Big Misconception About Zone Blocking

Another good one from Coach Bill Mount Joy:

One of the BIGGEST misconceptions about ZONE plays is that the entire O-Line zone blocks. You only ZONE from the “BUBBLE” to the next man out towards the callside. APPLY the “Uncovered/’covered” rule: If you are uncovered – zone with teammate towards call. If you are covered – zone with teammate away from the call. If you are BOTH covered – MAN block!


1. NO BUBBLE – NOBODY ZONE BLOCKS. All 7 “MAN” with a “DRIVE” block (on IZ), or a “REACH” block (on OZ):


2. ONE BUBBLE – YOU HAVE ONE ZONE COMBINATION (EXAMPLE: ZONE PLAY RT.) – Only the uncovered man (Center) & his play side teammate (RG) ZONE. The other 5 all “MAN” block.


3. TWO BUBBLES – YOU HAVE TWO ZONE COMBINATIONS (EXAMPLE: ZONE PLAY RT.) – the uncovered LG ZONES with the Center, & the uncovered RG zones with the RT. The other 3 all “MAN” block.


4. THREE BUBBLES – YOU HAVE THREE ZONE COMBINATIONS (EXAMPLE: ZONE PLAY RT.) – the uncovered LT zones with the LG, the Center zones with the RG, & the RT zones with the RE. The 1 remaining OLM “MAN” blocks.


REMEMBER: Zone blocking BEGINS at the “bubble” & zones TOWARDS the play side (RIGHT in all examples above). “NUMBER OF BUBBLES” = NUMBER OF DOUBLES!!!


Thank you to Bill Mountjoy for sharing this information. Finding ways to eliminate rote memorization of formations allows your players to align in many more formations easily and thus makes your offense very multiple. There are several methods of naming formations to accomplish this and Coach amount joy shares his here:

How we use MANY formations by moving only ONE MAN (*”H”).

Below is the THEORY behind our Offense. NOTE: QB may be UNDER, or in “Pistol”:


The easiest approach – and the logical one – is to think of the set-up as you would the “I”. But, now you have the “I” fullback up near the L.O.S. on either side, and he is called the “H” back.







Much of your motion comes from moving your “H” from one side to the other. The movement creates problems for the defense in that they must determine how to support the corner of the defense and at the same time account for coverage on each receiver.

By being close to the L.O.S., the “H” back has a higher percentage block than your ordinary “I” fullback would have. At the same time, the “H” position allows a quicker release if he is to be a receiver. Of course, he is not the running threat that your “I” fullback would present, but most “I” teams do not run the fullback as a feature anyway. In addition, you do not have the versatility (of having strength to either side on the snap) that you have in the “I”. However, the position close to the L.O.S. does compensate for all of this by being a more effective blocker and receiver as a “H” back (and forces the defense to protect an extra gap). And with the created defensive problems (with movement) as an “H”, it more than compensates for the reduced element of surprise. We use our “Counter-Gap” play to keep the defense honest and not over-compensate for the position of the “H” back. A very effective play.

101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays illustrates a similar simple offensive formation system that allows you to move the H-Back or Slot Receiver with a number system. The number system extends into the motions and very little terminology is necessary which means it’s easy for the players to learn. Get it from the iBookstore for you iPad here:

Bill Mountjoy – A Wealth of Football Knowledge

Years ago, I was fortunate to have come across a great football mind on jerry Campbell’s forum. I was a high school coach at the time and I was developing my systems, and Bill was kind enough to respond to my emails, take my phone calls, and send me materials. You can find coaching points from him on almost any offensive topic on Jerry Campbell’s football forum. He’s one of the many great coaches willing to share his knowledge with others. Coaches like Bill Mountjoy have inspired me to write about and share what I have learned about football and coaching with others.


Here is a biography on this legendary coach:

Has 33 years of High School football coaching in Virginia – most of it as Head Football Coach at 6 different High Schools (including 6A state power Deep Creek HS in Chesapeake, Va, from 1982 thru 1986). Four of his former High School players played in the NFL, including “Parade All-American” James Farrior (2005 All-Pro Lber with the Steelers), AND “Parade All-American” Darren Perry (9 year starter at Free Safety for the Steelers, & now the Packers Secondary Coach).

Won the 1971 VAAC Private School State Championship at Huguenot Academy.

Coached 5 years on the college level (including Offensive Assistant at Division III National Champion Randolph-Macon College from 1968 to 1971) and Passing Game Coordinator at CIAA Div. II Virginia Union University in 1995 & 1996). One of his former College players played in the NFL.

Coached 1 year of Semi-Pro football with the Richmond Ravens. During the 1987 strike – the team sent 9 players to the Redskins (including starting QB Tony Robinson) – who helped the Skins go 4-0 during the strike – including a win over the Cowboys’ regulars!

Coach Bill Mountjoy is a Life Member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), and has authored articles on football for Scholastic Coach, Texas Coach, Coach & Athlete, Gridiron Strategies, etc. He has spoken at many Clinics, including the 2006 & 2007 Mega Clinics.

I emailed coach and asked him if I could share some of his information with my readers. not only did he give me permission, he sent me more material. I will be sharing some of Coach Mountjoy’s materials over the next several weeks. Hopefully these provide you with something you can use as you prepare for the season.

The first is an article which appeared in Scholastic Coach in 1987. At the time Coach Mountjoy was coaching at Caroline High School in Milford, Virginia.

“The One-Back Formation: You Can Run From It! You Can Pass From It!”




