6-2 Defense for Youth Football

After being focused on offense the last two seasons and reading Football Principals and Play by David Nelson, I assigned myself the Defensive Coordinator role this season, so I would focus my efforts on Defense for my tackle pee wee football team.  Coach Nelson is right, if your opponent doesn’t score, you can’t lose.  And as many youth football coaches have learned, defense is easier to teach than offense.  My goal is to go undefeated this season, by implementing a sound defensive strategy.  We had a top 6 defense last year in our league based on total points allowed, but I want to be number one this season.

This off season I have read several books on defense, Coaching Youth Football by Reed, Football Principals and Play, Winning Youth Footballby Cisar, The Complete Guide to Installing the 44 Split Defenseby Roman and countless articles in American Football Monthly and youth football websites.  After much research, I am going to use the 6-2 Wide tackle defense as my base youth defensive formation.  I ran this last year as a variation to my base 6-2, but after reading and watching Coach Cisar’s book and video, I think the 6-2 wide tackle should be my base and move to a 6-2 Tight formation in short yardage situations.   The 6-2 is also easy to move into 4-4 and Gap 8 Defensive formations for pass and Goal line situations.

In my new 6-2 base defense, the defensive tackles will align in the C Gap just inside the Tight Ends shoulder pads.  This will give the D-tackle a great attack angle to beat the O-tackle into the C Gap.  I want the D-tackle to blow past the offensive tackle and be behind the O-tackle before the play develops.  I am thinking about using skill players as d-tackles upright in a two point stance to take advantage of their quickness.  Most youth offensive lineman will stand straight up before moving forward to block, so we should be by them as they are standing straight up to block air.  Since most youth offenses run Gap On Down or Angle blocking schemes this might give us advantage to bull rush the gap, because the O-tackle should be worrying about the B Gap.  We should be past the Tight end before he can get an angle block on us to the inside and thus free up our D-End for contain.  Yes, this will put a lot of pressure on my two linebackers in the B gap, but I have two very strong LBs.  Plus I am hoping the D-tackles can make B gap tackles if they are able to blow into the C Gap and scrape down for B Gap runs.   Here’s what it will look like.

6-2 Base Defense – Wide Tackle

Wide Tackle 62

So what do you think?  Let me know.  Have a great season!

Update 6/7/16

Check out my new video on the 62 Defense that I run.

For all my videos check out http://www.youtube.com/c/StephenParker



Filed under Defense

76 responses to “6-2 Defense for Youth Football

  1. I would you stop the fullback trap in the 6-2 defense?


  3. Mike

    the 6-2 wide tackle is working great for us. I have the NG’s in 2 techniques, the DT’s on inside shoulder of TE, DE’s two yards outside of TE, LB’s 3 yards off over the OT’s with B gap responsibility. My weakest players seem to be the DT’s and the FS and we’re still smoking them. I love this defense, it’s simple and easy to coach. I’ve got a few blitzes that I rarely call because we don’t need to. I’m very fortunate this year to have the kids we have!

  4. Jerry

    My experience with the 6-2 is almost 100% similar with Mike. We are dominating at he 5th grade level. Our guys only play on one side, so our talent is stretched a little, we to are hiding players at the DT’s and FS positions, yet no one has been able to run against us all year long. Our LB’s and corners have to be five yards off the line, so the B gap can be a concern, however we have very strong NG’s so it hasn’t been a problem yet. Easy D to teach and we are able to stunt our NG’s and DT’s (which they just love to do) quite a bit which really confuses the OL.

  5. Pete

    We used this defense this year and had 5 shutouts in 7 games. We were undersized on our line and our speed was about middle of the road in our league. We put our weakest players at NG and had them bear crawl through the A gaps. This occupied the C and both Gs and created a pile that completely shut down those gaps. Our weakness was that our ends tended to be undisciplined and were susceptable to reverses and superior speed by the RBs. To make this defense work well you need two talented DEs that stay home and two aggressive LBs that flow well. I found that I usually put the S at the same depth as the LBs and acted as a third LB. When we had the S play deep, they were not very effective because they did not read the play fast enough to contribute. Moving them close to LOS had them involved much more.

  6. Chris Mauk

    Our Pee-Wee League requires headup alignment with no gap alignment. Does the “Wide Tackle 6” work with this or would you recommend something different. I used the “Wide Tackle 6” last year and it seemed to work OK

    • Anonymous


      The original WT-6 as designed by Bud Wilkinson of Oklahoma in the 1950s DOES have the “Nose Guards” aligned OVER the offensive guards in a 2 Technique. So, yes this defense is ACTUALLY designed to work with NO gap alignment by the D-linemen!

