Alex Gibbs and the Widezone

A Point to Start From

It was a long bus ride home after a season opener back in 2012.  I was a defensive coach at the time and we just got beat by team that on paper had no business beating us, and they beat us soundly.  They didn’t have as many athletes as us, they were slower than us and they were smaller than us.  I distinctly remember watching them on film thinking we should handle them pretty easily.  I also remember thinking, “man, prepping for these guys is going to be so easy, they literally only run one play!”  Unfortunately for us, that play was Widezone.

I remember watching this stubby looking running back that maybe ran a 4.9 just chew us up 4 to 5 yards at a time, QB would hit us with a naked for bigger play every so on.  A bunch of 5 foot 10 maybe 200 pound lineman wash my defensive linemen sideways all night.  I remember my head coach’s choice words with the performance of defensive line at half, and I remember the frustration I felt at not having an answer to give him or my players for why we couldn’t make any plays.

It was during this particular bus ride home that I made the decision that I needed to find out what this play was and that I would feature it when the time came for me to dictate that decision.  Look around message boards and online there wasn’t much to find on it.  I just kept searching “zone runs” and came up with a lot of inside zone stuff and outside zone that didn’t quite look like what I saw that night.  I studied their game against us to compare with what I was looking for online.  I tell this story to give background information on why I feel so strongly about this play.

Eventually a name popped up on the messages boards. Alex Gibbs.  I immediately popped his name into google and the first series of clinic notes and videos I came across changed my offensive philosophy forever.

Alex Gibbs, is not the inventor of the Widezone, he is however the person who made it into the play it is today.  Now it is the base play of almost every NFL team and a lot of NCAA football teams. This series of videos I will review is Alex Gibbs breaking down the Widezone with staff from the University of Florida and is in my opinion the absolute best reference point for installing the play that you can find.

Parts 1 and 2: some very good stuff here.  Gibbs breaks down his rules and techniques used to make the Widezone go.

Parts 3 and 4: Gibbs gets into film of the Atlanta Falcons running the play and further discusses rules and techniques

Parts 5 and 6: Gibbs breaks down UFs film and discusses how they can incorporate the Widezone

Parts 7 and 8 combined: Gibbs gets back into his film for some play action and back on the boards for some Widezone lead and inside zone stuff

This was the resource that I started with when installing the Widezone as my base offensive play.  This is one of the best clinics I have ever watched, including ones I’ve been to in person.  Feel free to comment below. Subscribe to my email list to receive updates for new posts.  Give me a follow @thecoachvogt and check out my previous articles “personnel grouping the offensive line” and “the most versatile defense”

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