DEFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY- GET THE BALL BACK!

It doesn’t matter if the offense has ten turnovers in a game and doesn’t score, every time we take the field, our job is to put the ball back in their hands. Whether that means forcing the opponent to punt, recovering a fumble, intercepting a pass, stopping them after 20 plays, or forcing a field goal, we are going to give the offense as many opportunities to score as possible. If the offense does not score enough points to win the game, the defense did not provide enough opportunities for them. Period. An attacking defensive unit’s success depends on each player’s ability to be a disciplined and conditioned individual who is fundamentally sound, has amazing practice habits and an incredible team attitude. If often does not matter how big, fast or strong a player is, it is the low man gets the job done on defense. An attacking defensive mentality involves quick pressure on the passer, taking away the opponents favorite running and passing plays, making pre-snap reads difficult, putting the best athletes in positions to make big plays, and playing at a high velocity that allows all eleven players to be in on the tackle. Given the choices, most coaches would say they want to win with defense and good defense begins with good defensive line play. Not only are linemen the first with a chance to stop the run, but also the first with a chance to stop the pass. If they make things difficult for the quarterback, the secondary doesn’t have to make a play. Defensive linemen must also make the supreme team sacrifice by occupying as many blockers as possible on every play. In doing that, the linebackers will remain free having better vision and mobility to see and chase the ball. The base package that the techniques contained in this manual are developed around is an even front which puts defenders in excellent positions for defending the multiple sets and blocking schemes in football. Even alignments are shade and target oriented which allow vision and block protection, the ability to beat half a man and prevents defensive lineman for getting hooked. The entire defensive team will be successful if you buy into the following fundamentals: PROPER STANCE EXPLOSIVE GET-OFF QUICK STRIKE AND CONTROL SEPARATION FROM THE BLOCKER ESCAPING FROM THE BLOCKER PURSUIT TO THE BALL TACKLING CELEBRATING SUCCESS WITH YOUR TEAMMATES

“DON’T WORRY ABOUT FIRST DOWNS, FIELD GOALS, YARDS OR BIG PLAYS—PREVENT TOUCHDOWNS!”

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they possess the capacity. they can have an impact on the outcome of every play.ATTITUDE – WHERE IT ALL BEGINS You have to posses a certain simple attitude to play on the defensive line and that attitude is to eliminate and terminate every play. They have great feet. This trust in their fundamentals is critical because offensive linemen and their blocking combinations will never lie about what is happening. but can they push that offensive guard back far enough to step on the quarterback’s toes? Can they push back a drive block so the running back has to change his track? Can they get a hand up on a pass play to make the quarterback change the trajectory of his throw? Can they occupy both blockers in a double team without losing ground to free the linebacker up? The attitude has something to do with aggressiveness and like a certain NFL coach said. They may not be in on the tackle. they’re probably not going to bite when they’re bigger. react. desire and trust to LEARN correct individual technique. and re-direct to changes in front of them. so that is where the focus should be. They keep their shoulders square with the line scrimmage until the ball carrier is past them and understand and concept of gap responsibility. your defensive scheme and the game of football. They possess great hands that are quick and strong allowing them to shed blockers or get unblocked. “If they don’t bite when they’re pups. They must be enthusiastic and believe that every snap is potentially a great play waiting to happen. Being a mean and nasty guy between the lines can often make up for a lot of physical deficiencies. explode them and punish them. This means playing hard with bumps and bruises and giving themselves up occasionally so others in better positions can make plays. Defensive linemen need to believe that with correct fundamentals and non-stop motor. the ability to run sideline to sideline and make tackles down field. This is usually what separates your players from being all-conference and all-state/American. “80 PLAYS = 80 PLAYS” 2 . They must be intimidating and not just hit people but strike them. They strike on the rise. A defensive lineman is a special breed of player and must first of all be physically though. Finally. or get a sack. They must be mentally though and be able to play the same way every play whether they are up or down 3 touchdowns. Great defensive linemen posses an explosive get-off which comes form developing a proper stance and training their eyes and ears.” But more than anything it comes from a trust in their fundamentals and a belief that they can win every time the ball is snapped.

