I barely have time to write my regular posts during the week, so here’s a quickie post about inside zone and some of the struggles Michigan is having.
First, here’s a bird’s eye view of Zach Charbonnet running inside zone:
First play after the pick— Due# (@JDue51) October 6, 2019
5 (!!!) man box
Run play is the right call
We *need* more movement.
Iowa's DL wins this battle.
Unacceptable, quite honestly. And it contributes to our pass game struggles because there's no run threat. pic.twitter.com/HoeHKAh61f
Next, here’s a look at senior Tru Wilson running split zone:
Now we got something cookin.— Due# (@JDue51) October 6, 2019
Tru with a gain of 11. Line did work. pic.twitter.com/8nKH7I9qLP
Hit the jump for more.
Those aren’t the same play. They’re different formations and game situations, so not all “inside zone” plays are equal.
The inside zone play basically has three options for the tailback when given the ball. They can either “bounce” it to the playside, they can “bang” it up behind the center, or they can “bend” it backside. This all depends on how the defensive line and linebackers play the blocking scheme. Those reads can depend on the coach, as some read the offensive line, some read the playside defensive tackle, some read the middle linebacker, etc.
Regardless, what I’ve seen too much of from Zach Charbonnet – and why I mentioned more playing time for Tru Wilson in the Iowa wrap-up post – is the “bang.” Just like the first play tweeted above, Charbonnet gets downhill immediately. He doesn’t make reads quickly enough, and he has tunnel vision; unfortunately, the tunnel he’s seeing has often collapsed.
Meanwhile, even though the playside 3-tech takes a similarly bad path in both plays, Wilson is decisive enough, quick enough, and smart enough to make the read on the fly. When the “bounce” opens up for him because the playside ILB gets caught in a stunt, Wilson hits it for a gain of 11 yards. Charbonnet would have either got caught up behind the center’s butt or tried to “bend” it backside.
This is one reason why I believe Michigan needs Wilson to get healthy. Charbonnet is a talented back, but he’s just a freshman, and the speed of the game is still problematic for him. The offense will get a boost if/when Michigan starts to rely a little more heavily on Wilson, or when you start seeing Charbonnet recognize the different cuts that are available on inside zone.
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