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Montana State's Unique Zone Run Game (With Film)

Posted by Lucas David on

Having a great scheme such as Zone Run Game may manufacture a big x-factor for your offense. Montana State Offensive Coordinator, Taylor Housewright, shares some thoughts on how their unique way of playing it creates leverage in their favor. If you have an athletic quarterback, that may be what you're missing on your playbook for the season.

It's not wrong to say that first and foremost: it's all about being aggressive. Aggressive pulls or aggressive gives are the firestarters of the way we look to play this scheme. Attack the perimeter and take advantage of the insane numbers you can create out of it.

This article is taken directly from our video release The Montana State Offense: The Complete Series.

In this article we're going to talk more about the Montana State Run Game. Watch the video below or keep reading to learn more.

Zone Bash

And a golden rule for Tight Ends: you don't duck walk to the C-Gap Defender and go, it's a straight downfield block. 

In a situation where the read guy is the C-Gap Player, and you have a Tight End, or H-Back, playing sniffer, you don't wanna miss time duck walking into the read and then going downfield, it's a straight release downfield looking for an aggressive block, in a way of running outside zone out of certain formations, when you don't want to just cut off that defensive end.

Montana State Zone Bash

When you have someone who can work as an "aggressive pull", keeping the ball and running it downhill, you'll want your scheme to be an influence play, having people running into the point of attack. On the backside, you'll have the Tight End arching around to block the corner and the single side receiver making a crash block. For blocking purposes, coach Housewright explains that they have a different terminology for the receivers.

If it's a 2nd level block, they call it Crack, if its a 3rd level block, then it's called Crash. It allows the receiver and TE to switch lanes, putting your big body Tight End to engage a cornerback on the perimeter, creating a huge lane for the QB and letting him be an athlete. You won't need killer blocks, you'll just need your Tight End to latch on and "be velcro" with his defender.

Montana State Zone Run Game

Inverting the RB and QB

Having a term to work as a tag to invert Running Back and Quarterback duties will create a lot of advantage. Everything remains the same: blocks, reads, direction, but their assignment. When that tag is called, it changes from an "aggressive pull" to an "aggressive give" from the Quarterback to the Running Back. That's another way to have speed in space, while attacking the perimeter.

Montana State Zone Bash End Zone Shot

Double Tight End

You can also run the "aggressive keep" with two Tight Ends formations. In the example below, we have a Tight End and a Wing. Both will arc release to look for work outside of the read guy, who remains the same C-Gap Player. They may kick-out if needed but their primary goal is to win the perimeter.

Montana State Double Tight End Zone Run Game

Unbalanced Formations and RPOs

It's even possible to put both tackles to play at the same side, leaving your TE unattached to the other side where he can run an arrow route to help the QB, in case he keeps the ball, stretching the field to the other side of the point of attack.

Montana State Unbalanced Zone RPO

Split Flow

Montana State Split Flow Bash Diagram

Another good way of creating problem for the defense on recognizing what your offense is doing is by adding split flows. Tight End is always coming across acting like he will influence and block the C-Gap Defender but instead he will arch around. If the defense split flows with the Tight End, we are running outside zone. If they don't, we are telling the QB "aggressive pull" and to look for space outside.

Motions are also a good tool in the scheme. In this example below, we got a Zoom Motion that adds a second blocker to the design. Receiver blocks the 2nd widest from the sideline, Tight End blocks the 3rd widest from the sideline. It's all about creating numbers moving players to influence in our favor.

Montana State Split Flow Bash Picture

Jet Sweep Wrinkle

The scheme is also "empty backfield" friendly, working really well with Jet Sweeps.

Montana State Empty Jet Sweep Wrinkle

Everything remains pretty much the same. The only difference is the Wide Receiver running the sweep instead of the Running Back on an outside zone run, and the speed adjustments that it takes in the mesh point. The single side receiver gets a crack tag, going for the 2nd level, and the Tight End splits like he is going for the C-Gap defender, bluffs, and keeps arching outside for the perimeter.

Want More?

Watch more clips from this presentation from Montana State Offensive Coordinator Taylor Housewright HERE.