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Defense => General Defense Discussion => Odd Fronts => Topic started by: gumby_in_co on February 19, 2019, 11:32:22 AM

Title: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on February 19, 2019, 11:32:22 AM
Mahonz and I are fielding a team of mostly Freshmen this Spring. I believe we have 4 8th graders out of 24 players. The weight limit for freshmen is 165lbs. To give an idea of what we're up against, last Spring, we had 7 total players over 200lbs, including 2 over 225 and 2 over 300. Offensively, we're resurrecting the A-11. Mahonz asked me to take the defense, so I was tasked with coming up with a way to play defense with no size.

One of the first defenses I ever learned was JJ's 33 Stack Attack. Mahonz also used "tap and go" stacks with his 335 Umbrella and we even had calls where we would use taps/stacks in the 46. I also borrowed heavily from DP's "Invisible O-line" philosophy. Finally, I borrowed from one of Mahonz Jr's ideas of a 2-9 defense that he and Mahonz used to nearly upset an undefeated juggernaut offense several years ago. They held this team to 18 points who had to dig out the halfback pass to win the game.  The idea was to put 2 "sacrificial lambs" on the line in front of their insanely good OTs, then bring 4 from depth, long sticking, stunting and creating havoc.

I started with the assumption (right or wrong) that putting a kid on the D-line with his hand in the dirt offers no advantage if the kid is out-weighed by 50+ pounds.  That led me down a rabbit hole which had me questioning a basic tenet of defense. "Why do we play D-linemen at credit card depth with their hand in the dirt?". The answer, as best I could tell is that you are expecting a collision between DL and OL.  Provided both sides come off the ball at the same time and the same speed, the DL is conceding 1/2 of the starting distance from the LOS. So what if we refuse to play the "collision" game? 

I've taken my share of slings and arrows with the mega splits and climbing OL because it challenged another tenet of defense: LBs should be too athletic to get blocked by OLs. I think we were able to do it because our OLs work on it constantly. This Spring, defensively, I will bet on our opponents not working on blocking LBs with OLs. In the last 6 seasons, I've only seen one other team who sent linemen to block linebackers, so I'm playing the odds that few teams can do this effectively. So in the same way, we put big DLs in distress with the mega splits, I'm hoping to put big OLs in distress by playing vertically and in space. We hope to use timing and misdirection to take the space behind them when they climb. The best thing they can do is stay put and wait for us, which typically doesn't work well for offenses.

So, I came up with the attached and called it the "Amoeba 33". The goal is to attack the backfield relentlessly with 6 and to be completely unpredictable. There is an underlying order, but I think that order will be adequately disguised. There are 3 tools in the toolbox: 1) JJ (as in Lawson) is the traditional tap/stack. 2) Evel (as in Knevel) is the long-stick stunting look, and 3) Swayze (as in Patrick from the movie Ghost) is the Baltimore Ravens/Atlanta Falcons Mike Nolan look. Constantly moving/shifting and seldom doing what it appears you're doing.  After some consideration, I'll also put in a call for a down and dirty 60 front. I don't anticipate using it, but better to have it and not need it, right?

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: ZACH on February 19, 2019, 12:30:11 PM
Mahonz and I are fielding a team of mostly Freshmen this Spring. I believe we have 4 8th graders out of 24 players. The weight limit for freshmen is 165lbs. To give an idea of what we're up against, last Spring, we had 7 total players over 200lbs, including 2 over 225 and 2 over 300. Offensively, we're resurrecting the A-11. Mahonz asked me to take the defense, so I was tasked with coming up with a way to play defense with no size.

One of the first defenses I ever learned was JJ's 33 Stack Attack. Mahonz also used "tap and go" stacks with his 335 Umbrella and we even had calls where we would use taps/stacks in the 46. I also borrowed heavily from DP's "Invisible O-line" philosophy. Finally, I borrowed from one of Mahonz Jr's ideas of a 2-9 defense that he and Mahonz used to nearly upset an undefeated juggernaut offense several years ago. They held this team to 18 points who had to dig out the halfback pass to win the game.  The idea was to put 2 "sacrificial lambs" on the line in front of their insanely good OTs, then bring 4 from depth, long sticking, stunting and creating havoc.

I started with the assumption (right or wrong) that putting a kid on the D-line with his hand in the dirt offers no advantage if the kid is out-weighed by 50+ pounds.  That led me down a rabbit hole which had me questioning a basic tenet of defense. "Why do we play D-linemen at credit card depth with their hand in the dirt?". The answer, as best I could tell is that you are expecting a collision between DL and OL.  Provided both sides come off the ball at the same time and the same speed, the DL is conceding 1/2 of the starting distance from the LOS. So what if we refuse to play the "collision" game? 

I've taken my share of slings and arrows with the mega splits and climbing OL because it challenged another tenet of defense: LBs should be too athletic to get blocked by OLs. I think we were able to do it because our OLs work on it constantly. This Spring, defensively, I will bet on our opponents not working on blocking LBs with OLs. In the last 6 seasons, I've only seen one other team who sent linemen to block linebackers, so I'm playing the odds that few teams can do this effectively. So in the same way, we put big DLs in distress with the mega splits, I'm hoping to put big OLs in distress by playing vertically and in space. We hope to use timing and misdirection to take the space behind them when they climb. The best thing they can do is stay put and wait for us, which typically doesn't work well for offenses.

So, I came up with the attached and called it the "Amoeba 33". The goal is to attack the backfield relentlessly with 6 and to be completely unpredictable. There is an underlying order, but I think that order will be adequately disguised. There are 3 tools in the toolbox: 1) JJ (as in Lawson) is the traditional tap/stack. 2) Evel (as in Knevel) is the long-stick stunting look, and 3) Swayze (as in Patrick from the movie Ghost) is the Baltimore Ravens/Atlanta Falcons Mike Nolan look. Constantly moving/shifting and seldom doing what it appears you're doing.  After some consideration, I'll also put in a call for a down and dirty 60 front. I don't anticipate using it, but better to have it and not need it, right?

 There was a stand up 33 clinic i found very interesting.  I also saw Rob Ryan at a glazier briefly talk about his amoeba.

The amoeba is a wave drill. Thats how you play on your feet according to ryan. You essentially teach 8 guys to play lb. Some lbs read, some blitz,  some drop. I took this into a bowl game and the never passed the 50.  The kids had a blast.


-----0-0-0-#-0-0-0
-
---1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
-c-----------------------c
-------------f

1 and 8 were my olbs
2 and 7 were my mlbs
3 and 6 were my ends
1 and 2 were the tackles

From here we ran mountjoys tiger cat from 2 feet off the los. Toldem i don't care where you are but you better be near the ball through your man.

Only 1 kid would be on the line at a time.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: Dimson on February 19, 2019, 01:38:06 PM
There was a stand up 33 clinic i found very interesting.  I also saw Rob Ryan at a glazier briefly talk about his amoeba.

The amoeba is a wave drill. Thats how you play on your feet according to ryan. You essentially teach 8 guys to play lb. Some lbs read, some blitz,  some drop. I took this into a bowl game and the never passed the 50.  The kids had a blast.


-----0-0-0-#-0-0-0
-
---1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
-c-----------------------c
-------------f

1 and 8 were my olbs
2 and 7 were my mlbs
3 and 6 were my ends
1 and 2 were the tackles

From here we ran mountjoys tiger cat from 2 feet off the los. Toldem i don't care where you are but you better be near the ball through your man.

Only 1 kid would be on the line at a time.
That defense is just asking to get wedged.  :P
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: ZACH on February 19, 2019, 02:10:05 PM
That defense is just asking to get wedged.  :P

Sure is, no lie, glad they didnt. youre going to give up yards on quick hitters when no ones on the line.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: Dimson on February 19, 2019, 03:00:54 PM
Sure is, no lie, glad they didnt. youre going to give up yards on quick hitters when no ones on the line.
Good thing most coaches prefer the fast kid left/fast kid right offense.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on February 19, 2019, 03:10:08 PM
That defense is just asking to get wedged.  :P

Mahonz said the same thing. When he did his 2-9, he said that they started QB sneaking, which was good for between 2-5 yards a pop, but they got away from it because their QB was getting hammered. That's my thinking on wedge. When I coached DW, we actually got excited when they gave us a NT. That made our wedge better. Over the years, I've seen a few things stop the wedge:
1) cut the apex. Not possible with us off the ball. Plus, you need a platoon of kids to rotate at that position.
2) chase around the end and catch the FB from behind. We got away from the XX wedge and started blocking the edge with the wings.
3) crush the wedge from the sides, causing the C/G fits to fall apart.

I'm betting on #3. One of the coaching points will be for all 6 to watch the QB as he will tell you where the ball is going. I'm ditching the traditional "gap control". My thinking is that no gap ever gained a single yard against a defense, so why defend gaps? Instead, understand that you are responsible for your gap IF the ball comes through it. Lastly, we will be playing violently downhill "with the ball" (thanks DP). If we face a wedge team, we'll coach up how to break that C/G fit.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on February 19, 2019, 03:16:56 PM
There was a stand up 33 clinic i found very interesting.  I also saw Rob Ryan at a glazier briefly talk about his amoeba.

The amoeba is a wave drill. Thats how you play on your feet according to ryan. You essentially teach 8 guys to play lb. Some lbs read, some blitz,  some drop. I took this into a bowl game and the never passed the 50.  The kids had a blast.


-----0-0-0-#-0-0-0
-
---1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
-c-----------------------c
-------------f

1 and 8 were my olbs
2 and 7 were my mlbs
3 and 6 were my ends
1 and 2 were the tackles

From here we ran mountjoys tiger cat from 2 feet off the los. Toldem i don't care where you are but you better be near the ball through your man.

Only 1 kid would be on the line at a time.

Interesting. I will draw this out tonight and see if I can incorporate this as another "call". I want my 6 pressure guys playing like linebackers. As soon as you recognize ball, find it. No use in running through the left C gap if the ball is going right D gap.

Also, this is far from the complete defense. It's just 3 different ways to run our "Blizzard" call, which is all stacks. We'll have to break one of our stacks if they give us trips. We'll decide which stacks to break based on film or in game tendencies. Then, the DL (I call them "liners", stack backers are called "closers") will root hog his guy and play football. If we can get a 9th grader to play like our 2nd grade root hoggers, we'll put him over the C and have him grab the QBs legs at the snap.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on March 18, 2019, 04:56:59 PM
Installed the defense on Saturday and ran it against Mahonz's scout O, which was just about every offense you can think of and a few you can't. Hard to tell this early on. 1/3 of the team was missing. I was really looking for Dogs on Saturday and at least identified one who can't play Dog.  Also, this was against a poor o-line made up of backs and receivers given only the most basic instructions.

Still. . .
The stunt look went in extremely smoothly and following that, so did the ghost look.

Pressure was considerable, even with 2 rookies on the d-line experiencing their first live football.

One of our best players told me that it was nearly impossible to block. You get one guy only to have another run right by you.

Mahonz ran 2 dives at us from dead T while we had our d-line playing 4 yards deep. One was a no gain, the other got 2 yards.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 12, 2019, 03:32:25 AM
Been awhile due to the "dark times". Here's an update.

Our defense has allowed 4 TDs in 7 games. One of those TDs was an 8 man game. I cobbled together a defense and we got to practice it once before fielding it. It was a pass play that the very talented QB turned into a draw. However, we had 5 picks that day, including 2 pick sixes, so we ended up on the positive side of the plus minus. 4 of those picks were against a girl who was given the QB spot simply because she wanted to play QB. They rolled her in after 4 or 5 plays to launch a duck that we picked off. Not counting the 8 man game, we have allowed 3 TDs in 6 games. I kind of lost track of how many picks we've had. Maybe 20?  What we've done to the QBs we've faced is probably against the Geneva Convention.

In all fairness, we have immense talent. Extremely under-sized, but fast, football smart, aggressive and can tackle. Also, most offenses we've faced have a lot of work to do to reach "terrible".  We've allowed 2 TDs against the two teams with pretty good offenses. One runs a lot of Beast featuring a power tackle that 260 and runs like a FB. Their downfall is a HC who seems to have too much pride to run an entire drive out of Beast. They also struggle to string together 5 plays without a penalty or bad snap.

