This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
2010 SECONDARY MANUAL
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Glossary of Terms The Code “Cheetahs” Route Tree Field Zones Techniques Drills Weekly Checklist
T O D O: Reformat pages (using Keith Allen format?) Include titles at the top of each page Add page numbers Add letters to each drill? Draw diagrams Make sure page breaks look good per section (no titles at the bottom of the first page) Decide tense – their vs. yours/the defensive back vs. you/the coach vs. me or I Include Routes at the end of the drill section or transition section? Or is the technique different when playing Press vs. Zone?
Method of evaluating film
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Alley Bail BC – Ballcarrier Blanket Bomb Bump Bump and Run Buster Cadence Cloud Force Cloud Disguise Cover 2 Cover 3 Cover 4 Cover 4X C.P. Curl (Route) Curl (Zone) EMLOS Engage Flat Leverage LOS Post Press Primary Force Quick Jam Read Force Robber Technique Secondary Force Tandem Trail Technique Upfield Shoulder
WHAT IS THE CODE?
The Code is the definition of the way we play. It is our philosophy and a way to evaluate our play. The Kansas State secondary will represent The Code. From how we prepare, to how we conduct our meetings, practice, and play on Saturday, we will represent The Code in everything that we do. The four prongs of The Code are: 1) Be Prepared 2) Play Hard 3) Maximum Speed 4) FINISH!!!
The first part of The Code is to be prepared. Preparation is the first key to succeed. This starts with film study – knowing what a team likes to do in certain situations, formational tendencies, Wide Receiver splits, and extends to knowing the defense called (your stance, alignment, key, and assignment). The bottom line is, “if you are prepared, you will never be scared.”
Playing hard is all about giving 100% effort in everything that we do. Playing hard is giving maximum – relentless pursuit to the football, refusing to be blocked, etc. The only thing that makes up for bad football is maximum effort. Playing hard requires no talent and is the only thing that makes up for bad plays.
Maximum speed isn’t about being fast by running 4.2 in shorts. It’s about being right. It’s about playing at top speed and taking proper angles to the football. This comes from being prepared and playing hard.
Finishing is the hardest and most important thing we do. Whether it’s on the football field, or in life, we must finish everything we do. It’s about finishing a play, finishing your last rep in the weight room, finishing every drill, finishing in the classroom, finishing in the 4th quarter, etc. If we are prepared, play hard, at maximum speed, and finish, we will be successful and win a lot of football games.
USING “THE CODE” AS AN EVALUATION TOOL
The Code is not only a philosophy, but is also a method to evaluate our play. When watching film, the 4 prongs of the Code can give us insight to a mistake. Here is an example of how we can evaluate a bad play by using The Code: 1) Be Prepared – Was the player prepared? Did he know where to line up? Did he know the call? If so, did he…? 2) Play Hard – Did the player play hard? Did they miss the play because they didn’t give 100% effort? If so, did he…? 3) Maximum Speed – Was the player going at full speed? Did they take the right angle to the ball? If so, did he…? 4) FINISH!!! – Did the player finish the tackle? Did they finish at the point of attack?
