I am trying to devise some simple rules for inside zone for youth football. I'm interested in rules that allow the combo blockers to step towards each other when the down defender is inbetween them (OG and OT vs 3 tech).
I believe Coach Campbell calls this the near-ear rule - block the down defender who's hat is nearest to you.
How does this work for the front-side when the defenders are equi-distant? For example, an OT tackle is flanked by a 3 tech and a 7 tech.
How does it work for the backside? Do you use the same rules.
The reason I do not wan to use the rules where everyone steps playside and is either covered or uncovered is because it requires greater athleticism. Many youth offensive linemen are not very athletic and inside zone is a way to help make them better. But having a center stretch to a 3 tech is very athletic.
Center steps toward the 3 tech for 1 step only to be sure the 3 isn't coming inside. He watches the 3's near knee for 1 step & if he DOESN'T come inside Center works up on LB (Center will NOT get anything on a 3 who does NOT come inside). NOTE: When using covered/uncovered - that does NOT necessarily mean that everyone steps playside, FOR EXAMPLE: If I am an OT with a 4I on me (on Inside Zone my way) I step at my LANDMARK (aiming point) which is the playside # of the 4I.
I would consider that still playside - it certainly not blocking down or away from playside.
I have no problem with playside - covered/uncovered rules but don't want to use them for the reasons I stated.
We don't use them (college DII). We identify the front and then apply our rules for combos. We like to "deuce" the 3 tech with the OG and OT. Theorectically we get the combos we want as a coaching staff, but learning rules and fronts takes time away from work on fundamentals and technique. There is definitely a trade-off.
Anyway, back to the original notion, I guess what I want to devise rules that allows for the easiest combos for the linemen to occur most often. You end up with rules kind of like power and counter trey but without pullers (backs have to go strong or weak for emlos defenders).
On the conventional "INSIDE ZONE" (as run by MOST Div. I & NFL teams) I never heard of anyone using a "duece" on 3 tech with On G & On T on zone play. In ZONE blocking - the "combos" occur from INSIDE/OUT! However - If it works, then by all means, do it!.
Following article is interesting. The Coach gives his email address - contact him!
Northwestern State University's
ZONE BLOCKING PRINCIPLES
By Chris Truax
Offensive Line Coach & Running Game Coordinator
Northwestern State University
Zone blocking occurs when two offensive linemen are responsible for blocking two defenders in a certain area towards the point of attack. The purpose of using the zone blocking scheme is to stop penetration, create movement on Level I (build a wall) and also seal off the onside linebacker. All zone blocks initially start out as an inside-out double team. As movement begins, either the outside blocker or inside blocker will gain control over the defender on Level I, allowing the other blocker to come off the block to handle the linebacker. In this type of blocking scheme, it is critical to create movement on Level I before coming off for the linebacker.
A. Inside Blocker - (Offensive lineman covered by a linebacker or uncovered.) Take a short lead step with near foot aiming for a point inside the hip of the defender aligned on the next offensive blocker and play side. We refer to this step as a zone step. As the inside blocker takes this zone step, it is important to read the movement of the linebacker. If the linebacker “Fast Flows,” you explode up under the defensive lineman with both hands. Upon making contact, whip your arms and move your feet like pistons working to get movement up the field. If the linebacker “Slow Flows,” punch and push off the defender with one hand and explode to the LB as you approach his level. Sometimes LB’ers are “Fast Flow” by alignment. We must be alert to this situation. Inside blocker must use two hands.
B. Outside Blocker - (Offensive lineman covered by a down lineman.) The outside blocker must read the alignment of the defender aligned on him so he can hit the proper landmark and initially create the movement on level one. If the defender is aligned outside eye or shoulder, the outside blocker will step with his near foot, aiming his head gear for the outside number. If the defender is aligned head up he will step with his outside foot, aiming his headgear under the chin of the defender. If he is aligned inside eye or shoulder, he will read step with his outside foot to block the outside number of the defender. If the defender loops-out or locks-on, we want the outside blocker to maintain contact and work the defender off the LOS.
