Inside Zone Read is my bread and butter play in the spread offense. I rely on this run play because of how simple and efficient it is for offensive linemen. If you struggle blocking inside zone read, or you would like to learn a different to coach it up, then check out the video below on Blocking Inside Zone Read Against an Even Front.
Blocking Inside Zone Read Against an Even Front
What I discuss:
- How to use the number system
- Importance of double teams
- Covered/Uncovered rules
- QB read Key
Transcript of Blocking Inside Zone Read Against an Even Front
Welcome coach. In today’s video I’m going to talk to you about how to block zone read versus an even front. If you haven’t been here before, I’m coach Besaw from spreadoffensefootball.com and I pretty much cover anything related to the spread offense, whether that’s RPOs X’s and O’s run game schemes, pass game schemes and like I said, anything you can think of when it comes to the spread offense. So before I get into today’s video, just make sure you hit that subscribe button if you want to keep learning more about the spread offense and also tap that bell right next to it so you get notified anytime I release a video on my YouTube channel. Okay. In today’s video I’m going to go over how I block zone read versus an even front. And then I’m going to show you a few clips of what that looks like.
For this example, I’m going to show you inside zone read to the left. So we put our back offset to the right opposite of the call. And I’m not going to really get into the fundamentals here between the quarterback and the running back in this video. I’ll save that for another video. And so we’re really mainly looking at the blocking. So for us, we got a six man box, we have five guys to block. And so we’re obviously going to be reading one of the defenders and I’ll show you how we identify who we are reading. So we’re on the number system and so I, if we’re going to to the left with zone read the, that’s going to be the play side. So all five linemen are going to step with their place. I’d foot, which is going to be their left foot and they are going to take care of anyone that comes to their place.
I’d gaps, so anyone to the, to the left of them and there’s some uncovered and covered rules. And so before we get into that, we’ll just quickly go over this number system. So the center is the zero. And then to the left of that, our left guard is one. And then our left tackle is to, you know, he’s the first linemen to the left of, to the play side and he’s the second. And then on the backside we have our right guard as minus one, right tackle as minus two. And we do the same count with the defense. So we identified the zero as the most dangerous defender to the play side, a gap. And so for this case that would be the linebacker even though he’s four yards off the ball compared to this defensive tackle, he is in the a gap.
And so he’s the most dangerous a defender to the play side A gap. So we start here at zero and then we moved the count to the play side been one and then two. And then on the backside we have our linebacker staying at zero. And then on the backside the first defender to the backside is a minus one and then we have minus two and minus three. So we work from A gap to B gap to C gap. Okay. And so like I said, we have five guys to block their six. And so we are reading one of the defenders and then we always read the number three defenders. So most of the time in an even front you’re going to be reading the backside defensive end. Okay. So now our blocking rules and how we blocked us up, we’ll start from the outside and work in.
We do have covered and uncovered rules, but you can see our number system here with the, the way we number the defense in our left tackle is two. And he’s going to take care of the, the second defender to the play side. And so he’s going to base that. And then our left guard being one and the count is going to take care of the defensive tackle that is also one. And now some coaches will say for the center as he’s the zero, he’s going to go and work right to the linebacker who we counted for as zero where as I like to get double teams on the defensive tackle. So we’re going to get a combination block between the left guard and our center and these two there they are working to split that defensive tackle in half. Our left guard is covered to the play side.
So he’s going to step with this play side foot and then he’s gonna split this defender in half, and own the left half of this defensive tackle. Our center’s gonna work as well because he’s technically uncovered to his play side gap uncovered to his backside shoulder and he’s going to work to get in position. And we want this combination. We want our lineman to be shoulder to shoulder and butt cheek to butt cheek. And so they’re going to own this defensive tackle. And then we’re going to combo it to this play side linebacker. Now the combination is for these two to read this, this linebacker. So if this linebacker is to shoot the play side A gap, then it’s going to be our center that comes off of it to take the linebacker because that is the center’s gap. That’s his responsibility.
Now if the linebacker decides to scrape over the top to the B gap, then our left guard is going to be able to pick him up. Our left guard is gonna pick him up and he’s going to take care of the linebacker. And then when that happens, our center is going to get in position to own the defensive tackle on his own. Okay. Same thing to the backside. So we’re going to put our right guard backside guard on the defensive tackle and he’s gonna split the defender in half. And our right tackle is going to get in position to where he is, but, but cheek to but cheek, shoulder to shoulder with his right guard. And then they’re going to make the same combination to the backside linebacker. So again, if the backside linebacker scrapes over the top and goes to the minus A gap, then our right guard is going to be responsible for picking him up because that’s his play side gap. If the linebacker shoots the B side, the B gap and gets downhill right now, then our right tackle is gonna come off this combination and he’s going to pick up the linebacker there. So you can see how we get double teams on the tackles, which I think is really important because those are the most dangerous guys since they’re right on the line and our goal is to put the defense tackles in the laps of the linebackers. We want those guys on skates and we want them moving and we want to bounce them off the line of scrimmage.
