By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
Hendrix College pairs its Inside Zone run concept with both a flare and now screen. The read is predicated off the apex player in run/pass conflict based off his reaction on the Zone scheme. On the flare concept, the inside receiver is catching the screen (like bubble), while on the now concept, the outside receiver is catching the screen. The offensive line blocks the five most dangerous defenders and the read is off of the perimeter force defender. Here is a breakdown of each of those concepts:
- When “Flare” is called, the INSIDE receiver is catching the pass.
- Outside receiver “oozes” off the LOS towards the CB and blocks the most dangerous threat.
- When “Now” is called, the OUTSIDE receiver is catching the pass.
- Inside receiver “oozes” off the LOS towards the CB and blocks the most dangerous threat.
- Note: If neither is called, receivers decide at the LOS who is getting the ball. Receivers assume we are running “Flare”. If CB is 5 yards or less, or if the wide-out gives a “Now” call, run “Now.” This takes practice!
Jordan Neal, the Offensive Coordinator at Hendrix College, spends a great deal of time educating the quarterback to make the correct read on this run/pass concept. He emphasizes how much practice it takes to develop the correct read. Neal talks about the quarterback making a pre-snap “snap-shot” of what the defense presents before the ball gets snapped. His protocol for making the correct pre-snap read is below:
- QB must take a “snap-shot” of the front to determine what the DL/LB configuration is. Is it a 4-2 box? Is it a 4-1 box? Is it a 4-3 box with straight man behind it? Is it some sort of odd front?
- The next thing after identifying the box configuration is to see what we call the next “puzzle-piece,” which is the secondary configuration.
“We teach our quarterbacks to understand that if it is a 4-2 box, then he must immediately find the alley or force player to the side where his post snap-read is,” said Neal. “That guy (most of the time we are referring to the weak-safety, or the safety on the boundary side of the football field) can either be in a cover-two or cover-four alignment, or he can be walked up closer over the #2 receiver in an invert relationship with the CB which signifies cover-one or cover-three. If that weak-safety is deep, then the quarterback knows the outside linebacker on that side is his read key. If that safety is walked down over #2 and he is taking away the numbers and leverage advantage to that side, then the quarterback reads the defensive end on that side. At this point, the play just becomes old-fashioned Zone Read where the QB either hands it off to the running back or pulls it and runs the edge on a QB keeper. Everything works in conjunction because the tackle takes a snap-shot of the box and decides to block either the DE or the LB based on the box alignment and the QB is going through his progression as well. Receivers and the rest of the OL don’t have to do anything different at all from situation to situation.