October 1, 2011; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Stephen Hopkins (33) runs the ball after a reception in the first quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan Football: Coach Borges Offensive Run Schemes -- Power/Gap and Iso Plays -- X's and O's Made Easier

Posted at 6:00am — 4/14/2012

Michigan Football: Coach Borges Offensive Run Schemes — Power/Gap and Iso Plays — X’s and O’s Made Easier

Continuing with this series some of the most basic plays in football are discussed below.


The power or gap play is one of the most fundamental/basic schemes in football. It has been around, and around, and likely will never leave the scene unless football is reinvented.

The strengths of the gap block scheme are first discussed below.

Gap blocking allows an offensive line to double team tough defenders by providing the offensive linemen good blocking angles. Another benefit, again a simple one, is this block allows a team to easily adjust to different defensive alignments and stunts. Basically the offense continues with the assignment even if the defenders shift: same work, maybe on a different guy. Simplicity and power at the point of attack provide the opportunity to quickly move the key defensive player out of the critical area.

Blocking Rules:

1. A double team at the point of attack will always be the key to the entire gap block scheme working. This starts with the play side linemen blocking their inside gaps.

2. The backside offensive guard pulls and blocks the middle linebacker, this is a change that has evolved in the last few years. The pull is key to setting up the cut back that has become been such a huge success in schemes of all types.

3. As is traditional the tight end kicks out and blocks the first inside defender, usually a five technique defender.

4. The backside offensive tackle never seals the linebacker. Teams use what OSU calls hat behind hat, or the blocker can mirror the defender, this again opens up the cut back.

5. If in the box or slot, the tight end and slot block the strong side linebacker.

6. The tailback reads the backside linebacker. Most of the inside series is designed to cutback.


Although a staple of power football, more and more teams are simply using inside zone blocking on the iso play. This helps to simplify blocking schemes. The major difference is the lead back will block the middle linebacker and the ball carrier will read and cut off his block. A traditional iso has the fullback frequently blocking one hole outside the ball carrier.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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