USA Football
USA Football
Offense vs Defense

The offense is the team that has the ball. They have 4 plays to gain 10 yards. If they gain 10 yards then they get a new set of 4 downs. This typically ends when either they score a touchdown or do not gain 10 yards within the 4 plays.

The defense is the team that is trying to stop the offense from scoring a touchdown or gaining the 10 yards in 4 plays. It is possible for a defense to score a touchdown if they take the ball away from the offense.

Offensive Positions:

Quarterback - Must be able to think quickly, have quick feet, a decent arm throwing the ball and a good understanding of the game. This is usually the leader of the offense.

Running Backs - Typically are some of the faster kids on the team, but also has to be tough. At the youth level the running back will take a lot of hits as the linemen learn to block. Some teams have two running backs, where others will have one running back and one fullback. The fullback is usually not as fast as the running back and typically plays a role of lead blocker and short yardage back.

Receivers - These players typically have good speed and the ability to catch the ball, and they must be able to block in the open field. On pass plays, the receivers will run specific "patterns" in an attempt to confuse the defense and get open for a pass.  They will at times act as a decoy during a designed run play, such as a Draw or Read Option.  They are also called Split End, Flanker, Slot, Wide Receiver or X/Y.

Linemen - Normally the bigger kids will play the line. The Offensive line is a critical component for a team to succeed.  Football games are won, and lost, based on the success of the offensive line. Make no mistake, the offensive line is not glamorous, but it is THE MOST important aspect of running a successful offense. The offensive line consists of a Center, two Guards and two Tackles.

Tight Ends - This is a position for a very athletic kid who can block and catch the ball. Typically tight ends will block much more than catch the ball. However, having a tight end that can catch can be a dangerous weapon for an offense.

Defensive Positions:

Linebackers - Linebackers are typically the kids who enjoy tackling and contact. They must be a good athlete who can run, read if the offensive play is going to be a run or pass and be able to react quickly. Linebackers must be good at tackling to be effective. They are typically the leaders of the defense unit. They are normally designated with the following names depending how they line up; Sam (strong side), Will (weak side) or Mike (middle).

Defensive Line - Just as critical for a team’s success as the Offensive line. If an opponent cannot run or pass the ball because of stellar D-Line play, you have essentially shut their offense down. Nose guards, defensive tackles and defensive ends are all part of the D-Line.

Defensive Backs - Cornerbacks and Safeties.

Cornerbacks- They are responsible for the sides of the defensive backfield. They usually help with run support on sweeps, or offensive plays which are ran towards the sidelines of the field. A Cornerback should have decent speed and be able to cover receivers when they are going out for a pass.

Safety - They are either Strong or Free. The Strong Safety typically plays a little closer to the line of scrimmage for run support and most likely is one of the best athletes on the defensive unit. It is good to have a player with above average speed and who likes to tackle AND can defend the pass playing Strong Safety. Free Safety - They usually play what I call "center field" for the defense. He is typically the furthest from the line of scrimmage and the last line of defense if the offense eludes the other defenders. The Free Safety does not need to be a good hitter, but he should be one of the fastest players on the team. The free safety is typically asked to keep the receivers from the other team in front of him to prevent a deep pass and possible touchdown against the defense.

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