Youth Football Defenses

In my three years as a 7-10 year old Pee Wee football coach, I have experimented with several defenses recommended as youth football defenses.  Last year as a 4th grade team, we used variations of three popular defenses for different situations.  Our base defense was a 6-2 defense with various blitzes, stunts and line adjustments from the 6-2.  Our most effective blitzing defense is a version of the old Eagle 7 Defense which we called BK, named after the two players that made this defense successful for us.   If we knew a team was a passing team, we would move into a 5-3 Defense on passing downs.  Because successful passing at this age group is so rare, we play man to man coverage.  With my current defenses for this age group, I dare the offenses to beat me with the pass.

In my base 6-2 defense, I ran many blitzes out of this formation.  Safety blitz up the middle over the center gaps, single or double cornerback blitz, linebacker blitzes to various called gaps, and an all out blitz by everyone.  We also played zone if we wanted to read the offense.  See diagram below for 6-2 defense.

In the diagram, Diamonds are Cornerbacks & Safeties, Triangles are Lineman and Diamonds with lines are the Linebackers.

62 Wide Tackle Defense – Wide Tackle 6

The 62 Defense is a great youth football defense.

Our main Blitzing defense to stop sweeps was our Pirate BK Defense which is a version of the 70 Eagle Defense.  We moved the linebackers / blitzers around to a “Tango” outside blitz as shown below, to a “Maniac” double A gap blitz to “Double Whopper” double right / left outside blitz.  Depending on the blitz the DT or Corner would have contain responsibility.  The main play for this defense is the “Tango” blitz.   The LBs are suppose to run the sweep lanes and hunt the ball.  In practice, I have the two blitzing LBs run the sweep lanes and give each other a low five as they run past each other at the point where the QB would be standing in shotgun formation.  I tell the LBs that no one should touch them as they blitz.  Run around the blockers, juke the blockers, but DO NOT get tied up with a blocker on the Tango blitz.  This has been the most effective blitz for us.   It also works well for off-tackle plays, if you tell the LBs to take a shallow sweep lane.  Sometimes, we would move one the the safeties into a MLB position and go into a 7-1 if we needed more horsepower in the middle.

70 Youth Football Defense

70 Defense Youth Football Defense

Our base pass defense is the 5-3.  This defense works well for most situations, but for this age group it worked great for us as a passing defense, because most of the passes are within the reach of the linebackers.

5-3 Youth Football Defense

5-3 Youth Football Defense

 We did not blitz out of the 5-3 defense.  We read the defense and watch for passes.

One defense which I read about this last year and have been playing around with on paper is John T Reed’s GAM Defense, Gap Air Mirror.  I really like the GAP concept and the Mirroring concepts.  I will test this defense out this year, especially in goal line situations.  The GAM defense is a GAP 8 which most team play on goal line defenses.  It looks pretty interesting.

Gap 8 Defense – Great Pee Wee Defense for ages 5/6

The GAM / Gap 8 defense for youth football teams

This year, I am going to stick closer to my BK Defense and test out the GAM defense.  I will continue to use a 5-3 variation against successful passing offenses.  But, I doubt I will see many great 5th grade passing teams.  Maybe next year.

Here is a link to a great summary of defense;

Good luck this season.


Check out my new defense the 62 Multi 8 Youth Football Defense in this free youth football coaching video.

Stay tuned as I develop more videos on the 62 Multi 8 Youth Football Defense from my youth football defensive playbook. The 62 Multi 8 Defense is based on the popular Wide Tackle 6 and 52 Monster Defenses.

You can by the companion book to the free 62 Multi 8 Youth Football Defense videos here. 

Coach Parker
Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!


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  1. Hey Coach… I was a public school coach for 12 years, and now am coaching my sons 6th grade team. QUESTION: Do you think 12 years old is too young to teach the cross block and the trap? We will more than likely be facing several 8 man fronts, and should be able to exploit them with good angles.

  2. what is the best defense to stop counters and blasts. currently using gap 8 defense, to me it appears the players are not far enough apart. they always have two leads out in front of the rb except on the counters

    1. I run a 6-2 Wide defense. We use the Gap 8 for goal line / short yardage. If your players are not playing technique and responsibilities then the counters will kill you every time. You must coach counters to your defense in practice and show your players what is happening in the backfield so they understand their responsibilities. Your LBs and CBs must not over run the counters. One thing that helped us with our interior lineman is to have them spread their arms out and make sure they are not touching each other. This might help with the spacing.

  3. No mention of the 6-3-2 for youth football. i have run this defense for 35 years and it is a cover all defense. Strong off-tackle and against the sweep.

    Richard Payne

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