I can’t believe how quickly this football season has passed us by. And that I’m still talking about offense. I had planned to post so much more by now. It seems that life has seriously gotten in the way.
Anyhow, enough about the passing game. The running game can be equally exciting, especially when a running back (RB) finds or makes a hole in the defense and takes off toward the end zone. Running backs are among the toughest guys on the football field. These men take a brutal beating week in and week out. They have huge targets on their backs because it often takes more than one defender to bring a good one down. The RB is hungry to gain that extra yard because his team is depending on him for their success. If you can run the ball three times and gain 10 yards, you have a fresh set of four downs to gain 10 yards and you’ve not run the risk of an interception or an incomplete pass.
If a team has two RB’s in their backfield (behind the quarterback) when they are on offense, the one that is the larger of the two is the FULLBACK. He is the guy who blocks for the HALFBACK, who is generally smaller, and the ball carrier. Teams usually just have one guy they depend on to run the ball most of the time. In general, fullbacks will catch the ball more often than they will run with it. In the I-formation, you will hear the RB referred to as the TAILBACK.
I have already mentioned that RB’s have to be tough. These guys don’t get to take a down (a play) off when his team is on offense. If he has to fake that he has the ball, then he must do some really good acting to make the defense believe it. He must also be aware of what down it is and how many yards it is until the next first down. If his team is behind, it is important for him to know when to go out of bounds to stop the clock. He must also know how much time is on the clock.
It’s important for a RB to know who he is blocking on a passing play. He needs to be familiar with his team’s passing routes in case he is called upon to be a receiver. He and the QB are both responsible for knowing every play in his team’s playbook. The difference between him and the QB is that the RB takes hits on almost every play. (If the QB is getting hit on every play, it’s time to get a new offensive line, or a new QB…or both). The RB is a tough guy who can think quickly on his feet and have good reflexes.
Next time we’ll talk some about some common running plays. Some of the names for them might surprise you!!!