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ACoach

Defensive End's

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Coaches,

Throughout my 2 seasons (AC & HC 6-7 yr olds), and embarking upon my 3rd season as a HC of 8-9 yr olds (6-on-6) & AC of 6-7 yr olds (5-on-5), my Defensive End's seem to give me the biggest problems. I have tried rotating various personnel, but it always seems to be an issue. I have given it some thought and propose two solutions:

Solution 1: Use my slowest persons at the End position. In fact, if they dont move the better. In my last game, my lone girl played the spot, and without moving, caused a traffic jam with the Blocking Back and the RB that slowed them down, poor tackling allowed them to get further than they should have, until the Safety made the TD-saving tackle.

Solution 2 (and mentioned elsewhere on the forum): Move the DE's further out on the LOS to force RBs in on sweeps. Thinking as well that this at least keeps the DE in the general vicinity in case they do abandon their post when biting hard on a hand-off behind the LOS.

During a Football clinic a coach mentioned that if the DEs crash on a hand-off that they at least be level with the furthest most back--in case of a double-reverse. I havent drilled it yet, but intend to do it during our next game warm-ups in which I will get the DE's to take a Right-angle approach if they do go beyond the LOS and try and force the RB back into midfield. Our past game they crashed hard diagonally at the RB, despite repeated coaching, and ususally missing the flags and leaving the sidelines open for easy touchdowns or desperation Safety tackles. Our Defense was also probably too shallow. For the most part all the teams are running the ball, although at the 8-9 level they are starting to throw a bit more. So we play Run first and Pass second unless we run into a Pass-happy team.

Any coaches got insight into coaching a DE to maintain their assignment until the ball breaks the LOS or at least for sure going away from them. I still remember my one coach's response to me after I had played DE but hadnt made any tackles in a game that I had "played a good game because you didnt let anything get by you." I tell my DEs what my coach said and that even if you didnt make a single tackle but forced them inside, or at least slowed them down, then you've done your job well. Thanks.

ACoach

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This is what worked form me, take in consideration I got 10-11 kids, 60% passing 40% running.

My first two games I had the same problem using a 2-1-2 D, I think DE´s tend to confuse their role since they are the ones facing the receivers, strangely as it sounds what I did is actually force the outside run, I moved 2 smart athletes up front on a 3-2 D, the two front guys are NOT playing wide, they are playing 2 yards away from the center to each one of the sides, they are now facing directly the center backfield, their eyes and attention is now directly over de Hb and not the receivers. Their instruction is to tail the RB if he gets the handoff and force him outside field; left & right safeties (used to be the DE´s) become CB´s and are the ones actually closing the sideline gap and the true tackle guys.

Since the RLB or LBL (depending running side) is tailing strong behind RB there is no time for option passing, so you got 1 guy on persecution, one guy closing sideline gap and there is actually one guy covering pass option to the running side, he is my best athlete who sits 7 yard out of Los in the middle of the two wide safeties/corners, I like to look at him as a Nickel back.

This has worked well on the last two games, but then again 3 guys back could be a different story with younger kids.

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Coach,

Thanks for your comments. I guess that would be solution 3--dispense with the DE's altogether. My Defense as of now is a 2-1-2-1:

DE------------------DE

---------NG-----------

---CB---------CB------

---------S------------

At tomorrows game I will try and coach up the DE's to maintain their assignments, and then maybe throw in the defensive scheme you outlined above. I think one thing I will do as well is to get the DEs to sit further back off the LOS. As I also mentioned my Defense was too shallow with the CBs too far towards the LOS and almost compressed into a double defensive line with only the S providing secondary coverage. I'll report back on how it went and any adjustments made. Thanks again.

ACoach

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I would definitely recommend you keep your DEs split out wide. We go as far as placing them almost a foot off of the sidelines. It's all about keeping the ball-carriers in the box to us. We have no problem giving up chunks of yards up the middle and instead focus on shutting down the big play to the outside. Your DE's don't need to be overly athletic to do this, just disciplined. I'd suggest a 3-2-1, and simply let your NT and LBs gobble up flags in the middle. Think about it in terms of the ball-carrier's mind-set. Most kids at this age have a natural tendency to use the sideline as a crutch. Once they get the ball and see a NT and LB in front of them--they immediately bounce it to the outside. However, here comes the DE running in toward the play by this point--preventing the ball-carrier from bouncing outside and the ball-carrier really has no place to go. By this point, you've slowed the play down about 2-3 seconds, which is an eternity as we know.

It amazes me when I see teams run a 3-2-1 and their interior linemen are bunched up in the middle. When we see this, we runs a one-back/twins right formation, send the left receiver on a slant, pump fake to the right, and then pitch it to the RB going left. Pretty much a guaranteed TD every time. ;-)

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I would definitely listen to Johnp2, he is a much more experienced coach than I am so I would start with his advice.

