This series is a work-in-progress glossary of football concepts we tend to talk about in these pages. Previously:
Offensive concepts: RPOs, high-low, snag, covered/ineligible receivers, Duo, zone vs gap blocking, zone stretch, split zone, inverted veer, reach block, kickout block, wham block, Y banana play, TRAIN
Defensive concepts: Contain & lane integrity, force player, hybrid space player, no YOU’RE a 3-4!, scrape exchange, Tampa 2, Saban-style pattern-matching, match quarters, Dantonio’s quarters, Don Brown’s 4-DL packages and 3-DL packages, Bear
Special Teams: Spread punt vs NFL-style
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So this is a zone/power hybrid that Michigan ran last year instead of outside zone, and had it run consistently against us in the latter half of the season. We call it “Pin and Pull” but it also goes by “Packer Sweep” or “Double Power” or “Student Body Right.” It’s really old, and was all the rage at the top levels of football until the less extreme/simpler to install outside zone occupied most of its niche. But pin and pull is still popular, and made a comeback in recent years as power blocking came back in vogue and offensive coaches searched for a way to punish defenses for putting smaller coverage dudes around the edges of the box.
WHAT IS IT?
The concept seems simple enough: block down everyone you can, and pull everyone else around. Pin and pull. Based on the defensive front any guy on your line (and you want your line extended to tight ends and beyond for this) might be pulling, or blocking down, or executing a reach block or combo block.
Ideally, you’re getting all of those dangerous DL blocked with your own heavy OL and TEs from advantageous positions, then swinging more meat to the point of attack to meet the smaller defenders—cornerbacks, safeties, OLBs, hybrids, etc.—who hang out there. From there it’s a matter of your back reading his blocks, and physics.
Given Michigan’s TE-heavy roster and power run orientation this looks to be a bigger part of our own future—right now it’s the basis of those sweeps we pull out from time to time. We’ll also see it a lot on defense, since even without Peppers Don Brown is often going to leave an open invitation to try it.
[Hit the jump to see how it’s run, and how it’s beat.]