Scoots, Shuffles, and Helmet Stretches: 3 Ways to Cutoff the Backside on Wide Zone Insert

Mar 12, 2024 | Offense, Run Game, Wide Zone Run Concepts, 11 Personnel Concepts, 20 Personnel Concepts, Personnel

By Mike Kuchar with Shawn Byrnes
(Former) Offensive Line Coach
University of Northern Colorado



While at the University of Northern Colorado, the play was tagged “Wanda Man,” which told the offensive line to block wide zone to the play side with man principles on the backside. The tight end is the insert player to the backside to handle the minus-one linebacker. The backside is locked and it became an open-edged weak side run. It became a good way to separate and dent the defense vertically, an alternative to pin and pull runs. While it may be an expensive concept to install it was a strong complement to base wide zone runs that stretch the defense. Here, it became more of a stretch and puncture action.


Play Side Combinations:

Because the front side and backside are separate from one another, the Center, play side Guard and play side Tackle are working together while the backside Guard, backside Tackle, and Tight End are working together. The front side is treated in the same fashion as a pure outside zone with the emphasis being on the leverage of the play side backer which will dictate which of the three offensive linemen are in the combination.

In the image below against a wide 50-technique linebacker, the Guard and Tackle are in the combination while the Center is solo on the Nose.


Against movement fronts or the potential of spikes to the play side, three-man combinations can be called to the front side where the Center, play side Guard, and play side Tackle are going three for three to the play side.


Against any 30-technique backer, the combination will be called with the play side Guard and Center, putting the Tackle one one-on-one with the C gap defender.


While this report is focused on the backside (or man side) of the concept, Coach Byrnes talked about the Center trying to stay square- and not reach the Nose- giving the back a two-way go. “We block the play side armpit on the block then work the combination the way the defense plays it,” he said. “If the Nose crosses his face, he has to lock on because he has no help. The back hits it behind the crease.”