This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
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 defensive staff started to work on our defensive package and to get ready for spring practice. Our staff consists of Mike Breske (coordinator), Dave Doeren (secondary), Chris Knutsen (linebackers), and Lance Robinson (whom I work with on the defensive 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’t let little things interfere with our focus. 5. Desire for team victory, personal sacrifices for team success. Montana Grizzly football for the past 15 years has been known for its explosive offense. During last year’s 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 “D”. 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. Rush Def. 76.6 1st Big Sky/2nd I-AA Pass Def. 188.4 2nd Big Sky Scoring Def. 19.3 1st Big Sky Pass Eff. Def. 107.7 1st Big Sky Total Def. 265.0 1st/Big Sky/8th-AA
Sacks: 51 1st Big Sky Third Down: 30% 1st Big Sky 4th Down: 41% 2nd Big Sky For the entire season we had 172 tackles for a loss, 55 sacks, and 20 fumble recoveries. Assets Needed to Play Defensive Line 1. Aggressiveness, may be the most important. 2. Quickness off the ball. 3. Be physical, dominate your man on his side of the line of scrimmage. 4. Great conditioning. 5. Use of leverage. 6. Quick feet. 7. Get off blocks. 8. Use of your hands. 9. Stay on your feet. 10. Full speed from the snap to the whistle on every play. 11. Work hard in practice. 12. Be a team player. We talk about these assets all the time in practice and drills. The Basic Fundamentals Stance Alignment & Responsibility Charge and Reaction Escapes Pursuit Tackling Alignments and Gaps for Defensive Fronts
Bear Attack: The Grizzlies’ Front Four
Tom Hauck Defensive Line Coach University of Montana Missoula, Mont.
Diagram 1: Alignments & Gaps
Diagram 2: Cub Front
• AFCA Summer Manual — 2001 •
Buck Alignment: Loose 5 Technique: 5 Key: Tackle Run To: C Gap Run Away: Shuffle Pass: Contain Tackle Alignment: 3 Technique: 3 Key: Guard Run To: B Gap Run Away: Gap Pursuit Pass: Inside lane Nose Alignment: 1 Technique: 1 Key: Guard Run To: A Gap Run Away: Gap Pursuit Pass: Inside lane End Alignment: Loose 5 Technique: 5 Key: Tackle Run To: C Gap Run Away: Shuffle Pass: Contain B: Buck end aligns on the open-end side. He is our most athletic end who rushes on the edge and is the coverage end on zone blitzes (Five tech). E: End is our larger end who plays on the tight end side (Five tech). T: Tackle is our quicker, better pass rush tackle, who contain rushes on zone blitzes (Three tech). N: Nose Tackle is our larger tackle who faces more double teams inside (One tech). Techniques for the Front Four 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 techniques are very similar in how they play blocking schemes. At Montana we play most blocking schemes like any other team. Our three,
five, and nine techniques play the down block or inside release with a spill technique, by closing the gap and taking on the next blocker with our outside shoulder. We then square upfield and spill the ball carrier. 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.
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.
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.
When a blitz is rushing the three tech’s B gap, he uses the punch and rip technique. Here the tackle steps to and punches the offensive guard and then rips the A gap. Also he could take a false (bite) step outside and quick swim to the inside.
In zone blitzes our three technique tackle 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 tackle. 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 outside shoulder and contains rushes the quarterback If the offensive tackle sets up outside to block the Buck, the three tech
Our nose tackle uses a cross face technique 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
• AFCA Summer Manual — 2001 •
field, he then rips the A gap. On run plays he will react to the block of the offensive guard.
defeating the blockers hands. If we don’t beat the defender by quarterback depth, we will power rush to the quarterback or club and rip under to the quarterback. Our tackles rush the edge of their man and try to get him out of his pass set. We then work on the jerk and rip or swim to get by the defender. We run our two man line stunts with three different tempos. 1. Run or quick tempo, where the linemen exchange responsibilities on the snap of the ball, ver sus run or pass. 2. Pass or set up tempo, where the first man drives the defender and sets up the second man’s rush. 3. Easy tempo, the first man gets up field and makes his exchange move underneath. The second man then covers the first man’s job. On a run play there is no exchange of responsibilities.
The Buck end will take his normal charge and attack the offensive tackle or tight end for the run first. If it is pass, he will drop to his coverage. His angle is toward the route of the No. 2 receiver, he is the curl first, then a flat player.
Circuit Period: We do a tackle circuit or turnover circuit. Early in the season we were causing fumbles but not recovering them. We put a station in our turnover circuit where we throw a ball in a pile of bags. A player dives into the pile, finds the ball and recovers it. It was fun and our fumble recovery rate improved. Individual Period: We drill techniques and work on blocking schemes. Team Defense: Work on our run fits. Nine-on-Seven: Work on inside run. Team Defense: Work on zone blitzes. Pass Rush: We work on line stunts and techniques. We work a quarterback scramble and draw play drills. We also go oneon-one pass rush against our offensive line. Team Defense: Work against different personnel groups and down and distances I hope this has given you an idea about what we do and some information you can use. Our linemen were not very big, but we stressed quickness and speed. Our front four were experienced and aggressive. A lot of our sacks were a credit to good secondary coverage. Have a good summer and a great fall.
We use these techniques when a single or pair of linemen varies their charge. On our “nut” call, both the nose and the tackle employ a cross face technique. This ends up being a gap responsibility exchange with the linebackers.
Practice and Drills We want our drills to relate to things that our players will see and do during the game that week. Each drill should have a start, execution, finish, and rotation to insure maximum number of repetitions. We try to start a drill with a green ball or lineman movement and finish with a tackle breakdown. The tempo should be quick and intense. We like to keep a checklist on what drills and techniques we practiced during the week so that cover everything. Our drills should relate to our basic fundamentals and emphasis our asset list. Sample Practice Schedule Walk Through: We review insertions made during position meetings earlier in the day. Specialties: Defensive line warms up, stretches, works on get offs and hand quickness drills. Special Teams: This is an extra period for the defensive line which we used for footwork, agilities, and delivering a blow. We have a low heavy sled with a small rectangular pad on the front of a large spring. The players drill a quick hand strike and escape. We do these drills almost every day.
Double-Dipping Affects July to July Contract Recommendation
Coaches who are fortunate enough to have July to July contracts, or the equivalent, as recommended by the AFCA, should not abuse the privilege when moving from one job to another by accepting salaries from two institutions during the transition.
In pass rush techniques we stress getting off the ball and driving up field. Our ends work from a wide alignment and speed rush on the edge. We work hard on
Be ethically responsible to your profession by notifying your former institution’s athletic director immediately when you are hired by another institution. Don’t jeopardize the contracts of many of your fellow coaches by being selfish.
• AFCA Summer Manual — 2001 •