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Training Defensive Ends in the WT6


CoachAJ-SC
(@coachaj-sc)
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Joined: 6 years ago
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Greetings, Coaches.

We coach at the 8U level, and every year our biggest challenge running the WT6 is preparing our defensive ends. Our defensive coordinator is relentless in training them using the drills in Dave Cisar's materials, but we still struggle with our ends either (1) going too deep, especially when there are lead blockers, or (2) they occasionally dip inside and lose containment. Are we missing something? I think we do a pretty good job assigning players to positions, but our ends give us more gray hair each year...lol. Any feedback/suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

-AJ


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jcarbon2
(@jcarbon2)
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Joined: 11 years ago
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Coach,

Let me give you some words of advise based on many years of dealing with the same problem.

1.Kid playing DE should be a baller. This is not the place to put that mpp or as many books might suggest, the tall lanky kid that is disciplined at his job. Sure you can have the tall lanky kid if he is a baller.

2.Kid at DE should be no more than 10-15 LB from the weight limit. Can't expect a 90 LB DE to hold his ground if the other teams stud FB (135 LB) is going to kick him out.

3.Contain Drill, Contain Drill, Contain Drill!!

I always made that mistake early on. I would fill in my defense so that my interior DL where my MPP players then my linebackers and secondary would be my studs. I would then put the tall lanky kid at DE. Would rep the life out of sweep spot, contain drills, you name it. Was always a 50/50 thing come game day. The thing about tall lanky kids is 9/10 times they are slower than the fast RB. If your facing a slow team this kid will do just fine but if your facing the second coming of Barry Sanders Jr. get prepared for a long day. The funny thing is as the years went by I found that years that I had a ballers at DE we would be much better defensively. Mind you, over the years nobody has ever run wild inside on any of my defenses. We either got beat deep (rare) or we got beat outside. So its no surprise that the years we had ballers at DE we ended up playing for the championship.

Make the change to ballers at DE and you don't have to buy the "Just For Men"

Just my two cents

Expert in "BRAIN DEAD DEFENSE" and the "CAVEMAN SPREAD"


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CoachAJ-SC
(@coachaj-sc)
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Thanks for your feedback, Coach!


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davecisar
(@davecisar)
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Coach

Weve had a variety of kids play that position
In the usual scenario he is a skill level 6 type kid, smart, disciplined. You only have so many athletes. Our best athletes now go at CB, the next best are LBs

Sometimes there may be an athletic kid who just struggles to play in space
He has too much to think about- gets nervous with all the time and space before impact etc- sometimes those kids make pretty good DEs. Those type kids we work with a ton, but by game 2-3 sometimes they end up being a DE

The key for the DE is his alignment, first step, speed and hip level
If he comes in too fact with his hips high, he doesn't have the center of gravity to change direction and will overrun the play. Aiming point in the outside shoulder (deepest shoulder) of the ball. The EED in indys prep him for what he will see- sweep, off tackle, counter away and Flat pass. We start with just the ball, then add a lead blocker.

Film is really big for these kids and we have gone to sending them clips BEFORE the season starts of past good and bad DE play.

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.Winston Churchill


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CoachAJ-SC
(@coachaj-sc)
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Thanks, Coach Dave.

So you have your defensive ends aim for the outside shoulder of the ball carrier instead of boxing, correct?

With regards to your comment about having the best athletes at CB, this year that happened to us by accident. One of our corners (a first year kid) developed so quickly and turned into one of our best defensive players. Our best defender played safety, but our defensive coordinator moved him into more of a MLB role as the season progressed.


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davecisar
(@davecisar)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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Thanks, Coach Dave.

So you have your defensive ends aim for the outside shoulder of the ball carrier instead of boxing, correct?

With regards to your comment about having the best athletes at CB, this year that happened to us by accident. One of our corners (a first year kid) developed so quickly and turned into one of our best defensive players. Our best defender played safety, but our defensive coordinator moved him into more of a MLB role as the season progressed.