Every team, rival, player and league is a different story, so this is what actually has been working for me, so far our touchdowns have been against wide DE´s since our best play & the one giving results is a fast hand off run design directly in between the wide DE´s and the NT.

So in the future if you are still stuck and want to try it out here it is, I changed the D design from 3-2 to 1-2-2 since you tend to defend the run more than I do because of the age group you are coaching, as you can see it´s pretty much like the idea you have of throwing back DE´s, in order for it to work properly you two LB´s have to been good players, in my D I got top player at Nickel and LB´s my 2nd and 3rd athletes.

You can easily change this to a six player D, 1-3-2.

1-2-2 and 3-2 against run.pdf

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how do you defend the pass from this formation

Our approach is to play the run first. There are very few balanced teams in our league, and most either throw 90% of the time, or run 90% of the time. Regadless, we teach our DEs to recognize run vs pass (for when we do play balanced teams). The general rule of thumb for us is--when a team empties its backfield, it's a certain pass, and the DEs simply become CBs and drop back into coverage. If we are playing a team that mainly throws, we still split our DEs out wide, but keep them off the line about three yards.

Usually after the first quarter, we have a definite feel for our opponents' game plan, but no matter what--we don't allow ball-carriers or receivers (on short routes) get to the outside.

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how do you defend the pass from this formation

Before answering you question, first let me be clear out that I´m NOT saying this is the ultimate D or “hey guy use it”, I had the same DE´s problem at first games and for some reason these guys where biting on the pass first and not the run, I tried several time during game to get through to them but it didn’t work, solution came like Johnp2 says on a recent post by causality or mistake.

My left DE´ wasn’t stopping anything at Los, he was caught of guard on snap where he was 5 yds out of Los and bingo, he tackled, so I started changing things a bit, so in conclusion, changing my D set up worked better and faster than trying to keep DE´s home.

Answering you question it’s a straight 3-2 zone D, I got all pretty much covered, as you may already know the problem area is the pass to the flat zone, swing pass or flare pass, fortunately for me it seems nobody at this age group has this kind of pass in their playbook, last week one team did improvised a screen pass to the WR (execution wasn’t good so I realized in wasn’t in their playbook), they sent the play twice, first time WR dropped it, and second time they gained around 6 or 7, after that they didn’t try it again. Flare or swing could be cover m2m with one of the LB´s.

Two main problems: first, LB´s are too close to the middle field, as they backpedal they are still close together so that is a problem, I started teaching them de diagonal backpedal, its hard for them but eventually will get there.

The other problem is: Since I got the wides doing two roles, CB and Safeties around 5 yard from LOS I only got one eligible guy for rushing, my Nickel back, but this guy is actually like my 60% of pass support so I rather play it safe and not rush at all.

It would seem between LB´ and Nickel is a good passing zone, but my nickel is such a good athlete that he got it cover, interceptions mainly come from this zone.

Probably the other main problem would be if nickel bits hard on QB faking throw to one side and QB throwing the other way around, but then again teams I´m playing against all come from tackle so their QB´s are trained to scan the field. This would probably kill this D in other leagues.

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Coaches,

At my last game this Sat. it probably wouldnt have mattered if my DEs stayed at home, abandoned their posts, played them wide/deep, etc. we just couldnt match the athleticism of the other team's star player. He just juked, side-stepped, swerved, etc. around my defenders as they clutched at nothing. My only adjustment that I could've probably made is to play everyone deep. But, I didnt think of that until after the game, as during the game I was constantly running back onto the field to run the O, and didnt get much time to think about the D. So, I hope that next week we can play a more evenly matched opponent and put into practice some of the advice given here. Thanks.

ACoach

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Coaches,

My only adjustment that I could've probably made is to play everyone deep. But, I didnt think of that until after the game, as during the game I was constantly running back onto the field to run the O, and didnt get much time to think about the D.

I hate it when that happens, it´s frustrating when you actually come up with the possible D game saving adjustment when the game is already over, I guess it´s the consequence we rookies have to pay.

Same thing happens to me, I get so caught up on O execution that I forget about D, I particularly find harder setting players up on D than O especially when you don´t know you athletes so well. There are so many things to look at during the game that there is always something missing and it´s even worse for guys like me that don´t have any assistance at all.

But it´s comfort to know that will get there; I particularly found myself more relaxed this year at game day than I did last year and I´m able to see more things happening around me.

So my advice is to stay put, we´ll do better on adjusting as time goes by.

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I particularly found myself more relaxed this year at game day than I did last year and I´m able to see more things happening around me.

Coach,

Yeah, that is an area I need work on: relaxing in the game and seeing more in the game. I focus too much on the ball handlers rather than seeing what the Defense is doing etc. Hopefully it will come.

ACoach

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