WHAT IS A “CHEETAH”? The cheetah is the fastest animal in the jungle, and the fastest land animal period. A cheetah can reaching speeds between 70 and 75 mph in short bursts covering distances up to 1,510 ft., and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 64 mph in three seconds, faster than most supercars. And the fastest players on the defense? The secondary. MENTAL QUALITIES OF A “CHEETAH” THRIVES UNDER PRESSURE – REWORD XXX A true cheetah is able to handle pressure. That must be able to because when you play in the secondary, it’s the “glits or the shits” – you are either making plays or getting exposed. They will learn from their mistakes, but have short term memories. Being a cheetah, if you want to eat, you gotta hunt. We don’t get to punt like the offense. The fastest way to lose football games is to give up big plays and the cheetah is not only the fastest, but the most tested. A Nose Tackle could miss a play and only give up 3 yards. On the other hand, a cheetah can play 60 plays in a game and have 58 good plays. However, the 2 bad plays can lead to 14 points given up. That is why the number 1 quality of the best cheetahs to ever the game had one thing in common: the ability to handle the most pressure-packed situation. After all, “pressure cooks a ham.” Many guys can run 4.2, but not many guys can get beat in front of 85,000 people, get back in the huddle, and make a big play the next time the ball comes their way. The cheetah that thrives under pressure welcomes sudden change situations and is ready to perform at a moment’s notice. We will play a lot of things on defense, but we will not play scared. If you do get beat, learn from your mistake, don’t get bent out of shape because 1 play doesn’t make a game. Don’t lay around, pound the ground, throw your helmet, or get down – get back in the huddle and be ready to make a play (SEHORN!) Being able to handle pressure comes from having great confidence. CONFIDENCE The true cheetah walks out of the locker room thinking they are the best player. They eat, sleep, drink, and think that they are good. A cheetah wants to be the best; part of being the best, means welcoming the challenge of going up against the best. Having confidence and welcoming this challenge stems from being the ultimate competitor.
2 Kansas State “Cheetahs” feasting on a WR from UCLA
MENTAL QUALITIES OF A “CHEETAH” (cont’d.) COMPETITIVE A cheetah competes in everything that they do. Everything that they do is about competition because it makes everyone better. All of our drills will be competitive – there will be a winner and loser just like on Saturdays. A cheetah loves the fact that we will keep track of all one-on-one drills. The young cheetahs will come in and outplay the starters. A veteran cheetah will establish themselves and welcome this challenge. A true cheetah will compete maturely (without taking it personally) because it makes them and everyone around them better. When competition is gone, the starters will relax and lose their “pucker factor.” DISCIPLINE A true cheetah plays with great discipline. This includes playing within the rules of the game and “seeing the other team between the whistles.” This includes no cheap shots (avoiding hitting a player out of bounds). PATIENCE A lot of the time, the cheetah might not be involved in the play. This is especially true versus power running teams. So what happens is, the undisciplined cheetah tries to make a play just to get involved. They end up becoming overzealous and make a mistake. The disciplined cheetah doesn’t go to the game, he lets the game come to him. He patiently stalks his prey and doesn’t let his prey lull him to sleep. Instead he vigilantly waits and strikes when the time is right! CHARACTER/LEADERSHIP A true cheetah has great character. Character doesn’t come out when you’re winning – character comes out when you are getting your ass kicked and you need to respond and make a play. A cheetah leads by example – the best cheetahs are not only the best players, but sets the tone by working the hardest on and off the field. A cheetah that possesses great leadership qualities polices the team themselves. The coach is obviously the ultimate authority, but the best teams do not let issues grow because the players themselves police the team. HAS FUN A cheetah works hard, but has fun and enjoys the game. Football, after all, is a game. This does not mean that they will not prepare with great intensity. However, they have fun and get after people’s asses.
PHYSICAL QUALITIES OF A “CHEETAH” WINNING AT THE POINT OF ATTACK The most important skill in the secondary is the ability to win at the point of attack. That is why we will spend most of our individual time working on tracking the ball in the air. Again, many guys can run 4.2, but the best cheetahs in the history of the game, have the ability to go and get the football at its highest point. At the end of the day, it all comes down to you, the man, and the ball… A cheetah goes up knowing he will win! DISCIPLINED EYES The first part of being a cheetah is having disciplined eyes. It’s where it all starts and is the cheetah’s greatest asset. Recognizing formations, splits, and reading keys is the first step in being successful in the secondary. Because, where the eyes go, the body will follow. FEET Having quick feet is an important quality to a cheetah. Pure speed is important, but quick feet and the ability to change directions quickly has more to do with being a cheetah. HANDS Whether it is getting off a block, playing bump and run at the line, or striking a blow in the open field, a cheetah must have violent hands. SPEED Obviously, speed is an important quality of a cheetah. However, it is not the most importantly quality. With that said, a slow cheetah is not really a cheetah. A fast cheetah not only runs fast, but takes proper angles to the ball carrier and has possesses great speed to the ball when it is in the air. OTHER IMPORTANT QUALITIES OF A “CHEETAH” COMMUNICATION The best secondaries communicate on the field. A true cheetah echoes coverage calls, checks, unusual splits, formations, bunches, anticipated routes, and critical situational information (i.e. – alerting their teammates that it’s 3rd and Medium and the team likes to throw quick game in this situation). This extends beyond the field. A cheetah properly airs any discontent in a constructive fashion. We are a family and having “locker room lawyers” tears the team apart. We all must be on the same page and can feel that we can talk to our brothers about anything.
