Blocking Inside Zone Read Against An Odd Front

Blocking inside zone read against an odd front can be difficult for offenses in the spread because of the uncovered gaps and linebackers that are fit to defend the run from depth. If you’re struggling to block inside zone read against an odd front, then it’s time to start simplifying the blocking responsibilities and clearing up the communication among the offensive linemen.

Using this number system will help offensive linemen identify who they are working for, where the double teams are needed, and who is working for the 2nd level.

Blocking Inside Zone Read Against An Odd Front

What I discuss:

  • Number system for blocking responsibilities
  • Knowing the combo blocks
  • Blocking vs 5 man box
  • Blocking vs 6 man box
  • How to identify QB’s read key

Watch the video below for blocking inside zone read against an odd front.


Welcome to my channel. If you don’t know, I’m coach Besaw from where I cover pretty much anything and everything related to the spread offense, RPOs run game schemes, pass game schemes and anything you can think of that has to do with running the spread. In today’s video I’m going to talk to you about how to run inside zone read against an odd front and then also show you a few clips of what that looks like. So let’s go.

For the odd front. I’m going to show you first this three four look basic shell for the three four defense and then I’m also going to talk to you about how to block it when they bring one of these linebackers and he stands up off the edge. So first we’re just looking at this three-four and we get five guys in the box for us. These outside linebackers here are not run defenders first. They’re out in coverage. And so we do have a five man box, which is good for us because we have equated the numbers in the run game. And so just the block and responsibilities working from the outside. And remember we start with the most dangerous or immediate threat to the play side A gap and if we’re running this to the left, that would be this nose here. So he’s zero, linebackers one, tackle two and then to the backside is the backside linebacker one, backside tackle is two. And so from the outside in our left tackle who’s a two is going to take the defense a tackle. And remember everyone’s going to step with their play side foot in and they’re all responsible for anyone that enters their play side gap.

So our left guard is uncovered right now from his placy side gap to his backside gap. So what I want him to do is I still want him to step with this play side foot and at the same time, I want him peeking at the hip, the near hip of this tackle. Because if this tackle decides to spike in to the B-gap, then now that becomes the left guard’s responsibility. Let’s say they do some sort of gap exchange where the tackle’s going to spike in and the linebacker is going to scrape over the top to the C gap. Well, if they do that, like I said, the left guard, he’s going to be responsible for his B-gap, which is that now going to be that defensive tackle, and then our left tackle would still stay on his track and he’s going to pick that linebacker up who’s scraping up over the over the top. If they don’t do that, they play this thing head up, he’s going to peek at his near hip. If he never enters his B-gap, then we are going to work to the play side linebacker. And then on the backside we’re going to have our center who’s a zero and we’re going to do our best to split this nose in half. And so he’s going to step with this play side foot and he’s going to own the left half of this nose. And then the same thing for our backside guard as it was for the play side guard, he’s uncovered to the play side gap, uncovered to the backside gap. So again, he is going to work on his tracks with stepping with his play side foot first, he’s gonna peek at his near hip and if he, if he needs to combo it we combo it, but then we’re going to work to the backside backer.

So again if he enters A gap and he comes through and scrapes over the top, then we switched that essentially and we take care of the gaps that is assigned to us. And then on the backside we have our right tackle who’s a two in the count for us on the line and then he’s going to take care of the backside tackle here. Step one with this play side foot. Now you might see that we’re not reading anyone inside the box, which is correct because we do have five guys to block there, five guys. So we don’t want to necessary. We don’t want to unblock anyone here. We want to make sure we get everyone accounted for. We still are going to go to the mesh and now our quarterbacks read key becomes this outside linebacker. So if this outside linebacker stays out here in coverage, then for us that’s great because we have a five man box and we’ll take that, you know, we’ll, we’ll take that all day long.

But let’s say this linebacker is tired of getting hit with a run and he’s in his cadence as the quarterbacks in his cadence. He starts creeping to the line of scrimmage and now he’s coming off the edge. We’ll now, that’s the sixth defender for our office to be reading and he’s the minus three to the backside. So for us, that now is our read key and our quarterback will obviously make a decision at the mesh to either keep it himself or give it to the tailback. But if he doesn’t do that and he stays out and he respects the slot and he respects the past game so he’s not a run defender first, then our quarterback is essentially going to give it to our running bag. Probably 100% of the time, because again, this guy’s our read key. And if he’s not coming, we’re not going to keep it as the quarterback.

