Regardless of your offensive system one thing is hard to argue, when it comes to running the football not many do it better than the Naval Academy. The Midshipmen have averaged over 5.7 yards per carry over the last four seasons and as trendsetters in the flexbone system they have continually positioned themselves in the top 5 yearly in every rushing category. X&O Labs spent a day this spring as a guest of offensive line coach Ashley Ingram who gave us open door access into how he teaches and drills the most fundamental blocks in any offensive system, front side combinations, backside scoops and veer releases. Read the report.
By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
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Regardless of what offensive system you run, you must admit you’re curious about the flexbone. How can this offense produce the top rushing numbers year in and year out despite an often disparity at talent? Sure, the basis of this offense is to run the football, but we’re talking about yards per carry here. Specifically, 5.7 yards per carry over the last four seasons as it pertains to the Naval Academy. In fact, of all the major rushing categories (yards per game, yards per carry, yards per season) the Midshipmen have only been out of the top five two times in each of those categories since 2013.
We were curious too. So, we took what are believed to be the three cornerstone blocks of the flexbone offense, the front side combination, backside scoop and veer release, and organized an exclusive first person tutorial with offensive line coach Ashley Ingram to learn how he taught these blocks. We spent a day with offensive line Coach Ingram this spring to research how he teaches these three blocks. As hard as it was to fight the urge to tour Annapolis in the spring time, we hunkered down in the backroom facilities at Navy to study how he’s able to get his offensive line to perform at such a high-level season in and season out.
You don't need to run the flexbone offense to learn from this report. If you run outside zone, you scoop on the backside. If you run gap schemes, you combo on the front side. And if your offensive menu has any option element in it, you’ll need to teach the veer release to evade the read key. At its bare bones, this report is about how to teach offensive linemen to get off the ball and play with a physicality that is unmatched. Its what Navy does.
Continue to the full-length version of this report…
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- How Navy has modified the stance of its offensive linemen to cultivate an “off the ball” mentality.
- How Navy teaches gap combination blocks and why not taking timing steps puts leverage at a premium.
- How Navy teaches backside scoop blocks and why Coach Ingram believes the key lies in differentiating between left handed and right handed stances.
- How Navy teaches the veer release block and why he will change the second step based on inside and outside option schemes.
- Plus in-person video narration from Coach Ingram on how he teaches each of these blocks, which includes drill work and game film analysis.
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Regardless of your offensive system, it’s hard to deny how special the flexbone system is. Its longevity speaks volumes to its effectiveness. It’s could be an equalizer of talent when it needs to be, but it can also be explosive if it needs to be as evidence by the rushing numbers it produces year in and year out. It was our pleasure to learn how Navy, and specifically Coach Ingram, gets his players to compete at the highest-level year in and year out.