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Defensive Line - Attack Fast

Defensive Line - Attack Fast

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Published by runcodhit

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Published by: runcodhit on Jul 08, 2010
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common defensive philosophy assertsthat the front four are responsible foroccupying blockers, allowing linebackers tocome up and “make the play.” On the con-trary, we believe that any defensive player in the front seven should have an opportunity tomake the play at any time. More importantly,defensive linemen need to believe that thedefense was built around them just as muchas it is designed for the middle linebacker.This belief allows them to be more committedand more excited to play defense.“Attack and Act” rather than “Read andReact” is our defensive philosophy. Overthe past five seasons, our multiple eight-man front attack defense has producedexceptional tackle for loss and quarterbacksack records (at NAIASouthern Oregonand NCAA-III North Central). Single-sea-son and career sack records have been setby players who formerly were supposed tobe the “set-up” man for a second level play-er. However, we have also seen career andsingle-season tackle records for our line-backers, pass-efficiency defense recordsand individual consecutive-game intercep-tion records in our secondary.Our base front and adjustments aredesigned to get the best performance out ofthe talent available to us. At the small collegelevel, it is more likely to find a recruiting classfull of “linebacker-type” athletes than to find apair of All-American defensive tackles.Therefore, we emphasize quickness andathleticism over size. In our base Eagle front(Diagrams 1 and 2) we have three defensivelinemen (tackle, nose, tackle) and two out-side linebackers (left and right). This fronttends to force offenses out of double teamsand into single man-blocking where ourquickness becomes our advantage.Our outside linebackers are primarilyedge pass rushers, whose responsibilitieschange only because of two simple rules.First, if an offensive formation shows a crackthreat on our inside linebacker (generally atight end, tight wing, slot, or flanker), our out-side linebacker may pick up a flare route bya back. If our five-technique outside line-backer reads a down block from the open sideoffensive tackle, he will settle his hips, read,and squeeze the counter or outside trap.
Player Identification and Fundamentals
Our teaching progression for defensivelinemen starts with breaking down the skillsrequired to play the position into only threeto five fundamentals. Our top three defen-sive line fundamentals are take-off, changeof direction, and use of the hands.We identify our defensive line players firstby their quick take-off. We expect our defen-sive linemen to get their heads across theneutral zone when the ball is between thecenter’s legs. If a player we are scouting (or an incoming freshman in fall camp) isn’t thisquick, we believe he should be on the offen-sive line not the defensive line. There arestance and technique teaching points whichwe believe improve the skill of quick take-off,however. Second, we expect our defensive tacklesto attack quickly on the motion of the offensive guards. This is the second fundamental, wecall it “directionality.” Our time spent workingon the three technique (outside shade of aguard) not only helps us identify which playerscan move but teaches them what we expectfrom a reach block or scoop (outside zone),down block (trap or inside run), or pull away(trap or counter).We expect our three defensive linemen toreact flat down the line of scrimmage in uni-son on the outside stretch play (Diagram 3).If the inside three defensive linemen are notrelatively equal in change of direction skills,the offense is more likely to see the gapsthey want for cut-back running lanes.
DefensiveLine: Attack Fast
Diagram 1: Eagle Front vs. ProDiagram 2: Eagle Front vs. DoubleDiagram 3: Flat Attack vs. Scoop
While we emphasize pure speed take-off on the first step, our attack of differentblocks are expected on the second step(Diagrams 4 and 6). If our three-techniquetackle gets too far up field without attackingquickly on the steps or hip of the offensiveguard, he should not play defensive line inour scheme. We refer to these problems as“fish hooks” (too much depth on trap or runaway, Diagram 5) and “trap bait” (not sink-ing hips, making contact or “squeezing” ona down block, Diagram 7).Hand placement is aimed at the outsideshoulder of the offensive lineman if we arealigned in an outside shade, and at the insideshoulder if we are aligned in an inside shade.Initially, for outside shade alignment, the inside foot is back and the inside hand isdown. For inside shade alignment, the outsidefoot is back and the outside hand is down. Theup hand is the first to attack to aiming point,generally the upper outside corner of the jer-sey number. This is under the outside shoul-der plate or arm pit (outer pec and under delt)of the offensive lineman. As the third funda-mental of successful defensive line play, wespend a little less than one third of our individ-ual practice time incorporating hand place-ment and replacement drills.
Base Stance and Stunt Changes
In many cases, when our gap of respon-sibility changes due to a line stunt, wechange our feet from our base stance. Thisallows our players to take their first speed-step up field, while the blockers take a passset and kick-slide. Our fast movement upfield, combined with the offensive line’spass set, creates the seams we want toattack in a stunt or blitz. On the secondstep, the defensive lineman executes thestunt through the seam. In Diagrams 8, 9and 10, the defensive tackle making thesecond move in the stunt has begun withhis feet opposite his base stance, allowinghim to take one step up field, plant andchange direction off his outside foot, cross-ing to his new gap of responsibility.
There are enough blitzes with our insidelinebackers, and twists with our outside line-backers, that the change of feet in thestance is too difficult a predictor for offensive personnel to know where defensive linemanwill attack (Diagrams 11, 12 and 13).Our defensive package reflects the phi-losophy that we should attack and act uponthe offense rather than read and react. Ithelps our defensive linemen, and everymember of our defensive unit, get excitedabout being playmakers at any time.
Diagram 6: Attack Hip andSqueeze” vs. TrapDiagram 7: Trap BaitDiagram 4: Attack Hip and PursueDiagram 5: Fish HookDiagram 11: Stack FrontMonster BlitzDiagram 12: Weak Edge TwistDiagram 13: Strong Edge TwistDiagram 8: Weak InDiagram 9 Weak OutDiagram 10: Loop Weak
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Ask your sports informa-tion director to mention yourmembership and invol-vement in the A m e r i c a nFootball Coaches Asso cia- tion in your biographicalsketch in the school’s annualmedia guide.

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