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Inside Zone Breakdown: Edumacate Your Sorry Self

Playbook Spotlight: Inside Zone (via swgerlach)

Longtime readers of BON are probably also familiar with the work of the Great Bearded One, Longhorn Scott, over at Barking Carnival. If not, avail yourself of this opportunity to relieve your ignorance.

This is a comprehensive breakdown of the inside zone running play, a staple for essentially every football team at every level, no matter the scheme. Yeah, it's a staple at the Pee Wee level, too.

There's also a good discussion over at the Carnival in the comments about some of the misconceptions regarding the zone blocking scheme, which got a bad rap from a lot of fans who associated it with mincing, Greg Davis sideline-to-sideline football. Where defenses are worn out going sideways! Er, linebackers slightly worn out from jumping on the pile after the cornerback comes downhill five yards.

Anyway, the point is that even though the new Texas offense gets characterized as "power" football, the fact is that co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin isn't going to run Power every play, he's going to mix in inside zone, outside zone, and constraint plays like jet sweeps that keep the defense honest and from flowing too hard to any particular spot -- that's the major difference between Harsin and Davis. Harsin knows how to package plays so they work well together. GD? Ha. Not so much.

Obviously, the other difference is in preferred personnel. While Texas tried to make the switch in 2010, Davis was always at his best in 11 personnel (three wide receivers, one tight end, one running back), where Harsin likes to use a tight end and an H-back or a tight end and a fullback. One of the major advantages to the additional personnel is that the defensive end on the backside doesn't have to be left unblocked for numerical reasons, which reduces the cutback ability for the running back and reduces the margin for error overall.

Since the running back is asked to make reads about where to take the football, it's a play that may favor sophomore Malcolm Brown and freshman Johnathan Gray a bit more so than sophomore Joe Bergeron, who doesn't quite have the same vision as the other two. However, as evidenced by the video, Bergeron does have the capability of bouncing such plays outside when he sees the lane for it. Brown and Gray though? They're going to be money on inside zone.

Oh yeah, and if you're crotchety and don't like the music, LS generously put up a version without it.