    • David Sullins

      You can use this D with heads up alignments. This could allow your players to slam into the A or B gaps for interior line and B or C for exterior. This will give your DT’s an advantage over playing in the GAP. As long as your LB’s know their responsibilities it works great.

      Coach Sully

  7. jason flowers

    our 10-12 age group won league championship with 6-2 monster defense posting 8 shutouts ,and holding teams to a season total of -349 yds.The year before we were 0-11 without the 6-2.

  8. Wide Tackle 6 in a great defense, played as follows:

    GUARDS: 2. The 2 technique is similar to the 0 technique. One difference is the guard (note: you might now call him a tackle) is head on the offensive guard, instead of on the offensive center. The distance he lines up off the ball in a staggered stance will be determined by the tactical situation. On the snap of the ball he plays the guard with a hand shiver, and immediately locates the football. If it is a back-up pass and there is no man in a 0 or 1 technique, he will look for the draw play first, and then rush the passer. If it is a running play, he will look first toward the inside for a trap, and then pursue the football.

    TACKLES: 7. The 7 tehnique player line up splitting the inside foot of the offensive end. He is responsible for forcing the end to reduce his offensive split. We want him to line up with the outside foot staggered, and he must never be blocked out by the offensive end. He has 75% inside responsibility and 25% outside responsibility. When the ball is snapped, he uses a hand or forearm flipper charge on the offensive end and brings his back foot up even with his front foot. His main responsibility is to whip the offensive end, and to close the off-tackle play. If the play is a straight drop back pass, he is the outside rusher and he must not permit the quarterback to get outside of him. If the play goes away from him, he is to trail the ball carrier. He plays just like the trail or chase man on the 6 technique. He should be as deep as the deepest offensive backfield man so he can contain any reverse play coming back to his side of the line. He should not let such a play get outside of his position.

    ENDS: 8. When we speak of a man playing an 8 technique, we are speaking of a “true end,” or a defensive end who lines up outside of the offensive end. The 8 man will be from one and one-half to three yards outside of the offensive end’s normal position, with his inside foot forward, and his shoulders parallel with the line of scrimmage. If it is a straight back pass, the defensive end, without taking his eyes off the passer, will turn to his outside, and using a cross-over step will sprint to his outside trying to get width and depth to play the ball to his side. His depth should be 8-10 yards deep, similar to a linebacker’s position covering the flat. He stops running when the quarterback stops to set up. When the ball is thrown, he sprints for the ball. If the play comes toward the 8 man, we want him to cross the line of scrimmage about two yards, getting set with his inside foot forward, shoulders parallel with the line of scrimmage, and playing the outside blocker. He is the outside contain man, and he must never permit the ball to get outside of him. He never makes the quarterback pitch on option plays. If it is a running pass toward him, he is the outside contain and rush man. If the flow goes away from him, he must make sure it is not a reverse play back to his side before he takes the proper angle of pursuit, which is through the area where the defensive safety man lined up originally.



  9. Shannon

    The last two seasons, I’ve coached defense for my son’s 8 year old and then 9 year old teams (he played up both years). The first year, we out scored our opponents 348 to 13. This past year we out scored them 352 to 7 (that 7 came on a busted play and still haunts me LOL). As a matter of fact, we only allowed 6 first downs all year and 3 were from penalties. Both seasons we played at least 10 games. The 6-2 Wide Tackle is the only defense we used. Our weakest players were at the DT positions, but our guards and LBs were able to take up the slack. This year, we’re on a differant team (due to my son playing in his own age group and wanting more of a challenge) and I’ve got the defense again. No doubt about it…the 6-2 Wide Tackle is the only defense for us!

  10. coachRunjor

    I just purchased the Dave Cisar defense DVD which teaches the 6-2 Wide Tackle Defense. Can’t wait to get the DVD and be ready for the season…..

  11. Jim

    So how do you adjust if they over load the right side and go off balanced on there offensive alignment?

  12. Ron

    coach, I coach 12 and 13 yrs old. Please don’t get offended but I would run one of my 7 run plays all day. The inside veer. PST veer block down on LB, TE arc on FS, WR stalk C. PSG and Center double def Guard and backside scoop. QB takes 2 steps and read your DT. If your DT does not close on QB, we would run this until the cows came home. I am in the Houston VEER formation 90% of the game. If I flex my TE, your LB could never cover them in the flat. 7 PLAYS ISV, OSV, CT, CT OPT, Quick Pitch, Handback Trap & QB Wedge. 3 Pass plays Veer Pass, CT Pass & Dash Pass. KISS & REP REP REP.

    • Like I have stated before, every defense has a weakness and you may have found one here. The 6-2 is my base defense, and I have 20 other adjustments, so I doubt you can block it perfect every play or make the perfect read on every play. I think the coach brings up an excellent point though, if you are running only one defensive formation then you may want to re-consider your defense strategy. We run 4 different defensive formations with 20 stunts / blitzes.