And then you can see that leaves with the backside defensive end because we have five, they have six so we’re going to read the defensive end who is the number three to the backside and we read him at the mesh point with our quarterback making a decision on what to do with the football. If the quarterback reads the defensive end and he gets up field or he just sits on the line of scrimmage, then he’s going to give the ball to the running back. If the defensive end squeezes the line of scrimmage and our quarterback knows he can beat him to the outside, or if the defensive end chases the tail of the running back, then our quarterback’s gonna rip and run and keep it for himself. Now our running backs got kind of three options here. If he decides to get the ball, he can either bounce it outside, he can either bang it into one of these interior A apps or he can cut it back and slip out the backside of this. So he can bang it to the gap or he can cut it back off his right tackle and come out the backside. So that’s how we run in block a zone read specifically here going to the left and now let’s take a look at a few different clips and how it’s done.
In this example, we are going read to the left, our back is offset, and so the play side from the center on, is to the left and you can see our defense. We have some pretty wide defensive ends. We’ve got two, three techniques. So they’re on the outside pad of the guard. And then we have our two linebackers here, 15 and 1. Now I’m starting with the count to the play side. We’re making our center zero guard one tackle two and then backside guard minus one backside tackle minus two. So the count here is the first offender that is immediate threat to the a gap. And right now that’s no one if, if this number one linebacker was lined up in the a gap, even though he was four yards off the ball, we would make him zero.
But he’s kind of in the B-gap outside shade of his defensive tackle. So we’re gonna make him zero because he’s the most dangerous immediate threat to the a gap. So he’s zero then that means he’s one and he is two. And then to the backside of that, that is most dangerous threat to the backside. A gap is this linebacker here. So he’s minus one minus two and minus three. And so then the minus three or the third defender is our read key. So we’re going to be reading this guy here. Okay. Now moving onto the play side, the way that we’re blocking this, our two is blocking in there two. And then we’re going to combo block this defensive tackle here. So we’re going to work to split this guy in half and then we’re going to read this linebacker here. So if he shoots B gap, our guards going to come off and take him. If he shoots a gap, our center is going to come off and take him. And then to the backside, we’re going to get this combination with here, splitting this guy in half, and then we’re working to 15 now in this example though, you’re going to see 15 he’s going to get real tight to the line of scrimmage and he’s going to be right in that a gap. And so we have to take care of our play side gap first. So our backside guard needs to come off this real early to be able to pick up 15 and make sure that he’s accounted for. And then again, we’re reading the backside defensive end. Okay. So we’re getting lined up and you can see right away we get our initial double teams with the defense alignment. They do a pretty good job on the backside, splitting him in half.
And then same thing on the front side here. I mean it could be better, better positioning with our guard and center, but they, they do a pretty good job of splitting em in half and then watch the combinations as our backside guard tries to come off for 15 who shooting the A gap and he does just enough to take care of the defensive tackle 65 to be able to come off 15 and then our right tackle is able to own him. He’s just going to keep washing him down. And then looking on the play side actually if we look at this, this combination could last quite a bit longer because number one here, I dunno what he’s doing, he’s not really making any reads. It’s like he’s backpedaling here. We want to keep reading this defender, this linebacker, and until he makes a decision so we can actually stay on this combo a little bit longer.
Our guard got off pretty early. And remember our goal is to put the defensive linemen in the laps of the linebackers, so stay on that combo and then when he makes a decision we gotta come off that and be able to pick them up. And then you can see our quarterback is reading right when he gets the ball, he goes straight to the mesh in his eyes right now are on 59 and he’s reading what he’s doing and so 59 gets up field, he plays real wide. So we’re riding and deciding at the mesh and he’s the balls in the belly or the back. It’s a gift for the quarterback and our running back has great vision and he decides to cut it back off our right tackle and right underneath that defensive end for a pretty big gain.
In this next example here again, we’re facing another even front, it looks kind of funky. This defense plays with four down linemen and then they use, this guy here, kind of has like a flex defender. So he’s a three technique really, but he’s about maybe a yard or two off the ball. We just, you know, kind of used him as another linebacker and then they got 42 as the middle linebacker here. So you can see their defensive ends are outside. And then he’s here in the B gap. And then we got a one technique and then a three technique here. So again, we’re backs off set, we’re going to be going zone to the left. So the play count is going to be the most dangerous guy to this age gap. And that’s going to be 42 since he’s pretty much a head up on our center.