On American Football Monthly: Pulling Linemen

I would like to thank our offensive line coach Tony Neymeiyer for his assistance with this article.
Most offenses use schemes that require a lineman to pull and block a defender on the first level or second level. I’ve heard arguments from time to time about which technique is best for a pulling lineman – a “square” pull or an “skip” pull. The fact of the matter is that each serves a different purpose and has its uses within certain schemes.
The same pull style cannot be used for every play because each play requires the pulling lineman to do different things. It’s equivalent to having to not ask a lineman to utilize the same footwork on inside zone as he would on outside zone – both plays are distinctly different from each other even though they have similarities. For the same reason, pulls must be executed based on what you want the puller to accomplish in his block.
Before we get into the specifics of each technique, let’s define each type and give examples of the schemes that use each type…more here

Learn more about the plays and schemes in which these techniques are used in my iBook for the iPad 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays. Get it here.

Game Planning Resources

Innovative Coaching Resources:

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Follow me on twitter @CoachKGrabowski

Once I became an offensive coordinator, I became immensely interested in game planning. Bill Walsh’s information was one of the few resources I could find until Brian Billick wrote his book, Developing an Offensive Game Plan. Billick’s book is the best out there on game planning.

In this post are a list of game planning resources that I have found over time. I will be sharing more on this topic in the near future on American Football Monthly. Being able to put together a solid game plan begins with a soundly structured and designed offense that provides the answers you need on game day. Read more about designing an offensive system here. My iBook presents an example of an offense that is designed to have the answers needed for the defensive problems faced on game day. It’s a great coaching resource that presents coaching information in a very dynamic way, and it is packed with details. Read more about it here and get it for your iPad here.

Bill Walsh Method for Game Planning

Bill Walsh – Practice Planning and Game Planning

Brian Billick – Game Planning and Openers

Brian Billick- Implementing and Practicing an Offensive Game Plan

Points of emphasis for defensive game planning

Game planning defensive coverages

How to design a football offensive gameplan

Practice planning and game planning

Game plan nuggets

Jenks football-video of Dub Maddox going through a week of game planning and preparation. Some great nuggets here.

Preparing defensive game plan key to winning

Developing an Offensive Game Plan. Buck

Offensive Game Plan You Be You -Strong Football

Dan Gonzalez – assembling a game plan pt1

Dan Gonzalez – assembling a game plan pt 2

How to develop an offensive game plan

Play Action as Part of the Game Plan

Youth Football Presentation that includes game planning

Coaches Checklist for Offensive Game Planning

Tyrone Willingham – AFCA 2002

Laying out the Game Plan

Coaches Check List for Offensive Game Planning

A Day-By-Day Look at Offensive Game Planning

Mike Kelly-Designing an Offensive Game Plan

HS Offensive Game Planning- Down/Distance, Situations and Numbers

What goes into a game plan?

Andrew Coverdale – Off Season Game Planning

How Chip Kelly Game Plans for Opponents

Penn State Game Planning

Football: Creating an Offensive Game Plan

How to prepare a defensive game plan in youth football

Gettysburg HS Game Planning

Game Preparation: Breaking Down the Offense
Points of Emphasis for Defensive Game Planning

3 Keys to Defensive Game Planning – Strong Football

Coordinating your call sheet and practice scripts

An inside look at Jon Gruden’s game plan

VMI Special Teams Organization and Game Planning

How an NFL staff divides the game planning duties

Urban Meyer – On Edge Teaching/Coaching

I’ve written some posts about “On Edge Coaching” and the clinic talk I heard of Urban Meyer’s in 2012.  Here is the entire clinic talk on video.  He speaks about a number of topics, but around 20 minutes in he speaks on how he wants the Buckeyes to be taught and coached through “direct teaching.”  He makes a point of using the technology and tools available to teach rather than just present to players, and to keep them on the edge of their seats.  Meyer says, “The greatest teaching tools available in the history of this sport are now available to you…The days of saying, ‘I don’t use that’ are not acceptable at the Ohio State University.  We’re going to be on the cutting edge of every teaching tool that is available.”

Here are the three posts that directly relate to this topic.  Each includes a review of apps that allow you to maximize your coaching.

On Edge Coaching and an app to maximize it

On Edge Coaching Pt.2 and another app

Another App for Interactive Position Meetings

Here are some other posts related to this topic:

Utilize Technology to Teach and Coach

Distributing Your Interactive Playbook

Playbook of the Future

Improving Learning through the Use of iPads

Retention of Learning

When you break it down, most of us really do similar things in our concepts and schemes.  Obviously, talent is a part of success on the field, but even more important is how we teach and prepare our players with the details necessary for them to win each play.  Being able to use the best tools available allows us to maximize our coaching.

My iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays delivers content in a powerful way.  Read more about it and what is included here.

Downhill Pistol Running Game

I’ve written a number of articles that provide the information and detail necessary to get you started on putting together a powerful downhill running game from the Pistol. These runs are not necessarily limited to the pistol set and can be adjusted to be run from many backfield set. If you’re familiar with the way I present information, you know you will get plenty of diagrams, coaching points, and video cut-ups to illustrate each play and technique being discussed.

It all starts with the zone running game and teaching gap responsibility. Learn how to create a multiple zone running game here:

A Multiple Run Game with the Zone Scheme

Combination blocks are an important part of zone and gap schemes. Get details on combination blocks here:

Distort and Displace with Double Teams

We use two gap schemes that we teach in a very similar way. Learn about our Power and Counter schemes in the following links:

One Back Power Concept

Add Multiplicity with a Flexible Run Scheme-The Counter Play

Hit the perimeter with Pin and Pull Sweep. It’s a flexible scheme that can be run with the running back, quarterback, or a receiver in motion:

The Pin and Pull Sweep

Sweep Action to Enhance the Inside Running Game

Of course all of these runs and more are detailed, illustrated and shown in video (over 30 minutes worth of game film) in my iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays available now for your iPad from the iBookstore and later this fall available on your Mac as well.

Click the link to get it from the iBookstore: