Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays
Michael Rice

Defensive Suggestions?

3 posts in this topic

If anyone has any suggestions for me, it would be appreciated. More or less, I need to figure out what to do with my defense.

Here's the vital info.

We are slow. By slow I mean, molasses in February slow.

I have had slow teams in the past, but I usually had 3 or so players who could run some. It would just be a case of not much overall speed.

This year, I have only one player who I would consider even above average speed. He's fast, but not supped up Corvette fast, but more like stock Camaro fast.

Offensively, we can be ok. We can dink and dunk since they run good routes and we get the ball out quickly. As long as we catch the ball, we can go 8-12 yards at a time and be in manageable third down situations.

Defensively, I am at a loss what to do.

I have one player who is slow, heavy footed, no lateral quickness, pretty much the whole nine yards of slowness. I have three who are probably average. The one is a bit spacey, at times.

The other two, non fast ones, are maybe average speed for a non athlete, but below average other wise. However, they read the plays well, they are aggressive and they get up to speed, while it isn't overly fast, quickly.

We went man to man on Saturday, The big weak link got burned repeatedly. Before our blitzer (ten yards out) could even cross the line, a lot of times, the WR was by the guy and they just lobbed it over and he went the distance or close to it. This happened even though he was playing a good 5-7 yards off his guy.

We doubled his guy some, played a safety with no blitz and eventually just took him off of defense entirely...which helped. But we were still so slow, the short passes and delayed runs they did created so much space, we got burned on some runs. It also hurt they would hand off right away to their fastest guy who was also their best thrower....making him like an option QB. (Our QBs are not allowed to run)

I knew the man to man might burned, but with what I had, I feared a "normal" zone would just get beat with the quick short passes to the weaker side, that would turn into long runs. My hope was we could cover for the three or so seconds it would take the rush to get there, but that didn't work.

Long story short....I know we need to move from man, but I don't know if a straight up 2-3, 3-2, etc, will make much difference.

I was toying with idea of taking my two decent players and putting them as ends and telling them to only worry about the outside runs and the short outside passes...basic responsibilities, but shorten their coverage zones some.

Then, putting my fast guy in the middle and playing him like a single safety, only in what would be more like a Middle backer spot. Have him control the middle runs, cutbacks, center pass routes, etc.

That would leave my two best players in a two safety look. We ran a zone last year (6 on 6 versus 5 on 5 of this year) and he wound up with 9 picks in 9 games, even though he didn't really play the safety type spot until about game 3 or 4. I think he had a three ints in one game.

I would not be able to blitz in that set up, unless I dropped the faster guy back, a normal 2-3 look. I am afraid that the short middle stuff would burn us. As good as the back two guys are at reading, they still aren't fast.

We play regular NFL Flag rules for the most part, with the exception of the 10 yard rush, instead of 7 and we allow one pitch/toss behind the line per play.

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The 10 yard rush makes things a bit more challenging. My first thought is to find someone who can get in the backfield to help disrupt things, but then you'd be using faster player there instead of coverage. I'd tend to take my best player and use them at a rover or MLB spot. I'd figure out a way to get someone in the backfield on a rush. I would probably mix up my zone looks with audibles. Maybe an audible for 2-3, 3-2, and rush/no rush depending upon how the other team comes out of the huddle.

We had an audible that we used when we sensed a run. We normally ran a 2-3 zone, so I'd take the middle out of my 3 in back and send them to the los when the offense came out of huddle and set up. Their job was to get in the backfield as soon as the hand off occurred. If no hand off, they backed up into their reg position to help cover for the pass.

Just some thoughts.

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Thanks for the input.

We're basically playing mix and match each week. I am always big on preaching that the regular season is prep for the tourney. We have only four teams in our 11-12 group so we will see each team twice and one three times, plus the post season.

The last two games we have gone hybrid. Two/3 guys were man to man and the other were in a zone.

First, we played the three zone in a vertical line, like a nose, LB and safety. It actually would have been a decent D but we were a step slow covering the deeper routes, with the vertical spread.

The last game we went 3 guys man and two horizontal safeties. It worked a lot better.

We didn't get beat long at all, but still got killed run wise and on some short crossing routes to the faster WR. The short catch and run stuff is what paranoids me about a zone.

We have tried to blitz, with the faster guy and some slower ones, we haven't even been close to a sack or any real pressure.

Since we have seen each team play, we're going to try and match up each week, with whatever we think will work, instead of having a specific base defense.

We have been working on a straight zone and there are two or three of them who are just lost. I have seven on the roster, so that really hurts when coupled with the one extremely slow player. He actually understands defense. He is just a liability skill wise.

We have a rematch with our week one opponent on Thursday. I watched them play last week and they did no option stuff at all. I'm guessing it backfired against some of the quicker teams.

To complicate things, one of my better three is gone this week. The bright side is, we have shifted personnel since that game, even after game 2 and have looked progressively better, both coverage and flag pulling.

We may try a couple different looks this week. The kids seem to buy into the prepare for the tourney concept and they said tonight they thought they were better than this team even though they killed us week one.

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