Blocking Inside Zone

Inside Zone Scheme Running Back

 

How many times has this happened to you?

You call a run play in the game and you know it’s going to work because you’ve watched a year’s worth of film on your opponent. You come out in a certain formation expecting the defense to give you that look you’ve been craving because you know the perfect play to gash them with.

But, what’s this? The defense didn’t do what you thought they were going to do. Now you start to sweat. Do you run the play? Call something different? Call timeout?

Screw it.

You’ve called the play. The kids have to deal with it. You did an okay enough job teaching them throughout the week. Who cares if it is against a front you only talked during Thursday’s walkthrough. The kids are smart enough. They will adjust.

The quarterback calls the cadence. The center snaps the ball. The quarterback hands the ball off and the running back gets stuffed two yards in the backfield.

Does that scenario sound familiar to you?

Because it does to me. That’s happened way too much to my liking. So I’ve decided to do something about it. What have I done? I’ve gone to using one running scheme.

What running scheme? The Inside Zone.

Why You Should Only Run the Inside Zone Scheme

Inside Zone is simple if you commit to it.

The reason is simple. Your kids will rep the piss out of it every day and get great at it. They will practice against every front, every blitz, every stunt, and everything a creative defensive coordinator can throw at you.

I know my kids did.

We repped the inside zone against the Under Front, Over Front, Bear Front, Over G Front, Double Eagle Front, Odd Front, Stack Front, Okie Front, American Fire Zone Front, Wag the Dog Front, Double Mike A Gap Super Blitz Front, and Super Double Power Eagle G Over Burning It All Down Front.

You name the blitz and/or stunt and our guys knew how to block it.

Why?

Because we did it every freaking day in practice. Individuals – Inside Zone drills. Team Run – Inside Zone blocking. Inside Drill – Inside Zone blocking. Team Tempo – Inside Zone blocking. Team – Inside Zone blocking.

Reps. Reps. Reps. Reps. Reps. That’s all my guys did in practice. Shoot, my guys blocked inside zone so much that they were taking their steps and shooting their hands while they were getting ready to go to bed.

And isn’t that the major secret about being successful on offense? Getting enough reps so your players can feel like they have mastered it?

Why You Won’t Stick to Inside Zone Scheme as the Only Scheme

I'm Smarter Than I know about Inside Zone

Because you think you’re smarter than you really are.

That’s right, I said it. And you know it’s true. How do I know you know it’s true?

I’m the same as you. I always had to have four, five, or six running schemes because I thought I was smarter than I was. Hell, I knew the blocking schemes and adjustments against everything the defense did. So why shouldn’t my players, right?

Wrong.

You eat, sleep, and breath football. Your players eat, sleep, breath other things – video games, food, getting laid. You know, things that really matter.

Don’t believe me? Turn on your film and count how many times you blame the kids for missing a block.

News flash buddy. It isn’t the kid’s fault. It’s yours.

How do you Block Your Inside Zone?

How to Block Inside Zone

There are two schools of thought on blocking the Inside Zone – Vertical displacement or Horizontal displacement.

Vertical Displacement is were you focus on double-teaming the down linemen into the laps of the linebackers.

Horizontal displacement is where your guys are blocking the down linemen left or right and letting your runningback make the play.

Which one do we use?

Horizontal displacement. Why? Because it is super easy to teach. All my guys have to do is step to the direction the play is going and protect their gap for three steps. If someone shows up in that gap within three steps then that’s who they block. If someone doesn’t show up in their gap in three steps then they climb to the next level.

It’s that simple.

Blocking Inside Zone Against an Over Front

How to block inside zone against an over front

 

PST – He has a defender over him. He takes three steps to the right while asking himself, “Is there a defender in my play side gap?” Most of the time that five technique will stay with him because he is taught not to get reached. So on the third step, the tackle will stay on the block.

PSG – He does not have a defender over him, yet he is still taking his three steps toward his play side gap. He is asking himself, “Is there anyone showing up in my gap?” If the five technique doesn’t spike inside or a linebacker shoot into the gap then he will work to the second level.

