The 52 Monster Defense for Youth Football
The 52 monster defense features 5 defensive linemen, 2 inside linebackers, 2 cornerbacks, a free safety and a strong safety (monster).
(ss): Monster Player
The 52 monster defense is great because of the strong safety which can be moved to any area of the field. Having a strong safety allows the defense to adjust accordingly to multiple offensive formations by only moving one player (bringing the strong safety over to strong side). In youth football it is good to keep defenses basic. Defense should be focused on block destruction, alignment, gap control, and tackling. What I also like about the 52 defense is that the strong safety can play the strong or wide side flat zone (against slants, screens, flare/swing passes). There are many teams that attack the wide side flat on pass plays. Teams with mobile QBs will tend to roll the QB out to the wide side of the field on a run-pass option. Having a defender covering the wide side flat is a great way to take away the field. Having a monster back will allow you to adjust to an unbalanced formation by only moving one defender. You can easily adjust to a 4-4 defense by replacing a defensive linemen with a linebacker.
There are a few things that the 52 monster defense will struggle against. One being balanced formations. Balanced formations are offensive formations that have even threats/blockers on each side. When the offense comes out in a balanced set there is no strong side, so where does the strong safety go? Most coaches put the strong safety to either the wide side of the field or go into a balanced defense- into a 53 defense or a 52 with two safeties deep. If you decide to go two safeties back when the offense is balanced, you will leave a soft box (only 7 defenders). If we get a box with 7 defenders we will hit the defense inside all day long. The 52 defense is weaker on the weak side of the formation. Sometimes the 52 monster defense will over commit to the wide side or strong side of the field. Plays like weak power or weak Iso out of the I formation or wishbone can hurt the 52.
If you are facing a spread team you cannot stay in the 52. You will have to make an adjustment to get into a 44 or 43. Motion is also an issue for the 52 defense. Offenses that use motion will change the strong side of the field. This will require the 52 monster defense to adjust. If you are a 52 defense and you are facing a team that uses motions across the formation, I will recommend that you keep a two safety look and just roll the safety down to the motion side.
When teams use a lot of motion and formation shifts you can go with a two deep safety look. When the offense executes their shift or motion you then can roll the safety down to the motion side or the strength of the formation (formation shift).
Cover 3 Zone Defense out of the 52 Monster Defense
The 52 Monster defense is at it’s best when it plays cover 3 (my opinion). The monster can take away the wide side flat and it still gives you 3 deep defenders. The cover 3 zone allows you to cover all areas of the field.
(See Also) Cover 3 Zone
(See Also) Swarming 53 Defense Playbook