Author Topic: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs  (Read 3820 times)

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Offline blockandtackle

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Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« on: October 01, 2016, 02:13:41 AM »
What most teams struggle with when trying to get good at gap and zone teams is that the coaching points, assignments, and basic techniques are so different that they don't have time to teach it all or overload their kids with too many rules to remember.  This is especially true for younger kids.

We've solved this problem with HS kids by simply taking our gap stuff and flipping the direction of the blocks. On our gap runs, our OL block down on a track to the BSLB and pick up whatever shows. On our zone runs, we all block playside on a track and pick up whatever shows. That's the basic idea.

Instead of true double teams, we tell our kids that on gap runs, if there is no immediate threat to your inside gap, you can "one armed bench press" any defender lined head up or shaded outside, as long as you keep eyes in your gap and work your track. This created combos.

Our IZ rules, which build off this, are:

1.  Take a 6" zone step playside and find work. If there's a DL there, blow him out like a board drill. If there's not, work up to the next level "up through your cylinder" (translated: playside gap).

2.  Similar to our gap schemes, if you've not got an immediate threat in your playside gap, you can, "one armed bench press" a defender head up or shaded inside to give your backside teammate some help, then work your track "up through your cylinder", pinning the first LB inside--this gives us the zone combos.

3.  We will allow the C to "wrong step" to help out vs. a backside 2i or 1 tech on zone, but he must keep his eyes in his play side gap.  If he turns his head, a LB can run through or he might miss a stunt.

4.  Eyes must stay in the play side gap at all times.

The only major differences are that the angle changes (it's more vertical and steeper on our zone) and we shoulder block our downblocks but handblock our zones.  The technique for zone is something we do rep a ton of, as it has more coaching points to teach the kids.  On our gap stuff, it's all down blocks on a track, one arm bench presses, skip pulled wraps, open pulled kick outs, hinge blocks--4 of which are blocks we never use in zone, but teaching them is less technique intensive.

We do have a few OL calls in there to, say, fold a backside T underneath a back blocking BSG when there's a 3 tech, but I don't feel they are all that necessary and as the OL coach, I'd rather just eliminate them, but it's what our OC wants.

After learning this method, I like it because it's even simpler than counting: just fire off on your track and GO! The assignments and rules are easy. It lets us stress technique and footwork more to become good at blocking, rather than focus on who to block.

Offline morris

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2016, 01:05:13 PM »
Do you feel your gap scheme method works fine without TEs? Such as only 5 OL? 

Offline blockandtackle

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2016, 01:44:04 PM »
Do you feel your gap scheme method works fine without TEs? Such as only 5 OL?

We've been doing a lot without a TE this year.  It works well for us when we have the numbers in the box.  The issue becomes getting to the BSLB when there's a DL in B gap to absorb the T's down block.

Having the RB take a downhill path towards play side A gap on Power and Counter, then slide out into the off tackle area, really helps set that block up and bring him to our PSG for the block.

Offline morris

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2016, 02:34:55 PM »
That's how I always taught the RB as far as power/counter and now IZ too. We played around a little with it this year and I wasn't completely sure about just having the c, g, and t as the downblocked wall. I wasn't sure if I was going to get enough of a playside surface area.

Offline blockandtackle

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2016, 02:49:30 PM »
That's how I always taught the RB as far as power/counter and now IZ too. We played around a little with it this year and I wasn't completely sure about just having the c, g, and t as the downblocked wall. I wasn't sure if I was going to get enough of a playside surface area.

On the backside, you do need your BST to hinge through B.  The short surface on the backside actually can create more problems than it can on the play side.

We've been getting a nice 1-2 punch out of running IZ to an open A gap (it'll usually cut up into A gap unless the DT stunts) and Power Read to an open B gap.  The two plays compliment each other very well.

Offline morris

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2016, 03:13:26 PM »
On your power read is it with stretch action or is the RB going downhill? You use 2 ft splits?

Offline rangibson

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2016, 03:31:41 PM »
I have asked if anybody does this...but really never get an answer. Instead of zone blocking away on gap plays, block zone playside and reassign the one ol player who would normally zone block the D player being trapped or kicked out. I think you immediately get more blocking/double team at poa playside.

Example..on power where your backside G is going to kick out the DE who is on or shaded the PST or PSTE...tell that OL man to not zone and to either gap block inside or go to the most dangerous LB. In effect, everyone is ps zone blocking except the one guy who would normally be blocking the trapped or kicked out player. Again, that keeps more players ps of the ball and would likely double team just inside the poa

Thoughts?

