Week 5 Youth Football Practice- What to Do- My 2016 Journey
Again these season posts are to help you, youth football coaches who are probably experiencing many of these same issues.So the first game is water under the bridge, but what’s next? You hear all the time that the biggest improvement a youth football team can make is the week between game 1 and game 2. While games do reveal weaknesses, sometimes if that first game was versus a cream puff, you won’t get a good feel.
Yes we had done many of the ordinary really well: no poor snaps, no fumbles, no offsides, blocked and tackled reasonably well, aligned correctly on D all but 1 snap and our pass defense was very sound etc. However our Backs didn’t run the wedge well, our kickout blocks weren’t consistent and we hadn’t been tested well in the open field. Our next opponent would. They had 2 very good open field runners that could score from anywhere on the field. They had very good body control, explosive speed and very good field vision.
How did we practice in the 2 practices allotted for this week? First of all we got our film loaded onto Hudl and pointed out the good and the bad via text boxes and telestrations. How we use Hudl How we use Hudl Our first practice was on offense- because I wanted to save Thursday for defense and Special Teams. While we stuck with our every day drills on the oline like 1 and 2 step drills, wedge fits, bag fits and GOD fits, we did a bit more live. We worked our GOD fits and GOD live against different stunts and approaches we often time see from teams like our next opponent who knew our system well. Just think about it, you think you are well scouted? All 5 of my teams have been running the same system in the same league for over 10 years and you can buy my playbook and DVDs online. Don’t whine to me about being scouted.
I spent some time with the backs once the o-line was humming along with one of my new assistants. He was doing a nice job- just from watching me coach the kids- no book or DVDs. However I did give him a set of cheat cards that seemed to help. Offensive Line Cheat Cards
With the backs we worked on the art of running the wedge. When I say art, it really is one, it takes some time to run wedge. You need to be patiently impatient. That means your back pushes the pile forward while looking for the tiniest crack of daylight, when when you see it, you push your way through it and explosively sprint straight ahead. The dealio is the cracks are between the tackles and usually 4-8 yards downfield, not to the outside and the breakouts rarely occur within the first couple of seconds of the play. There really is an art to running it that has to be taught and coached up.
ALL of our backfield kids were new to football and none of them were running the wedge correctly. We worked at it first by using a couple of handshields the back pushed against while running the play in skeleton. When us coaches let there be a little opening, the back would sprint to a cone about 20 yards straight ahead. In team we ran quite a bit of wedge, again with a coach applying pressure over the Right Guard with a hand shield. The wedge would eventually open up on it’s own, creating that crack the back would be looking for. We saw some improvement, but not where would like it to be.
Defensive Tackle Game Plan
Our opponent had a very big, quick and aggressive Defensive Tackle that we would have to account for. In the previous weeks game he had dominated, with 5-6 tackles for loss. He even scored a touchdown by actually taking the handoff from the opposing Quarterback and sprinting 35 yards for the score. He was fast enough to beat the Back to the exchange point. We were going to double team this Defensive Tackle and once he got frustrated with that, trap/wham him.
Defensively we had scouted the other team and arranged our playcards in the fashion described in the Game Day Management DVD. The team we were facing would be dangerous on any down, anywhere on the field. They lined up in 4-5 formations, but had just 6-7 base plays we would have to contend with. I was most concerned with a tight counter play and a base off-tackle run where the back would cut the play back against the grain. This team could throw, they had a very able Quarterback and Receiver tandem. We worked as much as we could on open field tackling with the limited practice time we had and having to get through our Defensive Recognition of their plays and work Special teams. The team we were playing had a very good onside kick approach.
How did we do? Check back later this week.