We’ve talked extensively on how to run inside zone here and the importance of defensive run fits to stop inside zone. Today we’re looking at how to run inside zone against an Okie front. An Okie front is simply a three-man defensive front with a defensive lineman on the center and on/outside the tackles. Terminology differs from team to team, but Okie became a name synonymous with a three-man front because of Oklahoma’s use of the 3-4 back in Bud Wilkson’s days.
Mississippi State runs a 3-3-5 defense under defensive coordinator Zach Arnett, an aggressive scheme with multiple fronts. The Okie front allows the defense to threaten the A and C gaps and leave the run fits for the B and D gaps to linebackers or apex defenders.
Two key blocks here are the left tackle and the center. The offensive line is zone blocking to their left, the defense’s right. Left tackle has the option to seal the weakside defensive end inside or seal him outside. If the weakside edge’s alignment is too wide, he can seal him outside and the offense has the option to run midzone. Left tackle zones left and blocks anyone coming into his zone, whether it be the playside linebacker or the 1-tech slanting into his area. Center blocks 1-tech and watches backside linebacker. Right guard zones left and watches backside linebacker for a blitz. Right tackles also watches backside linebacker while zoning playside. TE blocks strongside edge. Field receiver and field slot push vertical and stalk block. Boundary receiver pushes vertical and stalk blocks.
Executing Inside Zone Against An Okie Front
Demond Demas is the field receiver and Ainias Smith is the field slot. Jalen Wydermyer motions from field to the boundary pre-snap. Jalen Preston is aligned to the boundary. Zach Calzada is in shotgun and Isaiah Spiller is two yards behind him. At the snap, LT Jahmir Johnson seals the weakside edge outside. LG Kenyon Green zone steps left and then takes over the 1-tech as he’s blocked down to him. C Bryce Foster snaps the ball, knocks the 1-tech down to Green, then picks up the A-gap blitz by the playside LB. RG Layden Robinson goes second level and blocks the backside LB. RT Reuben Fatheree zones left and misses the MLB blitz outside him to his right. Wydermyer cut blocks the strongside DE.
Spiller meshes with Calzada for the handoff and heads right at Johnson to possibly run midzone. He sees the the traffic inside and cuts the run outside, and goes wide at the hash. Spiller beats the defenders to the edge and is able to get out of bounds after a 9 yard gain.