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Johnp2

Facing Zone Vs Man

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After quite a few practices (we have three more plus a scrimmage before our first game), I've been able to implement some things that I think will improve us this season. First, please remember I've had the same kids for many, many seasons--so they know a plethora of plays they can execute in their sleep--so I have to have something to challenge them with. ;-)

Because we are in a 10-12 league now, I've noticed there are more teams running man defenses. In younger leagues, coaches (rightfully so, IMO) run a zone. Consequently, the majority of our plays are used to exploit the zone defense. There were times when we faced man defenses last season that I came up with a zillion ideas on how to combat it, but did not want to just draw something up on the fly.

This season we'll have two playbooks. One that only has plays designed for zone defenses, and one for man defenses. I'll get an idea after a play or two (if I don't already know from watching) the type of defense we are facing, and simply use the appropriate play book. We also script our first 10 plays, so I'll need to take that into account as well. This, instead of just calling the plays geared for man or zone. i.e. have a clean break.

There are a few hybrid defense we face (meaning they switch zone to man from play to play). In this instance, we'll go no huddle (I'll let the defense get set) use a code word to send a player in motion, and then based on that will simply call out the play. Again, my players know their plays so well I just call the play in the huddle and we break anyway.

Curious if anyone else does something similar.

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I coach my son in a 7/8 year old league and we see all zone except for maybe one team. I dont see where Man on Man is a better defense. I have played 15+ years of competitive adult flag and we never played teams that played man. We would go man to man only when we were trying to put tremendous pressure on the QB with a big rush.

With that said, I would think that the offense would have the advantage against man. Are they rushing a player? Are they keeping him back and he is playing a zone or shadowing the QB? Depending on that and if you have a good passing attack, I would spread them out wide across the field and hit the mismatches and read the defense to isolate a player and call a route that takes advantage of the postioning of the D. For example (and you can see it in my videos I have posted here) I will stack WRs on the sidelines and make them adjust to my spread offense. We will run the same formation all the way down and call out routes based no how they line up. Running seam routes, slants, outs and flys to stretch them out. The middle will be a weakness if they spread out the D and especially if they rush. Depending on what they do in the middle of the field, it could be as simple as the C snapping and running a fly route (but immediately) looking for the pass. Depending on where the man to man is, it could be a short quick hit or a deeper fly route. I would pick them apart based on their positioning.

It is basically a no huddle, calling hot routes where we see the holes and isolating the man to man.

I dont think man to man is a good defense for a quick passing offense. Just my opinion though.

I am impressed you have your first 10 plays scripted.

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Our season ended a couple of weeks ago. The toughest defense we played looked like a "flattened zone". When you looked at them, breaking from your huddle, they were all lined up straight across the field about 8-10 yards deep, looking like a man-to-man defense. As we lined up, they would slightly alter the defensive look with a couple of kids moving back a yard or so, and a couple of kids moving up. As the play developed, the zones were covered, the defense swarmed and shut everything down.

It was far more difficult to play and coach against than the typical 3-3 or 2-4 zone defense, where the other defensive players were fixed like light poles and flat-footed until the play started.

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I agree that zone is the way to go. I would much rather face a man defense then a disciplined zone. What I like about facing man is I can exploit individual match-ups by isolating targeted players.

I've been scripting our first 10 plays for years now. It really helps in a variety of ways. First, we know exactly what we are going to do, so in our final practice we simply walk-through the first 10 plays--the team goes in knowing exactly what they need to execute. Second it allows me to see the tendencies of the defense, which I use to game plan the remainder of the game. Third, it helps keep me accountable for getting the ball to each player.

We'll typically get the 10 plays out in the first quarter. We are not a big play offense, but instead methodically dink and dunk our way down the field (I put a lock of stock in TOP and try to keep our offense on the field as long as possible).

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George, meant to ask you about that defense you faced. To be sure I understand, when you broke your offensive huddle, they were all line up horizontally about 8-10 yards deep (and then adjusted at that time)?

When they adjusted, did they adjust into a consistent scheme (3-2-1, 2-3-1, 4-1-1) based on the coach's command? It sounds like you are saying the coach positioned them once you lined up, and then they stayed in that zone?

Kind of intriguing. Please elaborate.

Thanks!

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George, meant to ask you about that defense you faced. To be sure I understand, when you broke your offensive huddle, they were all line up horizontally about 8-10 yards deep (and then adjusted at that time)?

When they adjusted, did they adjust into a consistent scheme (3-2-1, 2-3-1, 4-1-1) based on the coach's command? It sounds like you are saying the coach positioned them once you lined up, and then they stayed in that zone?

Kind of intriguing. Please elaborate.

Thanks!

They would line up across the field, with a span roughly equal to our offense (usually twins formation). It wasn't a perfect straight line, but relatively close. About 7-8 yards deep. As we formed our offensive set, one or two of their kids would yell run or pass, as well as "watch #22". They were a smart group of kids. It was not their coach giving the command. Depending on pass or run, they would tighten up a little closer to the LOS or play a little softer. Their corners would adjust to me outside guys, and their inside defense would adjust to run or pass.

In retrospect, if you just taught your kids to line up in the straight line across, and then immediately adjust to position based on run, pass or "not sure", it would add an incremental twist to the offensive coach.

The other thing is that from this "line up", you can quickly command the kids to break to the 3-2-1 or break to the 3-3, if you have multiple defensive sets.

For me, I think also, it keeps the kids thinking all through the game, instead of waiting flat-footed while the offensive plans.

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