Defending Flag Football Bunch Sets

By FirstDown PlayBook on Nov 27, 2022
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It is guaranteed that if you watch any football game these days on Saturday or Sunday you are going to see offensive bunch formations. They are difficult to defend for several reasons. The one we want to focus on today is what they do to man coverage. As is the case with a lot of football, flag football defenses are not immune to this. Defending flag football bunch sets is a challenge.

In the first diagram below we have chosen to play man coverage with our 7v7 flag defense. The offense comes out in a 3×1 formation as they move one of their slot receivers to the right side of your defense. Keep in mind they may shift to this late. Some flag football leagues even allow motion so you must be ready for that at the last second too.

Let’s just say for the sake of this article that they line the three receivers up to that side. The two slot receivers are on the inside part of the bunch. Let’s work with the assumption that you are going to stay with your man coverage call.

There Are Several Ways To Defend Flag Football Bunch Sets

Many defensive coaches would teach the defenders to zone this off with the three defenders taking the inside/middle/outside receivers after they unfold on the snap. There is nothing wrong with this approach, especially if you are playing with older players. Adult flag football defenses have a better chance of pulling off zone coverage. However, once again, we are going to stay with our man coverage call. If you coach NFL Flag you probably should too.

How would you coach the free safety, linebacker and corner to that side? What would you tell them about their pre-snap alignment? What about after the ball is snapped? One of the first things to know is that when you are playing man coverage you can pretty much count on a good offensive play caller to look for ways to get picks and rubs wherever possible. When they come out in a bunch set it’s likely to happen on the snap.

An important thing to get taught early is that you want to do is make sure all of your defenders are on different levels. If you are going to stay with man coverage, you don’t want your players running into one another before or after the snap. Many a defender has been picked before the ball is even snapped trying to stay with his man who goes in motion or on the release.

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Finally, we are big believers that regardless of if this is a flag football or NFL situation, you want to disrupt the point if at all possible. Teach one of those defenders to crowd the point in the bunch. On the snap they should get their hands on the point and disrupt the route. You can pretty much bet that without the point route, the other two routes will be non-existent as well.

This is completely legal and if you want to see the technique executed just turn your TV on. Don’t watch the ball. Watch how the best coaches in the country line up to bunch formations. You will see a lot of what we talk about in this article. Take notes and use it next week when defending flag football bunch sets too.

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