Offensive Line Coach Robert "Hubba" Hulendrung
Offensive Coach Robert “Hubba” Hulendrung's Review of the Colt
Football Blocking Pad Allows Youth to Practice Harder than Ever Before
Q: How do you use the Colt in your daily practice or progression?
A: The Colt was a huge pad for us this year because we found we were able to use the football equipment whether we were in pads or without. For us, it was a great way to implement all of our stuff. We would start out our everyday drills right from footwork to hand placement with the pad. We found it different than any other pad we ever used- with the arms extended it was such an advantage to teach our kids where to put the hands. On all of our footwork drills, everything we do implemented our hands as well. When you used any other kind of shield, you never could really see if kids got their hands in the right spot. With the arms on the Colt, we knew right away if our hands were inside- when we’re doing single blocks or even on zone and we’re trying to rip through. Where I found the football blocking pad to be a big advantage was in pass protection believe it or not. For us to be able to get our first initial punch into a chest plate was a huge difference you could never do with any other pad. Our kids found it if their arms got a little wide, they’re outside of the arm and it doesn’t work out quite as well as it should. The blocking pad was a huge advantage.
Q: Does having mobility with the shield affect how you’re able to practice also?
A: It actually helps us because, let’s face it, no defender stands still. Everybody is moving. When the bag started to dip, it allowed the kids to learn where to move their hands to adjust because this is where the arms were going to be. No one wants to stand there and get hit, no one stands square. The arms moving and working naturally makes your offensive lineman move their hands and feet as well to get back to the relationship they need to be at.
Q: Does the pad itself vs. the traditional shield help control pad level at all?
A: Oh, without question. The blocking pad naturally brings lineman’s hips down because the defensive player holding the Colt naturally stays lower because they don’t want to get hit in the face anyway. Nobody plays football to do that, so with the arms it gives them separation and allows those to play lower, which forces the offensive lineman to keep his hips down, move his feet, and keep his pad level where it needs to be.
Q: Where do you want the hands placed when you are coaching the players?
A: If we’re doing just a one-on-one period, we naturally take our hands and we want to keep our elbows nice and tight and thumbs-up, we’re trying to hit that chest plate with our punch. It’s natural because with the arms on the Colt, the target is right between the two arms, so if we can get our hands inside the arms, it works out great in real-life situations as far as the game of football goes. Now kids get a natural feel for the distance they open their arms ‘if it’s this wide it’s not going to work’. We found out that the defensive kids holding the Colt actually used the blocking pad so that they could get the arm of the pad inside the offensive lineman’s. It became a competition level every day with the kids using the pad, which I felt made our practices a whole lot better. We could get away with not banging or doing as much contact as we would have to do in years past, which saves the hits on your kids.
Q: Are they able to still practice aggressively?
A: Oh, absolutely. Our kids practice harder than ever before. When kids know there’s no threat- you’re not getting hurt, you’re not clunking heads- our kids go hard. They’re going to practice harder than ever because the safe value is very high. There’s no risk of getting hit back in the face, but you’re allowed to be technique solid which is crucial when you go live. If your technique is solid, it becomes habit-forming and their hands are naturally where they’re supposed to be.
Q: Do you see the Colt having any application off season?
A: I think it’s huge, we’ve implemented some of it into our off-season workouts, our strength and conditioning coaches do all different kinds of drill work stuff on their own and the kids will take the pad out with themselves. I found the blocking pad to be very useful. We always had problems when you’re an offensive line coach and you don’t have pads on- how do you get the physicality of football when you’re not wearing shoulder pads? Obviously, at the level you go up, guys know how to protect themselves. Well, high school kids, youth football, and even college kids don’t know how to do that yet. By using this football blocking pad it allowed us to be almost full speed at all times, even when we weren’t wearing shoulder pads. We felt it was a huge advantage for our camps, or those mini days when you’re just not wearing pads but you still want to get some work done. We were able to use the pad, and the Colt was a wonderful asset for us up front this year.
Q: Do you see the Colt as a last step before you go live?
A: We actually use the blocking pad all the time. Even when we were doing live, 11-on-11 stuff we would implement the Colt with the lineman. Just to take some off the shots of each kid. We loved it, it worked out great for us. We used the blocking pad from the moment we walked down to the practice field to when we were full-on 11-on-11, we used the Colt all the time. We’ve pretty much gotten away from using any other shield for line play because I don’t feel it helps us at all. Going to traditional shields was actually taking a step backwards. It would be like taking the passing game out of football, it is part of the game and it’s moving forward. That’s what the Colt is doing. It’s revolutionizing the line play because old shields just don’t get it done anymore.