Backed Up, Coming Out, Free-Wheeling Zone, Coming In (Yellow), Red Zone, GL
DEFENSIVE BACK TECHNIQUES
Every player is different – they all have different strengths and weaknesses. They are like carpenters, with different tools in their tool belts. Some players are more physical, play more with their feet, are better playing press, better against the run, etc. We must sharpen the tools we have while acquiring new ones.
A player’s stance is important because it sets you up for everything you are about to do. It must be comfortable and functional with the player thinking “I am damn good!” There is no one “right” stance – everyone’s stance is different because everyone has different body types. In general, make sure you have good bend in your knees with flexion. However, don’t be too low. For example, if you are 6’2” standing up, be 6’ in your stance, not 5’5”. Keep your weight forward on the inside balls of your feet with your arms relaxed and off of your knees, ready to strike. Lastly, make sure your stance is the same when you blitz and when you cover.
The goal of backpedaling is not to simply run backwards. The technique is actually used to help the defensive backs come forward. This is a popular misconception, but is true. If we want the defensive back to simply run downfield, we would use a bail technique. Because of the goal is to break in different directions, they must be patient. The mechanics of the back pedal is the same as running forward. The defensive backs feet should be 6” to 8” apart. The arms and upper body must be relaxed with the elbows in tight and inside the framework of your body. If they get outside, they feet can widen and make it more difficult to transition. This is because the defensive back’s upper and lower body go together. Thus, you should push and pull with your arms and feet. The feet should barely skim the top of the grass or turf, so the defensive back has less distance for them to travel when he needs to transition. The shoulders and lean should be consistent throughout the pedal with the head and eyes up, looking at whatever key is necessary for the coverage.
The Weave Pedal is a technique primarily used by Safeties playing Cover 2. The mechanics for the Weave Pedal are the same as the backpedal. When the Weave begins, push off the inside part of the foot, opposite the direction you want to go. On the second step, drop the back foot at a 45 degree angle with your weight on the outside portion of the playside foot. When weaving, the key coaching point is to keep the shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. This allows the defensive back to transition back to the opposite direction.
TRANSITIONING – BASICS
When a defensive back backpedals, he must break, or transition, in many different directions. These include straight ahead, 45 degree in or out, 90 degrees in or out, 135 degrees in or out, and 180 degrees down the field. Although the angle of the break determines the appropriate footwork, there are a few important general points when transitioning.
An important point to remember is to always keep your head and eyes up, focusing on your key, in and out of your breaks. Undisciplined eyes can lead to poor technique because where the eyes go, the body will follow.
USING THE UPPER & LOWER BODY TOGETHER
Remember that your upper body and lower body go together. When transitioning from a backpedal, use your arms to open your hips. This can be done by keeping the arms in tight, and ripping the elbow towards the direction you want to go. Also, make sure that your pad level stays the same throughout the entire break – do not pop up or crow hop.
In your last step before the break, take a gather step and point the toe towards the direction you want to plant. This will help open your shoulders and hips to where you want to go and make planting and re-directing easier.
