Winning Youth Football

Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

Friday, March 26, 2010

Defending the Zone Blocking Scheme

A lot of programs have implemented the zone-blocking scheme as part of their football system at the youth level. Its easy to implement and a very effective football blocking scheme. The philosophy behind the scheme is that the offensive line will block down in unison to the play side and effectively block the defensive linemen in their zone. The offensive line in blocking their zone will work in tandem and look for the double team on the defensive linemen, scoop him, and then one of the offensive linemen will chip off and go down and get one of your linebackers. The idea is to zone block to play side, look for the double team chip to middle-linebacker, maintain and drive your man, all to the play side and the running back will get the hand-off, take some steps to play -side and look for a seam for cut-back while the defence gets "washed down".

It's a very effective scheme versus a 3 man front especially if you don't have a natural nose-tackle.

But how do you defend it?

Well, my experience taught me that against an effective zone blocking scheme I would have to switch into a 4 man front and play either a gap or stack front. In the 4 man gap front, the defensive linemen would align in the gaps and shoot through on the snap; this is an aggressive counter attack that takes away the double team, and penetrates up field making it difficult for the offensive line to get to the linebackers. It creates a more one on one battle for your defensive line and they are taught to get straight up field on the snap and not get "washed down".

The other option is to stack it up, align your four man front straight on covering the OG and OT and leave the center open. On the snap the defensive line are coached up to latch on their man, not get scooped, find and rip to the ball. By latching on their man it takes away the double team chip and leaves your middle linebackers free to flow to the ball.

Both alignments can be effective against the football zone blocking system. I have found that the defensive linemen have preferred the gap alignment more especially when battling a larger offensive line. Either or, it gives you a couple of options to consider when facing a zone blocking scheme in youth football.