learn the package. SEPARATION.LEARN what the target hip is telling you and learn how to beat a base block.PRESS the man away from you and LOCK the elbows out while gaining ground and regaining the line of scrimmage. STANCE.LEARN what the block combination ‘triangles’ say about a play. 11. THE EFFORT 10.THE COMPONENTS OF THE BATTLE (A TEACING PROGRESSION) THE FUNDAMENTALS: 1. STRIKE-with head level BELOW THE OFFENSIVE MAN’S CHIN. inside hand down a majority of the plays. down block and reach block first. The only way a defensive lineman can accept losing a fight is if he has occupied 2 blockers in a double team and hasn’t lost ground. PURSUIT. you must get off the block by using a ‘press. The shoulders must be square with the line of scrimmage to control your gap until the ball is past you. and study the game! THE TECHNIQUES: 7. The first two steps are the most important and reactions will occur by the third step. 4. ESCAPE. HANDS OFF. ALIGNMENT and ASSIGNMENT.BALL MOVEMENT triggers an EXPLOSIVE attack every play. The ability to get the job done is entirely based on a coiled and potentially explosive stance.ATTACK every play like a pass until it turns into a run. 9. toes within the frame of the shoulders.Finishing a play means CREATING TURNOVERS by stripping the ball from the ball carrier or getting hands in the air to disrupt the quarterbacks vision. Develop the ability to get up field and in the quarterback’s face. PASS RUSH.Get UNBLOCKED. If you are in a defeated position. “BUY INTO YOUR FUNDAMENTALS AND TAKE CARE OF WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL” 3 .SPRINT to the ball wherever it is on the field and expect to have something good happen when you get there. 8.WEIGHT IS FORWARD like a sprinter. ATTACK the breast plate and EXPLODE the hips through.AVE A CLUE. READING THE KEYS. or is under a pile and hasn’t lost ground. FINISHING. BLOCK PROTECTION. people don’t play unless they know where to line up and where to go. The thought process here is “HANDS ON. Learn how to beat a double team. eyes are focused on the ball. inside and outside pulls and influence (trap) block. 5. Your hands should finish higher than your eyes with the THUMBS UP.” If you are in an outside shade you will want to fight to maintain your outside arm free. Learn the game. 6. 3. rip and run’ technique to get the back half of your body through. 2. GET OFF.

defensive linemen should take notice of the offensive man’s knuckles. this emphasis can be reinforced when teaching stance.TEACHING THE COMPONENTS One of the quickest ways to build the self-confidence in a player is by teaching him how to win his one-on-one battle each play. It is equally important to eyeball their target when making contact to deliver a blow instead of receiving one. At all positions. this emphasis can be reinforced in strike and block protection drills. Teaching a player where to put his hands will help him win the battle. screen or draw. If it’s ‘pig’ for one and ‘birds’ for the other it’s a trap or counter play. Fundamentally. 4 . start and strike drills. it is most likely a pass. proper footwork is vital to becoming a great technician because they provide positioning and power but they are even more important for a defensive lineman because every decision must be made by the third step. The basis of teaching good defensive line play begins with the eyes. In conjunction with training the eyes. you should also train the ears. the eyes will give the sense of positioning and leverage required to defeat a blocking combination.’ If they both say ‘birds’ it’s pass. At the same time. it is most likely a run. Fundamentally. It is important for players to see their keys because they will take him to the ball each and every time. A players eyes not only tell him where to align and what to anticipate. When the ball is snapped. If he’s heavy in his stance and the knuckles are white. chances are that he will be successful. The third area of emphasis is the hands. You can have your interior linemen develop a code and talk back and forth to each other about what they are seeing. Fundamentally. this emphasis can be reinforced strike and separation drills. Players that are successful and confident in their own abilities takes the field better prepared to execute your defensive scheme. The second area of emphasis are a player’s feet. screen or draw. Hand speed and hand placement are critical when neutralizing the blocker and tackling a ball carrier.’ Normal/light stance knuckles might be ‘birds. but also help him concentrate on his gap responsibilities. It is important to always focus on the back tip of the ball to avoid jumping offside. If he’s light in his stance and the knuckles are normal. If a player can maintain his feet pointed into the man or direction he wants to go within the first tow steps while regaining the line of scrimmage. White/heavy stance knuckles might be ‘pigs. Condition your defensive linemen to focus on your own line calls and not dummy offensive calls to avoid jumping offside.

