The Base 5-3 Defensive Set For Pop Warner Football

The 5-3 defense is one of the most popular schemes you will see at the youth football level. It is especially effective versus a run heavy offensive team and most teams run more than they pass in youth football.

What is the introductory player responsibilities of the 5-3 defensive scheme? This article will answer this question in great detail..

First and foremost, the base defensive package needs to be installed by the coaching staff. Every player who lines up anywhere on defense must have a complete understanding of all the responsibilities of every position in the base set. If you want to play defense for my team, you will learn this area early on. You will not be playing defense for our team if you do not understand two very simple concepts. Knowing where to line up and what to do are the two mandatory requirements a player must have to play on our defense. Knowing where to line up is the first step and can usually be taught, to the players, from the information we get from our scouting report. Just covering the scouting report is not good enough since many teams may try to trick you with a different formation than they normally run, so every player needs to know how to line up on many different formations. Everything from the spread to an unbalanced line needs to be taught to the entire defense to assure no surprises on game day.

The second phase is a complete understanding of the responsibilities of all defensive positions. The players needs to know who is responsible for gap containment, outside containment or zone coverages. The entire defensive team benefits when everyone is aware of everyone else’s responsibilities. It is easy to pinpoint where the defense is «leaking» and we can correct the problem.

In the base 5-3 defensive scheme we have eight primary run stop defenders. We use five defensive linemen which consist of two defensive ends, two defensive tackles and a nose guard. Three to five yards behind the defensive line we have our three linebackers with the middle linebacker lined up over the nose guard and the two outside linebackers lined up behind the defensive ends. There are three defensive backs with the safety lined up 8-10 yards behind the middle linebacker and the two defensive backs lined up 7-10 yards outside the outside linebackers. The crucial positions in this defensive set are the Nose guard, Linebackers and the Defensive Tackles. In our pee wee football coaching program, the Nose guard is responsible for the A gap. The middle Linebacker must cover the backside A gap as well as the B gap on both sides. Each defensive guard or tackle has either C gap coverage or the backside B gap. The balance of the defense covers the rest of the gaps down the line. The three defensive backs will drop into three deep zone pass coverage and the outside linebackers have outside run containment responsibility.

In conclusion, the 5-3 is a great basic defense to run at the pee wee level since it is designed to stop the run and most youth football teams cannot pass and must try to run the ball.

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