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Scoop, or Combination, Block

This is an excerpt from Football Skills & Drills-2nd Edition by Thomas Bass.

Now that the defensive lineman knows how to defeat one offensive blocker who is attacking him, he can focus on defeating blocks in which two offensive players attack him.

The first block of this type is the scoop, or combination, block. In the scoop block, the offensive player directly in front of the defensive lineman fires out at the defensive lineman in a way that makes him think that the blocker is trying to hook block him. The defensive lineman’s natural reaction is to defeat the hook block. All his attention is directed at the offensive player in front of him, and his first instinct is to put both hands on the first blocker.

As the defensive lineman makes contact, he will feel that the blocker is not really trying to hook him but instead is trying to stop his pursuit. The offensive blocker’s job is to stop the defensive lineman’s penetration and lateral movement for a moment. The blocker is setting up the defensive lineman for the final block by the offensive lineman opposite the first blocker’s movement.

After the first blocker has stopped the defensive lineman, he pushes off the defensive lineman, releases on the side of the fake hook block, and continues up the field to get in position to block a linebacker. After the initial blocker releases, the second blocker tries to position himself directly in front of the defensive lineman. Then he tries to work his way around the defensive lineman, just as he does in a hook block. The second blocker’s job is not to drive the defensive lineman off the line of scrimmage but to position himself so that the defensive lineman cannot pursue down the line to tackle the ballcarrier. The second blocker steps laterally down the line, fighting to get a head-up position on the defensive lineman. The second blocker is most vulnerable when he is moving down the line and not attacking the defensive lineman directly.

The defensive lineman must quickly recognize this block as the play begins. He should notice that the offensive player in front of him is not as low as he would be on a normal hook block. Instead of seeing his shoulder pads, the defensive lineman sees the numbers on the offensive blocker’s jersey. This picture should alert the defensive lineman that the blocker is faking a hook block, so he must be prepared for an attack by another offensive blocker.

As soon as the defensive lineman senses that the offensive player in front of him is not a true blocker but is only setting him up, he must charge straight up the field and try to engage the second blocker (figure 7.6). The second blocker, the scoop blocker, will not come at the defensive lineman with much power in the beginning, so the defensive lineman should quickly try to get both hands into the second blocker’s chest. He must keep a good defensive position with his head up, back straight, and knees bent, using the large muscles of his legs to push the blocker back to the offensive side of the ball.

From this position, the defensive lineman works his head and body to the side of the first blocker’s release and fights down the line. The defensive lineman must never let the scoop blocker cut off his lateral movement. He should get into the pursuit path that will take him to the ballcarrier.

Learn more about Football Skills & Drills, Second Edition.