So that’s how you’re going to block that up. As far as the basic shell of the three, four. Now let’s say you get a front, they’re still in their OD front, but now they bring, you know, they bring the linebacker over the top, some set colors, charger, some call it Okey, what have you, but they bring the linebacker and he’s a standup player outside the tackle. So obviously if we look at the blocking here, they’ve got a plus one advantage to the play side. So they brought that linebacker. So if we go with our count now you can see that the zeros, the nose, and then they have one, two, three guys that are run offenders in, we’ll make, we’ll account him for me in a box player. So he’s a run defender now, so they got three guys and then our account is zero one in two, so they’re plus one to our play side.

So for us when we get this, look what I want to see, what I communicate to the line is that we have to basically borrow our center and we got to borrow him to the play side blocking in this. And so you can either call it a bang it call a kick call, a push call. But really what the linemen are going to communicate is that there’s plus one to this side. And so we’re basically banging all of our block and responsibilities one defender to the outside. So now our tackle is going to be responsible for him stepping with this play side foot, our guard is gonna now be responsible for this five technique or 4i or whatever you want to call him there. And then we are going to combo the nose with our center and backside guard and it’s going to be pretty quick combo here.

We want to just, just enough time for our right guard to own this. And then w our center should be comboing that up to the play side linebacker. And then on the backside, we’re no longer reading the minus three or the third defender because remember we’re borrowing the center to the play side. Our right tackle is going to get inside and he’s going to work for the backside linebacker. So now this defense, a tackle here is now our read key who’s on the line of scrimmage. And also, you know, later in a few videos as we get into this you may be thinking, well, if they bring him off the edge and then they bring this linebacker off the edge as well, then you’re pretty much screwed. And yes, that is the case. If all you’re doing is running, you know, basic inside zone read.

But I’ll get into RPO and how to tag different routes to make sure that these linebackers are respecting the past game because we want to be able to, to attack them in the run or the past based on what they do. But as far as blocking responsibilities go, when they bring this edge defender and they, they’re in that charger front. Like I said, we’re going to kick it, we’re going to bang it, whatever you want to call it. We’re borrowing the center to the play side and then now we are reading this defensive tackle here that is lined up, head up, whatever outside of our backside tackle. Same responsibilities apply for our quarterback. So now his read key is this tackle here. So if the tackle gets that down block from the right tackle and he squeezes the line of scrimmage and he sucks the air out of that thing, then our quarterback will keep it for himself. And if he gets up field and he attacks the mesh or he sits at the line of scrimmage and kind of takes a squat, then our quarterback is going to give the ball to the running back for inside zone.

Okay, so now let’s take a look at a few different clips in what that looks like on film. In this first example, we are running inside zone. Read to the left and we’re running it in into the standup player. So we’re running to his side and they’re in their charger. They’re oaky front. Now the only difference though is that when I drew it up on, on huddle there, I had him in a zero. He was head up on the center here. He’s just a little bit to the backside, but we are going to still keep him the zero count because he is more of a threat to our play side A gap then any one of these two defenders here. So he’s going to be zero. He 44 is going to be one, he’s two and then he’s three. And then on the backside we have minus one and minus two. So as of right now, the way this picture looks is we’re going to be reading, I think it’s 72 here down in his stance here. But there’s a lot of different things that happen in this clip, which is why I chose it. Because if we’re, if we’re gap sound and we’re taking care of our gaps and we should have everyone blocked up and you’re going to see what this defense does and it’s actually not a great play for us. But it could have been if we, if we were able to block everyone up the right way. So let’s just again go over the blocking responsibility.

So remember we’re going to borrow our center to the play side. So we’re here and here and we’re going to just get a quick combo. We’re going to play sidestep here and then same thing and then we’re going to work up to 44 and then on the backside our tackle is going to step with this play side foot and then he’s going to pick up anyone that enters his B-gap. Okay? It could be 72 spiking inside or it could be six running through the big up there. He’s got to be able to pick up the B-gap defender. But we are going to be initially reading this guy right here. Okay. So he’s our read K. Okay. So let’s see what happens as we run through this. We bring a guy in motion but we are still running read to the left and right away if we just look on the play side you can see eight here.

