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GeorgeC

Rush The Qb Or Not?

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3rd grade boys, 6 v 6, QB can't run, one rusher from 7 yards out

We're in a YMCA league, where you can optionally run one rusher at the QB. It seems that every coach that I've talked to in our league says: "oh yeah, rush every time". On this forum, I've seen mixed comments, ranging from a well-disciplined zone where the kids "stay home" until the ball crosses the LOS to rush and force the QB to his weak-side.

So for those who have played in a similar "one rusher" league, I'd like to see a discussion advocating one way or the other and why.

Thanks.

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George, to clarify---the QB cannot run even when blitzed, is that correct?

Right. The QB can scramble in the backfield. The rule book says: The defensive team is allowed to pass-rush one player on every play. The pass-rusher is the only defensive player that may cross the line of scrimmage into the offensive backfield before a second ball exchange (e.g., hand-off, pitch or pass) takes place.

and it says:

• The quarterback has seven-second “pass clock” if no rush. No seven-second clock if rusher passes line of scrimmage.

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I'm in the camp of send the rusher a majority of the time. I don't believe in sending the rusher from the same spot, so we mix up who goes based on what we see when they come out of the huddle.

Reasons for sending a rusher most of the time:

-Most kids under the age of 12 aren't savvy enough to handle a rusher.

-It forces the other coach to execute his plays quicker.

-Unless you have great DBacks, QB can throw behind them with too much time

-Good rusher can be trained to pull flags in backfield on handoffs.

If we suspect a running play, sometimes we'll call a play that tells the rusher to run up to los before ball is snapped and stop. If there is a handoff, rusher's job is to key in on ball carrier. If no handoff, rusher backpeddles to help cover pass.

I think the key is to keep the offense guessing and not be too predictable whatever you decide.

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I can think of only a very few situations where I would not send a rusher.

Reasons to send a rusher:

Pressure QB

Possibly sack QB

Force QB to make throw earlier

What you get when you keep an extra defender in coverage is a little more coverage but you also give the QB time and receivers time to get open. I'd rather force the other team to get the ball away faster, it makes playing defense easier.

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I think it is unfair that the QB cannot run when blitzed.

I understand the need to teach young boys how to get rid of the ball under pressure--but I also understand the importance of allowing young QBs to make the right decisions, and sometimes that is to tuck the ball and run.

For you coaches that are in leagues that disallow the QB from running when blitzed, what are your thoughts? I can tell you from experience that is the reason we don't blitz, as allowing the QB to take off is the great equalizer.

I guess I see little benefit in how an eight year old can learn pocket presence if he is constantly running away from an on-coming rusher. I know my son will some day face on-coming rushers in tackle, but by then he will have seasons of focusing purely on reading defenses, seeing the field, knowing how to go three deep in his progression, etc. If he needs to expedite that from 7 seconds (when our league allows full rush) to four seconds, he can work on that--but at least he KNOWS what to do.

Plus he will have blockers. ;-)

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I think it is unfair that the QB cannot run when blitzed. For you coaches that are in leagues that disallow the QB from running when blitzed, what are your thoughts?
I'm fine with the QB not being able to run. Played a few seasons where they were allowed to run, in fact, I think that 8 and under can run anytime in our league. What would happen is a team would send everyone deep, look like a pass, let the rusher come in and then take off. Happened over and over for huge gains. I think the league was trying to avoid that and get more ball touches going.

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Rob, that is precisely what happens in our league (when we are allowed to rush), which is why we don't rush---but do welcome it. ;-) I like the way we have it in our league (rush once every four downs) as it adds that element, but the QB is not running for his life on every play. In fact, I would not have a problem disallowing the QB from running when blitzed, assuming you can only blitz once ever four downs...just to keep it balanced.

I think I mentioned this once, but we incorporate a "fake blitz". Remember, we have to announce when we are blitzing. We'll send two guys rushing in, and they stop right at the LOS. Because 99% of the teams ask their QB to run when they know they will be blitzed, the QB crosses the LOS right as our rushers stop at the LOS---resulting in a penalty.

With that, how often do you guys see actual "sacks"?

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This season I flipped to the non-blitz side after 2 seasons of always blitzing. We usually played a 2-1-2 zone.

