What Does a Fullback Do in Football?

What Does a Fullback Do in Football?

A fullback is a player who lines up just behind the quarterback. In football, fullbacks block and run the ball in short yardage situations. Sometimes the fullback is a shorter, muscular player who blocks perfectly in the middle. But what is the role of a fullback in the game of football? 

In football, when players are tagged with backs, they directly stand behind the quarterbacks. Fullback players block the players and run short yardage situations, and they also carry, block, and catch the football. 

What Does a Fullback Do in Football?

In football, fullbacks are usually used in schemes that use I formations, and they intend to run the football most of the time. Fullback players participate in athletic games to block linebackers and defensive players. 

However, the fullback position is rare in high school, college, and professional football. Usually, in football, backs are made by coaches that identify different backs in various ways. 

Fullback players can change their base according to the system. In football, the first back is considered the fullback, and the fullback lines up between running back and quarterback.

The fullback plays the role of running the football. The player also catches the football out of the backfield and blicks the running back. Fullback players usually don’t participate in the spread offenses. 

According to the coach’s scheme, wide receivers and running backs are usually referred to by various names. Coaches give multiple names to the different backs. 

For example, fullback got its name as it is behind or back of the quarterback. Fullback players usually get the football and catch a short pass out of the backfield. 

Fullback players are responsible for catching the football out of the backfield, running the football when it’s handed off, and blocking the running back.

When you watch a professional game, you will notice the fullbacks in these roles. They will line up between the running back and the quarterback.

However, the fullback is rarely used in the spread offenses. When teams move to 4 and 5 receiver sets, there is no such necessity for such a player who will block linebackers. 

Usually, fullbacks are used in I formations to run the football most of the time. They play a fantastic role in blocking the linebackers and defensive ends in space. However, fullbacks are not very efficient in spreading formations. 

As they easily get covered by nickel backs, they don’t play any vital role in the spread passing game. Therefore, fullback players are rare in high school, college, and professional games.

What does fullback mean?

What is Fullback

In football, a fullback is a player of the attacking team who stands behind the quarterback. 

So, fullbacks are defense-based players who play right next to the center back, and they usually sit at the two wide opposing ends of a line of defense. There are two types of full backs; right back and left back, according to the position. 

According to the various types of play, different types of fullbacks include;

  • Offensive fullback- These players help the team win possession in the faceoff. Usually, offensive fullbacks start a good counterattack on the opponents by using their speed, passing, and dribbling tactics. Their main abilities are pace, stamina, crossing, defensive and offensive awareness. 
  • Defensive fullback- You can consider them as the center back as well. Usually, the defensive fullback doesn’t move upward. Only their pace and excellent speed make them different from the center backs. While they face a counter in the wide areas, they get possession by using their speed and high defensive skills. The primary ability of the defensive fullbacks is physical strength, pace, excellent crossing, and high defensive awareness. 
  • Fullback finisher- These players cut the opposition defense with pace and dribble toward the goal box as counter attackers cross and pass the ball to the strikers. Fullback finishers score goals too. Usually, fullback finishers do everything that an offensive fullback does. The main abilities of a fullback finisher are pace, offense awareness, crossing, finishing, and stamina. 

The primary role of fullbacks is to stop opposition attacks in the wide areas and destroy counters. According to the coach and manager, fullbacks help the players to maintain possession in the midfield. 

What makes a good fullback?

Good fullbacks perform tirelessly. They join the midfield in an attack, and when the possession gets lost, they run back to the defensive position. 

They don’t even get any time to recover their breath. Fullbacks must endure a lot of hits and lots of high-contact plays. There are some particular requirements that the fullbacks need to have to become more proficient in their skills.


The primary role of fullbacks is to stop wingers. On the other hand, wingers are very skilled and fast players. And a slow fullback can’t ever stop a winger. 

Therefore, fullbacks must have the speed to catch up with the wingers. Besides speed, they need to gain some tactics as well. In some cases, fullbacks are slow, yet they play a vital role in their tactics. 


As football is a team play, every player must be fit. Fullbacks are close to the defensive midfielders for their work rate. And good fullbacks work tirelessly for the entire game. 

They join the midfield in attack and run back to a defensive position when they lose possession. Therefore fullbacks must have sufficient stamina. 


According to the tactics, the role of fullbacks changes continuously. They must handle the 1 vs. 1 situation. 

Therefore, the fullbacks must tackle the front foot and runners from behind. They also have to execute sliding tackles with utmost precision. So, fullbacks must be very strong. 

Outstanding Technical Skills

Every skill will be worthless if the fullback won’t have excellent ball control skills. 

When a fullback makes an interception, they initiate the attack immediately, and it means that when center backs get away with limited dribbling skills, fullbacks must run with the ball at speed. 

Positioning & awareness

In football, positioning is vital for every player while on the field. When it is about fullbacks, they need to be more aware of positioning as they have to switch their positions from attacking to defending constantly. 

Good fullbacks always understand both offensive and defensive aspects of the game. 

How important is the fullback position in football?

Fullback Position in Football

The fullback is a crucial position in football, and the players run the ball and use more classic offensive formations. For their roleplay in the game, fullbacks are also essential in the modern game. There are mainly two types of fullbacks in this game.

The Attacking Fullback- Presently, it is the most common fullback. These players are mainly wingers who are excellent in attacking and expected back at the defensive line when the opponents are in possession. 

The Defensive Fullbacks- These Fullbacks play the same role as the sweeper or a ball playing in the center back. The defensive fullback has to stay in his position with minimal movement. When the team attacks, he stays behind. 

Fullbacks play as support structures for the defense, creators for the target, and vents for the midfielders. So, they play a significant role in the entire match. 

What is the Difference Between a Fullback and a Halfback?

Difference between fullback and halfback

Halfback and fullback both are the categories of running backs. Fullback serves as a blocker, while halfbacks serve as the main ball carriers.

Halfback players are also known as tailbacks, and their position serves as the main ball carrier on offense. Therefore, halfbacks must have specific athletic skills at their disposal.

The main difference between half backs and fullbacks is in the task of blocking on the run. When running backs receive the handoff, a fullback plays another role during the play. 

Fullbacks are stronger and larger than their backfield counterparts for their extra emphasis on blocking.

Is fullback and running back the same?

Technically, fullbacks and running backs are the same. However, the term running back is used to refer to the halfback or tailback. 

Modern fullbacks are rarely used as ball carriers, and previously offensive fullbacks played as the ball carriers.

Running back is a generalized term, and here, back is a person who initially lines up in the offensive backfield. The primary task of a running back is to run the football. 

So running back stands for someone who mainly runs the ball. On the other hand, a fullback is a running back. Fullbacks’ main role is to block back. 

He lines up closer to the line, and his job is to help block the ball carrier. Also, in short yardage situations, fullbacks carry the ball occasionally.

Is fullback and right back the same?

Yes, fullback and right back are the same. Full backs, including the right back, take up the holding wide positions and stay in the defense all time. There is one full back on every side of the field.


Hopefully, now you get your answer What Does a Fullback Do in Football?

Football is a game of multiple rules and techniques. And when it is about full backs, they play a significant role in the entire match. 

Standing behind the quarterback, they call the play perfectly. They efficiently block the players and perfectly handle the short-yardage situations. 

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