Post by Coach Campbell on Jun 20, 2014 13:15:15 GMT
I use a combination of blocking techniques, using both zone and man techniques. I always start with installing man blocking techniques first as it teaches proper fundamentals. The first play and bread and butter of our offense is the Power play. Its man technique on front side with emphasis on double teams at the point of attack to the L.B. The ideal power play will pull the back side guard getting the most blockers at the point of attack. The back side tackle will cover the guard which actually puts him in zone scheme but with man technique and the ability to cut if needed. Our offense evolves to the spread where we run primarily one zone play. Because we are a power first running team we do not separate inside and out zone. We zone block right or left and allow our running backs to decide where they need to hit the hole. The most important thing about zone blocking is that the offensive lineman have to know that when they are zone blocking that there is a defender with responsibility to that zone or gap and that defender is their responsibility just as in man or power blocking scheme. The point of emphasis is to not follow the defender and protect your zone because if a defender is leaving another is coming.
Post by Coach Campbell on Jun 20, 2014 13:25:04 GMT
Posted Date: June 19, 2014 7:45 PM Status: Published
As a coach I think the first thing you need to decide is what type of athletes do you have and then find an offense that you as a coach are comfortable with and would benefit the type of athletes you have in your program. I have been in programs that ran the veer because of the type of athletes that we had. We had small, quick, and agressive OL; a QB that could run/read for the option, and did not have a great arm. This led us to run the veer. I was also in a program that ran a pro I pro set and this last year I was in a program that ran a pro style with the inside and outside zone as its foundation.
In my opinion I feel as though the zone blocking concept has the most advantages over the man blocking scheme. Although as long as the fundamentals and techniques are tought properly and there is constant communication between the OL either style can be successful. I feel the zone has advantages because of these reasons:
1) Any type of OL can be successful in the zone scheme. Smaller OL can get to the next level if they are agile and more often than not will have help on a combo.
2) The zone is not predetermined and is based more on reaction from what the defense is trying to do. This means that you can use the defenses movement against him and many times can create angles and cutback lanes
3) Getting to the next level is easier with zone schemes. Because of the angles created with a cohesive OL getting to the next level becomes better and the back side can get sealed easily as well as the backside being able to get to the next level to create cutbacks/big plays
4) I think that running zone plays is an advantage because not many HS programs run inside/outside zone which makes it difficult to scout in just a week. Many O-coordinators have moved to spread/zone read type offense which leaves pro style offenses few and far between
5) Play action. there is nothing better than seeing a perfectly executed play action boot off of outside zone look. The offensive line can really sell the run off of the zone blocking scheme.
Post by Coach Campbell on Jun 20, 2014 13:29:33 GMT
I personally use the zone blocking scheme in my offense. We have always been a veer option football team and use the guidance and blocking principles that Coach Campbell describes in his "Option On Me" principles. We try to combo block and zone block on every play if possible. The center and guard combo block is coined "Cage" blocking, the guard and tackle combo block is called "Gate" blocking, and the tackle and tight end combo block is "TNT" blocking.
We use veer combo blocks and zone blocking because the veer is a quick hitting and powerful running play. We want to drive the defensive lineman off the ball and either drive him into the linebacker or drive the defensive lineman off the line of scrimmage and scrape to the linebacker--either way it has been very successful for us. We average 350 rushing yards a game and it is not uncommon for us to see 400 and above rushing yards a game. Don't get me wrong: combo blocking, scoop blocking, and zone blocking take time to master and it all starts during the off-season with just teaching the first steps, pad level, second steps... Each offensive lineman needs to master his steps and paths during the off-season to have a successful zone running scheme offense. Many coaches try it for a season and when they struggle scrap it and go back to man blocking rules. But boy when the kids master the steps and paths, watchout! It is ran well.
