Is "Gap, On, Down (GOD)" Blocking Better Than "Severe Angle Blocking (SAB)" for Youth Football?

This topic garners a lot of attention on football coaching forums and sites related to football drills. There is a lot of debate about which system of blocking is preferable for youth boys playing football. I have my opinion.

Both systems contain basic “tenets” or “rules” to be followed to make sure the EFFECTIVENESS of the system. So either system can be used. The issue becomes one of implementation – practice time with the techniques required, coaching preference, what the kids that you have on your team can do. Let’s discuss these issues.

Practice Time & Required Techniques

GOD – Gap, On, Down

This system is more focused on “what you do to who at a specific place” not details on “technique”. This is a big difference when considering practice time. In the GOD system an offensive lineman is literally asking himself, “what is the placement of the defensive lineman or linebacker so I know where/who to go block?”. So you may be asking what is Gap, On, Down? I will explain.

Inside Gap Defender

We first ask our offensive lineman to FIRST see if he has a defender aligned in the “inside gap”, within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage, to his place on the offensive line. If he does, he must block him after the snap – of course emphasizing quick first two steps and getting low. If he does not have a defender aligned in the “inside gap”, he simply moves on to the SECOND blocking rule.

On Defender

If no defender aligns in the “inside gap”, then he moves on to his SECOND rule – Is the defender aligned “on/over” me, within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage? If he is, then the offensive lineman must block him after the snap. If he does not have a defender aligned “on/over” him, he simply moves on to the THIRD blocking rule.

Down the Line Inside Defender

If no defender aligns on/over him, then he moves on to his THIRD rule – I must look for the defender located inside down the line – either on/over my offensive neighbor OR in a gap INSIDE my offensive neighbor. I HELP my neighbor to block him! This is a double team block ALWAYS!

What We NEVER Have As a Rule

We never have our offensive linemen looking to block a defender aligned outside their body. In other words, we NEVER ask our offensive linemen to “reach” block. This is a very hard block to execute. We have our backs in the backfield handle these more “athletic” blocks. At most, a pulling guard may be asked to execute a “reach” or “kick-out” block, but never any other offensive lineman. This is because we know our pulling guard is able to execute this block.

Also, we never have our offensive linemen going to the “second level” to block linebackers – except our pulling guard. Linebackers are more athletic and linemen have a hard time trying to get to “moving” linebackers that are often located 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

Blitzing Linebackers & The “Down” Double Team Block

I should explain that defensive teams do blitz – oh, shocker! So how would you handle this with the GOD blocking scheme where a linebacker could “penetrate” your offensive line on a blitz? Here is what we teach. If an offensive lineman is simply executing a “one-on-one” GAP or ON block, they would NEVER come off that block to “get” the blitzing linebacker; this would let their defensive lineman go free – not good! So they only situation where we “get” a blitzing linebacker is on a “down-double team” block. Which one “gets” the linebacker? ALWAYS the inside lineman of the double team & ONLY if the linebacker blitzes to the INSIDE of this double team block; if he blitzes to the outside – trying to fight over our offensive line wall – we will have one of our backs, by play design, block him in the alley/funnel! Obviously, you will have to work on this recognition with your offensive linemen that execute double team blocks so they know that ONLY the “inside blocker” releases to block a blitzing linebacker when he tries to blitz to the inside gap. Again, this is all about practice, practice, practice!

Summary of GOD

Now you may be thinking, “how is my offensive line going to really know who to block?” in a real defensive front situation. Well, like anything else in football you have to practice things over & over. Specifically, the best tactic is showing your offensive line the most common and likely defensive fronts they will see in games – including likely linebacker blitzes. Set these up in practice for them; talk about the front, ask them who they would block for each front, have them walk to each person they would block, then run through it at half speed, then at full speed. Do this for every defensive front they would likely see. Make sure they really get it! Of course you will be checking for proper blocking fundamentals too – explosion off the cadence/snap, quick feet, proper pulling of the guard, and staying low. The GOD rules really are simple and the specific “play tags/line calls” take only 1 week to install – no matter what offensive system you chose to run.