Difference Between A Corner Back And Defensive Back In Football The Reverse – Not a Miracle Football Play For Most Youth Football Teams

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The Reverse – Not a Miracle Football Play For Most Youth Football Teams

Miracle Football Play- The reverse is not a magic bullet

Most of us think of a reverse play where the flow goes out in one direction and the handoff is on a wing, slot or tip going in the opposite direction of the initial flow. These long-evolving reverses or end plays work well against poorly disciplined youth football teams. At the youngest age like 6-7 where most teams and players are undisciplined, they often work against everyone. But the rule of thumb is that the better coached the team you play, the less likely it is to backfire. If your opponent has a fast tempo and your team is slow, there is little chance of anything other than a reverse yardage play, as the defense has the speed to overcome early mistakes.

In the last 6 seasons the teams that have played us and played reverse games have only driven more than 10 yards and none have gone for a touchdown. I estimate that 80% of the reverse plays against my defense go for negative yardage. Our defense is designed to shut down sweeps and reverses and we only put our most courageous and disciplined players on the defensive end and of course we “fit and freeze” through reverses and bootlegs.

Before making a reverse play call in youth football, you must determine if the team you are playing is disciplined, if it is, reverse is a terrible play call. To determine this you need to locate the defensive end and the corner on the backside of your lead sweep play. Why anyone would have tried to run against us is beyond me, because if they had been watching those keys, they would have seen the play.

In youth football many of these reverse type plays are also run “naked”, have no lead blockers and rely on all 11 defenders to function. When only one player is not fooled, the play goes for negative yardage and if your ballcarrier fumbles in space behind the line of scrimmage, the defense has an opportunity to make a big play. Reverse plays in our playbook are very quick hitters, run close to the line of scrimmage, and feature 3 lead blockers. We often average 15 yards per carry for this play and rarely have negative yardage plays.

In order for this play to work consistently for us, we only need to fool 3-4 defenders as we pull the lineman and block the leading running back to gain numbers advantages on offense. The flow looks like a sweep to the opposite side, the playside looks like a power play with 3 lead blockers. 100 years ago when I played youth football, we ran a wing reverse that we also blocked the trap, it was a backbreaker. A trap scheme for reverse works well, but the worst is designed and reverse plays are naked.

Many youth football coaches turn around too quickly. A supplementary play should be set up and a bunch run to ensure the flow is moving away from the reverse. In one memorable game a “select” team ran against us 7 times. The first was run for negative yardage, on just the 3rd snap of the game. Of the other 6, only one went for positive yardage and that too for a measly gain. I guess this very successful youth football team got used to this game and instead of testing their keys, they thought it would work against any defense.

Another reason many reverse football plays go for negative yardage is that the depth of the play from the running back’s handoff to the ballcarrier is often 5-6-7-8 yards deep and often uses an outside handoff. When the reverse back has to run at an angle behind the player receiving the handoff, he naturally has to bend deep to receive the handoff and move deeper into the backfield before starting the play. The deeper he goes, the greater the chance of a negative yardage play. In youth football, we prefer inside handoffs over reverse plays to get the runner to the line of scrimmage and keep it shallow. This reduces the risk of the game and gets the runner early.

Reverses can be a very dangerous play for a defense in youth football, but they can also be a very dangerous play for an offense when run incorrectly, too often, too deep or bare.

For more great youth football coaching tips and football plays, sign up for Dave’s free youth football coaching newsletter, please click here:

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