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University of Oregon
I am going to talk about our zone running game. The
first part will be about the inside zone play and the
second half hour will be on the outside zone play. We had an outstanding year this past year because we had good players. That is the bottom line to the success of our season. I think our coaches do an excellent job of putting those players into situations where they have an opportunity to be successful. What you are entrusted to do as a coach is to
create an environment where your players have a
football. We average 6.2 yards per carry. We have four funning plays. We fun the inside zone, outside zone, counter, and draw. If you give your players something to hang their hats on, they will perform. If they can run the offense with any scenario they may face, you will be successful in running the ball. If they have all the answers to the problems the defense may give them, they will be good.
The best way to beat the team you are going to play is to have your team play with conviction. Are there any basketball coaches in here? The one thing I cannot understand about their sport occurs in the clutch stages of the game. With the game tied and five seconds left in the game, the coach calls a I am a huge clinic football coach. I love clinics. I time-out. He picks up a whiteboard anddraws a play. have gone to them all my life. The first clinic I I do not know how long I would last in Eugene, attended, I listened to Joe Bugel talk about the Oregonifldidthat. counter trey. He talked about running the counterIf your players have not run that play in a critical trey pass with linemen pulling in both directions. I situation over a thousand times in practice, you will knew we could not run that play. If both the linemen not have a chance to be successful. With our inside were not pulling in the same direction, we could not zone play, we get so much practice time and so do it. many reps that we can handle all the other chance to be successful. I have not stepped over the white sideline and played in a game in about 20 years. You canot play-the players have to be an extension of what you teach them. You have to create the environment and let them play. Youhave to pick and choose things from a clinic scenarios that come about. Instead of trying to that can fit into what you do. You cannot install outscheme your opponent, put your players in an schemes. I hope you can find something that I say environment where they can be successful today that can be adapted to what you do. If you are because they understand exactly what they have looking for a cure-all message, you will not find it todo. here today. Iam going to talk about the inside zone play. Paul I think you can take something out of my talk Brown, the father of modern football, said, "If you can get your players to value the football, you will that you can apply to what you do. Ido not think you take an entire offense or defense. I think you can have a better player." If you tell players today to do take something that fits what you do and apply it to something because I told you so, you will not reach the players that you have. them. We explain to our players why we do the things we do. That gives them a bit of ownership This offense fits for us. This past season, we and they understand much more. finished second in the country in rushing the 141
He cannot physically block him because that is amismatch. If the defense is a #3 defender to the backside. heblocks to the left. We averaged 3-3 look is an odd stack defense with three dow about seven to eight yards per carry with this play. they do not need to kna whether it is an over or under front-our rules PHILOSOPHY OF THE PLAY take care of that. . and the blocks 0. If the responsible for that defender.downhill-running football defender in the defensive scheme. He makes the defender respect him as a runner and keeps him out of the play. We count defenders in otr The idea is to bust their sternums up against their offensive scheme. A 4-1 look is a college 4-3 alignment. we do ncI' help from their teammates in their blocking scheme. People team. The offensive linemen can count to six. They understand what type of force has to be implemented to throw a guy out of a bar. it is an easy scheme. his rule is to block his playside If the ball is going to the right. he locates the 0 the ball andbe a physical. The inside zone play is our "go to work" play. The tackle blocks the playside gap tc the guard has the plavside gap to #1. knock the crap out of the defense covers the receiver. If he is tight. What he does is run the ball if the defender attacks the running back. the center must starts. under. The backside guard blocks the backsitt IDwhat we call the point. This is the offense we run and everyone knows the outside linebacker removed from the box. 142 defense is a six-man box. We teach our overcomplicate and spend time teaching defenses offensive linemen a block we call the bust block. they cannot get toe defender. As long as linemen can count. 