Reading Defensive Tackles When Calling the Offense
Many youth football coaches read Defensive Ends or Linebackers when they are trying to figure out the optimum play to call on offense. While that may make a lot of sense, don’t forget to pay attention to Defensive Tackles. They seem to come in many varieties, King Kong, king of the jungle man children who play very aggressively. Then there is Average Allen who plays hard and tries to read the play. Most youth football teams also have Nicky the Nosepicker the non aggressive minimum play kid trying to get a few snaps in and not hurt his team.
Each of these type of players needs to be attacked differently to get the most efficient result for your team. The King Kong kid can be stalemated with a Double Team block, but you’re going to get beat if you try and handle him one on one with a drive or reach type block. If you crab block him with one player, you can get a stalemate if your splits are tight enough that Kong can’t outflank your crab blocker. The most effective block for King Kong is the trap block. Let King Kong come through and use his aggression against him by running right under him and having a pulling Guard earhole him from the side with leverage and momentum. The trap often times slows these beasts down a bit, they will stop charging in hard once they get suckered a time or two. We have been able to wedge behemoths like King Kong and on a very rare occasion we have not. Quite often these men among boys play very high which makes them very wedgeable. Keeping King guessing is the key with a variety of traps, powers, wedges, crab blocks and passes will help keep him at bay.
For Average Allen, the Double Team block will take him to Linebacker level and require the Linebackers to run the hump and off of their normal pursuit path. You may even be able to handle Allen one on one and then get your outside Lineman to go the second level. For us, that is a “special” call. Trapping Allen may be a little tough if he isn’t very aggressive, he may sit in the hole or try and read the play instead of coming upfield. That makes for a trap play that gets clogged up, not a good call against Allen. Allen is usually very wedgeable.
Nicky is easy to spot and usually comes in for just a few plays or maybe an entire series late in the first quarter or early in the second. He is very wedgeable. While there is no need to Double Team Nicky, doing so will put him in the laps of the Linebackers which is always a good thing. Forget about trapping him, he won’t come upfield enough for your pulling Guard to find him and he will be standing right in the hole, unblocked, his only chance to make a tackle that day. Run at Nicky with Powers, Wedges and even Counters. Know that many times defenses will overcompensate for Nicky by putting their best Linebacker behind him. That means a “special” call for us makes sense, blocking Nicky one on one while the Offensive Lineman to the outside of the player blocking Nicky goes to the second level. On Powers either put Nicky in the Linebackers lap with an aggressive Double Team Block or send someone to the second level along with your pulling Guard and Wing.
Make sure someone has an eye on the Defensive Tackles when you are on offense, so you have the right play and blocking scheme called for the type of player playing that position. What works great against one type of player may be the absolute worst call for another.
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