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11-12 Year Old "best Defense"

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Hey all.

I'm not a coach this year. I've coached in the past, but due to my recent return from Iraq I wasn't able to coach this year.

I help the coaches of my sons team out here and there. They're a bit stubborn when it comes down to it though and I was wondering if I could get some help here.

The team is fairly talented and has some speed on defense, but what's the best overall defense that some of you may know of. The first game was a shutout, we just couldn't stop them. The second game...only two touchdowns were scored on us, the third game....well we held them prety good the first half, then they just tore up our kids in the second, the fourth game was our best yet.....it went into overtime tied at 12, then the other team won mostly as a result of poor calls.



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at that age, much like many others, speed kills.

At this age, most teams want to run outside. I put the best combination of speed and tackling ability on the outside of my defense. The can get around the end fast, and when they get there, they can make a tackle. I use a few different defenses depending on my talent. Right now, I have some great LB's and ends. So I am using a 4-3. I have two big boys on the inside. Two of my long, fast, hard hitting ends on the outside. I have 3 really fast, hard hitting LB's on the inside.

The KEY: You must emphasize containment and discipline for your Ends and read/react for your Lb's.

If you are in a run dominant league or game, bring up your 2 safties within 5 yards of the WR or TE, and use your corners as extra blitzers every know and then.

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First, I was in the gulf the first time. Glad to have you back.

Offense at that age is predominantly off tackle then outside. Or vice versa. Either way, I feel having 2 safeties means you are willing to give up the chunks but "hope" to stop the breakaway.

A 43 will give up chunks. I want to play D on the O's side off the ball. I am a very aggressive defensive coach. I put 8 in the box and play "mind your buisness defense". I switch between a 44 and 62 base and have installed this season a 46 a la Rex Ryan. It is hard to teach but effective when used properly. Generally when my D is scored on it is with the long run. No sustained drives here! Few chunks.

I like a 50 but have a hard time teaching the ends how to play it properly consistantly. Using a 44 my ends have less responsibility. The defense is able to play an aggressive gap control without giving up yardage. You cannot just line up 4X4 and expect to be successfull. You have to scheme, adjust, then adjust and scheme. Teaching proper technique and responsibilities is the key to a successfull defense.

Talent and speed are a bonus. A real coach will take the kids that want to play and turn them into a defense that can play. Teach them how to tackle. Teach them line technique. Teach them when to open to the ball. Teach them to call strength and then how to react to the strength call. Hold them accountable and watch them succeed. Keyword: Teach. Too often defense is overlooked at the youth level. Criminal.

You may think your dealing with a 12 year old but what you have is a Football Player. Small and raw and ready to learn.

Drop me an emeail and I will send you a simplified Defensive paly book that covers the 44, touches the 62, and adds a bit-O-46.

PS: Back from the Hurricane's bombardment on the Florida coast. 1-1 with an extended season. Go Bulldogs!

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We run a 5-3 and are pretty successfull with it. Our biggest problem this year was getting settled at DE. We tried a bunch of kids there before we finally found a few who would be disciplined and not go inside the TE block and behind the OT - this left the sweeps wide open. Once we got the DE's blowing up plays or, at a minimum, turning wide stuff back inside or stringing them out till help came, we started doing much better. Our OLB's are superb as is our NT which allows us to do some things (e.g. blitz). One other thing is to take the time to teach the kids at each position (don't forget their backups) their keys and coverages.

As was said, the first thing is to build a defense around your best skilled players. I find the DE to be the most critical as so many teams try to exploit the edge. Solid LB's are a must and a fast and strong NT wreaks havok. One thing I'd like to have this year but don't is taller CB's (they are good players, just short). I can't seem to teach them how to grow though!! :P

After that, you need to teach them their keys and coverages. Last, don't forget to set up some rotations for players to get a breather once in a while (especially if they are going two ways).

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