Center – He has a shade on him. Doesn’t matter. He will still take three steps toward his play side gap. He is asking himself, “Is this shade attacking my gap?” If the answer is yes then he will be pushing the defender to the right. If the shade spikes across his face by the third step then he will work up to the second level.

BSG – He has a three-technique on his backside. Doesn’t matter because he is asking himself, “Is there someone in my play side gap?” He is taking three steps to make sure no one shows up. If someone shows up within those three steps then he will block him. If no one shows up in three steps then he will work to the second level.

BST – He has a defender in his play side gap. Doesn’t matter however because he is asking himself “Do I have anyone in my play side gap?” He will take three steps to the right while checking his gap. If that three-technique stays in the B gap then the tackle will wash him out. If that defender does something strange and goes away from the B gap then the tackle will work up to the second level on his fourth step.

Blocking Inside Zone Scheme Against an Under Front

Blocking Inside Zone Against Under Front

 

PST – He has a defender over him. He takes three steps to the right while asking himself, “Is there a defender in my play side gap?” Most of the time that five technique will stay with him because he is taught not to get reached. So on the third step, the tackle will stay on the block.

PSG – He has a three-technique in his play side gap. Doesn’t matter because he is asking himself, “Is there someone in my play side gap?” He is taking three steps. If that three-technique stays in his gap then he will block him. If that three-technique spikes into the A gap then he will move to the second level.

Center – He doesn’t have a defender in his gap. Doesn’t matter though. He will still take three steps toward his play side gap. He is asking himself, “Is anyone showing up in my gap?” If the answer is yes then he will lock onto that defender. If the answer is no by his third step then he will climb to the second level.

BSG – He has a shade on him. Doesn’t matter though. He will still take three steps toward his play side gap. He is asking himself, “Is this shade attacking my gap?” If the answer is yes then he will be pushing the defender to the right. If the shade spikes across his face by the third step then he will work up to the second level.

BST – He has a defender on his outside. Doesn’t matter however because he is asking himself “Do I have anyone in my play side gap?” He will take three steps to the right while checking his gap. If no one shows up then the tackle will work up to the second level on his fourth step.

Blocking Inside Zone Scheme Against an Odd Front

How to block Inside Zone Against an Odd Front

PST – He has a defender over him. He takes three steps to the right while asking himself, “Is there a defender in my play side gap?” Most of the time that five technique will stay with him because he is taught not to get reached. So on the third step, the tackle will stay on the block.

PSG – He does not have a man over him, yet he is still taking his three steps toward his play side gap. He is asking himself, “Is there anyone showing up in my gap?” If the five technique doesn’t spike inside or a linebacker shoot into the gap then he will work to the second level.

Center – He has a defender on him. Doesn’t matter though. He will still take three steps toward his play side gap. He is asking himself, “Is this nose guard attacking my gap?” If the answer is yes then he will be pushing the defender to the right. If the nose guard spikes across his face by the third step then he will work up to the second level.

BSG – He does not have a defender over him, yet he is still taking his three steps toward his play side gap. He is asking himself, “Is there anyone showing up in my gap?” If the nose guard doesn’t spike inside or a linebacker shoot into the gap then he will work to the second level.

BST – He has a defender over him. He takes three steps to the right while asking himself, “Is there a defender in my play side gap?” Most of the time that five technique will stay outside of him because is the quarterback player. However, if the five-technique tries to cross the tackles face then he will wash him out of the play.

Spicing Up the Inside Zone Scheme with Tags

Spice Up Inside Zone with Tags

I know what you are thinking. Coach, this is all well and good, but defenses will be able to stop our run game because we are only RUNNING ONE FREAKING SCHEME.

In the immortal words of Lee Corso, “NOT SO FAST SWEETHEART!”

We are going to use something special. Something sexy. Something that makes the inside zone look different to the defense yet makes it super simple to the offense.

