Zone/Zone Bluff Run Game from Diamond Formations

Feb 29, 2016 | Offense, 30 Personnel Concepts, Personnel

By Tyler Baird
Offensive Coordinator
Wasatch High School, Utah
Twitter: @WaspBaird



bairdAfter moving from the Utah 3A classification to the 4A classification, we have found that we struggle to block many defensive ends one on one when the defensive end is able to go at their speed. Our first year in 4A, we had 2,522 total yards of offense, 990 rushing yards and gave up more than 20 sacks in 10 games. We made the adjustment to keep our interior blocking simple, and based our run game off of our inside zone run game and spent a lot of prep and game planning on making defensive ends slow and uncomfortable. After incorporating these changes to our run game, we went from 990 yards rushing in 2014 to 2304 rushing yards and over 3700 total yards in 2015 while only giving up 10 sacks in 11 games. Our goal is to give the defensive ends and linebackers as many looks as we can in our inside run game.

Base Concepts:

We have a basic three play, inside run blocking scheme. This allows our offensive linemen to become very confident in our run game and they work very well as a unit. It also allows us to run our offense at a quick pace, allowing for easy and understandable adjustments to different looks by the defense. Our three inside run schemes are: 1. Inside Zone Run, 2. Zone Read, and 3. Power Pull.

These three run schemes all complement each other and are designed to give a lot of different looks at the defensive ends and linebackers to get them to play slow and uncomfortable while keeping it simple for our offensive line. For the sake of this article, I will focus on the different looks we throw at the defensive ends and outside linebackers that we have found to make them play slow and uncomfortable. Those looks include:

  • Defensive End Looks
    • Combo by Tackle and Tight end
    • Man by Tackle
    • Hold off by Tight End
    • Hold off by F Back
    • Hold off by H Back
    • Bluff by Tight End
    • Bluff by F Back
    • Bluff by H Back
    • Read by QB
    • Pull to kick out by Backside Guard
  • Play side Linebacker Looks
    • Combo by Tackle and Tight end
    • Lead by F Back
    • Lead by H Back
    • Bluff by F Back
    • Bluff by H Back
    • Bluff by Tight end
    • RPO out of 21 Personnel
    • RPO out of 20 Personnel
    • RPO out of 11 Personnel
    • RPO out of 10 Personnel

Inside Zone Run:

Our base run play is our inside zone run game. It is a basic play side zone play with the offensive line zone blocking to the play side. Our running back tracks are at the play side guard looking for cut back. In this scheme we run over 12 different variations to this one blocking scheme. Nothing changes in the interior, but we will switch up how we block the defensive ends and play side linebacker. The main variations are: 1. STRONG, 2. WEAK, 3. RPO’S off of each variation.

With our “STRONG” inside zone play, we take the play side tackle and tight end and run a combo block on the play side defensive end to play side linebacker. The key is for the tackle and tight end to get hands on the defensive end and stay hip to hip with their eyes on the play side linebacker. If the linebacker comes inside, then the tackle comes off onto the LB. If the LB goes outside, then the tight end comes off to the LB. We emphasize to the tackle and tight end to take the DE to the LB. We do not want the DE staying on the line of scrimmage: we want him attacked and pushed back.

On the backside, we take our F back with motion or out of the backfield and run a hold off block on the backside DE. The key is to get hip to hip with the outside hip of the back side tackle and we have to get the DE going up field. Without the DE going up field, we do not have the cut back lane needed for the half back.


In the clip below, we take the F back on the right side and run the hold off block on the left side. He does a good job of getting the DE up field and notice the cut back lane.