Apr 13, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines offensive line gets set during the Spring Game at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football: Question about Running Scheme

GBMWolverine X's and O's PlaybookPosted at 4:00pm — 1/13/2014

Michigan Football: Question about Running Scheme

Had a poster (blueperl) asking a question to explain to a non-coach like me what the difference is between zone blocking and whatever we did this year that makes it simpler and likely better, and what I should look for if I were to watch a future game then go back and watch one from this year right after? Want to thanks him for asking the question!

Had a poster (DieHard5661) who has been around along time with us answer with a great response along with many others so if you want to read the entire thread please visit the message board Michigan Football: Question about Running Scheme.

To keep it simple, man blocking just a hat on a hat, meaning, each player is responsible for a particular defender.

In zone blocking, we have the OL put combination blocks on defenders and one of the blockers “releases” to the second level depending on where the linemen is attacking. There is obviously more to it (bucket steps, hand placement, whether a linemen is “covered”, etc…), but this should give you a decent idea for now.

So, for example, the left guard and center put a combo block on the nose tackle (lined up over the C). They want to keep their shoulders square to the line and want to keep their eyes down-field to watch what the Will (weak-side linebacker) is doing. Depending on what the nose/will do, one of the two will release and attack that backer.

Sep 1, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines offensive line coach Darrell Funk on the sidelines against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Now, typically, it is harder to teach a zone scheme than a man scheme, however, with that said:

This year, we ran both power and zone at times, which teams will do, however, we had absolutely no consistency or rhyme/reason in our running attack. No running plays complemented each other and kids were obviously confused about their assignments. There was way too much inconsistency and complexity which is one of the reasons we never got it going. Also, we had so much re-arranging on the OL, that it was completely unfair to the kids. Mags learned tackle last year, switched to RG and then moved to LG. Glasgow started the year at G, began to thrive and was moved to C. Bosch, as a true frosh, was lost.

This year, the kids will be worked to death to learn and understand the inside zone, outside zone and counter trey.

nuss 1The staple of the run game will be the inside zone. To put this simply: the difference between the inside/outside zones are the steps/execution vary and the RB has a different target. The runner isn’t expected to simply run to his designated hole, but to run with shoulders square to the line and read the hip of a player. For an outside zone, it is the tackle. For the inside, it is the guard. The runner then does what we learned as “bend/bang/bounce” meaning, depending on what the defense has done, the runner will either cutback, get vertical, or bounce to the outside. You want guys who have good vision, can run between the tackles and get up-field. Both Smith and Green are well suited to this.

Michigan will run inside zones and outside zones when the defense adjusts to take it away. They can also run the counter trey which is a misdirection play that involves a pulling guard: a very nice counter for a zone team.

So the running game is going to be simplified significantly (IMO) and become more effective since everything works together harmoniously. Al’s biggest issue was, with the running game, simply constantly throwing sh*t against the wall to see what would stick.

CoachBT’s Thoughts:
Good job Diehard. To keep it basic I will show you the difference on how I teach the two at the high school level.

Zone blocking has two rules:
1. Covered or uncovered.
2. Work for a double team and then to second level.

Man Blocking:
We make three calls:
1.) All defenses identified, either Kick down, kick over, or stack. Position of Defensive Tackle away from call is determining factor.
2.) Next is number call, we used 1 through 8 to set which scheme we were using.
3.) Name, to locate the double teams. All three calls made each play.

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Written by GBMWolverine Poster DieHard5661 and Staff Member — CoachBT

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