oklahoma drill

What Is the Oklahoma Drill in Football?

American football is one of the most challenging sports. You’ll see very nasty tackles and great runs. It is a game that requires players to be mentally and physically tough.

One popular drill you’ll hear in this sport is the Oklahoma drill. It’s a common drill that players use whenever they practice tackling. You probably know of solo soccer drills, but we have the same in football.

So, what is the Oklahoma drill? The Oklahoma drill is a football hitting drill where four players line up against each other. It comprises two defensive players and two offensive players where the defensive players tackle the offensive players.

The two face each other three yards apart in a one-yard wide corridor. At the blow of the whistle, the players run toward each other until one is pushed out of bounds or on the ground. 

There is another variation of the drill where a total of 3 players are involved. Keep reading as I discuss everything you need to know about the Oklahoma drill.

Who Invented the Oklahoma Drill?

The Oklahoma drill was invented back in 1947 by Bud Wilkinson. Bud Wilkinson was a coach of the Oklahoma Sooners College football team. The drill involved a corridor made with blocking bags. The bags were placed in a manner that created a 3 feet wide and 9 feet-long channel

Two players in the channel at 3 yards apart and facing each other would then initiate contact once the whistle blew.

How Does the Oklahoma Drill Work?

The Oklahoma drill in practice works by giving one player (the carrier) the football to run at full speed and try to score a touchdown. You’ll then have three players ( one offensive and two defensives) trying to stop the run and prevent a touchdown.

Winning is achieved when one of the defenders knocks the carrier to the ground or drives him out of the corridor.

However, head coaches can change how many players they want in the drill. You can see a two vs. two or three vs one.

Dangers of the Oklahoma Drill

The NFL is always looking for ways to make the game safe for players. It has banned football drills before. Heavy tackling has some safety issues in the NFL Oklahoma drills. There are a few dangers that players need to be aware of. These include:

  • High injury rate: The drill is highly criticized because of its high injury rate. There are several lawsuits due to injuries that occurred when executing the Oklahoma drill.
  • High rate of contact: There is a high contact rate when applying the drill. For example, in a 2v2 setup, the running back and linebacker always come into contact 99% of the time.

Why Do Teams Run the Oklahoma Drills?

Teams run the Oklahoma drill to teach players the various tackling techniques. Currently, the technique is used during practice. NFL Oklahoma drills occur during practice and not games.

Tackling techniques like hitting low, hitting high, penetration, hitting with your head, and tackling on the move is easily taught using this drill. The drill is used in practice to teach players how to tackle without causing injuries.

Even then, the drill needs close monitoring by the coaching staff with big collisions hyping up teammates. Players learn how to give and absorb contact.

You need to imagine an Oklahoma drill-like soccer warm up where players practice a specific technique before the game starts.

Is the Oklahoma Drill Banned in the NFL?

Wondering if the Oklahoma drill is banned in the NFL? 

Yes, the Oklahoma drill is banned in the NFL due to safety reasons. In 2019 the NFL banned the drill in practices. The drill is no longer practiced by NFL teams.

NFL player

Coaches in the NCAA and high school teams can employ the drill to educate players on tackling techniques. However, most coaches don’t use the technique anymore. Even when used, the coaching staff needs to supervise it and make the right decisions.

Are Oklahoma Drills Banned in High School?

No, the Oklahoma drill is not banned in high school. However, the drill has been on the decline since the National Football League banned it in practice. While some coaches in high school can still use it, most avoid it due to the high safety concerns.

So, in a sense, the Oklahoma drill is not banned in high school. But, it’s rarely used as most coaches avoid it due to high contact and injury rates.

Where Is the Oklahoma Drill Banned?

The Oklahoma drill is banned in NFL practice. The ban came into place in May 2019 due to the high contact and injury rates. NFL players and veteran players rarely use and try the drill.

Even in high school football where the drill is not banned, there are fewer coaches still practicing it.

Is the Oklahoma Drill Illegal?

Yes, the Oklahoma drill is illegal in some states. The ban to use the Oklahoma drill was introduced in May 2019 by the NFL due to safety reasons. In such states, legislation has ruled the drill to be a safety concern for players involved.

However, this doesn’t mean the concept of the drill is dead. Coaches are always looking for ways to make drills more game-like and safe for players.

Why Do They Call It the Oklahoma Drill?

It’s called the Oklahoma drill because it was invented by the Oklahoma Sooners college football team in the 1940s by Bud Wilkinson.


As soon as Bud took over the team in 1947, he created the drill, which was known as the one-on-one drill. However, the name Oklahoma drill was picked as coaches from other teams started using it.

How Do You Win the Oklahoma Drill?

You win the Oklahoma drill by either pushing your opponents out of bounds or tackling them to the ground. In an Oklahoma drill, two players pit against one.

A defender wins only when the carrier is tackled to the ground or pushed out of bounds. If the carrier makes it past safely, then the blocker is the winner.

What Is a Hamburger Drill?

A hamburger drill involves a running back, a guard, a center, and a quarterback taking positions on the offensive side. A linebacker and defensive lineman position on the other side.

The hamburger drill aims to see who prevails when the ball is snapped between the blockers and the defenders.


That’s all concerning the Oklahoma drill. So, are Oklahoma drills illegal and dangerous? Yes, the drill is illegal in most states and should be avoided for safety reasons. While there are various variations to the drill, it remains banned in NFL practices. 

It’s also in decline in high school football with most coaches avoiding it for safety reasons. While some coaches still use it, its prevalence is on the decline.

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