Coaching Youth Football Defense, Part 3
Here are the results for our first 6 games that you can quote me on.
South Attleboro WhiteHawks Jr. Pee Wee team
Round Robin Game
(Smithfield Vikings had minus 17 yards offense)
(North Providence Jets had only 61 yards offense)
(Cumberland Colts had minus 7 yards offense)
(Johnston Panthers held to 23 yards offense)
(Panthers held to 24 yards offense)
(Tigers held to 36 yards offense)
*Games 3 and 4 are not the same game. We played the same team twice. Back to
Up until this week we were 5-0 and unscored upon. We ran into an unbelievable team this week and lost 22-0. They killed us all day with off-tackle plays. [Note from Jack Reed: If you are having trouble stopping the off-tackle play, stop boxing your ends. Have them slide along the line of scrimmage to contain the sweep and just stay put to stop the off-tackle play. This was explained in my book Coaching Youth Football. This coach confirmed to me that he was boxing his ends all day and had only read my defense book.] They passed the ball a lot, but only completed 2 passes all day. One of which the receiver fumbled and we recovered after our LB gave him a jarring hit. By the way, we only have 16 kids on our team.
[Subsequent email] I just wanted to give you the results of the rest of our season.
White Hawks 12
(Eagles held to just 25 yards)
White Hawks 12
This was my first year using the Gap-8 and my team went 7-1 while giving up only 28 points all year. In 6 games we had shutouts. Thank you and please write a Gap-8 book soon...Regards,"
"I'm the proud owner of two of your football books. Thanks and keep up the good work. I'm a huge fan." Howard Johnson, Head Coach Cerritos Steelers
"I just wanted to let you know that our first game with your defense was very successful. We won our division championship this weekend, defeating Northfield 19-6. They only had about 20 yards in total
offense. Their best offensive play was the penalty flag. We were assessed over 150 yards in penalties (roughing the passer, "hitting the punter too hard after a blocked punt," etc.)
Northfield returned the opening kickoff down to about our 10 yard line, and it took them four plays to score from there. I don't believe they earned a first down after this.
[subsequent email later in season]
Our team played Atlantic City this weekend. We won 20-0. I haven't watched the film yet, so these are not official stats, but I believe Atlantic City only got two first downs the entire game. We scored a touchdown on defense when our end hit the QB in the end zone, and recovered the fumble. We also recovered 3 or 4 other fumbles. I also think they probably had negative yardage for the game. They were obviously very frustrated by our defense. One of their coaches said to me after the game 'that defense was awesome.'
[subsequent email] We looked at the film from the Atlantic City game. During the first half of the game we had 102 yards, to their -3 yards. In the second half they had a net of +10 yards. Their longest gain of the day was nine yards. One of the referees told one of our coaches that he's never seen Atlantic City shut out before. We also sacked their quarterback many times. Our third quarter was weak. Our QB/center fumbled a couple of snaps, and our running backs fumbled twice. But no harm done, since A.C. couldn't move the ball anyway.
[subsequent email]Here's another update. Our team won yesterday, 22-6! We beat Galloway Township, who was previously undefeated, and had only given up two TD's all season. One of our cornerbacks returned an interception 70 yards to open the scoring for us. Our records is now 6-1, and we head into the playoffs next week. We play for our conference championship, and then advance into the the next round of playoffs. I'm sure that if we hadn't been playing the 8-2-1 yesterday, we would have lost the game. If we had been playing the 5-2, as we were earlier in the season, we would have been chewed up yesterday. There would have been too many soft spots in our defense to contain Galloway. They are extremely fast, their backs have great moves, they are well coached, and the QB throws very well for this level.
[subsequent email] "We won our second playoff game of the season yesterday. We won 14-6, but the game shouldn't have been that close. Our defense played fabulously. We only allowed two first downs, and our opponent only had about 20 yards in total offense. They attempted to "jam it down our throats" for most of the game. But it didn't work, because, I pounded 'STAY LOW' into our down linemen all week. They only attempted four passes, all incomplete., This was probably because the last time we played them, we intercepted four passes, one for a TD.
Once when we attempted to punt from our own ten yard line, we had a poor snap which the punter bobbled, and instead of punting the ball, he ran, which resulted in a loss. Our opponent failed to score from there. On our next possession, they stripped the ball from our best running back, and recovered the ball on the one yard line. Even from the one yard line, it took them three downs to score.
Let me tell you. Since we installed the 8-2-1, our defense has been superb. The breakdowns have not been from the scheme, but the kids not doing what we teach them to do, (such as; not staying low, not jamming the tight end at the line, not playing tight man-to-man in the secondary). It's a good thing our defense is playing so well, because our offense, (which we thought would be our strength), hasn't been
playing well. Since installing the 8-2-1, no team has marched down the field and scored on us. All scoring has been the result of poor field position.
[subsequent email] I believe I neglected to tell you in my e-mail from yesterday, that our (your) defense scored another touchdown. We installed the 8-2-1 six games ago, and our defense has scored a touchdown in four of those games. By the way, each of the scores has come when the other team has
been attempting to pass. Two were long interception returns for touchdowns. One was when we sacked the QB in the end zone, and the QB fumbled. The one yesterday, was when we sacked the QB, and our defensive end picked up the ball and ran about 30 yards for the score.
THANK-YOU FOR YOUR HELP!!!!" Randy Smith
"We have been using the 8-2-1 and 10-1 defense for three years now. After reading about the defense in your book, I was able to see A.G. Moore at a clinic in Dallas. He went over the defense in a little more detail. I was much impressed with this defense that makes perfect sense to run in youth football. We are apart of the Pineywoods Football League which contains five area cities. The first year we use the two defenses, we won the league championship (8-1)! The following year, we were defeated by two tuff teams on the league (7-2). During this successful year, we had 28 players to play with, which made it tuff to compete against some teams. We did hold our first four opposing teams to negative 37 yards! This year (1999), we have started off with a 3-0 record. One of the wins was against the team who beat us 42-6 last year. I really appreciate your interest in youth football and look forward to upcoming books." Little'Nex Football Coach, John Frazier
"About the 10-1, I'm sold on that defense. We have some fine tuning to do, but I'm confident that this team can use it to win our remaining 4 games and the division. (I'll send you a game jersey.) The mistakes we've made were not the fault of the defense, but rather MY mistakes as a coach. (Sub errors, drilling on coverages, etc.) Your defense works, Coach, and works very well. By the way, of the six head coaches in the Kodiak Football League, two of us are using the 10-1 straight from your book, one Junior Division and my team. The other coach is running your single wing (He was smart enough to order BOTH your books before the season began!) We're the only two undefeated teams in the League. Frankly, I think the league SHOULD use your methods, Coach. They work. Just a comparison that you might want to put on your web site:
There are six teams in our league, three in the junior division (9-10 year olds) and three in the senior division (11-12 year olds.)
One team in each division uses your methods straight from your books. My team, the Kodiak Lions Club Lions, and the Arctic Bears.
Both teams using your methods are undefeated.
Both teams using your methods have not allowed a touchdown in their last two games (and the Bears have only allowed three all season.)
Both teams have been penalized fewer times than any other team in their division.
Both teams have made at least one score in their last three games on defense.
Both teams have not allowed a complete pass in their last two games.
Both teams have allowed a total of five first downs in the last games played. (The Bears allowed three, we only allowed the Chiefs to get two yesterday.)"
[Here is a subsequent email from Wade]
"Well, we won our fifth straight game tonight, 20-0. This makes the third consecutive game that our defense has shut out our opponents, which was darn lucky, because we fumbled on first or second down on every one of our first five possessions. The Eagles have obviously been working on stripping the ball, which they did VERY well. They also put four guys shoulder to shoulder in front of my center and nailed him right at the snap on every play. It took a while for the adjustments to take hold and we were then able to get outside on some sweeps that scored in the third and fourth quarter. We also had some great tackling turned in by one of our players that at the start of the season couldn't tackle his way out of a damp kleenex. Coach, you would have screamed your throat out to see this little guy run a picture perfect DE route and just absolutely smash the running back on a sweep. I don't think I could have performed that play any better. It looked like it was choreographed.
