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Founder and Owner of the Flexbone Association. Since 2007 we have provided the tools necessary for teams to succeed running the Flexbone Association System. Over the last ten years over 200 teams have been instructed by the Flexbone Association. I've consulted with teams and or run camps everywhere from Belfair, WA to Key West, FL. The Flexbone Association strives daily to help coaches succeed with this time tested offense, I have been a football coach for 16 seasons, currently at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, GA I played at St. Mary's Springs High School in Fond du Lac, WI under legendary head coach Bob Hyland. I've been fortunate to be part of five state championship teams (1997,1998,2002,2011,2012). In 2011-2012 St. Mary's Springs led the state of Wisconsin in scoring and set consecutive school records for points scored, Psalm 27

The Definitive Guide to Zone Dive: Part One – Introduction

Written by: Mark Kleinpeter, Former Offensive Line Coach/Athletic Director, United States Naval Academy 


One of the best complimentary plays that we run is Zone Dive.  It is a great play that I feel is necessary to run this offense successfully.  While the name of the play is “Zone” Dive, that is a bit of a misnomer.  We do not use traditional zone blocking schemes on the play.

There seems to be a lot of confusion on how to block the Zone Dive correctly and when to run it.  I know a lot of people will simply run Belly or Down because there is more information out there on those plays.

In this article, hopefully you’ll get some information, ideas, and techniques that will allow you to successfully implement this play into your offense.  I will tell you from experience that the Zone Dive integrates much better into the flexbone offense than the Belly, Down, or other Wing T-type down/pull plays.


The Zone Dive is a complimentary play to the Triple Option (12/13) and Toss (58/59).  You will usually see Navy/GT/GSU run this play 5-10 times a game, although I’ve also seen them run it as little as three times and as many as 30 times against certain teams.

We run this play against all fronts, but it is especially good against a 50 defense or a 4-4 defense.  This play is great because it makes it hard for the defense to distinguish between the different plays (Triple/Zone, Toss/Zone).  The Zone Dive allows us to have a way to slow down their LB’s, and is another one of those plays that was designed specifically to fit into the system to take advantage of what the defense is doing to try to stop us.

When to Call Zone Dive 

Zone Dive is the first play that we’re going to call when the PSLB is flying outside and scraping over the top on Triple or Toss.  The first main coaching point is that we are NOT assigning someone to block PSLB.  If he shows up in our area we will block him, but we do not go into the play assigning someone to block him.

I know a lot of coaches are hesitant to call a play where the PSLB is unblocked, but you have to remember that the Zone Dive was designed for a specific purpose in the flexbone system (PSLB scrape).  When facing a squeeze/scrape defense, the play will set up exactly as designed.  PSG & PST will block the defenders responsible for Dive and PSA will block PSLB as he scrapes over the top.  Even when the PSLB plugs, he will either be blocked by the PST or get caught up behind PSG’s block on DL.  This is RARELY a negative play.

Game Situations

Zone Dive is a very good short yardage play from Spread that looks like Triple or Toss.  We will run it off  Freeze when people think we’re just trying to get them to jump offside and then we’ll snap it and run Zone Dive.  It is also a very good play to run when you are backed-up, coming out of your own End Zone.  It is an excellent “4 minute offense” play.  It is a good play if you are concerned about mesh or pitch problems.  You know there will no confusion over a read or fighting over the football on the mesh, which you shouldn’t do anyway.


We run a few tags on the play as well.  22/23 Follow will have the QB keep the ball and follow B back.  22/23 Opposite is when we run a Slot in Tail motion from playside to backside during the snap count.  Most of the time, we will run it from Heavy formation or from Trips formation to keep a 3rd blocker playside.  We have also called 22/23 Opposite Follow and run it with the B back being the 3rd blocker.


As with most of our plays, the blocking rules are dictated by PSG covered or uncovered.  The “Zone” principles mainly come into play between the PST & PSA (and sometimes Heavy Tackle).

QB – Open up like Triple or Reverse out like Toss and hand ball off to fullback

B – Run through inside leg of PSG; read same action key as Triple

PSWR – Stalk Block Deep Near Defender, Inside Peck

PSA – Go straight upfield; Block inside to out; Step with Inside foot

PST – Zone rules

PSG – Zone rules; Base 2i to 4i

C – Base/Scoop; Base shade (possible ACE/SLIP), Scoop everything else; MLB vs 6-1

BSG – Scoop

BST – Scoop

BSA – Pitch relationship or Toss motion/track

BSWR – Cut Off DND, Inside Peck

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