Offline ZACH

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2016, 03:57:45 PM »
We count so we have

Base count
9 box count+1
Gap is -1

Thats how we do...no real problems identifying your man or blocking them.
"Some athletes have division 1 dreams and jv work ethic" - random

Offline blockandtackle

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2016, 04:07:54 PM »
On your power read is it with stretch action or is the RB going downhill? You use 2 ft splits?

Stretch action.  He crosses the QB's face.  It's the exact same action we use on Buck Sweep, so that's also another great compliment to it.

Offline blockandtackle

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2016, 04:10:05 PM »
We count so we have

Base count
9 box count+1
Gap is -1

Thats how we do...no real problems identifying your man or blocking them.

That works, too.  That's a system I'm familiar with and like, as well.

After coaching count schemes in the past, I've come to prefer this because I feel it's simpler to teach, it's not as vulnerable to movement, and our kids take better angles--be base our gap stuff off SAB ideas.  If a 3 tech stunts or the defense stems late in a count system, or if a kid just gets confused on how to apply his count against something crazy, bad things can happen if you don't have another layer of rules in there to give your kids a track and direction for their eyes and steps.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2016, 04:24:19 PM by coacharnold »

Offline morris

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2016, 04:14:12 PM »
Stretch action.  He crosses the QB's face.  It's the exact same action we use on Buck Sweep, so that's also another great compliment to it.
What are the coaching points on your RB and QB? This is something I'm interested in us exploring for next season.

Offline blockandtackle

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2016, 04:15:04 PM »
I have asked if anybody does this...but really never get an answer. Instead of zone blocking away on gap plays, block zone playside and reassign the one ol player who would normally zone block the D player being trapped or kicked out. I think you immediately get more blocking/double team at poa playside.

Example..on power where your backside G is going to kick out the DE who is on or shaded the PST or PSTE...tell that OL man to not zone and to either gap block inside or go to the most dangerous LB. In effect, everyone is ps zone blocking except the one guy who would normally be blocking the trapped or kicked out player. Again, that keeps more players ps of the ball and would likely double team just inside the poa

Thoughts?

For us, we don't kick Power with the backside G.  Our backside G would be wrapping around to the PSLB and we'd kick the DE with a back or read him with the QB.

I think I see what you're saying about this.  So... in the example you gave, instead of kicking out the DE, the OL would all zone play side, but the backside G would still pull around and lead up to LB.  Is that correct?

The issue I see with that is that you'd be left with too few blockers on the backside.  On our zone stuff, we want everyone working to his play side gap.  If we were to zone and then try to pull the backside G as well, what we'd wind up with is the backside T to block 3 gaps, which probably have 3 guys in them.  We have to fill backside A-B gap for the puller or someone's going to blow that play up from the backside... if I'm picturing this correctly.  I'm afraid I may not be.

Now you CAN run a variation of Power where you base block the front side and pull the backside G around to lead up onto the LB.  Lots of college and pro teams live off this.  That works a little differently, though.  In a count system, you could do that easily enough by declaring "0" (the C's man) as the first defender on or backside the C, then starting the count from there, but tell your OL to skip over the first LB to the play side when they're counting men since that's the backside G's man.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2016, 04:25:19 PM by coacharnold »

Offline blockandtackle

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2016, 04:21:05 PM »
What are the coaching points on your RB and QB? This is something I'm interested in us exploring for next season.

The RB will line up behind the T.  We want the RB going straight across the QB's face and looking to cut it up around the numbers.

The QB will take the snap and seat the ball as he takes a short, flat "slide step" playside, then ride the RB for another "slide step" through the mesh.  The footwork is different than what he uses on our Buck Sweep read, but we found it worked better for getting him where he needs to be.

If it's a give, the sweeper runs as fast as he can to the numbers, looking to get around the block on the force player.  The QB must get up into the line and fake the keep, but ours has been stubborn about doing that consistently.

If it's a keep, the QB will get downhill immediately and tuck in behind the BSG's butt.  He needs to hit this play as tight to the down block of the T or TE as possible.  If he sees a lane open up inside, we let him take it.  The RB must keep sprinting and acting as if he has the ball to draw the secondary out.

Offline morris

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2016, 04:25:25 PM »
I currently debating between running some one back power or dart. I'm looking at which one gives me the most bang for buck.

Offline blockandtackle

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Re: Tips: Combining Zone and Gap Runs
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2016, 04:29:08 PM »
I currently debating between running some one back power or dart. I'm looking at which one gives me the most bang for buck.

If you're already running Power and wrapping with the BSG, I think one back power would be easier because that kid's already used to the footwork.  Just get him tracking the PSLB while the play side base blocks.  Play side blocking would be the same, I would think--just block it like Iso.