Kickoff Return “Look Off” Technique

By FirstDown PlayBook on Apr 28, 2020

The “look off” technique is a seldom used technique on kickoff return. It is not used much because it takes a certain level of save to execute. There is not a play in football that takes place with more space involved than a kickoff return. For this very reason there are only so many players on your team that you trust to be out there.

If you are a cover player that can’t play in space then the big return dangers are obvious. If you are a blocker who can’t play in space then there is obviously danger, to your returner, that is.

It is very difficult to block a player in space. What you end up finding is that players on the return cheat. They telegraph who they intend to block. This allows the coverage unit to recognize the blocks coming a mile away. When they recognize this they begin to reach in their bag of tricks. They look for ways to avoid or two gap on their way to the ball.

Today we want to focus on a “Look Off” technique. The look off technique is used when a blocker fakes like he is going to block a cover guy. Then they pivot and actually block the player adjacent to him.

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In the diagram above the left tackle is acting as if he is going to block the L3 cover guy. At the last second he wheels to block the L2. This not only disguises his block, but it also sets up the block of the left guard.

In this video you see #40 who is playing on the front line for the return team as the right guard. He executes a look off technique to near perfection. Then he actually goes on to get another block down the field.

There is a lot of feel that goes into this. Film study to prepare for the coverage scheme is also a must. However, there is a chance here to not telegraph your block, much the same way that a trap is executed on offense.

The next time you play a team that covers in a predictable way with their lane responsibilities you mat think about incorporating this to create a seam just when you need it most on a kickoff return.

Gerry Gallagher