If you want to put a smile on the face of an old-school football coach, ask him about Iso. Iso is pretty much the definition of ‘grown man football’. Like inside zone, Iso is a straight line run right through the heart of the defense. While inside zone uses zone blocking, Iso is a man-on-man, brute force play where size, brutality, and technique win the day. Iso takes football back to its primitive roots of football in a phone booth. Iso ignores any concept of misdirection, it is just a blocker, a defender, a ballcarrier, and the best man wins.
It is possible to run Iso from a variety of formations, but running it from the I formation is probably one of the most popular methods. When Texas A&M is in a short yardage situation or needs to run clock late in the game, they line up in the I-formation for Iso. Iso gets its name because of an isolation block on a linebacker, usually the middle linebacker. The offensive line double-teams a defensive lineman at the point of attack and the fullback lead blocks on the Mike LB, that is Iso in a nutshell.
Here is traditional Iso against a 4-3 defense. Wide receiver and slot stalk block. LT base blocks WDE. LG and C double-team 1-tech to BSLB. RG and RT double-team 3-tech to SLB. TE base blocks SDE. Two interior double teams open a hole in interior. FB leads through hole and isolates on MLB. RB takes handoff from QB and follows FB through to third level of the defense. Man-on-man, big-on-big blocking, this is football at its most basic.
When A&M faced Auburn in 2021, the Tigers loaded the tackle box with 10 players. When there are 10 inside the box against 22 personnel, there are no double teams, you block your man and over power him. You beat your man and open a hole and the FB and RB do the rest. Basic fundamental football. You and the man across from you, someone is going to win. It is the ultimate test of wills.
In the 4th quarter of the Auburn game with 2:01 remaining on the clock, A&M came out in 22 personnel. This is the four minute offense, taking a sledgehammer to the defense, just grinding out yards and grinding down the clock. Max Wright is at boundary TE and Jalen Wydermyer is at field TE. Ainias Smith is the lone wide receiver to the field. Zach Calzada is under center with Earnest Crownover at FB and Isaiah Smith at RB.
At the snap, Auburn blitzes the boundary A and B gaps. Max Wright picks up the B-gap blitz and throws him down like a sack of laundry. LT Jahmir Johnson picks up the inside slant by the 3-tech. LG Kenyon Green picks up the A-gap blitz, is initially driven back, and then takes him down. C Bryce Foster loses leverage off the snap (low man wins) against the 1-tech, but the DT is tripped when Green throws the blitzer onto his legs. RG Layden Robinson loses leverage early but is able to anchor. RT Reuben Fatheree picks up the outside slant of the SLB and shields him outside. Wydermyer fan blocks the strong edge outside. Smith stalk blocks the CB. Crownovers runs through the field B gap and executes a perfect cut block on the MLB. Isaiah Spiller takes the ball, cuts upfield outside Crownover’s block, and is in the second level. Result of the play is a 10 yard gain.
Iso is victory through brutality at its core, executed correctly the play possesses a savage beauty.
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE
Pingback: PLAY BREAKDOWN: Texas Runs Split Zone Insert Iso - Gridiron Heroics