Michigan Wolverines: The Offensive Structure and Success — Part II
Rebuilding Michigan Football — The Offense
The inside zone may have started as a formist idea, but it is mechanistic: the parts, if total success of all parts entails, indeed surpasses the whole. The inside zone is machine-like. If one part fails badly, the entire unit can look woeful. But so it is with man blocking as well. Coaches know, however, that if the machine works more times than not, business is open.
Coaches Hoke and Funk have a major mission/project ahead of them; they know this, but both also know the inside zone scheme is very sound and possesses high promise with the right parts and an actualization of ingredients needed for zone success (discussed later).
The players have a major task ahead of them; they know the importance and implications associated with the success of this change in direction. Man or base blocking schemes can be vulnerable to slants and blitzes and if not coordinated bad plays can result. When the personnel can successfully read, correct and change line calls, and block each person, man schemes are just fine, assuming execution, experience, knowledge, and a ton of strength. The hope is the simplification of rules and assignments drastically cuts down the many negative plays and third and long situations the Michigan offense faced last year.Make note, while this sounds easier for offensive linemen, much work is involved. These guys will work and then work harder. Footwork and more footwork, many versions, will be taught, to the point where extreme repetition becomes a minimal expectation. Then more repetition and teaching, until the moves become like well timed dance steps.
Besides undergoing dance class, a good zone inside blocker must be a fine reader and know not only his read but also that of his buddy beside him. The reading of the Mike linebacker is perhaps the most important read for an inside zone scheme. Like every blocking scheme, communication and execution are critical.
One of the prime underlying tenets of the inside zone scheme is to avoid multiple busted assignments. And just what is the value of that buddy next to you? This offensive line scheme, like many, attempts to double team, win the battle at/to a stress point and sometimes outnumber the defense on the playside.
Coach Nussmeier has shown that not only can inside zone blocking be used in sophisticated spread systems, like Oregon’s, but also can be used within a pro style system where the stated intent is to physically bury an opponent. Besides using force, an inside zone scheme, depending on formation, also can create choices for the defense. With certain formations (multiple wideouts) and the use of the tight end and h-back, expect Michigan to have a choice of base plays (such as inside read and stressing the edge), hitting a wideout from a flooded formation, or utilizing a tight end read. The quarterback will have Mike and safety reads to accomplish throughout any play.
To achieve the power running game, an inside zone blocking scheme must master traits of sophistication like repetition, synchronization, and mastery of hitting one guy while still aiming for a second target.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
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