"I need to give you another thank you. After the game we had a pizza party at the local Pizza Hut. I was late because I was talking with the league coordinator about a schedule change. When I walked in my team gave me a standing ovation. It actually brought tears to my eyes to realize how much faith these kids have in me as a coach. Most of that I owe to you. Between your books and this patient dialogue we've had I have learned more about football in the last month and a half than I learned in five seasons on the field. Twenty four of the best kids in the world have had the chance to learn what playing as a team and winning as a team feels like thanks to the help you have given me. Thank you." Derek Wade
"I am a youth football coach (10 year olds). We had our first game last week and we won 28-0 against a very weak opponent and we used just a 6-2 defense (slant/pinch). We didn't have to use any other defense, but during the week of preparation we did put in the gap 8 (8-2-1). This week's game we played the favorite to win the division. They run the wing-t (like we do) I was convinced that our 6-2 and 6-3 could defeat this defense, but as it turned out I was wrong. We jumped out to a 14-0 lead with the 6-3 defense, in the 1st quarter, but the 2nd quarter was a disaster. They have a halfback that has to be the fastest 10 year old I have ever seen. With that hb they have a fullback that is very large and very difficult to tackle. They started to take control and they scored on a 46 counter to cut the lead to 14-6. They were controlling the game at this point. My defensive coach came to me and said,'Lets try the gap 8.' I said, 'Let's do it.' We proceeded to run the 8-2-1 for the remainder of the game, but we did switch it up just a few times. Your defense saved us. We dominated them and won 24-6. Our kids love the gap 8. During practice they wanted to keep running it. My other assistants were against it, but we made them believers after this game. My suggestion to other youth football coaches is to run this defense. They can't block everyone, and the kids have a blast. Also use the wing-t. We won the super bowl with it last year. We are not the favorites this year because the team we just beat added a few new players. Also your ideas on the contrarian (I think I spelled it right) are great. Using the wing-t with motion and different formations works. One more thing. I scouted the team we will be playing next week. They were getting punished using a 5-3. Their goal line defense consisted of the gap 8- and that stopped the offense for negative yardage at the goal line, but they refused to use it, other than the goal line." email@example.com
"We kicked off our season with a hard fought 12 -6 victory over a tough team. I thought you might like to hear that my down linemen (8-2-1) did a great job stuffing up the middle. One of them made three tackles, He is 8 yrs old weighs 55 lbs soaking wet and was up against a line full of 95 lbers (junior
pee wee div). I have one 93 lber and 3 kids in at about 85 lbs and the rest are low 70's and 60 lbers.
They are quick and have learned their double team blocking assignments well. Thanks again!!" Greg Laboissonniere, Coventry Rams, Coventry RI
"I am running the 10-1 (Pee Wee level) for the first time this season. I have only been working with it for a few weeks, but I have seen my kids take huge strides playing it. I used it for the first time in a scrimmage this past week and for the most part, had tremendous success with it. It even worked well with my second and third string players. Other than one mistake made on an off-tackle play my kids dominated defensively and had a blast playing it. I am following your rules and instructions from your books and everything seems to be working." Don Clifford, Head Coach, Bellingham (MA) Falcons Pee Wees
"This book has been a tremendous help to me and our coaching staff at Englewood Pop Warner. In one season of JPW and two seasons of PW ball, our teams have given up the least points of any in the organization as well as having the best winning percentage." Richard Callahan, Englewood Cats, Englewood,Fl., CatCoach1@aol.com
"Your strategies produced amazing results for our team. My team has given up less than 60 yards total offense during our 1st 5 games." Carl Dozier, Munford Midget Lions, Munford, AL
"This is a thorough and very readable introduction to youth football. I would especially recommend it to any parent with a youth starting to play for the first time." Jack Rasmus, San Ramon Bears Jr. Pee Wees, San Ramon, CA
"After reading your book I see a lot of mistakes I have been making. After two awful seasons, I was thinking about giving coaching up even though I love the kids and the game but after reading your book I find myself very excited about coaching this year and can't wait for it to start." Calvin Church, Baldwin, GA
"We have had success at the college level with this defense by using it as a surprise in order to confuse offenses. We also use it in short yardage and in goal-line situations. We can also shift out of it or into it on the offense's first sound. We are a slant 5-2 team, we read nothing and more often send between 7-9 guys at a time. I believe that our athletes enjoy using this 10-1 because no one else does and it also gives us a certain reputation of having no fear." John Ott, Northland Community and Technical College, Thief River Falls, MN
"Excellent book. Good job." James Edwards, Newport, NY
"John T. Reed's books should be mandatory reading given out by youth football organizations. I can only imagine how much time, wasted effort, and mistakes Mr. Reed has saved me from. I can't thank you enough for your great books." Phil Estrada, South San Francisco, CA
