As we get closer and closer to the beginning of the 2022 season, you start to look at the depth chart and speculate on who will fill holes in the roster. A&M lost RB Isaiah Spiller to the 2022 NFL Draft (4th round pick, #123 overall, Los Angeles Chargers) and the expectation is for Devon Achane to be the new starting RB for the Aggies. Earnest Crownover is a third year backup RB who played behind Spiller and Achane last season. Crownover totaled 5 rushes for 17 yards last season, with his longest rush coming on inside zone against Kent State. With Achane as the starter, Crownover is one of the players in contention for the #2 RB spot.
We previously discussed the specifics of how you run inside zone. The vertical displacement, zone double-teams, second-level blocks on linebackers, readers are familiar with what happens on inside zone.
A&M is in 11 personnel with the TE aligned to the field. The two receivers tight end side give the Aggies trips to the field. A lone receiver is aligned inside the numbers to the boundary side. The notable thing here is there is no zone-double block, the closest is the LG and center blocking on the weakside 4i. Kent State was in a Tite front with a 4i DT, a 0 NT, and a 4i DT inside, or what Coach Darrell Dickey would call an Okie front. All of the offensive line take zone steps and the LG goes second level to block the MLB. Boundary receiver goes vertical and stalk blocks. Field slot runs a smoke route to set up bubble screen. Field receiver threatens vertical and blocks for screen. RB meshes with QB and aims for strong B gap.
Executing Inside Zone
A&M is in 11 personnel with Zach Calzada at QB and Earnest Crownover aligned to his right. This is the fourth quarter of the season opener against Kent State and A&M is running out the clock. Jalen Preston is aligned to the boundary and Moose Muhammad III is the field slot. The field receiver is off the screen. There is 2:54 remaining in the game, everyone knows A&M is running the ball.
At the snap, Preston is vertical to the field and stalk blocking. LT Reuben Fatheree zone steps left and blocks the weakside edge. LG Smart Chibuzo chips the 4i over to center Luke Matthews and goes second level for the MLB. Matthews blocks the 4i DT. RG Jordan Moko takes on the 0-tech and stays on him, sealing him outside. Nice block by Moko. RT Blake Trainor zones left, gets his hand underneath the strong 4i’s outside armpit, and uses it to leverage him down. Trainor stays on top of him to keep him out of the play. TE Eli Stowers blocks the strongside OLB. Moose Muhammad runs his smoke route to the field to set up the screen pass. Earnest Crownover takes the snap from Calzada, cuts outside Trainor’s block and inside Chibuzo’s block and into the second level.
Result of the play is an 11 yard gain and a first down. Crownover shows nice wiggle and a little power on this play. Crownover is also a plus player as a FB in the I formation. At this point, Crownover is still behind Amari Daniels and Ainias Smith when it comes to the #2 RB job. Crownover’s size and power make him a nice addition in A&M’s backfield.