We have done it that way for about as long as I can remember

We learned by accident too- that happens a lot- when you coach for 25+ years you seem to stumble upon a bunch
We wanted our best player to NOT have to worry about getting smashed by TEs, Guards, Iso blocks etc at LB- we had him at CB. That was just 2013- since then Ive tried to have my most athletic tacklers at CB instead of LB- note my 5th best athlete if he has speed and is relatively smart/good in the open field he is at Safety. If not then he is a DE- if he isn't great in space and more of a one tasker type

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.Winston Churchill


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Tripwire
(@tripwire)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 1478
 

In my experience the older the kids get the better the player you want at DE/Spur etc in whatever defense you use.  From Tiny Mites all the way up in Pop Warner and back and forth in different age groups it just seems the older the kids get the better and better player you need out there.  Its fine to box and be just disciplined and smart at the younger ages, but once you get older you need some physical ability as well as nastiness in whatever defense you use at the edge.  I have used WT-6, 3-3 Stack Attack, 7 Diamond, Gap 8 and a few others in between.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.


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WBCoach
(@rstockwell)
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Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 460
 

I agree with Jcarbon. I have always had better results with stud DE's. This year I tryed putting a first year super aggressive kid but no matter how many reps he did he would overrun the play. I had to move him inside where he wouldn't kill us. I put a better kid there and what do you know, he shut down his side of the field.

Team work: good as gold


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SmakAtak
(@smakatak)
Bronze
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 345
 

Coach,

Let me give you some words of advise based on many years of dealing with the same problem.

1.Kid playing DE should be a baller. This is not the place to put that mpp or as many books might suggest, the tall lanky kid that is disciplined at his job. Sure you can have the tall lanky kid if he is a baller.

2.Kid at DE should be no more than 10-15 LB from the weight limit. Can't expect a 90 LB DE to hold his ground if the other teams stud FB (135 LB) is going to kick him out.

3.Contain Drill, Contain Drill, Contain Drill!!

I always made that mistake early on. I would fill in my defense so that my interior DL where my MPP players then my linebackers and secondary would be my studs. I would then put the tall lanky kid at DE. Would rep the life out of sweep spot, contain drills, you name it. Was always a 50/50 thing come game day. The thing about tall lanky kids is 9/10 times they are slower than the fast RB. If your facing a slow team this kid will do just fine but if your facing the second coming of Barry Sanders Jr. get prepared for a long day. The funny thing is as the years went by I found that years that I had a ballers at DE we would be much better defensively. Mind you, over the years nobody has ever run wild inside on any of my defenses. We either got beat deep (rare) or we got beat outside. So its no surprise that the years we had ballers at DE we ended up playing for the championship.

Make the change to ballers at DE and you don't have to buy the "Just For Men"

Just my two cents

100% agree with this philosophy.  In our 4-4 the DE has to be physical AND disciplined.  Not only does he need to understand that got contain responsibilities, he also needs to actually close the C gap by jamming the TE into it.  This requires a rare combination of strength, explosiveness, and discipline that's not easy to find.  I got one kid you was born to play this spot and it's been a please having him the past 3 years.  But finding the guy to play opposite him has been a challenge this year.


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blockandtackle
(@coacharnold)
Silver
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 847
 

Greetings, Coaches.

We coach at the 8U level, and every year our biggest challenge running the WT6 is preparing our defensive ends. Our defensive coordinator is relentless in training them using the drills in Dave Cisar's materials, but we still struggle with our ends either (1) going too deep, especially when there are lead blockers, or (2) they occasionally dip inside and lose containment. Are we missing something? I think we do a pretty good job assigning players to positions, but our ends give us more gray hair each year...lol. Any feedback/suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

-AJ

Don't let them get upfield at all unless it's a pass set.  Have them attack the outside shoulder of the end man on the line with outside arm free and hips outside while they run their feet in place until they find the football.  Then they aim for the ball carrier's outside hip if it comes to them or stay home and look for Boot, Counter, or Reverse if the action's going away.

The hardest thing to drill young kids, especially ones this age who just want to chase the ball or do a Von Miller impression, is the discipline of staying at the line and playing contain vs. the run.


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