"Not only gives sound defensive principles, but other important aspects of running a successful youth program." Phil Albertson, Nantucket Boys Club, Nantucket, MA
"Fantastic worksheets & diagrams. Easily understood. I've given it to my other coaches to study!!! A great resource for beginning coaches as well as seasoned veterans. It's simple and to the point." Lee McGuire, Poquoson Mighty Mites, Hampton, VA
"Recently I purchased your 2nd edition of Coaching Youth Football Defense, again it was fantastic. I look forward to your next book." Lawrence Warner, Riverside, CA
"A great book!!" Roland Weeden
"I just finished reading your book on defense for the fifth time. It was an outstanding guide. Thank you." Sean Ooghe, Belmont, CA
"I have read both Coaching Youth Football and Coaching Youth Football Defense. I enjoyed both. You have compiled some wonderful info. I have been coaching youth football for the last 5 years, starting in Colorado Springs, CO and now in Warner Robins, GA. I mainly coach 8 to 10 year olds now but I started with 11 to 13 year olds. I really like your 8-2-1 and 10-1 defenses. Last year I coached the Bandit Mighty mites, we went 8-2 and made it to the championship game where we lost 8-6. I used the Wing-T offense with a 6-2 defense. My 6-2 was actually more like your 8-2-1. The year before (1995) I noticed that the best teams in our league were using a 6-2 with the cornerbacks on the line of scrimmage out wide to stop sweeps. This seemed to be working for them and I tried it. As you can see by our record it worked effectively. This was the best season I ever had coaching. Thanks for all the information in your books. I plan to use as much of it as I can during the upcoming season. Thanks again, and I look forward to your next book." Michael Harvey, Warner Robins, GA
"Just thought I'd let you know that I'm a true believer. My name is John Polvinale. I coach Fairfield Midget Football in Fairfield, PA. After two years of your defense, Fairfield is the Keystone Youth Football Champs (11-1). I read your book on defense and applied it to our team, modified it just a hair, and bingo, we're awesome with the 8-3, 10-1 or any other name you wish to give it."John S. Polvinale, Fairfield, PA
"This book is an incredible find! I'm happy to see that there is someone out there who takes a fresh, analytical look at youth football and is not just some professional/college coach looking for some extra money by publishing a youth football book containing a regurgitation of some basic concepts and plays from their play book. I wish I would have tried to do something like this, but of course I didn't have the guts. I began moving toward the contrarian defense last season (I started with a Gap-6 because I was too scared to leave very little behind the defensive line, but now that I think about it, the LBs behind the defensive line rarely made the tackles) and it worked pretty well. From one coach to another, it's nice to see someone paying attention to raising the level of play of their kids, not the level of their own ego." Mike Regester
"I have 2 of your books, Coaching Youth Football and Coaching Youth Football Defense. The two best books I have. I have been coaching for about the same time as you, and I am currently with Jr. High aged boys." Bud Meech, Aurora, CO
"First let me say I really enjoyed your books on youth football. I am an assistant coach for the Detroit Eagles PAL football team. I showed your book to my head coach, Robert Brown; he enjoyed it so much he told me that he telephoned you about it. I myself would love to meet you to further discuss your opinions on linemen play. I am the Bass Guitar player for the singing group The Spinners. We'll be performing in the Bay Area on July 16, at the Vallejo County Fair. I would like to have you come as my guest. Thanks for your help." Darrell Smith, Detroit, MI
"I've been meaning for 6 months to write and tell you how much I enjoyed and how much I learned from reading your books on youth football. Last fall I decided to form a team of 8th graders who attended (mostly parochial) local schools which did not offer jr. high football. (Our city youth program is only for 10-12 year olds) I read numerous books but I found yours to be uniquely frank, insightful and 'right on' about the utmost importance of stressing simplicity, repetition of important things and elimination of so many ridiculous practices that our high school coaches in the '60s put us through as a macho rite of passage. I totally agreed with your 'contrarian' philosophy (we printed tee shirts with 'Dare to be Different' on the back) and it served us well. We went 4-2 against opposing 8th grade teams despite having inferior talent (we only had seven eighth graders sign up, so I was forced to recruit nine seventh graders and three sixth graders who were little brothers. Only four players had experience in the youth league program out of our 18 players) largely, I believe because of our unconventional single-wing offense and 10-1 "stop the run at all costs" defense-both inspired by your book. I was very pleased with the 10-1 defense (one coach we scrimmaged protested that it was illegal in their league to play more than six men 'in the box')! We gave up only one touchdown pass and missed tackles caused it, not lack of secondary." Bill Fitzgerald, M.D., Beloit, WI
"Your book Coaching Youth Football Defense is a wonderful guide in teaching football fundamentals and making it fun! Just the best. Very useful." John Holine, Woodbury, MN
"Excellent book." Tony Hazel, Roosevelt, NY
