Varying the Backside of the Zone Read

Feb 10, 2014 | Offense, Run Game, Tight Zone Run Concepts


By Kyle Schmitt - @kschmittASHS

Head Coach

Archbishop Spaulding HS (MD)


77057420Each offseason our offensive staff evaluates our entire offense by play, formation and personnel in order to measure the efficiency of each. The goal of this evaluation is to fine tune the core of our offense.  Ultimately, we are looking for new ways to window dress and disguise our core concepts. This process includes:

  1. Blocking scheme/techniques within the play
  2. Change in backfield action
  3. Additional formations per play
  4. Run/Pass Combos with plays
  5. Addition/subtraction/change of scheme

Once we have completed our own offensive evaluation our staff collects as much tape as possible on teams that we would like to study throughout the offseason.  One of the concepts we were looking to study was 2/3 back Zone read concepts and triple option off of these runs (bubble, smoke, option pitch). Our purposes were to further strengthen our zone read play and continue to find answers for the defensive variations we would see. In the spring of 2013 we watched Sam Houston St, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins and the pistol concepts they had successfully installed. We found a common theme in their 2/3 back Zone scheme which we implemented this season and called “Joker.”


Strengths of the Joker Concept  


  1. Fits with our Zone, Counter and Power Schemes (no guard pull in this scheme)
  2. Able to run from multiple formations vs multiple fronts and pressures
  3. Answer for gap exchange without over coaching the backside tackle
  4. Power zone read play with the ability to add option to 2 and 3 back sets


Blocking Scheme


The Joker play is falls into our zone run family. However, our second level aiming points change due to the increased blockers on the backside of the play. Therefore, we taught Joker as a combination of the front side of a zone play combined with the front side of a gap play.

Frontside blocking

The front side (left side in Joker Left) is zone/gap blocking to the 2nd LB from the center playside. This is a change from our regular inside zone play where our OL is targeting the first LB from the center playside.   Below you see our Joker play blocked vs an odd, stack and even defense.