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mav23

Zone Defense Question

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I'm new at 5 on 5 flag. I have a question for you guys running zone defense.

If receiver runs a GO and a slot/back/center/anybody runs into the flat who is covering who?

does your corner let the WR go and the safety is supposed to come over the top?

does your corner go deep and your backer get to the flats? if so, doesn't a quick run fake hold the backer and leave the flats open?

ON PAPER it looks like a quick run fake and easy short pass to the flats may be open all day. I wanted to know what really happens in games.

thanks for your help!

Mav

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What age group are you coaching? Maybe the 12-14 y/o's can hit those passes all day long, but I haven't run into too many 11 and under QBs that can do it on a consistent basis. You also have to take into consideration a rush. We send a rush 90% of the time with a fast kid, that puts a lot of pressure on the QB. If a team started hitting passes in the flats, we'd adjust our defense.

CRob

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I'm new at 5 on 5 flag. I have a question for you guys running zone defense.

If receiver runs a GO and a slot/back/center/anybody runs into the flat who is covering who?

does your corner let the WR go and the safety is supposed to come over the top?

does your corner go deep and your backer get to the flats? if so, doesn't a quick run fake hold the backer and leave the flats open?

ON PAPER it looks like a quick run fake and easy short pass to the flats may be open all day. I wanted to know what really happens in games.

thanks for your help!

Mav

If you're playing a 2-3 or 3-2 zone, then your rusher (middle guy) will cover the middle of the field or blitz, which will contain the runs (or fake runs) up the middle. Your 2 front guys should line up halfway between the ball and the sideline, and those guys contain the outside runs or passes into the flat. The 2 deep guys will cover the deep WR's. If you ran 2 deep guys on one side and then motioned your RB out to that same side it would be open, but remember you only have about 4-5 seconds for the QB to get back and get rid of the ball before the rusher gets to him. That is also one of the easiest passes to pick off and run back for 6 points if the DB's read it and break to the ball fast enough. Like Rush said, the younger kids don't complete this pass too often either, and the older kids are usually fast enough to defend it pretty well.

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thanks to both of you.

Tex, that really answered my question. You are saying a 2-3 or 2-1-2 is what you would run to stop this if it were happening to you?

CoachRob, sound advice. You are going to have a weakness, make it something that your opponent has more difficulty executing consistently.

I appreciate the help. I'm just trying to put together a defense that won't (or at least rarely) gives up something cheap.

next questions

What is your base zone, and what hurts it the most? Do you have a change-up that solves that weakness and what is it?

What do you teach your backers away from flow. Does he pursue parallel to the line for cutback? (do 10-12 yr olds cutback???) on an angle to try and catch ball carrier? or drop deep middle for possible pass?

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next questions

What is your base zone, and what hurts it the most? Do you have a change-up that solves that weakness and what is it?

What do you teach your backers away from flow. Does he pursue parallel to the line for cutback? (do 10-12 yr olds cutback???) on an angle to try and catch ball carrier? or drop deep middle for possible pass?

My base zone is a 2-3. I have the middle guy blitz or cover depending on what the other team is doing. I usually tell him to run up 3 yards as soon as the ball is snapped (for a traditional 2-1-2 look), and then have him blitz for pass and contain for run. For a run happy team I will sometimes put him up at the line in a 3-2, and for a pass happy team I'll drop him back in coverage every so often. Weakness of this formation is the middle of the field is open when he blitzes, and fast recievers can beet the zone occasionally. I teach 8-9 year olds, so not many QB's can pick apart the zone coverage at that age. As they get older zone coverage does not work as well (10-12 is where that happens I am guessing).

I teach the kids to man their zones until they are sure whether it is a run or pass, I teach the back DB's not to ever let the deep WR's get behind them. Basically we don't worry about the flow until the ball is handed off (QB can't run in our league). Once the ball is handed off, and the runner crosses the line of scrimmage, everyone is to attack the ball carrier, if ball carrier stays behind the line then they need to stay in coverage until he crosses or throws the ball.

