For the last decade, the zone read has established itself at every level, even into the NFL. In fact, ESPN the Magazine reported the overall read option runs were called 974 more times in 2013 than in 2011.
With the right athletes, the zone read presents multiple problems for a defense. Of course defenses have responded by coming up with multiple answers for the zone read. The most popular answer is to put the end on a chase call and gap exchange with the linebacker. If the ball goes away, the defensive lineman will chase the ball carrier down the line of scrimmage. Naturally, the quarterback should read this as a keep. The problem is that the linebacker is scraping to the outside to take the quarterback.
When defenses start to do this, there must be ways to handle it. One way to counter the defense’s tactic is to bring a lead blocker for the quarterback. This is a play that was made popular at Nevada, and now is used frequently in the NFL and collegiate level…read more