"Thank you. It's a great book. This morning we won the game to go to our city championship next week. I had to call and tell you. My staff thought I was crazy at the beginning of the season. We have only allowed one first down all year using your 8-2-1 defense. No one has scored against us." John Willis, Jackson, MI
"I have been coaching Pop Warner Football for more than seven years in/around the Southwest region. As I was browsing the sport section of a Phoenix book store, I picked up a copy of Coaching Youth Football Defense. I implemented the 8-2-1 defense, however, the other members of the coaching staff were very hesitant about my decision to add this type of defense. We finished the season qualifying for the state playoffs. Thank you for your coaching publication..." Richard Kistner
"Your books on coaching football have made a big difference in our team's defensive strategies. I have benefited from your advice and knowledge of the sport. It has made a difference in my coaching. Your experiences in football have helped me to be a better coach." Steve Shultz, Boring, OR
"Before I read your books, in 1995, we went 0-12. Tomorrow [11/25/97], we're flying to the Youth Football National Championship in Daytona Beach, FL. When I first put in your 10-1 defense, my whole coaching staff was against it. They said it would be weak against the pass and that running plays would break through the middle for big gains. Now, whenever I try to put it another defense to supplement the 10-1, those same coaches complain that we should stick with what's working: the 10-1. Other coaches in our league are trying to get me to teach them how to run the 10-1." Tom Overton, St. Peters, MO
"After reading your books, I decided to try the 10-1 defense and found it effective and easy to teach. Lining up in the gaps is effective when you have to place a 50-pound defensive line against a 75-pound offensive line." Dana L. Parker, Wynnefield Hawks, Philadelphia, PA
"Dear Mr. Reed, I just had to write to tell you how much your book helped me in the last two years. Last year, I was asked to coach my son's 7th & 8th grade football team. This was the first time I had a chance to coach a team or be involved with a football program since my playing days in the early 80's. By chance I picked your book up at the bookstore and started reading it. I used your book to develop a game plan for the team. Last year  we won our division and finished 4th in the state. This year I'm proud to say that we went undefeated and won the Alaska state title. I utilized the warp speed no huddle offense. I did send in a new receiver each play, although we ran the ball 95% of the time, it did allow us to pass when we needed it. This year we did make a new wrinkle to the offense, by bringing in the wr and placing him by the other two backfield blockers we were able to open up some huge holes. Also, our reverse worked great scoring 80% of the time from anywhere on the field, after it we set it up by pounding the opposite side. We also added a center screen pass, which also worked great. Your 10-1 defense has worked so well, it is unbelievable!!! Over the course of the last two years we have had a total of 8 shutouts with 5 coming this year. I did learn a valuable lesson in our second game last year. The safety or the person in the back position needs to be the fastest, biggest, and definitely the best tackler on the team. I had figured that by having a fast player who could tackle would be the best person for that spot. Boy was I wrong. The boy I had back was just too small to handle a big back who broke through the line. I made a change to the player on the team who had all the attributes, and we were able to shut down the rest of our opponents in our division. We were beaten in the state tournament, basically because we were a very small team and was dependent on speed. The night before the game it snowed 8 inches and they only plowed the center of the field. We lost 20-8. This year, we were able to put everything that I learned from your book to great use and the season was a complete success. The funniest thing about this entire letter is that when I told people what Offense and Defense I was going to use, they laughed at me, including my own players. Now everyone thinks I'm a genius and I owe it all to you. Thanks for everything. I'm sorry this letter was so long but with your help I was able to make a huge impact on 24 of the greatest kids I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Thanks again!! Sincerely, Dan Blair, AK
"I purchased both your books on Coaching Youth Football early this year and implemented many of your ideas in coaching a Heart of America Pop Warner Mitey-Mite team (7 to 9, 45 to 80 pounds) this fall. This is my first season as head coach. Seventeen of my 25 players were rookies. All of my assistant coaches were rookies. I showed them your books and loaned my defensive coordinator my defense book.
"We used the 10-1 defense and the single wing offense you recommend and used 6 of your 7 plays (I took out the hook pass). We didn't use a white board to send in plays; instead we used large magnetic numbers on a metal shelf which we held up for the players to see. Otherwise, I ran the offense just like you suggest.
"We went 7-2 and missed the playoff round by 1/2 game. The two losses were our second and third games and we lost to teams we would have been able to beat had we played them later in the season. Our seventh and eighth games were against previously undefeated teams and we beat them both. Our offense scored 22 touchdowns and our defense only allowed 9 for the season. If it weren't for your book, this season probably would have been as disastrous as last year.
