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Inside Run Game Starts with Isolation Play

Short Yardage Run Can Pay Big Dividends


Iso Play 1

Iso v. 52 Defense

Iso Play 2

Iso v. 43 Defense

Properly executed, the Isolation play can change from short yardage to game-breaker status in a split second.

Play Description

Commonly called 'Iso,' the play creates a gap which leaves the linebacker isolated from other defenders. The fullback runs through the gap to block the linebacker, and the tailback follows the fullback's block.

Blocking Assignments

The blocking of the offensive line depends on the defensive formation.

Odd Front Defense

If the defensive line includes a nose tackle, the play side guard and center perform a double team block.

Even Front Defense

If the there is no defensive lineman opposite the center, the center and backside guard will perform the double team block on the defender opposite the guard.

One-on-one Block

All other offensive linemen block the defenders directly in front of them.

Fullback Must Deliver

The fullback's block must neutralize the charging linebacker.

Downfield Blocking

Instruct outside receivers to block deep defensive secondary players.


The quarterback will drop step to the play side, reverse pivot, hand off to the tailback, and fake the bootleg away from the play.


After securing the hand off, the tailback will look for the defensive lineman closest to the play call. The tailback will run away from the direction of that defender, and look to follow the fullback's block of the linebacker.

Coaching Points

  • The hand off to the tailback must occur as deep as possible in the backfield. This allows the tailback to secure the football first, and then read the defensive lineman key.
  • Stress the importance of the quarterback bootleg fake, as it will delay the backside linebacker from flowing to the play side.
  • Add quarterback bootleg run and pass plays to prevent defenses from quickly keying the Iso play.

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