Gridiron Glossary: Zone Read

The zone read is an offensive play, usually run from the shotgun formation, in which the offensive line zone blocks and the quarterback give the ball to a running back or keeps it himself based on an unblocked defender he reads.

Zone Readj

Although the term is common, it is used too often to describe plays which are not the zone read.  If the offensive line isn’t zone blocking, then it isn’t the zone read.  It could be the power read or the veer read, but it’s not the zone read.  Similarly if the play is a designed give or pull for the quarterback, then there is no read.  It may be an inside zone or an outside zone, but it is not a zone read.


Gridiron Glossary is a resource for football terms that are often used by commentators, coaches and players but rarely defined.  If there is a term you have questions about or a definition you don’t agree with, let me know at


About Billy Koehler

Billy Koehler is the founder of and a contributing writer at He has been covering college football since 2006. You can follow him on twitter @billykoehler.
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