Triple Option Football Academy Interview with Former Army Offensive Lineman Zach Peterson: Part One

Zach Peterson, who as a senior starter at center was part of an Army lineup in 2010 that snapped a 14-year bowl absence, arrived home from Afghanistan on November 16 following a nine-month deployment.

Zach was a two-year starter at Center in the Triple Option Offense.  As the dominant Offensive Lineman on Army’s most dominant team over the last 30 years (only bowl-winning team since Mid 1980s), Zach talked with Triple Option Football Academy Owner, Dr. Lou Cella about Triple Option Offensive Line blocking.

1-      Provide the top coaching points on Scoop blocking.

Zach: The top coaching point to me on the scoop block is feeling and seeing yourself go through the tunnel that is created when scooping someone. Pad level and explosiveness (getting off the ball) are also key points during the scoop. Visualizing your facemask go through the opponents knees was something I always did when scooping.

2-      Provide the top coaching points on the Veer release.

Zach: Top coaching points on the veer release- Starting with creating a good healthy split in order to give yourself the space needed for a veer release. The biggest coaching point on the veer release would be maintaining a wide base with appropriate pad level and not crossing your feet as you are getting your veer release and moving toward the second level. As you feel yourself moving toward that second level, you need to immediately focus your eyes to the inside to acquire your block.

3-      Provide the top coaching points of all Ace blocks.

Zach: For all double teams, aiming points for each player involved in the block need to be established prior to the play (ie middle of the number for the Center/outside number for the Guard). As the block progresses and forms, the key point for the player moving to the second level needs to be for him to feel the (Center) take over the block before he releases. Both players need to maintain square shoulders throughout the block.

4-      Provide the top coaching points of base blocks.

Zach: Top coaching points for base blocks- wide base for feet (little bit outside shoulder width), Power triangle as Coach Simi (Army Assistant Football Coach 2009-2013) puts it (hands on inside arm pit of each number, face mask under opponents face mask) chop feet through the whistle.

5-      Provide the top coaching points of the Playside Tackle’s block on Midline (Double).

Zach: This block is similar to a base block, with a key note of taking the defender where he wants to go and then pinning him in that direction. Obviously, we prefer to seal the defender to the outside, so the first for the tackle needs to be to the inside foot of the defender. Big note here is for the tackle to remain square in his block in order to be prepared to react to the defender. The Tackle can then work that block as necessary.

Part Two of the interview can be found here.