Running Back Football Hole Numbers – 3 Things About It

A normal NFL playbook has a lot of football plays in it. It can be hard to remember all of them, and it can also be hard to figure out which play is being called on the field.

The running back in football knows where to run because there are holes in the field. The hole system is pretty simple, but if you’re still not sure how it works, keep reading!

What Are Running Back Holes And How Do They Work?

In American football, a “hole” is the space between two defensive linemen that the running back or another ball carrier tries to run through. Holes let the player with the ball move a long way down the field.

When the running play is called, first the number of the back who will get the ball is given, then the number of the hole the play will go to, and finally the type of run.

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Running Back Football Hole Numbers

The number called is a two-digit number. The first number is the back number, and the second number is the hole number.

By putting the number of the hole in the play call, offensive players can:

  • What is the name of the play?
  • Where to make a hole so the ball carrier can run through.
  • The correct blocking assignments for the play that must be completed

So, hole numbers are really just a way for the offensive team to know where to play.

The Running Back Numbering Syste

If you’re new to football, you should start with the T formation to learn how to count in football. The T formation inspired the majority of football formations used today.You should use it to improve your knowledge of numbers because it is clear and easy to understand.

If you look at a diagram of a T formation, you’ll see that the number of holes and the number of ball carries make sense.

Running Back Football Hole Numbers

In other, more complicated formations, the back positions may be a little bit mixed up, which makes it harder to remember the numbers. This is why the T formation is great for people just starting out.

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In the T formation, offensive linemen keep the following distances between each other:

  • 1.5 feet between each guard and the center.
  • 3 feet between each guard and tackle.
  • 3.5 feet between each tackle and end.

The running backs stand shoulder-width apart. The quarterback is right in front of the fullback.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s how the football holes are numbered:

  • Football hole numbers are always even on the right side of the offensive line, while odd numbers are always on the left.
  • The hole between the center and the right guard is #2.
  • The hole between the right guard and right tackle is #4.
  • The hole between the right tackle and the right end is #6.
  • The hole to the right of the right end is #8.
  • The hole between the center and left guard is #1.
  • The hole between the left guard and left tackle is #3.
  • The hole between the left tackle and left end is #5.
  • The hole to the left of the left end is #7.
  • Highest numbers are on the edges of the formation.
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Each ball carrier has a number as well:

  • #1 for the quarterback.
  • #2 for the left halfback.
  • #3 for the fullback.
  • #4 for the right halfback

Running Back Football Hole Numbers

As I said before, a two-digit number is used to call the play. For example, if “32 dive” is called, the ball will be given to the fullback (back #3), and the dive play will be aimed at hole #2. (between the centre and the right guard).


The numbering system in football is meant to help the offensive team work better together and tell the person with the ball where to go.

But the hole system is only the beginning. You also need to learn football plays. Hole numbers mean nothing if you don’t know what the called play is, so don’t forget to pay attention to plays as well.

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