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coach77

Defense: How Often Do You Send A Rusher?

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Hi everyone,

I am new here and this is one awesome forum.

I coach in a 5 on 5 league. 10-12 year olds. 7 yard rush rule.

I was an assistant last year. This will be my first year as a head coach.

Last year, I coached the defense and we ran man to man. Our defense was average at best, and sometimes we gave up a ton of points. Our biggest problem, by far, was getting beat on long passes. I still wake up at night screaming, "Don't let them behind you!"

In our league, if a defender lines up 7 yards from the line of scrimmage, the ref raises his arm, signaling that the QB is legal to run the ball. We were burned quite regularly by sending a rusher which allowed their QB to become a runner.

So we either got beat deep by allowing the QB time to pass, or got beat by their QB running on us when we sent a rusher.

I plan on using a zone defense this year, probably a 3-2 but after reading here, the 1-1-3 looks interesting.

Questions:

How often do you send rushers from a zone defense?

How do you stop from getting beat on the deep pass?

How do you keep the QB in check when you send a rusher?

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I am new here and this is one awesome forum.
Welcome to the forums!
How often do you send rushers from a zone defense?
95% of the time. We run a 2-3 and alternate who we send from the 3. Sometimes we send 2 rushers, 1 goes all the way in the other lays back a bit.
How do you stop from getting beat on the deep pass?
Pressure on the QB. Don't give them time to get off a long pass. The times we got beat long is when we didn't send a rusher or our rusher didn't pressure the QB enough.
How do you keep the QB in check when you send a rusher?
Faced that a few seasons back, can't over pursue. The rusher has to "contain" the QB.

I'm sure others will chime in.

CRob

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Thanks for the quick reply Coach Rob.

That's interesting. No team in our league rushed even 1/2 the time. It might give us an advantage if we can contain the QB.

So, you rush one player and then play a 2-2 with the four defenders covering left 1/2, right 1/2 shallow and deep?

Is the rusher always responsible for the QB?

Do you send the rusher hard for the flag, or do you send him in controlled?

The two defenders up close, do they play run first or immediately cover a receiver in their zone?

Thanks again and sorry for being a pest.

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That's interesting. No team in our league rushed even 1/2 the time. It might give us an advantage if we can contain the QB.
Strange, I think the rush is your biggest weapon on defense. Most of the QBs in our league couldn't hang when you sent a rusher, so it forced them to get their plays off quickly (which most didn't). It might be because your league allows the QB to run, with that being the case, you'll have to teach (show) your rushers what it means to contain the QB and not over pursue.
So, you rush one player and then play a 2-2 with the four defenders covering left 1/2, right 1/2 shallow and deep?
Yes. The other two know to shift over and cover the hole left by the rusher. We have different looks from that 2-3 also. Sometimes we send our rusher to the los right before the snap, then have them back up or have them go to the los before snap and stay if we suspect a run. If there's a handoff, our rusher has an advantage being right on the los. If there isn't a handoff, we teach our rusher to back up and cover for a pass.
Is the rusher always responsible for the QB?
Yes, that is their primary responsibility to make it hard for them to get off a good pass. We teach them to watch for a handoff and go with the ball also.
Do you send the rusher hard for the flag, or do you send him in controlled?
Usually controlled, however, we'll gauge how good their QB is and make a judgment call from there. If the QB has a tendency to scramble and is quick, we'll emphasize containment, but if the QB is weak and slow, we get them in there ASAP.
The two defenders up close, do they play run first or immediately cover a receiver in their zone?
Run first, but we give them latitude to judge what's going on. We preach staying home.

We go over the scenarios you're talking about in our practices/scrimmages. I set up specific situations having my D coach send the rusher in certain ways, then try to burn them. We talk about what they did right/wrong and repeat it until everyone gets a good idea of what could happen on the field.

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I played a three man zone coverage, middle and the two flats. They lined up 7 yards off the LOS, minimum. Also had a rush every play to pressure the QB. If the QB has time and can throw a good pass, they usually can find someone. Harder to make a god pass with someone in their face or when they are running, particulary a deep throw. Our fifth defender lined up a couple yards off the LOS over the center primarily for run containment and short passes in the middle of the field. Worked very well for us. DB first steps were backwards and then react to the run.

Husker Fan

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Your QB eligible to run rule is not typical of most leagues. There are certainly exceptions, I think Coach Rob's league had a rule like this one year but then switched back. Our Qb cannot run and I'd say we send a rusher close to 100% of the time as do most teams. My initial though about sending a rusher in your league would be to use a 1 1 3 zone where you have one zone defender who sits over the QB and shadows him sideline to sideline. That would prevent the Qb from taking off right away and allow the rusher time to zero in. Plus if the rusher flushes the Qb out, that other defender will be right there waiting over the los. The other 3 defenders go 3 across zone about 7 yards deep. You'll probably have to have the middle one take a deeper drop most of the time and your flats will be exposed in this D.

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After thinking about it more and reading Orange's reply, I tend to agree with Orange that you'll need to build a defense that can pressure the QB as well as contain them.

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Thanks again for the help. I intend on implementing it.

The QB run rule is not typical? Dang. The rule actually states that as long as a defender is lined up behind 7 yards, the QB is elible to run from the start of the play. He doesn't have to wait for the rush.

As orange and Rob suggest, I'll start with a rusher to the throwing arm side (right) of the QB to force him to run against his throwing arm (left), hopefully taking the pass option away, and shadow that side (left) with a zone defender.

If we get burned by the runner too often, I will have to switch back to a normal zone without a rusher.

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Thanks again for the help. I intend on implementing it.

The QB run rule is not typical? Dang. The rule actually states that as long as a defender is lined up behind 7 yards, the QB is elible to run from the start of the play. He doesn't have to wait for the rush.

As orange and Rob suggest, I'll start with a rusher to the throwing arm side (right) of the QB to force him to run against his throwing arm (left), hopefully taking the pass option away, and shadow that side (left) with a zone defender.

If we get burned by the runner too often, I will have to switch back to a normal zone without a rusher.

Our QB can all so run and it does not matter if someone 7 yards back or not, our QB is live every snap. But no one rusher can run the ball 2 consecutive plays which keeps teams with super stars running every play.

I usually rush 1 man but we play 6 on 6 so I have 3 up on the LOS, 1 rusher 7 yards back, and two safeties. I sometimes line up my rusher and the nose guard 7 yards back and let the nose guard bull rush to the LOS then stay to defend the run and short stuff. Seeing two guys rushing at the QB tends to rattle them.

I did not think of this until now but I could bull rush the nose gaurd before the snap and as long as he does not cross the LOS. I will try this saturday and see what happens. ( I might need to tell the ref what we will do in advance )

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For 5 on 5 football I'm not big on rushing...You have an advantage because its your 5 vs 4 players going out for a pass.The way I see is if we better be able to stop them with that 1 extra player we have.Occasionally I will blitz but I would rather rely on my zone to beat a QB.I usually have good luck :) cause I can teach a good zone lol

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