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Best Defense To Stop Toss Or Sweep

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first off we won are second game of the year and are now two and o the score was 18-6

are off is great maybe because im the coach of the o but any ways here is my problem we are playing a team that we played in are preason game and lost to 18-6 they are a very very fast team buy far faster than we could ever be i need a good defense sceme to stop there sweep plays they run a i form with twins to one side and split another wr to the other side that is the only formation they use they do not win by sceme or playing smart football they are just have more speed im not worried about the off . because we scored on them with seven plays in are playbook we are leaps and bounds better now so i would like some opions on def. we currently run a 5-3 witch i dont like i was thinking about a 4-4 well thanks for your guys help and good luck in your season coach randy

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Hey Coach.

Your 53, from a d scheme perspective should defend the sweeps quite well. The questions are:

1. How do you coach your contain men?

-3 pt stance? 2 pt. stance?

-Outside shade of TE/SB? or a little wider?

-bump the TE/SB?

-Shoulders square to the LOS?

-Collapse or maintain width of C gap while maintaining outside control of D gap?

2. How do you staff those positions?

You can use a quick, strong D lineman.

A smaller, faster OLB-type player.

How you staff those positions will determine the techniques that they use to contain. The idea is to stop the sweep on the outside of the box BEFORE that tailback has a chance to turn it on for that all-too-often dissapointing foot race for the sideline. So the picture perfect contain execution results in a nice tackle by the DE at the edge of the box.

I coach my contain men to keep their shoulders square to the LOS and hopefully make the tackle with head in front (on the outside). This, of course, is after he fades off of the TE/SB. With his shoulders square, field position is on your side because the TB has to run straight past the face to your end. All your end has to do is attack straight ahead as the TB attempts get past him. The end might have to take a slight pursuit angle toward the outside to get him. He can't juke him outside because your end can accelerate much faster as he is facing in that direction. If he turns his shoulders to face the TB, you end up with a 1 on 1 head to head situation and that speedy TB can juke inside or outside without missing much of a stride. And if he chooses to juke inside, he doesn't have to cut staight up field. In my experience, even your best defenders will lose that fight at least 7/10 times.

If your end executes that play well, the only way for the TB to avoid being tackled is to cut straight upfield into C gap, where your OLB and the rest of your D are waiting for (or should I say Pursuing?) him. That is exactly what you want to happen in the case where your end doesn't make the tackle. The TB's 2nd option is to belly way out (running backward) to get around the end. Well, that allows ample time for the rest of the D to gain in the pursuit.

If you use a 53 you have fewer LBs for secondary pursuit to support the contain man but you gain an advantage with it if your tackles can penetrate the LOS and break up the sweep inside before it develops. If you use a 44, then you want really fast LBs and the advantage is that the contain man has one more player supporting him.

Hope this helps.



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There is essentially five ways you can play the contain man and as DB stated it depends on your talent really.

1) Squeeze - DE usually plays on the outside shoulder of the EMLOS (9 technique) or head up (6 technique) and he works up field and drives the blockers outside shoulder into the backfield forcing the play inside to a the pursuit (OLB and MLB). This takes a quick, strong, athletic DE that is discplined and capable taking on a tough TE or OT. When I say he works up field his first job is to play behind the O-lines heels then read and react this compress the LOS and forces the TB to get up field NOW.

2) Spill - DE usually plays a head up (6 technique) or inside shoulder (7 technique) and he works up field and drives the blocker's inside shoulder into the backfield forcing the play wide and to the side line so that the force defender (CB or sky safety) and allowing the pursuit to get him (OLB and MLB). Again this is essentially the opposite technique of the squeeze and it takes the same kind of DE.

3) Feather (some times called a slide or reading DE) - DE usually plays on outside shoulder (9 technique) or head up (6 technique). Again he works up field as he reads the outside run he feathers the runner by keeping his shoulders square to the LOS and keeping his inside shoulder just outside of the runner's shoulder trying to force the runner inside or to the side line...essentially stringing out the play for the FORCE (CB or SKY Safety) and pursuit to make the play. This takes a smart DE with athleticism and quickness as well as strength. He might have to execute a Squeeze technique if facing a blocker.

4) Crash - this is more aggressive spill technique by the DE. He normally plays out wide enough not to be reached (8 technique) or outside shoulder (9 technique) for really quick DE's that can get off the ball super fast. Essentially he aims for the near hip of the near/deep back and he gets into the backfield and then gets to that near hip as fast as possible like a missle (meaning he adjust's as the near hip moves and gets there fast). This puts pressure on the backfield and the runner essentially has to run away (backside), dive into the LOS, or get depth into the backfield and get wide (which is what you want). This allows the DE to make a big play in the backfield or the force defender to make a play for a loss. It allows the pursuit to get down the LOS as the runner tries to get depth and get wide of the DE. This works as a trap because it allows the pursuit and the force defender to play the runner to the side line. This doesn't need a discplined DE but a player with speed and quickness that can tackle well. Essentially and athlete with wells to force the play deep and wide. I prefer this method at the youth level as it allows you to play your contain man aggressively but you need to have a perimeter pursuit plan (I teach SHOOT THE SIDE LINE).

5) Box - this is a passive squeeze techinque by the DE. He normally plays out wide enough to not be reached ( 8 technique) or outside shoulder (9 technique) if a big enough and quick enough to handle a good TE or OT. He must sprint up field to the depth of the deepest back and square his shoulders to the inside and not allow a runner to get by his outside shoulder (deeper then him)...instead you are trying to force the play inside (squeeze him in).. The problem with the box is you have to drive him to the DE that as he boxes he does not wait for the runner he closes the box to reduce the side of the off tackle hole basically squeezing him into the pursuit. This is pretty common technique with GAP8, GAM, and 10-1 defenses.

Like I said you have to have a plan for your FORCE defender as well. This is more then likely your corner or a safety (if playing in SKY/INVERTED coverage - meaning near the LOS and D gap). You have to teach your OLB and MLB to play the pursuit.

I teach my defenders by using terms when we see any play go outside - sweep, toss, option, screens, or anything that goes wide.


FORCE - corner sees run and attacks the outside arm pit of the runner driving him inside or making the tackle.

ALLEY - PSOLB. He sees run he will defeat any block and pursue the runner's inside arm pit - inside out. He will either drive the runner to the sideline/force or make the tackle.

SHOOT - MIKE backer. Flow to the runner and make the tackle from inside out.

CAP - backside corner sees run to the otherside he gets up field aiming for 30 yards on the other side line. He must cap off the run and not allow the runner to cut back as he gets to the top.

These four players work with the contain man.


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