Talking A gap

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Talking A gap

Postby Deacon » Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:18 pm

Hi everyone. New guy, first post. I've been fascinated with six man football for a few years now and we played around with widening our gaps last year. We don't usually have the horses to run a typical tight formation effectively and spread formations make it hard to run.

So, as I mentioned we began looking at widening the A gap. Our head coach shut it down rather quickly, citing the fact that the guys weren't running it very well and that it wasn't making the problem any better.

Thing is, I still like it. It keeps potential blockers close enough to do the job and gives us an easier release inside or outside for a short throw.

We tend to run a lot and as a result most contests turn into a crowd push against 4 DL trying to penetrate. I don't want to give up a base run ability (as we do in a spread), but would like to do some things like leave a backside end unblocked (currently does not work consistently) and run some option on the play side.

So my question is, is it worth it? Or is anything gained not worth A gap pressure?
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Re: Talking A gap

Postby TebowTime15 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:13 pm

While I prefer tight splits personally, the J-Bird teams mostly have wide splits. The J-Bird is a rather interesting formation because it creates an extra gap and the quick hand off to the wing back forces teams to defend the middle.
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Re: Talking A gap

Postby Deacon » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:42 pm

TebowTime15 wrote:While I prefer tight splits personally, the J-Bird teams mostly have wide splits. The J-Bird is a rather interesting formation because it creates an extra gap and the quick hand off to the wing back forces teams to defend the middle.


Thanks for the reply.

I'm not familiar with the formation. Is there anyone in the "six man video links" section running this?
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Re: Talking A gap

Postby Bluecats86 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:38 am

I base my gaps on the defense. If they are playing head up or outside on my tackles I widen gaps. If they are a defense that likes to shoot through the gaps, I move my tackles in.

For videos I use youtube or sixmania.com
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Re: Talking A gap

Postby TebowTime15 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:54 pm

"The King of the J-Bird," or at least one of them, is Balamorhea Coach Vance Jones. Before that, he led Garden City to a state title or two in 2011 with a peppy little RB who was so much fun to watch. Like the other poster said, you can find a lot of games on YouTube under "sixman films" and there is another one as well.
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Re: Talking A gap

Postby jnewt208 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:58 pm

Depending on the formation you are running Its rare to see 4 DL in six man football. I know the J-bird and Tight T (whether under center or in the Gun) formations are popular and a lot of coaches have been very successful running these over the years. My philosophy is to spread the defense out. The thought process is why if I have 6 players on offense, do I want to run a formation that puts all 12 players on the field in a small box 9 yards long and 10-12 yards deep? Spread everyone out and take advantage of the open space. I'd rather the defense have to prove they can make plays in space rather than limit how much they have to move. Putting 3 receivers into the formation leaving your center, RB and QB in the middle of the field can still be a very effective offense. You can run to the strong side and to the weak side. If you have a QB who can throw and receivers that can catch you can exploit a defense that wants to rush more than 2 DE's. Throwing the ball will keep the linebackers at depth and should open up your running game, giving you better angles to get up field and block. If you draw and execute your runs correctly you should be able to eliminate blocking the back side end altogether. This allows the Center, Slot if running to the strong side, The QB, and the play side WR to block the remaining players.
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Re: Talking A gap

Postby jball52 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:15 pm

Deacon,
What tight formation you are talking about? If you have a balanced line formation your front 3 linemen had better be exceptional technique (turn) blockers. They had better be better blockers than the defense you are going against. If they are not exceptional blockers then you are in trouble. Like you said, especially when you don't have the horses in the backfield. If you are having trouble blocking the A gap, then come up with a drill for practice that you can successfully not have to adjust your width of your gap that much. Another words teach the kids how to down block with proper technique. We ran unbalanced for years and never had to go foot to foot line splits like many people do. We always ran an A gap at 1 1/2 to 2 yards and sometimes 2 1/2(A-Gap Center to Guard) and 3 yards from guard to split end (B gap). We also ran our wing back at a width of a 1 yard and a half from the outside foot of the qb. One reason to run unbalanced and wide splits is because of stress it puts on the defense with the lateral stretch. I personally would not run tight line splits because it takes away the stress it puts on the defense with the lateral stretch and your lineman can't get out clean on pass routes. If you run wide line splits to a degree and properly teach technique on how to down block an A gap and your offensive play design is set up to beat the defense you neutralize A gap pressure. When you run wide line splits you don't give up the ability to run your base run plays. You down block the front kick out with your lead back and run underneath. Sounds like you guys need to throw the ball a little more in order to back off the defense in order to run the ball more effectively.

