We previously broke down how A&M’s runs inside zone when facing an Okie front, today we’re looking at inside zone against a mug LB. Mississippi State is multiple within their 3-3-5 defensive alignment. A mug linebacker is one aligned just off the line of scrimmage between the defensive line. A LB aligning on the defensive line is called an Eagle front. We’re discussing a mug LB today, though.
The reason you mug a LB in the front is simple: different look for the offensive line. Different looks cause confusion in blocking scheme and confusion leads to poor play. You mug a LB so the offensive line has to worry about him rushing or dropping into coverage. The additional work for the OL makes this tweak in alignment worth it.
We’re all familiar with how to run inside zone, in this instance we’re looking at inside zone from 12 personnel.
The weakside slot is a TE aligned inside the weakside receiver. Both receivers push vertical and then stalk block. LT blocks the apex defender and kicks him outside. LG zone blocks the 3-tech. Center combos with LG if he needs help then goes second level. Mug front means only one other inside LB in the box. RG zones down on the strong 1-tech. RT zones down on the mug LB and buries him inside. TE zones down on the strongside DE. QB meshes with RB for handoff and goes outside. RB takes handoff and reads zone, looking to run outside TE’s block.
Executing Inside Zone Against A Mug LB
Field receiver is Ainias Smith and Jalen Wydermyer is aligned inside him. Strongwide TE is Max Wright. At the snap, Wydermyer and Smith push vertical and stalk block. Boundary receiver Jalen Preston does the same. LT Jahmir Johnson kicks out the apex defender off the line. LG Kenyon Green buries the 3-tech. Bryce Foster sees Green doesn’t need help and goes second level. RG Layden Robinson zone blocks the 1-tech. LT Reuben Fatheree buries the mug linebacker inside. TE Max Wright seals the strongside DE inside and opens a clear pathway to run. RB Isaiah Spiller takes the handoff from Zach Calzada and runs right outside Wright’s block. Spiller drags two would-be tacklers forward for another four yards.
Play result is an 8 yard gain.