The other team runs robust T out of shotgun. I know. Don't ask. Their scheme is pathetic, but they make up for it with lots of "top of the food chain" speed and talent.We shut them out yesterday and nearly scored on an incomplete backward pass.

I am not going to try to take credit for any of this, other than being smart enough not to get in their way. I went into this knowing that trying to be physical on the LOS was going to be a losing proposition. So I borrowed heavily from DP's "Invisible Offense" concept. I had a long conversation with him about kicking out the stilts, but decided early on that getting 9 defenders to the ball was a much better plan.

My pressure group has figured out how to play down hill, reading as they attack and being as unpredictable as possible. What they've been doing lately is to line up in different places every time, getting straight with your stack partner and flying to the ball. Wedge simply does not work against this. I'll admit that we haven't seen any great wedge teams, but the few that try it get out of it quickly. When they form the wedge, only 2 players are anywhere near the apex. Everyone else is attacking it from the sides, which usually causes the guards to fall down or knock the BC down. We have absolutely stuffed quick dives and QB sneaks. The best running play against us is a QB draw, designed or improvised. Our Reaper isn't given too many instructions and he really wants to intercept the ball. We are willing to live with that because it makes for a long day for the QB. The stack group plays like 6 linebackers who are blitzing, but adjusting on the attack, if necessary.

The biggest development for me is that now I understand DP's approach to defense. I used to be a control freak, striving for discipline. I struggled with finding 2 force defenders that could spill the sweep on one play, squeeze the C gap on the next, then get after the passer on yet another play. What has evolved is using Killer Bee spacing to put  every defender in a position so that they have a shorter route to where the ball wants to go than the ball does. So for the first time ever, I am not coaching a force defender, or a contain defender. No matter where he runs, we will converge on him with flying bodies. Typically 2 or 3 initially, then 6 more arriving about 1.5 seconds later at a full gallop.

So my answer from now on to anyone wanting to know how to get defenders to play more aggressively:  Stop micromanaging them and turn them loose. Don't fill their head full of "if/then" operations. Make a decision quickly and commit to it. As the season goes on, their decision making improves in the time it takes to make it and in their judgement.

CB aligns 7x3 on #1 receiver. TEs are never #1 receivers. WBs and wider are.
Vs Twins, the DOG aligns 5x2 on the #2 receiver and plays "catch man" with the CB. They communicate if their guy crosses into their buddy's zone.
Vs Trips, the DOG mirrors #2 and mauls him. Outside stacker aligns 5x2 off the #3 and plays catch man with the CB
Vs Quads (we saw this once this year), the R sneaks over a little.

QB has at most 2 seconds to get rid of the ball. Play action, pump fakes or clutching, I believe has resulted in a violent sack every time.

I rarely make a defensive call. If I see a punt, I give a call that backs them off the C and puts 3 guys back to return. If it's end of half or 3rd/4th and long, I might back the R to safety depth. Doesn't happen very often. During timeouts, I have a chat with them, ask them how they're feeling, tell them to "keep up the good work", etc. I really don't adjust much.

One more regular game vs a completely inept offense, then Bowl game against the shotgun T team. Shut them out yesterday, no reason to think we won't do it again.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 12, 2019, 09:09:01 AM
I borrowed heavily from DP's "Invisible Offense" concept.

--I think you're the only one has.  I know JJ Lawson has incorporated the "bypassing block deconstruction" aspect, but I think he still ran a defense without using "IO Principals." 

I had a long conversation with him about kicking out the stilts, but decided early on that getting 9 defenders to the ball was a much better plan.

--You can do both.  KOTS is just a tackling approach and you're still going to have to teach individual tackling.

What they've been doing lately is to line up in different places every time, getting straight with your stack partner and flying to the ball.

--Elaborate on what needs to occur with "getting straight with your stack partner."

Wedge simply does not work against this. I'll admit that we haven't seen any great wedge teams

--(ahem)...

The biggest development for me is that now I understand DP's approach to defense.

--Well I'm glad someone does.  I've been told for years that it won't/doesn't work, but it works even at the high school level.

So my answer from now on to anyone wanting to know how to get defenders to play more aggressively:  Stop micromanaging them and turn them loose. Don't fill their head full of "if/then" operations. Make a decision quickly and commit to it. As the season goes on, their decision making improves in the time it takes to make it and in their judgement.

--Great advice.

One more regular game vs a completely inept offense, then Bowl game against the shotgun T team. Shut them out yesterday, no reason to think we won't do it again.

--That's what I'd be thinking.

--Dave

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 12, 2019, 09:15:41 AM
Lar, consider yourself invited to run the defense on my team.  If meaning, when I get a team....if I get a team...oh, who am I kidding?  I'm as good as retired, evidently.  I've looked at the 4 places we could live (2 in North Carolina, 1 in Illinois and 1 in SoCal) and no one's hiring.  I'll just live through you and your success.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 12, 2019, 06:14:05 PM
--Elaborate on what needs to occur with "getting straight with your stack partner."

So I decided against “gap control” because gaps don’t advance the ball. However, I’m not ready to give in to pure chaos. I want some order. So I explain “6 guys, 6 gaps” that’s just a starting point, a “vector”. As you are attacking like you’ve been shot out of a cannon, and you see the ball, then get to the ball, rather than running through your gap like an idiot. You are responsible for your gap, but only if the ball comes through it. For that starting point, we still “tap” to decide your gap.

I decided that pure, vertical stacks get predictable after awhile. So I tell the stack players to line up wherever you want, as long as you have a straight shot to your gap. Example is NT and Middle Stacker. Their starting point is each A gap. The NT might line up at 4 yards in a 30 technique while the MS might line up on the LOS in a 3 technique. Both are attacking their gap, following the snap (thanks again) and playing football. What I’ve discovered is that unless you practice it a lot, offensive linemen suck at blocking at the 2nd level. We are often 100% 2nd level.

“Getting straight” just means communicating with your stack partner where each of you is going.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 13, 2019, 10:55:53 AM
Both are attacking their gap, following the snap (thanks again)

You're welcome, Lar.  Works well when you know how to coach it.  ;)

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 13, 2019, 12:23:22 PM
--You can do both.  KOTS is just a tackling approach and you're still going to have to teach individual tackling.

This is football blasphemy, but I don't spend much time on tackling. 1 guy trying to execute a perfect form tackle might be a 50/50 proposition depending on the situation, talent/size/strength of the ball carrier, and available space. 3 guys executing a crappy tackle on the same guy rises to 90%. So I spend less time harping how to tackle and more time on how to get to the ball with bad intentions. Early in the season, I did the "2 whistle" thing. As you know, we do a lot of team. As I was getting the defense together early on, the first whistle is blown after the BC is down. Then I'd count "ONE ONE THOUSAND, TWO ONE THOUSAND" and blow a 2nd whistle. Anyone not within arms reach of the ball, or at a dead sprint to get there owed me push ups. In one or two practices, we had a swarming, frothing at the mouth defense.

We saw 1 man child RB. 250+lb OL with a little bit of wheels. He had a few carries where he dragged half the team 5 yards down the field, but we had our smallest kid (98lbs) make several TFLs on him by squeezing his knees together until the cavalry arrived.

I was concerned going into the season that giant RBs would be common place. That hasn't materialized.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 13, 2019, 12:26:27 PM
You're welcome, Lar.  Works well when you know how to coach it.  ;)

--Dave

I still have one kid who is good for 1 encroachment per game. Usually on 3rd and 4 when they go on 2 or "no play" us. How in the hell do you encroach when you line up 4 yards off the ball? He was out the first 3 or 4 games with a concussion, so I'm not certain he was there for "follow the ball". I'll dust that off and re-emphasize it for the next 2 weeks.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 13, 2019, 12:49:01 PM
How in the hell do you encroach when you line up 4 yards off the ball?

If you use what John Koester refers to as my "mind#@%" drill, that doesn't happen.  Or it happens much less.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 13, 2019, 12:53:39 PM
1 guy trying to execute a perfect form tackle might be a 50/50 proposition depending on the situation, talent/size/strength of the ball carrier, and available space. 3 guys executing a crappy tackle on the same guy rises to 90%. So I spend less time harping how to tackle and more time on how to get to the ball with bad intentions.

Has little to do with teaching a "perfect form tackle," and more to do with teaching a tackling approach to little guys where they can be successful, too.  Let's face it, USA Football says there's only one way to teach tackling (even though they've changed how they taught it over the years).  Anyone who's coached this game successfully over a decade or more, knows that simply not true.  KOTS is just a way for smaller players to enjoy the same success (if not more) than their bigger teammates.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 13, 2019, 12:56:53 PM
I was concerned going into the season that giant RBs would be common place. That hasn't materialized.

Make sure those with Striper Rules know that.  They certainly fear the unknown.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 13, 2019, 01:11:42 PM
Make sure those with Striper Rules know that.  They certainly fear the unknown.

--Dave

Sigh.

None of us are as stupid as all of us. First hand experience will always be out-gunned by group think. My 98lb DT won the defensive Crunch Bar for his many TFLs on a RB who is bigger than me. An under-sized team (us) beat a giant team featuring a XXXL running back 62-0 while doing our level headed BEST to keep the score down.

Yet . . . patch/striper rules prevail.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: spidermac on May 14, 2019, 02:58:31 PM
Okay, this is interesting...I won't be able to tinker with this approach because we USA Football Rookie Tackle, and I have to mirror the offense in my defensive alignment, i.e. if they have 5 aligned as an oline, I have to have 4 in front of them...if they split one out, I can only have 3 in front of them, if they split 2 out, I can only have 2 in front of them...

That said...we did play an amoeba team when I first started running DW...we destroyed them with Wedge until they came out of it...then we went to power and counter to keep them honest...we did score on an 80 yard wedge while they were still in their amoeba...it was the first an only time I played against a team that did that...

I do like the concept of stunting into gaps...I have run JJ's and Jack's defenses both with pretty good success, and the main reason I believe was because we confused the blockers...

Last season with my 11/12's we played one team who came at us with a 33 stack...we initially had problems running the football against it, so we decided to throw...and they could not beat the pass pro, so they started hanging back so we were able to run...

Anyway, I am rambling as usual...another tool in my chest :) thanks Lar....
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 14, 2019, 03:54:33 PM

..we destroyed them with Wedge until they came out of it...then we went to power and counter to keep them honest...we did score on an 80 yard wedge while they were still in their amoeba...it was the first an only time I played against a team that did that...
Haven't seen a decent wedge team . . . but . . .
Week 1 was a jumbo sized o-line running a VERY good Beast. They would shift into a balanced line with the 2 sniffers in each A gap and hammer the ball up the middle. I started cutting their C and they stopped doing that.

Another giant team tried to run the DW. No pulling, BB at 5 yards, QB doesn't lead block, blah blah blah. They ran a QB wedge and was really their only positive yardage, but once the defense figured it out, we'd stop them for 3 yards at most and they stopped running it. Wedge wasn't very good, though. Just big.

Quote
Last season with my 11/12's we played one team who came at us with a 33 stack...we initially had problems running the football against it, so we decided to throw...and they could not beat the pass pro, so they started hanging back so we were able to run...

Anyway, I am rambling as usual...another tool in my chest :) thanks Lar....

Every offense we've faced (even Mahonz') thinks they can "steal" 4 yards because we are off the ball. What happens is that we end up exposing offensive linemen who haven't been trained to and/or haven't practiced climbing. We tend to get held a LOT.

What we do to QBs should be illegal. Typically, teams start throwing nothing but go/fade routes in the 2nd half. Most are brutal sacks. I think teams have completed 5 of these "long balls" in 7 games, one for a TD. I have one kid sitting on 8 interceptions. I haven't counted, but we probably get 5-6 sacks per game and in total, our opponents might be 10 for 50+ passing the ball?

Our talent level is tremendous, though. It could be that this defense only works with superior talent. As I've stated, we do NOT have a force player or a contain player. I was worried that we'd be vulnerable to power teams who can run off tackle. Nope. I was worried that we'd be vulnerable to jet/crack sweep. Nope. Our biggest vulnerability seems to be teams who can go on 2. 
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 14, 2019, 04:13:04 PM
What we do to QBs should be illegal. Typically, teams start throwing nothing but go/fade routes in the 2nd half. Most are brutal sacks.

