Tony DeMeo

Updating the Isolation Play

The Isolation Play has been a staple of the I Power game for decades. John McKay’s USC Trojans, Woody Hayes’ Buckeyes and Bo’s Michigan teams all made a living running their Tailback up the middle with a big bruising fullback leading the way.

However this was not the play of choice for the “have not” football team. To make the old Tailback ISO work, you had to be more physical than your opponent. When these power teams met equally talented teams the ISO got stuffed.

Gerry DiNardo had success with this play out of the I-Bone in conjunction with the Option. DiNardo came up with the saying “Easy to read, hard to block. Hard to read, easy to block” DiNardo and I have had discussions about the need for a downhill running play to compliment the triple option. Coach DiNardo felt it was especially important with the Gun Triple.

Many under center Triple Option teams run the QB ISO as a complement to the triple option. They refer to it as a QB Follow play, because the QB fakes to the fullback and the follows him through the hole. This is very effective because it doesn’t LOOK like ISO, hence it is not defended as an ISO play. This has become Georgia Tech’s most frequently called short yardage play.

The QB ISO from the Triple Gun takes the ISO to a completely new level. First of all it gives us a downhill play. This adds to our offense:

  1. Defeats a sit and read hand off key. ( hard to read, easy to block)
  2. Takes the read out of the play.
  3. It takes advantage of LBs running to the perimeter.
  4. It’s great in short yardage.
  5. We use it with both Triple Motion and Jet Motion.
  6. It’s a great goal line play or coming out play
  7. It’s a great victory offense play.

The Triple Gun QB ISO has been a great fit with the Gun Triple and the Jet Sweep. So it gives us a power play and a counter play all in one. The advantage is that we don’t see the hard LB fill that plagued the old I ISO teams. There are many advantages to running the QB ISO from the Gun.

  1. The use of motion and the threat of Triple & Jet Sweep gets the LBs going east/west while the ball carrier is going north/south.
  2. The ISO can be run to the motion or away from it. Multiple plays in one.
  3. It can be run from all our formations – even empty.
  4. It can be run with all our motions
  5. We can run it to the 3 technique or the 1 technique.
  6. Flash is part of the play if the “D” crowds the box.
  7. It is great against a sit and read hand off key.
  8. In the Gun the QB can cutback vs. overly aggressive LBs. So the QB has the ability to read the blocks and make an intelligent cut. This can’t be done with the QB follow play.
  9. The QB ISO from the Triple Gun combines the qualities of the I TB ISO, The I-Bone ISO and the Flex-Bone QB follow play all in one play.


  1. Off-side WR – check Flash if 8 between the slots. If not – normal triple rules ( cut off)
  2. Play-side WR – normal Triple Rules
  3. Play side Slot – OLB – If in Twins stalk man on. We like to use twins alignment to spread the front. VS. goal line block man on.
  4. Off side slot either Jet or Triple motion. If jet make a good fake – if triple motion keep pitch relationship in the vent the ball bounces outside.
  5. The TB has play-side LB
  6. O. Line – ISO RULES – if covered block man on. If uncovered block down & combo to back – side LB. (see diagrams). If there is a TE – he blocks man on.
  7. QB – fakes the play called then runs to daylight. VS. a 2 LB set he must always be aware of the cut back. Always ID the front.

The QB ISO play has been a very productive play for The Gun Triple. It is a low cost, low risk – high production play. The wrinkles to it are endless and also low cost. The QB ISO is very formation friendly which allows you to dress up the pig in a lot of different ways. Take a look at some of the videos & diagrams.