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Tex, that really answered my question. You are saying a 2-3 or 2-1-2 is what you would run to stop this if it were happening to you?
I know the question was to Tex, but if we're getting hammered by the run, I'd switch to a 3-2 and use one of my better D players in the 3 to roam the los. Or, I'd take the 1 out of the 2-1-2 and have him rush, but not all the way. Maybe just to the los or tell him to just contain, don't overpursue and tell the rest of the team to swarm the ball carrier. Or sometimes we find our safeties are playing too far back or the LBs are playing too close to the los, we'll make adjustments accordingly.
What is your base zone, and what hurts it the most? Do you have a change-up that solves that weakness and what is it?
Our base zone is a 2-3. Biggest challenge is when we send a rusher and they flood one side of the zone with a pass play or dink something over the middle. We'll mix up the rush with different players moving from the 3 and shift the other two over to cover the rusher's spot or tell one of the better players to watch the dink over the middle. One of the reasons we switch up who rushes out of the 3 is so the offense doesn't expect the middle guy everytime.
What do you teach your backers away from flow. Does he pursue parallel to the line for cutback? (do 10-12 yr olds cutback???) on an angle to try and catch ball carrier? or drop deep middle for possible pass?
We preach staying home until you're positive the play is going the opposite direction. Yes, 10-12 y/o's and younger can cutback or change direction. The cutbacks/change of direction by the ball carrier can kill you in 5 vs. 5.

Imo, the biggest factor on D is the rush. Haven't found too many QB's that can stay calm under that kind of pressure.

CRob

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What I have found is that most kids pick up the zone play quickly and most can play it effectively. You may get a safety that that bites on a play action pass or short pass too quickly and he gets burned over the top from time to time, but those things are to be expected as long as they are not a constant problem. Solid opponents are going to make plays. The key is put pressure on the QB and stay in your zone. Kids understand that and play it well (usually).

I prefer 2-2-1 when playing a team that we know can not through deep (sending 2 rushers – speed guys). When playing a team that can air it out I like a 2-1-2 (aggressive guys on the corners 1 rusher – I’ll give speed here and move my speed guys to safety).

I have seen a lot of different zone coverage played by many different age groups and most work well. Unless there is a complete mismatch in talent most teams play solid zone defense and games come down to who has made the least amount of mistakes.

What I find that drives a coach over the bend is flag pulling.

Kids that are coming from a tackle back ground tend to believe that pulling flags is easier than it actually is. It takes a little tragedy to get through to them that it’s not as easy as it looks.

As many of the other coaches have preached on many of the other threads get your defense to swarm the ball. Kids tend to believe that flags have been or will be pulled and give up on the play way to soon.

Attack the ball carrier.

Pull All his flags.

Missed flags are where you are going to give up something cheap.

Spend a lot of time on flag pulling.

A missed flag will cost you a close game.

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We mostly ran a 1 1 3 zone and at least half the teams in our league ran something similar. We'd use the 2 1 2 also, but not as frequently. Here are the positions and how they'd play.

We would place one defender directly over the ball. He would have the option of lining up left right or back, anywhere within a 5 yard radius of the center. I'd place a kid who was very good at reading plays here so I'd give him leeway to adjust although I'd help too. His primary function from the snap is to stop the run. He has to be quick and anticipate where the run is going to go and of course a strong flag puller. As the play develops and they are not going to run, he drops back about 5 yards and shadows the qb. He needs to be able to jump on short passes over the middle.

The next defender is the rusher. He lines up right on the 7 yard marker and rushes the qb. We ask him to communicate with the defender over the center and rush on the opposite side of him. That way we cover both sides. Rushing is more about containment then pure speed. A good rusher will also be smart about cutting off a run.

The next 3 defender we call safeties. Typically we line them up 3 across, at the 7 yard mark. They have zone coverage in their 1/3 of the field. Depending on how the other team reacts, we'll flex in the 2 outside safeties towards the los. At times I'll even have them playing right on the los, but more often they will be in the 5-7 yard mark at the snap.

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2-1-2 & 2-3 will shut down anything in youth flag...teach kids to read the QB but stay in there zone...I'm not really a blitz kind of guy and last year we held teams to the 7 sec rule count more times than ever before because we really worked on them staying in there zone.this season we expect more of the same.

i agree with curt on flag pulling.we work on flag pulling every practice for 15-20 mins.we stress 2 hands and we do about 4-5 diff drills for flag pulling because we want it to be realistic.