Yes, I remember getting complaints from the Spread teams when we weren't spreading our defense and we were just taking their QBs apart. 

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 14, 2019, 06:52:52 PM
Yes, I remember getting complaints from the Spread teams when we weren't spreading our defense and we were just taking their QBs apart. 

--Dave

Complaints? As in, "It's not fair that you won't let our QB throw the ball?"
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 14, 2019, 06:58:56 PM
On one of our picks against the young lady a few weeks ago, I saw her writhing on the ground and our biggest player was the closest player to her. At first, I thought, "Aw shit. Did we hit her late?" Watched the play on film. Our guy was just close enough to brush her jersey with his finger tips after she threw the ball. As soon as our DB went up and caught it, she hit the dirt. It looked like a sniper got her. Our D-lineman just barely touched her jersey.

I had real mixed feelings about our guys playing against her. On the one hand, we have a girl on our 2nd grade team and she's awesome. On the other, we saw the teenage girl get nearly decapitated by a vicious hit on film. As a father of a young lady, I had a real problem with that hit. I couldn't shake the feeling that this shouldn't have been allowed to happen, that some adult or adults dropped the ball. It was a really violent hit as she double clutched the ball.

Luckily for me, I don't think we ever hit her, so I didn't have to feel bad for her.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 14, 2019, 08:27:17 PM
Complaints? As in, "It's not fair that you won't let our QB throw the ball?"

Yes, as in "Why are you pressuring our QB?"  To which I'd respond, "Why is he back there on an island?"

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 14, 2019, 08:28:33 PM
I had real mixed feelings about our guys playing against her. On the one hand, we have a girl on our 2nd grade team and she's awesome. On the other, we saw the teenage girl get nearly decapitated by a vicious hit on film. As a father of a young lady, I had a real problem with that hit. I couldn't shake the feeling that this shouldn't have been allowed to happen, that some adult or adults dropped the ball. It was a really violent hit as she double clutched the ball.

If you choose to play the game, you choose to get subjected to the game.  Shouldn't be different rules for different players.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 15, 2019, 12:34:41 AM
If you choose to play the game, you choose to get subjected to the game.  Shouldn't be different rules for different players.

--Dave

That's what logic tells me, but I had a visceral reaction to the clip where her body went 3 feet sideways while her head stayed in the same place. I get that she wants to play football. I support that. But to put her at QB? To put the least athletic, smallest, weakest, least physical player on your team in the QB position and have them drop back? You can guess what that team's pass pro looks like.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: spidermac on May 15, 2019, 09:13:53 AM
Well, I was going to talk about how we protected against blitzers and stackers...but really doesn't add much to the conversation...so, yeah... :P
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: Dimson on May 15, 2019, 10:25:27 AM
Really interested in this defense. Do you have any drills you use for this defense specifically or even a playbook?
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 15, 2019, 12:33:25 PM
Well, I was going to talk about how we protected against blitzers and stackers...but really doesn't add much to the conversation...so, yeah... :P

If I'm being completely honest, the offensive lines we've faced have some work to do if they want to progress to "shitty". Our o-line is "meh". Well below our standards, but far and away the best in our Spring league. The big takeaways:
1) most, if not all of my theories seem to hold water
2) I understand a new (to me) way to play defense.
3) sometimes the best coaching move is to stay the hell out of your players' way
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 15, 2019, 01:05:12 PM
Really interested in this defense. Do you have any drills you use for this defense specifically or even a playbook?

Drills . . . hmm.

I think we started March 12 with 3 practices per week. We took a week off during a BYE, but whatever, you get the point. In that time, I'd be surprised if we've done 2 hours worth of drills or indies total. If I did ANY drills with the pressure group (stacks), they aren't worth sharing. My cover group coach is the "catch man" guru. I'm not sure he ran any drills. We mainly teach on the fly running team.

To prepare for our last opponent, I recognized a need to nail down our pursuit and "contain by committee", which was stolen from the Killer Bee. Think rabbit/greyhound drill. 2 backs, each with a football, cones 5 yards from the sideline. On "HIT", both backs take off in their respective direction trying to sweep around the defense. Coach opens to one player indicating which player is "live". #1 guy is the CB and he aims for the outside hip of the BC. #2 guy is the dog and aims for center mass of the BC, going for the "kill shot". #3 guy is the Reaper or maybe outside stacker, or even in some cases, the DT. Either way, if you are the 3rd man in pursuit, you will aim for the inside hip, looking for a pause, juke or cut back. Everyone else stops and points out the angle they would take. Offensive coaches would watch them to do quality control on their angles. Backside DOG gets to depth and looks for BCR. Backside CB stays put until the ball crosses the LOS, then picks his "save a TD" angle.

I taught the traditional 33 stack on the fly during our first team session while the HC (who is my "cover group" coach) gave very quick instructions to the Dogs, CBs and Reaper. Traditional stack just means one stack on the center and a stack each over the OTs. Yes, we went over unbalanced lines and finding the "center" of the line. Fly through your gap and play football. I had the DTs and NTs at credit card depth. The call was "JJ" in honor of Mr. Lawson

After a couple of reps, I introduced the "twist" call. So now, any given stack will twist stunt. We'll use the left stack as an example. OS will tap the DT and send him to the C gap (for example). DT now has a choice. He can either line up in the C gap and hit it, or he can line up in the B gap and cross the OTs face. OS will line up at depth head up over the OT (around 4 yards) and hit the B gap. If the taps the DT to the B gap, same thing. So what happens is the OT is now seeing 4 different looks from this stack and I tell them to be random and unpredictable. The call was "Twizzler" in honor of the candy treat.

That went in VERY smoothly, so a few more reps vs Mahonz' scout O and I installed the "Ghost" call. This is where everyone lines up at depth in seemingly random places and hits their gaps. The most important thing is that they are shot out of a cannon and eyes immediately to the QB and read what's going on while attacking full speed. The call was "Ghost" because it reminded me of the two weird twins from the Matrix who disappeared and reappeared.

I knew I was onto something because the scout O came out in Robust T and ran 3 dives at us. We stuffed them for a total of maybe 1.5 yards combined. I found myself saying "play football" a lot, so it occurred to me that "play football" was at odds with dictating the calls from the sideline. So I told them to do whatever they wanted to. One stack will be "JJ", another will be "Twizzler" and the third might be "ghost" .Totally up to them. Now, they are pretty much always in "Ghost".  In game 1, a huge o-line running Beast kicked our tail down the field in the opening drive. It wasn't a flaw in the defense, but poor execution. Too many guys sitting at depth and reading. We eventually settled down and held a VERY potent offense to 14 points.

I am a very "dumb it down" coach. If I have to write it down, it's too complicated. So no playbook. With this defense, I took that idea to the extreme. Unfortunately, I have to go to a military appreciation lunch right now, but I will write out the defense when I get back.


Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: mahonz on May 15, 2019, 03:30:30 PM
If I'm being completely honest, the offensive lines we've faced have some work to do if they want to progress to "shitty". Our o-line is "meh". Well below our standards, but far and away the best in our Spring league. The big takeaways:
1) most, if not all of my theories seem to hold water
2) I understand a new (to me) way to play defense.
3) sometimes the best coaching move is to stay the hell out of your players' way

I'd say the Cowboys OL was quite good. Yes they could be coached up better like most every team but that unit has talent. The rest is just meh like you said to include our own...but dont forget....we are running an O with no line.  :P

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 15, 2019, 05:01:17 PM
I'd say the Cowboys OL was quite good. Yes they could be coached up better like most every team but that unit has talent. The rest is just meh like you said to include our own...but dont forget....we are running an O with no line.  :P

Agree. In Beast, they were very good where it counts, LG, T, PT TE. But in their balanced look, they were "meh". Their pass pro was poor, but that had a lot to do with the 1980's style 7 step drops they were taking.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 16, 2019, 01:17:04 PM
Here's the "playbook". I'm sharing a link to my Google drive so we don't use up so much storage on the website.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8gVPXE_ZHnVNHE5dXdmOTluSTFHNmp1UWd4ZDFZMTJKeG1N/view?usp=sharing (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8gVPXE_ZHnVNHE5dXdmOTluSTFHNmp1UWd4ZDFZMTJKeG1N/view?usp=sharing)
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 19, 2019, 12:27:51 AM
Pitched a shutout today with a pick 6.  I think we had 3 picks on the day. Opponent had one big gain on a double pass. My CB was upset, but I told him not to worry about it. We don't even practice against HB passes or double passes. My 2 best stack players were out on defense. They each play ever offensive snap and they each missed a practice last week, so I wouldn't let them play defense.

Defense was playing well enough in the 1st half, but not perfect. Then, the unexplainable happened right before half time. Mahonz pointed out 2 offense only players who hadn't played yet. I put them in at Nose and Middle stacker as a stack pair and for reasons completely unknown to me, the defense shifted into "awesome mode". These two are rookie players who rotate at WR. They both have decent speed and seem fairly athletic, but had maybe 5 defensive plays between them on the season. On their 2nd play together, the opponent called timeout. I went out to talk to the defense because I'm supposed to (I guess) and the 2 rookies had a couple of questions. I spent the timeout answering their questions. On the next play, we got immediate pressure on the QB leading to a pick 6. I told Mahonz that the pick 6 was due to my genius re-positioning of the defense.  ;)

At halftime, it was 30-0 and we had absolutely nothing to prove, so I grabbed every offensive rotator and put them in a rotation in the stacks. They got a very basic description of what to do and what to expect. At halftime, I saw the "regulars" in the stacks instructing and giving a mini "stack clinic".

Entering the 3rd quarter with this hodge podge defense, I half expected us to get scored on. Somehow, some way, the defense found another gear and we had the opposing offense going backward. Weird.

As part of the rotation, I had our 98lb Tasmanian devil sub in for our 220lb Shrek just to mess with the OT. I just wanted to see the look on his face when 6'2, 220 was replaced by 5'5, 98. Little guy crossed his face and got a big TFL.

Another weird observation was putting the most timid kid we have at middle stacker. I watched him as he tip-toed in the general direction of his gap. The C and G decided to climb and double team him. I guess they smelled fear on him or something. Unfortunately for them, This left a 7 foot gap right in the middle that our more aggressive players were more than happy to fill, getting another huge TFL.

Mixed feelings on one play. In game 2, one of their players knocked our center out for the season, breaking his wrist on a dirty and unnecessary blind side hit. Their player was a deep safety and we were running wide right. Our C, uncovered was looking for a 2nd level defender to block. Their S covered 10 yards to hit our C while the ball was about 30 yards away. Today, they threw him a screen/swing that I'm pretty sure was supposed to turn into a double pass. I think we had 7 jerseys on him and we knocked him out of the game. C and his parents were happy, but the kid was out because his head bounced off the turf. So while I'm happy about the physical play and gang tackle, I can't find joy in the result. Unintentional, but I don't want to see a kid leave from a head injury.

I made sure that the guys who missed practice knew exactly why they were being replaced by players who show up.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: mahonz on May 19, 2019, 11:13:25 AM
The way you yinged and yanged their OL was fun to watch. 

I absolutely do not understand their Offense.  Split backs are great for crossfire....from under center. I think too many coaches run shotgun just to run shotgun. The coaching in this Division is very suspect.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 24, 2019, 09:53:32 PM
In the final game, the defense played very well. They connected on 2 well covered Hail Marys, one of which scored, both of which, their receiver ripped the ball out of our CB’s hands. Halftime adjustment was to explain that knocking it down was a zero yard gain. That CB had 3 pass defenses in the 2nd half.

They rolled out in Beast to start the 2nd half and ripped 2 long runs. Mahonz’ advice was to make sure that they shifted (they didn’t initially), pull everyone 5 yards off the ball and forget gap assignments. Just fly to the ball. We stuffed it after that.

With 2 minutes left, they put the foulmouth, anthem kneeling, racist kid at QB. 1st play, he threw up a duck to no one. 2nd, he scrambled for a 40 yard gain to about the 5. Then they melted down and handed us the game.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: mahonz on May 24, 2019, 11:29:43 PM
This Defense really kicked butt.

Lar says its the kids and his new approach to coaching Potter Ball.