defensive linemen should focus on the target hip of the offensive linemen and first learn what to do against a down block. reach block and a drive block. it is a pass.Plays head up on the nose of the tight-end 9 Technique.Plays on the outside eye or shoulder of the guard B GapSplits the difference in the guard-tackle gap 4I Technique. if the hip disappears.ALIGNMENT These different alignment positions are called “techniques” and all defensive linemen should eventually know all of them and learn block protection to defend from the best possible position.Plays on the inside shoulder of the tackle 5 Technique.Plays head up the guard 3 Technique.” BLOCKING TERMINOLOGY Use the following tree to understand the blocking terminology used throughout this section. If the hip retreats. It will also allow coaches to communicate with them in practices and games.Plays on the inside eye or shoulder of the tight-end 6 Technique.Plays on the outside eye or shoulder of the eight-end 8 Technique.Plays inside eye or shoulder of the guard 2 Technique. the play will be a quick toss or other outside play. it is running play. Knowing these techniques will allow defensive linemen to be successful in any defensive package. If the hip opens. In a nutshell. D-GAP 9 6 7 5 4 4I 3 2 1 S 0 W 1 2 3 4I 4 5 D-GAP 7 9 6 C-GAP B-GAP A-GAP A-GAP B-GAP C-GAP O Technique.Plays wide of the tight-end and can be aligned on or off the L. Understanding how to effectively play in any defensive front requires an understanding of what is happening locally first before expanding to block combinations or “triangles.O.Plays on the outside eye or shoulder of the center A Gap.S D GapArea outside the tight-end or slot back READING THE ‘TARGETS’ OF THE TECHNIQUES: Once they’ve figured out where to line up.Plays on the outside shoulder of the tackle C GapSpilts the difference in the tackle-tight-end gap 7 Technique. OUTSIDE PULL INFLUENCE REACH G DRIVE INSIDE PULL C DOWN DL 5 .Splits the difference in the center-guard gap 1 Technique.Plays nose-up on the center S/W Shade.

the offense you play and the defense that they’re in won’ matter.Tight end release on a pass route vertical or with an inside release. 6 . One back. the further up field you are . attack the tackle inside and drive him back where he came from. Get some hands on the tight end and focus on a spot three yards behind the offensive tackle’s set and beat him there. it’s pass. Run and Shoot. If the play is in the C gap.” Although the offensive scheme you face may differ from week to week. Make the back bounce towards the sideline. double teams and fold blocks. Attack your target maintaining outside leverage and drive the tight end back where he came from. and squeeze. Running back is looking for a crease away from your side with potential cutback. If he strikes you. TIGHT END/TACKLE X BOX. Option. Fullback may also be leading through the C gap. TIGHT END DRIVE BLOCK. if he tries to punch you past. look inside and chase hard down the line of scrimmage. inside pulls. Generally a strong lead play to the B or C gap. tackle comes to block you. Attack your target hip up field. Fly. stay near the L. VERTICAL RELEASE/HINGE. Once the player can master block protection for his primary alignment or technique. Upon recognition. outside pulls. the worse off you are. Running back is looking for a crease and is coming your way. it’s screen or draw so retrace your steps and work back towards the line of scrimmage. BLOCK PROTECTION FOR THE 9 TECHNIQUE Y T G R Y T G R Y T G R Y T G R Y T G R ZONE TO YOU. yet basic blocking combinations or “triangles.O. Get your hands on the tight end to keep him off the linebacker. ZONE AWAY FROM YOU.Tight end zone steps inside looking for a linebacker. screen or draw blocks.Tight end attempts to drive you away from the C gap.S. drive blocks.Tight end blocks inside. Get your hands on the tight end to keep him off the linebacker.BLOCK PROTECTION Block protection refers to dealing with the multiple. influence blocks. maintain outside leverage and keep the outside arm free without being pushed too far outside.Pro.they’ve all got down or veer blocks.TE and near linemen zone step to you.

