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Film Study: OSU’s H-Counter Play

For this week’s successful play, I go back to the running game to look at the H-Counter.



In last week’s look into successful plays from last season, I wrote about a concept from the OSU passing attack. However for this week’s post, I’m going back to the ground game. So far in regards to the OSU rushing attack, I’ve taken a look at the Buck Sweep and Outside Zone, and this week I’m going to cover the H-Counter.

In the H-Counter, the playside of the offensive line “down blocks,” or blocks the defenders down the line towards the center, while the backside guard and the H-Back pull around to lead block for the ball carrier. See the image below for further detail.


The Cowboys started running this play early on last season, and they found a lot of success with it as we saw it used in several games throughout the year. In the first clip below, you’ll see the Pokes run H-Counter against West Virginia.

In the Power blocking scheme, diagram shown below, the backside guard pulls and leads through the hole while the H-back performs the kick out.


The H-Counter can be more effective than Power for teams because usually the guard is more capable of performing a kick out block on a large, physical defensive end than a Cowboy Back would be. In addition, it allows the more athletic Cowboy Back to attack the linebacker.

Oklahoma State also used the H-Counter blocking concept to set up the passing attack, as you’ll see in the video below.

Former OSU offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson also tagged on a run-pass option (RPO) concept to the H-Counter. This is shown below in the following clip.

H-Counter is something Gleeson ran pretty regularly at Princeton, as you’ll see an example in the next video.

But, with the Cowboys returning all of their Cowboy Backs from a season ago, along with still having solid blocking guards (despite losing Marcus Keyes) I believe current OC Kasey Dunn will keep this play in his scheme moving forward.


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