This movement off the LOS is important in zone blocking principles. If this defender remains inside of you, continue to drive and maintain contact – once you are forced off by the inside blocker now you can look for the scraping linebacker on Level 2. If the defender aligned on you slants inside – punch and push off the defender and explode to 2nd level when the linebacker crosses your face. Block the linebacker by exploding up through his play side armpit, using a good drive block technique. Remember – we want movement first. When we come off to the second level we will take the linebacker anywhere we can.
The following calls are the different zone-type blocks between offensive linemen at the point of attack:
1. “Single” zone blocking between the center and onside guard is necessary in order to handle the defensive tackle and middle linebacker. The onside guard will make the call when the defensive tackle is aligned head up or inside eye or shoulder on alignment. This call is to reaffirm the blocking assignment. (See Diagrams 1A, 1B, and 1C)
There are two types of “Single” blocks. The one in the diagram is a power single used on off tackle plays. The landmark is the play side number. The other one is used for wide plays and will be called a “Single.” The principles are the same except the landmark will be the outside armpit of the down lineman. If the defensive tackle is in a “1” or a “2” technique, the guard will read step with the play side foot. If the defensive tackle is in a “3” Technique he will step with the play side foot, aiming at the play side armpit on the “Single”.
2. “Double” zone blocking between the onside guard and onside tackle is necessary in order to handle the defensive end and inside (onside) linebacker. The onside tackle will make the call when the defensive end is aligned head up or inside eye or shoulder alignment. The onside tackle will alert the onside guard to possible “Double” by making either a 4 or 4-1 call or a double call. Double Blocking Scheme will entail two types of zone blocking – either a “Power Double” or “Double.” In order to determine which type of zone blocking we will use on a “double” will depend upon the hole we are attacking.(See Diagrams 2A, 2B, and 2C).
A. “Power Double” (4 or 4-1 Call) - used on inside zone plays. Onside tackle will read the alignment of the defensive end. If he is aligned in a 5-technique (outside eye or shoulder) he will block the defender with a play side step with his near foot to the outside number. No call will be made. If he is aligned in a 4-technique (head up) he will make a 4 Call and take a read step at the middle of the defender to block the defender under the chin. If the defender is aligned in a 4-1 Technique (inside eye or shoulder) he will make a 4-1 call and step with his play side foot to block his outside number. Stay tight to the defender. Remember, we want first level movement. (See Diagrams 3A and 3B)
B.”Double” - used on outside zone plays. Onside tackle will read the alignment of the defensive end. If he is aligned in 5-Technique (outside eye or shoulder) he will drive on the outside armpit with his near foot – no call will be made. If he is aligned in a 4 or 4-1 alignment, make a 4 or 4-1 call. Take an outside release with the play side foot to the outside armpit – whip your inside arm and shoulder up into the defender – bump off by getting width on your next step and explode to second level to seal or drive block the scrape off linebacker. (See Diagrams 4A, 4B, and 4C)
3. “Triple” zone blocking between the onside tackle and tight end is necessary in order to handle the defensive end and onside linebacker. The tackle will make the call to the TE. The TE will alert the tackles to where the defensive end is aligned, head up or inside eye or shoulder on alignment. The tight end will alert the onside tackle of the defensive end by making either a 6 or 7 call. Triple Blocking Scheme will entail two types of zone blocking – either a Power Triple or a Triple. In order to determine which type of zone blocking we will use on “Triple” will depend upon the hole we are attacking.
