Youth Football Defensive Formations

Youth football defensive formations, like the rest of your youth football scheme, need to be basic. There are dozens of books that cover hundreds of different ways to line up and attack an offense. Most of the formations are going to depend on whether you are defending the run, the pass, the goaline or are looking to blitz. Those topics are covered one by one on this site because they deserve individual attention.

Set Yourself Up To Win

First we need to break down the basics of defensive football. All defenses start with the front seven. On the line we have the defensive ends, the tackles and the nose guard. Behind them we have the middle linebacker or Mike, the strong side linebacker or Sam and the weak side linebacker or Will. This group must work in unison or it will be easy for the offense to make their blocks and drive on you all day.

The last line of defense is your secondary, the cornerbacks and safeties. Many times they're left out there “on an island” by themselves but they have to understand their role on the team. In the run game, often they’re there to support the front seven but if the offense is good at getting on their blocks they'll quickly become an intricate part of stopping the run. In the pass game this group must work together because they'll need to make sure they are in the right coverages. A blown coverage will lead to a big play and maybe a touchdown.

The defensive formations will change according to run or pass but will also change with the strength of the offensive formation. Not only will the linebackers flip sides but the strong safety must also understand where the offensive power is. Even the linemen must understand this and sometimes it will matter if the d-lineman lines up inside, outside or heads-up on the offensive lineman. At the basic levels of youth football this is not as important but as players get older this will be part of the game. Take time to introduce these concepts.

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