The Basics of Youth Football Terminology, Slang, and Positions

The Basics of Youth Football Terminology, Slang, and Positions





The Basics of Youth Football Terminology, Slang, and Positions


The article will serve as an elementary guide for your kids and perhaps even other football coaches. This is basic stuff that your kids may or may not be aware of but definitely spreading this knowledge to them will go a long way in a smooth installment of scheme and ultimately helping your team succeed.  


Let’s start with gaps and gap alignment. Gaps are simply the spaced in between the splits of the offensive line. The splits are how far apart each lineman are from one another.

As you can see there are multiple gap lettering and both on each side of the ball. If a tight end is slotted on the line of scrimmage, there can be a D gap as well, which would be the gap outside of the shoulder of the tight end. From this angle, if a play was run to the right side (the doubles side with two wide receivers) this would be the power side or strong side of the offense, or the play side. Outside runs are considered to be any runs in the C and D gaps.


Each defensive lineman and linebacker is assigned a gap. He is responsible for penetrating this gap and stuffing everything that comes through, including blockers. In a 4-3 defense, you will have four down linemen and typically three off ball linebackers. In the 4-3, you will typically have two defensive tackles, two defensive ends, a strongside, middle and weakside linebacker. The 4-3 can be extremely beneficial if you have speedsters who may be undersized. Linebackers who are utilized usually off the ball can be used as defensive ends in the 4-3. Inside, really only one “true” defensive tackle is needed. The other can make up for a lack of size with explosiveness inside the trenches.


A 3-4 defense three down lineman, (one nose tackle and two defensive ends) and four linebackers, two inside (usually mike and jack), and two outside edge rushers who primarily will rush the passer and contain the edge but will also be asked to drop into coverage from time to time. The 3-4 defense evolved from the old 5-2 front and also has some flexibility built into it. With it, you can rush just eight defenders and primarily focus in on containing the quarterback and taking away the short to intermediate passing game.


Personnel groupings are also important. These groupings are the groups of position players out on the field at one time. They are broken up into groupings which are two numbers but they are actually based on three different numbers, which are the number of running backs, tight ends and receivers that are out on the field at once. For example, 00 personnel would mean five wide receivers, and no running backs or tight ends. This is also known as an empty set with the quarterback the lone man in the back-field.


By: Matt Kerns

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