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Youth Football – The Defensive Contain Responsibility
One of the most difficult tasks in football is to contain the offense. That is, to prevent the attack from coming out of the sideline, gaining the corner and sprinting down the sideline. For the most part, a good athletic running back who wins the sideline will likely score the majority of the time because once he’s out in the open, he’ll use his speed and athleticism to do damage.
The responsibility to contain would be the assignment of the outside linebacker or defensive end depending on your philosophy. My experience at the junior football level is that you will have more success assigning an outside linebacker with the responsibility of containing as opposed to the defensive end. A true defensive end would read the game and have both inside and outside running responsibility, be able to scrape his block and contain the outside run. However, these type of players are hard to come by at youth level and once double teamed they are ineffective and give up the corner on the outside game.
I’ve had more success using an outside linebacker with primary responsibility for containment and setting up the defense so the defensive ends work in tandem with the outside linebacker to maintain containment. Basically, the outside linebacker would line up at the line of scrimmage about two yards outside of the offensive tackle and on the snap of the ball would come upfield at least ball-deep and make all outside runs or deployments, once they are disciplined by getting up on the pitch, the next step would see them collapsing the pocket deep into the ball and forcing the ball carrier inside.
I like to line up the defensive ends on the outside shoulder of offensive tackles and on the ball snap they would engage the tackle and control C gaps while reading the game on an inside run. The outside shoulder alignment gives them the edge on the outside run and by engaging the offensive tackle they can help on the inside run as well.
The offense now has to choose who to double the team either the outside linebacker or the defensive end and with the linebacker and outside linebacker working in tandem, you should still have a solid defense against the outside run.
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