Using Post-Snap Movements to Defend Inside Zone

Jan 15, 2024 | Front, Even Front Structures, Defending Run Game, Defense, Position Groups, Defensive Line

By Bob VanHoesen
Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach
Hudson Valley Community College (NY)
Twitter: @CoachRVH



In our program we believe that defensive line post snap movement (slanting) can be an effective way to limit our opponent’s ground game. Keeping our defensive line “on the move” can have a disruptive effect on the blocking schemes of opposing OL. In addition, post snap line movement also allows us to utilize more athletic DL and still be effective against the run. Our defensive line post snap movements are organized into three categories: full line, partial line and individual. These three categories give us a variety of answers to limit an opponent’s running attack. This article will focus primarily on our basic full and partial line movements.


Base Alignment

Our “base” even front (against 11 personnel) is a “G” look with a 9-3-2i-5 upfront. (Diagram 1) We like the 2i technique with our nose because we feel that this gives him a better chance to react to any combination blocks involving the center and the guard. We will occasionally have our nose aligned in a 1 tech but that would only be when we feel he has a physical advantage over an opposing center.


Our philosophy against the inside zone is to take away what an opposing RB does best. For example, if an opposing RB is a natural cutback runner, we want to force him to commit to his original aiming point. We will take away his cutback lanes by using post-snap movement. We feel that by making the RB “play left-handed” we can gain an advantage. In addition, we also believe that post-snap movement can have a negative impact on the execution of opposing OL. Most OL that we face use what we perceive as “covered/uncovered” rules on the inside zone. They want to have “their two” block “our two”. Meaning 2 OL work in concert to block the down linemen in front of them and also have responsibility for a second-level defender. We believe that post-snap movements (slants) can help us dictate which OL will climb to the second level. The object here is to give our second-level defenders more favorable matchups and to have some measure of control over our opponent’s scheme of execution.