Y T R Y T R G TE DOWN/OUTSIDE PULL. look inside. no contact. POSITITION/INSIDE PULL. it’s pass. Explode up field. Beat the position block by the TE and chase the tackles hips down the L. G G SPLIT (TE OUT/TACKLET DOWN).O. Y T R Y T R G G DOUBLE TEAM. tackle zone steps inside.O. When you feel the triangle move.“2 steps. G 7 .S. maintain vertical push. stay in your gap and chase hard down the L.” TE releases outside. stay in your gap and continue to get vertical at a 45 degree angle in that direction without being pushed too far outside. Tackle zone steps to you. If the near guard come to you. tackle blocks down inside.TE is the post man. Explode up field and get your hands on the TE.O. it is counter trey away from you. attack flat down the line and blow up the pulling guard by attacking his inside thighboard. tackle pulls outside. Keep the feet moving. When you feel the triangle move. you’ll get banged by the tackle. Work to split the double vertical by getting skinny on the TE. play it inside out. you’ll get banged by the TE. If you haven’t regained the L.TE blocks down on you.S. if he tries to punch you past. If you’ve regained the L. rip and run under the TE’s block (if the RB is already outside you) and play fast down the L. hit the deck and cause a pile.BLOCK PROTECTION FOR THE 7 TECHNIQUE Y T R Y T R Y T R G ZONE TO YOU.O. If you are losing ground.. When you feel hung out to dry. Explode up field. Backside guard is looking to kick you out on a counter trey. work to occupy both blockers and maintained the L.O. find the guard. Get some hand son the tight end and focus on a spot three yards behind the offensive tackle’s set and beat him there.S. press.O. and your head is up field. VERTICAL RELEASE/HINGE. and try to disrupt the tackle or guards tracks.More than likely.S. Running back is looking for crease and is coming your way.S. it’s screen or draw so retrace.Tight end releases on a pass route vertical or with an inside release.TE zone steps to you. tackle is the drive man. ZONE AWAY FROM YOU.S. squeeze him in. Running back is looking for a crease away from your side with potential cutback.TE may bang you and chip to the LB. If he strikes you.

Squeeze him towards the center with the idea of creating a smaller running lane on a weak lead or weak give. TACKLE DRIVE. Make the back bounce towards the sideline. get on his hips and chase down the L. If he strikes you.Tackle zone steps inside. Running back is looking for a crease away from you with the potential cutback. The backside guard is looking to kick you out so you should attack down the line and blow him up by throwing your off arm toward his inside thighboard. HINGE/KICK SLIDE. Attack the tackle up field.S. T G R 8 . Focus on a spot three yards behind the offensive tackle’s set and beat him there. Explode up field and try to get your hands on the tackle to keep him off the LB. ZONE AWAY FROM YOU. When you feel the tackle move away. Tackle may tip this play by being slightly off the ball. it’s pass.O. squeeze him back where he came form without getting too far up field.S. Block him before he blocks you. blow him up by attacking the inside thighboard.O.Get hands on the tackle to keep him off the LB and look inside down the L.BLOCK PROTECTION FOR THE 5 TECHNIQUE T G R T G R T G R T G R T G R ZONE TO YOU. maintain outside leverage and keep the outside arm free without being pushed too far outside. As you feel the tackle release flat inside.S.Counter trey at you. TACKLE DOWN/GUARD X BLOCK. try to get your hands on him to keep the LB free and chase hard down the L.O. TACKLE/GUARD INSIDE PULL-Counter trey away from you. If the guard comes. Eyeball the QB for possible counterkeep pass and be prepared to retrace your steps down the line of scrimmage.S. If he tires to punch or push you past. T G R TACKLE DOWN/FAR GUARD KICK OUT. Don’t chase the QB from the inside out. Running back is look for a crease and is coming your way. Look inside down the L. You may be blocked by a slot back in a trip formation or by the fullback in a pro set. If near guard whacks you right away.Tackle and guard zone step to you. retrace your steps for screen or draw.Tackle retreats into a pass set.Strike the tackle maintaining outside leverage without getting to far up field.O.

Don’t chase the QB from the inside out. The backside guard is looking to kick you out so you should attack down the line and blow him up by throwing your off arm toward his inside thigh.Tackle zone steps outside but may not get to you because of width. Tackle may tip this play by being slightly off the ball. With two backs.S. squeeze him back where he came form without getting too far up field. Eyeball the QB for possible Counter keep pass and be prepared to retrace your steps. Explode up field and try to get your hands on the tackle to keep him off the LB.S. Chase hard down the L. Squeeze him towards the center with the idea of creating a smaller running lane on a weak lead or weak give.Squeeze with the tackle’s down block and look inside down the L. you may get the fullback at you. TACKLE DOWN/FAR GUARD KICK OUT. T G R T G R 9 .O. get on his hips and chase down the L. HINGE/KICK SLIDE. Running back is looking for a crease and is coming your way. Look inside down the L. maintain outside leverage and keep the outside arm free without being pushed too far outside. Know that the inside linebacker has the B gap and don’t over commit there. Running back is looking for a crease away from your side with potential cutback. Make the back bounce towards the sideline.S. As you feel the tackle release flat inside. TACKLE/GUARD INSIDE PULL-Counter trey away from you. Attack up field. You may be blocked by a slot back in a trip formation or by the fullback in a pro set blocking away from the play.O.S. If near guard whacks you right away.O. retrace for a draw.Tackle zone steps inside. it’s pass.Strike the tackle maintaining outside leverage without getting to far up field. If he tires to punch you past. T G R T G R T G R T G R TACKLE DOWN/GUARD X BLOCK. If he strikes you. ZONE AWAY FROM YOU.BLOCK PROTECTION FOR THE WIDE 5 TECHNIQUE T G R ZONE TO YOU. TACKLE DRIVE. Block him before he blocks you.Counter trey at you. Focus on a spot three yards behind the offensive tackle’s set and beat him there.Tackle retreats into a pass set.O.

