If you’d like to be a little more knowledgeable any time you see one of those zone blocking versus man blocking discussions pop up in the comments section on occasion, you ought to spend a few minutes reading this post over at Roll ‘Bama Roll. It’s an excellent primer on the subject.
See if this part about man blocking registers with you, based on Georgia last season:
Great stuff. You may notice that in all of the above plays, there is zero hesitation by the running back. His job is to get the ball into the designated hole as quickly as possible. This is one of the pros of man blocking: your running back doesn’t need great vision, as power and burst will suffice. This type of scheme also tends to instill something of a mean streak in your offensive line since their job is simply to blow people off the ball in an assigned direction, and the play action pass works especially well since linebackers and box safeties have little time to react in the run game.
On the flip side, this scheme requires your offensive linemen to be able to win their one-on-one battles and requires some creative play-calling lest it become too predictable. Also, since the offensive linemen are firing out to the second level on run plays and thus have to know whether a play is a run or pass, it greatly limits the use of RPOs. Lastly, the defense can guess at the playcalls based on formation and, if correct, create negative plays by overwhelming the offense’s numbers in the gap.
Pretty much checks all the boxes, doesn’t it?
That point about RPOs is especially worth pondering. If Smart and Chaney do in fact land Justin Fields in next year’s class, there’s a little more involved in retooling the offense to take advantage of Fields’ complete skill set than simply telling him to take the ball and run.