• Outside Zone: Stretch, Full Reach and Flex Blocking Scheme

    The objective on the outside zone play is to initially try and get the ball outside. With that in mind, the offensive line is trying to force a hook block on all down defenders. Line splits are reduced to one foot when a play calling for outside zone blocking is called in the huddle and just as with inside zone the outside zone scheme uses the covered and uncovered concept.

    There are three main types of outside zone schemes, outside zone with quick combos (stretch), full reach outside zone and a hybrid flex outside zone. Each type is designed to attack a different area:


    If the lineman has a defensive lineman on him he will execute the stretch-reach block. With a defender that is head up or on the play side shoulder, the first step is a short four to six inch lateral step to the call.

    The second step is directed toward the outer half of the defenderís body cylinder. Once the first two steps are taken, he is ready to strike and drive the defender in the direction of his movement. The key difference between the inside and outside zone scheme on this block is the aiming point of the lineman.

    The uncovered lineman will also execute a stretch step, however, rather than going laterally, he will step down at the defender covering his play side teammate aiming at the defenders helmet. Just like with inside zone by stepping at the defender, he is able to stop a slant, however unlike the inside zone this step must be more of a lateral step.

    The second step by the uncovered lineman is a crossover step directed at the middle of the defenderís body cylinder. If the uncovered lineman executes the first two steps properly, his head should be on the call side of the defender if the defender slants inside.

    The covered lineman once recognizing the slant would put his backside hand on the defenders call side shoulder to prevent penetration and climb to the linebacker.

    If the defender were to play straight ahead, the covered lineman would work to cutoff the defender.

    The uncovered lineman will take his stretch step, crossover, punch through the down defender and climb to the linebacker.

    If the covered lineman attacks the outside shoulder of the defender and the defender widens with him, the covered lineman will attempt to cutoff the defender's outside movement.

    If the covered lineman is unable to reach the defender after three steps, he will adjust his pressure from the outside shoulder to the inside shoulder and drive the defender to the outside. The uncovered lineman will stretch step, crossover and climb to the linebacker.

    If side by side linemen on the play side are both covered, then the lineman to the play side is executing a stretch-reach block on his own.

    Just as with the inside zone, if the play side guard, tackle or tight end has a down defender lined up on the inside shade, get after him immediately, stepping with the inside foot. It should be assumed he is already in a slant position so there is no need to try and stretch him. As soon as the covered lineman feels pressure from the uncovered lineman he must climb to the linebacker.

    Stretch versus an even front:

    Stretch versus an even stack front:

    Stretch versus an odd front:

    Stretch versus an odd stack front:

    Full Reach

    All of the linemen that are covered with a down defender execute what is referred to as a rip-reach block. To execute, the linemen will take a hard six inch lateral stretch step to the call side. The linemen want to out-flank the down defender on the first step.

    On the second step, the linemen are allowed to use a crossover step to the call side and rip his inside arm through the call side armpit of the defender. This is similar to the rip that a defensive lineman will use on a pass rush.

    The covered lineman will then lean on the defender after he rips through the armpit and force his stomach up field. If he does not do this, then his stomach will be facing the sideline and he loses sight of the linebacker. He will now try to escape for the linebacker.

    If the play side guard and tackle are both covered, the tackle would have his defender by himself. He would go through the stretch, crossover step and rip technique and then lean on his man, not thinking about escaping for the linebacker.

    The back side tackle will check to see if the back side guard is covered, if he is, the tackle will work with the guard even if he is also covered.

    The uncovered linemen use a technique referred to as pull and overtake. Before the linemen can overtake the down defender to the call, they first must get their helmet past him, then get on him and roll him up field. The pull must be a lateral pull. He should gain depth and distance on the first step of the pull. The one foot spilt is essential if you are going to overtake the defensive lineman.

    There will be occasions when the covered lineman cannot get unhooked from the covering defender. If this happens, the pull and overtaking offensive lineman should keep pulling and at times will have to come all the way around for the linebacker.

    As mentioned earlier, the backside tackle works with the guard if the guard is covered. This means he would pull and overtake the man on the guard.

    Assuming here that the play is going to the right, the tight end and center are both on their own and both guards and tackles are working together.

    Versus Even Front

    Versus Even Stack Front

    Versus Odd Front:

    Versus Odd Stack Front:

    Flex Zone

    The call side tight end will be responsible for the defensive end no matter the alignment. If the defensive end is an inside shade or aligned over the play side tackle the tight end will execute a down block and pin the defensive end inside.

    If the defensive end is aligned in and outside shade the tight end will execute just as he would on the stretch play by executing a stretch-reach step and attacking the tight ends outside shoulder.

    The play side tackle will pull and run to reach the Sam linebacker or first defender outside the tight end.

    If the play side guard is covered he will block his covered assignment. If the defender is aligned on an inside shade the play side guard will execute a down block.

    If the defender is aligned head-up or on an outside shade the play side guard will execute his outside zone assignment by utilizing a stretch-reach step and attacking the outside shoulder of the defender.

    If the play side guard is uncovered he will pull and run to reach the linebacker over him or to an inside shade.

    The center will execute his outside zone assignment if there is a defender covering him. If the defender is head-up or on an outside shade he will execute a stretch-reach step and attack the defenders outside shoulder.

    If the center is uncovered he will replace the guard and pull and run to block the linebacker aligned outside or over him.

    The back side linemen will execute their full reach outside zone assignments.

    Versus Even Front

    Versus Even Stack Front

    Versus Odd Front:

    Versus Odd Stack Front:

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