When we run the inside veer to the open side of the offensive formation (away from the tight end) we do have man blocking rules. We see a lot of 4-3 defenses in our league and they like to shade the strong side defensive tackle in a 3 technique position (on the outside eye or shoulder of our strong side guard) and a 1 technique defensive tackle on the open side of our formation (away from the tight end and a 1 technique is lined up on the inside eye our inside shoulder of our weak side guard). So when we run the inside veer to the open end of the formation and option the defensive end (means the DE is not blocked) it is an easy man block for our offensive linemen with the exception of the weak side guard and center who combos to the middle linebacker (Mike linebacker), we do this because the one technique defensive tackle makes it hard for the center to get the angle on the Mike; we thus scoop and drive the 1 technique to the linebacker or scrape to him. It is hoped this is not too confusing, for it is not for our kids when they put the time in to learn it. The opened end weak side tackle has a great angle on the weak side linebacker (Will), the strong side tackle or the closed tackle has a great angle to the SAM backer (Strong side linebacker) or will combo with the strong side guard and drive the defensive 3 technique tackle to the linebacker or scrape to SAM. The tight end will inside release to SAM and if he were to be gone continues to the safety for a down field cutback lane for our fullback, quarterback, or running back (pitch man).
If our offensive linemen have the speed, power, and agility over their defensive linemen they normally will use their man blocking scheme while running the inside veer to the opened end of the offense. We do not use our elbows like I did when I played high school football (wow showing my age); We teach our offensive linemen to extend their arms because it is easier to drive and steer the defender to the direction that we want to take them. Plus you cannot run a zone scheme by using your elbows, because your hands help you turn their shoulders while your partner takes over the block (the players are hip-to-hip and low to the ground. One player is called the "Post" player and he drives and steers the defender, and the other player is the "Reach" blocker and he reaches, takes over the man, and pushes off the "Post" blocker to the linebacker or the opposite way depending on what the linebacker does). If the linebacker shoots through his gap, the "Reach" blocker takes him while the "Post" blocker stays on his man, if on the other hand, the line backer scrapes or flows over and heads towards the ball the "Post" player will get him as long as the "Reach" blocker lets him know he is okay with a strong nudge or push.
This season I have lost some of my offensive linemen to graduation or had to move them to the fullback and running back position. I do not have big offensive linemen but they are very strong and quick. I lost my right offensive tackle to graduation 6' 270 pounds and had to move two offensive linemen to the fullback and running back positions because I have no running backs coming up from the lower level who like to hit. Both of these former offensive linemen are 5'10" 220 pounds and run a 4.6 and 4.7 forty time; they are beasts and love to pound the ball and can break an arm tackle from an unblocked defensive tackle or defensive end.
Since I have done this, because I think it helps us more at those positions we are also running the fly-offense: Green Sweep, Yellow Sweep, sweep-action Belly, sweep-action Counter, and sweep-action spin...along with the mid-line option, the inside veer, and the load option. I have three very fast fly-sweep players (4.4 and 4.5 forty times) and with the fast fullback and running back who used to be offensive linemen they have what it takes to get outside and block the defensive corner back, safety, or outside linebacker...determining what fly-blocking scheme we call. And my two running backs have what it takes to run the option as well.
We will still be utilizing the zone blocking principles and have gone to a heavy side offensive line and a quick side offensive line. They will flip to the strength side since we run the sweep and my quick linemen on the backside make quick hitting inside veer ball-players. I learned this from La Mirada High School; they use to do this all the time when Coach Mealy was coaching them.
I prefer the zone blocking scheme because it gives us more ways to make great blocks and it fits well into our offensive style of play. I have talked to some Wing-Tee and Double-Wing coaches and some maintain the man blocking rules because as they state, "if our offensive linemen cannot bench press over 300 pounds then the zone scheme does not help us." I personally don't believe you need to bench over 300 pounds to zone block well, but who am I...these coaches are very successful and so if it works, why not let it be :0)
Post by Coach Campbell on Jun 20, 2014 13:33:34 GMT
When looking at the blocking techniques of our offense we tend to use both types. We always start out with man blocking. To me this is the foundation of any offensive lineman. I feel that they need to be able to engage their man and complete the assignment given to them. This is challenging when you have an undersized lineman but I feel like it creates a competitiveness within the athlete because he knows that he has to take his man out of the play so that the offense will operate successfully. We run the Wing so our offensive lineman are asked to block down on their man most of the time and keep him occupied so that the running back can execute his assignment. The guards are pulling most of the time and they have to know which man to engage based on his technique or which defensive player needs to be kicked out based on his threat. We have our offensive lineman call out the technique of the defender across from them every play so that they know what they are all going to do on the play. This has been huge for us in our players understanding which man they are to get and why. If a play is coming their way based on the call they know that if they have a 5/6 technique or wider and the play is called to hit up the middle then they better kick that defender out to create a running lane. This also helps the QB because as the offensive lineman are calling out the techniques he can audible the play or change the play based on what the defense is giving him. We also teach our lineman how to zone block because there are times when we might need to help out one of our players that might not be able to handle a bigger, stronger defensive player. This year we will have an undersized line and will have to rely on each other to create running lanes for our backs. What we are looking at doing is having a combo blocking scheme. This will be man to the play side and zone to the backside. We are in the process of training all of our lineman how to man block so that when they have to they know the proper way to execute the blocking. We are also spending time teaching them how to zone block so that when they are asked to execute they understand what they are doing. By blocking the backside with zone it helps us be able to keep a stronger defender from crashing down the backside and it also allows us to go next level after taking a defender out of the play initially. When we pull our guards on specific plays then the backside has the responsibility of keeping the backside solid so we have the #2 back (fullback) step in and replace the pulling guard. The center will be on an island for a moment but should receive help if needed from the non-pulling guard or the #2 back depending on the play. The backside tackle and TE will combo block then go next level once the play is committed.
