Trips left overload, weakside inside zone

Tim May

When a team can couple an eye-catching formation with good blocking and a running back who can run through an arm tackle, it can go places.

Ohio State has run the weakside inside zone since Urban Meyer took over as coach in 2012 with his power spread offense. Penn State fans have been seeing it for a few years, too.

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So it will be no surprise to see it Saturday night when these titans of the Big Ten East meet. In fact, this is the play — let’s call it “trips left overload, weakside inside zone” — the Nittany Lions used to flip the table last week just when it appeared Illinois was primed to pull an upset. They sprung running back Miles Sanders on a 48-yard touchdown run.

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That two wide receivers up on the line on the same side of center screams illegal formation. It is only if the inside of those two receivers runs a pass route on a pass play. In this case, it’s a run all the way. There is a third receiver to that side, a tight end in a tight slot, drawing the attention of the defense to overshift.

At the snap, the line fires out in a zone-blocking scheme to the right while the running back takes a handoff intent on finding a seam through the moving A gap to the center’s right. In this case it sprung open when the center and right guard double-teamed the nose tackle, then the guard climbed to the second level and blocked the only linebacker to that side.

When Sanders burst through the hole, then ran through the safety’s tackle attempt, he was long gone.


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