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Defending a super spread formation

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Seth54
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Our only loss this season came to a team that had a really talented runner that we had trouble tackling in space. They would often put him in a Wildcat look, with all the other backs spread across to formation, almost sideline to sideline. From there is was almost like we were defending a punt return with him having free reign to reverse field and there kids were pretty good at cracking back on our defenders to spring him free.

Anyone have a good rule of thumb for aligning against these formations? I’m coaching U10, and they aren’t much of a passing team, so I was thinking I wouldn’t go much further than the hash to the wide side. Anything that might help to avoid having our whole sideline yelling instructions to our CBs as the ball is being snapped would be appreciated. 


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CoachDP
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Can you show the formation?

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Bob Goodman
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To avoid the crackbacks, get behind their line in a hurry so they can't legally block you.  But not so much of a hurry that you get behind, or even level with, the runner.

Unless their formation is so unbalanced you need a special adjustment, I'd say the main thing you need is just general practice on team pursuit, same as you need for kickoff coverage.  The players need the reps to get familiar with where they are in relationship to their help, and so close the net without leaving gaps.

The kinds of drills you'd use for linebackers to keep their shoulders square while closing on the runner should help.  Of course you can't really stay square like that once the runner's well wide of your position, but being able to keep the runner in front of you as long as possible is a useful skill.

I liked to use a 2-tacklers-on-1-runner drill for defending wide runs.  If you can afford to, practice it with the players in the same relative positions they'd have on defense in games, so they get used to who's containing and who's closing from inside.  Also practice sideline tackling so they know how to team up with the sideline as a "tackler".  Do not succumb to the temptation of getting more physical than you need to in the sideline drill; they should understand going out of bounds to be as good as stopping them in-bounds.


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Seth54
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@coachdp

 

                                     X

X           X           X    XXOXXX    X

 

Something like this. Assume they are aligned so they are all eligible, even though I didn’t think they did a great job getting that straight. The two slots just off the OL crack down on my standup DEs and the other receivers just block whoever matches them with the widest guy being a few yards in from the boundary. The smart thing they did was they aligned this way to their sideline so I didn’t realize what they were doing until I watched the film, and my guys were across the field so it would have been hard to shout instructions on the fly. 


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ZACH
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What coverage are you in and what defense are you using?

I can explain it to you, I can't understand if for you.


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Seth54
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@bucksweep58

 

we are a 5-3, cover 3 base. Typically we roll to a quarter, quarter, half but I’m thinking they don’t even want to throw out of the set. I don’t most rather they did.

 


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ZACH
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I would do something like this

 

----------0---0-------0-----------0

-------0----------0-0-#-0-0-0

----------------9---3--0---3---6

-----c------w-------f------m------s---c

 

If they want to try and seal the end with the wing the olbs come up. Dropping the fs into the box helps this aswell with the run obviously. You can still drop to cover 3 from here

 

If they don't throw much as you say

 

 

----------0---0-------0-----------0

-------0----------0-0-#-0-0-0

-------------9-----3--0---3---s---9

----c----------w-------------------c

-----------fs--------------------ss

 

This eagle adjustment shows 2 high on pass the secondary with roll to a pre snap snap likely to the Sam. Plus it gives you another level of pursuit, these safety's are probably 7 yards off the Los, easily inserted into the run game.  If you wanted to drop a safety down to lb level and go back to single high this is just a 46 adjustment which would likely do just as well. 

 

Interesting how a 5wr formation seldom passes, if they don't just keep adding players into the box until they honor it. 

 

My $0.02 , hope it helps.

I can explain it to you, I can't understand if for you.


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32wedge
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Assuming that alignment is a 3x2 empty formation, we will zone cover, crash the DE and spill outside runs to the OLB on the trips side.  We will man cover, DE contain and slant the line towards the two receiver side.  If that is a 4X1 alignment, we would shift the line to the unbalanced side and the opposite side OLB would move to the quads side and man cover #4.

 

This post was modified 12 months ago 2 times by 32wedge

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Seth54
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So recently we shifted our defense from a 5-3 to a 5-4 and just play without a safety since no one can throw this year. It’s pretty similar to Zach’s first alignment. We have 2 bigger ILB types and 2 OLBs that are our 2 fastest kids. This team goes spread to basically run wildcat(it’s the same team I started this thread about), they almost never throw and they suck at it. I tried to attach a clip of them against another team in double Twins Wildcat, not sure if it will work  

I suggested when they go spread we put our ILBs on the slots and basically send them up field so they can’t get blocked or cracked. Then leave the fast guys inside to pursue sideline to sideline since the kid reverses filed, and this way the slower guys would only be responsible for about 1/4 of the field.

