Football gaps refer to spaces on the field between offensive linemen. These spaces are referred to as gaps and are labelled using letters. From the middle of the offensive line outward, gaps are numbered alphabetically.
There are two A gaps on the offensive line, both of which are on either side of the center. The A gap in football refers to the area between the offensive guard and the center.
In a game, both offense and defense use the A gap.
The offense uses the A gap to rush the football. The defense uses the A gap to rush the quarterback and clog holes the ball carrier may attempt to run through.
There are four gaps in an offensive line, labelled alphabetically from the inside out: A gaps between the guard and center, B gaps between the guard and tackle, and C gaps outside the tackle.
Rushing the Ball Through the A Gap
It is always true that the offense decides where the ball carrier will go with the football before rushing it.
Offensive linemen will be placed either between or outside a gap chosen by the offense.
In order to block their opponents, players need to know where the ball carrier is heading before the snap.
On a run, the offensive tackle will push the edge defenders towards the sideline so they can’t get to the A gap.
In order to run through this gap, you need to get past the defensive tackles. Defensive tackles line up in the middle of the offensive line and are the biggest and heaviest players.
In order to move these large defenders through the a gap, the center and guard often double-team one defensive tackle in the a gap.
Despite all that, these runs don’t tend to yield many yards even if the defensive tackle is moved out of the way.
As a ball carrier gets through the A gap, they are frequently met by linebackers waiting to make a tackle.
As a result, running through the A gap in the middle of the offensive line is the shortest route from the backfield to the line of scrimmage in short-yardage situations.
When playing a third or fourth quarter, the A gap is often used via a dive play or quarterback sneak to gain some positive yards.
Pash Rushing the a Gap
In football, defensive players will be assigned gaps to rush when attempting to bring down the quarterback.
Pass-rushing gaps often occur between the defensive tackles and the center of the formation.
Similarly to rushing plays, defensive tackles are often double-teamed when rushing the passer.
Rushing through the A gap makes it impossible to get to the quarterback.
If a linebacker blitzes through a gap later in the play, he may find himself unblocked since the defensive tackle is occupied with the offensive lineman.
When playing run defense, the defense will also assign gaps to players.
Defenses can be assigned their gaps in two ways. Two gap defenses and one gap defense.
A one-gap defense assigns players a single gap to cover on rushing plays. Once the play identifies a run, they can attack the gap and hopefully make a tackle.
To play a two-gap defense effectively, each defensive player on the line must fill two gaps. To do this effectively, players must be a bit conservative.
Ball carriers may have an easier time getting through the line if a two gap player leaves one gap open.
Before committing to a specific gap, they must wait for the running back to make his cut.
When opponents rush, defensive tackles cover the gap. For many defensive tackles, stopping runs is their livelihood.
When a defensive tackle gets into a gap and plugs it, the ball carrier will have to change his path if he was planning to run through it.
This will allow the other defensive players to rally around the ball carrier and bring him down for the tackle if the ball carrier’s intended gap is plugged.