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Football 101: Run Block


A former linebacker, 49ers radio color analyst Gary Plummer is well versed on the X's and O's of football. Throughout the offseason he will break down many football schemes and concepts in these Football 101 segments, which can also be seen on TV 49. Enjoy this piece on run blocking.

Today, we're going to look at a run play that happens to be a touchdown by Frank Gore and why it was successful. Well, many teams try to go with what's called a "heavy package" (with) three tight ends and a fullback. They use it to try and hammer the ball in there.

Well there's another way to do that,


especially if you don't like to run through a brick wall. The 49ers go three wide receivers here and try to spread things out a little bit. As we can see from the tape here, there are only six guys in the box. Because of spreading things out, it's going to give a lane for Frank Gore and it's going to be more definitive early on.

It's just a simple "belly" play. They call it a "belly" play because Gore starts to the front side and he can stay front-side or what he's trying to do is stretch the defense. He's trying to get guys to over-pursue and then cut-back to the backside. On this particular play he doesn't even get touched! This is excellent blocking by the 49ers offensive line.

From an end zone angle you can't see those three receivers spread out, but you have five offensive linemen and a guy who has been noted as one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL in Vernon Davis. The little step that Frank makes is really interesting.

People think that a running back is all


about running fast – its patience. How can you be patient and still be effective as a running back? Frank Gore is giving the defense an opportunity to over-commit. You ask any good running back what they see – they're not looking at any number. The guy who's coming up on Gore's right, he (Frank) doesn't even know the guy's jersey number. All he knows is the uniform color and it's not the right color. It's white. When he sees that color he knows he either has to bounce it outside or cut it backside.

Knowing how good Gore's vision is, all he sees on the backside is that beautiful 49ers red. Because of that, he knows he has a lane to cutback in and in this case completely untouched to the end zone.

That is just simple football right there. It's because of dominating blocking up front stretching that defense up front; Gore with his vision is able to cut-back. Touchdown

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