I say its the new approach to coaching Potter Ball. I used to wonder how Dave pitched so many shutouts while coaching youth ball. Now I've lived it and fully understand how that can happen.  We were not the best team in this Division yet we ran the table and won the close games with our Defense that frustrated the heck out of the opponents.

Stifling it the word I'd use.  5 or more to the football every snap and arrive with an attitude.

It was special to watch them play.  The team we beat for all the marbles towered over us and was loaded with talent while Lar played some of my MP's because the Offense was 4 and out a lot. 

Sucks to finish in second place !!!!  8)
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 25, 2019, 12:10:07 AM
Lar says its the kids and his new approach to coaching Potter Ball. I say its the new approach to coaching Potter Ball.

--Sounds like y'all are in agreement.

I used to wonder how Dave pitched so many shutouts while coaching youth ball. Now I've lived it and fully understand how that can happen.  We were not the best team in this Division yet we ran the table and won the close games with our Defense that frustrated the heck out of the opponents.

--"Frustrating" is a good word.

Stifling it the word I'd use.  5 or more to the football every snap and arrive with an attitude.

--You've discovered the key.  Get them to the ball-carrier.  It's an invisible offense.  The mistake that many defensive coaches and players make is they try to play an 11-on-11 game and try to account for everyone.  That's why you see a defensive player continuing to crash into an offensive player when the ball-carrier is 40 yards away streaking down the sideline.  Offensively, there's only 6 players who can score, so it's 11 on 6 at worst.  And with the majority of youth offenses, most teams have even fewer who they rely on to score, so the defensive advantage increases to 11 on 4, 3, 2 or 1.  I'd say with the average youth offense, they rely on perhaps 2 offensive threats.  If you can't dominate in an 11 against 2 situation, then you're doing a horrible job.

--Dave

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 25, 2019, 06:21:30 PM
Here’s the challenge. Every single player on this defense could pursue and tackle. They all had fire and aggression. The challenge will be to get our 3rd graders playing that way. Far from impossible, but a challenge. It will mean changing the focus of our coaching. Mahonz was on to something toward the end of last season, by making rabbit/greyhound an EDD. Vast improvement for the defense. Going forward, it will be a shift from teaching things like block destruction, swim/rip moves, outside arm free, etc. to “mercilessly pursue and destroy the ball carrier. Last season there was zero and I mean zero pass threat besides us.

The Beast atttack from our Thursday opponent was formidable, but one quick adjustment and we completely neutralized it. Get after the ball right now. Mission of the Marine Rifle Squad is “to locate, close with and destroy the enemy”. We need to adopt that.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 29, 2019, 11:36:00 AM
They have mine, too.  But I’m sure defenses are dumb enough to play that game and spread out.  I mean, they have to!  Just look how big the splits are.  ;)

Honestly, I’d probably split that wide if I knew the defense was just going to accommodate me.

—Dave

I totally get it now. My point from our past discussions on the topic was that if you didn't accommodate our splits, then you are losing the leverage game before the ball is even snapped. Now, I see that leverage only exists if contact is made between a blocker and a tackler.

Defenses that have stopped us all had 1 thing in common. They had 3 players who were very good at getting to the ball carrier. Some had giants with speed who would run through our blockers. Some had extremely fast and agile guys who could run around our blockers. Some had guys in the middle who could do a little of both, but for one reason or another, we couldn't keep those guys off the ball.

Most teams had at least one guy like that. We could name our score if they only had 1. If they had 2, we were good for around 3-4 touchdowns. If they had 3, we were going to score twice and were in for a dog fight.

What I had this Spring was probably 16 players who couldn't be blocked by our opponents. I can't take credit because they came to me like that. I simply "encouraged" that type of play with a simple "2 whistle" drill early in the season. I also preached the "invisible offense" concept. Mahonz and Jason, our HC and secondary coach convinced me to do away with the force player. CBs played contain, but in an aggressive, Killer Bee style. Everyone else was an alley player. I should also point out that this season's opponents had absolutely the worst blocking I've ever had to coach against. One team was pretty good. Everyone else was horrible.

However, even a youth team with great blocking is going to have a few "holes". Start with a QB under center who hands off the ball. Unless you're DW, you just lost a blocker. Then the ball carrier is another. So I'll go forward with the assumption that there are at least 4 players on the offense who can't/won't block their way out of a wet paper bag. So now, they are at a 6 man disadvantage. If we run into that team where everyone can block?  Well, I guess that's football, isn't it?

We've talked ad nauseum about "teams that can block and tackle well". Keeping to the topic of defense, tackling is paramount. Duh. However, spending a crap load of time in form tackle drills, I now believe isn't the best way to focus your efforts. When I play hockey (I'm not very good), I get yelled at by my teammates when a skilled player goes around me like I'm a cone. "PLAY HIS BODY!!!" is something I hear all the time. Yet, I'm having a hard time getting close enough to slash the dude with a 6 foot hockey stick. Point is, you can have a kid who absolutely excels in form tackling in a close quarter drill. He can look like the poster boy for USA Football's Heads Up nonsense. It doesn't matter if he can't get his shoulder on the ball carrier. In last week's championship, we had at least a dozen jersey tackles that will never make it to a "heads up" video, but hey, the guy was on the ground.  There are no ugly goals in hockey and there are no ugly tackles in football. So going forward, we will focus on getting guys on the football.

Which brings me back around to mega splits. I've become convinced this Spring that spacing is crucial to getting as many guys to the ball as possible. Clark's Killer Bee is the absolute authority on spacing. When a team comes out in Trips vs a KB defense, the KB adjusts a little, but the interior coverage guys move progressively less. In our 33, Mahonz and I decided early on that we are going all in on bringing pressure from our front 6, with the exception of moving one guy into a coverage position vs Trips, but only because that 3rd guy is an eligible receiver. A mega split guard or tackle is not eligible, so why sacrifice your spacing to accommodate him? It's only leverage if he touches you.

A local club will be hosting a summer football camp in a few weeks. We have 8 of our 3rd graders committed. This camp will be the beginning of our indoctrination to the "there is only one ball, get to it" mentality. I want them to be experts at angles and geometry without even thinking about it, and I want a relentless sense of purpose.

A big challenge will be our patch rules that say a big guy has to play on the LOS. I talked it over with Mahonz last night and I may end up going with all fast guys under patch weight on defense, saving the bigs for the o-line. Or, I may dig into our league rules and really push the envelope on the definition of "on the line". Can't wait to post pictures of a 3rd grade defense where everyone starts 5 yards off the ball.

This Spring, we allowed 5 TDs in 9 games, one of which was in 8 man football, and 2 TDs were Hail Mary's that worked out for them. 5 games were shut outs. We/I have never had a defensive season like that. We got there by having 11 players playing like linebackers. We did a few tackle drills in the first week of practice. We did zero "block destruction" drills and by mid-season, we yielded "defense day" to the offense. 
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: mahonz on May 29, 2019, 12:40:09 PM
I totally get it now. My point from our past discussions on the topic was that if you didn't accommodate our splits, then you are losing the leverage game before the ball is even snapped. Now, I see that leverage only exists if contact is made between a blocker and a tackler.

Defenses that have stopped us all had 1 thing in common. They had 3 players who were very good at getting to the ball carrier. Some had giants with speed who would run through our blockers. Some had extremely fast and agile guys who could run around our blockers. Some had guys in the middle who could do a little of both, but for one reason or another, we couldn't keep those guys off the ball.

Most teams had at least one guy like that. We could name our score if they only had 1. If they had 2, we were good for around 3-4 touchdowns. If they had 3, we were going to score twice and were in for a dog fight.

What I had this Spring was probably 16 players who couldn't be blocked by our opponents. I can't take credit because they came to me like that. I simply "encouraged" that type of play with a simple "2 whistle" drill early in the season. I also preached the "invisible offense" concept. Mahonz and Jason, our HC and secondary coach convinced me to do away with the force player. CBs played contain, but in an aggressive, Killer Bee style. Everyone else was an alley player. I should also point out that this season's opponents had absolutely the worst blocking I've ever had to coach against. One team was pretty good. Everyone else was horrible.

However, even a youth team with great blocking is going to have a few "holes". Start with a QB under center who hands off the ball. Unless you're DW, you just lost a blocker. Then the ball carrier is another. So I'll go forward with the assumption that there are at least 4 players on the offense who can't/won't block their way out of a wet paper bag. So now, they are at a 6 man disadvantage. If we run into that team where everyone can block?  Well, I guess that's football, isn't it?

We've talked ad nauseum about "teams that can block and tackle well". Keeping to the topic of defense, tackling is paramount. Duh. However, spending a crap load of time in form tackle drills, I now believe isn't the best way to focus your efforts. When I play hockey (I'm not very good), I get yelled at by my teammates when a skilled player goes around me like I'm a cone. "PLAY HIS BODY!!!" is something I hear all the time. Yet, I'm having a hard time getting close enough to slash the dude with a 6 foot hockey stick. Point is, you can have a kid who absolutely excels in form tackling in a close quarter drill. He can look like the poster boy for USA Football's Heads Up nonsense. It doesn't matter if he can't get his shoulder on the ball carrier. In last week's championship, we had at least a dozen jersey tackles that will never make it to a "heads up" video, but hey, the guy was on the ground.  There are no ugly goals in hockey and there are no ugly tackles in football. So going forward, we will focus on getting guys on the football.

Which brings me back around to mega splits. I've become convinced this Spring that spacing is crucial to getting as many guys to the ball as possible. Clark's Killer Bee is the absolute authority on spacing. When a team comes out in Trips vs a KB defense, the KB adjusts a little, but the interior coverage guys move progressively less. In our 33, Mahonz and I decided early on that we are going all in on bringing pressure from our front 6, with the exception of moving one guy into a coverage position vs Trips, but only because that 3rd guy is an eligible receiver. A mega split guard or tackle is not eligible, so why sacrifice your spacing to accommodate him? It's only leverage if he touches you.

A local club will be hosting a summer football camp in a few weeks. We have 8 of our 3rd graders committed. This camp will be the beginning of our indoctrination to the "there is only one ball, get to it" mentality. I want them to be experts at angles and geometry without even thinking about it, and I want a relentless sense of purpose.

A big challenge will be our patch rules that say a big guy has to play on the LOS. I talked it over with Mahonz last night and I may end up going with all fast guys under patch weight on defense, saving the bigs for the o-line. Or, I may dig into our league rules and really push the envelope on the definition of "on the line". Can't wait to post pictures of a 3rd grade defense where everyone starts 5 yards off the ball.

This Spring, we allowed 5 TDs in 9 games, one of which was in 8 man football, and 2 TDs were Hail Mary's that worked out for them. 5 games were shut outs. We/I have never had a defensive season like that. We got there by having 11 players playing like linebackers. We did a few tackle drills in the first week of practice. We did zero "block destruction" drills and by mid-season, we yielded "defense day" to the offense.

A very contrarian approach to playing Defense for sure. Worked wonderfully.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: angalton on May 29, 2019, 07:01:16 PM
What were the drills you guys used to enforce this style of play. Not just the names, but what in detail and the coaching emphasis in the drill. I am going to read through the thread completely and see if I can answer some of my questions  also.😁
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: mahonz on May 29, 2019, 07:13:20 PM
What were the drills you guys used to enforce this style of play. Not just the names, but what in detail and the coaching emphasis in the drill. I am going to read through the thread completely and see if I can answer some of my questions  also.😁

Lots of Team vs a Scout O. And when they got bored with that...just start running different O's at them.  The real value of large rosters is being able to do this efficiently.

Remember....tackling drills when out the window early on. Something that is age appropriate of course. The little dudes would still need that type of training. But being in the right place at the right time with very little to think about post snap was the key.

The older kids....it was all about....go get some right now from a proper pre snap aliment. What was interesting was the first Q of most every game. The opponent would get a drive going. Kids would dial it in and then give up virtually nothing for 3 Q's. Its like they all adjusted their play per the opponents plays.

