Utilizing Tex Stunts to Combat Zone

Twist the line to gain an extra man in the box.

One of the easiest ways to add a player to the box, and keep the outside linebackers in their cover downs can be to use a Tex stunt, or Tackle/End twist. Against heavy zone teams, the Tex stunt can be a great way to add numbers to the box without inserting a LB or spinning a safety. In the diagram below, a double Tex stunt is shown. By twisting the defensive lineman, a defense is able to gain an extra man because the play side tackle is literally blocking air. In a zone scheme, the line works together and blocks their zone. In inside zone, many teams will use “team” blocking and head-up to outside principles. This allows the defense to take advantage of zone principles.

The Tex Stunt


In the diagram above, the defense is running a double Tex stunt with a Two-Read scheme in the secondary. The Nose and the Tackle are pushing vertical through the “B” gaps, and if possible, reach the cut-off, or “C” gap. Both Ends take vertical steps then wrap inside, inserting themselves in the “A” gaps. The OLBs are holding the curl and attacking anything that bounces outside. The Mike is still responsible for the RB and inserts himself in away-side “A,” depending on which way the offense zones. The play side DE is the “free” player. The most likely scenario is the Center climbs to the Mike leaving a vacated play side “A” gap. The DE that is folding should hit the gap cleanly and make the tackle in the backfield.

The most likely scenario versus zone is the Center climbs to the Mike leaving a vacated play side “A” gap. The DE that is folding should hit the gap cleanly and make the tackle in the backfield. The away side DE should react to the zone movement away along with the Tackle. As the 3 tech. steps vertically he should notice the guard leaving him and react by closing off his backside and hold his “B” gap. The folding DE should see play away and work back down the line (cutback-QB-reverse). In theory, the Mike LB should be gapless to the backside and be able to react late to a QB pull. As the Center climbs to take him, the Mike should insert himself on the away side “A” gap shoulder. If for some reason, the Nose can’t get to cut off and the play bounces, the Will should be there to take “C” gap. Playing a Two Read behind the front allows the OLBs to hang in the curl and attack “C” gap when the ball is handed off.


A Film Study


In my previous article, I used this same play to demonstrate a way you can combat a cluster set. This play is also a great example of a Tex stunt. Even though the DE missed the tackle in the backfield it is a great example of the stunt and how it can be useful versus a zone team.

The Snap


At the snap of the ball, both interior linemen attack the “B” gaps. As the play develops, the away side Tackle allows the “over zone” and holds the outside edge. Both DEs are folding into their respective “A” gaps. The away side end will eventually go down the line.

The Center Climbs

02-insertAs the play side Tackle pushes out in the “B” gap it allows the Center to climb to the Mike. This opens the “A” gap for the folding play side DE. Even in the low-quality picture, anyone can tell this is going to hit home, the DE just has to make the Tackle. The away side DE is reacting to his closing “A” gap from the collapse, and over-zone of the 3 tech. and works down the line. The Mike begins to insert himself in his away side gap, pulling the Center away from the inserting DE.

Finished Product


Ideally, the DE would tackle the RB in the backfield. Though he does not in this particular play, it still serves the purpose for this article. The climbing Center attaches to the Mike and the away side guard climbs and pins the folding away side DE closing on gaps for cut back. If the QB was to pull it, the dropping safety would have to make the tackle, and hopefully, the folding DE and the Mike can rally to the field. On the play side, the Will has inserted himself in the “C” gap protecting the defense from any bounce to the outside, and in this case was able to fold back in and make the tackle.

Here is the full play below: (starts at :58sec if you want to replay)


Author: MatchQuarters


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