Everyone loves the Inside Zone in football. Everyone also loves using Tight Ends in the Spread. So itâ€™s only natural to incorporate your Tight Ends into your Inside Zone scheme.
Yet, some coaches donâ€™t know how to do this. They ask themselves, “Do we put him on the line and have him combo with the tackle? Or do we throw him the ball and never use him to block? Should we Flex him out or put him in the backfield?”
I donâ€™t have all the answers, but I do have one formation and one play that utilizes the Tight End and makes the defense pay.
This is itÂ The formation that scares defensive coordinators. The combination of power and speed. Itâ€™s a 3 x 1 set with an attached Tight End to the two receiver side.
Defenses donâ€™t know what to do with it. Specially if they are running an Even man front. Most defensive coordinators will utilize two different fronts: an Over Front or an Under Front.
This is an Over Front. Notice how the 3-tech is over on the Tight Endâ€™s side? Thatâ€™s how I remember this is called an Over Front. I know it sounds stupid, but it works for me. Please donâ€™t judge me.
Here is an Under Front. Notice how the 3-tech is away from the Tight Endâ€™s side? Thatâ€™s how I remember this is called an Under Front. Again, donâ€™t judge me.
I like to keep our concepts simple. I subscribe to the K.I.S.S method of play calling. I also like to tweak things because I am human and enjoy installing things I see on Saturday.
How do I get the best of both worlds? By TAGGING our base concept and changing the assignment of one or two people. Thatâ€™s what we do here. We are running our base Inside Zone to the left, and TAGGING the play with Base.
What does the ‘Baseâ€™ tag do? It tells the backside tackle he is base blocking anyone head up to outside of him, and that the backside guard will base block a defender IF the defender is lined up head up to outside of him.
Inside Zone Blocking Rules
Left Tackle: Block anyone head up to outside of you.
Left Guard: If someone is in the play side B-Gap then you block him. If someone is in your backside A-Gap then you will block him. If no one is in either gap then you will help the center and climb to the front side Linebacker.
Center: If someone is in the play side A-Gap then you block him. If someone is in your back side A-Gap then you will block him.
Wide Receiver Rules
L Receiver - You are by yourself. You will run the gift route. If you have five or more yards of cushion then you will run a three step hitch. If you are getting pressed coverage then you will run a vertical.
Y Receiver - You are running the dump route. You are running an outside release vertical. If you had grass then you will slow down and stay in the grass. Most of the time you will not get the choice of slowing down because the quarterback will hit you in stride.
F Receiver - You are running the Key Screen. Take one step forward then backpedal to the side line. DO NOT STOP BACKPEDALING. Force that Line Backer to defend you.
R Receiver - You are blocking the corner.
First thing - can you throw the hitch to the L receiver?
Yes - then throw that junk.
No - then go to your read key.
You are reading the first linebacker on the same side as the running back. If he fills for the run then you will throw the DUMP pass to the Tight End. Make sure you do not lob the ball to him, because he will end up on the safetyâ€™s highlight reel. If another defender comes into the window of the DUMP pass then flip your hips and throw the Key Screen to the F receiver.
If the line backer drops back to cover the pass then you hand the ball off.
Itâ€™s that simple.
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And until next week, letâ€™s continue to Master the Spread, Score Points, and Have Fun.