What am I talking about?

Tags. Hot, sweating, sexy tags.

What are tags? These are little keywords that tell one player to change his assignment without messing with the rest of the players.

LOCK TAG

Lock Up the Backside of Inside Zone

The first tag we add to the inside zone scheme is our lock scheme. This only affects the backside guard and tackle.

How?

By having them lock onto their defenders. It’s simple: the tackle is always locked on to the man head up to outside of him. The backside guard is only locked on if he has a man head up to outside of him.

Blocking a 3 and 5 technique with Inside Zone Lock Tag

Example 1: The guard has a guy head up to outside of him. Therefore he locks on.

Inside Zone Lock Tag against a shade and a five-technique

Example 2: Does the guard have a man head up to outside of him? Nope. So he does his normal inside zone steps.

Inside Zone run scheme with a lock tag against an odd stack

Example 3: Same thing in the odd front. Nobody head up or outside of the backside guard, so he does his normal steps.

This tag is amazing because now you have turned the Inside Zone Scheme into an RPO. You will have the slot wide receiver run a three-step hitch. The quarterback is reading the backside linebacker. If the linebacker fills, then he will pull the ball and drill the hitch. If the linebacker drops then the quarterback will hand the ball off.

Simple as that.

CAP TAG

Inside Zone Scheme with a Cap Tag

This tag utilizes an H-Back. Yes, I believe you need an H-Back to be able to run this scheme right and be efficient.

(Yeah, I said it. Are you happy now? Jerks.)

What the CAP tag does is tell the H-Back to cross the formation and kick out the defender that is in the C-gap.

Inside Zone Run with a Cap Tag

You can get creative with this tag. You can tag it with your quick game, dropback game, or screen game. This tag also allows you to change the person you want to read on your RPO. You can read a linebacker, a safety, or a corner. The possibilities are endless.

RPO off of a Linebacker

RPO run off of a linebacker

RPO off of a Safety

Reading a safety for a RPO play

RPO off of a Corner

Reading the Corner RPO off of Inside Zone Scheme

SLICE TAG

Inside Zone Scheme with a Slice Tag

The last tag is a counter to the CAP tag. When you use this tag you are telling the H-back to fake the CAP block and go straight to the flats.

The quarterback will now read the C-gap defender for his give or pull read. If the C-gap defender runs up the field, then the quarterback will hand the ball off. If the C-gap defender crashes down the line of scrimmage, then the quarterback will pull the ball and throw it to the H-back.

Inside Zone Scheme with Slice Tag

Notice how nothing changes for the offensive line. The only players doing something different is the H-back and the wide receivers. This play is devastating to the defense. They tend to forget about the H-back being a passing threat. I love to call this play when I’m in the Red Zone.

There You Go

Inside Zone There You Go

That’s how I use Inside Zone as my only running scheme. I believe it’s the most versatile scheme in all of football because of all of the tags you can incorporate into it. This scheme lets you call plays fast, let’s your kids be confident in knowing how to block every front, and lets you score a crap ton of points fast.

Please let me know if you do anything different. I’d love to hear from you’ll.

Until next time coaches, let’s continue to Master the Spread, Score Points, and Have Fun!

Read more

 

Ah, the 3-3 Stack. A balanced defense that allows defensive coordinators the chance to stop the Spread Offense by bringing exotic stunts and blitzes.

It’s an offensive coordinator’s worst nightmare.

But should it be?

No, it shouldn’t.

That’s why I’m going to go over one of the ways we attack the 3-3 Stack using our inside zone play.

How to Screw with defensive coordinators

Yes I stole this formation from Baylor. Sue me.

When you go against the 3-3 Stack you need to get out of your normal 2 x 2 formation mindset. The 3-3 Stack is designed to go up against those formations. You are making the defenses job easier when you sit in a static, balanced formation.

We want to get into some form of 3 x 1. The above formation is one of my favorites. We call it Trio Rt Special. The ‘Special’ tag tells the F to line up behind the Y in a Stack alignment.

