Serious Football: The Xs of "Xs and Os"

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It's painfully close. We know. In fact, by now you should have your opening weekend menu and outfit planned and your bags packed!  Yes, looking good and have a great spread are principal elements to our Southern football. However, as a Gridiron Belle, you know the game is just as important as the party.    So here is the "Xs" portion of "Xs and Os."

Defense wins champions.  Study up!

Xs and Os,

Christie Leigh


The goal of the defense is to tackle the man with the ball and prevent the offense from running, passing, or kicking the ball over the end line.


Defensive Linemen

The defensive line consists of four linemen, two ends and two tackles, who line up directly across from the opposing O-line.

Defensive line from left to right:  end, tackle, tackle, end.

End (Tight End)

The defensive end’s main purpose is to contain the running backs to the inside on running plays, or to rush the quarterback on passing plays.


Tackles are responsible for stopping the run up the middle and for engaging the offensive linemen so that the linebackers can move toward the ball without opposition.


This player is also known as the nose-tackle. Depending on the defensive scheme (line up), “odd man fronts” will have what is called a nose-guard. This player lines up directly over the football (his nose is over the ball).


Linebackers’ goal is to stop the run, defend against passes, and sometimes, to rush the QB . Linebackers are usually faster than defensive linemen and are larger than their defensive teammates.


Secondary is the area of the field deep that is off the line of scrimmage (way in the back) where defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties) are strategically placed to defend the run and pass.


A defensive back, who is usually responsible for covering wide receivers.


A safety is the last line of defense and is extremely fast and aggressive. Safeties are found deep in the defensive secondary (way in the back) and help the cornerbacks with pass coverage.