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Stopping The Run

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I'm kind of thinking through this challenge, so help me in my thought process. In our first half we completely shut down the run but ended up giving up two long td runs in the second half. It would be easier if I had game film but I'm trying to rely on my memory here. I think the key to stopping the run is to have a kid near the los who can disrupt the run before it gets going. It doesn't have to necessarily be a stop in the backfield but instead make the runner slow down, change directions, run laterally. In the second half I had a boy playing defense that is a very slow, awkward runner. He's tall and he can catch OK, so on offense he has a few receptions. But its almost like he doesn't bend his knees when running, like he's on stilts It's a challenge finding a spot to place him. I pretty much was having him play over center or rushing but that's where the problem began. Since he would do little to impede the runner, they'd hit the outside quickly and that led to big gains. I suppose that's my challenge, finding him a spot. I think most of the other kids could more or less disrupt the run. Where would you put the slow kid?

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Orange,

What defense are you playing though?Man to man?Zone?

I play the 2-1-2 and this week we probably gave up like 20 Yards rushing.I put my best athlete in the middle zone.Hes the 1 guy alone.I put the slow guy on the weak side of the play in the front zone in the 2-1-2.Basically if they run to his side i'm relying on my middle guy to help him out.

Obviously man to man is a bit harder to stop the run in.

Also consider playing a 2-3 with all 3 players in the back 7 yards back.That way the middle guy can rush and the others are there to help shut down the run.Or Conside a 3-2 with 3 guys up front and spread across the field.

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Basically I was running either a 2 1 2 zone or a 1 1 3 zone. In the 2 1 2 I'd have the slow kid rush sometimes which is a mistake since that's the primary run stopper. If I place him on a corner that's OK unless they run to his side but maybe I could have the rusher come in on that side to help. In a 1 1 3 I was placing him over the center which was a mistake since he wouldn't slow down the run at all. Perhaps best for him is the rusher in the 1 1 3 if my kid up front to the los is a beast.

This particular team had a decent qb so I needed to send a rusher all the time.

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Basically I was running either a 2 1 2 zone or a 1 1 3 zone. In the 2 1 2 I'd have the slow kid rush sometimes which is a mistake since that's the primary run stopper. If I place him on a corner that's OK unless they run to his side but maybe I could have the rusher come in on that side to help. In a 1 1 3 I was placing him over the center which was a mistake since he wouldn't slow down the run at all. Perhaps best for him is the rusher in the 1 1 3 if my kid up front to the los is a beast.

This particular team had a decent qb so I needed to send a rusher all the time.

Well I don't always blitz even if there QB is very good.That way I have more people in coverage than they offense can send out.Numerous times the other teams QB couldn't find anywhere to pass.Well basically if they run to his side you have to rely on help.Thats pretty much the way it works unfortunately.My person in the middle is my fastest and best flag puller so I rely on him to kind of shade to that side of the field and help out my big kid over there.I really prefer not to do a 1 1 3...Just doesnt work with older kids lol...

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Stopping the run, nothing worse than watching a kid run the whole length of the field zig zagging around while my kids miss flags..... We run a variation at times on our defense from a 4-1, 2-2-1 and a 2-1-2 depending on the other team’s strengths. We have had great success at stopping the run this year; knock on wood for that! However I have some of my best players and athletes on defense as I said in another thread our team focus is defense first! My best flag puller is my middle linebacker and he plays sideline to sideline and is relentless at pulling flags and is a ball hawk. My two corners are also very fast, athletic and decent flag pullers. My corners are also ball hawks and they play sweeps, end arounds so very well. I think whoever is at your corner has to understand playing the “contain” role and not shooting right at the ball carrier or letting the ball carrier get up the sideline. Then my free safety is also one of my best players as he also plays sideline to sideline very well as well as plays the pass great! That leaves one of my lesser skilled kids to rush the passer. This kid has speed, however he is hit or miss at pulling flags, I am relying on him to disrupt things more than ever.

We just teach our kids to play the run first and pass second and be aggressive! When we line up in the 4-1, I have my 4 kids lined up at 7 yards off the ball and as the QB is in his cadence, my 4 start creeping up to the line to stop the run. Our guys on the snap all go forward and play the run, once it’s known to be a pass they drop back. This has worked great so far and I believe it has a lot to do with the kids and we have 13 INTs in 6 games. We also at times will place one of our best flag pullers lined up over the center too in order to disrupt the play. I find this works great against the run, but the player has to be a good flag puller and be able to read the play.

As for your dilemma for the kid who is slower and trying to fit him in….. I have the same problem with a player and that player plays a lot of offense as that’s where she is more suited for. She is slower and doesn’t pull flags well, so I definitely don’t like having her out on defense a lot of the time. We do have her come in and rush on occasions. I just think it’s easier to conceal her on offense rather than have her exposed on defense… plus she can catch so she gets her ball touches and even has caught a TD for us.

I feel it comes down to staying in your zones/lanes and playing aggressive for us. We preach defense every practice and every game and encourage aggressiveness, swarming to the ball, flag pulling and discipline. Like I said before, we also have some of our best kid’s line up and play defense…. Of course we juggle things around and move kids, but I believe my team has bought into a defense first approach which has helped us contain the run. We have 28 teams in our age group (NFC, AFC) and we are ranked 4th in PA.

