The inside zone lead is an effective way to attack the split side of the defense. Because the play typically hits down hill, linebackers who plug and cut sometimes cause a problem for the play. Though there may be some vertical push by the offensive line, the linebacker plugging and cutting in the hole presents some potential problems.
When we faced a defense that used this technique, we felt it would be more effective to keep that linebacker on his feet and running and getting more of a horizontal displacement of the defensive line by using a wide zone (outside zone ) scheme and technique.
In the following play, defense aligns their safety/outside backer in their 4-2-5 scheme to the field. We motion an H-back who is aligned at flanker across to the split end side. The free safety widens with the motion. On the snap of the ball the offensive line and h-back take their outside zone steps which has the effect of widening the defense as they react to not be reached.
The linebacker who was able to plug down hill and attack the fullback low must now stay on his feet to defeat the block. The fullback can now work to reach or displace the linebacker.
The defense is stretched horizontally, and the fullback and tailback can now poke a hole in the front as the fullback sticks his foot in ground and cuts vertically upfield.
The play can be seen in the video clips below:
More of the application of our outside zone scheme can is illustrated with diagrams and video in my iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays, available for the iPad and Mac here.