3 Zone Shotgun Option Play Diagrams, and Bama blowing one up

Submitted by JeepinBen on September 5th, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Not a lot of personal input into this diary, but with Brian's front Picture Pages asking who the option read was there has been some confusion of which play is what. It's impossible to know what the play call is on any given down, and Bama did blow up just about everything, but I thought I'd post some diagrams showing what various teams do. Please chime in as well with different names for plays, as different coaches call the same play by different names.

All kinds of information (these pictures) can be found here: http://smartfootball.com/tag/option

Play 1: Zone Read (Read Option)


The offensive line zone blocks and leaves one defensive end (circled) unblocked. The QB then looks to see what this end does. The end picks one player and the QB's job is to make sure the other player has the ball.

There are variations on this (bubble screens etc) that are very nuanced and again, Chris Brown goes over them here http://smartfootball.com/run-game/the-zone-read-gun-triple-option-and-the-quadruple-option

Play 2: DT Read Option (Midline Option)


Very similar play, but here a DT is left unblocked. Lots of teams do this against stud DTs (Oregon optioned off Glenn Dorsey some)

Play 3 - Inverted Veerinvert

The big differences here are that you now have a pulling guard and you leave someone unblocked playside. http://smartfootball.com/run-game/what-is-the-inverted-veer-dash-read

Michigan used this play to dismantle OSU last year as Brian pointed out here: http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-inverted-veer-ftw

Typically your pulling guard and playside tackle would both serve as lead blockers on the 2nd level, but as noted elsewhere Borges and Hoke don't like leaving linemen unblocked. What worked against OSU was the LBs getting caught in the wash and Denard being awesome. I can't find an exact diagram of how we draw it up, but they still option off a DL, then get blocks elsewhere.

So how did Bama blow this up completely? Do we need to worry about teams doing this in the future? By being way more talented and maybe. What Bama did was "absorb" blockers and control them. Hopkins can't block #1, who forces a give. Omameh and Schofield are stuck double teaming DTs and can't get to the next level. Barnum is beat to the hole. If this was a true read play (I dont' know, and as mentioned, the coached don't like unblocked DLs) Hopkins should be on the 2nd level as well. option-2

Do we need to worry about other teams doing this? Maybe, but I don't know who else will have the talent to. If a DL tries to pick off the lead blocker AND force a give, AND 2 DL force double teams so that our OL can't get to the 2nd level AND their LBs beat our pulling guard to the hole... then yes, we're in trouble. I don't think the talent disparity will be as big in future games. If it is, our option game will get blown up.





September 5th, 2012 at 12:19 PM ^

I don't know what more we can learn from focusing on these plays. I think that the analysis already done has far outreached the knowledge we have.

If there is a read on this play, we don't know what it is. It hardly matters because this play is not going to work regardless of who keeps the ball.

One thing is clear, there doesn't appear to be a running lane for anyone. There appears to be 9 guys within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage near the tackle box playing run. Neither edge is clean and all 4 LB ( I guess one of them has to be a safety?) are unblocked and waiting. Whatever the blocking scheme was it does not appear to be working.

It looks to me like Michigan should be passing on this D but we know how everyone hated that idea. If in the future, defenses commit 9 guys to stopping the run then I expect Michigan to pass. Hopefully, the WR will be able to win their one on one matchups more often next time.

However, I do not expect very many other teams to be able to blow up Michigans run blocking like Alabama did on this play.

Greg McMurtry

September 5th, 2012 at 12:01 PM ^

The TE blocks the MLB #35 and lets the more playside OLB (I think he's #33) run free.  It is then the pulling guard Barnum's responsibility to block #33--which is impossible--(#33 makes the tackle.)  I don't know the blocking schemes, but it just seems that the TE allowing the OLB run right past him creates a huge problem for Barnum who's never going to be able to get there in time to make the block.  Which would make Borges' comments more sensible in that poor execution led to stagnant offense.


Edited: I originally incorrectly said Schofield, but I've replaced that with the TE.


September 5th, 2012 at 1:03 PM ^

My main point was to try to show a few of the plays that are drawn up, there seemed to be confusion (not from you, but from others) in the first thread as to what a Zone Read was, what the Inverted Veer was, etc.

How often (and how successfully) we run read option plays is one of the issues in question. We only ran them 7 times, should we do more of them? Both in 2010 and against Neb and OSU read option plays worked really well. Should we run more than 7 of them? Was not running them enough our downfall?

I'd actually say not in this case. Our downfall was Bama dominating the line of scrimmage and blowing up what we wanted to do with this play. With it failing as badly as it did, why keep running it against them? That said, I think in general we should be running read plays often, as it utilizes Denard's legs in a great way. 


September 5th, 2012 at 8:14 PM ^

Looking at it right there the only thing that's even a plausable gain is having Denard keep, Smith turns upfield and chops the first free LB headed at him and Drob turns on the jets to the sideline for a gain of MAYBE 2.  The WR there seems to be getting an okay block at least.  x_x

But yeah, it's Wednesday.  Other than the official UFRs I think it's time for even us fans to focus on Air Force and pretend that last week is in the distant past.


September 5th, 2012 at 11:12 PM ^

Oregon tried running mid-line option against Auburn but Nick Fairley pretty much destroyed the gameplan by himself. He was too fast for Oregon to be able to execute it.

Yes, scheme helps but sometimes having great players on the defensive side can render it useless like Fairley for example despite Auburn has a below average defense.


September 5th, 2012 at 11:56 PM ^

If we play Bama again before we upgrade talent at nearly every position (Except LT), we're screwed. Anything we can do right now, they have the personel to defend. Our ONLY hope in this game was Denard simply outrunning their perfection. No plan or set of plays was going to get by them.