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Blocking the inside zone dive play.

A one-back running play that can be blocked only by the interior linemen

Most college and professional football teams have run the inside, or dive, zone play for many years, especially since the innovation of one-back offenses.

I have spent countless hours studying the play and its many nuances. The more coaches I have visited with, the more complicated the play has seemed to get.

I have even conferred with one of the actuaries of the zone blocking scheme - Kay Dalton, offensive coordinator at Northern Colorado, back-to-back National Division II champions. He has coached football for nearly 50 years, 15 of them with NFL teams, and he understands zone blocking better than most. I have learned a lot from him.

My concern on the high school level has always been for the simplification of the thinking process. From my 20 some years of coaching high school players, I know that the more simplified the thinking process, the more aggressive the boys will be.

The inside zone play has been used by a multitude of offenses, particularly the one-back genre. Since most one-back sets are as likely to pass as run, this can create a problem. Whenever a one-back set lines up with four receivers, it limits the number of players left to block for the running game.

In fact, most running plays can only be blocked by the interior linemen - making tight ends a valuable commodity.

I would like to illustrate the simplicity that can employed with the inside-zone blocking scheme. For consistency, the same one-back set will be used in all illustrations, and all plays will be run to the tight end side.

We would suggest that you keep the following blocking concepts in mind:

* "Push" is the byword for the play to be run successfully.

* Use consistent line splits (three feet) on all plays, as it provides for a good disguise.

* While blocking, keep square to the LOS.

* "Push" your block to the linebacker level.

* Because this is a play with cutback opportunities, it must be blocked well from tackle to tackle and more.

* Keep your hands on the block and your eyes on the linebackers.

These simple blocking rules apply to all defensive fronts. (See the accompanying diagrams.)

The inside zone play is designed to hit just to the outside of the play-side guard's foot, and the backs should be schooled to do this even while looking for a cutback lane.

From his alignment of six yards deep, the back must dive toward the guard's outside foot on the snap of the ball.

The quarterback's objective is to get the ball to the running back as deep and as quickly as possible to provide him with cutback opportunities. But it is important for the back not to wait for the ball, as that will prolong the blocking scheme.

The inside zone play is a must in the one-back offense and though it can be blocked only by the front linemen, it is versatile enough to be used in both open-field and short-yardage situations.
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Title Annotation:football
Author:Smelcer, Jim
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Aug 1, 1999
Words:506
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