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How would you stop an end around? I want to explore this from both sides of the ball. I'm thinking that the way we run it is going to require a defense to tweak what they are doing in order to make a stop. We bring a man in motion, hike it and bam he hits the outside very quickly. Last year in the fall tournament we ran into a very fast team that ran end arounds almost exclusively, we failed to adjust properly and they rang up 36 points on us. I'm going to run the offense this weekend and I've decided that we are going to use end arounds on the first drive exclusively until they stop it for less than a 5 yard gain.

Do you have a middle defender watch for the motion and move to the side of the end around in an attempt to cut it off? Or do you pull in your corners tight and have them try to cut it off? In my opinion those are the only two things to do. The rusher by virtue of being 7 yards back can make a stop if he takes a good angle but not until the wideout has made a decent gain.

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Orange,

This is something we have always done...As you know we basically only run a 2-1-2.Anytime we see motion to one side that corner automatically takes a few steps towards that sideline and our MLB shifts over a few steps.We always shade our safetys to the side of the trips also.Basically End Arounds Might get a few yards but never more than 5 on us.

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How would you stop an end around? I want to explore this from both sides of the ball. I'm thinking that the way we run it is going to require a defense to tweak what they are doing in order to make a stop. We bring a man in motion, hike it and bam he hits the outside very quickly. Last year in the fall tournament we ran into a very fast team that ran end arounds almost exclusively, we failed to adjust properly and they rang up 36 points on us. I'm going to run the offense this weekend and I've decided that we are going to use end arounds on the first drive exclusively until they stop it for less than a 5 yard gain.

Do you have a middle defender watch for the motion and move to the side of the end around in an attempt to cut it off? Or do you pull in your corners tight and have them try to cut it off? In my opinion those are the only two things to do. The rusher by virtue of being 7 yards back can make a stop if he takes a good angle but not until the wideout has made a decent gain.

Obviously you know there is no fool proof plan especially when you get a very fast athletic 9 year old running with it on an end around. This is what we do..... We play a 2-2-1 zone most of the time, my 2 corners are lined up about 4-5 yards off the line, I have 2 middle guys evenly spaced at the 7 yard mark. One of them is my rusher and we have 1 free saftey lined up about 10 yards off the line playing middle of the field. Basically on those end arounds my corners play very disciplined and meet that end around head on, usually behind the LOS and what this does is either get a flag pull or it disrupts and impededs the ball carriers flow and speed. Its almost a contain assignment for them especially with the quicker runners. My middle LB as I said already is an absolute FLAG MACHINE and is very good at reading the play sideline to sideline and yes when we see a kid coming in motion, especially if this team is showing a tendancy to motion end arounds, we have him cheat a little to that side..... between him and my Free Saftey who also is a great flag puller swarming to the ball, we usually get to the play and bottle the runner up. Yea he may get a gain of 5 yards or sometimes even more, sometimes less, lol usually less.... but it begins frustrating the other team as the game goes on. We really also stress staying in your lanes on pursuit as well, that way when the runner is stopping and cutting he's running into defenders. Last thing.... we play RUN first almost every play unless its very obvious a pass play. Our kids on the snap all pretty much come up to stop the run, then drop back when its known to be a pass. In my league (8-9 year olds), end arounds and misdirection is the most utilized plays. I'd rather be beat by a long pass than a kid running the whole length of the field zig zagging his way through missed flag pulls. As we also know long pass plays being executed by a 9 year old is definitley not high percentage plays. But.... we also adjust, especially if the other teams QB is very good and can make deep throws... we'll line 2 safteys up then.

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Both of those are good ways of stopping the end around and really probably the only way. I'm going to run the end arounds until the defense begins bringing the corner up and/ or shade the mlb to the side of the run. BUT, I have two counters. Take a look at my playbook (most recent one). You'll see my basic end around on page 1. If I see the mlb and rusher shading to the side of the end around, I'll have the qb fake the end around and then shuffle pass to the halfback on the other side. He should have a gaping hole and the way we run it he catches the shuffle pass on the run and hits it fast. If I notice the corner coming in or even hesitating on the end around, I fake it and then throw a quick flag right over his head. We got a td on that play last week on our first drive and it usually works in our scrimmages. The safety has no chance of breaking up the pass and usually the only thing that can wrong is a poor throw or catch. What we see happen is that even if the corner hesitates he loses track of the wideout, then my qb makes a quick throw before the corner can recover.

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I will state this is only my second season coaching flag football, and my forte' is definitely offense. Yet we had a pretty stout defense last season, which I will give all the credit to having three (out of eight on the field) incredibly defensive-minded players.

By the third game, I schemed the offense around these three players.

1. I put my "best player" at nose guard. I was fortunate enough to have the biggest, smartest, fastest player in the league last season. He was not very physical (I call him the "gentle giant"), but when his heart was in to it, he could single-handily take over a game. Playing him right at the line of scrimmage, he was fast enough to shut down the run, and to zone out and cover the entire middle of the field himself on passing plays.

2. I put my next best DEFENSIVE player at SE playing VERY wide left and about five feet from the ball. This kid could sniff the ball out, and if something got past my noseguard to his side, he ate it.

3. I put a player who was a little "whippet" at WLB to cover the other side. This kid was small, but he could cut on a dime and go 0-10 in impressive time.

For the most part I kept the other kids home and told those three players to just "go to the ball". The results allowed an incredible front line that was backed up by a disciplined second line to remedy any mistakes made on the front line. We frustrated a lot of "powerhouse teams" in our league this way.

As mentioned, I did nothing more than unleash these three kids on defense. Normally I would have asked for a disciplined front line, but they all earned my complete trust due to their playmaking ability---so I just lined them up and said, "Bring me the flag." ;-)

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