"By the way, my oldest son played on the Jr. Bantam team and his coach also read your books. They went 6-2, were in the playoffs and just barely missed going to the championship game." Doug McKinzie, Park Hill Mitey-Mite Panthers, Kansas City, MO
"Denmark calling. Thanks for your great books. They have been an unbelievable help in my coaching. There isn't a matter or issue that you have not covered. My name is Michael Christensen and I'm coaching adults in a club called Horsens Stallions in Jutland in Denmark. I'm Danish with an American wife. I'm looking forward to reading your latest book about clock management. I have been coaching 8 years in all. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge." Michael Christensen, Denmark
"My name is Brett Teitelman and I am the head football coach for the Educational Complex High School in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. I am a rookie coach with only a year of flag football experience. Last summer...we started the first tackle football team in the Virgin Islands since 1980. Being new to coaching but highly motivated I must say how fortunate I was to stumble on your book first. Even though it was geared towards peewee, it gave me an excellent foundation to put together a first-year program. We ran the smorgasbord offense and a 10-1 defense based on the Celina H.S. video. We were unable to join the Puerto Rico High School Football League but we did get two post-season exhibitions in Puerto Rico and won them both. Nobody could believe my guys had never played tackle football before. Thanks and good luck." Brett Teitelman, St. Croix, Virgin Islands
"Stop selling your books in the state of New Jersey! Your philosophy for the 8-2-1 and the 10-1 defenses make so much sense that my opponents will surely use it if they get their hands on it. Up to now I have been relying on the fact that these coaches would not be caught dead buying a book on youth defenses since most of them feel they could write them.
"I am the president of our local Pop Warner team, but more importantly an assistant coach with the midget level in my third year. Being new to coaching I consider myself lucky in purchasing your Coaching Youth Football Defense as my first tutorial. Wow! What an enlightenment, at least for me. Not so the rest of my coaches who say the 8-2-1 will not work. This includes my head coach who refused to let me use the 'eight' until the fifth game of our season. This is when we were 1-3 with less than moderate success with a 5-4 defense. And even then he very reluctantly capitulated because he was probably well sick of me shoving your book in his face. Nonetheless, he gave me a whole 60 minutes to show our boys the scheme in preparation for a very unpredictable team with great speed. Well, guess what! We beat them in the last 50 seconds of play. This was to me and anybody else I spoke to that witnessed this game, one of the greatest youth games I have seen in my ten-year involvement.
"We proceeded to stop their bread-and-butter sweep and held up the middle charge to near zero. Their only offensive touchdown came from a Hail Mary pass (an obvious pass interference no call.) Our new defensive philosophy for the rest of the season was the 8-2-1. By the way, we finished 6-4 but not because of the defense.
"Anyhow, thanks for a great couple of books and giving me a great insight to youth football." Michael Byers, Brick, NJ
"I started as a team 'mom.' Before I was a coach, we were 5-5, getting beat a lot by sweeps. I realized I had struck gold the moment I read your book. The head coach reluctantly agreed to let me put in the 10-1 defense and we won 10 and lost 2. There was not one sweep touchdown against us all season. We were the first playoff team in our organization in ten years. Our last playoff game was 0-0 at half-time. We lost 21-6 and they went on to win the league championship." Jim Hawkins, Richmond, VA
"I am the head football coach for the Tri-Town Panthers Mighty Mite Pop Warner football team (South Windsor, CT) coaching 7, 8, and 9 year olds. I have coached the team for two years now and have used the 10-1 from the beginning. We went 3-3-1 in our first year . The second year we went 6-2 and gave up 39 points all season. Our losses resulted from poor offensive execution and not as a result of our defensive scheme. For this age group, I would not run any other defense. Several of our opponents voiced complaints during the season because our defense was too aggressive and made most of our tackles in the backfield." Michael A. Pease, South Windsor, CT
"I coached Pop Warner Pee Wee division (ages 9-11, lighter 12s). Just before the season began, the HLA saddled us with the rule that we could only [put 6 men on the line of scrimmage on defense.] We won 6 games allowing an average of 5 points (mostly scored on the minimum-play kids that played most of the second half as we were usually so far ahead) and scored an average of 33 points in the wins. We lost two games to one team, one being the Super Bowl. They draw from an area of 58,000. We draw from an area of 4,000. The games we lost, we lost by 12 points each.
