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FSU OL coach Randy Clements explains his blocking philosophy

What are the focuses and tenets of Florida State’s new offensive line coach and run game coordinator?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 06 Florida State Spring Game Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tomahawk Nation recently dug up a video of Florida State’s new offensive line coach Randy Clements speaking at a coaches’ conference while Clements was at Baylor. You can find the video below along with some of our thoughts. I will note that offensive line technique and minutia are a bit of a blind spot for me, but I had no problem understanding both the what and the why from Clements in this video.

A major point of emphasis throughout the video and in other interviews we’ve seen from Clements is a lineman’s first step. Multiple times, Clements has noted that a good first step leads to a good second step. A good first step is a short, strong step in the direction of the block landing with a flat foot. A longer step leads to not only a slower block but also a higher likelihood of the lineman being off balance or creating a weaker block. Many linemen struggle with the length of their strides and Clements points this out multiple times through the video.

Clements notes that he focuses on single blocking in practice because at most three linemen will be single blocking on any given play. This does not mean FSU will not look to double team and combo block, but rather the focus in practices is on single team blocks. When they do look to single block the focus is on stalemates. Clements wants to ensure his linemen do not get pushed back but is less concerned if they get movement up front.

On first blush this may sound like a losing proposition, but keep in mind that this teaching is based around a hurry-up offense. The goal is to quickly get to second down and take advantage of a tired and/or confused defense. Regardless of the offense being run, ensuring that lineman does not lose yardage on his block will also decrease the possibility of a lineman extending too far and blowing a block by being off balance.

Another interesting note from Clements regards the thought process of a center blocking a zero-technique defensive tackle. Clements previously asked his center to gain ground on his first step in order to help provide movement on the tackle but had a lineman that would just not listen. That lineman ended up going to the Denver Broncos and after some more thought Clements changed his tune. He now asks his centers to take a negative step on step one in order to provide a sustaining step on step two. This initial negative step allows for a quicker and stronger base for the center to anchor and more commonly leads to a successful block.

Clements went on to talk about how they block on specific plays but it was mostly a repeat of the information above. Usually I zone out after a few minutes of these offensive line talks, but Clements does a good job in the video keeping things simple and consistent. He does not ask a ton from his charges and those are all good reasons why he’s considered such a good teacher— and could be just what this beleaguered FSU OL needs.