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The Falcon Shotgun Zone Read

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© April, 2012


by Adam Griggs
Offensive Line Coach • Bentley University

In any shotgun offense, it is vital to the success of the run game to be effective at the zone read game. At Bentley, all adjustments, including the determination to run power, iso, and outside zone stems from a defense’s ability to stop your inside zone. For this reason, we spend the first 4-5 days of our pre-season camp working different looks, stunts, slants, and especially back-side gap exchange for the quarterback and back-side tackles to adjust on the fly. First and foremost, our offensive linemen must all be on the same page.

Determining Whom to Attack

Identifying the front is the job of the center. His call will determine his pre-snap responsibility, but obviously we understand a defense will not always stay in their desired gaps – in fact a big part of zone is to force defenders into a different gap. Based on the down linemen and the alignment of an A gap on the middle linebacker, we make the fronts which effect all offensive linemen, tight ends, and H-backs in the scheme. A center’s responsibility is the “0” call with all linemen working to the defender relative to the center’s responsibility. The play-side guard is 1 and therefore the defender marked 1 is his responsibility, etc.

Diagram 1

The Stack Call (Diagram 1) is made when there exists a MLB over the center’s back-side shade to the play-side guard’s back-side shade. This determines that the center will be responsible for the MLB in the play-side A gaps. A Stack Call also states that a play-side tackle/tight end combination will stay “in the box” and work to the outside linebacker – not a safety. Finally, and most importantly, this will signal the back-side tackle to check a slow flowing MLB coming to the back side B gap before the turning back and sealing the back-side LB’s flow to the cutback.

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