Sprint Draw & Iso Runs

The Iso Run & The Draw/Sprint Draw:

The Iso is probably the first or second play that is taught when kids learn to play football.  It is the simplest run play their is (besides a quarterback draw), the blocking is simple, the running is simple, but it can always guarantee 3-4 yards.  Unlike the Zone or Power runs the Iso run has less potential for a big play due to the fact that it is often run straight into the middle of the field without much of an option for a cutback, but by the end of the game the consistent 3-4 yard gains turn into 10 yard runs.  The Iso is power football at its finest.

The Iso’s name is pretty self explanatory of the goal of the run itself.  The goal is to the get the fullback isolated one-on-one with a linebacker.  The tailback will follow the fullback until the fullback blocks the linebacker, then the tailback will cut away from the defender.  If the fullback blocks the defender one way the tailback runs another.  Below is a perfect example of what this should look like, notice the tailback cuts away from the blocked defender.

For the most part the offensive linemen block the defenders directly above them.  The offensive tackles will be responsible for the defensive ends in a 4-3 defense or the outside linebackers in a 3-4 defense, the guards and the center  will be responsible for the defensive tackles in a 4-3 defense and the nose tackle and defensive ends in a 3-4 defense.  Typically either the guard or the center will not be “covered” by a defender.  If the guard is not covered he will first see if the center needs help double teaming the defensive tackle and if the center can handle the defensive tackle then the guard will block a linebacker.  The same rules apply for the center, he will first see if he needs to double team the defensive tackle over the guards and if not will block a linebacker.  Their are slight adjustments made if the Iso is aimed at an outside gap.  In these cases the offensive line will check to see if they are “covered” if so they will block the man directly over them, if not they will look to their “inside gap” and block that defender, but if their is neither a defender directly over them or in their immediate “inside gap” then they will block down as they do during Power runs.  This blocking scheme should look the same as the blocking on an inside Iso run until the fullback blocks an outside linebacker as opposed to an inside linebacker (unless the outside linebacker is aligned over the TE as is the case in the diagram above).  This blocking scheme is referred to as Gap on Down.   The other major blocking scheme is Gap on Man, in this case the offensive linemen will again read if he is “covered” or “uncovered” and then if their is someone on his “inside gap” and if their is not he will block the man immediately over him instead of blocking down.

Here is a quick video of an Iso play, sorry for the quality:

The draw is to running what the play action pass is to passing.  The offense will fake the pass to let the linebackers and safeties drop up field and then will hand off the ball to the tailback.  The drop by the linebackers and safeties should give the offensive line an extra 2-3 yards before they have to block the defenders. I will describe two variants of this bellow the Draw (Iso and Zone) and the Sprint Draw, the only real difference is that with the Sprint Draw the fullback will take an angle with his block to block any blitzing linebackers and the tight end will release on a pass pattern.  Below are diagrams of both:

The blocking for the Draw is very simple in how it must be executed.  Every player has a very simple job, but if they do not do their job the play will be stopped for a loss.

The quarterback must complete a five step drop just as he would for a typical pass play before he hands the ball off to the tailback.  The receivers also must react as if they were running routes for a passing play.  This is essential as it pulls the defenders further away from the play giving the tailback more space to run.  If the quarterback and the receivers properly deceiver the defense most defenders will be ten to fifteen yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is given to the tailback.  The offensive lineman (and sometimes the tightend and fullback) must also first take a step back as if they were pass blocking.  As soon as the defenders begin to rush the quarterback the offensive linemen then begin their run blocking.  The tackles attempt to turn the outside defenders even further to the outside.  By doing this the tackles cause the defenders to run right past the tailback right as the tailback receives the handoff.

The interior offensive linemen (the guards and center) will block just as they would in on an Iso run play or an Inside Zone play.

If the Draw is being run as an Iso Draw  then the offensive linemen read “covered” or “uncovered”, then look at their “inside gap” and then either block Gap on Down (where the block down) or Gap on Man (where they block the man directly upfield).  The blocking here is the exact same as described above for the Iso run.

If the Draw is being run as a Zone Draw then the offensive linemen read “covered” or “uncovered” and will block as they would for an Inside Zone run.  The “covered” offensive linemen will block as they do during the Iso run and the Iso Draw.  The “uncovered” offensive lineman will drive toward the defender’s inside leg initially (this is the defender who is covering  the “playside” offensive lineman).  Once the offensive lineman has reached where the defender’s inside leg initially was he will then either continue his double team of the defender or, in most cases, head up field to block a linebacker.  This should take only two steps, one to reach the back leg and one to continue the double team or head upfield.  The offensive lineman will help with the double team as long as possible before attempting to head up field to block a linebacker.  Typically one of the guards and the center will be covered, while the other guard will be “uncovered” and will aim for the back leg of the defender over the center and then head up field to block a linebacker.

Peyton Manning is excellent in his role with the Draw

With both Draw plays if the Draw is run out a two back set the fullback can also head up field to block a linebacker.  The tailback will then either run into the hole left by the defender who rushed off the outside (who was turned outside by the offensive tackle) or will follow the fullback.  If the tailback runs into the hole left by the outside rusher there should be no defenders except for a single outside linebacker between the tailback and the defensive backfield.  This linebacker can be blocked by the fullback or if there is a tightend the tightend can take the outside rusher further outside while the tackle blocks the linebacker.  If the tailback follows the fullback he can ensure that the fullbacks block is correct, this is the same theory as with the pulling guard in the power play.  The tailback takes an angle with his run that ensures the fullback is between him and the defender.

Here is some video of Michigan running the Draw.

The Sprint Draw is very similar to the Iso Draw described above.  The blocking is performed exactly the same way as the Iso run.  The only real difference is that with the Sprint Draw the fullback will take an angle with his block to block any blitzing linebackers and the tight end will release on a pass pattern.  Typically the tight end will run a drag, while the X receiver runs a deep-dig and the Z receiver runs a post, as shown above.  In this case the QB will read hi-lo because the routes are essentially a combination of the Shallow Cross and NCAA Pass patterns.   Below is the diagram again:


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