How does this formation cause problems for the defense? The defense is out numbered two to one by our stacked wide receivers.

“But Coach McKie,” you ask. “Won’t the defense just roll down the safety and go cover one when they see this formation?”

Nope.

Defensive coordinators are in love with Palm’s coverage the same way Spread coaches are in love with the Run Pass Options. They are going to stay in two high until their Lord Saban tells them it is okay to roll down against 3 x 1 formations.

But, defensive coaches aren’t completely stupid. They are still going to try to dictate who is going to keep the ball on the zone read. That’s why they will put their defensive ends in a 4i.

Now, the defense is forcing the quarterback to pull the ball since the ‘read’ key is slanting inside to take away the dive. This puts the Outside Linebacker  as the quarterback player.

That’s okay though. Let the defensive coordinators think they’ve won this battle. It will make their tears that sweeter when we score a rushing touchdown on them.

How We Combat This Strategy

We have our backside tackle arc release to the Outside Linebacker that’s head up to outside of him and have the Quarterback read the 4i. (Note: You can either teach it this way or make it a call from the sideline.)

How do you like me now Defensive Coordinators?

Why do we do this instead of having our tackle wash down the 4i? Because our tackles aren’t that good at washing down 4is. So instead of banging my head against the wall and wailing to the football gods for cursing me with offensive linemen that can’t wash anyone down, I instead teach them to arc release to the second level and have our Quarterback read the 4i trying to make the play.

It’s a win-win situation for the tackle and myself. He doesn’t have to hear me screaming at him during practice, and I don’t have to get a headache.

Blocking Scheme

Left Tackle: You have someone head up to outside of you so you will base block that man.

Left Guard: You don’t have a defender in your play side B-Gap, nor do you have a defender in your back side A-gap. So you will help the center double team the nose, while having your eyes on the Front Side Linebacker. Once the Front Side Linebacker triggers towards the line of scrimmage then you will come off the double team and block him.

Center: You are covered. Therefore you will block the nose guard. Easy.

Right Guard: You do not have anyone in your front side A-Gap. You do have a B-gap defender in the back side B-Gap, BUT you know the center is covered. So you will double the nose with your eyes on the Back Side Linebacker/Middle Linebacker. When the Back Side Linebacker/Middle Linebacker triggers towards the line of scrimmage then you will come off the double team and block him.

Right Tackle: You have a 4i and you know that the center is covered. So you will arc release – meaning you will not block the guy in the play side B-Gap – and immediately block the linebacker that is head up to outside of you.

Quarterback Reads

You are reading the B-Gap defender. If the B-Gap defender runs straight at you then you will hand the ball off to the Running Back. If the B-Gap defender flies towards the Running Back then you will pull the ball and chase the butt of the Right Tackle.

If the Outside Linebacker lined up over the Y comes to tackle you then you will flip the ball out to the F receiver running the key screen. If the Outside Linebacker lined up over the Y chases the key screen then you will turn up and score.

Wide Receivers

You will be running our normal quick screen.

The R recevier will block the corner.

The Y receiver will block the Outside Linebacker over him. If the Outside Linebacker chases the Quarterback then you will turn up and block the first different colored jersey you see.

The F receiver will take one step forward and then back pedal. You are looking for the ball. If you get it then you will put your foot in the ground and get North and South.

Running Back

Your steps are as followed: Open, Cross Over, Bang it behind the Center’s butt.

That’s the play.

You need to realize that this is one of the two running plays we have, before you tell me that it isn’t an easy play. I am a firm believer of Less is More.

So there you have it. That is one of the ways we attack the 3-3 Stack using our Inside zone. If you do anything different then please leave a comment below. I love hearing from ya’ll.

Also, please Check out my FREE One Back Power eBook if you haven’t already. You can sign up on the side of my webpage.

And until next week, let’s Master the Spread, Score Points, and Have Fun!

Read more
/a>