"I use many of your scouting ideas, coaching techniques and theories and I feel that yours are the BEST books of their kind." Ed Blackford
"I just got both your books on coaching youth football. Although I'm not a youth football coach my son plans to play it this year. I do coach, but at the high school level. I really enjoyed your books and found myself agreeing with many of the things you said in both. I believe that too many coaches today pattern their plan of operation from the pros or big-time college." Rick Whobrey
"I am a pee wee coach for a Pop Warner team in Wolfboro, NH. I have only been a head coach for 1 year and will be starting my second year this August.
I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed your books on coaching youth football and coaching youth defense...the reason I am writing to you is to just let you know how much the other coaches in our league and myself enjoyed your books!!!! Dale Rehm, Wolfboro, NH
"Your book is excellent. I look back through my many, many years in youth football and could only wish that a book such as yours would have been available for my coaching years. As an administrator, I find it a useful tool for any coach in youth football, whether he is new and just starting out, or an old dog who needs new tricks. Keep up the good work. You have given something to youth football a fresh approach that is way ahead of what's in second. I wholeheartedly endorse your books and I think that its time is here and now." Jim C. Taft, Vice President, American Youth Football, Inc. former National Football Commissioner of Pop Warner Football
"Just finished your Youth Football Defense. I found it interesting reading. Chapter 25 on teamwork is worth the price of the book. I have coached football for 23 years from 9-year olds to college freshman and I have never had teamwork and family as well defined as you did in your book. Anyway, a well done book that should be required reading for any coach." Dale A. Spitzer
"I purchased your book last year just before the start of our 1997 season. My first year coaching defense ( I was a former offensive linemen in high school and college) for the 120 lb Hollywood Hills Red Raiders of the South Florida Youth Football League. I instantly liked the Gap-8 concept. The head coach thought it was too risky. I asked him to be patient. After a slow start in our pre-season scrimmages this defense produced the following season results; 9-0, undefeated Central Division Champions. The only weight class at our park with a winning record. The defense scored 6 touchdowns and we held several opponents to negative yardage. I had several 10 year olds that started on the D-Line. They overcame their lack of experience I believe, because of the simplicity of their assignments. Offenses never expected to see this "goal line" defense all over the field. I have moved up to the 150# team this year with my son. We are running the wide tackle six variation. So far....3-0. Thanks for sharing your insights about not only defense but all aspects of coaching youth football." Tim Pribisco, Hollywood Hills Red Raiders, Hollywood, FL
"By the way, I have read Coaching Youth Football Defense and feel this book is the best advice for a youth program..Keep publishing good work." Brad Donavan, West Harrison, NY
"I have used the 10-1 and 8-2-1 defenses the last two years with a sixth grade team and a seventh grade team. The year before I took this team they won 2 games. The first year we lost only two games, losing the championship to a much superior team that never has lost a game since they were eight-year olds. The second year we only lost 3 games and went to the playoffs and lost in the first round. In the two years our defense shut out the opposing offenses in 10 of 16 regular season games.
"Like you, I read everything I can get my hands on concerning coaching football. I have hundreds of books and video tapes on coaching football. Of all the books I have read, the methods you teach have produced by far the best results my teams have had. I have been coaching in our youth league for eleven years. I have had some good years and some bad, but none as good as the last two, using your 10-1 and 8-2-1 defense. In addition, we have used the warp speed no huddle offense...We have also incorporated your ideas on special teams, especially not kicking the deep kickoff, which, by the way, infuriated one of my assistants, since his philosophy was to kick it deep and pin them down there, even though our best kicker could only kick it to the 15 yard line (our field is 80 yards).No one in two years has returned a kickoff for a TD. In fact, very few have had any returns at all! Thank you for all your research and letting us obsessive coaches in on your findings." Alan Andrus, Salt Lake City, UT
"I had e-mailed you earlier this year (in July to be exact) and indicated that my team (Nitro, WV Minicats) would be using the 8-2-1 this year. We have actually used the 10-1, the 8-2-1, and a 6-4-1. In any case, the purpose of this communication is to let you know that this Sunday, November 15, 1998, we will be playing for the Chemical Valley Midget Football League Championship. Our semi-final opponent only crossed the line of scrimmage TWICE in the entire game! Much of our success is due to your insight in your book Coaching Youth Football Defense." Jeramie Gibson, Nitro, WV Minicats
"I have read and enjoyed your Coaching Youth Football and Coaching Youth Football Defense books. We have just completed our second year of running the 10-1 defense with great success. Last year we were 6-1-1, with that loss in the championship 12-0. This year we were 8-0 and won our championship 27-0. Our defense gave up 30 points all season. Karey Jones, Stillwater Steelers, Stillwater, OK
