Zone Read Question

Submitted by GNM on September 7th, 2009 at 5:24 PM

I have a pretty basic question about the zone read option. I understand that on the base option play, the QB reads the backside DE. If the DE "crashes down," the quarterback keeps. If the DE "stays home," the QB hands off.

What happens when:

1) the defense is in a 3-4? Is the backside OLB the read man?

2) the defensive line is shifted playside, with the backside DE playing more inside? Is this an automatic keeper?

3) a safety walks up to the backside?

4) the backside corner blitzes?

5) stunts are employed?



September 7th, 2009 at 5:30 PM ^

1. The read is typically the last man on the line of scrimmage, not necessarily the DE.

2. Even if the DL is shifted, someone will be assigned outside contain on the backside. Whether it's a LB or a walked up safety or a stunting defensive lineman or something, SOMEBODY will have that responsibility. And if that person makes a mistake and never shows, then yeah, the QB would keep it.

3. See #1. If there's really an overload to that side, though, the QB will probably hand it off automatically or check out of the play.

4. Possible...not likely. That could be bad news for the QB, but that doesn't happen very often. Keep in mind that the QB often has the option of throwing to the slot receiver.

5. Again, stunts could be a problem. But if a DT is looping to the outside, he's probably not going to be able to corral that quarterback. That's not a matchup you want as a defensive coordinator, so my guess is that you wouldn't see too much looping/stunting from the DL against a team that runs the zone read option frequently.

There's always a defense that can stop every offensive play, and there's always an offensive play that can be trouble for every defense. It's just a matter of keeping your team out of those dangerous situations.


September 7th, 2009 at 6:00 PM ^

The only time I recall Michigan running the zone read was with Sheridan, when he ran for the TD that was not meant to be. Should we expect to see more zone read against the Irish? Especially with Denard? We could have been holding back on that play waiting for ND.


September 7th, 2009 at 6:03 PM ^

I imagine they're holding back on running the zone read with Denard much. He played in a Wing-T in high school, which rarely (if ever) put him in shotgun, let alone made him read the DE like this.

We ran it several times with Tate. He's not that great at running the play either, though. He kept it a couple times when he should have handed it off. I think he was trying to do a little too much, but I think that will improve once he watches the film.