The Spread Offense has changed football, no one can question that. And no where has the Spread Offense done more to change a football game, than at the Quarterback position.
Once upon a time, the Quarterback was there to simply hand the ball off. Then he became the game manager, distributing the ball to his athletes. In many offenses today, the Quarterback is as big a threat to beat you with his legs, as he is to beat you with his arm.
In no other offense is this more prevalent than in the Spread Option Offense. And the play where the Quarterback is most likely to beat you with his legs, is the Zone Read Option.
What is the Zone Read Option
The Triple Option dominated football in the 1970’s and 1980’s. As teams became more disciplined and coaches adapted, the Option was replaced by other schemes as the top threat in football.
Enter the Spread Offense.
By forcing defensive coaches to move their defenders out of the box, and defend the entire field, the Option once again became a viable attack. But to run the Option out of the Shotgun formation, we needed a threat at both the Running Back, and the Quarterback positions.
Exit the Pocket Passer.
Evolution of the Play
Zone blocking principles were popularized in NFL Offenses during the 1980s. The defenders had become so fast and disciplined, that coaches needed a way to make them wrong. Zone blocking creates the opportunity for the Running back to hit any number of holes.
In a 2-Back Offense, the Inside Zone Play has the Offensive Line block their zone in one direction. A fullback is used to kick out the end man on the line of scrimmage on the back side.
But with the Spread Offense, coaches needed a way to run the Inside Zone with only 1 back in the backfield.
And so the Spread Offense, Option Football, and the Inside Zone came together. บาคาร่า sa
The Quarterback in the Zone Read Option will read the end man on the line of scrimmage as the Running Back crosses his face to take the hand off.
Reading the End Man
If the Defensive End on the back side, who is unblocked, crashes down the line of scrimmage to tackle the Running Back, the Quarterback will pull the football and run a path through where the End left.
If the Defensive End squats and gives his attention to the Quarterback, he hands the ball off to the back. Now there is one less defender to deal with and the Offensive Line has the blocking advantage.
The Triple Option
The final aspect of the Zone Read Option is to bring a Slot Receiver or a second Running Back (usually in a Split Back formation) into a pitch relationship.
If the Quarterback decides to keep the ball based on his Defensive End read, his eyes go to a second key. That second key, called the Pitch Key, is usually the contain player on the back side (normally an Outside Linebacker).
If the contain player attacks the Quarterback, he pitches the ball to the Contain Player who may be unaccounted for. If the Contain Player respects the pitch player, the Quarterback has a clear running lane.