4-2 is four down linemen and two linebackers. Our offensive line is going and the backside tackle has the backside #2. or 3-3 look. The quarterback is blocking that defender. you have a shot to run this play. we want themtobebutt-to-buttandcheek-to-cheekintheir double-team. His rule block #3. or stack fronts. We are a spread team. We have great players but we execute it well. We want to get off When the center IDs the play. which is the point from where the Inthe basic concept of the play. You spend This play is great against blitzes and twists your time in your meeting trying to explain all because we pick up blocks as they attack gaps. He reads the defender and controls him. Physical. We want to come off the ball. get into over. heblocks to the If we go to the left. If the offensive In This is physical football. to the offensive line. the quarterbD aligns in a five-man box.3-2. It has become our signature play. 4-2.signatureplay Youneed to have complementary plays with Penetrates the front play. We run the play-action pass and the Distorts the defense bootleg. many more defenders in the box. that. and deposit him in the linebacker's lap. You can draw this play up and run it against five different defenses. We ran this play 202 times this past season. What I am going to talk about is what we do.Why do we run the inside zone? The inside zone play is a great equalizer. play with confidence because they know they have When we coach our offensive line.That is not arevolutionary concept We tell our offensive guards and tackles or our centers and guards in their combinations. 3-2 is three down linemen and two linebackers. Youcan play with a tight end or a detached end. the quarterback is responsible for the sixth man in the box. The zone play can be run against multiple looks by the defense.lf to block five playside defenders. This is not a finesse play. We want to know if it is a 4-l spines on every play. so we win. We want them handling the defender as if they were a bouncer in a bar throwing him out of the bar. We have four legs and he has two legs. fronts. If tIw create a double-team. That keeps defenders from gangingup 00 Physical play in the double-teams runninggame. linemen and three linebackers. We are double-teaming a defensive lineman with a mathematical idea behind it.
two-tight-end. The right tackle has the defensive end on the inside shoulder of the tight end. In the odd 3-2 look. In a 4-1 alignment with no tight end. The right guard has the defensive defensive end is #3 and the quarterback's read. Bermuda shorts. the center The tight end has the Sam linebacker. the center backside A gap is the #1defender backside. 4-2 @ 143 . the tackle is #2. The nose is the a point.That is the concept and basis of the spread offense. We spread the defense. the center for us. If he bends down for the running back. I threw EN TE 00000 M Diagram #4. The Will designates the Mike linebacker as the a defender linebacker is the #2 defender. If the defensive end Diagram #1. Line Count 'IS. the center identifies the Mike linebacker as the 0 defender. the quarterback pulls the ball and runs out the backside. ran an unbalanced. The more offensive personnel we put in the designates the nose as the a defender (Diagram #3). and a tank top. box. The nose in the If we run the zone play to the right. we get combination blocks between two linemen blocking in a zone-blocking scheme. and the Sam linebacker is the #3 defender. the count is simple (Diagram #2). Inside Zone Right vs. so they will declare their defensive Diagram #2. tackle on his outside shoulder. The 3 technique onthe guard is the #1defender. makes the Mike linebacker the 0 defender and the linemen count from that designation.The center's rule for identifying the point is the B defender assigned as the A-gap player to the side of the play (Diagram #1). We averaged five passes agame. you must have the ability to throw the ball to him. and the ~ 1 1 2 S tackle blocks the backside linebacker. The outside linebackers will be the #3. He coached 13. 3-2 look for the offensive linemen. WM ENE S 000000 . and we count out with the linebackers as the #1. The quarterback reads the defensive end in work boots. With the tight end in the formation against a college 4-3 defense.The defensive E N TE end to the left side is the read defender. and the defensive end is prototypical crusty old football coach. Zone Play Left 'IS. If we get a stack look. the more defenders the defense will put in The Will linebacker is #1 and the guard blocks him there andit becomes a cluttered mess. power I formation. The Mike linebacker is #1 to the Hampshire. The defensive ends will be the 12. The backside guard blocks the nose. The defensive end is #2 and the offensive tackle I played quarterback in high school in New blocks him.werunthezoneplay to the right. The rush Diagram #3. Line Count 'Is. 4-2 end in the 7 technique is the #2 defender. My high school coach was a backside. The 5-technique (Diagram #4). . 000000 If you spread a receiver lathe outside. 4-3 comesupthe field. We coming off the right side. That makes it simple If we run the zone play to the left.
