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caneincgfl

Stopping That Really, Really Fast Kid (With Slower D)

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The team we play next runs the same play multiple times. They put their fastest kid, who is the fastest kid in the league, in shotgun next to a player who is there to take the snap. In our league the qb can't run so the player who takes the snap then just hands to the fast kid. The fast kid then can run or pass and there is no 7 second clock on the pass (at least it's not called). He runs around in the backfield and if nothing is open he takes off. The kid is so quick and shifty it's hard to contain him and cover the possibility he might throw before he crosses the line. My defense has no players who are as quick as this kid. How would you guys defense this?

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We teach our kids to attack fast backs in a line just like kickoff lanes, the first one to him goes straight at him the next two are two yards wide on each side and two yards back to take away his cut lanes teach your kids to make him cut back to the inside were you have more D, attack his shadow one yard out.

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I'm going to assume you are in a 5 v 5 league.

Since I also coach basketball and have dealt with this situation many times in games, I'll come from that standpoint. We focus on their best player and basically take him out of the game. We'll double team or deny this player the ball. Not as easy to do in football, but you can use that same mindset.

Be flexible on defense and design something just for this kid through an audible system. I would use audibles just to throw off the offense. Most of the stuff you yell out won't mean anything, just call out random combinations of words. Use a combination like numbers and a color for the real deal. The audibles that don't mean anything might throw them off, who knows.

If you normally run a 2-3 defense, when they come out of the huddle and the kid is standing next to the QB, I would call your live audible. This tells your middle guy from the 3 to sprint up to the los before they snap it. His job is to mirror that kid and get in the backfield as soon as the ball is handed off. The closest player on your los to that kid would assist your mirror in trying to annoy and trap. The 3rd player on the los watches the QB and backs up the first two players.

You are leaving yourself exposed with only two players to cover 3 on a pass, but if you get enough pressure on this kid ASAP, it should be difficult for him to get off a good pass. It's definitely a risk, but from the sounds of things, maybe this will give you an option to deal with him.

The key will be for your mirror and the other helper on the los not to overpursue. I would use an older brother or the fastest kid on your team in practice with that same formation. Practice against it over and over covering the options the offense has each time. Get your kids used to hearing the audibles, knowing when it's live and seeing what you are trying to do against their fastest player.

My .02

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What age group?

A few random thoughts:

- Once the ball is handed off there is no 7 second clock.

- On occasion I'll put a blitz on someone other than the QB.

- We teach our defenders closest to the LOS to be patient. If they get too aggressive, they'll get pulled flat with the ball carrier, and get beat.

- Young defenders will tend to over-pursue a fast tailback. Watch kids taking big steps at close range and getting caught. Close distance with big steps, break down when near the ball.

- We teach first man to the ball to get in front, slow the runner; the rest contain. Watch corners leaking into the middle and getting beat outside. We teach our corners that they don't need to pull flags as much as they need to herd runners back inside.

- As far as scheme, in the past I've run something like a Cover 3 with a LB defending one of the flats (usually strong) and a corner blitz from the other side. More often than not, it shrunk the field and one herded the runner to the other. I've also occasionally deepened up defenders to ensure they have better angles to the ball carrier, and contain him underneath. Goal was to give up yards, but not touchdowns.

Your mileage may vary. Good luck!

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Rob has the right idea. I'd go with a 1-1-3 zone and if it looks like they are going to pull this play, stick your NT right up on the line. As soon as there is a handoff have him go straight into the backfield. Your rusher should be coming also and you want him to assist in the chase. The rusher is coming in with a delay due to being back 7 yards and should see where the HB commits. That should help him read what's going on and cut angles and otherwise assist. The other three play zone as normal.

Another alternative would be to do as above but maybe have your NT get a little wide left (or right). Then instead of leaving your rusher back 7 yards, move him up close to the los on the other side of the NT. Now you have two defenders that are going to come blasting in as soon as he hands off. If they do a halfway decent job of containing on their side, the other team will not want to run this often as they are going to lose yards. *whichever one is on the same side as the QB, have him delay just a second and watch for a quick throw back to him. If they fake the handoff and throw you have no rusher but that isn't the end of the world.

We've run this shotgun handoff play before and we've used our fastest kid. It only works if he has time to get going. If the defender is in his face quickly it blows it up. You have to remember that the HB is standing still when he gets the handoff. (just thought of this) A cool counter for the offense: Fake the handoff to the HB and have the center hook 5 yards. When the NT and rusher freeze at the los that center pass would be wide.

Remember, especially if you send two kids into the backfield chasing him. If you let the speedy HB to the outside he's going to have tons of room to run. They must contain!

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Personally, I love seeing a defense set up a kid up at nose who crosses into our backfield on a handoff. Especially if we own the speed mismatch (as suggested by the original poster). Once the defender is in the same east-west plane as our tailback, he’s beat. At best he can chase, and we’ll always win the footrace to open space. Then the burden is on another defender to step up and make a play.

On the other hand, what gives us fits are disciplined defenders/LBs who actually move up and down the LOS. They hawk the runner and never let themselves get pulled flat with the tailback (unless it’s in front of him or within flag-pulling range). Best case, it gives the slower defender a chance since he can get a pursuit angle on the speedier ball carrier. Worst case, it slows down the run or makes the tailback commit to hauling ass to one side of the field.

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Certainly you have to know your personnel. My NT would never beat anyone in a footrace, he's considered slow. But he can read, is very aggressive, has quick feet and can pull flags like a beast. I'd put money on him any day of the week getting anyone's fast HB in the backfield on a play like that. At the very least he can contain him long enough to let my second defender (rusher) clean up the mess. You need space to use speed and if you deny that space immediately, you negate the speed.

But if you have a weak NT, you want to be very careful.

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