safety. Here is an example:
C-The center has to replace the pulling backside guard. If there is an A gap defender he will gap block him with the same techniques as the play side linemen. If there is not a defender in his gap he will step flat down the line of scrimmage to wall off the 3tech, or 4i/4. Penetration on the backside does not hurt this play, so he only needs to get his body on the defender to stop pursuit.
BSG-The backside guard is going to your puller. I like an open pull because I want him to the point of attack as fast as possible. He will take a step that gains ground and opens his hips so he can run. He is looking for the fullbacks block. If the fullback gets the kick, the guard will turn up and fit up on the play side linebacker. If the fullback gets spilled and pins the edge defender, the guard will bounce, then turn up and fit on the scraping play side linebacker.
BST and TE-The backside tackle and tight end have one have a rule called “pull check”. On any defender shaded head up or inside they will step inside and then hinge to open hips and wall off the defender, again…backside penetration does not hurt the play, just get a body on him. If the defender is in an outside shade, just base block him and wall him off.
DIFFERENT FRONTS & WHEN TO CALL POWER O
All of the base rules will never change, except for the TE’s. I will include here a quick description of when I like to call the play and what we do to a few different looks given by the defense. I am a big Widezone guy, I also run a modified toss I call blast, as well as the bellyG. All of these plays will eventually cause the defense to do one of two things, and often times both.
- They will start overflowing with the play direction.
- They will start slanting with the formation
- The thing about slanting is 9 times out of 10, you can dictate the slant by your formation. A film scout will tell you where they will go, as well as the first two series of the game. Then all you have to do is get them slanting the way you want.
Once the defense is slanting or flowing, preferably both, then it is time for Power O. Formation the defense in a manner that you know which way the slant is going. Call the Power O the opposite way of the slant/flow. Power O is a gap scheme play, so your guys up front will just take them where they are going already! It makes for a very easy block, and you can wash them down across the formation most of the time, even with undersized lineman like I have. Here is an example vs a “Slant 50”
You can see from the photo that the OL is just taking the DL for a ride. The uncovered Guard will step down to check gap, then go wall off backside line backers. The ghost 9tech on the play side will be an easy kick for the fullback because he has been checking the QB all night on boot fakes (if he hasn’t…why aren’t you calling the keeper??)
If you are unsure about what direction the defense is slanting, get in a balanced formation and use the count system, which I take about here (LINK). Just count the numbers and go where you have more than them. Simple math. Here is an example formation you could use:
Occasionally you will get a gift for an alignment by the defense. A 3tech and a 9tech to the strength. Why anyone would do this, I will never understand, but when it happens from time to time. You can run the Power O as is or steal what they gave you, with a “solid” call. If the tackle sees that the guard is covered and nobody is in the C gap he will call “Solid”. This tells the FB he is on insert instead of kick, and tells the TE that he just needs to turn out on the 9tech. here is an example:
Here it is vs a bear front:
Blocking a play side 7tech can present some problems if he is a war daddy. I play with 7’s all the time, I like to keep them in a state of uncertainty. We will arc the TE to the Sam on Widezone away, cut block him with the TE on Widezone away, double team him, down block him, and on Power O to him, arc the TE to the Sam and kick him with the FB. The 7tech, 9 times out of 10 will step with that TE and widen up, making an easy kick for the full back, here is a second look at it:
One of the beautiful things about the Power O, is the ability to run it a multitude of different ways, and not change anything. One of the most common variations of the play is the Power Read. Made popular by Auburn when they had Cam Newton, they made a living on this one variation. Instead of kicking the defensive end with the fullback, the QB is now going to read the play side End. Either a guy in motion or the tail back will ride across the QB while the QB shuffles and reads towards the play side. If the End squeezes he will simply give it to the speed back, and he will carry the ball to the perimeter on a jet sweep look. If the End chases the speed back, the QB will keep and run ball behind the offensive line, which is running the Power O. its simple, effective, and places the defense in a big bind. Here are a few ways to run the play:
With the prevalence of RPOs (run pass options) in today’s offensive world, it was only a matter of time before it was tagged alongside the Power O. One of the easiest RPOs to pair with the play, is a slant by the slot. If the LB plays run, the QB will pull and throw the slant. If the LB sits, or drops, the QB will give. Here is a look:
One of my favorite variations, is also my go too variation when we have been hurting the defensive with Zone Lead. The play is tagged with a “Kick” call. This simply tells the Guard and the FB to switch responsibilities. The Guard will now kick out the edge defender and the FB will jab opposite to let the Guard clear, and then become the fit player. Here is the example:
DRESSING IT UP
Power O can also be “dressed up” several different ways. This is a term sometimes called “window dressings” as well. It refers to making the play look different, but it’s actually the same. Same but Different is an excellent way to conflict the defense. One of the easiest ways to dress up the Power O, is with jet motion. You can run the Power O with the jet fake or against the jet fake, depending on what you are trying to do to the defense. If you are trying to widen the edege defeder(s) then go with the motion. If you are trying to influence the Linebackers away from the play, then go against the motion.
Shifting and jumping formations is very effective as well. One of my favorites is to jump from unbalanced one way to unbalanced the other way. The defense will be worried about lining up correctly and not stopping the play. Here is a look at it:
The TE will shift down to become the eligible tackle. The Tackle, Z and X will all jump sides to set the unbalanced the opposite way. The key is to do it quickly and force the defense to scramble. Eventually they will just start sliding the front, allowing you to attack weak personnel at your desire.
Down on the goalline you can dress it up out of a 3back, power-i look. The 3back(z) will go outside to influence the edge defenders and become the alley blocker if the play happens to bounce. Effective, and nothing changes for the rules of the play.
the Power O is one of the most versatile and physical plays in football. I firmly believe that every offense should run some facet of Power O, whether you are under center pro-i, wing-T or shot gun. The fact that it can be run from all these different offenses clearly shows its merit. It can give a physical component to any offense. It can be used as a counter to zone runs or it can be your staple play. The point is, the Power O has been here a long time, and I don’t see it every leaving the game of football. Feel free to comment below. Please subscribe via email so you can get updated whenever I post a new article, and give me a follow on twitter at @thecoachvogt.