Joel Rodriquez, the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Fordham, knew he may not have had the beef up front to run traditional gap style runs, which is why the Rams developed their MAP run concept a combination of man and zone principles that meshed well with their zone read game. The result: a 11-1 record, the best tally since 1930 and an offense that averaged over 520 yard per game this season.
By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
Editor’s Note: Mike Kuchar sat down with Joel Rodriquez to talk exclusively about the MAP concept, a double-pull concept in Fordham’s run game that has averaged 8.3 yards per carry. Joel Rodriquez is the offensive line coach at Fordham. He had previously served in the same capacity at Bryant College (RI).
The crux of Fordham’s offense- one that has netted 522 yards per game this year- is a no huddle, high tempo, 10 and 11 personnel unit that takes advantage of misplace defenders by using the zone read game and play action concepts off of them. In fact, my first interaction with what Fordham does was when I sat and listened to the Rams head coach Joe Moorhead talk at a clinic about the various pass concepts he uses of his zone read run game. Though this may be a topic for another conversation, I couldn’t move my pen fast enough to write down all of his coaching points. What I did catch was his admirable comments about his Offensive Line coach and run game coordinator Joel Rodriquez and the terrific job he does designing. So I made it a point to go drop in on Coach Rodriquez to talk about how Fordham is so successful running the ball.
What he divulged to me is what he calls his MAP concept- a Man/Gap hybrid used to take advantage of defenses that play various games (exchanges, scrapes, etc.) to the read side of the zone read. At its core the MAP scheme is a man concept to the front side of the play and a zone concept to the backside of the play. The offense lineman to the play side have man assignments while the backside lineman are responsible for backside gaps, at least in theory. While it may seem like Power in structure, the front side man blocking assignments prevent any possible double teams while the backside Tackle is free to climb to the second level as a double puller (Diagram 1). “We didn’t want to Trey or Deuce block because we just don’t have the personnel,” said Rodriquez. “It doesn’t take much to install it- it’s zone for the front side of the line and it’s a different read for the linebackers.” The reason why it’s a different read is because the running back executes a “cross bow” assignment by lining up away from the call side. His footwork will be different based on whether or not the Rams or giving it or reading it.
Fordham will either have a read principle built in (by reading the backside C gap player) or simply just give it to the back. But his footwork will change based on which of these concepts are being executed. “If we’re giving it, the back takes an open step and gets downhill, similar to Power,” said Rodriquez. “The back will be away from the call side and cross bow which holds the linebackers. “If we read it, then the back is taught to jab step away from the play (Diagram 6). It throws off the linebackers reads completely. The QB will read the Defensive End on the read principle. If he’s blocked, he gives the ball. According to Rodriquez, it meshes perfectly with the zone read game. “We are a big zone read team so many teams will set the 3-tech to the back because they don’t want to give you the bubble to run zone. Now you get a good crease to run the MAP concept against a shade/5 technique (Diagram 7). As it turned out, Fordham was more productive giving the ball in 2012. The Rams averaged 11 yards per game on giving the ball and 5.7 yards per carry when they were reading it.
To see film cutups of the MAP concept against various fronts, click on the link below:
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- Blocking rules and techniques for the front five including the TZT adjustment for the Back side Tackle.
- Adjustments against various defensive structures and back side gap exchanges, movements and games.
- MAP variants based on formation and the Q Map concept
- Plus film cut-ups on the MAP concept which includes all of the adjustments and variants in the MAP concept
The reason why we were so intrigued by the MAP concept are essentially the two components that intrigues all football coaches to schemes- it’s inexpensive to install and it meshes well with two common concept most coaches are utilizing already: the Zone Play and the Power Play.