There are many great run schemes that you can build your offense around. I have chosen the Inside Zone because it’s easy to teach, it’s highly versatile, and it can create easy double teams on the line of scrimmage.
Why I Prefer Inside Zone
One of the key advantages of the Inside Zone is how easy it is to teach. While there are ways to make it more complicated, at the heart of the scheme it is very simple. Essentially the line is just looking at their playside gap. If there is a defender in their playside gap they will block him. If there isn’t a defender in their playside gap they will double team the defender in their backside gap until someone shows up in their gap. The result is a scheme that is easy to teach and allows the players to master the techniques instead of the rules.
Another key advantage of the Inside Zone is the versatility of it. The Inside Zone scheme can be run out of any grouping or formation. In addition, the offense can add misdirection in the form of motion, shifts or play fakes. Adding this movement to the backfield is normally very easy, it’s the blocking that becomes the issue. Once you fully understand the Inside Zone and the different roles each runner plays, you can fit all of the deception you want into the scheme while keeping the base rules for the offensive line the exact same.
Related Content: Using the Bluff Tag off of the Inside Zone
The final, and I would say biggest advantage, is the ability to create double teams on the line of scrimmage. There is an old football saying that says linemen make tackles for loss, linebackers make tackles for 2-3 yards and safeties make tackles for 7-8 yards. If you are able to double team the majority of defensive linemen this ensures that you will not have many negative plays. If your linemen become good enough at their techniques (because they don’t have to worry about learning new schemes) they will begin to come off their double teams onto linebackers. Once they are doing this your backs will be free to run at Safeties and pickup large gains.
The Inside Zone has never been the only scheme I teach. I believe in having at least two blocking schemes. Ideally, these schemes feed off of each other and can be used in conjunction to stress the defense. What makes the Inside Zone the favorite of coaches across the country though it it’s ability to create easy double teams for the offensive line while freeing up the coach to use formations, passing and misdirection to give the line a numbers advantage in the box.
Related Content: Maximizing the Outside Zone Blocking Scheme