"I am writing to let you know of the wonderful success I had utilizing the gap-8 this year. I am from Louisville, KY. I am a 41-year-old dentist who played high school and college football. My son plays on a optimist team ages 10-11 year old. There are 10 teams in our league. We are the 10-11 yr old Highview Mustangs. This is the first year I had been head defensive coach. I had read your book last year Feb 1998 just to see if it had any useful information. By June 98 I had decided to use the Gap-8 for my sole defense. I was not greeted with much optimism by our head coach. No one had ever heard of it. We used it in college for a goal line defense. I was determined to use it when we started in August. To make a long story short, we went 12-2, won the Jefferson County Optimist Championship and came within one game of playing for our state championship. Not bad when you consider the majority of our team were 10 -year olds. They will all come back this year and play as 11-year olds. The results were staggering to say the least. We had a powerful offense that produced over 30 pts/game and a gap-8 defense that gave up 5.58 pts/game. Never before in this league had anyone seen the gap-8. By the time we made it to the playoffs, other teams were trying to emulate the gap-8 without much success. Coaches would come up to me after the games and ask what we were doing and where I learned this defense. I felt like a real defensive master! I did however share bits and pieces with some of my close friends who coach. I have read the letters on your web page and wanted to let you know of our success with the gap-8. I will be refining some things for this season, but most of the hard work is complete since our boys learned it last year. I would like to ask if you know of any books in circulation that give mor info and options on the gap-8 and 10-1 defenses. I can't find the book by Drew Tallman. Please let me know where I can find any additional info on these defenses. Your book is a tremendous asset. It is simple, direct and a pleasure to read. I guess you could say we are another success story. People in youth football in Louisville, KY now know the Highview Mustangs are for real! I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks so much for the gap-8. It truly does work." Sincerely, David C. Jones DMD
"I just wanted to drop you a line about your book, "Coaching Youth Football: Defense." Your book was a great help last season (my first year as a coach). Especially the section on getting the team psyched up. This was our greatest weapon! Our defense was called the Raptor Pack, after the two dinosaurs from Jurrasic Park. That alone instilled a sense of pride in the boys, and they lived up to the voracity of the name. The Offense was begging me and the other coaches to be a part of it. The parents loved it, they would make signs for the games, paint it on their car windows, it was a real rallying point on the field and in the stands.
I used a variation of your chants and the kids loved it. I would ask "who are you" they would respond with, "THE RAPTOR PACK!" then I'd ask "What are you gonna do" they'd reply "KNOCK 'EM BACK!" Then I would say "give em one" and they would all growl. We had two other chants that stressed fundamentals, I would call to the line, "Whats the three points of penetration" they would
call back "HIT, HUNT, SHED!" or to the whole defense, "Three points to a tackle" "HIT, WRAP, DRIVE!" And they would do just that. Our team of 7 and 8 yr. olds had only 6 veterans, 3 of which were on Defense> Our record was 6-3-1 with 5 shutouts. One team we played NEVER got passed the line of scrimmage the whole game! Although we lost to a team that is traditionally the best team in
the league 6-0, we frustrated the offensive coach to the point of throwing his play book across the field. One of the parents from that team told me in the parking that he hoped they never saw us again.
Your book gave me the confidence and the tools I needed to develop a successful season for years to come. The boys respected me, and it gave me the chance to instill early on the virtues of good sportsmanship, hard work, and a winning attitude. I am looking forward to the next season, and all the boys I've talked to are also. Its great to know that I've been a positive influence in their lives, And I wanted you to know that your book was instrumental in this too!
By the way, we ran a 6-3 with no safety. I overheard an opposing coach mention that fact, so they ran a passing play that was promptly intercepted. We had two interceptions this year, incidentally they were the only passes thrown against us. One was picked by the corner, and the other by the outside line
backer. I stressed your "box" containment for my ends and everyone else but corners had gap responsibilities. One of my favorite plays was to have my tackles line head up on the O.T. then jump back about an arms length on "set." This seemed to confuse the offensive blocking schemes at this level. I would alternate between sending them through the B and C gaps, leaving the other to be covered by the OLB. Another fundamental that was stressed was gang tackling. Everyone went for the ball carrier but those responsible for trailing through the back field (ends or corners) and those responsible for cutbacks.
We had a great season and I just wanted you to know that you had a share in it all!
Steve Curtis of the Northmont RAPTOR PACK
Grady Holdridge: 10-12 year olds. Used to use 4-4, 5-3. Went from 1-8 to
7-3 first year using 8-2-1 and 10-1.