2002 Munford Bantam Cougar’s Defense

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911 Defense Our defense has been designed (copied) to face the largest threat that we face at the 6-7 year old level. Anyone who has watched football for this age group realizes that the offensive attacks that we face, and the only ones the kids are good at executing are run-based. Look at the formations that we run into and the series of plays that are run. Typically we see Straight T, Wishbone, and variations of I-formation offenses that pass 1 or 2 times per game at most. They run dives, sweeps, blasts, and counter plays. So why should we adopt a defense that tries to stop the “modern” passing attack? The answer is that we should not.

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2002 Munford Bantam Cougar’s Defense
One of the ways defenses can be defined and are different from one another is by counting the number of defensive backs, linebackers, and linemen in the game. If we have chosen a run stopping defense then the logical conclusion is to match our personnel and positions to fit our philosophy. At the youth level this means taking out the secondary players and replacing them with linemen and linebackers. The reason defenses have deep safeties and corners are because of the advent of the modern passing attack. We do not have to defend against 40 yard bombs. We are not facing Brett Favre on third and long. Kids at this level are terrible at passing. QB Johnny is typically running for his life and WR Jimmy can’t see through his facemask well enough to see the ball before it hits him in the head. We just need a prudent method of dealing with the passes that we will encounter. So you will not see zone blitz, nickel, or dime packages. You will see kids learning how to line up properly, how to get into a proper stance, how to pursue the play and how to tackle safely. Personnel and Positions The abilities of our kids need to be balanced against the assignments that the defense calls for. This should be intuitive to those familiar with football. If we place a kid in a position for which he is unsuited, then he may become discouraged at his lack of success. He may then ultimately decide to quit football and maybe all organized sports. We should expect our better athletes to accept more difficult assignments to challenge them and support the team, and the upcoming athletes need a position with less demanding requirements in order to be successful. If we accept a cookie cutter approach to individual development then we rob the exceptional athlete of the prospect to excel. Conversely, if we limit the scope and burden of our upcoming athletes then they also have an opportunity to be successful in their role. Note: We are not in the business of developing future high school Middle Linebackers or Cornerbacks or Defensive Ends or whatever. High school football is very different from youth football. We do not know what the higher-level coaches want in player abilities and we will not typecast any player. Players will be evaluated and then placed where they can best help our team.

Defensive Structure Our defense is split into two units to adjust to offensive formations, movements and strategies. The ‘Pressure Unit’ will be made up of Def. Ends, Def. Tackles, Nose Tackle and the Middle Linebacker. The ‘Mobile Unit’ will be made up of the Stingers, Cornerbacks, and the Bandit. This way we have one unit solely dedicated to stopping the run and the other unit has pass coverage and then run stopping responsibilities. A successful design for a team defense needs to account for the following:

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2002 Munford Bantam Cougar’s Defense
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Every gap must be assigned a defender. There must be a containment defender to turn plays to the inside. A defender responsible for reverses, bootlegs, and counter actions. All eligible receivers need to be covered on pass plays. A defender responsible for each ball carrier in the option series.

A description of the individual positions and assignments of both units will show how we address each of the requirements for our defensive design. The Pressure Unit This unit is composed of run stoppers and pass rushers. Their primary job is PRESSURE. They need not be concerned with pass coverage or multiple responsibilities. They are to penetrate into the backfield and stop plays before they get started. This unit will be composed of the following personnel with their alignments and responsibilities summarized here. N = Nose Alignment Head up to Responsibilities middle of the O-line Run Both A gaps Responsibilities Pass Middle rush Responsibilities T = Tackles Inside shade of T - Rush B gap @ 45 deg B gap, force G&T to double-team Middle rush, force G&T to double-team E = Ends M = MLB Align 1 yd Stack behind outside EMOL nose guard Crash, D gap, boot, counter Crash rush A to D gap inside out Check draw, screen, then pursue ball

Each of the defenders is responsible for specific gaps on the snap of the ball. If the play is directed in their area then the defender needs to fight through blocks and tackle the ball carrier. If the flow of the play is away from the defender then he needs to get into a pursuit pattern to catch the play from the inside out. This is the unit that will respond to changes in formation of the offensive line (i.e. unbalanced or large splits). The Mobile Unit This unit will also primarily be run stoppers, but they have the added responsibility of being conscious of passing plays and changing assignments. When any member of this unit recognizes a pass play he will find his assigned receiver and cover him. THE ENTIRE TIME YELLING PASS, PASS, PASS. This unit will be composed of the following personnel with their alignments and responsibilities summarized here.

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2002 Munford Bantam Cougar’s Defense
Alignment Run responsibilities Pass responsibilities S = Stingers 3yds outside DE, Inside shade of #1 Contain, D gap, reverse, boot Mirror #1 receiver man to man C = Cornerbacks Inside shade of #2 (TE), or C gap C gap, D gap, String to sideline Mirror #2 receiver man to man B = Bandit Shade to strength, Inside shade of #3 A to D gap inside out Mirror #3 receiver man to man or middle zone

Each of the mobile defenders will be assigned a man and that man will determine where the defender lines up. They will first check their man to determine whether he will be giving a key for run or pass and then will assume the proper response. (e.g. If the CB is defending the TE and the TE blocks down on the tackle, then the CB will have read a run key and will cover the C to D gap.) If the flow of the play is away from the defender and he reads run then he needs to get into a pursuit pattern to catch the play from the inside out. This is the unit that will respond to changes in formation of the backfield and ends. Below is a sample diagram of our defense arrayed against a typical offensive formation that we expect to see:

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Adjustments We will incorporate a limited number of blitzes and stunts into our defensive structure to allow use to meet certain offensive threats. As the players master the base defense we will add complexity to the defense, but not until they show competence in the base defense. Player Descriptions N = Big, Strong, Smart ~ able to control the C, read the play and fill the proper Agap (being able to drive the C back into the play is a big plus.)

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2002 Munford Bantam Cougar’s Defense
M = Quick, Big Hitter, Smart ~ able to recognize and pursue quicker than anyone else on the team ~ able to shed blockers ~ great tackler (willing to drill anyone, even when they are already being tackled, hit 'em again.) E = Speed, Big Hitter, Speed ~ able to run right past any attempted kickouts and wreck every play ~ able to shed blockers ~ great tackler (would be MLB if he could recognize and pursue better) B = Speed, Discipline, Tackler ~ able to be last line of defense due to speed and discipline ~ able to make every tackle because noone is behind him (I personally don’t want my Bandit to move forward until the MLB has the runner wrapped up or MLB has missed the play.) S = Discipline, Speed, Pursuit ~ able to get as deep as the ball, slowly work in toward the play but most of all stay home ~ able to contain, contain, contain ~ able to turn the play inside then pursue from backside C = Smart, Big Hitter, Quick ~ able to read a play and make the tackle ~ able to cover receivers ~ able to bull rush a TE to make the DE's job easier (these are really OLB types and I may change their name in the future) T = Strong, Quick, Mean ~ able to force the double-team and beat it if they can ~ able to take a pounding and come back for more ~ able to make offense pay if they don’t double-team him

**These descriptions are obviously wishful thinking in some cases. But you should be shooting for these traits when you are deciding whom to put where. **

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