There is nothing more demoralizing for defense than not being able to stop the run.
Have you ever seen defensive lineman patting their helmets to come out of the game, and opposing coaches panting the sidelines hopelessly?
No matter what offensive tree you sprouted from, or what offense you currently run, you have to be able to run the ball.
I was blessed to be in a unique situation of converting a Wing-T team into the spread air raid offense recently.
And during that process our QB had trouble adjusting to the spread concepts and verbiage. So it was in the best interest of our players and team to marry Wing-T concepts while transitioning.
We gelled together the Wing-T If/Then structure with the run and pass game of the air raid offense.
What run did we decide to hang our hat on?
The Inside Zone.
Because it does not matter what the defense runs, inside zone will always make the offense right.
What personnel did we use?
Not the Tight End 20 Personnel.
No. I’m talking about the 2 Running Back 20 Personnel. Like in the picture below:
20 personnel is 2 RBs, 0 TE’s and 3 WR.
Where does the ‘Wing-T’ come into play? With the motion.
See, the ‘Wing-T’ part of the Spread Wing-T comes from the motion. We LOVE to use motion because it causes problems with the defenses’ eyes.
(Most high school kids have HORRIBLE eye discipline.)
This particular play we send the F-back in ‘fast” motion. Sending the F-back in motion can be done with the QB waving his hand, moving his foot, or even by the RB motioning in sync to a word in the cadence. We love to give the QB the autonomy to decide on how he wants to signal the motion.
Upfront we teach the offensive lineman that inside zone is an “area” blocking scheme where everyone blocks their play side gap. If a lineman is uncovered they simply block whatever is in their gap at the second level of the defense. Blocking an area and not a man helps to defend funky blitzes and stunts by the defense.
Communication amongst the offensive line is critical in order to defend defensive stunts, blitzes and surprises.
In our regular inside zone read play, the QB is responsible for reading the C-gap rusher on the backside of the play, which is usually a Defensive end.
When the QB sends the F in motion he is scanning to see if the defense does anything to accommodate the motion. If the defense does not respond to the motion by the F, the QB will immediately catch, set and throw the ball to the F running the swing route.
If the defense adjusts to the motion by the F, the QB aborts the automatic swing, and shifts his eyes to the C-Gap defender.
If the C gap defender flies up the field, the QB hands the ball off to the RB. If the C gap defender crashes hard down the line then the QB will keep the ball and put his eyes on the next read which is the second level backer in the box this gives the QB two more options.
If that backer attacks the QB he will flip the ball out to the swing. If the second level LB decides to chase the F back on the swing, then the QB will pull the ball and run it up the field.
Making simple adjustments offensively can put the defense in quite a conundrum.
Inside zone lock is a countermove we use on the defense where we lock the Backside guard and backside tackle on the backside defensive lineman. Once we lock on the backside C-gap defender, we shift the QB’s read to the first backside backer in the box.
The lock call in zone also notifies the Y that he is now running a snag route.
The snag route is a route where the Y runs right behind the QBs read and hooks in to force him to make a decision.
This turns our inside zone read into a Run Pass Option.
When the QB puts the F in motion he now reads whether or not that backside backer reacts to the motion.
If the LB sits and does not react to the motion from the F-back the QB automatically gives it to the RB. If the LB crashes down and reacts to his run keys, the QB throws the snag route.
If the LB fills the void where the Y is going, the QB can throw the swing route to the F. The goal is to force the linebacker to feel is he damned no matter what he does!
The object of Inside zone and the way that we teach it is to create an indestructible run play, that we can call multiple times while window dressing.
The decision making is put in the hands of the QB based on reading a designated player on the defense.