WHY GUN ZONE READ FOOTBALL?
• Best way to get ball on the perimeter and attack the outside third while creating a softer box. When the defense spreads to contain the quarterback’s zone read, the inside running game gets explosive.
• Don’t need dominant offensive linemen to have success in the gun option game.
• Makes defense play assignment football by defending the gun zone read on every play. Forces defense to be disciplined.
• The gun zone read by the quarterback will help your pass offense dramatically especially RPO’s because the defensive secondary starts to limit their coverages that you will face. It predicts secondary coverage.
• The gun zone read controls random blitzing. One wrong stunt and its six points.
• The gun zone read neutralizes dominant players by forcing them to play assignment football.
Zone Read Philosophy
• Makes the defense concentrate on defending the perimeter and at the same time must defender the box, this sets the gun zone read game.
• Multiple formations and motion shifts to run the Gun Zone Read.
• Find the flank; determine which side of the formation is softer.
• 2-back formations allow the tailback to catch the pitch on zone read as well as with some RPO’s (outside runner) and the fullback to be the inside runner.
• Utilize play action pass off the gun game; places the defense in a run play mode.
• Staff must be united behind gun zone read football and commit practice time to it.
• Run multiple options with zone read.
• Get ball onto the perimeter of the defense. Makes defense defend entire field.
• Employ the deep passing and sprintout game to prevent the defense from ganging up on the option.
• Run an offense – not a bunch of unrelated plays.
• Personnel – what can your people do! Quarterback is the key! He must be your best competitor, regardless of ability.
• Offensive staff must research their read option coaching assignments. Putting in the zone read takes commitment and work.
• Use motion to try and cause confusion with the defensive assignments.
COMMON OBJECTIONS FOR NOT RUNNING MULTIPLE READS FROM THE GUN
1. It is a High Risk Offense.
Statistically speaking, there is no evidence to support this statement. Taking care of the football is like anything else; if it is important to you, work at it. Make it a commitment to work read keys, gun snapping, ball handling, and pitch drills on a daily basis.
2. It is a Run Offense Only.
When it is working, why pass? The passing game is even more effective because of the defenses emphasis on stopping the run. You can get mismatches and coverage’s that are easily exploited.
3. Gun Zone Read Option Football Requires a Quarterback with Exceptional Speed.
Find the best competitor on your football team, doesn’t require speed it requires execution.
4. Good Weather Offense.
Double, Triple option, and Gun Snaps have been run in snow, rain, and mud. Pitches and reads stay the same.
5. Gun Snap
Hard to master, easy to put the ball on the ground, hard to mesh with backs. This is simply not true! Your players will execute what you can teach them. Work on the basic fundamentals of the gun option and you will find that this style of offense does not have any more turnovers than the more traditional schemes.
In summary, triple and double gun zone read option football allows you to attack the perimeter and box in many different ways. The gun zone read game for purposes of this presentation is an offense used to set up and control the amount of defenders playing inside the box by forcing the defense to take defenders out to defend perimeter. This is when you run your isolation plays, inside zone running game etc., are effective because the defense can’t gang up on the box, which helps control coverages, making it easy for quarterback to recognize. Depending upon how the quarterback can handle his ability to read the perimeter alignments by the defense is what makes this a sophisticated offensive, whether running or throwing the ball.
Surely the best running play is the gun option – the defense must now defend the quarterback. It’s better than others because it makes the game a 2 on 1 or a 3 on 2 proposition depending upon the number of backs in the backfield, the fewer players involved in a given area the easier it is to move the football. Gun option football uses the full width of the field and the more field used the greater the advantage to the offense.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN RUNNING YOUR GUN ZONE READ GAME
Teach your quarterback about the two outside inverts as he views the defense. This is a simple concept for counting defensive personnel and running to the side with the fewest defenders. Teach quarterback to read backside end man on the line of scrimmage for give or keep reads when running the gun option. If the defense shows you outside inverts to both sides, this means a six-man box, etc.
2 Back Gun Sets – Triple Option
Rules For Running The Two Back Options:
• Can run gun option plays to both open and tight sides. If defense gives you a 7 technique towards the Tight End side with an invert aligned outside you then can veer release the Tight End onto the outside invert and read 7 technique.