So he’s zero. And then to the play side we have one and two. And then to the backside we start here with zero and then minus one in the a gap minus two and then minus three. So for us this minus three, this defensive end is going to be our read key. And so now looking at this to the play side, we’re going to make sure our two takes care of the two number two defender. And then our play side guard is going to take care of one. So we’re essentially base blocking this thing right here. And then our center is uncovered to the play side gap, but yet he’s covered to the backside. He has someone on his backside pad. And so what we teach is that he is going to hold just long enough for his backside guard to be able to take over.
So he’s going to hit him here with his right hand and then he’s going to combo that block right up to the play side linebacker, and again, we’re reading this, okay. And then our right tackle is going to get in position to take care of this three technique. And then we are reading the backside here. Okay? So that’s how it looks like up front. We got all five guys taking care of and we’re reading the six defender being the backside defensive end. Okay. So let’s take a look and check out those that combination block with the center and the backside guard. So ball snapped. Okay. Center’s owning, he split in the defender in half. Like you can see here kinda some bad video but they’re splitting him in half. And then our center’s coming off for 42 who’s entering the play side A gap.
We’re base blocking it with play side guard, play side tackle and then our backside tackle is taking number three. Who’s in the three technique. Okay. So we’re all just taking care of our gaps, making sure we’re stepping with our place eyed foot and we are gap sound. Okay. Now going over the options, like I said in the very beginning, our running backs kinda got three options. He can either bounce it outside, he can bang it in the A gaps or he can cut it back. Our running backs pretty good. He’s got great vision. He keeps his shoulders square. Our quarterback reads that he, it’s a give for him and he decides to give the ball to the running back in the mesh. And right here is where our quarterback, or sorry, our running back sees a seam. And so he’s going to bang it in the backside a gap and he’s going to pick up some more yards there as well. Okay. So bounce it, bang it or cut it back.
Again, we have zone read going to the left and so for our count, this backer here in the a gap is zero. Then we have play side one play side too. And then the defensive tackle, I don’t know if you can see him, he’s right here and kind of a two eye. He is backside one, so minus one minus two and then minus three. So we are reading this defensive end. Okay. And again, we want our combination blocks to come with the defensive tackles. So we’re going to be here, base blocking it and then we’re going to work to get to his left pad. We want to split him in half, it’s going to be really tough for our center to get there. But we want to do our best to try to get two guys on one here and then combo that up to the play side backer and then backside guard.
He’s going to work to his left pad with this play side foot first and then we’re going to combo that up to the play side backer there. Our combination, if we look play side first, you’ll see our left tackle base in it with the defensive end and then you can see it wasn’t great. Footwork from our center doesn’t take a great first step but he’s doing his best to try to split the defender in half. Our left guard could probably help him out by getting to his left pad. And then we’re going to combo up to the place side backer. Okay, so we’re a little bit out of position there. And then on the backside we have right guard, right tackle working together. Right guard sees that too. I pinch real hard inside so he’s just going to keep writing him down. And then that tells our right tackle to go straight to the linebacker.
Okay. Quarterback again is gonna read the backside defensive end so you can see his eyes are right on that defensive end and he’s going to ride that mesh. And for our quarterback, he decided that obviously he got the read where that defensive end is squeezing the line of scrimmage. You can see that his hips are turned right here. His shoulders are turned. And so that should be a give or sorry, that should be a keep for the quarterback every single time because it is nearly impossible for this guy to be able to open up his hips and take the quarterback. So if you see hips turned in, shoulders turn as a quarterback, that is 100% keep and that’s exactly what our quarterback does here. He comes out the backside and he picks up about 1212 yards or so. I would like the running back to be able to continue this on an in bounce it outside.
So if you’re running backs, don’t get the ball at the mesh. What I would like to see is for that back to keep going on this way and that path because we want to try to pull these guys this way if we can. Okay so that quarterbacks keeping it and again it’s a pretty solid game. Thanks coach for sticking around and watching how to block inside zone read versus an even front. I hope that you learn a little bit here and you can take it and use it in your offense if you do it differently than let me know. Drop a comment in, tell me how you communicate with your players cause I do like to learn from you guys out there as well. So again, I’m coach Besaw from spreadoffensefootball.com and lastly hit that subscribe button so you can get all the videos that I release related to the spread offense. Thanks again guys and I will see you on the next one.