Anyone who has played in, coached against, or been a member of a single-wing offense knows that the strength of the single-wing is the off-tackle run game. With that in mind, most modern defenses have been creative in how they combat the off tackle power play. Commonly, defenses will line up their best defensive lineman in a 6-technique, head up on the strong side tight end. A well coached 6-technique will not only be tough to handle physically, but he should be able to make reads on every block from the strong end. In this article, I will go over several ways to help you defeat a 6-technique that may have your strong end outmatched.
By design, the single-wing has an extra blocker due to the direct snap. Thus, using a double team on a 6-technique when running the off tackle power play is the most common weapon that teams use. Even if the 6-technique is able to defeat the double team from the strong end and the wing, it is important that he remembers that this is a tool that can be used against him. In order to get a bigger, more physical, player moved, pad level is of the utmost importance. The strong end and wing must stay together, aiming for the waist of the defender, to get him moved.
Reaching the 6-technique is an effective way to get outside when running any sweep play (i.e. power, spin, buck lateral, etc.). The strong end must get to the 6-technique’s outside hip and not allow him to cross his face back outside. This may be difficult to execute vs. a bigger, stronger, or more athletic defensive end. A variation to help the strong end is to send him on a down block to the first backer inside of him (pictured below). When this happens, a well coached 6-technique will step down with what he perceives as a down block. This now becomes a much easier block by the blocking back, wingback, fullback, or any pulling interior lineman.
Buck Lateral Pitch
Personally, my favorite play to run against a 6-technique is the buck lateral pitch. Even though it is a run designed to hit a gap removed from the 6-technique, the down block influence will get a reading 6-technique to squeeze and become untouched as the ball is pitched to his outside. After running this play a few times, the 6-technique will think twice about squeezing the down block, in turn, making the trap on him more effective. The false key will continue to cloud the 6 technique’s reads further.
Most defensive players are only taught to react to down, reach, drive, or pass action from the offensive player. Using sucker pulls and false keys are an excellent way to use what the defense has learned against them. Not only will the reads lead the defenders away from the ball, it will also cloud them, making traditional blocking schemes more effective.
Below are some film clips showing the various ways to attack a 6-technique described above. While not every play is a long gain (for other reasons), they clearly show the reactions of 6-technique defenders to the various tactics.
Fear The Wing!