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2-1-2 & 2-3 will shut down anything in youth flag...teach kids to read the QB but stay in there zone...I'm not really a blitz kind of guy and last year we held teams to the 7 sec rule count more times than ever before because we really worked on them staying in there zone.this season we expect more of the same.

i agree with curt on flag pulling.we work on flag pulling every practice for 15-20 mins.we stress 2 hands and we do about 4-5 diff drills for flag pulling because we want it to be realistic.

What are some of the different flag pulling drill you use? Thanks.

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Ok i have a question regarding zone defense this will be my first year coaching, and i will be running the defense. From what i have seen a zone is pretty much the standard. And that is dependant on a rush of the quarterback. My question is this, in our flag league they do not allow anyone to rush the quarterback. If the quarterback has not got rid of the ball in 7 seconds it is considered a sack. With this being said how can i prevent the zone from getting burnt. I will be coaching 11 to 12 year olds. Thanks for any replies.

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I'm new at 5 on 5 flag. I have a question for you guys running zone defense.

If receiver runs a GO and a slot/back/center/anybody runs into the flat who is covering who?

does your corner let the WR go and the safety is supposed to come over the top?

does your corner go deep and your backer get to the flats? if so, doesn't a quick run fake hold the backer and leave the flats open?

ON PAPER it looks like a quick run fake and easy short pass to the flats may be open all day. I wanted to know what really happens in games.

thanks for your help!

Mav

Snowman,

I think it really depends on what kind of zone defense you are running. Of course the idea behind a zone defense is that the kids cover an area of the field rather than be responsible for a certain individual, so they zone you run will determine which kids cover which parts of the field.

For example if you're running a 2-1-2 zone, then one of the back 2 would cover the go route, and one of the front 2 would cover the flat. If you're running a 3-1-1 then one of the outside front 3 would cover the flat and the deep safety would cover the go route.

As Orange likes to say, every zone has it's weakness, so you have to choose the one that will best stop what you are facing.

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I'm new at 5 on 5 flag. I have a question for you guys running zone defense.

If receiver runs a GO and a slot/back/center/anybody runs into the flat who is covering who?

does your corner let the WR go and the safety is supposed to come over the top?

does your corner go deep and your backer get to the flats? if so, doesn't a quick run fake hold the backer and leave the flats open?

ON PAPER it looks like a quick run fake and easy short pass to the flats may be open all day. I wanted to know what really happens in games.

thanks for your help!

Mav

Snowman,

I think it really depends on what kind of zone defense you are running. Of course the idea behind a zone defense is that the kids cover an area of the field rather than be responsible for a certain individual, so they zone you run will determine which kids cover which parts of the field.

For example if you're running a 2-1-2 zone, then one of the back 2 would cover the go route, and one of the front 2 would cover the flat. If you're running a 3-1-1 then one of the outside front 3 would cover the flat and the deep safety would cover the go route.

As Orange likes to say, every zone has it's weakness, so you have to choose the one that will best stop what you are facing.

Thanks alot for the fast reply. My main concern is really in running a zone i know alot of zone defenses i have seen on here so far was almost always with some sort of rush envolved. Which deffinitely makes since because it doesnt give the quarterback time to just sit back in the pocket and throw. But when we arent allowed to rush the quarterback I was just worried that the zone may not work in my particular case. I guess im just kind of over reactiing I think since this is my first year as a asst. coach/ and in charge of the defense.

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I'm new at 5 on 5 flag. I have a question for you guys running zone defense.

If receiver runs a GO and a slot/back/center/anybody runs into the flat who is covering who?

does your corner let the WR go and the safety is supposed to come over the top?

does your corner go deep and your backer get to the flats? if so, doesn't a quick run fake hold the backer and leave the flats open?

ON PAPER it looks like a quick run fake and easy short pass to the flats may be open all day. I wanted to know what really happens in games.

thanks for your help!