When making a turn, stick whatever foot is in the ground and plant off of it. You can’t afford to take extra steps – you are at risk and need to be able to break as soon as possible. When transitioning, get as much of your foot in the ground as possible (especially when it is wet). If you just plant on your toes, it will be harder to transition because you won’t have as much cleat in the ground and enough of a surface to plant off of (or force to generate). Also, make sure that your plant foot does not go past the heel of the directional step. This will keep everything tight, and in the framework of your body, by keeping you from becoming overextended.
T-STEP VS. REPLACING FEET (ROADRUNNER TECHNIQUE)
Some coaches coach the T-Step (where the player plants with their back foot perpendicular to the front foot) or the Roadrunner technique (where the player has both toes pointed straight ahead and “replaces” their feet). I do not care which transitional technique each player uses because each player is different and feels more comfortable doing a particular technique. However, you must quickly re-direct and not get overextended.
TRANSITIONING WHEN IT IS WET
When the field is wet, you must take short, choppy steps to prevent from being overextended. One alternative is to cut in more of a diagonal fashion. Normally this is not a desired technique. However, you must get as much cleat in the ground as possible. An alternative is to widen your base, which will delay the time it takes to switch directions. Nevertheless, you must be able to transition when it is wet – you cannot slip. Excuses will not be tolerated!
TRANSITIONING – ANGLES
The Corners can execute these transitions from a backpedal or Bailed position. The Safeties can execute these transitions from a backpedal (Cover 2 and Cover 3) or a flat-footed, square position (Cover 4).
BREAKING STRAIGHT AHEAD
When breaking straight ahead, make sure to keep your pads over your toes with your weight forward. When making the transition forward, plant and drive as quickly as possible using either T-Step or replacing your feet (Roadrunner Technique). For the Corners, breaking straight ahead is seen when playing a Hitch, rallying up on a Screen, or attacking a Stalk block. For Safeties, breaking straight ahead can be in any coverage (primarily Cover 4) when the ball is directly in front of them.
BREAKING UP AT A 45 DEGREE ANGLE
When the defensive back needs to break up at a 45 degree angle, they must begin to change angles on their directional step. This is the last step they make with their front foot before transitioning forward. The front foot will point in the direction they want to go. On their next step (plant step), they must roll over, gain ground, and accelerate. No false steps or chattering can be made. When planting, the feet should never be wider than 6” to 8” apart. The shoulders must stay in the same position from the backpedal to the drive forward. Corners will break in or out at a 45 degree angle on run reactions, inside routes (Slants, Inside Hitches, Drags, Curls) or outside routes (Quick Outs, Deep Outs, Comebacks). For Safeties, the 45 degree drive up will generally include run reactions or quick game passes in front of them (especially in Cover 4).
BREAKING AT A 90 DEGREE ANGLE
Breaking at a 90 degree angle is used most often to defend Deep Outs and Dig routes by the Corners, and robbing underneath routes in Cover 4 by the Safeties. When breaking at a 90 degree angle, the player must begin by pointing their transition foot in the direction they want to go. After the directional step, the defensive back will rip his elbow to open up his hips and shoulders towards the 90 degree angle while simultaneously planting the back foot perpendicular to the line of scrimmage (at a 90 degree angle). On the third step, roll over the opposite foot to complete the turn.
BREAKING AT A 135 DEGREE ANGLE
Breaking at a 135 degree angle down the field (45 degree downfield angle) is used when the Corner or Safety needs to break to the Post or Corner route. When transitioning from a backpedal to a 135 degree angle, the defensive back must use his directional step with his outside while simultaneously ripping the playside elbow. This will help open his hips and shoulders to the downfield angle. With the next step, the defensive back must use the plant foot to roll over, while exploding his eyes back to the QB (for zone) or towards the receiver (for man). The defensive back must take a wide, 135 degree angle (downfield 45 degree angle) to secure the receiver’s upfield shoulder – if your angle is too flat, the receiver will get behind you and you will be trailing him. Remember to maintain a consistent, low pad level throughout the movement. Do not rise up or crow-hop when you transition – this will slow the turn down, get your weight on your heels, and slow your progress down the field.