A. “Power Triple” (6 or 7 call) - used Inside Zone plays. Tight end will read the alignment of the defensive end. If he is aligned in a 9-Technique (outside eye or shoulder) he will block a point up the defender's outside number – no call will be made. If he is aligned in a 6-Technique (head up), he will make a 6 call and step with his play side foot to lock the defender under the chin. If the defender is aligned in a 7-Technique (inside eye or shoulder) he will make a 7 call and step with his play side foot to block the outside number. (See Diagrams 5A, 5B, and 5C)
B. “Triple” - used on outside zone plays. Tight end will read the alignment of the defensive end. If he is aligned in a 9-Technique (outside eye or shoulder) he will drive on the outside armpit – no call will be made. If he is aligned in a 6 or 7 alignment he will make a call – take an outside release by using a short outside step – to the outside armpit, whip your arm and shoulder up to the defender – bump off by getting width on your next step. Then explode to second level to seal or drive block the scrape-off linebacker.
About the author
Chris Truax is a three year staff member for the Northwestern State Demons serving as both running backs coordinator and offensive line coach. He previously coached at both Louisiana-Monroe and McNeese State, helping the Cowboys get to the Division I-AA National Championship in 1997. Truax was a four year letterman at LSU . He can be reached at email@example.com.
Post by Coach Campbell on Jun 20, 2019 22:07:31 GMT
I think the more appropriate question here is are you a zone or GAP blocking team rather than a man blocking team. Many have correctly pointed out that they like zone blocking scheme because of the ability to begin each play with double teams at the point of attack. Zone blocking teams install rules of how to generate double teams while climbing to the second level (LBer/Safety). So do gap blocking teams.
I have been coaching high school football since 2001 and have been apart of teams that run zone blocking systems and gap (man) blocking systems. To me a misconception is that in a gap (or man) blocking system every block is one on one - not the case at all - in fact the best gap system teams still look to generate as many powerful double teams at the point of attack as they can while climbing to the second level. So in essence the initial concept of generating a double team vs the 3 tech and 1 tech (interior defensive lineman) while climbing to the LBer/safety level, is identical conceptually between the zone and gap schemes.
The difference to me is the RB. Zone running teams need a patient, visually acute running back that will know when and how to press leverage both vertically and horizontally. My experiences in a zone systems have been this - you may call the same run - say an outside zone concept - but depending on the defensive get off and alignment that play could literally hit anywhere from backside A gap all the way to the desired C/D gap (edge) outside lane. The back in a zone blocking system is the key. That back has to know that sometimes based on alignment and response from the defense and the execution of his own offensive line - he has to be ready to hit it up inside hard and quick, cut it back aggressively, or stretch to the edge --- and all of that has to be determined in the first few steps of his path as he works to the edge (in an outside zone concept) initially. Patience and vision are extremely important.
Because not all backs have this type of ability I am a gap blocking guy. Understand that we will look to find as MANY double teams along the front as we possibly can on EACH running play. In theory this should generate a great initial surge and still allow time for us to climb to the LBer/safety level, all while giving the back a firm place to press his run aggressively north and south. Obviously there are times when the play has to cutback or bounce, but in general if we are creating 4-5 yards of push from our double teams - even if we don't climb to the LBer level, those defensive lineman are sitting in their linebackers laps, impeding their ability to make a clean tackle.
Most importantly are backs don't have to think and don't have to run tentatively trying to figure out where the gap will open - they can get the rock and explode north and south on their path -- if we block it clean they are in the second level with a full head of steam, if its muddy and there is no clear cut back or bounce - they bury their heads in the back of those double teams and we still get 4-5 yards on every snap.
This is my last point to gap blocking - with zone schemes you are far more prone to having negative runs plays - which puts you behind the chains. The smash and bash gap blocking schemes at the very least generate some positive yardage because you are double teaming across the front and have a back running with violent intentions downhill right now towards the line of scrimmage - he WILL fall forward even if contact is made at around the line of scrimmage.
As I said, I have been fortunate to have been around both schools of thought and have enjoyed great success (lots of wins) with both schools of thought. What I have come to realize is they aren't that much different. Both systems want double teams initially, with an emphasis on moving the defensive line man while climbing to the LBer/saftey level. The determining factor for me is in the simplicity for the running backs and the limiting of negative run plays.