In our U10 league, 90% of our passes against us are either deep balls, or quick 3-5 dump offs. We didn't see any teams that could/would throw medium passes outside over our CBs but under the safeties, only over the middle where we had the field covered. We held teams to under 10 points a game by keeping eveything in front of us and pulling flags well. We would have gotten picked apart by a team that could throw mid range passes to the sidelines, but it never happened.

So many QBs in our league would likely throw deep when they had time, which we wanted as our safeties always played deep enough to break on the pass.

As an offense, we loved when teams blitzed as our passing game was nothing but quick passes, never having the QB holding the ball more than 3 seconds. It took the blitz worry away and opened up the field when we knew where the blitzer lined up.

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Johnp2- well, great is not the word I would use. I have learned SO much from this board, and I continue to find holes in my coaching. This season we had the luxury of having 2 kids who just had a knack for playing safety, which allowed us to play that style of defense. I start up my spring team in 2 weeks, and once again, I have all new kids, so we begin the process again. I will say this about having a new team each season. It really makes me adjust my coaching/playcalling, which I think has made me a better coach for it.

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I have all new kids, so we begin the process again. I will say this about having a new team each season. It really makes me adjust my coaching/playcalling, which I think has made me a better coach for it.

I have an established team, but I can tell you the one downside to this is not getting to deal with the "unknown". Indeed it is all about using your personnel to its fullest potential. The one reason I reserve an "open spot" for my team is I because LOVE molding new players into my scheme. Two seasons ago I was given a six year old on our 8-9 team. He never played football but turned out to be a pretty good athlete, and I had him scoring TDs by season's end. I do agree it is a completely different style of coaching when you have all new players, and I commend any coach who is able to have success with that.

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If you blitz it puts a lot of pressure on the QB, true. But it also puts a lot of pressure on the defense. My theory is five of my guys should cover four of yours. Plus, Ive seen year in and year out blitzers get juked and all it does is give the receiver more time to seperate. Its rough playing in a zone with guys thats just scrambling to get open and its even more difficult playing man unless you can match up talent wise. Also, if you find the teams that pass quick theyre gonna pick your defense apart by attacking holes where ur blitzer just was.

IMO, the risk isnt worth the reward.

This year I converted to a man zone scheme. Its based off a zone concept as far as watching a area on the field but once a man enters it, ur locked on. Then the extra 5th guy is a floater that looks for anyone that got beat and covers for him or if theres two players in one zone he would help out.

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Johnp2- well, great is not the word I would use. I have learned SO much from this board, and I continue to find holes in my coaching. This season we had the luxury of having 2 kids who just had a knack for playing safety, which allowed us to play that style of defense. I start up my spring team in 2 weeks, and once again, I have all new kids, so we begin the process again. I will say this about having a new team each season. It really makes me adjust my coaching/playcalling, which I think has made me a better coach for it.

we tied our first game, lost our second game, and then i installed a safety and a 2 man blitz and we won all of our games thereafter and gave up an average of only 1 TD per game.

i think an overlooked part of coaching is evaluating personnel. people write books about plays, but the knack of coaching is setting up those plays and what you ask and who you ask it of.

my son is a good athlete but very aggressive. he'd be a terrible safety. i had 2 other kids at safety that saved a ton of TDs for us. they were average speed, slightly shorter than average, but had sound fundamentals and a disposition to follow directions.

also, kids enjoy doing what they do best. at my last practice, i asked the kids if there was something they hadn't gotten to do. my best pass rusher summoned up the nerve to comment. i thought he was going to ask to do something other than rush the passer since i had had him doing that almost exclusiviley because he was so good at it. instead, he asked to rush the passer. he had found a way to make a real contribution to the team, and didn't want to give that up.

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another thing on blitzing i picked up watching my film. . . .first, a lot of teams send their worst player to blitz. this is a mistake as its usually ineffectual. second, the blitzers invariably go for a sack. i have had a lot of success with a different approach. i send a faster kid to blitz. i had 1 kid who was tall and fast but had poor football instinct. i had another kid who was on the slower side but big with good instinct. i also had 2 very small inexperienced kids who shouldn't have been at this level. i would send the bigger kid to the QB's right and tell him not to worry about the flag but to try to block the pass and wave his arms. this was very initimidating and resulted in lots of hurried passes and changed trajectories. the smaller kid i'd tell to contain the QB and go for the flag. they didnt' get any sacks but by cutting off the contain they shaved several seconds off the throw.

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