There’s More To The 5-3 Defense
We usually only hear the 5-3 Defense associated with youth football defense today. For coaches trying to learn the defense, it’s hard to find as much information as you might find about a 4-4 Defense.
There’s great news though. This is a great defense for stopping the run at the youth level. But it’s actually being run at High School and College programs across the country. Just by a different name.
This episode takes a look at the basics of the 5-3 Defense, and how you can learn more about running it if you decide it is right for your football team.
Getting Caught Up In The Numbers
In youth, middle school and high school football it’s pointless to get caught up in the ‘numbers’. It doesn’t matter if the label you put on your defensive package says you have 5 linemen, or 3 linemen. There’s not a real difference in your core philosophy because you use 3 defensive backs or 5 of them.
Only one number matters: 11. Putting your best 11 players on the field. We don’t get to recruit. We play the players we have. To identify a 5-3 Defense as a run stopping front, but the 3-3-5 Defense is a spread defense is very misguided.
Focus on Core Principles
Both defenses use the same core principles for sound defense. You have inside defenders responsible for the interior gaps. They force the ball carrier to run to the outside.
Then you have outside defenders on the edges that turn the ball back inside. They are your force defenders.
The difference in the two defenses is simple. In the 5-3 Defense, you call those guys that turn it back in defensive ends. In the 3-3-5 Defense you call them safeties. The 3-5-3 Defense calls them linebackers.
Don’t get caught up in names or numbers. Playing great defense is built on the core principles. These all share the same core principles.
Where to Go From Here
Check out this episode of The JDFB Quick Clinic using the embedded player at the top of this page or by searching for it in your Podcast app. Then decide if this defense is right for you.
Ready to learn more about how to run the 5-3 Defense? You can get instant access The 33 Stack Defensive System and all of my coaching systems right now at https://join.joedanielfootball.com.
- Learn the 4 Defenses in Football from The Football Coaching Podcast.
- This article teaches the Umbrella Principle for keeping run fits simple.
- Check out this episode of The Football Coaching Podcast for more on the 33 Stack Defensive System.
- Coach Dan McLean talks about his 33 Stack Defense that took his team to the State Finals in 2019 in this interview.
- One of my favorite features of the 33 Stack Defense is explained in this article on creating defensive fronts.