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TNDoc

Stopping Short Crossing Routes

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TNDoc    0

Game coming up age 10-11 with kid with great arm. Team seems to like to run a lot of crossing routes and hit the out routes primarily. Watched team get beat on those throws for 3 scores Saturday. He runs them out of trips,twins or balanced formations. On defense we run 2-2-1, 1-1-3 and occasionally 2-1-2 this year. Which would work best. Want to rush him frequently as in past years was able to rattle him but he has much better coaching this year and are getting ball out much quicker and we moved rush line to 10 yards instead of 7 so he has extra time.

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Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays
Coach Rob    25

Crossing routes are always tough to cover. Pressuring the QB is a definite help, but with that new 10 yd rush line, it will be a challenge for you to get their quick enough.

I would tend to play a 2-3 zone and keep your 2 off the los more than you normally would. If I was playing against your 2-3 (or any zone you had), I would send a receiver deep to one of the corners and send a crossing pattern underneath to that same area. If your two guys on the los can read the pass and help with those out patterns, you might be able to shut him down.

Maybe mix it up and instead of a rush use your middle guy in the back to shadow a potential crossing pattern. If they use the same guys each time or you start to recognize a pattern of how they run the crossing routes, just put that guy in a M2M against that receiver. You could even use your 1-1-3 here and let the middle LB be that rover for crossing patterns.

If you have time to practice before the game, I'd run some of the scenarios you saw in their game and break it down for the kids. Giving them a mental picture of what they'll be facing can help come game time. Showing them what a crossing pattern looks like and where this team likes to throw it.

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No one defensive scheme is good against everything. 5x5 flag football is an offensive game (assuming the coaches know what they're doing). Consequently, a part of coaching defense against good offensive teams has to include taking chances. And by chances I don't mean taking unnecessary risks. I'm talking about stuff like deciding whether to send a rusher into the strength of a formation or the QB's throwing hand (if they're different). Whether to abandon a flat in order to press the middle. Etc. Against a good team, sometimes you just have to guess. Hopefully you guess right more than you do wrong.

Quick throws will neutralize a 10 yd rush and make it basically 4 on 5. However, if we see a lot of quick throws to the outside, occasionally we'll send a rusher off that corner and leak a defender from someplace near the middle/LOS into the flat on that side. The rusher isn't bringing a ton of pressure, but most QB's have tunnel vision when he's in their line of sight. And while they absolutely see the hole he's leaving on his side, they don't always see the defender flying into it from underneath. Pick.

Most good QBs (and good offensive schemes) are 100% about timing -- they read either Rush or no-Rush. We stunt and do what we can to disrupt that, including delaying rushes, especially against teams that like to strike to one side. Occasionally we'll line up two underneath defenders at rush depth (one on each side + a middle linebacker up near the LOS). Mike drops down the middle and the two other defenders read their keys as they leak up into their zones. The QB reads "No rush" and settles, but all were doing is taking a mississippi or two to see which flat the offense is attacking. If they strike quick, we have an extra tackler at depth. If not, our free defender takes off after the QB, who, because he was settled, is now more apt to rush his throw at a point in a receiver's route he's not used to throwing.

It takes some practice, but consider teaching your kids how to banjo against bunch formations (basically zone for 5 yards, then man). A majority of trips formations will do one of two things (i) set up the weak side, or (ii) wash out the strong side only to leak a receiver back to it. A banjo call can be very deceptive if your defense shows man, but your playside corner checks off the split receiver at the last second and stays home. We get a lot of takeaways disguising corner responsibilities, especially against stuff where the QB rolls to his side with a dragging center or some sort of out pattern to that side.

At the end of the day, Belichek is probably right when he says defensive scheme is less important than execution (and the talent you have on the field!). But if your team is anything like ours, your kids play up against good teams and down against bad teams. And against a good QB, they're going to get gashed and make mistakes. Just tell them to (i) make 'em big, and (ii) make 'em going forwards, not backwards.

Good luck.

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TNDoc    0

Just to update. Game was postponed due to issue with number of refs that week so played today and kids did great. Played 2-3 and 1-1-3 and shut down their crossing routes and had their QB on his heels most of game and gave up only 1 offensive TD late when pulled top players and let kids who generally play up front in our defense play safety and had them playing RB etc for the fourth quarter and won 33-13 but easily could have ended up with 40+ if kept starters in the game so thanks for input on defense.

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