T releases to block LB.Tackle zone steps out. DOUBLE. Running back is looking for a crease away from your side with potential cutback.BLOCK PROTECTION FOR THE 4I TECHNIQUE T T T T T T T T T T G ZONE TO YOU. retrace your steps for screen or draw. G G SPLIT (T to LB/GUARD DOWN).S. fight the guard’s block and continue to get vertical at a 45 degree angle in that direction without being pushed too far outside. Backside guard is looking to trap you. When you feel the triangle move.T releases to block LB.S. When you feel the triangle move. If he strikes you.Guard retreats into a pass set.O.Tackle is the past man. and your head is up field. Once you feel hung out to dry. it’s pass. guard zones steps to you. Explode up field and try to get your hands on the guard. rip and run under the tackle’s block and play flat down the L.O. stay in your gap.Guard zone steps inside. you’ll get banged by the tackle. Explode up field. work to occupy both blockers and maintain the L. guard pulls outside. look inside and attack the trapping guard to create a pile. Backside guard is looking to trap you. Explode up field.O. plant on the inside foot and attack the trapping guard. If he tries to punch or push you past. Looking inside. T T T T G G 10 . G TACKLE DOWN/ INSIDE PULL-Tackle blocks down on you. If you’ve regained the L. ZONE AWAY FROM YOU. press. guard blocks down inside. maintain vertical push and play it inside out..O.S. PASS SET. it’s you. guard influences with a quick pass set and vacates outside to block the DE.O. Running back is looking for a crease and coming your way. G SPLIT (T to LB/GUARD INFLUENCE). hit the deck and cause a pile.S. Idea is to create a pile. If you are losing ground. not to make the tackle. Keep the feet moving. tackle zone steps toward you. guard is the drive man. Focus on a spot three yards behind the guard’s set and beat him there. Explode up field. get your hands on the guard’s down block. Work to spilt the double vertical by getting skinny on the tackle.S. stay in your gap and chase hard down the L. If you haven’t regained of the L.

tackle zone steps toward you. plant on the inside foot and attack the trapping guard. If you’ve regained the L. Explode up field. it’s pass. C TACKLE DOWN/ OUTSIDE PULL.Tackle blocks down on you. Explode up field. If you haven’t regained of the L. hit the deck and cause a pile. press. rip and run under the tackle’s block and play flat down the L. G T G T C C 11 . get your hands on the guard’s down block. maintain vertical push and play it inside out. Looking inside.Guard zone steps inside.S.S.S. retrace your steps for screen or draw.T releases to block LB.O.O. guard blocks down inside. ZONE AWAY FROM YOU. Explode up field. Keep the feet moving.Tackle zone steps out. Backside guard is looking to trap you. and your head is up field. DOUBLE. C C SPLIT (T to LB/GUARD DOWN).BLOCK PROTECTION FOR THE 3 TECHNIQUE G T G T G T G T G T C ZONE TO YOU.O.S.O. Running back is looking for a crease away from your side with potential cutback. look inside and attack the trapping guard to create a pile. guard zones steps to you. Idea is to create a pile. If he strikes you. it’s you. Focus on a spot three yards behind the guard’s set and beat him there. C SPLIT (T to LB/GUARD INFLUENCE). When you feel the triangle move. guard influences with a quick pass set and vacates outside to block the DE. Explode up field and try to get your hands on the guard. stay in your gap and chase hard down the L. If you are losing ground. guard pulls outside. fight the guard’s block and continue to get vertical at a 45 degree angle in that direction without being pushed too far outside.Tackle is the past man.. work to occupy both blockers and maintain the L. Running back is looking for a crease and coming your way. If he tries to punch or push you past. not to make the tackle.T releases to block LB.O. PASS SET. Backside guard is looking to trap you.S. tackle is the drive man. When you feel the triangle move. stay in your gap. Work to spilt the double vertical by getting skinny on the guard. you’ll get banged by the tackle. Once you feel hung out to dry.Guard retreats into a pass set.