The Centerfield Turn is used when a defensive back has committed down the field to one direction at a 135 degree angle (downfield 45 degree angle) and needs to break back the opposite direction at a 90 degree angle. For Corners, it is commonly seen in Zone coverages when a receiver has run a Post Corner route, or if they have Bailed too far inside and the receiver has gotten behind them. For Safeties, it is commonly used on a Corner Post route (Cover 4) or if they have committed to wide towards the sideline and need to break back towards the middle of the field (Cover 2). After the defensive back has opened up down the field at a 45 degree angle, they need to flip to the opposite direction. They will plant off of whatever foot is in the ground and rip their elbow in the direction they are going, to open their hips and shoulders to the opposite direction. They must explode their head and eyes to the new direction they want to go and locate the upfield shoulder of the receiver (man coverage) or the ball (zone coverage). Make sure to sink your butt down, and bend at the knees (not the waist) when planting and re-directing. The key point is to make sure that they take a proper 90 degree angle when they make their second transition. If they come out of their break too flat, the receiver can get behind them and they will lose the desired upfield shoulder position.
The footwork in transition for the Speed Turn is the same as the Centerfield Turn. The difference is that it will be used in a quick, man situation when you are close to the receiver. The common use of the Speed Turn is when a defensive back is playing a Press technique and has opened their hips and shoulders at, or close to, a 90 angle. If this happens, they cannot open their shoulders back to the Quarterback without turning. This would cause wasted steps and the defensive back would not be able to recover quickly (which is needed on a quick route). When executing the Speed Turn, the defensive back must plant off on whatever foot is in the ground, rip the elbow to open the hips and shoulders, rolling off the opposite foot you are planting off of, and explode your head and eyes around back to the receiver (man coverage) or the Quarterback (zone coverage). Make sure to sink your butt down, and bend at the knees (not the waist) when planting and re-directing.
BREAKING AT A 180 DEGREE ANGLE
Breaking from a square position to a 180 degree downfield angle is one of the hardest techniques for a defensive back to execute (which is one of the reasons we play so much Bail technique). When transitioning from a backpedal to a downfield run, the defensive back MUST use his upper body to help his lower body open up. Rip the elbow to open up the playside foot and then roll over the outside foot to transition. Burst when you transition with a nice, smooth turn, keeping your pads at the same level. Explode your head and eyes down the field. A common mistake is coming up too high or crow-hopping in the turn. This will slow the turn down, get your weight on your heels, and slow your progress down the field.
WINNING AT THE POINT OF ATTACK
Winning at the point of attack, by getting the ball at its highest point, is the most important (and hardest to develop) skill for a defensive back. This is because more games are won at the point of attack, than anywhere else. This is why we spend so much time practicing this skill. No matter what coverage it is, the game often comes down to you, the man, and the ball. The bottom line: WE MUST WIN!
Winning at the point of attack all begins with mentality. It is about the desire to go and get the ball when it is in the air. This desire starts with a positive mental frame of mind. You will never hear me say, “Don’t get beat deep.” That is soft and leads to us playing scared. In the secondary, we ATTACK! Instead, of talking about getting beat deep, we will focus on staying on the upfield shoulder, and going and getting the ball at its highest point, taking the initiative for 50/50 balls. When the ball is in the air, it is ours! We are the receiver! You can’t have an attacking mentality if you’re afraid, just like you can’t steal second with your foot on first base.” The physical aspect of winning at the point of attack, getting the football at its highest point, comes down to attacking the ball with proper positioning, timing, and finishing. Before attacking the football at its highest point, the defensive back must properly run down the field. They must keep running with their arms in, only putting them out to jump at the last second. In zone, the defensive back must avoid peeking at the man. They must track the ball because it will take you the man, and more importantly, the point of attack. The key is to get depth and then plant back towards the ball. A common mistake for defensive backs is that they stop running, and try to time their steps (making a Sports Illustrated pose). This can cause them to try to catch the ball leaning away (or worse, backpedaling) from the line of scrimmage and the ball instead of attacking towards it. The more square the defensive back’s shoulders are to the line of scrimmage, the better off they will be. Once proper positioning and angles have been established, the defensive back must FINISH! The last 18” are the most important. Watch the ball in and secure it.
