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 and“Squeeze” 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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