Mav

Snowman,

I think it really depends on what kind of zone defense you are running. Of course the idea behind a zone defense is that the kids cover an area of the field rather than be responsible for a certain individual, so they zone you run will determine which kids cover which parts of the field.

For example if you're running a 2-1-2 zone, then one of the back 2 would cover the go route, and one of the front 2 would cover the flat. If you're running a 3-1-1 then one of the outside front 3 would cover the flat and the deep safety would cover the go route.

As Orange likes to say, every zone has it's weakness, so you have to choose the one that will best stop what you are facing.

Thanks alot for the fast reply. My main concern is really in running a zone i know alot of zone defenses i have seen on here so far was almost always with some sort of rush envolved. Which deffinitely makes since because it doesnt give the quarterback time to just sit back in the pocket and throw. But when we arent allowed to rush the quarterback I was just worried that the zone may not work in my particular case. I guess im just kind of over reactiing I think since this is my first year as a asst. coach/ and in charge of the defense.

At the youth level, heck even at the high school level, all the kids WANT to see the ball. A well run zone defense gives your defense that advantage, seeing the ball come out. Seven seconds is quite a bit of time but even in the leagues you are allowed to rush in, you still see coverage sacks even when they don't rush. If you are really worried about it, I'd play 1 free, tell my four underneath players to trail, put my best player at the deep and dare them to throw it to deep.

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What age group are you coaching? Maybe the 12-14 y/o's can hit those passes all day long, but I haven't run into too many 11 and under QBs that can do it on a consistent basis. You also have to take into consideration a rush. We send a rush 90% of the time with a fast kid, that puts a lot of pressure on the QB. If a team started hitting passes in the flats, we'd adjust our defense.

CRob

Agreed. If you can hit a 3-5 yard pass play over and over ALL the way down the field and we can't stop it, then you deserve to score.

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Ok well I just found out the other day that we are actually going to be playing 7 on 7, but apparently it will be up to the coaches at game time if we want to play 8 on 8 so everyone can play. With this being said, I was really preparing for 5 on 5 and running a 3 2 zone or 2 3 zone. Now that it is 7 on 7, not quite sure what to play. I like the idea of leaving 1 person kind of roaming and daring them to throw deep. So I thought maybe some sort of 3 4 zone with 1 deep playing like a free safety or something that would roam? Any ideas or suggestions. This is my first year as a assistant, but I am hoping to be a head coach for the fall league which is tackle. They have a good system in place based on points and who gets to be head coach of the fall league. They encourage you to attend schools, meetings, etc..etc.. all these give you more points. Looking forward to reading replies.

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Thanks alot for the fast reply. My main concern is really in running a zone i know alot of zone defenses i have seen on here so far was almost always with some sort of rush envolved. Which deffinitely makes since because it doesnt give the quarterback time to just sit back in the pocket and throw. But when we arent allowed to rush the quarterback I was just worried that the zone may not work in my particular case. I guess im just kind of over reactiing I think since this is my first year as a asst. coach/ and in charge of the defense.

Even if you can't rush the QB, I think a zone is still your best option. Remember that the offense you face will be a mixture of run and pass, and the zone is MUCH more effective at containing the run than M2M.

If you can't rush and you run M2M you will probably be worse off, because their better athletes will get open eventually, and the QB will have all day to pick you apart with crossing routes and such.

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Well we had our first game sunday we tied 21 to 21 in the very last play with no time left with about a 30 yard touch down pass hail mary style play, it was a great game. My problem i am having which kind of puts my hands tied is since i am just the assistant. The head coach and myself have really different views. The head coach really is not organized at all. He doesnt practise any plays, doesnt run a defense. He just kind of shows up 5 minutes before the game and about comes late to the practises. We had 3 to 4 people extra on the field almost every time. Luckily i was on the sidelines to keep letting them know we had too many men on the field. We dont really practise defense at all, which is the reason it was even tied. We couldnt really grab flags at all. He basically said everyone grab a man and just go at it. I guess its not much i can really do in this situation cept sit back and watch. I am hopefully going to be a head coach for fall tackle football.