DEFENDING THE POST AND THE BOMB (CORNERS) – MAYBE MOVE TO BAIL SECTION? XXX
The two most important routes we must defend are the Post and the Bomb (Fade). These are the two most dangerous routes. If we defend these two routes, we will be in a lot of ball games! In general terms, the Corners will defend these routes in Cover 4, and the Safeties will defend them in Cover 2. For the Corners, the defending the Post route begins with getting proper depth in the bail. We are bailing outside so we must get enough depth to close the upfield shoulder once it breaks to the inside (generally at 10 yards). Once we have secured the upfield shoulder, track the ball, not the man. This will take you the interception point (generally about 30 yards down the field). The only time you can undercut the Post is in the Red Zone. To begin playing the Fade, time the bail and run for depth. As the receiver fades toward the sideline, fade with him and stay on top of the route. The depth of the Fade depends on the footwork of the Quaterback. 3 Step Fades will generally be thrown at 30 yards and the 5 Step Fades are generally thrown at 45 yards. Get enough of depth so you can plant, come back to the ball, and attack it at the highest point. If the receiver gets outside of you too far where you lose vision, and you feel that you cannot fade back to him, execute a Centerfield Turn and cut the receiver off in a position to play the ball.
DEFENDING THE POST AND THE BOMB (SAFETIES)
In general, the Safeties will defend the Post and Bomb in Cover 2 (defending these in Cover 4 will come from an inside and underneath position). Defending these routes begins with executing proper, initial footwork. When the ball is thrown, the Safety wants to track it, not the man. If the Safety tracks the man, he may take proper angles and be in a poor position to high point the football (we are in zone coverage after all). The ball will take you to the man and allow you to make a play on the ball.
PROBLEMS CATCHING THE BALL
If players are having problems catching the ball, it generally comes down to eye placement and hand placement. The players must look the ball in before advancing it down the field. In terms of hands, the defensive back must form a diamond (noose) with their hands, with their elbows in. If the elbows get too wide, the hands can get too close to the chest, and the ball can bounce off of it.
DEFENDING THE RUN
The techniques for defending the run depends on the run support role a position plays within with the Coverage. For example, in Cover 4, the Safeties are the primary support players (Force) and the Corners are the Secondary Contain, the
last line of defense to the run. Conversely, in Cover 2, the Corners are the Force players and the Safeties are the Secondary Contain players and the last line of defense. These specific techniques are addressed in the coverage sections.
LEVERAGE & ANGLES
Regardless of the responsibility within the coverage, defensive backs need certain techniques to defend against the run. The first consideration for defending the run is understanding the leverage to play with – the defensive back must know if he is fitting outside or inside of blocks. This determines angles approaching the ball, as well head, hand, and foot placement when taking on blocks. The defensive back must play their leverage because we are building a fence around the ball in our run fits based on the coverage. Pick a side, but never take on a block headup. This gives the runner a two-way go – he can either go inside or outside. OUTSIDE LEVERAGE: If you are the outside defender against the run (Primary Force or Secondary Contain), establish outside position on the blocker, keeping the outside leg and arm free. Keep everything inside and in front of you, never letting the ball get outside of the fence we are building. If you are outside leverage, make sure to never go underneath or inside of a block – climb high and go over the top. If you are late to force the run (Secondary Contain technique: Corners in Cover 4/Safeties in Cover 2), remember to be patient when coming up to support the run. Do not come up for the run until the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage. You are a deep pass defender – if you come up too fast, you will be exposed on Playaction passes and/or Trick plays. INSIDE LEVERAGE/ALLEY: If you are the inside leverage or Alley player (head up to the ball), you will take on all blocks keeping your inside leg and arm free. In the secondary, this technique is most used by Safeties in Cover 4. Approach the ball with your shoulders square fitting up to the blocker inside. We never want to stay blocked, but you must careful of timing up the shed. When you are an inside-out player, you are responsible for some type of cutback. If you shed the block too early, separation can occur (or the blocker can recover and get his hands on you again) and you may lose the cutback position. The ballcarrier will be able to get back to the inside.