• Two backsets can be triple option plays; make sure not to run these plays into three defenders.
1 Back Gun Sets – Double Option
One way for defenses to take the triple option away is to run linebackers through the offensive line. This forces the offense into handing the ball off to the fullback. By giving the defense a look at the load option will force linebackers to have to play in a position to chase outside, or there will not be enough defenders to pursue the option wide. The load option or double option eliminates the read key and forces the 9-technique to be the option key. Usually the load option is pitched quickly and outside before the defense can react. Load option keeps the linebackers from playing tight into the L.O.S. thus, creating a softer defense in which to run your midline, isolation and zone plays.
Rules For Running Outside Load Option: Tight side and Openside
• Can run load option when your opponent has aligned with a 5 and 7-technique towards the tight end side. The purpose here is to get the trey block on the 5-technique, combo off to the playside linebacker. The quarterback will read the inside shoulder of the 7 technique. If an invert is aligned outside the 9-technique “check” to veer weak.
• Can run load option towards the openside when the defense has started to take the openside veer away with reducing five technique into a 4 technique or 4i. This play becomes a quick pitch of the outside invert. The key here is the ability when the defense reduces to combo with a Deuce using the openside guard and tackle.
• For best results run load option to a seven technique because of the combo trey block by the tackle and tight end to the playside linebacker. Quarterback will now read the outside invert.
Two and One Back Gun Zone Read Option – Quad, Triple and Double
The two and one back gun creates a whole set of problems for the defense, it ddde gives you another option when the defense has taken the inside running game away. The two back gun zone read option gives you and inside run play, a possible inside pass, a quarterback keep on the outside, and a possible pitch off the outside invert or alley player.
Rules For Running A Gun Option Attack
• Depending upon the play called the quarterback will always have the option to read the backside defensive end; this is where the option read is created.
• You want to create several releases for the backside tackle or the tight end depending upon which side you are attempting to run the gun option read. Defensive end must react to either the quarterback or running backs movement thus, giving the quarterback his read.
• The quarterback as he rides his back towards the L.O.S. will visually look to the inside jersey number of the EMLOS to determine his give or pull read.
• If the inside jersey number of the EMLOS comes down then the quarterback will know that the EMLOS is reacting to the inside run play so he pulls the ball.
• If the quarterback sees that the inside jersey number of the EMLOS moving up the field he then will know that he is playing either the quarterback or pitch if in two backs so, he will give the ball.
• By giving the quarterback options on whether or not to give the ball or keep the ball will help in controlling the box and the amount of defenders that a defense will have to defense the inside run with.
The rationale for using Multiple Formations and Gun Zone Read Option Schemes:
• Using multiple formations and backfield sets forces the defense to be assignment sound.
• Option limits the defensive package.
• Using options reads helps you with the numbers game, gives proper blocking angles.
• Helps the passing game due to the fact it forces defense to use fewer coverage’s.
• If your opponent understands that you run the multiple option plays it eliminates as many blitzes, helps blitz pick-up in the passing game.
• Gun Option reads forces the defense to take time away from regular game preparations.
Since defenses have grown more complex, the gun zone read game has expanded into Run Pass Options (RPO’s) which gives an offense the ability to create four specific areas that are dramatically opposed to each other. Whatever specific defense a team employs to stop one scheme, it will create a weakness that is exploited by the other scheme. The three basic option schemes are:
1. Quarterback Give – Inside Run
2. Quarterback Keep – Perimeter Run
3. Quarterback Pitch (must have two backs in the game to get the pitch option) – Outside Run
4. Pass Options
When you add play action and RPO’s to the passing game to this group, you create a balance to your offense. This philosophy dictates to the defense that it must remain sound against all four schemes. With the gun option game you are trying to create a balanced defense that is forced to play assignment football. If you can force the defense to do that it will open the rest of your offensive package up, thus, giving your players the best possible chance for success.
About the Author of this post:
Jerry Campbell has over 30 years of high school and college coaching experience. He has experience as a head coach, offensive coordinator, and various position coaches. He has written numerous football coaching articles in various publications, is the author of over 30 books on coaching football, and has produced 12 coaching video series. Additionally, he is a nationally sought after speaker on the coaching clinic circuit.