Marrying Backside Zone Doubles With Frontside Gap Doubles


In a previous article I wrote about the benefits we gain from using inside footwork on our gap double teams. One of the reasons I decided to wait to publish in another article is how well it marrys with our backside zone double teams. When a gap scheme play is called, we know are stepping with our inside foot first. When a zone scheme play is called, we know we are stepping with our playside foot first. These two rules are known by our players day one, and when they are used properly the footwork of our frontside gap double teams are nearly identical to the footwork of our backside double teams on inside zone.

GUARD – We make our zone double team calls based on covered/uncovered players on the offensive line. For the remainder of this post, we are going to assume a Right Guard and Right Tackle have made a backside zone double call from a 3 technique to a backside linebacker stacked over them. The goal of the guard is to try and turn the shoulder of the defensive lineman, and work to his landmark on the linebacker, all while staying square throughout the play. In order to do this, the guard must have a great Position and Power step. The key part of any block regardless of scheme is our first two steps which we call our Position and Power step. The guards position step should be at a 45 degree angle gaining ground. This step needs to be quick and should put the guard in an ideal Position to execute his power step and make contact. The guards Power step is the most important and difficult step on a backside zone double. In order to not get pressed into his inside gap, and instead help his tackle on the double team. The guard’s Power step must gain ground, get vertical, and get into the ground before making contact with the defensive lineman. The alignment of the linebacker dictates what body part the guard contacts the defensive lineman with, and how long he is able to stay on the double team. If the linebacker is stacked over the 3 tech or further backside (an alignment we refer to as THICK) the guard knows he has more time to get to the landmark on his linebacker. He can use his shoulder against the defensive lineman, and stay on the double team longer before he presses off square on his angle to the linebacker. This allows him to have a better chance to get movement and get the defenders shoulder turned on the double team. If the Linebacker is inside of the 3 tech or further frontside (an alignment we refer to as THIN) the guard knows he doesn’t have as much time to get to the landmark on his linebacker. He can only use his hand against the defensive lineman’s shoulder. He must use the punch and his power step to propel him square on his angle to the landmark on his linebacker. This doesn’t allow him to get as much movement or shoulder turn against the defensive lineman, but allows him to get to his linebacker square. Allowing the runnin back to make the proper cut.

TACKLE – The goal for the tackle on a backside zone double is to get to his landmark on the defensive lineman, working the guard off to the linebacker all while working his hips square. In order to do this, the tackle must do a good job of throwing his head towards the guards hip with his position step. The tackles position step should  be flatter than the guards, but should still not lose any ground. If possible, depending on how tight the 3 is, the tackle would still like to gain a little ground with his position step. The most difficult and important part of the tackles power step is gaining enough ground to be able to start working square, but not so much ground that it crosses the position step. Once the tackle hits his landmark on the defensive lineman, he wants to fight his playside hip forward and press through the defensive lineman’s playside shoulder at the angle the tackle finds it.

The footwork of a backside zone double is extremely similar to the footwork of a frontside gap double, allowing you to kill two birds with 1 stone in practice. The major differences in these two double teams is the angle the guard must push to after contact, and the ability of the tackle to take over the playside shoulder of the defensive lineman on backside zone double teams.

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