      I, personally, love teams that run a 5-3 when I coach offense, because I have several plays to attack the 5-3. As I am sure every one has the perfect offense to beat some defense.

      Thanks for your post. Leave your email next time, so I can email you. Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      so you leave the end and safety and/or c.b. unblocked?! the veer would seem perfect for belly or dive plays but if i force you up the middle then what? Id press all day outside with single on and with at least two outside, you’d have to a remarkable r.b. or a q.b. with the brains of johnny unitas!

    • Mike

      I love hearing what guys will do to my 6-2 defense “all day long”. Problem is I have not found the team who lives up to this promise. It is a great youth defense and there are tons of adjustments, stunts, stems, and blitzes to deal with what ever a coach thinks he can do “all day long.” My archaic 6-2 gave up 2 td’s last season, both on broken plays. For youth coaches looking for a good starting point, start with Cisar’s video. It will get you pointed in the right direction.

  13. coachP

    I just started coaching my sons 6 and 7 year old team and I am noticing that every team runs a 6-2 defense. What is the best way to attack that D. Every team lines their nose guards in both a gaps. While the the tackles play outside shoulder of the offensive tackles in the c gaps. Both ends have outside contain. Every team is protecting against sweeps but I think the 3 and 4 whole will be open. I am going to try to double one nose tackle with the center and guard and put my best lineman on the other nose tackle. My tackle and TE will double the tackle on the side I am running to and kick him out leaving the 3 and 4 whole open. My fullback will have to hit the linebacker and my running back is fast and elusive. I need feedback. Tell me where you see a weakness in this offense against a 6-2. Thanks

    • Coach B

      I run this defense and the power is probably the most effective play against it. The defense has to adjust to it more than other plays. We played a team this past week that beat us 18-6. They ran powers all day and when i would shut the power down the RB’s would just bounce it outside and turn the corner. Plus our offense lost three fumbles that didn’t help the matter but they ran a dbl wing they would leave the ends alone. The wing playside would hook the LB and the fullback would go to the corner TE and OT dbl teamed my DT play side. So when i started crashing my ends and having me corner come up they would just do a little head fake and bounce it outside. Which we did miss alot of tackles. Also i would watch the ends on the team your playing if their undisplined the reverse works well too.

      • Dave

        Coach B,

        Let me know how you’ve adjusted to the pwer being run againt the 6-2. I’ve experienced a similar thing in that the RBs run inside the DE and just bounce the play outside. I’m looking for an adjustment to stop the power.

      • Herman

        Consider having your defensive ends read the tight end. In college we would read the foot of the tightend….if he steps out then we keep outside leverage…if the tight end blocks down then have your DE crash down right off the butt of the tight end and take on the powerback disturbing the play. The linebacker will have to be smart enough to understand he no longer has the B gap, but must scrape to replace the DE…simple gap replacement.

      • Coach B

        I know this is a little late but what we did. We moved are DT to the inside shoulder of the TE as stated above and had him just shoot the gap in which we put more skilled players at this position. also we would keep our corners outside even if there was not a wr split out there. So when they tried to run the power the DT would be there then they would try and bounce outside past our DE then the Corner would come up to force him out of bounds. The corner would not commit in until the RB turned inside. I had to coach them up on this all week every week always reminding
        them and it paid off. Also i added two blitzes which the linebacker would come thru C and DT would crash to B and the DE would sprint as fast as he could to the hip of the deepest back to mess up the play.

      • Pete

        I have run the WT6 for 4 years. The adjustments I made to stop the power and the blast inside the DE depended on the formation. If there were no split ends, I would blitz the CBs throught the C gap, This required the DT to crash through he B gap and the LB stayed wider than normal to cover the TE and flat. Putting the LBs wider and the CBs coming hard usually gave me my best players at the problem point of attack. IF the CB had a SE to cover, I used a twist stunt where the DT crashed B and th LB blitzed C. The LB often was unblocked by the TE who followed the DT into the middle of the line and my LB and DE were in position to fight off lead blocks and make the play.

      • Mike

        On paper or on the white board the 6-2 appears to be weak against off tackle powers. You MUST have adjustments to counter what an offense THINKS they can do. It is a chess game. All things being equal, sitting there in a base 6-2 will allow teams to run off tackle. If you have superior talent you can probably get away with sitting in base. As a coach it is your job to have an adjustment(s) to a team trying to run the ball down your throat.

  14. CARL

    I am using a 6-2, but not a wide tackle formatoin, i will try this at our next game, can someone show me some of your stunts.

