What happens when your linemen either lose their blocks or they are facing a superior defender? This question is the most asked each year by every team I have every coached. Your success or failure as a coach will be greatly impacted by how you answer this question.
It does not matter if you have the best line in the league, there will be times when they get beat or miss a block. Teaching your offensive line a back-up plan when this happens is paramount to your success.
We teach our line a simple technique we call crab blocking. We teach our linemen that if they get beat, or are having a problem handling their opponent, drop to all four and “walk” into your opponent. Many coaches call this a bear crawl. This technique has made our line play very successful over the years. We have been able to make average players very dependable linemen once they master this skill.
Our line coaches spend countless hours during their stations working on crab blocking. The key is to give each lineman many repetitions using this technique. It will take some time for the players to learn when they are in trouble how to start into a crab blocking naturally without thinking about it. Your line will become very strong when they can crab automatically and this will come through practice.
Crab blocking should not be used on every down. There is no substitute for proper run drive and pass blocking, but crab blocking is a great supplement.