Considering every single youth Offense out there has maybe 12 base plays it can run....seems like the kids just needed to see it once and that was enough.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: angalton on May 29, 2019, 07:23:21 PM
I was thinking of a 4-3 stack, using A gappers like the Killer B. Safety depth like the B also. Using safeties and Mike to give different looks and pressures and stacking olbs behind DE, or some variation of the stack. The A gappers to stifle wedge and trap, everybody else to the ball.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 29, 2019, 08:49:51 PM
I was thinking of a 4-3 stack, using A gappers like the Killer B. Safety depth like the B also. Using safeties and Mike to give different looks and pressures and stacking olbs behind DE, or some variation of the stack. The A gappers to stifle wedge and trap, everybody else to the ball.

You'd think that having everyone 5 yards off the ball would be vulnerable to inside runs. We CRUSHED them. No, we CRUSHED them. Teams gave up on wedge, dive and sneak very quickly. Trap? How do you trap someone who isn't there? So my simple philosophy was that 2 A gappers are wasted on all but A gap plays.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 29, 2019, 09:31:27 PM
What were the drills you guys used to enforce this style of play. Not just the names, but what in detail and the coaching emphasis in the drill. I am going to read through the thread completely and see if I can answer some of my questions  also.😁

The first thing we had to do was teach CBs, Dogs Outside Backers and Outside Stackers how to play "catch man" coverage. You always play "catch man" with a partner. If there are 2 threats, then CB and OLB are partners, If there are 3, then CB and Outside Stacker are partners with OLB pressing the middle guy. 3 back pedal steps to make your read. If he's still your guy after 3 steps, he's your guy until the whistle. If you're inside and your guy goes outside within 3 steps, holler at your partner and look for a receiver coming outside in. Drills? Lot's of team with every route combination imaginable.

The first thing I had to fix was the solo tackle. I hate them and on about practice 3, decided I would no longer tolerate them. Enter the "2 whistle drill". This is nothing more than running team. Blow the first whistle when the ball carrier goes down, shout "ONE ONE THOUSAND, TWO ONE THOUSAND!!!", then blow the 2nd whistle. Anyone not within a yard of the ball or at a dead sprint to get there does push ups. Solo tackles were done after about 4 reps.

I was worried about our Week 7 opponent. They were the team we beat in the championship. They had one back who was a speed freak and would happily take a 5 yard loss trying to turn the corner. They had another back who was a speed freak who was patient and had an unbelievable jump cut. I took Clark's "Bermuda Triangle Drill" and adopted it to a defense with no force defender and nothing but 2nd level defenders. In Clark's drill, it's a "contain by committee" approach where 1) Dog, 2) Safety and 3) Mike make up the triangle. You run sweeps at 3 defenders. First, they know which way it's going. Then you progress to making them guess. Give the 2 RBs what  looks like a head start, but really isn't if you look at the geometry. Line them up 6 yards deep behind where the TE would be. Each has a football in his hand. Coach calls cadence, then simulates a toss to either back. That's how the defense knows which back to pursue. Put a cone on the LOS about 5 yards from the sideline.  RB tries to out race the defense to the cone. Once he gets there, he can do anything he wants. In fact, encourage him to juke, spin, jump cut, cut back against the grain . . . anything goes. 1) aims for the far hip of the RB, looking to overtake him, but not so much that you take yourself out of the tackle. 2) aims for center mass with full aggression looking for the "Kill Shot". No discipline, no holding back. 3) aims for the near hip, slightly trailing looking for cutback. Looking to DESTROY cutbacks, stalls or cuts.  That's the KB version.  To accommodate our defense, CB is 1, Dog OLB is 2 and anybody else in a position to do so is 3. I cross out Dog because he's not a traditional Dog/Spur/Bandit. He's just an OLB or Safety . . . whatever. Most important is that he can cover a receiver. Realistically, 3 is an Outside Stacker, Reaper, DT (remember, he's lined up 5 yards off the ball). It's possible that a NT (again, 5 yards off the ball) or Middle stacker is in position to trail near hip. Anyone outside of that, you can probably forget it. Away side CB stays put until the ball crosses the LOS. Then pick an angle and save a TD. Away side OLB slow plays to the depth of the deepest offensive back, looking for "anything weird coming back at you". Everyone else, pick an angle and fly to the ball. Everyone plays like a linebacker.



Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 30, 2019, 12:54:57 AM
So my simple philosophy was that 2 A gappers are wasted on all but A gap plays.

I'm glad that someone understands that.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: angalton on May 30, 2019, 10:43:02 AM
Thanks...A gappers are our one task (mpp) types. Team make up will dictate how we do things.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 30, 2019, 11:06:23 AM
A gappers are our one task (mpp) types. Team make up will dictate how we do things.

So you play against offenses that run primarily the A-gap?

—Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 30, 2019, 11:20:21 AM
Thanks...A gappers are our one task (mpp) types. Team make up will dictate how we do things.

I totally understand. In fact, I started out the season that way. I had a few kids who were "speed challenged" and Mahonz didn't want them for the offense. Yet, when I backed them up and turned them loose, they were MUCH more effective. Early on, they tended to draw double teams for reasons that are unknown to me. But hey, if our opponent wants to put 2 blockers on a kid that might make one tackle per game . . . who am I to stop them? By the end of the season, these guys turned into genuine fire breathers.

Along the way, Mahonz would give me timid WR rotators who weren't getting enough plays. I would put them at Middle Stacker or NT (both 5 yards off the ball) and turn them loose. If they did NOTHING, they still drew blockers that would otherwise try to block defenders who actually made tackles. While they were still technically "A Gappers", they lined up 5 yards from the ball with the A gap as their starting point, but with instructions to find the ball and get after it as they attacked downhill. As an added benefit, they had some fun and learned some football along the way.

And yes, our team makeup gave us a lot of "wiggle room". The true test will be our 3rd graders, whom I will get in 3 weeks for a full contact camp. I will teach ALL of them to play like linebackers and I will not stop teaching that until either they can all do it, or the season is over. Best available "linebackers" will play defense.

In all honesty, I always thought the key to DP's success on defense was that he just had immense talent. Watching his film, from the Durham War Eagles, it was clear that I didn't have single kid who could play on his defense. For years, that's just where I left it. Mahonz, too. We just didn't think we had the Jimmies or Joes to play this "reckless" style of defense.

A few weeks ago, I subbed in some WRs on D and somehow our defense got better. I don't know why, it just did. At the very least, I had to question all that I thought I "knew" about defense. Then I came to the realization that I can't expect a kid to be a fire breather when I'm telling him to "hit an offensive tackle", or "hit a lead blocker with your inside shoulder", or "destroy a block", or "Bear crawl an A gap".

I'm betting the farm that ANY kid will get good at something if they do it enough times. All I'm asking is that they play full speed, downhill with a complete focus on the ball carrier.  We'll see, to be sure.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: angalton on May 30, 2019, 12:18:51 PM
Sometimes I have to step outside my norm. This helped me a ton.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 30, 2019, 01:52:53 PM
Sometimes I have to step outside my norm. This helped me a ton.

Glad to be of help. We came into the season knowing we would be vastly under sized. We actually figured the defense would suck and it would be up to the offense to out score everyone. Knowing we would lose every battle in the trenches, we decided not to fight in the trenches. Somewhere along the way, we learned something.

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: mahonz on May 30, 2019, 04:06:13 PM
I totally understand. In fact, I started out the season that way. I had a few kids who were "speed challenged" and Mahonz didn't want them for the offense. Yet, when I backed them up and turned them loose, they were MUCH more effective. Early on, they tended to draw double teams for reasons that are unknown to me. But hey, if our opponent wants to put 2 blockers on a kid that might make one tackle per game . . . who am I to stop them? By the end of the season, these guys turned into genuine fire breathers.

Along the way, Mahonz would give me timid WR rotators who weren't getting enough plays. I would put them at Middle Stacker or NT (both 5 yards off the ball) and turn them loose. If they did NOTHING, they still drew blockers that would otherwise try to block defenders who actually made tackles. While they were still technically "A Gappers", they lined up 5 yards from the ball with the A gap as their starting point, but with instructions to find the ball and get after it as they attacked downhill. As an added benefit, they had some fun and learned some football along the way.

And yes, our team makeup gave us a lot of "wiggle room". The true test will be our 3rd graders, whom I will get in 3 weeks for a full contact camp. I will teach ALL of them to play like linebackers and I will not stop teaching that until either they can all do it, or the season is over. Best available "linebackers" will play defense.

In all honesty, I always thought the key to DP's success on defense was that he just had immense talent. Watching his film, from the Durham War Eagles, it was clear that I didn't have single kid who could play on his defense. For years, that's just where I left it. Mahonz, too. We just didn't think we had the Jimmies or Joes to play this "reckless" style of defense.

A few weeks ago, I subbed in some WRs on D and somehow our defense got better. I don't know why, it just did. At the very least, I had to question all that I thought I "knew" about defense. Then I came to the realization that I can't expect a kid to be a fire breather when I'm telling him to "hit an offensive tackle", or "hit a lead blocker with your inside shoulder", or "destroy a block", or "Bear crawl an A gap".

I'm betting the farm that ANY kid will get good at something if they do it enough times. All I'm asking is that they play full speed, downhill with a complete focus on the ball carrier.  We'll see, to be sure.

I believe the only time this failed was the first drive in the first game of the season.  It was impressive to watch them develop right along with you. I initially thought we were out of our minds nuts. Its what I enjoyed about Spring ball. Do stuff you would never consider in the Fall because it didn't matter.

Its like the mega splits thing. We fine tuned and experimented in the Spring and then did well with it in the Fall. I say this because we should trust in what we learn. Last Fall with the Smurfs we went foot to foot. Then after an 0-3 start went mega splits and won 4 of 5.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 30, 2019, 04:53:29 PM
Then I came to the realization that I can't expect a kid to be a fire breather when I'm telling him to "hit an offensive tackle", or "hit a lead blocker with your inside shoulder", or "destroy a block", or "Bear crawl an A gap".

B.I.N.G.O. 

—Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 30, 2019, 05:22:54 PM
B.I.N.G.O. 

—Dave

Straight up question, Dave. How many defenders do you want on the ball RIGHT NOW?

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 30, 2019, 09:45:50 PM
Straight up question, Dave. How many defenders do you want on the ball RIGHT NOW?

Want?  11. 
But the reality is that not everyone's going to arrive there at the same time.  That being said, I do expect all 11 on the ball-carrier by the end of the play.  At least, that's the way we practice it.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 31, 2019, 08:20:19 AM
Want?  11. 
But the reality is that not everyone's going to arrive there at the same time.  That being said, I do expect all 11 on the ball-carrier by the end of the play.  At least, that's the way we practice it.

--Dave

Got it. Looking for a coaching point, but was thinking about the guys in coverage, backside CB, backside OLB. Once you’ve done your job, relentlessly pursue the ball to the whistle.

Thinking about it, this was the first defense that I can remember that never got beat by bootleg/counter/reverse. I’ll go back and watch film to figure out why.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on May 31, 2019, 02:28:33 PM
Looking for a coaching point, but was thinking about the guys in coverage, backside CB, backside OLB. Once you’ve done your job, relentlessly pursue the ball to the whistle.

--Our defense takes the same line of approach, for each play. And our plays at practice aren't over until all 11 are on the ball-carrier; regardless of whether you're the closest line of defense, or the furthest away. You will continue to pursue UNTIL you've made contact, or you'll get off the field.  There is no "watching someone else do your job."  Your job is to make the tackle, every time, whether or not you were the first one to arrive.  And of course if you get there first, we keep a stat for it.  (We call it being a "First Responder.")  But these guys inevitably have more solo tackles than anyone else.

Thinking about it, this was the first defense that I can remember that never got beat by bootleg/counter/reverse. I’ll go back and watch film to figure out why.

--We can't ever get beat on a boot/counter/reverse because our line of pursuit is never based on where the ball-carrier is going; it's based on our line of pursuit.  And our line of pursuit accounts for boot/counter/reverse on every play.  Now we may miss a tackle and give up a big gain or score, but it won't be because we were fooled or out of position.  We can't get fooled because our defenders' responsibilities has nothing to do with making a decision.  That's why offenses have to adjust to what we do defensively.  We don't adjust our defense to they type or style of offense we will face.   

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on May 31, 2019, 04:42:42 PM
it's based on our line of pursuit.  And our line of pursuit accounts for boot/counter/reverse on every play

Can you expand on this?
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on June 01, 2019, 12:14:53 AM
Can you expand on this?

