Even Front Defensive Schemes for Youth Football

I finally finished my Defensive playbook for my 5th grade pee wee football team.  After reading and watching Dave Cisar’s Winning Football Series and Coach Reed’s Winning Youth Football book, I focused on the 6-2 Wide, 4-4 Stack and Gap 8 defensive schemes for my 2008 little league tackle team.  I am not going to go into a lot of assignment detail today but here are diagrams of the base defensive formations.

6-2 Wide Defense – Diagram

6-2 wide

 4-4 Stack Defense – Diagram

4-4 base defense

Gap 8 Defense Diagram

Gap 8 Defense

You can see how easy the transition to each even front defense will be for our youth football players.  I plan on using the 6-2 Wide as our main defensive formation.  We will move to the 4-4 on long yardage situations and the GAP 8 or GAM on short yardage situations and or when we are inside the 10 yard line. 

Over the next several weeks, I will outline the assignments for each defense.  If you have any history with these defenses leave me a comment.  Just click on the comments button below this post.  Thanks!

Good luck this season and remember, Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!



Filed under Defense

14 responses to “Even Front Defensive Schemes for Youth Football

  1. jay

    need to know pass coverages , i like the defenses i see, thanks

  2. frank

    sounds good excpet how old are they? 10? 4-4 can be tough to play for little guys.

    nice diagrams, how did you make them?

  3. yes they are 10. I created my diagrams in MS Word. Use the drawing tool. Its pretty good.

  4. Rich

    I use the 6-2 D I am going to teach the 4 4 this week. I have an athletic team this year and think I could benefit. How do u feel about blitzing the OL’s and how often/when. They are fast and aggressive. thanks

  5. I actually like blitzing at the youth level. We blitz about 50% of the time. We have several blitz packages that we use. I will post in the next few days.

  6. Dan

    We use the 6-2 wide D with a blitz package that was very effective on the inside and off tackle early on with larger, more talented opposition; when they adjusted and went outside with sweeps, counters, reverses, and an outside passing attack we got hurt. We’re undersized but extremely quick with 4 kids that can bring it and stay under control. I’m considering of a 4-4 to get all of our best athletes on the field and protect our outside. What do you think? Thanks

  7. Bobby

    I use the 6-2 def and it is great . But if the other team has a good tail back that can run up the middle you may be in trouble.

  8. James

    I have just been thrown into coaching my sons peewee team with only a few games left after the coach’s left and gave up.
    I have never coached before and could use your help.
    The team doesn’t have anything down still because the former coach’s hardly ever showed up and when they did they never stuck to anything.
    They confused the kids with switching them positions all the time, a different style every week, did not teach gap’s at all, kids in wrong positions because of sons/friends etc and using a read and react def.
    Now these are 7-9 year olds and can’t comprehend that kind of stuff.
    What would be the best def that is simple to understand for them and could possibly shut down the outside run and run in general?

  9. Kent

    At this age, most teams run, very few pass. Running the gap 8 is great against the run and your pass coverage should always be man coverage. Zone coverage is too difficult at this age. Have all your linebackers jack the receivers and only let the receivers release out (take away the quick slants). By releasing out, the QB has to now throw over the LB, which is very hard to do. Defensive ends at this age are the most important. Some coaches like to crash the ends, but the sweep is the biggest play at this age. Have the ends come straight across as deep as the ball carrier and keep containment. Better to battle 10 other players than a one on one foot race down the sideline. This website gives you a very good idea as to how it works: http://www.fbforyouth.com/gap-8.html. Best of luck to you

  10. chuck

    James, I feel your pain. We have a nonresident head coach as well. A couple of fathers have taken over coaching duties and when we have our games the kids do well, holding the opposition to no gains. As soon as the “head coach” shows up things go from neutral to all h*** breaking lose and…we lose.

    We met a team with a shotgun and we did not adjust, because the kids have never seen this formation before and get reassigned a different position every other practice.

    There are a lot of issues. But I just want my son and the other kids to have fun and maybe learn a thing or two.

    Problem is our defense has always been an afterthought. My experience is brief stints in coaching rugby, a little bit different. But I am trying… I believe if we can execute a d formation correctly we really dont need a big playbook.

    If they run shotgun my thought is to have our best players cover the WR and have the speediest 2 or 3 get up to LOLB or ROLB positions and blitz in to catch the QB asleep or hurry. Hopefully this will contain the FB as well from running and the CB can release if it is a run and help out. Otherwise the hurry pass will be negated by our d assignments downfield.

    your thoughts…

  11. Chris Mauk

    Many Leagues, including ours, only allow headup alignment. No one seems to address this. Can anyone help?

  12. Bill Chladek

    I coached 10 year olds last season, the 4-4 stack worked great. One thing we did was to put our safetys right behind our ends. we would have a play either 4-4 stack left, or 4-4 stack right. whichever was called, the safety would go that way and the end would go the opposite. If you have more experienced players they can tap the hip of the end, which side they were going.

  13. Coach Jay

    I coach 7-8 graders , we started out with a 5-3and it worked well , but a lot of are players never played before . We took a loss the 2 game of the season. I decided to try something different. I coached a team in the past that ran a gap 8 and they smoked us . I read up on it and it was a very easy defense for the kids to learn. We did t loose a game the rest of the season. The biggest thing was to make personel adjustments as the game went on . Because it’s all man to man and everyone was trying to throw on us . But with the rite movement of best on best player the gap 8 is a ferocious defense that stumps all levels of youth football coaches who play the usual 5 and 4 man fronts. I’m gonna run it this year again with a twist, possibly putting in a couple of flex lineman . Keep two back in 3 point stances like the old Cowboys teams of the 70s just to set up different attack agles. What is a good defense to compliment the gap 8, one I could make ready from a sideline call without switching personel… Like a audible? Thanks

    • I run a 6-2 Multi Defense which is 6-2 Wide Tackle, 6-2 Tight, 6-2 Double Wide, Gap 8, 3-3 stack and 4-4 or a 5-2 monster for passing teams. You can easily move in and out of these even front defenses. Basically the LBs move out from a Gap 8 into a 6-2 and then you can adjust the Lbs, DTs and DEs to cover or uncover certain gaps. Works like a charm. If you move into the 5-2 monster you lose a DG and move a safety type or LB type player into the monster back.

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