Football Friday: A Zone Read Tutorial

Josh-Snead-9-21-10We know Duke will be running a new offense in 2013 because Coach David Cutcliffe has stated so on multiple occasions. He has stated the offense will be more run oriented including designed quarterback running plays and he has stated he desires to play faster. A faster pace equals the opportunity to run more plays and makes it difficult for the defense to substitute players on and off the field.

Duke’s offense will certainly be multifaceted mixing up running plays and passing plays out of multiple formations. Spectators at Wallace Wade Stadium as well as those watching on their television should expect to see a mix of one and two back formations, double tight end formations, three wide receiver formations and empty backfield formations.

The Zone Read will be an important element of Duke’s new offense so it makes sense for Duke fans to educate themselves on how the Zone Read works. In today’s environment, there is no better place to look for information than on the internet.

Before looking at the basics of the Zone Read, let’s take a look at throwing screen passes out of a Zone Read formation. Duke has had much success utilizing short passes such as screens to augment the running game. Tossing screen passes out of a Zone Read formation is an opportunity to mix some old with some new.

Take a look at this YouTube video for an explanation of screen pass options and blocking assignments designed to give the receiver room to run. The jet sweep, which Duke has utilized in past years, is also incorporated into the play. In addition to the video, this article discusses the use of various screen passes.

The Zone Read running plays are designed to gain four, five or six yards each time they are successfully executed. When the defense makes a mistake the opportunity is ripe for the runner to break off on a long run.

When combining the Zone Read with the desire to play faster, is there a better example than the Oregon Ducks? Turning once again to YouTube, here are three nice videos (10, 11 and 6 minutes) explaining the Inside Zone Read, the Outside Zone Read and the Power Play.

The Blue Devils head into 2013 with an experienced and talented offensive line plus depth at running back as two known strengths. The opportunity to see Josh Snead, Jela Duncan, Juwan Thompson and Shaq Powell wearing down defenses running behind blocks from Laken Tomlinson and company has me excited for sure.

With the depth Duke possesses at running back, a two running back formation makes sense. This isn’t a problem as the Zone Read can be executed with two backs as this article on the California Golden Bears illustrates.

Seeing as we know Duke loves to throw the football, let’s once again look at the screen pass with this article explaining how Oregon executes the Bubble Screen. As the article explains, the Bubble Screen prevents the defense from cheating extra defenders into the box.

Finally, throwing the ball down the field stretching the defense must be a priority for a team with a wide receiver the quality of Jamison Crowder. How does the play action pass work into the mix? Well you can do it like this, or like this or like this.

I hope you readers liked this short simple article and more importantly I hope you gained an understanding of some things we are likely to see from Duke in 2013 with the implementation of the Zone Read Offense.

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