Teaching the Fold Block
By Ken Wilmesherr, Offensive Line Coach, Grossmont College
El Cajon, CA
The fold block involves two adjacent linemen either backside or play side blocking, a down defender, and a second level defender.
The second level defender is usually a linebacker and at times, a strong safety, depending on the defensive structure. The uncovered lineman will perform a down block and the uncovered lineman is folding around the down block working to a second level defender.
It is imperative the covered lineman stay as tight to the down block as possible (don’t drift) and dip slightly before contact to gain leverage on the second level defender.
When the uncovered lineman executes the down block, there are two landmarks we are trying to achieve; depending if the down defender is a penetrator or a reader. This can be determined through film study and game planning.
Landmark and footwork for a penetrating down defender:
The uncovered lineman performing the down block will aim (shoot his eyes) for the down defenders opposite shoulder and drive his outside arm through, punching the down defenders near shoulder, which will force the down defender's shoulder to elevate.
The uncovered lineman will put his facemask into the neck of the down defender. The uncovered lineman will then fit his outside hand in near the armpit of the down defender preventing an escape move by the down defender, which is usually a spin move.
The footwork is a flat angle step or down block step. It is imperative the lineman performing the fold block to a second level defender stays as tight as possible to the lineman performing the down block.
Landmark and footwork for a reading defender:
The reading defender will attempt to cross the face of the uncovered lineman keeping his shoulders square while dipping and ripping with his outside shoulder across the face of the offensive lineman.
The landmark for a reading defender is the near hip, because the reader will not move forward or try to penetrate the LOS. The uncovered linemen performing the down block will punch the near hip of the down defender with the outside hand. The inside hand will punch the chest of the defender.
The uncovered lineman will step toward the hip of the down defender, unlike a flat angle step against a penetrating defender.
Landmark and footwork for the covered lineman:
The covered lineman will take a drop-step with the call side foot, which allows him to clear the uncovered lineman’s block. The second step will be a slight cross-over. The third step will bring the fold blocker (covered lineman) back to base, while keeping the shoulders square.
The landmark for the fold blocker is the outside number of the second level defender. It is important to keep the shoulders square from the drop-step through the contact point on the second level defender.
When blocking a second level defender, it is imperative the offensive lineman dips slightly before contact to gain leverage on the defender while maintaining his base of support (keeping the hips under his base of support).
Splits: Horizontal and Vertical.
The split between the two adjacent linemen performing the fold block is important. Adjust splits accordingly:
1. The ability and quickness of the down defender.
2. The ability and confidence of the offensive linemen performing the fold block.
3. The defensive structure.
Proper weight distribution is important in the stance. The first step is a directional acceleration step (position step) along with the lead leg. The second step is a power, or explosive step, along with the drive leg.
When teaching any run block, I talk in terms of position and power steps. The third plus steps will maintain the proper base while unlocking the hips. When driving the defender, it is important that the offensive lineman keeps his hips under his base of support as the defender is working to create separation.
It is also imperative that the offensive linemen drive and react to the defender as the defender is trying to create separation.
Footwork for the covered and uncovered linemen in the fold block:
Covered Lineman: Uncovered Lineman:
1. Drop-step with call side foot. 1. Down step.
2. Slight cross-over. 2. Through the LOS.
3. Back to base. 3. Back to base.
4. Maintain base. 4. Maintain base
FOLD BLOCK COMBINATIONS AND TERMINOLOGY
Backside Fold Blocks