Post by Coach Campbell on Dec 21, 2014 19:03:48 GMT
As an offensive line coach at the high school level, I feel that I have successfully blended zone and man concepts to get the simplest, most effective approach that is teachable and allows us to be clear on our assignments.
We are a power offense, we use a gap scheme similar to the Wisconsin Badgers, North Dakota State Bison and Stanford Cardinal. We have met with staffs from two of these schools and have found that they also consider zone blocking to be a strong complement to their rushing attack. We have found that we can keep the same terminology for double teams and just change angles for the appropriate scheme. Our power scheme tends to be more of a backside angle attack while our zone scheme sees double teams that occur on a frontside angle. We drill these both every day, and essentially have condensed these schemes into two categories- frontside angles and backside angles.
We have applied some zone concepts to our gap scheme for consisentcy, but have found that these zone concepts (square shoulders, punching level one to backside, etc.) have made our power scheme more effective. Our other breakthrough was applying power principles to zone blocking- essentially zoning all blocks but the frontside kickout- where we used some of our power scheme principles. The result was a more effective zone run scheme.
Whatever you decide to use, you must teach and drill it every day and you must know how to adjust it when things break down (better yet, encourage your oline to find solutions on their own in practice- we have grown by leaps and bounds by giving our oline a small amount of creative license in practice. We tell them that if they want to try something and it works, we will incorporate it. Giving them ownership in a small piece of the offense pays large dividends without giving up any control from the coaching perspective).
Vs. TODAY'S defenses (blitzes, twists, slant/angle, etc.) - you cannot separate "man" FROM "zone". ZONE blocking is nothing but MAN blocking in situations where an OLM can't get to a LB, & he has to ZONE with an adjacent play-side teammate. THEREFORE - no play can be 100% zone, NOR, 100% man!!! SEE TWO ATTACHMENTS FOR GOD DIAGRAM & VIDEO:
One of the BIGGEST misconception about ZONE plays is that the entire O-Line zone blocks. You only ZONE from the "BUBBLE" to the next man out towards the callside. APPLY the "Uncovered/'covered" rule: If you are uncovered - zone with teammate towards call. If you are covered - zone with teammate away from the call. If you are BOTH covered - MAN block!
1. NO BUBBLE - NOBODY ZONE BLOCKS. All 7 "MAN" with a "DRIVE" block (on IZ), or a "REACH" block (on OZ):
4. THREE BUBBLES - YOU HAVE THREE ZONE COMBINATIONS (EXAMPLE: ZONE PLAY RT.) - the uncovered LT zones with the LG, the Center zones with the RG, & the RT zones with the RE. The 1 remaining OLM "MAN" blocks.
Post by Coach Campbell on Jun 18, 2015 21:54:09 GMT
After coaching in the Wing T system for 15 plus years I cannot help but think that zone blocking rules are better than man blocking rules. I know the Wing T is mostly gap blocking, I still feel the zone block closely resembles the gap block. I honestly think it’s easier to teach a young lineman to zone block rather than to man block. They don’t have to worry about much except who is in their zone and beyond. Being a defensive coordinator for a few years I liked when teams would man block because we would always find an offensive lineman who would “chase” his man and this would create a gap for us. We would change fronts and stem right before the snap. Also we would twist and blitz the backers. Also man blocking rules might change on each play. I would rather it be a lot simpler for the offensive lineman.