just my two cents.
Watch Panther Creek vs. Abbott in 2000 on you tube.
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Re: Talking A gap

Postby TebowTime15 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:22 pm

jnewt208 wrote:Depending on the formation you are running Its rare to see 4 DL in six man football. I know the J-bird and Tight T (whether under center or in the Gun) formations are popular and a lot of coaches have been very successful running these over the years. My philosophy is to spread the defense out. The thought process is why if I have 6 players on offense, do I want to run a formation that puts all 12 players on the field in a small box 9 yards long and 10-12 yards deep? Spread everyone out and take advantage of the open space. I'd rather the defense have to prove they can make plays in space rather than limit how much they have to move. Putting 3 receivers into the formation leaving your center, RB and QB in the middle of the field can still be a very effective offense. You can run to the strong side and to the weak side. If you have a QB who can throw and receivers that can catch you can exploit a defense that wants to rush more than 2 DE's. Throwing the ball will keep the linebackers at depth and should open up your running game, giving you better angles to get up field and block. If you draw and execute your runs correctly you should be able to eliminate blocking the back side end altogether. This allows the Center, Slot if running to the strong side, The QB, and the play side WR to block the remaining players.


1. Richland runs a 5-1 most of the time against a tight defense.

2. While I agree spread is the preferred way to play sixman, there are times when your personal works better for a tight game. A good tight team can be tough to beat since not as many teams run it. Honestly, I think it depends on your personal and how you match up against the team you are playing that week.
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Re: Talking A gap

Postby jball52 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:34 pm

RS, runs a man defense.
strong side Defensive end, man to man with split end
MLB--- man to man with the guard
Defensive end-- over the center is man to man with the center
WSD---over the WB, IS man to man over the WB
WSC---is manned up with the TB
SAFETY--manned up with the qb and comes down hill to hit rbs, on run plays.

of course this is for unbalnced formation.

same concept is used for balanced line formations.
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Re: Talking A gap

Postby Deacon » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:55 pm

"What tight formation you are talking about?"

Don't know what you all might call it but it looks like a dice face would look if it was part six and part five. Three tight linemen with a QB under center and two backs split behind. Later in the year we ran more shotgun in part because of pressure in that A gap.

I would bet the distance from the shoulder of the left guard to the shoulder of the right guard was maybe 4 yards... quite packed. Once film started making the rounds we faced four man fronts regularly.

We had trouble releasing, and had trouble getting into patterns once we did.

It looks like Oakwood might have run that JBird setup (saw some film against Gorman from 2015) ? Two men equally split off the center about 4-5 yards wide. And I watched Panther Ck / Abbott game... good find.

I doubt we go "Full J Bird" this season. Too many deficiencies passing and catching. But I do think there's room to lengthen the line. I'd really like to leave that backside DE unblocked on runs to the B gap and beyond.

Going to go check out some Balamorhea film. Cheers.
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Re: Talking A gap

Postby TebowTime15 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:07 am

jball52 wrote:RS, runs a man defense.
strong side Defensive end, man to man with split end
MLB--- man to man with the guard
Defensive end-- over the center is man to man with the center
WSD---over the WB, IS man to man over the WB
WSC---is manned up with the TB
SAFETY--manned up with the qb and comes down hill to hit rbs, on run plays.

of course this is for unbalnced formation.

same concept is used for balanced line formations.


I think the NG is the free guy, but whatever, you accurately described their base D. Sometimes, however, they have their front 5 guys shoot the gaps. Watch any of their playoff games against Calvert if you don't believe me because that's how they beat some of those athletically amazing teams.
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Re: Talking A gap

Postby jball52 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:30 am

Yes, R.S. does run some gap fronts. They are called stunts. I believe you. The whole premise of their defense is based on man to man concepts. I have seen them on film. I've seen them get in a 3pt. stance head up on an end, guard and center and still fire off the ball into the offensive lineman and cover them man to man. I've seen them get in the gap on certain down and distance situations and fire through the gap to stop a run play or put pressure on whoever is going to throw the ball. Its just variation in the defense. Everyone does it.
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