staff I would like to thank the AFCA for this opportunity to share some of the things we do with our defensive front. I appreciate Head Coach Joe Glenn for asking me to write this article. One year ago after being hired from Northern Colorado, Coach Glenn organized his staff in the middle of recruiting season. Our first task was to secure an outstanding class of recruits. After the national signing day, our defen- sive staff started to work on our defensive package and to get ready for spring prac- tice. Our staff consists of Mike Breske (coordinator), Dave Doeren (secondary), Chris Knutsen (linebackers), and Lance Robinson (whom I work with on the defen- sive line).
Our defensive philosophy is for 11 play - ers to work as a single unit. Each player must carry out his responsibility so the entire unit can execute the game plan. We are an aggressive defense, which is based on HUSTLE and DESIRE. We like to bring a lot of pressure with our zone blitzes. Our players like this attack tempo and believe in it. This allows them to play very aggressive, make plays and have fun.
There are five things which we feel we need to do to win:1. Be more physical than our opponent.2. Be intelligent, know our assignments and game situations.3 . Hustle, we are a swarming defense, great effort on every play.4. Be mentally tough, don\u2019t let little things interfere with our focus.
Montana Grizzly football for the past 15 years has been known for its explosive offense. During last year\u2019s spring practice and this past season we could feel the excitement and the rise in prominence of the defensive unit. The media, school, community, and entire state started to talk about the Griz \u201cD\u201d. With record-breaking crowds, our fans became very vocal when the opponents had the ball and showed their appreciation with standing ovations when the team came off the field following a three and out series. All this was very motivational for our players.
Here are some defensive statistics, which our team achieved for the regular season.
19.3 1st Big Sky Pass Eff. Def. 107.7 1st Big Sky Total Def.
For the entire season we had 172 tack- les for a loss, 55 sacks, and 20 fumble recoveries.
5.Use of leverage.
7.Get off blocks.
8.Use of your hands.
9.Stay on your feet.
10.Full speed from the snap to the
Alignment & Responsibility
Charge and Reaction
Run To: C Gap
Run To: B Gap
Run To: A Gap
Run Away:Gap Pursuit
Pass: Inside laneEnd
Alignment: Loose 5
Run To: C Gap
B:Buck end aligns on the open-end
side. He is our most athletic end who rush- es on the edge and is the coverage end on zone blitzes (Five tech).
We are a one gap responsible front and our alignment tells us what technique we use. Once we teach a technique it can be applied to all of our fronts and adjustments. We flip our linemen so we can place them where they match up best against the offense and also it reduces the number of techniques they must learn. The drawback is they must learn both a left and right hand stance. Our three, five, and nine tech- niques are very similar in how they play blocking schemes.
five, and nine techniques play the down block or inside release with a spill tech- nique, by closing the gap and taking on the next blocker with our outside shoulder. We then square upfield and spill the ball carri- er. If the play is going away our five or nine technique ends use a shuffle technique, where they shuffle flat down the line of scrimmage and check for the hand off or bootleg.
We make a number of tackles on the zone play. If bootleg occurs, our end gets back outside towards the sideline the best he can. He knows that he has help from the Mike linebacker. If our end has a wide alignment called, he now is a chase player and has bootleg responsibility first.
In zone blitzes our three technique tack- le has some variations to his normal charge. He is the contain rusher and uses a slam technique. He attacks the man on the other side of his gap. Now he adjusts to the blocking scheme of the offensive tack- le. If it is a run scheme he already has his head in the B gap. If the offensive tackle pass sets, the three tech attacks his out- side shoulder and contains rushes the quarterback If the offensive tackle sets up outside to block the Buck, the three tech
has the option to drive the man wide and get up field and contain the quarterback by releasing inside (Diagram 5).
We encourage our pass rushers to make plays but if they lose their rush lane leverage, they are wrong. For some gains there are some risks. We talk a lot to our players about their role and responsibilities, but also give them some freedom to make decisions and make big plays.
When the three tech must contain rush on the tight end side, he will move to a 4I alignment and use a jam technique. Now he must get across the face of the offensive tackle and slam the tight end. If the tight end releases the three tech turns tight upfield for his contain rush. If the tight end blocks we play him the same way we did the offensive tackle in slam tech.
When a blitz is rushing the three tech\u2019s B gap, he uses the punch and rip tech- nique. Here the tackle steps to and punch- es the offensive guard and then rips the A gap. Also he could take a false (bite) step outside and quick swim to the inside.
Our nose tackle uses a cross face tech- nique on many of our zone blitzes. He will align in a shade, then take a lateral jab step and get across the face of the center and rip up field through the A gap. He now sees and feels the offensive guard block. Against the run the nose gets flat down the line of scrimmage. On pass, he has a two- way rush on the blocker, but he is the inside lane rusher on that side (Diagram 8).
Our five tech end uses a loop technique on some blitzes. He will take a short lateral step, then a large crossover step. His third step is a plant step with his foot pointed up
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