  15. felix

    Can I get some sort of base formation with the WT6 with 8 v 8? Pop Warner Flag states you must have 5 men lined up on the LOS. That could be 3 linemen, 2 WR, 2TE, 5 linemen etc, etc.

    In my experience, not many QB’s cant throw at this age, and I have only had 1 throw against us in 4 games thus far. I would say my QB is the best in the entire assoc. with his arm, but we dont have any hands for him, so we have been sticking with running plays in a modified single wing.

    I was thinking to have just 2 Tackles lined up in the A gaps, 2 DE’s on the outside shoulder of the WR’s/TE’s.

    2 LB’s lined up in the B gaps to cover those holes and 2 CB’s to actually contain and box in the sweep at the deepest point of the backfield with a back.

    Any suggestions from anyone who has used 8v8?

  16. shane

    what is the best way to cover the play action when running 6-2. the team we are playing in the playoffs runs a i formaion with spit out wr…they attempt to flood the strong side of the field with the TE and FB.

  17. Dave Burns

    The 6-2 Defence is a solid youth football defence,very hard to run against. I do like the idea as well of starting the DT’s in a two point stance and at the snap hitting the gaps. Great pressure defence!

  18. Tim

    I’m not doubting that YOUR inside Veer works for your team. I’m sure you have a very thorough QB that is talented at making quick reads…….however, your leaving the DE free to blow up the play, if your QB read is not quick enough or his pitch off the mark or rushed……..Now at 12/13 yrs old, average players are just beginning to have a high football IQ for reading…….so, with that said, I do believe that 6-2 is still most effective for youth up to about 12 yrs old, in my opinion.

  19. Tom

    How many solid athletes does this defense require? I think at 6-8 years old it’s easier to hide your weaker players in the 53 without giving up the outside.

  20. Kelly

    6-2 wide tackle worked in junior high level for 30 plus years. Coach Jack Perry (now in national high school hall of fame0 ran this. Some replies indicated hiding weak player at DT. Coach Perry stressed that the DT’s have to win their battle (crash the outside shoulder of OT). Great advise above to read the TE first movement. We countered the power play with this very thing in a championship game as a half time adjustment.

  21. Anthony

    I have been using this defense for years on my pee wee team. I tend to put my 2nd and 3rd best tacklers at cornerbacks to stop sweeps. Then I use my stud player at FS and bring him 1 step behind the linebackers and tell just find the ball and hit it. It is basically a rover position for me. The guards are only there to clog the middle so I can put my weaker players there. Just make sure they don’t stand up and fire in low and they will clog the middle all day. I don’t send my tackles through the c gap. I have the stand the offensive tackle up and fall into the b gap or c gap depending on which hole the ball goes through.

    • Pete

      I have never been fortunate enough to have DTs that I could trust with 2-gap responsibilities. If I line them up head up they almost always get so involved hand fighting with the OT that they lose track of the ball. I have had much better success having my DT try to penetrate a single gap. Perhaps it is that my kids are almost always smaller than those from the surrounding communities.

      • Anonymous

        From the first day of practice we do drills to be able to cover 2 gaps. It is my number 1 drill. By half time most teams give up running up the middle then I can put the guards in B and the tackles can now attack the C gaps.

      • Anthony

        If I cant find 2 good tackles then I will train the 1 that I trust and make him the wide side DT and have my other one be the short side DT. I will also have a short side DE and wide side DE. This keeps my 2 best lineman on the wide side because most youth coaches tend to run to the wide side of the field

  22. alex Garcia

    This is my first year coaching and i am going to run a 6-2 defense. How do i work with my ends and my corners on staying put?

    • we run two contain pod drills side by side a ton in practice and watch backside contain of the DE and CB. If bakside DE and CB chase then we have them run or do 10/20/25 up and downs. Its reps over and over and a little punishment motivation of they chase play side. Same thing with the play side DE crashing. He must stay in the sweep lane and not crash.

      here’s the link to contain pod..

      Coach Parker

  23. coach

    I really have a good team this. I just need to work with jkids on playing there gap and getting a little more aggressive. We are from El Paso. TX and we are taking the gold this year. N.E Miners Rule EPT

  24. Anonymous

    I have to admit the 6-2 is a great defense for youth football. I actually dont bother having a safety most of the time. I just use the S as a middle linebacker playing 1 step behind the Outside LBs. I crash my ends or having then read when I think a team my be good a screen plays but that is rare.

  25. Anonymous

    Up here in CT mostly all of the teams have moved out of the under center snap to a shotgun spread offense using double splits on both sides or spread offense. The WT6 hasn’t been that successful at the upper grade level against it but it does still stop the outside run. Kids have to be aggressive and always penetrate in order for this defense to work against the spread and you need really good corners and aggressive Tackles as well.

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