Okay, I know what a Tackle is. And I certainly know what a Solo Tackle is (you did it all by yourself with no help). A Tackle is “stopping the ball carrier” – and that’s my simplest definition. I could get more official and say it’s “forcably hitting a ball carrier, wrapping up with your arms, and taking him to the ground”. Another definition is “stopping the forward motion of the ball carrier”.  Of course, it doesn’t even have to be forcable, but it usually is. There are many methods to knock a ball carrier down. You can just hit him hard, a big collision and he falls down. You can trip him up by his shoestrings or you can hit, wrap, and drive him backwards. Maybe you just stop his momentum. Back to my original definition – “Stop the ball carrier”. Then we also have “assists”. A player can assist in a tackle. What exactly is that? Well, my definition is “he helped with the tackle”. I googled the official definition of an assisted tackle (if there is an official definition) and it said this, “In most cases, two players would be credited with an assisted tackle each, as opposed to one player being credited with a single tackle. Only in rare situations would more than two players be credited with an assisted tackle.”  I didn’t know only two players could be credited with an assist, did you know that?

Using Tackles And Assists In Statistics

I’m having a little fun here but I have found that different coaches compile defensive stats for tackles in different ways.

Which two guys get the tackle or assist?

That’s why some players amass great tackle stats. Their coaching staff gives credit for assists more liberally than others. For example, I was one of those guys that credited assists very liberally. I didn’t limit the number of players that could get credit for an assist. If five guys got in on a tackle, I gave them ALL an assist. I wanted to reward guys for their desire to be part of the play. So I guess my defensive stats inflated guys numbers. Was I wrong for doing that? Are there any other coaches that did that or am I the only one? Because of the differences in how to credit tackle stats, it’s hard to tell how accurate stats are.

Finally, here’s another area I might have been wrong in. Even if two or more players made the tackle I sometimes gave the Tackle to the guy that got their first and probably could have made the tackle by himself. For example, if a player had a ball carrier stopped and going down and the OTHER players piled on as the ball carrier was going down, I gave him a Tackle. The other guys that reinforced, they got an assist. That’s how I did it.

So – is there a universal, official way to define tackles and assists? Or, is it dependent upon a coaching staffs philosophy? Let me know, I’m curious.


Defense is fun. Even in backyard pickup games, I loved defense and Chiefpigskin has tons of great videos on defense. Jake Gilbert, head coach at Westfield High School in Indiana has some great tackling videos.

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Coach L. Albaugh      DBLITY

Coach Albaugh coached high school football in Illinois for 28 years. During that time he coached at every level and on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive and defensive line coach for four undefeated teams and was a defensive coordinator in his last 11 years, twice reaching the semi finals of the Illinois state playoffs.