They're coming from the same line of pursuit on every play.  If the ball is being run towards them, they're in position to stop the play.  If the ball is being run away from them, then they trail their proper line of pursuit so that if the boot/counter/reverse is being run, they are in position to stop the play.  They are not to "break off" their line of pursuit just because the play is being run to the opposite side of the field.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: spidermac on June 05, 2019, 12:18:14 PM
Attack your area and pursue and kill the football...
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on June 05, 2019, 12:49:26 PM
Attack your area and pursue and kill the football.

Yes, exactly.
If the play is being run to you, then you will kill it quicker.  If it's being run away from you, it will take longer for you to kill it, but you still need to pursue your area and then kill it, even if you're the 11th man there.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on June 05, 2019, 12:50:17 PM
The key questions are how disciplined do you want to make it, and what are their areas?

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on June 05, 2019, 12:55:40 PM
Attack your area and pursue and kill the football...

I think that's what I got without intentionally coaching it.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on June 05, 2019, 01:12:33 PM
The key questions are how disciplined do you want to make it, and what are their areas?

--Dave

This morning, I responded to a PM from Vince.  I think I've come to the realization that my fatal flaw coaching defense all these years was too much discipline, too much micro-managing and too much thinking. Going back several years, coaching with Mahonz and his late son, Keenan, a common refrain was "We don't want robots. We want football players."  Yet, we had a tendency to strictly control every aspect of a kid's position.

The result was a bunch of parts in a machine, which is exactly what we thought we wanted. Kids became silo'd, completely focused on their role in the machine. Then, we as coaches acted surprised when we got a bunch of robots. DT's locking horns with OT's while the ball carrier ran within 2 feet of them, etc. etc. etc. Our "parts" had no "big picture" perspective.

The other thing I noted to Vince was how BCR wasn't really a factor for us. I'm just going from memory right now, so I'll have to go back and watch film . . . all of it. I don't recall any team getting over on us with BCR and if they had any success, it was short lived. I also think that the vast majority of BCR plays were crushed by the backside pressure group, rather than the usual suspects, backside CB and Dog. The thing about turning them loose is that they learn very quickly. I'm convinced that every single team in the country has this potential. Anyone who struggles with the "scout defense heroes" knows what I'm talking about. You're trying to polish a slick play, but little Joey on Scout D has seen it before and isn't falling for it. Why not take advantage of that instead of fighting it?

I don't think I'll ever do another bird dog drill again.  Then again, 8-9 year olds have a way of humbling us. This could go horribly wrong.  :D
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: spidermac on June 05, 2019, 03:35:21 PM
Okay, so last season we had a MIKE...first time MIKE and we were going to run the KB for the first time...well, not 100% accurate, we ran it for one game the previous season, where the play of one of the corners clearly illustrated to me that I was missing one player to run it that season...but I digress...so, new  MIKE in a new scheme...kid was smart...kid saw things pre-snap...at first, he was aligning to close to the LOS, and we kept having to back him up because he kept getting caught in the wash...this was when we were still scrimmaging...so we backed him up, and he started guessing where the ball was going...also during scrimmage season...we taught him to key the Center...as he was going to tell him where the ball was going 9 times out of 10...by the end of scrimmage season he had it...and that was when he started seeing things...second game of the season...he comes to the sideline...Coach, when they align like this, they are going to do this...can I do this...we said okay...but if you are wrong...you are going back to doing it our way...and he was right...and he was filling quickly and killing the play in the backfield...the bad guys had no clue how to deal with him...he came to the sideline at halftime, and we spoke in more detail about what he was seeing...he explained it, and we said, okay, whenever you see that pre-snap, you kill it in the backfield...confidence grew...and he had a heck of a game...

As his confidence grew, our confidence in what he was telling us grew...and we started letting him do his own thing out there...until he started calling his own blitzes...and he was wrong...so we let him do his own thing in base...but we would call his blitzes from the sideline...the kid had an amazing season for us at MIKE...he wasn't especially big, or fast...but he saw things well....once we got him back far enough to see...after that, we let him play football...except for calling his own blitzes :P

We lost him for the first playoff game for a concussion he got at LAX practice...and he was sooo disappointed...we were playing the team we played in week 2...his coming out party...we won the game...but his replacement was not quite the same...and we did miss him...
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 11:18:29 AM
First game is later today. The Amoeba is currently a 29. That's 2 down linemen, 2 ILBs, 2 OLBs, 2 Dogs, 2 Corners and a Reaper. We have to put our big boys in on the D-line, so that's really the only reason we have a D-line at all.

We're playing the undefeated defending champs in week 1, on a Friday where they stole a practice from us to take @#$%#-ing pictures. So, I wanted to document this defense that I'm both surprised at and proud of in case we give up 80 and scrap the whole thing. I've seen it work and I've heard the thousand reasons why it won't. It hasn't seen a real wedge yet, so sure. Maybe wedge will kill it. Mahonz thinks so. I beg to differ.

I don't know that I'd call it an "Amoeba" anymore because that concept was to hide our intentions to shoot gaps. The only players shooting gaps are the DTs. Everyone else is just finding the ball. We also have a "goal line" package where I sub my ILBs and OLBs for big boys and go into a 1-5-9 60 front. It was very effective in the 3 plays where we ran it, but that was against a dog butt team.  Both fronts were effective against this team with 3 very fast RBs with great vision and "moves", which pretty much sums up the top half of our league. 2 or 3 kids that no one can seem to tackle. Our goal is to use geometry and aggression to neutralize any individual and it looks like it's starting to come together.

Bring the slings and arrows!
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 11:23:04 AM
DANG PICTURE IS TOO BIG!

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 11:27:47 AM
Bring the slings and arrows!

While I could poke holes in your big-split offense all day long, this thing looks like it has some teeth and I'm really interested to see what/why/how you get it to work.  I definitely think you're heading in the right direction and you may have developed the true facemelter.  (Not kidding.)  Shrink down your picture or send me an attachment so I can check out this thing.

--Dave (who feels like Lar just pulled up in my driveway driving a DB11.  Open the hood!  OPEN THE HOOD!)

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: ZACH on August 30, 2019, 11:30:47 AM
Do your front 6 "move" ?

Ill try n find the rob ryan clinic i saw when he was in dc. Static is dangerous with these "ghost" fronts he said.

Your lbs are super deep too, how does this fair against a generic off tackle or belly?
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: Wing-n-It on August 30, 2019, 11:42:39 AM
I would wedge just because I always do but I don't look at that alignment and think "Oh yeah, wedge allll day"
And I wedge everything but I am not licking my chops

I would really try with my DC wing T to Attack off tackle left side of offense with a 23 Power call.

It looks like you are using what was given to you for players.

Good luck you two. I hate pictures as well.

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 12:02:26 PM
I would wedge just because I always do but I don't look at that alignment and think "Oh yeah, wedge allll day"

I don't think so, Robert.  First of all, Wedge can be stopped if you know how.  Lar and Mike do.  Secondly, there's double A-gap coverage (which I never do, on my d-line), but double A-gap coverage can give a Wedge fits.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 12:05:05 PM
I would really try with my DC wing T to Attack off tackle left side of offense with a 23 Power call.

Ah!  Now you're talking!  I really want to see how B and C-gap coverage is dealt with.  This Amoeba could really confuse some blocking rules.  My question is how many teams do they face with real rules?  And "block somebody" isn't a rule.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 12:07:34 PM
And if there's only 2 down linemen, does that make everyone else a 2nd-level defender?  If it does, then I like this matchup, defensively.  I haven't seen a youth team yet whose offensive line could consistently matchup with my 2nd level personnel.  (Which is why I hate zone blocking for youth ball.)

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: Wing-n-It on August 30, 2019, 12:17:58 PM
I don't think so, Robert.  First of all, Wedge can be stopped if you know how.  Lar and Mike do.  Secondly, there's double A-gap coverage (which I never do, on my d-line), but double A-gap coverage can give a Wedge fits.

--Dave
I was saying I would wedge just because its what we do. Our first play is a wedge, everyone knows it but its made to look like our jet sweep and off tackle left. We run that motion and play to see how the defense adjusts to motion from our WB.

I only get a gleam in my eye when someone puts a NT in front of my center to run wedge. Odd thing is a lot of youth coaches think the best thing to stop a wedge is the NT. until he gets run over by the line they are happy to put one there.

I do not think with his double A gappers I will have an easy day wedging their defense because they know how to stop wedges
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 12:28:38 PM
I was saying I would wedge just because its what we do.

--Oh, I get that.  There's no play I like better.  Or run better.

Our first play is a wedge, everyone knows it but its made to look like our jet sweep and off tackle left. We run that motion and play to see how the defense adjusts to motion from our WB.

--If your first play is Wedge, then how does the defense know it looks like your jet sweep & off tackle?  Don't you have to set up Wedge by showing your jet sweep/off tackle first?

--Dave

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 12:34:31 PM
DANG PICTURE IS TOO BIG!

--Dave

Download it and open it in the viewer of your choice and in the resolution of your choice.  ::)
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 12:46:12 PM
Download it and sdft ft lk lmn wsedrf op cdvm cswqrt hyg bg kjh swdefrgthy jh cdvm cswqrt.

 ::)

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 12:47:34 PM
Do your front 6 "move" ?

Ill try n find the rob ryan clinic i saw when he was in dc. Static is dangerous with these "ghost" fronts he said.

Your lbs are super deep too, how does this fair against a generic off tackle or belly?

They do not. I stole Clark's spacing concept to so that at least 3 defenders have a shorter route to the POA on any running play, regardless of the POA. This, in theory, neutralizes the "fast guy" because we don't have to run as far as he does . . . even if he runs a perfect path.

Believe it or not, we crush off tackles and belly plays. So far offenses get away from their inside game very quickly. In the Spring 8th/9th grade season, we struggled early against a power team, but were playing timid and back pedaling. Once we started attacking, we stopped them in their tracks. After that game, we gave up 2 runs over 5 yards and on both runs, I had WRs playing the ILB positions (their Amoeba equivalent) because they were short on plays.

Why does it work when it obviously shouldn't?  Our LBs see the ball from depth very well and they attack the ball. If I line up a 5 tech with the idea of stuffing an off tackle play, he has to wait for the ball to get to him or penetrate. If he doesn't penetrate, he is playing into the offense's strength, which is to use leverage and numbers to move him.  If he does penetrate, it's a crap shoot. TFL or complete miss and he's out of the play.

Same situation with a 50 tech. He has about the same distance to run as the RB. Since he's filling from depth, he's very hard to block for an OT. If the OT sits, the offense loses it's power. If he hunts, he is opening lanes for the other LBs to exploit from 5 yards. I have a little guy who I am absolutely bursting with pride over. He's learned to slow play it. He sits at 5 until he sees the lane, then sprints downhill with reckless abandon. If he were 20lbs heavier, the league would create a new rule for him.

I guess it works for the same reasons KO coverage works when the KR runs inside.  See it. Kill it.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 12:50:07 PM
While I could poke holes in your big-split offense all day long, this thing looks like it has some teeth and I'm really interested to see what/why/how you get it to work.  I definitely think you're heading in the right direction and you may have developed the true facemelter.  (Not kidding.)  Shrink down your picture or send me an attachment so I can check out this thing.

--Dave (who feels like Lar just pulled up in my driveway driving a DB11.  Open the hood!  OPEN THE HOOD!)

Here you go.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/13T-aYgR2wFXjTTOr-ykYxGXhh3_PmftuVj0FFKogBi0/edit?usp=sharing (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/13T-aYgR2wFXjTTOr-ykYxGXhh3_PmftuVj0FFKogBi0/edit?usp=sharing)
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 12:59:22 PM
Here you go.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/13T-aYgR2wFXjTTOr-ykYxGXhh3_PmftuVj0FFKogBi0/edit?usp=sharing (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/13T-aYgR2wFXjTTOr-ykYxGXhh3_PmftuVj0FFKogBi0/edit?usp=sharing)

Aha!  Hmmm.  Yes, okay...I see!

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 01:01:20 PM
I would wedge just because I always do but I don't look at that alignment and think "Oh yeah, wedge allll day"
And I wedge everything but I am not licking my chops

I would really try with my DC wing T to Attack off tackle left side of offense with a 23 Power call.