S. JUSTIN DIEDRICK. Explode up field and try to get your hands on the guard. Work to split the double vertical by getting skinny on the guard. DOUBLE. Explode up field. If you are losing ground. stay in your gap and chase hard down the L. center is the drive man. get on the guard’s hip and chase him down the L. center blocks back to you.Guard is the post man.Guard flat pulls inside. If he strikes you. you’ll get banged by the center. When you feel the inside pull. work to occupy both blockers and maintain the L. Keep the feet moving.S. When you feel the triangle move. center zone steps away. Play off the center’s back block depending on how far up field you are and continue down the L.O.O. Running back is looking for a crease away from your side with potential cutback. ZONE AWAY FROM YOU.S. NATE BLOXON . PASS SET. center zone steps to you. it’s pass. Running back is looking for a crease and is coming your way. hit the deck and cause a pile.Guard zone steps out.O. C C “STRIKE ON THE RINSE” CHRIS JAY. stay in your gap and continue to get vertical at a 45 degree angel in that direction without being pushed too far outside. If he tires to punch or push you past. retrace your steps for screen or draw.S C C CENTER BACK/INSIDE PULL. you’ll get banged by the guard.MOUNTAINEER FOOTBALL 1997 12 .Guard and/or center retreats into a pass set.Guard zone steps to you.O.BLOCK PROTECTION FOR THE 1 TECHNIQUE G N G N G N G N G N C ZONE TO YOU. Focus on a spot three yards behind the guard’s set and beat him there. Explode up field. When you feel the triangle move.

O. Running back is looking for a crease away from your side with potential cutback.Guard and/or center retreats into a pass set.S.Guard flat pulls inside. it’s pass. tackle zone steps inside. retrace your steps for screen or draw. PASS SET. When you feel the triangle move. If you are losing ground. Work to split the double vertical by getting skinny on the guard. stay in your gap and continue to get vertical at a 45 degree angel in that direction without being pushed too far outside. stay in your gap and chase hard down the L. Explode up field.O.Guard zone steps out.Center is the post man. Explode up field and try to get your hands on the guard. Keep the feet moving. Play off the center’s back block depending on how far up field you are and continue down the L.BLOCK PROTECTION FOR THE SHADE TECHNIQUE G N G N G C ZONE TO YOU. If he strikes you. you’ll get banged by the TE. center zone steps to you.S. When you feel the inside pull.O. If he tires to punch or push you past.TE zone steps to you. When you feel the triangle move. Running back is looking for a crease and is coming your way. DOUBLE.S. guard is the drive man.O. work to occupy both blockers and maintain the L. ZONE AWAY FROM YOU. Focus on a spot three yards behind the guard’s set and beat him there. center blocks back at you. hit the deck and cause a pile. you’ll get banged by the center. get on the guard’s hip and chase him down the L. G N G N C C “THIS IS MY AREA AND I AM NOT GOING TO BE BLOCKED” 13 .S. Explode up field. C C N CENTER BACK/INSIDE PULL.

NV .BLOCK PROTECTION FOR 0 (also 2. you should be able to run him flat and keep him off the linebacker. it’s pass. 1999 14 .6.Center is the post man. Keep the feet moving. Running back is looking for a crease moving the same way the center is. keep your hands on him and try to run him into the backfield in the direction he wants to go. “HANDS ON THE DOWN BLOCK. retrace your steps for screen or draw. work to occupy both blockers and maintain the L. When you feel the center move.L. PASS SET. If the center sets and strikes you. OL DL OL DL OL DL OL DL ZONE BOTH WAYS.Treat the man as a blocking sled and realize you are a two gap player. Work to split the double vertical by getting skinny on the center.4. If he soft sets and tires to punch or guide you up field.Center zone steps to your shoulder in an attempt to reach block you. run him back where he came from and separate! Only after you have regained the line of scrimmage and created some distance between you and the blocker can you look for the ball carrier in either gap. DOUBLE. At the very lease. DRIVE BLOCK. P. it is important to maintain a solid base.Mountaineer Football 1997 Idaho Stallions.I. Focus on a spot three yards behind the center’s set and drive him there. guard is the drive man.S.Las Vegas. After striking the blocker in front of you. hit the deck and cause a pile.Guard and/or center retreats into a pass set.8) TECHNIQUE Technique varies slightly with a 0 technique.F. LOOK INSIDE” Chris Jay. If you are losing ground.O. Weight distribution will be slightly back and off the hand so the nose can feel what the center is doing a little better.

