Bob Wylie’s Coaching Points on the Backside of Outside Zone

Bob Wylie was already a rock star, well at least he was a drummer in a band, but Hard Knocks really made him popular.

While he had some memorable takes on the show, he is someone who knows offensive line play inside and out.  One of the plays he’s an expert on is outside zone.

The Outside Zone Play

The outside zone play has been one that’s been in the spotlight for several seasons now on just about every level.  

In general, it’s a play in which the offensive line is working to reach the lineman in their playside gap.  It creates a distortion of the defense as the defenders attempt to maintain their gap integrity.  As the play starts, it looks like everyone is running horizontally. The blockers will sort things out and ultimately if they are doing it right, will open a running lane for the back.

What’s interesting is that if the play is really going to hit big, the execution of the blocking of  the backside of the play makes the difference.

In his Offensive Line Seminar with NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger, a retired offensive lineman, and offensive line guru Bob Wylie use film from future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas, NY Giants guard, Kevin Zietler, and KC Chiefs guard, Stefen Wisniewski. Wylie and Baldy illustrate coaching points for the backside blocks which make the play go from a modest gain to an explosive play.

Coaching Point: Stay square, get in front of the defender and wheel

In this video, Wylie illustrates the footwork and athleticism of Joe Thomas used to hook a defender who is head up and working to the play side.

Coaching Point: Run him past the read spot

In this example, the defender works to get out in front of Thomas.  He uses his backside hand to get under the defender and uses momentum against him. The key point illustrated is to take him to the read spot of the back.  The back sees the defender get pushed past and takes it behind Thomas and into the end zone.

Coaching Point:  Keep base and don’t get collapsed. Use the inside leg as a brace, throw him outside.

Stefen Wisniewski steps playside as he should and is in front of the defender.  The defender is in the the gap behind but gets pushed in front. Wisniewski uses his feet and hand work to throw him outside and open the lane.

Certainly with all of the variations and reactions of the defense, there are many more coaching points on the outside zone.  These are three that provide a good starting point and happen often.

Get more Wylie

Wylie and Baldy covered coaching points on the run game and pass protection in his 1 hour 40 minute Offensive Line Seminar.  It’s a tremendous resource for anyone wanting to learn the details of offensive line play.  It’s available here: “Bob Wylie and Brian Baldinger – Offensive Line Seminar.”

Wylie will be making an appearance on the Coach and Coordinator Podcast soon.

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