Attacking the 5-tech in a zone running offense

As an Offensive Coordinator I loved finding a weak-link on the defense and exploiting him. Whether it was a small corner against my receivers with swingman type frames, or an undersized linebacker we could iso at, etc etc- I loved the match-up chess game.

However, we found very few mis-match opportunities last season as an offensive staff and  went into the bye week looking at ways to play to our strengths instead of an opponents weaknesses. This overall mindset change to creating a scheme, playbook, and gameplan led me to my second chapter, which was to find one player on the field to exploit based on what we do best, and a player we could exploit every game regardless of strengths and weaknesses.

After listening to endless podcasts, reading posts, and articles- I decided to attack the backside 5-tech and that I would do that in a variety of ways that all fit well inside of our 11 personnel zone-scheme (and I detail this in a chalk-talk video that I should have edited and posted soon). This is nothing new or novel, just another way for OC’s to game plan and scheme every Friday night.

IZ- When running IZ, we’re going to read the 5-tech and option off of him. He’s a backside read and left unblocked.

OZ- In OZ (outside zone), the 5 is left unblocked, but this time we’re not optioning off him, just letting him go. We don’t pin/pull our OZ, instead we take the negative step and lose-to-gain as we cutoff and climb.

Speed- When running speed option, we’re going to through block the 5-tech and option off of him to the play-side. It’s a typical speed option read where if the 5 attacks the QB we pitch, if he attacks the pitchman we keep, if he does what he should and rides the QB’s hip we hope our QB can run him over.

Dash- Dash is our dive-option, we through block the 5-tech and option off of him to the play-side. It’s a step-up and read option for the QB. If the 5 sits or attacks the QB we give, if he squeezes down on the S we pull and attack his outside hip trying to get him to spin around.

Counter- Counter is a QB counter, where we will fake to the S-back. Our BSOG will trap/kick the 5-tech, giving him an entirely new look to deal with. He’s spent his night being optioned at and away from, virtually unblocked, and now he’ll catch an OL’s shoulder in the chin. We run this 1-2 times per quarter after setting up IZ and OZ.

Zone-Play Action: Zone PA is another look for the 5-tech. This time he will be left unblocked and we will read him. If he bites on the fake, we boot outside of him and throw the bubble off of what the OLB does. If he attacks the QB, we quickly turn and fire the bubble. If he drops into the flat, we can cut inside of him and run underneath. We ran this for 3 TDs and threw for 1 TD in our last two games once we incorporated booting out to throw.

You can e-mail me for Hudl cut-ups of any of these plays.


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  1. Pingback: Dash and Flash | ironman football

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