Coaches Corner: Inside Zone

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Coaches Corner: Inside Zone
There has been much talk about the Quarterback read option and advantages to having running threat at the Quarterback position.

Little has been mentioned or discussed about the base plays that set up the package. As is usually the case, the package will only be as good as the base play is. The Quarterback read will not be nearly as effective if the two base running plays that set them up are not clicking.

At the practices and scrimmage, we attended at the coach’s clinic Michigan was using two base plays to set up the Quarterback read option. Coach Frey also discussed these two plays during his lecture. There is a third play that was used at West Virginia, the trap, but it was not shown or discussed at the clinic or practices.

The two base plays we will discuss are what Coach Frey referred to as tackle read zone and inside belly play. Both plays are blocked exactly the same, using inside zone scheme. If you have, any questions about inside zone blocking check out this article we did on it back on February 25, 2008 talking about in that article covering the difference between this year blocking schemes and last years.

One caveat, If you talking to ten different coaches, you will get different answers on how to run the inside zone scheme. No one is either right or wrong, just tweaks that different schools use that they have found work best for them.

For our purposes, we will use lectures given by Coach Frey, Smith, and Magee over the last few years.

We will start with the tackle read zone play. It is exactly what it sounds like, the Running Back attacks the inside leg of the Offensive Tackle, and reads his block. If the Offensive Tackle hooks the Defensive End, the Running Back bounces the ball to outside, if he cannot reach the Defensive End, he simply pushes him towards the sideline, and the Running Back cuts the ball inside his block. The Running Backs third option is if the backside Offensive Guard happens to cut off the backside Defensive Tackle, the Running Back has option of cutting ball into the front side A-gap, behind the Offensive Centers block.

The second base play in the package is the inside belly play. (IMO) this is the tougher of the two plays to defend. The play looks exactly like the tackle read, it is blocked the same, Quarterback steps are same, only difference is course of Running Back. Instead of attacking the inside, leg of Offensive Tackle, he attacks inside leg of Offensive Guard. He still has three options, if Offensive Guard drives the Defensive Tackle out, and Offensive Center reaches Middle Linebacker, the Running Back can keep on course and get into the A-gap. If Middle Linebacker fills A-gap and backside Offensive Guard handles backside Defensive Tackle, the Running Back cuts back into backside A-gap. If backside Defensive Tackle is playing 1-tech, inside shade on Offensive Guard, or in the backside A-gap, the Running Back can bend the play all the way back to the backside B-gap.

The beauty of both plays is the threat of Quarterback pulling the ball out and attacking the backside make the backside Defensive End stay home and not make the play. This allows the offense to out man the defense between the Offensive Tackles. The Weak-side Linebacker blocked by alignment, or formation he must honor the Slot Receiver on the hot read. Weak-side Linebacker stays in the box the Quarterback should make the read and hit the Slot Receiver quickly in front of the Safety. In addition, if the defense is playing 3-3 odd stack the backside Offensive Tackle should be able to get to the second level and get a helmet on the Weak-side Linebacker.

written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine

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