Would you guys rather have the speed inside to pursue or outside since that’s where they are headed?


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CoachDP
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Who's defense is this?

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Seth54
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@coachdp

On the film? Just another team in our league. It was the best clip of the team we are playing this weekend(the offense) spreading the fuel and running wild cat.

 


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Bob Goodman
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Posted by: @seth54

 

So recently we shifted our defense from a 5-3 to a 5-4 and just play without a safety since no one can throw this year. It’s pretty similar to Zach’s first alignment. We have 2 bigger ILB types and 2 OLBs that are our 2 fastest kids. This team goes spread to basically run wildcat(it’s the same team I started this thread about), they almost never throw and they suck at it. I tried to attach a clip of them against another team in double Twins Wildcat, not sure if it will work  

I suggested when they go spread we put our ILBs on the slots and basically send them up field so they can’t get blocked or cracked. Then leave the fast guys inside to pursue sideline to sideline since the kid reverses filed, and this way the slower guys would only be responsible for about 1/4 of the field.

Would you guys rather have the speed inside to pursue or outside since that’s where they are headed?

I'd rather have inside-out pursuit if the players doing the pursuing know the angles to take, but I'd rather have them outside if they don't.

The defense shown here has players who've learned half the lesson: that they can't go directly to the ballcarrier if they want to cut him off.  Unfortunately they haven't learned the other half, which is that you don't make your own path to cut him off unreasonably long.  It's like they were preparing for him to cut back, when he had no reason to.  If they had somebody out there to make him cut back, then they'd've had a chance despite their too-deep pursuit angle.

Your own stated strategy looks good.  If you have "speed" and reasonable field sense, put them in the middle of the field.

The question then is whether their players who've been coached to crack back also have an idea of what to do when there are no crackback opportunities.  From your scouting, do you know if they're good at creating broken field downfield?  Do they react well to how they see the defense pursuing, or are they clueless until they look back and see where the runner's going?


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @seth54

On the film? Just another team in our league. 

--Ok. That was horrific.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @seth54

Would you guys rather have the speed inside to pursue or outside since that’s where they are headed?

My rule of thumb is that I don't want to see us chase an offense; I want to see us compress an offense.  For us, that means outside/in.  Otherwise, you are looking at the result you see in the video.

If my best defender is in the middle of the field, then he'll be chasing plays 150 out of 100 times (because any big play, or any threat of the big play is going outside).  And since my opponent's best speed player is the one who's running outside (I hesitate to call it a "sweep" because that's a real play; What I see in the vid is little more than a punt return), a bad angle, or a fallen player could block my guy's path.  (In other words, it's too "cloudy" in the middle.  I don't want that.)  Plus, they aren't testing defenses up the middle anyway.  So why put my best defender where he'll never be tested, or if he is, has more defensive help inside when he doesn't need the help?  This is like taking a player who is your best high school math student and just asking him to do simple addition and subtraction and get help with it (which he doesn't need).  His best opportunity (and cleanest pathway) is on an island, from the outside in.  If he's inside, he can be obstructed by all sorts of garbage.  If he's outside, they can only obstruct him with ONE man, at best. And they aren't blocking him with their best guy; their best guy is running the ball.  And if they're successfully able to block your best guy with their 2nd best guy, then you aren't going to win anyway.

In the vid (and the millions of other youth videos like it), there is no one on the defensive side that is setting the edge.  They start off in soft coverage (when you've already said the offense can't/doesn't pass), and then REACT(?!) based on what they see the "punt returner" doing.  Bad youth defenses will always react (instead of act), put their best guy in the middle where he chases 100% of the time, and won't set the edge.  Here's a tip: Acting will ALWAYS be faster than reacting.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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CoachDP
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This is a cut & paste from a post I made in another thread.  I think it applies here:

"many teams will put their best defensive player at MLB.  This goes completely against our philosophy and why I think so many youth defenses fail:  Why have your best player in the middle of the field, when so few offenses run successfully up the middle?  The MLB will spend the bulk of the game running from sideline to sideline, rarely in a position to make the play because he's almost always chasing.  We are at our strongest on the outside and this is where most play-makers want to be, whether they are running or passing to get there.  Outside defenders are on an island, and as such need to be elite to make the open-field tackle or coverage.  Inside defenders are surrounded by help, so we want to funnel our opponent's offense to the inside.  The offenses we've had the most trouble with were Double Wing or Single Wing teams."

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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