Frog Hunting

If you run this offense long enough, you will see some strange things by way of defender techniques. The most prevalent is to utilize what we call “frogs” on the defensive line. These can be regular personnel or replacement specialists (usually 130 pound wrestlers) who are trained to be human torpedoes. Like anything, you must prepare on a regular basis for these these and other tactics known to be used all over the country. John Madden said it was a coach’s job to never allow his players to be surprised. This is wisdom – prepare for common attacks!

Picture a D-lineman on all fours with his butt up, head down, with legs gathered under him. On the snap He will shoot his head into the gap with his hands outstretched (i.e., Superman – flying low). This frog-like-flop is designed to put a stumbling block into your pulling lane. The D-linemen are sacrificed in a “one-shot” burst to add enough roadblocks that the pullers cannot get to the point of attack (POA), therefore thinning the overload potential of a Toss (Power).

If the technique is successful it will:

  • 1) Penetrate deep into the lane
  • 2) Trip up the blockers
  • 3) Make the runner lose ground, as he must go around the train wreck, making it easier for the pursuing linebackers and defensive backs to get to him for a minimal gain

To counter these measures we must first start with the onside blockers. We teach a “pin block” where the down blocker’s highest priority is to get his own shoulder hard and low enough to meet the force of the frog’s flop. He knocks the man down the L.O.S. laterally or, at the very least, sticks or “pins” him into the ground – allowing no penetration. A simple drill for this is to have your 5 guys (TE to TE) line up versus various fronts of evens and odds. Have the defenders in a frog stance. Call any play, but especially the Toss. The coach should stand on the painted stripe looking down the line. Seconds after the snap, blow the play dead and yell “freeze”. It will be very easy to see the level of penetration allowed simply by looking at the line and measuring the depth of the frog’s body. No one man should be allowed to penetrate more than armpit deep.

As far as the pullers, they too must be prepared for frog flops in the lane. They must get used to stepping (or even hurdling) over the debris, maintaining speed to the P.O.A. They must practice keeping their balance using hands down for extra balance. It must be second nature to encounter “traffic” in the lane. It is with great pride that I have watched film where this tactic was applied and as I watch the play develop in slow motion I can see guard, tackle and wing hurdling the floppers, staying on course and gaining big yards. The only way to do this is repping it until muscle memory kicks in. A good drill for pullers (and wingbacks) is to use long blocking bags on the ground with players holding onto and pushing the top of the barrel to represent the thrust of the frog floppers. So, again, the coach straddles the painted line, the pullers pull, the frogs flop and the runner runs.

It is amazing how you can normalize this chaotic technique – our players simply get used to it, know how to deal with it, and expect to perform the play in spite of it. So, killing the frog technique, deployed by desperate defenses, is a matter of “time on task”.

Keep practicing these drills weekly and you will minimize the disruption your opponents want to cause.

Note: We also have a rule that we never “double a dead man”, meaning a guy on the ground can be neutralized with one good “pin” block. Do not waste a double team on a guy eating dirt!

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