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8 On 8 Defense Suggestions

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Looking for some suggestions for an effective defense in an 8 on 8 league. (7/8 yr olds)

Some of the rules specific to our league:

3 down linemen must line head up with offensive C, RG, LG. Must be at least 1 yard off line.

3 linemen are only players that can rush the pocket.

Defensive ends may cross the line of scrimmage, but cannot enter pocket until ball carrier breaks out.

From past experience, there is little problem getting a rush from the front 3 defenders. Kids this age either don't block well, or are not taught to block well. Rarely does a middle run cause any problems. The main problem I see is containing on outside runs and reverses.

I plan on coaching up the end position to contain the outside run at all costs. Beyond this however, I am without any solid strategy for my 3 remaining players. My first thought is to play 2 linebackers wide, reading the gaps inside and outside the ends. That leaves one safety who I would play deep and have read pass first, then find the ball in run support.

Another idea was to have one of my defensive tackles crash down on the center to hopefully free up the nose for a clean rush. I would then have my other tackle drop into the middle center of the field and flow to the ball. The purpose for this is to provide more coverage in the center of the field where I think a weakness occurs with 5 of 8 players crashing the opponents backfield.

Any input or additional suggestions anxiously awaited.

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This is from a previous post on 8 on 8 Defensive Strategies by JohnP. Is more offensive oriented but it will give you an idea of what most teams on running as far as defense.

Most defenses in our league run either a 3-3-2, or a 4-2-2. By that, they'll have 3 or 4 lineman at the LOS, 2 or 3 LBs, and 2 safeties.

I'm really trying to come up with a play that can all but guarantee I get a WR behind the safeties. The problem is that because there are so many players in the box---smart teams keep their safeties back no matter what. Thus they don't have to respect the run.

Most teams keep their safeties about 15-20 yards deep. Our QB can throw about 20 yards. Thus I need some sort of play to draw the safeties in, or roll them to the opposite side. I'll tell you though it's tough against disciplined teams. Don't get me wrong, we have the strongest offense in our league last year and moved the ball well (we took what the defense gave us), but I'm scratching my head thinking of how to get recevier all along---deep.

One thought is a RB or WR pass. I've tried this in the past with very poor results. The problem is that because you have six players in the box (typically 4 right on the LOS), there is maybe less then 2 seconds to get rid of it (unless I somehow surround him with blockers--which will only bring attention to that side). Another problem is there is a reason the RB/WRs aren't playing QB. While some of them have the arm strength, they all either freeze, or have no sort of accuracy. I could possibly put my QB at the RB position, pitch it to him and let him roll out, but I've yet to see a RB/WR pass work in our league.

I'd love to hear suggestions--not just from 8v8 coaches, but any coach. I've seen this done in 5 v 5, so think there has to be a way. Thanks!

Check out the entire post - 8 Vs 8 - Going Deep

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