With a zone blocking scheme you are relying on double teams and lateral movement to create running lanes, which allows you to select more agile and usually (but not necessarily) smaller linemen. That can pay dividends when it comes to pass protection as you are better equipped to deal with speed, but against some of the more powerful rushers you can be at a disadvantage. Sometimes even with a double team it's also difficult to get movement on some of the huge defensive lineman and in short yardage situations when the defense can crowd the line of scrimmage most of your advantages are lost.
Even though I chose the zone blocking as the best choice, I understand there are some problem to using it. Many coaches will tell you that a zone blocking offensive lineman must have some athletic ability, as zone footwork can involve intricate "bucket steps" (where the offensive lineman will quickly take a couple of steps back or horizontally to get his body in better position before he really gets into his block) and blocking very athletic defensive players on the move. Also because of the use of things like bucket steps, many coaches feel that zone blocking rules must be adjusted or replaced in short yardage situations, otherwise their linemen will get blown up at the line.
Now man blocking has its advantages. As a defensive coordinator if a team man blocks well the defense may not get a good read between run and pass because the lineman fires on either play. Short yardage situations help with man blocking because the blocker is firing right out of his stance. If you have the big boys up front they are going to pound the defensive line all day. We all know that games are won and lost up front.
When it comes to passing schemes I still feel that a zone scheme is best. As the players pass protect they will block the defender who comes into their area or the lineman will protect a certain side. In man the offensive front identifies their counterparts on defense and blocks them where they want to go. I know this sometimes is not a true “man scheme” because linemen will still employ a modified area scheme (where they will trade defenders who twist) while running backs, because they are set back further away from the line, can go where their counterpart goes easier than a lineman. But the principle is that each player has to win his own personal one-on-one matchup. I feel this takes a lot of time and reps to master.
I understand that zone blocking has its problems that a man scheme would solve. In the zone scheme the whole like may be sliding right with the running back blocking backside on the rush end. This could be a huge mismatch and disaster for the offense. The man scheme would go big on big protection and there would not be such a mismatch with the back and defensive end.
All in all if you find one blocking scheme that you feel is better than the other that is fine as long as you teach it well to the players and they could understand it inside and out.
Post by Coach Campbell on Sept 19, 2015 4:12:02 GMT
I am a firm believer in running schemes that puts your players in the best position to be successful. The zone scheme is, in my opinion is a way of blocking down lineman and linebackers using a combination technique. The coaching point I use for my o-line is four hands on the down guy and four eyes on the linebacker. This means that at the snap two OL will double team the DT at the point of attack and work up to the ILB. Each OL has his eyes on the LB and will come off to block him if he scraps to his side, while the other OL stays on the DT. This takes a tremendous amount of repletion to get good at. It takes patients and team work between the OL. The general rule is the uncovered OL is working with the covered OL to the play side. It is important that the OL keep their shoulders as square to the line of scrimmage as possible in order to come off onto the LB. This blocking scheme is designed to create running lanes, “zones” that the RB can run through.
Man blocking schemes, in my opinion is designed to create angles so that an OL has the advantage over the DL and LBs. Power, Trap, Blast, and Counter are all a part of our man blocking scheme. If a defense decides to play shade or head up techniques, the man blocking scheme gives the OL the angle to down block, out block, and pull and kick out. There are opportunities to combo block, but that is at the point of attack and eventually someone is coming off to block a LB. Very rarely is an OL asked to base block a DL head up on him.
I love both schemes and that is why I run both. We have a 10 personnel group ( 1RB and 0 TE) in which we run the ZONE read scheme and force the defense to play with 5 or 6 in the box or bring a 7th man and be forced to play man to man coverage. Our 21 personnel (2 RB and 1 TE) is when we run MAN blocking schemes like power, blast, trap, and counter.
Post by Coach Campbell on Sept 24, 2017 3:03:21 GMT
I do not pick between the two. We do both. Base run schemes for us include power, buck, counter, inside zone. I also run speed sweep in which we reach block, but I would not categorize that as a base run for us and we certainly are not an Alex Gibbs outside zone team. There is nothing wrong with the outside zone other than the fact that I am not a great teacher of it and I think you have to be able to major in it to some extent. We incorporate zone principles into our gap schemes and gap scheme principles into our zone schemes. The zone is an excellent catch-all for me in terms of fronts that are changing between odd, even, and bear. It's also good for defenses that are not sound and may send multiple defenders through the same gap. I love inside zone as a tempo call for the same reasons and 90% we will run read zone as opposed to non-read zone. Gap schemes are equally as great to me. Power and Buck compliment each other depending on the alignment and technique of the C gap defender. The counter is a good mixer for us as it allows us to break tendencies away from our sniffer and allows the sniffer to wrap on a lighter body. Speed sweep (outside zone scheme for us) is a good play on its on and compliments our jet and orbit motions.