The quarterback gets in an athletic stance. He has to be able to see both the ball ss and the defense. That defenders within three yards of the ball. do guard handle the center stack. We ran it in practice. in college. He has to see what the defense is doing. That is why we work so hard to perfect the skill.l finally talked him into splitting a receiver. In the square stance. coached for him. cannot be a hundred percent focused on the ball. we too soon. He thought that was a bunch of college buil. It is not something you linebacker is the backside #1 defender. Since we had never been out of the power I. Good. the defense thought the receiver was going to get a drink. and playside. Now. If the back is slower. he blocks the #3 defender who is the force player to The quarterback has to catch the snap. I split the receiver and no one on the defense went out to cover him.lf the tight end is tight.movehisalignmentup. which is the mechanics of the play. The running back will be anywhere from fiveand-a-half to seven yards off the line of scrimmage. I have seen quarterbacks take the snap with their feet in a The backside tackle steps into his playside gap stagger. get him back in the box sohe can block. he can The quarterback reads the remaining defender for move rjght or left with equal ease. If he is detached. I told him. The center and backside every day. but he his side. When we work on the snaps. move him up in his alignment. What you have to do. the quarterback knows he is going to hand the ball off and there is no read. somebody. You do not want to slow a good back down.lfheisgettingthere If the defense is a 3-3 stack scheme. The alignment is not the same the shotgun snap with your quarterback and center but it does not matter. is what we are doing in the zone scheme. either side as easily. The middle not get into this type of set. The next When I got out of college. is to figure out when the back is hitting the hole. Youhave to adjust the alignment depending on the player. Youhave to spend a lot of time on the stacked linebacker is '2. To the can do on Tuesday. I tell him he is like a shortstop in baseball. I was so excited. his speed to time up the play. back him up. you have to throw the ball to the receiver so the defense will honor him. We think the right ratio is 75 percent on the ball and25 percent on the defense. The running back's toes are at six-and-ahalf yards. I went back and part is the how. Youmust practice defenders in the box. The depth of the quarterback is five yards from the line of scrimmage. Diagram #5. That also dependson the back. If he is late to thehole. We had Jonathan Stewart a couple of years ago and he played at seven yards. His toes are at five yards. he has the same rule. we split players and threw the ball to them. It is like the 4-2 scheme because there are six I am a big fundamental coach. If you are not going to practice that. Hetold me. Adjust his alignment. I ran up to the head coach andtold him no one was covering the receiver. I [£] intentionally snap the ball bad to make him concentrate. That looks good but he cannot move to and takes whichever player comes into that gap. If the defense walks the #3 defender to the backside out into coverage. use it in the game on Friday. That is the starting point but it is more of aguideline than a rule. I learned on that day. as the coach.a lot of touchdowns because there were 90 million his handoff key. This is a very simple concept. 3-3 Stack 144 ~"01 /~JJ . the defensive end is the #1 defender and expect it to work. but never try to slow down designate the nose as the 0 defender (Diagram #5). You can have the quarterback at four-and-a-half to five-and-a-half yards. the snap.