Post by Coach Campbell on Jun 20, 2019 22:13:51 GMT
I've played on both sides of the ball at multiple positions and I've found that offensive line/fullback were among my favorites to play on offense. When it comes to either the zone or the power scheme, I believe both are equally as important as the other. Football continues to evolve and the rule changes play a huge role. Players today are more compact and athletic compared to their prehistoric predecessors. A typical lineman in the 90's and early 2000's weighed closer to an average of 350lbs where as today they range to a leaner frame averaging closer to 300lbs. It's no reason why the glory days of power running reigned supreme in that time. Now with defenses increasing in speed and athleticism, power schemes take more of a secondary role to running the ball. Zone schemes offer a more tactical approach and can help disguise plays to open up the play book for coaches, making them more versicle and less predictable to defensive coordinators. Zone can disrupt defensive responsibilities for linebackers who's main job is to read their "keys" (offensive line). This can create a second of hesitation and can alter the "read step" (forward) to a false step (backwards). All pro running back LaVeon Bell excels in this scheme since his running style is geared to a "stop and go" using his vision than brute force to climb levels in the defense. This allows him to use the defenses aggression against them to create his own running lanes. His steps approaching the line are small and calculated so that he make small bursts while accumulating positive yards in the process. Football is a game of inches and one false step and can have linebackers out of position to their gap responsibilities. Man blocking is an old school style that relies on brute force by moving a man against his will to no longer occupy a space needed by the offense. A coach could find success with a healthy mixture of the two schemes. I personally have found success using power schemes in redzone and goal line situations. I'm telling the other team that my guys are tougher and more technically sound than yours. Football is still a "grown man's" game and man blocking is a gesture of strength displayed by offenses.
Post by Coach Campbell on Jun 22, 2019 0:18:05 GMT
My weakest area as a coach is teaching offensive line schemes and techniques. I have been an assistant coach my entire career. I have worked with running backs, defensive backs, and wide receivers. I played WR and DB in high school and DB in college. Since I was a defensive player most of my life, I can easily adjust if I were to coach the D-line or linebackers. I helped coach the D-line at a Junior College for a small stint. The one thing I have not really explored was offensive line. I am starting to learn more, but playing O-line is more complex than I thought. Also, at my high school, we have never had a great O-line coach. Now, we have a really good O-line coach who I am learning a lot from.
Just watching football, I have learned to really like zone blocking schemes for the run game. The team that I coach has always been a zone team. We like to run inside zone out of the gun, and we like to read it. We'll run some outside zone out of the gun and pistol as well. Occasionally, we'll still run the "old school" under center outside zone stretch play. I am a fan of all of these plays because it kind of allows the back a little more freedom to make his own decisions on when to cut back or bounce out. I like zone schemes because it allows the line to be a little more athletic and I like moving the line as a unit. When it is a zone read play, I like having the option for the QB to pull. Also, for high school players, zone concepts are a little easier to learn as long as the rules are understood by the players. Man blocking can be a little confusing especially when you face a team that like to stunt their D-line.
As far as pass protection goes, we try to make it easy. Our passing game is called to one side to make it easier for the QB and O-line. Our plays have a "play side" and a "back side". When we call plays in the huddle we use a number system. If it is a pass, the number 2 means the "play side" is to the RIGHT and the "back side" is to the left. The number 3 means the "play side" is to the LEFT and the "back side" is to the right. In the huddle, when the O-line hears the numbers, they know how they have to block. For example, typical play call would be, "Dallas Gun 2 Chair." Dallas Gun is our doubles formation in shotgun, the number 2 sets the protection and direction of the "front side" to the RIGHT, and Chair is the passing concept. Then the O-line hears the number 2 in the huddle, they know how they have to protect. On the back side, the Center has A gap, the Guard has B gap, and the Tackle has C gap. On the "front side" it depends on the Defensive front, but we have a "big on big" concept, so the "front side" Guard takes the next inside D-lineman, and the Tackle blocks the End. The QB is responsible for anyone who blitzes on the "front side." We call this guy the "hot." So we kind of mix zone and man blocking concepts in pass protection.