Mailbag | Slide vs. Turnback Protection

It’s been a while since we’ve done a Mailbag. Many of you have asked for some more technical posts and we recently received a question asking about the difference between slide protection and turnback protection for offensive linemen.

Slide Protection – is a zone scheme in which to the playside, offensive linemen are responsible for a gap. Let’s say we’re sliding to the right, the Center takes the right a gap, the guard the right b gap and the tackle the right c gap. Then your te or fb, tb etc takes anyone who shows outside the c gap. That way it makes it simple for your o linemen to take anyone who shows in their respective gap.

Turnback Protection – is just that. It’s mostly associated with naked’s, bootlegs, sprintouts etc. It resembles a counter in the blocking scheme. Your center, guard, tackle etc appear to be blocking down, but they’re taking their inside gap as opposed to taking their outside gap in a slide.. If it’s a play to the right, the center blocks backside a gap, guard goes down to frontside a gap, and tackle will take frontside b gap.

So simplified really slide means we’re blocking our outside gap, and turnback means I’m blocking my inside gap.

Thanks for the question!


  • Brian

    Thanks for the info JY!

    • Super K

      Thanks for reading Brian!

    • JY

      yes sir. Any time!

  • Steven White

    Love these kind of posts. Now I can talk to my dad like I really know what I am talking about. Thanks again for making me look smarter.

    • Super K

      Haha your dad a coach?

      • Gary Robbins

        Do you think JY could give some chalkboard examples and maybe what the play was called in the huddle for some of us old confused people. Or maybe some of the coaches that frequent TFB could explain a little further. The play calling was different at my small high school in the 60’s. It was something like 22 right on 2 or 35 left on 1.

        • Jed

          Our team was so bad that our coach basically banned our QB from EVER audibling anything. So, knowing that we’d all know it was BS, he began to audible anyway, just to try and get the defense to laugh. He was a creative guy. Alternatively, he’d sometimes just yell out the real play. The defense didn’t believe it most times and we’d go for a decent gain.

        • JY

          We could definitely give it a shot.

          • Gary Robbins

            Thank you and TFB as always.

      • Steven White

        No just a monster Sooner fan. He lives in Oklahoma and I live in Iowa. Ever conversation we have starts with Sooner talk.

  • j l

    Thanks for the breakdown, always learn something new at TFB day in, day out.

  • Super Keith

    Turnback protection almost always comes with a risk, but if you get an overly aggressive defense, it can blow up into a big time gain.

    • JY

      True. Your backs have to be good blockers to pick up the edge players or your guards have to be good in space to cut those ends on the bootlegs.

  • Christopher Napper

    Not only do we get the best info, we get educated! Most awesome site!

  • Boom

    JY – TE & 3 WR’s. You run pistol strong right, is slide blocking the norm? If so, what foot moves first. If you were running same play w/turnback which foot would move 1st. I just want you to confirm as I have a youth OL Daddy coach who never played telling me hows it’s done. I want to back up my story. FYI, he’s an aggie too. ; )

    • JY

      A good rule to go by is whatever direction you’re heading whether in pass pro or in run blocking is that you want to step with that foot. Right foot going right, left foot going left.

  • BigJoeBrown

    This is true value, thanks JY

    • JY

      Well we definitely want you to get your money’s worth on here! ;-D

  • Kevin

    Have been lurking since January. Love the site! Just moved to the Midwest from OKC and am going to miss all of the OU talk, this site has definitely helped with the transition. The season can’t start fast enough!

    • Super K

      Thanks Kevin!

    • JY

      Where’d you move? I’m a Chicago Sooner

      • Kevin

        Just east of Indy. Grew up in Oklahoma, lived in Texas for 4 years, moved back to OKC for a year before my job took me to Indy. First time living in the Midwest. Glad to know there are fellow Sooners nearby!

  • steveinok

    Regardless of which protection–slide or turnback– the opposition shows, they can’t possibly execute it without holding. At least according to the man two rows in front of me in section 9…

    • stan


  • Won

    TFB is the best!

    • JY

      Thanks a bunch!

  • Chris White

    I’m guessing Ahmad Thomas was named the starter today? His post on Instagram and Twitter is picking up??

  • Ronald Keith

    just saw on scout that cody thomas is hurt. anybody know anything about that. blake bell was taking reps at qb

  • Bennie Owen

    Chip Kelley is using blocking schemes and misdirection to put up some serious yards, and points. with a QB like TK, OU could do something similar. one of his plays wa+s like a double screen, h-back to one side(dimitri flowers) -the D focusses on that, and Ford to the other side with some big guys out front. fake the screen to flowers, LBS bite, and go back to Ford, who’s got blockers and a whole lot of open space. might be a good play for daniel brooks now that i think about it. beautiful play calling, and if it all falls apart TK’s legs will still make something happen.

    cannot be stopped.