No matter what type of defense you prefer or what type of schemes you run, everybody needs to have a goal line defense. Your players need to be ready and coached on what to do when their “backs are up against the wall” and the opponent if inside the five yard line. I cannot count the number of times, over the years, that my goal line defense stuffed our opponent and saved the game. I have used a set of objectives I will explain below.
Your number one objective in the youth football goal line defense is to protect against the QB sneak. The first thing I look for when I am on the goal line is the QB sneak right up the middle. Watch the snap count, especially the quick count, but make sure to plug the middle and guard holes. Make a pile and do not allow for any penetration by the offensive line.
The next protection area must be the dive and power plays over the guards and tackles. Most teams will not waste time trying to run a counter, so they will slam the ball right at you.
I make sure our goal line youth defense can switch into a gap front. I will usually run a 10-1, playing man to man on all eligible receivers. The scouting report will give you insight to your opponent, and especially down on the goal line teams get very trendy. Most teams run the same conservative plays when at the goal line.
We teach our players not to be tentative, and on the snap of the ball, they need to make a quick read, and then go to their gap responsibility. Once again practice makes perfect, so please take the time in practice to go over goal line defense. Also remember, the younger the team, the less likely they will pass so feel free to sell out on the run against 8 and 9 year old teams.