It looks like you are using what was given to you for players.

Good luck you two. I hate pictures as well.

Wedge is untested. In the 8/9th grade Spring, we played one team who wedged. They were not good, but we crushed it. We will play a 3rd grade team who "wedges" from UBSW, but I don't think they are very good. Their BB is VERY good. I think of it more as a BB draw.

Here's why I think it will work as well or better than anything else against wedge.
1) When I learned wedge from Jack and JJ, it was their doctrine that they PREFER a NT because it helps the fit and push. Having resistance helps the wedge stay together the same way a keystone works in an arch. Something about distributing force. Ask Mahonz. He's an architect. Anyway, with no resistance for the first 3 steps or so, the wedge is on their own.

2) Wedge is a "sell out" play. That is not meant as a slight in any way. You are selling out for vertical force. We will not play that game. We will have at least 6 defenders attacking the wedge from the flanks, where the wedge is most vulnerable.

3) Wedge often works because the defense is surprised. I love the wedge and used to run it all the time. I was always amazed how a defense could still be surprised the 10th time we ran it in a row. From 5 yards, you see it forming and might even pick up the exchange.

4) I can always cut the wedge. I reserve that option.

We shall see, but counter question:  Does a defense lining up in an 80 front discourage you from running wedge? If not, then how does the front even matter?

Opposing coaches make a lot of comments about our front. I think they assume we will stand still and wait for them to arrive at 5 yards.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 01:04:04 PM
I stole Clark's spacing concept to so that at least 3 defenders have a shorter route to the POA on any running play, regardless of the POA. This, in theory, neutralizes the "fast guy" because we don't have to run as far as he does . . . even if he runs a perfect path.

Yep.  This.  Agree.  You, me, Clark....are all agreed on this approach.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 01:05:58 PM
I don't think so, Robert.  First of all, Wedge can be stopped if you know how.  Lar and Mike do.  Secondly, there's double A-gap coverage (which I never do, on my d-line), but double A-gap coverage can give a Wedge fits.

--Dave

Our double A is a sellout gimmick. I have a pair of DTs who are scary. The each can forklift a typical O-lineman on their own and put him in the QB's lap. Together? Against 1 guy? . . . . makes me shudder.

Double B is really our base. Mahonz talked me down off the ledge. That said, I will open the game tonight in double A. DTs have the instruction that if they are in double A, they are to both ABUSE the center. Last year, in game 1, this team fumbled the snap 20 times. No exaggeration. This was with my tiny root hoggers over the C. I will abuse that center until it is no longer effective or until someone calls social services. Then I will go to double B.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 01:06:41 PM
We shall see, but counter question:  Does a defense lining up in an 80 front discourage you from running wedge? If not, then how does the front even matter?

--Doesn't.  What matters is the type of Wedge we run.

Opposing coaches make a lot of comments about our front. I think they assume we will stand still and wait for them to arrive at 5 yards.

--Ha ha!  Lar is funny.

--Dave

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 01:07:17 PM
My question is how many teams do they face with real rules?  And "block somebody" isn't a rule.


None, so far.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 01:10:06 PM
And if there's only 2 down linemen, does that make everyone else a 2nd-level defender?  If it does, then I like this matchup, defensively.  I haven't seen a youth team yet whose offensive line could consistently matchup with my 2nd level personnel.  (Which is why I hate zone blocking for youth ball.)

--Dave

Absolutely, yes. In our first scrimmage, we didn't have 2 DLs. Just a NT. We gave up 4 or 5 long TDs and another AC wanted me to scrap the whole thing. I thought we were very close. I watched film and I KNEW we were very close. Made a few personnel adjustments, revisited pursuit angles, and 5 days later shut that same team down. Lost track of Mojo score. Every other play brought out the EMTs.  ;)
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 01:12:42 PM
And "block somebody" isn't a rule.


Blasphemor!!!
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 01:13:01 PM
Our double A is a sellout gimmick. I have a pair of DTs who are scary. The each can forklift a typical O-lineman on their own and put him in the QB's lap. Together? Against 1 guy? . . . . makes me shudder.

--Okay, I get that.  It's like when we run Gauntlet for our DTs.  If they're used to shredding 20 guys in a Gauntlet, a simple double-team or one-on-one ain't going to make him blink.

Double B is really our base. Mahonz talked me down off the ledge. That said, I will open the game tonight in double A. DTs have the instruction that if they are in double A, they are to both ABUSE the center. Last year, in game 1, this team fumbled the snap 20 times.

--Then he stinks as a Center, and they already stick as a team.  You're going to whip that team, regardless of whether you beat down their Center, or not.

No exaggeration. This was with my tiny root hoggers over the C. I will abuse that center until it is no longer effective or until someone calls social services. Then I will go to double B.

--Okay, that's where we'll differ.  I'll leave their Center alone.  I get why you do what you do, but their Center doesn't bother me.  He can't score.  I concern my 11 guys with that dude that carries the rock.  I understand you're shutting them down before their dude even carries the rock, but against a top level team?  They'll have a real Center.  And we could hit him with sledge hammers and not phase him.  That's why he's their Center.

--Dave

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: Dimson on August 30, 2019, 01:23:32 PM
DANG PICTURE IS TOO BIG!

--Dave
Just download it and it isn't so big.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 01:28:39 PM
--Okay, that's where we'll differ.  I'll leave their Center alone.  I get why you do what you do, but their Center doesn't bother me.  He can't score.  I concern my 11 guys with that dude that carries the rock.  I understand you're shutting them down before their dude even carries the rock, but against a top level team?  They'll have a real Center.  And we could hit him with sledge hammers and not phase him.  That's why he's their Center.

Which is why it's a sellout gimmick. This team has 3 or 4 above average players. Then they have 2 UNREAL players. One who can't be tackled and one who can't be blocked. They ran the table and won the championship. 2 in a row, I believe. Before I get started, I am a big fan of their HC. He knows what he's doing and he knows the deal. He readily admits it. So I'm not taking a dump on him.

Offensively, their success is based on getting #17 the ball cleanly. After that, it's the Barry Sanders show. Yeah, that's pretty much it. So, if we can go 2 series preventing #17 from ever getting a hand off, or cause and recover a fumble, I hope to give Mahonz' Beast a short field and go up 14-0. But as soon as we're not blowing up the play on the 2nd step, back to 33.

Another note on the DTs. They will abuse the C on the way to the ball. Our double A call is "11" and is the ONLY situation where I permit a defender to contact a player who does not have the ball. Gimmick.

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 01:28:48 PM
I will abuse that center until it is no longer effective or until someone calls social services.

This is the type of football that lends itself to the defender engaging a blocker (ram, ram, ram) while the ball-carrier is running down the field, 60 yards away.  And as you know, I don't want my defense engaging/scraping/touching an offensive player unless it's the one carrying the football.

--Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 01:33:57 PM
Offensively, their success is based on getting #17 the ball cleanly. After that, it's the Barry Sanders show. Yeah, that's pretty much it. So, if we can go 2 series preventing #17 from ever getting a hand off, or cause and recover a fumble, I hope to give Mahonz' Beast a short field and go up 14-0.

--Yeah, I get it.  Stop the show before the show even gets started.  That's what our torpedo and squeeze drills were all about for our MPR-gap shooters.  Let's cancel the show before it even starts.  Same methodology here; just a different way to accomplish it.  Ok, I'm with ya.

--Dave

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: Dimson on August 30, 2019, 01:36:24 PM

I never thought of running gauntlet with DTs. I like it!
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachSugg on August 30, 2019, 02:35:31 PM
Ugh....  Every time I see some of Mike's it sends me down a rabbit hole and what ifs.  This is no different.

Oh how I could see this working out really well with my personnel....  Lots of athleticism to work with.

Mike and Lar are bad for my "Reputation"   8)
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: ZACH on August 30, 2019, 02:42:06 PM
They do not. I stole Clark's spacing concept to so that at least 3 defenders have a shorter route to the POA on any running play, regardless of the POA. This, in theory, neutralizes the "fast guy" because we don't have to run as far as he does . . . even if he runs a perfect path.

Believe it or not, we crush off tackles and belly plays. So far offenses get away from their inside game very quickly. In the Spring 8th/9th grade season, we struggled early against a power team, but were playing timid and back pedaling. Once we started attacking, we stopped them in their tracks. After that game, we gave up 2 runs over 5 yards and on both runs, I had WRs playing the ILB positions (their Amoeba equivalent) because they were short on plays.

Why does it work when it obviously shouldn't?  Our LBs see the ball from depth very well and they attack the ball. If I line up a 5 tech with the idea of stuffing an off tackle play, he has to wait for the ball to get to him or penetrate. If he doesn't penetrate, he is playing into the offense's strength, which is to use leverage and numbers to move him.  If he does penetrate, it's a crap shoot. TFL or complete miss and he's out of the play.

Same situation with a 50 tech. He has about the same distance to run as the RB. Since he's filling from depth, he's very hard to block for an OT. If the OT sits, the offense loses it's power. If he hunts, he is opening lanes for the other LBs to exploit from 5 yards. I have a little guy who I am absolutely bursting with pride over. He's learned to slow play it. He sits at 5 until he sees the lane, then sprints downhill with reckless abandon. If he were 20lbs heavier, the league would create a new rule for him.

I guess it works for the same reasons KO coverage works when the KR runs inside.  See it. Kill it.

I saw similiar things when i ran the ole "eagle" by Greasy Neale. I also had my lbs at arms length off the dline or 2 yards off the ball.

If you got the kids that can come down hill and not have to worry much about run/pass/options. Just run near,far, and out thats awesome.

I agree with DP. You have something here.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: mahonz on August 30, 2019, 02:43:31 PM
Ugh....  Every time I see some of Mike's it sends me down a rabbit hole and what ifs.  This is no different.

Oh how I could see this working out really well with my personnel....  Lots of athleticism to work with.

Mike and Lar are bad for my "Reputation"   8)

LOL

This was Lar's total experiment last Spring with endless 8th and 9th grade talent and holy cow did it preform....even considering endless talent.

This is the Smurf version. We could use one of two more LB'r types for depth but I think we are pretty dialed in.

Tonight is the big test. If we hold them to 3 scores or less....it will be a success and we can build from there.  They scored 5 TD's on us....and everyone else last season.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: tiger46 on August 30, 2019, 02:55:05 PM
A few seasons ago, our 8u team ran Mahonz' Monster Offense.  We faced a team that lined up defensively like this the second time that they played us:


*****************************************F
*******************************S*******************S

*****************************B*****B*****B*****B*****B

***************************************T*N*T
*************************************X*T*0*G*T*T****Y
************************************H****Q*******Z
***************************************S

It worked better than I had expected. But, their coaches didn't do enough in teaching pursuit and tackling.  Our best play against it was our version of 'zone stretch'. Basically, we the O-line would line up with 1` splits and the entire team would run left or right(O-line climbing and looking for work; mostly just getting in the way of defenders.) and let the RB's find the running lanes.  That play worked pretty well against the defenses we faced that season.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 03:00:36 PM
Our best play against it was our version of 'zone stretch'.

Ya think?  For the life of me, I don’t understand that defensive alignment....

—Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 03:14:31 PM
This is the type of football that lends itself to the defender engaging a blocker (ram, ram, ram) while the ball-carrier is running down the field, 60 yards away.  And as you know, I don't want my defense engaging/scraping/touching an offensive player unless it's the one carrying the football.

--Dave

Agree 100%. I view it as a "dirty trick", but I'm certainly not above that to win a game. If it were 100% up to me, I'd back these guys off, but the super safety committee says that since they weigh more than a completely arbitrary limit, they must be on the LOS.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 03:37:33 PM
[quote author=ZACH link=topic=28967.msg417944#msg417944 date=1567190526

If you got the kids that can come down hill and not have to worry much about run/pass/options. Just run near,far, and out thats awesome.

[/quote]

I'm starting to become convinced that everyone has the kids who can come down hill. If you saw our 2nd grade film from last year, you could see that we were far from a talented team. We had some "so so's" and a 2 big boys who could move, the rest were lost little kids out for recess. We coached the HELL out of them. Had no choice.