he runs to daylight." Youhave to get that fundamental down and you do not. not speed to the hole. the back can too. it is because the running back and Youmust not let the defense gang upon one aspect quarterback did not communicate enough. The unblocked defenders on the perimeter are following the ballcarrier. The second fundamental on this play is the fake Ntlen you do not have the ball. the practice. someone has to be responsible it is hitting one way. It is important for the running back not to cut back in the direction of the quarterback when he is faking without the ball. He needs to stay frontside on the quarterback is reading the defensive end and the play when he does not have the ball. It may not be exactly where it was but it is close. ball will be on the ground. Everyone in the stadium andon the »fense knows who has the ball. As he gets the snap. in lineman to the playside. As he gets the handoff and makes a decision to take the ball frontside or cut it back. We want accept it. he starts to square his shoulders to the line of scrimmage. When he makes his cut to the line. We do not want a jingle-footed back trying the ground on Friday night. The running back takes a slight open step with his playside foot. If they do not talk about what is him to jam the ball into the hole and be a tough going on with the handoff. When we talk to the back. of the play. and every day. We are a blueWe do not always read the backside end. If he does not penetrate the line of scrimmage on his fake. It has to look like type of play you run. If hedoes that. he brings the The running back is responsible for the mesh. We want them going The quarterback is responsible for the read. If we have someone to block the backside defensive end. you are accepting what happens at practice and you can expect it to happen on Friday night. the quarterback is responsible for the mesh. That ets the running back get his eyes upfor his read on the defense. if he jiggles in the hole. he makes one cut. On his third step. and it has to go the other. expect turnovers. on every down. the when he has the ball. Our players communicate the handoff We tell the running back to read the first down mechanics on every single play in the game. he gets a loaf. I will not accept to hit a home run. the line and get the tough yards. That is a hard thing to coach. The quarterback collar guy going to work. If the quarterback is responsible for the mesh. we tell him it is speed through the hole. The running back takes his step and aims at the butt of the frontsideguard. That allows the back to take a path to the attack area. However. However. If the line can get up two doing. We grade the running back on his fakes. When the running back receives the ball. They have running back hits the gap. He cannot get the ball pulled and stop running. he drops his leg to the side of the ballcarrier. If the the other way. has to accelerate off the disconnect in the mesh area.he tells the running back. If the ball ends up on the have to make the defense defend the entire field.lf he expands in the gap.The same rules apply to the running back. it is hard for them to make the tackle. The step looks like the letter J. He says. His second step replaces the spot where the quarterback's foot was. If he gets downhill and runs hard. We give the back the opportunity to run the same path every time he receivers the ball. eesh.The philosophy of the play to talk about the mesh and know what they are is a tough running play. he is at 85-percent speed. It is not a great play the quarterback hands off to the running back and eatches himrun. 'Mesh. We want him to hit the ball into mistakes i1 the handoff. expect it. You for the mesh every time. expect the ball to be on runner. defense to the quarterback. 145 . The line will have a hat on the five defenders in the box. The philosophy I have in coaching is: If you yards on the defense. he changes speeds and runs through the hole. We call it a J-path. It does not matter what That is the concept of the play. Obviously. running back is reading linebacker movement. they will make the tackle. if you do not harp on it in practice. ground. The action has to look the same whether he has the ball or not.