He started to really spike inside. He’s trying to hit that a gap right now and that’s great for us because we’re still stepping in with our play side foot here. Our center is still stepping with this play side foot in because eight enters the gap. That’s the center’s responsibility. We pick him up and 44 is working across over the top to the B-gap which runs him right into our play side guard. Tackle is one for one on 32 on the front side, so we do a pretty good job of blocking this up front. As far as the play side goes, we do have everyone accounted for, we’re stepping with our right foot and we’re picking up anyone that comes to our play side gap. Now on the backside, this is where we kind of screw things up here just a little bit because we don’t pick up who we should be.

When it comes to our play side gap. Our center probably could’ve stayed on 34, well maybe not just because of eight and where he, where he came from, but it’s definitely hard for our backside guard to pick up that shade and nose like that. And then there, the big mistake is from our right tackle and he should have been able to see six, that linebacker creeping in, starting running through that B gap. And we just ran right past him for some reason. But if we have number six picked up and we block him, then we might have a play because we’re reading this guy and you know, it’s probably a whole different ballgame at that point. If we get this look here and it’s a gift for our quarterback, that might be an easy cutback for our running back. But obviously we don’t know just because of we didn’t block who we’re supposed to and it wasn’t a great play for us, but at least you can see the different ways that the defense, you know, all the stunts that they can run. And that’s the beauty of inside zone is because you don’t got to worry all about that stuff. As long as you step with your play side foot in, you’re picking up anyone that comes into your play side gap. And when you don’t do that, obviously bad things are gonna happen. So that’s just one little look there of what that looks like as far as facing the Odd front versus that stand up edge player.

Now in this clip you’re seeing more of a, the the three four look this guy is near the box, but he isn’t really a standup edge. He’s kind of off the line just a little bit, but we are considering him a run defender first. You see their nose is shaded to the a gap and then they got two linebackers here. So the count for us work into the play side in zone, read to the left, there’s noses in the gap. So he’s our zero 54 is our one and then this tackle here is our two. And then on the backside these two guys are stacked. So down linemen are always a priority if they’re stacked like that. So he’s going to be minus one to minus two and then minus three. So he is going to be our read in this scheme right now. So looking at play side responsibilities, we’re here one for one and we’re going to combo this to that play side linebacker 54 and then on the backside we’re going to combo this for-I to the backside linebacker. And then our quarterback’s going to get his eyes on 17 and he is going to read him at the mesh point. So kind of playing this through here, you’ll see the snap of the ball first.

You’re going to see, I’m not really too sure what the defense is doing. It looks like some sort of miscommunication cause they’re bringing this guy real wide off the edge, but then they’re sending their backer through the a gap. So it didn’t look like they had it. They had the right defense in or, or some of their guys were doing obviously what they’re not supposed to do. But you can see the combo block between our play side guard and center here. They do a pretty good job of splitting him right there and then our center is going to come off because that linebacker hits the a gap. So he kinda just runs right into him. And then on the backside we have our backside guard backside tackle working together. They do a good job. You can see their shoulder to shoulder and they’re splitting that guy in half.

We’re getting a great double team. And again, we want to put those defense alignment in the laps of the linebackers and they drive that guy five yards off the ball to a point where you can’t even see that linebacker anymore. And that’s exactly what we want, which is great. So that’s a great job on the backside with that combination. And then on the, the read of the quarterback, you can see 17 kinda comes across the line of scrimmage. He does a little dance here, but he’s really squid, a squatting on the LLS kind of playing wide obvious give for our quarterback, which is great because the defense kind of just naturally opened up this huge hole for us in the run game and remember our running backs skinny either bang they can either bounce it outside, they can bang it through the gaps or they can cut it back and this is an obvious bang hit because that hole is just ridiculously huge and ends up being a big gain and a touchdown for us.

But again, just look at those combinations with the play side and the backside and how we’re able to get two guys on one end we’re able to get everyone accounted for and when you do good things like this, usually good things happen for you in the run game. That’s how you block inside zone read versus an odd front with the charger look and with your basic three four look, thanks again coach for checking out my channel and for watching how to block inside zone read versus an odd front. If you liked what you saw, then give it a thumbs up. I’d really appreciate it makes my day when you guys do that. And then lastly, make sure you hit the subscribe button and then tap the bell right next to it so you get notified anytime I come out with a new video related to the spread offense. Again, I’m coach BiSoft from spread off. It’s and I look forward to connecting with you again on the next one. As we learn how to play fast, score fast and run the spread.

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