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Well we had our first game sunday we tied 21 to 21 in the very last play with no time left with about a 30 yard touch down pass hail mary style play, it was a great game. My problem i am having which kind of puts my hands tied is since i am just the assistant. The head coach and myself have really different views. The head coach really is not organized at all. He doesnt practise any plays, doesnt run a defense. He just kind of shows up 5 minutes before the game and about comes late to the practises. We had 3 to 4 people extra on the field almost every time. Luckily i was on the sidelines to keep letting them know we had too many men on the field. We dont really practise defense at all, which is the reason it was even tied. We couldnt really grab flags at all. He basically said everyone grab a man and just go at it. I guess its not much i can really do in this situation cept sit back and watch. I am hopefully going to be a head coach for fall tackle football.

I see where you're coming from. I wasn't happy with my son's coach a couple of years ago (and he was a lot better coach than it sounds like you're dealing with), and that is how I became a head coach myself.

The bottom line is you have to practice your plays over and over again to be able to run them correctly in a game. The teams that are the most succesful are the ones that do that, and not only offensive plays. Coaching is teaching, and so you have to explain to the kids where you want them to be, and what their responsibilities are on every play.

I would still vocalize your opinions if your son is playing on the team. Everyone's (coaches and parents, and especially coaches/assistant coaches) opinions are valid, and should be considered. If he has a good reason to run things the way he does have him explain it to you. If not, see if he'll try it your way for awhile.

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Well we had our first game sunday we tied 21 to 21 in the very last play with no time left with about a 30 yard touch down pass hail mary style play, it was a great game. My problem i am having which kind of puts my hands tied is since i am just the assistant. The head coach and myself have really different views. The head coach really is not organized at all. He doesnt practise any plays, doesnt run a defense. He just kind of shows up 5 minutes before the game and about comes late to the practises. We had 3 to 4 people extra on the field almost every time. Luckily i was on the sidelines to keep letting them know we had too many men on the field. We dont really practise defense at all, which is the reason it was even tied. We couldnt really grab flags at all. He basically said everyone grab a man and just go at it. I guess its not much i can really do in this situation cept sit back and watch. I am hopefully going to be a head coach for fall tackle football.

I see where you're coming from. I wasn't happy with my son's coach a couple of years ago (and he was a lot better coach than it sounds like you're dealing with), and that is how I became a head coach myself.

The bottom line is you have to practice your plays over and over again to be able to run them correctly in a game. The teams that are the most succesful are the ones that do that, and not only offensive plays. Coaching is teaching, and so you have to explain to the kids where you want them to be, and what their responsibilities are on every play.

I would still vocalize your opinions if your son is playing on the team. Everyone's (coaches and parents, and especially coaches/assistant coaches) opinions are valid, and should be considered. If he has a good reason to run things the way he does have him explain it to you. If not, see if he'll try it your way for awhile.

Well his reasoning for running things the way he does is because he says we dont have enough time. Which imo we have 1 hour which yes it isnt alot of time but i feel its enough to atleast teach fundamentals. We lost this past game 28 to 14 , the head of the league actually talked to him saying the other team complained about how much time we spent in the huddle. And he even told him he needed plays. His reply was if he ran plays it would take even longer. He wont practise defense at all so none of the kids really know or understand how to grab the flag or run any sort of defensive sets. Luckily i will be heading the practise sunday because we have a bye so hopefully i can atleast get some sort of plays and defensive sets in. Hopefully i will be able to work on the kids being able to grab the flag and angle tackling.

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I'm new at 5 on 5 flag. I have a question for you guys running zone defense.

If receiver runs a GO and a slot/back/center/anybody runs into the flat who is covering who?

does your corner let the WR go and the safety is supposed to come over the top?

does your corner go deep and your backer get to the flats? if so, doesn't a quick run fake hold the backer and leave the flats open?

ON PAPER it looks like a quick run fake and easy short pass to the flats may be open all day. I wanted to know what really happens in games.

thanks for your help!

Mav

We do what we call a push.. its when the receiver runs past the outside guy fast then we yell push and the safety then takes him but if both sides have that happen only the first kid to yell can release the guy running. that takes away that flat pass and quick 5 yard run. but your safety needs to be a very good and smart player to be able to check both sides of the field and make his move to either side.

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