you become It is a stretch play. there are two ways reaches the defender on the third step. We want the cannot get outside. but the how secure the down lineman before we think about we block is the difference on the outside zone. That is something they can practice in the ott-season.8 yards per carry. The who we block is the same. he plants his foot in the ground quarterback to give the ball unless he cannot. run off the line of scrimmage and get into the You tell the player with the ball to take it to the defenders.The inside zone is a hole-to-cutback are flatter to the line of scrimmage as we rip off the ball (Diagram #6). The farther you are from the point of to run to get to the linebacker. It gives you speed in space. If the defender commits.We do not want the quarterback carrying the This is not a cutback play. They are going to jam the ball into the A gap unless they see something thatis prettier. This is a seam. Gary Campbell. If the linebacker is linemen take a kick-step to the outside and a within anarm's length of the block. This may sound like a contradiction. We adjust the path of the running 146 . and the running back is the uncertain.Vision is a big part of the success of this play. It is like elephants on break. karaoke crossover step to get up the field. so give him the ball. When you get good at running the inside zone. The outside zone is good against multiple looks. we say this is the zone everyone coming behind that block. OUf running backs coach. the quarterback should be and run. it piles up to approach it. not read anything. but we do attack. play. When and goes at a 90-degree angle running north and you start to talk about the read player's shoulders or south. The Never disengagefrom adouble-team block andhave backside opens on the playside foot and loses ground. he can come off. If we have not reached them by the third basket. He can paint pictures with words. control of the defender. That is not what happens. The coming off on the linebacker. We want the ball in the running back's player who must catch up to the blocking scheme. When you read. We must linemen. losses. That girl is in the A gap and you are going for her. We ran the outside zone 122 times last Onour double-team blocks. If he defense can force it out of his hands. The thing we downhill play and the line is blocking for the running cannot allow is penetration. the defenders beginto tighten their techniques andconcentrate on squeezingthe insidegaps. If the blocker When we talk about this play. Linebackers dance around the pile and make The difference is the aiming point of the offensive tackles for two. Before you decide to commit. We pulling the ball.you overcomplicate the play. hands. It is amazinghow many cutbacks we got after he gave them that analogy. We want to take care of This is a pure zone play. jersey number.rip by the defensive end. he takes it to the corner. It is a good to stay on the double-team until someone has complement to the inside zone. but the get the ball outside. The analogy is a z-on-t fast break.to three-yard gains. We want to run off the ball andbe physical. and the offensive line can play with confidence when you have something to change the focus of ~he defense. We try to get to the outside shoulder. The blocking rules for the down linemen. scan the room andhave a look at the girl over there. we tell the linemen season for 6. does a good job of that. That creates a read play.It is a cut-up play. We The outside zone play is a complement to the inside zone play. we fun them as far as we can. back. step. The option can put the ball in his hands. At a clinic. If we feel that happening or we start to get many twists and blitzes on the inside. He told the running backs it is like they are out on a Saturday night and see a good-looking girl.The outside zone is a hole-to-bounce ~Iay. the more ground you can lose. get rid of the ball. Down linemen make tackles for the offensive line are the same as the inside zone. The reason we run the outside play is to circle the defense. we run the outside zone play. If he can ball. This is a great play against two high safeties. If the running back is continually getting tackled The technique we use against the defenders is.
They are an impressive group of guys and they shop at True Value$Hardware for clothes. W.The five offensive linemen are the key to your football team. If you can keep it simple for the players in the offensive line so they have confidence going into a game. 4-2 If the defense is looking at the depth of the backs and trying to figure out what play is coming. We do not :tVnk the back can make the cut from the deep position. but I hope you got something from this talk. We have to put our players in the best position to make sure they are successful. Outside Zone vs. you are not doing it as fast." That means if you are thinking about what to do. If the defense stops the play. The running back has to take at least two steps past the quarterback before we allow him to cut up.. If that is the key. I really believe he is the best offensive line coach in the country. I think the system we run helps our offensive linemen. The offensive line plays with conviction. Our offensive line leads the country in yards per carry and rushing touchdowns and we only run four plays in the running game. It is easy to disguise the alignment of the backs. I know I went fast. However. The key is to make sure they know what they are doing. Myoid high school coach told me a long time ago.lack and the depth of the quarterback. we want the back at about five yards and the quarterback at six yards. you have an opportunity to win the game. If you can get those players to play up to their potential. M 7+_ E~ ~_ 7 ~ Diagram #6. The alignment is something you cannot key. 147 . it will not be because they read the setup of the backs. I do not think anyone on our offensive line was offered a scholarship coming out of high school. That allows the back to run the flat path to the outside. "H your head is moving. In this set. we run other plays using those depths. I want to leave you with some things we try to do. you will be fooled. your feet are not. We also move the back and shift to different places in our formations. Thank you very much. they are thinking about the wrong thing. Steve Greatwood is an unbelievable offensive line coach. Yousee two distinct levels on the two plays. you have a good chance to win. .
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