when property rushed will take them to that spot. commanding a double team from the opponent’s blocking scheme. or force him to run. LANE AND QB QUADRANT RESPONSIBILITY With four primary pass rushers. widening the offensive lineman with some lateral movement is critical. block his passes. Quick.PASS RUSH Pressure on the passer typifies the aggressiveness of an attacking defense. An effective pass rush stance must be geared towards thinking each play is a pass and exploding up field with every step towards the quarterback. forcing him to run. The Defensive Tackle is responsible for the front left quarter of the passer and gets there through the B gap only. he will have a harder time looking for somewhere to escape. Though a lot of quarterback sacks is a compliment to a great defensive team who can also stop the run. a good pass rush can make a quarterback lose confidence in his protection. A good pass rush doesn’t necessarily mean the quarterback is sacked every play. even if the quarterback is not sacked. the utilization of head fakes should be incorporated into a defensive lineman’s bag of tricks. the Rush End is responsible for the back left quarter of the passer and gets there through the C gap only. or blitzes. forcing him closer to another pass rusher. The Nose Guard is responsible for the front right quarter of the passer and gets there through the A gap only. Assuming a four man rush with no stunts. After basic pass rush principles are learned. When this can be accomplished. violent hands are necessary to clear the offensive lineman’s hands should he get them on you. the quarterback will become completely demoralized. When that occurs. When is it a pass. Body lean is necessary to squeeze the perimeter once the defensive lineman gets an edge. A good pass rush means having the ability to squeeze his area of operation. a hell-bent attitude by the defensive line is critical to establishing that unit’s personality. In general. “EVERY RUSHER MUST SUCCEED IN HIS LANE OR THE QB WILL GET THE BALL OFF” 15 . each has the responsibility for only one quadrant of the quarterback and each lane. or getting a hand up in the passing lane. it’s game over for your opponent. force him to make bad throws by destroying his confidence and timing. making him move or step out of the pocket. When each pass rusher does his job correctly. dogs.

4. “GIVE ME A FOUR YARD PUSHAND SOME HAND SIN THE AIR” 16 . The slashed area represents the squares the guard is responsible for. Move executed on the center or guards should make them give up a square immediately. 5 or 7 step passes. which would open. Each offensive linemen owns the squares directly behind him and will usually not step to far away from those squares in 3. Pass rush moves are used to take squares away from offensive linemen and create space to operate. The X’s represent the defensive end’s targets for pass rush. 5. If you rush or get pushed outside your lane. an explanation follows in the pass rush guidelines. GRID PRINCIPLES 1.THE HORIZONTAL/VERTICAL GRID. up the B gap. Some take or get a square up field after some movement. NOTE . dogs and blitzes are designed to get movement by forcing offensive linemen to step away from the squares they are responsible for. An example would be the defensive tackle squeezing an offensive guard into one of the center’s squares. you must find a way to get back in it. 2. Move executed on the tackles might not occur until the third or fourth step and will take squares away further up field.The gray area represents the 3 technique’s pass rush lane. 6.GET THE EDGE The horizontal – vertical grid is a “checkerboard” which defensive must control to successfully rush the passer within their lane of responsibility. 3. Stunts. Some moves take a square immediately.