Essentially, everything is good as long as your kids are sound with their technique and they play hard.
Post by Coach Campbell on Sept 24, 2017 3:08:12 GMT
We run both zone schemes and gap schemes in our offense. However, I do think there are some advantages and ddisadvantages for each scheme, as is aways the case with every type of scheme. Our inside zone serves as the base run in our playbook. We usually read the inside zone but we will also "cap" it depending on what type of end we are getting. We use the same principles for our split-zone, bash (trap), and book (split zone read) concepts in our offense. I love the gap scheme because it pressures the defense to remain gap sound on every play. Additionally, we are able to use defenses' blitzes against them as they actually clear up the picture in our zone scheme in many cases. This scheme also gives our running backs some guidelines to work off, but provides them with a lot of freedom to react and do what comes naturally to them. Our outside zone scheme follows all the same rules as our inside zone scheme. We do not run full "rip and run" zone blocking, but rather still "point" our double teams and work to second levels through combo blocking. The one major down side to the zone scheme that I have seen is when we face a talented front that does not allow for a lot of movement at the point of attack. Defenses have been able to stifle double teams and free linebackers because we cannot get a push at the point of attack.
For this reason, we have our gap schemes in. We run power, counter, and counter trey to try to help our linemen use down blocks and angles to try to get some movement up front. Our gap scheme definitely serves as a compliment and a change-up for us, but it gives the defense another scheme to prepare for during the week and prevents them from zeroing in our zone schemes.
Post by Coach Campbell on Dec 24, 2018 1:06:28 GMT
The oldest saying in football is that a game is won or lost in the trenches and I believe it still holds true. In today’s up-tempo offense...blocking schemes involved with pass protection and picking up the defensive blitz can make the difference in the success of any given play. The offense depends on players being able to block without any help, but with creative defensive stunts and overloading one side of the line, offensive players must be able to work together to be effective on any given play.
There are advantages and disadvantages to running either a man-blocking scheme or a zone-blocking scheme. In a man-blocking scheme you are responsible to block a specific player, which in practice should make it simpler for younger and inexperienced players to understand. The basic idea is that your defensive man is right there in front and your job is to block him out and do not get beat.
On the other hand in zone blocking, you have more of responsibility. Offensive blocking is designed to get the defense moving in one direction to allow a running back to find daylight. Zone blocking requires more athletic ability because players are assigned to a zone and must account for the stunting or blitzing for the linebackers. Success requires solid communication with their fellow line-men.
As head football coach I would utilize both zone blocking and man-rule blocking. It’s a good change of pace and helps keep the defensive unit off balance and forcing them to adjust to your offensive attack.
Post by Coach Campbell on Jun 25, 2019 3:15:45 GMT
Classic! The zone vs man blocking debate. Here's my take do what you know and what you can teach. If you are a zone guy then you should be running zone. If you're a man blocking power football guy then run that. If you're impartial look at the history of your kids and determine are they big, strong and love the weight room (don't we all wish) then I would run man blocking. Are your o-lineman athletic, fast and undersized then you have to run zone unless you're a man blocking scheme guy then do that.
The point being you need to be you I don't think one is better than the other their just different. You can do great things with both and create advantages for the offense with both. If you don't have big enough guys to step up and run power 75 times a game then you might need to get creative with formations and motions but you can still run man concepts. I look at as you're either an electrician or a plumber do what you know best. I have seen some really efficient offenses run man blocking schemes using empty sets, open sets with motions and shifts. I have seen some zone teams with absolute monsters up front and they have been successful. It's about coaching what you know best.
Personally I am a man blocking guy but my o-line coach is a zone guy so we have developed a bastard of a system that allows us to do both and we have found it to be successful for our kids and what we do but we are teaching it well and getting a bunch of reps everyday. See as many fronts and stunts and whatever else we can think of to throw at them and then if we have trouble with it, rep it.
Teach what you know doesn't matter if its zone or man. State Titles, National Championships, and Super Bowls have been won using both schemes.