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LSU Outside Zone Toss

Matthew Stockman

LSU has a stable of very, very good runningbacks who have the ability to run a wide array of football plays. We have discussed their ability to run the ball inside. They do that very well. LSU also showed they could run outside the tackles as well and will frequently do it with a simple but effective toss play.

Intuitively, it is easy to understand how a team's ability to run inside and outside makes an offense more difficult to defend. In LSU's case, they've decided to augment their effective interior run game with a simple outside zone toss play. This play has been effective against some very good defensive ends and fast defenses this season and I'll expect to see a good bit of it Monday night.

The blocking scheme is very straightforward--outside zone blocking. As a refresher, we'll go through a quick review of zone blocking rules. Remember, for either inside or outside zone blocking schemes, the base rules are the same. The differences involve aiming points and which lineman involved in a double-team (or combo block) stays on the block and which man moves to the next level.

Simple and Basic Rules of Zone Blocking:

  • Center is responsible for the playside "A" gap.
  • Playside guard is responsible for the playside "B" gap.
  • Playside tackle is responsible for the playside "C" gap.
  • TE is responsible for "D" gap if he is playside.
  • Backside guard is responsible for the backside "A" gap.
  • Backside tackle is responsible for the backside "B" gap.
  • The OL will need to immediately recognize who is covered and who is uncovered. Covered means there is a defender lined up directly over the offensive lineman, uncovered means there is no one directly over the lineman. If the lineman is uncovered, he will need to combo block towards the playside and one of the blockers will move to the next level. If the lineman is covered and his backside teammate is uncovered, there should be a combo block. If the lineman is covered and his backside teammate is covered the lineman should not expect help from his teammate.

For outside zone plays, the aiming point is the playside armpit of the defender. In combo blocks, offensive lineman on the playside of the combo block should be the one who gets to the next level. Below is an example. Notice all linemen are covered sans the playside guard.


LSU runs the outside zone toss out of the I-formation. They use the fullback in this formation to lead on the edge. This pits a fullback against the first man in space--typically a DB or linebacker.

Another item of interest with this play is the wide receiver blocking. LSU likes to have the playside receiver crackback on pursuing defenders. Often the receiver will be motioned into the formation to better position him for the crack prior to the snap. This tendency is very predictable when both the playside guard and tackle are covered and with a linebacker/SS lined up off the LOS in the "alley." When you get a crisp crackback and the fullback leads on a corner, there s a lot of loud blocks on the perimeter during this play.

Below is how is how the play is drawn up, with video cut-ups following.


Along these same lines, LSU will run this play on the goalline and out of their short yardage sets.