Zone run

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The zone run in American football is a running play based on zone blocking.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

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Play description

Zone running actually has many different variations; an inside zone play or an outside zone play also sometimes wrongly labeled as the stretch (which is in fact a different play). The difference between the three popular zone plays are the aiming point and reads for the ball carrier. While the inside zone has its first landmark around the guards original position, the outside zone aims at the off-tackle area. The stretch usually reads the force defender outside. [1]

Zone blocking originates with blocking the first level (defensive line). There are usually two double teams on every zone blocking play (playside and weakside). From each double team, one of the lineman from each will work onto the next level (linebackers). Depending on the flow of the linebackers, either the drive man (inside blocker of double team) or the post man (outside man of the double team) will leave the double team in order to reach the linebacker. If the linebacker reads over the top of the double team (outside) then the post man leaves the double team in order to block the flowing linebacker. If the linebacker comes inside the double team (underneath), the drive/inside double teamer will pick up the backer. This blocking scheme creates cut-back lanes, open pockets of space through which the running back can run. Cut-back lanes are created due to an overcommitment (flow) by the defense and a seal block on the backside by linemen.

Linebacker defensive position in American football

A linebacker is a playing position in American football and Canadian football. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, and line up approximately three to five yards behind the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen, and therefore "back up the line". Linebackers generally align themselves before the ball is snapped by standing upright in a "two-point stance".

Where most plays are designed to go to a specific hole or gap along the offensive line, a zone run requires the running back to read the blocks in front of him and choose the best crease to enter. In theory this allows the offensive lineman to block the defensive linemen in whatever direction is most convenient, assuming a hole will be available somewhere.

Users

Most NFL and Division I NCAA football teams that rely on running the ball now use zone blocking schemes. The zone run has been made popular in the NFL and Division 1 because of advanced defenses, lateral speed of defensive players, and athleticism of offensive linemen and running backs.

College football collegiate rules version of American/Canadian football, played by student-athletes of American/Canadian colleges and universities

College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.

Running back position in American and Canadian football

A running back (RB) is an American and Canadian football position, a member of the offensive backfield. The primary roles of a running back are to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a rushing play, to catch passes from out of the backfield, and to block. There are usually one or two running backs on the field for a given play, depending on the offensive formation. A running back may be a halfback, a wingback or a fullback. A running back will sometimes be called a "feature back" if he is the team's starting running back.

History

The concept of Zone blocking in both the run and pass game was created by Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. However, this blocking scheme came to prominence when used by the Denver Broncos, under offensive line coach Alex Gibbs (formerly the offensive line coach for the Seattle Seahawks), and head coach Mike Shanahan.

Kirk Ferentz American football player and coach

Kirk James Ferentz is the head football coach at the University of Iowa, a position he has held since the 1999 season. From 1990 to 1992, Ferentz was the head football coach at the University of Maine, where he had a record of 12-21. He has also served as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). Ferentz played college football as a linebacker at the University of Connecticut from 1974 to 1976. He is currently the longest tenured FBS coach with one program, and as of September 2018, is the all-time wins leader at Iowa.

Denver Broncos National Football League franchise in Denver, Colorado

The Denver Broncos are a professional American football franchise based in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos compete as a member club of the National Football League (NFL)'s American Football Conference (AFC) West division. They began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) and joined the NFL as part of the merger in 1970. The Broncos are owned by the Pat Bowlen trust and currently play home games at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Prior to that, they played at Mile High Stadium from 1960 to 2000.

Seattle Seahawks National Football League franchise in Seattle, Washington

The Seattle Seahawks are a professional American football franchise based in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) West division. They joined the NFL in 1976 as an expansion team. The Seahawks are coached by Pete Carroll. Since 2002, they have played their home games at CenturyLink Field, located south of downtown Seattle. They previously played home games in the Kingdome (1976–1999) and Husky Stadium.

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