Interior linemen should rush with at least one hand up after the fifth or sixth step to disrupt the quarterback’s vision. With that in mind. get some cloth and rip. a late containment philosophy becomes the responsibility of the outside linebackers and strong safeties. First you have the possibility of knocking a pass down or tipping it for an interception. and offensive tacklers are usually tall. Defensive ends often have the luxury of only having to beat one guy in a pass rush. Thirdly. If the outside leverage position is not maintained. the defensive end must be at least the same height as the tackle. it will divert the quarterback’s attention or force him to pull it down or run. PASS RUSH CONSIDERATIONS – INTERIOR LINEMEN The interior lineman’s job is to rush the passer by pushing the middle so that the quarterback will feel as if he should step outside. Secondly. The primary responsibility of the defensive end is to sack the quarterback or at lease make it difficult for him to set his feet. and find the quarterback. dip. Hassling a defensive end about containment at the expense of diminishing aggressiveness or confidence most often results in a tentative pass rush. it may force the quarterback to put more elevation on the throw. Once the interior lineman is free of contact. interior linemen should initially use the rip technique. The rip technique is a technique in which the defensive tackle will dip his should nearest the blocker and violently rip upward as he powers past him. In this technique. he should continue the pass rush with both hands up. A devastating speed rusher can demoralize both the pass protector and the quarterback. Defensive ends should sack the quarterback high with a draping type of tackle as they make contact with the quarterback. Inevitably. the defensive end is often asked to be responsible for two separate tasks. “NEVER LEAVE YOUR FEET PRIOR TO THE RELEASE OF THE BALL” 17 . If the tackle oversteps and kicks too wide. The outside arm should tomahawk the quarterback’s elbow with violent hack finished by a jerk towards the ball an attempt to cause a fumble. If you meet resistance. lean. With only three to four principle pass rushers up front with an aggressive. the quarterback may beat the end with a ‘duck and under’ move. Your base should be tight and weight forward. the pass rusher uses his leverage arm (arm closest to the blocker) in the manner of an uppercut to the armpit or middle of the humerus bone of the pass blocker. First. Secondly. Keeping the pads down and dipping the leverage shoulder gives the pass protector less blocking surface for contact. the speed move is a much faster move. This off arm is the tackling arm and allows the defensive end to secure contact with the quarterback. attacking defense. the pass blocker will attempt to “hip steer” (a technique where the pass protector puts his off hand on the hip of the speed rusher) him past the level of the quarterback. which could give the secondary more time to adjust and intercept the ball.PASS RUSH GUIDELINES. The two principle moves used by defensive ends to beat an offensive tackle are the speed rush and the rip technique. Getting the hands up do a number of things.DEFENSIVE ENDS The first steps should always be the same with the intent of beating the tackle to your target (X on the horizontal/vertical grid) seven yards up field. club him past you and come under only if you are at the depth of the quarterback. When engaging a pass blocker. It is almost impossible to do both of these things at once. If he doesn’t cut you off by the (X). The over or swim move I a good pass rush move but is rarely used at the defensive end position for two reasons. Once the interior lineman attains a ‘hip to hip’ relationship. Make the tackle come out and stop your speed move. contain the quarterback and provide a pass rush. Defensive ends should rush the up field shoulder of the passer with the intention of sacking him from an outside leverage position. The inside hand should come as a roundhouse punch at chest level in an attempt to corral the quarterback’s ability to step up. beating that one guy and sacking the quarterback shouldn’t be turned into rocket science. This uppercut punch will drive the pass protector’s leverage arm upward forcing him to turn and open the gate to the quarterback.

BASIC PASS RUSH TECHNIQUES 1.The rip move is often seen done by the 5 technique defensive end and usually executed on the 3rd or 4th step in combination with a lean on the edge. close and strip 2. working to get the elbow up by hi ear. THE RIP. They almost want to aim the tip of their shoulder into the pass protector’s armpit. 3 or 5 alignment the defensive lineman should power step his inside foot to the crotch of the blocker and rip the inside arm tight and aggressively to the armpit of the blocker. THE SPEED RUSH. as opposed to the offensive tackle. will force the pass protector to over kick the outside foot and open his hips if he does not anticipate a speed rush. This is called getting the ‘edge’ and once it is obtained by the defensive end. When an offensive tackle is beat as described above. you can either beat someone off the ball or you can’t. he must immediately angle his path inward toward the far shoulder of the quarterback. It is important to keep a vertical but slightly angular path away to maintain some separation from the pass protector. COACHING CUES FOR TEACHING THE SPEED RUSH:  Find a landmark  Burst off the ball. Focusing on a landmark. With the speed rush.The rush is the primary move of the defensive end in a 9 or wide 5 technique. Encourage him to keep the feet moving and “run through the rip” in order to get the hips through and disrupt the offensive lineman’s balance. From a shade. squeeze and lean  Close on the QB and strip the ball 18 . COACHING CUES FOR TEACHING THE RIP:  Power step and work ½ a man  Rip up and through the blocker’s armpit  Elbow to the ear  Get the hips through. last component is to get a sideways lean and squeeze his man towards the QB. the defensive end finds a spot three to four yards behind the tackle’s hip upon recognition of a pass play. A defensive tackle in a 3 alignment or shaded nose may execute this move right on the line of scrimmage. dig the inside shoulder up field past the blocker’s hip  Angle. When the pass protector over kicks. With the rip executed and elbow up by their ear. the defensive end gains an uphill advantage on the tackle. the defensive end usually finds himself in a head position with the quarterback. On completion of the rip move. When speed rushing. he leaves his inside foot in a wide straddle forcing him to lose his power base and the ability to react quickly.

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