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Should we call this the “KISA” principle? Hmmm.
A great link on the Gap 8.
This defense is fundamentally sound meaning it assigns responsibility for all gaps. It covers all receivers. It relies on man-to-man (cover 0) coverage which is much easier to teach than zone. It is designed to control the sweep. And it is simple to install, understand, and troubleshoot. The weakness is it’s susceptible to the off tackle play. And it requires disciplined, tough, reliable DEs.
The hallmark of gap 8, 10-1, and 7-diamond defenses is their assignment of a single gap responsibility per player. A 4-4, 4-3, 5-3, 5-2, et al, each require a defensive lineman to cover more than one gap (or dog LBs every single play). This is a lot to ask of a youth football defender. In my experience, very few can actually do it. I think non-Gap 8 defenses succeed in youth football because youth offensive lines fail or youth offenses kill their own drives with penalties, incompletions, or turnovers. I don’t want to rely on the other team’s failure in order to be successful. I prefer my defensive players to just aggressively shoot their gap, get penetration, and blow the play up rather than worry about reading the blocking pressure at the line of scrimmage.
So we’ll be running a Gap 8. The problem I’ve encountered running the Gap 8, straight up, is offenses adjust to it as OLs quickly familiarize themselves with WHO they need to block as it’s the same person every play. So we are probably going to add a couple of wrinkles to create the illusion of complexity in the minds of our opponent. Hopefully we don’t end up confusing ourselves. The defense will “look” like a 5-3 alignment but 1 LB will dog on every play to fill the “8th” gap. Hopefully, a habitual line slant and changing LB blitz will keep them guessing.