My 2 ILBs for example. No shit MPPs last year. Kept them on the field one at a time at NT. The tiniest one got the majority of the plays because the other one would take himself out of the game and cry on the sideline for a half. We didn't do anything special with them, but they were part of our team and that meant they hit and got hit . . . a lot. We knew that because we weren't super talented, we had to be ferocious. Sure, we saw improvement from these two by the end of the season, but they took the summer off and came back to us as hunter/killers. Still tiny, still slow, but damn, are they aggressive. The bigger of the two has an older brother by a year who pads up and plays scout for us in practice. I think he had a role in putting some starch in his little brother. Also big bro played Spring football and little bro padded up and practiced with him. Whatever. Similar stories with the rest of our D. "Okay" from a talent standpoint, but super aggressive and fearless.

I told Mahonz that I had a "long game" strategy with this type of defense. I've never felt like I had enough LBs and in my experience, they were born, not made. Then, I had my Amoeba experiment. Nothing but LBs. I then had a series of epiphanies. First was that telling a defender how to "take on" or "hit" a blocker was 180 degrees from pursuing the ball. Second was the idea that a player will never play like a linebacker if you never let him play like a linebacker. So what if I have EVERYONE play like a linebacker? I don't care if you're too big, too small, too slow, not athletic enough . . . whatever. Teach angles and let them figure out how to play football. Stop micromanaging and turn them loose. Yes, we had a ton of talent on that defense. However, I had 3 kids who started on that defense that . . . well . . . I was stuck with them. Too small for d-line, too slow for LB. Whatever. I treated them like the super fast, athletic and aggressive kids on that defense and held them to the same standard. I'll be damned if they didn't start making big plays by about the 3rd game. By the end of the season, they could have started at LB for any team I've ever coached.

Anyway, it just doesn't make sense to me anymore to say "Billy can't play LB", then put him over the C in a 4 point stance for a season and be surprised that Billy still can't play LB. At this stage, I tell Mahonz that for a few players, "they aren't ready yet", but they'll get trained like everyone else.

My next project will be turning average Joe's into "great running backs" by giving them the ball over and over.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachSugg on August 30, 2019, 03:41:47 PM
Lar,

How would you rank the positions in order of placement (starting talent)?

Reaper
Dogs
CBs
OLBs
DTs
ILBs

Would be my guess.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 04:03:04 PM
If you got the kids First was that telling a defender how to "take on" or "hit" a blocker was 180 degrees from pursuing the ball.

Hello.

Second was the idea that a player will never play like a linebacker if you never let him play like a linebacker. So what if I have EVERYONE play like a linebacker?

Which is why we started doing Linebacker Drills with our O-Line, when we first went to the 2-point stance.

My next project will be turning average Joe's into "great running backs" by giving them the ball over and over.

Which is why my schemes have never been determined by my talent.

—Dave

Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on August 30, 2019, 04:08:13 PM
Similar stories with the rest of our D. "Okay" from a talent standpoint, but super aggressive and fearless.

Which once again reiterates that talent is not needed for effort or intensity.

—Dave
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: Wing-n-It on August 30, 2019, 04:18:48 PM
1) When I learned wedge from Jack and JJ, it was their doctrine that they PREFER a NT
I probably got that from Jack as well as he taught me how to run the wedge even though I don't run his offense.
Quote
2) Wedge is a "sell out" play. That is not meant as a slight in any way. You are selling out for vertical force. We will not play that game. We will have at least 6 defenders attacking the wedge from the flanks, where the wedge is most vulnerable.
This is why I said I would wedge your front very little because you and Mike understand its weaknesses and know how to stop it. Most don't. They think I'll just line up like "X" and that will stop that QB sneak. LOL

Quote
3) Wedge often works because the defense is surprised. I love the wedge and used to run it all the time. I was always amazed how a defense could still be surprised the 10th time we ran it in a row. From 5 yards, you see it forming and might even pick up the exchange.
I once was up big and my O coord. called a play on 3rd and goal and I told him just to wedge it. it was getting too late to call in the play so as they were lining up I yelled to the QB "JUST WEDGE IT!!" the opposing team heard me and they frantically yelled to their team "QB SNEAK, QB SNEAK" couple seconds later we were standing in the endzone. I am a firm believer that most teams are just not prepared to face something like that. Or the beast

Its like Mike Tyson said "Everyone has a plan , Until you get punched in the face"


Quote
question:  Does a defense lining up in an 80 front discourage you from running wedge? If not, then how does the front even matter?
No front scares me, as I have seen a 10-1 line up to stop our wedge. The hardest team I had trying to wedge was a 6-2 ghost. That defense took away everything I tried to do mostly because the kids were coached very well. It was one of the only defenses to take away my TE. Thankfully the game has a game clock and time expired otherwise I would still be losing to them.
I fear a good coach more than a 15 player defense

To Dave, I run motion every play so I run motion first play just to see if a defender follows him

When the kids are taught ; "If this player does this, you do this" I want to see what they were told. I also look at DE play once the ball is snapped. How you play your DEs and motion, I know what plays I am going to call.
If I ran the DW I would just shove that ball down the throat of the defense. With the way I play the WingT I look for what the defense will give me. I rarely block DEs


Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: tiger46 on August 30, 2019, 06:35:42 PM
Ya think?  For the life of me, I don’t understand that defensive alignment....

—Dave

CoachDP,

It was their response to our offense after the first game that we played against them. In the first game we wedged the hell out of them. Then we would run off-tackle and jet sweep.  I guess their DC was determined not to get beat by those plays in the second game. 

Those coaches weren't near the caliber of Mahonz & Gumby.  But, from the experience, I could see some good coaches taking a similar configuration and possibly turning it into some sort of weird topnotch defense.  I don't know Mahonz or Gumby personally or ever even talked to either one on the phone  But, from reading their posts and threads; who better to try something a little less ordinary than those two?
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: Wing-n-It on August 30, 2019, 06:39:00 PM
they do like to tinker, Mostly Mahonz
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 11:25:11 PM
Lar,

How would you rank the positions in order of placement (starting talent)?

Reaper
Dogs
CBs
OLBs
DTs
ILBs

Would be my guess.

Dogs
Corners
(Understand this is 3rd grade “sweep ball”
Reaper
OLBs
ILBs
DL

But it’s more of a “pieces of the puzzle” thing.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: gumby_in_co on August 30, 2019, 11:33:35 PM
We got smacked, man. Don’t even know the score. 4th quarter we went 6-5 goal line and the casual observer would say it did better. We actually got them to a 3rd down. In reality, the opposing coach was about to start taking knees, but Mahonz convinced him to keep going so we could work. So instead, he subbed en masse and still scored.

What went wrong? We were out-mojo’d from start to finish. They hit us in the mouth and we folded. Both sides of the ball and special teams. No scheme or alignment is going to work if your players stand there and wait to get hit. We were a bag of nails and they were a bag of hammers. DP would be proud of them.

I’m not even going to watch film. I am not open to changing the defense. I’ll step down and wash bottles and someone else can take over if a scheme change is wanted.
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: ZACH on August 31, 2019, 09:59:17 PM
We got smacked, man. Don’t even know the score. 4th quarter we went 6-5 goal line and the casual observer would say it did better. We actually got them to a 3rd down. In reality, the opposing coach was about to start taking knees, but Mahonz convinced him to keep going so we could work. So instead, he subbed en masse and still scored.

What went wrong? We were out-mojo’d from start to finish. They hit us in the mouth and we folded. Both sides of the ball and special teams. No scheme or alignment is going to work if your players stand there and wait to get hit. We were a bag of nails and they were a bag of hammers. DP would be proud of them.

I’m not even going to watch film. I am not open to changing the defense. I’ll step down and wash bottles and someone else can take over if a scheme change is wanted.

Growing pains make it all worth while, keep at it.

Got get back with horsepower

https://youtu.be/dtjGvBnAxVE
Title: Re: Amoeba 33
Post by: CoachDP on September 01, 2019, 12:40:01 AM
[quote author=ZACH link=topic=28967.msg417944#msg417944 date=1567190526

If you got the kids that can come down hill and not have to worry much about run/pass/options. Just run near,far, and out thats awesome.



I'm starting to become convinced that everyone has the kids who can come down hill. If you saw our 2nd grade film from last year, you could see that we were far from a talented team. We had some "so so's" and a 2 big boys who could move, the rest were lost little kids out for recess. We coached the HELL out of them. Had no choice.

My 2 ILBs for example. No shit MPPs last year. Kept them on the field one at a time at NT. The tiniest one got the majority of the plays because the other one would take himself out of the game and cry on the sideline for a half. We didn't do anything special with them, but they were part of our team and that meant they hit and got hit . . . a lot. We knew that because we weren't super talented, we had to be ferocious. Sure, we saw improvement from these two by the end of the season, but they took the summer off and came back to us as hunter/killers. Still tiny, still slow, but damn, are they aggressive. The bigger of the two has an older brother by a year who pads up and plays scout for us in practice. I think he had a role in putting some starch in his little brother. Also big bro played Spring football and little bro padded up and practiced with him. Whatever. Similar stories with the rest of our D. "Okay" from a talent standpoint, but super aggressive and fearless.

I told Mahonz that I had a "long game" strategy with this type of defense. I've never felt like I had enough LBs and in my experience, they were born, not made. Then, I had my Amoeba experiment. Nothing but LBs. I then had a series of epiphanies. First was that telling a defender how to "take on" or "hit" a blocker was 180 degrees from pursuing the ball. Second was the idea that a player will never play like a linebacker if you never let him play like a linebacker. So what if I have EVERYONE play like a linebacker? I don't care if you're too big, too small, too slow, not athletic enough . . . whatever. Teach angles and let them figure out how to play football. Stop micromanaging and turn them loose. Yes, we had a ton of talent on that defense. However, I had 3 kids who started on that defense that . . . well . . . I was stuck with them. Too small for d-line, too slow for LB. Whatever. I treated them like the super fast, athletic and aggressive kids on that defense and held them to the same standard. I'll be damned if they didn't start making big plays by about the 3rd game. By the end of the season, they could have started at LB for any team I've ever coached.

Anyway, it just doesn't make sense to me anymore to say "Billy can't play LB", then put him over the C in a 4 point stance for a season and be surprised that Billy still can't play LB. At this stage, I tell Mahonz that for a few players, "they aren't ready yet", but they'll get trained like everyone else.

My next project will be turning average Joe's into "great running backs" by giving them the ball over and over.

Lar, we used Linebacker drills for our o-linemen when we taught them the 2-point stance.  In addition, our offensive linemen do tackling drills in their warmup, as we progress from hit/wrap/drive/take down to hit/drive.  Your post reminded me of something I posted a year ago, so I searched it and reposted it below:

What if Butkus, Nitschke, Nobis, Curtis, Singletary or any other great Linebacker were an offensive lineman?  How would you coach him?  What would you want him to do?  What do you think his psyche should be?  Unfortunately, too many youth coaches place their meekest and mildest on the O-Line, rep them against air, perhaps try to teach them to lock-out a defender who pushes past them with a simple over/under arm sweep, instead of coaching them with an approach as if they are the biggest and the baddest.  Our O-Line gets lots of contact drills.  When I was at EWHS, we had special shirts made for a select group of O-Linemen (only 2 of them had the shirts).  We not only practiced separately from the rest of the team, lifted as a group, but also had an "O-Linemen Only" workout routine which was in addition to the team's regular workout.  Once in a while, one of the Backs or Linebackers wanted to join in to show that they were tough enough to participate in these drills.  But we sent them away.  Our drills were separate and only for an elite group.  Since I coached the O-Line, I brought sports drinks, protein bars and gummies for the O-Line only.  Other players asked for them, but I told them you had to be in an elite group to get them.  We had Backs wanting to play O-Line not just for the drinks or shirts, but to prove that they should also be in our elite group.

If they don't know how to fight, teach them.  If they don't know physicality, teach them.  If they don't know the fundamentals of blocking, teach them.  But too many coaches are afraid to teach them to fight, because they are afraid for them to fight.  Too many coaches won't teach them physicality, because they are afraid to teach it (or they think players just have it/just don't have it).  Too many coaches don't teach multiple blocking fundamentals because they're lucky if they know how to teach one of them.  But on game day, "Block Somebody" becomes their mantra.  I pity the kids who get blamed and aren't coached.


--Dave