One good thing about an extended off-season is we get to learn more about the new offense Coach Joe Moorhead has brought to Oregon before seeing it in action. Okay, not exactly a great consolation prize: we want to see it now! Hey, I’m just trying to make lemonade here.
Today’s flavor: coach Moorhead’s ISO play.
The ISO–or as some are calling it, the zone insert–is a pretty simple play. Back in the day, it was primarily a man-blocking scheme, but it’s hybridized into a cross between man and zone blocking. As the name suggests, the ISO is a run play that isolates a specific defender to be blocked by a leading H-Back(Tight End/Fullback).
The offensive line blocks the ISO like an inside zone. They use the covered/uncovered principle (blocking head-on if covered, sliding down to double team if uncovered), create double teams, and release to the second level of the defense. Unlike the inside zone, however, the linemen ignore the middle linebacker, leaving him isolated for the H-Back, who leads through the gap. The running back takes a slide-step to allow the H-Back through, then follows the H-back downhill.
It’s simple, and it’s Mario Cristobal physical.
As is the case with about 99.9% of Coach Moorhead’s run game, there is an extra level of complexity created with the option of RPO’s. Coach Moorhead’s ISO play actually has two RPO’s attached to it. The first is the bubble screen to the backside: should the quarterback see the box too full, he simply zips the ball out to the bubble.
On the other side of the play, the wide receiver runs a slant or shallow post. If the underneath defender to that side plays the run too aggressively, the slant is a great option for the QB to pick up decent yardage.
The ISO play sets up pretty nicely in the clip above. The blitzing defense gets solid disruption, but the offense only needs a couple of yards. One issue created by the defense here is that the MLB is quick with his blitz, and the H-back has to absorb him rather than bringing the block to him. But the H-back stays physical and the RB (Saquon Barkley), while arguably misreading his lead block, has the strength to pick up the necessary yards.
The ISO is a great compliment to the inside zone, the staple of Oregon’s run game. It matches the downhill approach that the Ducks base their scheme around and will be a welcome play in Eugene.
Coach Eric Boles
Top Photo Credit: Kevin Cline
Phil Anderson, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is a trial lawyer in Bend Oregon.
Eric Boles was born and raised in Central Ohio, 25 minutes outside of the capital of Columbus. He was raised in a University of Michigan sports household, but at a young age, converted over to the Oregon Ducks. Eric has a degree in Psychology from The Ohio State University, and had started a second degree in Middle Childhood Education. He is also the author of one, soon to be more, children’s book.
Eric had served as an assistant wide receivers coach for the Central Ohio Technical College football program. Now he assists with the football camp provided by his local YMCA’s day camp.
For Football Season: FishDuck Back to Seven Days a Week!
I had to shut down the daily articles on July 20th because I could no longer work the extra 3 to 12 hours per week of certain managerial/editorial duties. (beyond the usual ones with FishDuck)
I’ve had a blast writing without those duties, and now, due to a new agreement with the writers, I can announce that we will have articles seven days a week again. I wish to thank the writers publicly for their graciousness in coming to a solution, as now I still do not have do those extra duties with our agreement, and meanwhile the writers are back having fun creating articles as I am.
Everybody is happy! So below is the new schedule through football season:
Monday: Mr. FishDuck
Tuesday: Darren Perkins
Wednesday: Joshua Whitted & Mr. FishDuck
Thursday: Coach Eric Boles & Alex Heining
Friday: David Marsh
Saturday: Mr. FishDuck (GameDay Baby!)
Sunday: Jordan Ingram
A couple of writers could not join us as they have new projects in their lives, and cannot write for anyone at the moment–but perhaps we will see them back later.
Things rarely work out so well for all parties in agreements, but this time it has and truly….everyone wins!
Our 33 rules at FishDuck can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!
FishDuck members….we got your back. No Trolls Allowed!