The first step to shedding a block is seeing it. You cannot defeat a block if you can’t see it. If your eyes are elsewhere when the blocker gets his hands on you, you will lose your power. Once you see the blocker, you must control him. Establish proper leverage with your body, and explode your hands into the man, hitting with the same hand and foot at the same time. STALK BLOCK: The stalk block occurs when the receiver the defensive back is aligned on, comes and directly blocks them. To defeat this block, first see the blocker and control him. If the defensive back is outside leverage, the inside hand should be place in the V-of-the-Neck with the outside hand on the tricep. If the player is inside leverage, place the outside hand in the V-of-the-Neck with inside hand on the tricep. Once hand placement has been established, explode your hands, bench pressing the block to get full extension. After you control the blocker with full extension, use violent hands to rip, push/pull, or swim off of the block and attack the ball. Timing is key – shedding a block too early can lead to the defender prematurely getting too far outside (losing the fence) or go inside too quickly (giving up the cutback). A stalk blocker can come from anywhere. Their goal will be to either turn you out to run inside or reach you to run outside. Versus a Turnout block, where the receiver attempts to block the defensive back by turning his butt to the ball to prevent him from coming inside, stun the blocker and push him back into the hole. Versus a Reach block, where the receiver attempts to pin your outside shoulder, take your outside and pull up while simultaneously ripping down with the inside hand. This creates a “steering” effect to control the blocker (picture turning a steering wheel). Make sure the deep pass defenders (Corner in Cover 4/Safety in Cover 2) do not peek inside or come up too fast to attack the Stalk. Doing this can lead to the offense running Crack and Go, where the receiver pretends to stalk block the defender, get him to bite or peek, and then run by him. CRACK BLOCK: A crack block is when an outside receiver goes inside to block a player, leaving the Corner unblocked. The crack block is mostly used on outside plays and is usually designed to block the Force defender (Safety in Cover 4, OLB in Cover 3) or an Inside Linebacker. The goal is usually to isolate the Corner by making him make the tackle in
space, or to pull another receiver, running back, and/or an offensive lineman to block him. The Corner will most often see a Crack block versus Cover 4 (cracking against Cover 2 is not ideal because you are blocking someone who is late to the ball, while leaving the primary run support player free to the ball). The proper technique to defend the Crack Block is called “Crack Replace.” The Corner will secure the upfield shoulder of the blocker and yell, “CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!” The Corner must communicate this because often, the person getting cracked cannot see it. Do not allow your teammate to be blindsided! The Safety or Outside Linebacker will you’re your “Crack” call, identify the blocker, and attack him. This will be his only threat because an offense is not going to dedicate two blockers to a defensive back (unless someone really screwed up). After the crack block has been secured and the ball is crossing the line of scrimmage, plant and re-direct, coming off the ass of the receiver. Look for another blocker or puller coming at you and become the Primary Force Player. Securing the crack block with disciplined eyes and a proper upfield position is key. If the Corner does not do this, they susceptible the dreaded “Crack n’ Go” double move route off of Playaction or the Halfback Pass. PUSH CRACK: A variation of the crack block is the Push Crack. This block is often seen by Option teams that try to sell a vertical route, for 5 to 7 yards, and then attempt to crack block the Safety. The mechanics of defending this are the same as the crack block – have disciplined eyes, secure the upfield shoulder, and only close down to the LOS when the ball has crossed it. Teams will not Push Crack us because our Safeties will be so aggressive and close to the LOS that they will not have time to sell a vertical route and block him. CUT BLOCKS: In the secondary, Cut Blocks are executed by receivers who are trying to get us on the ground. Unless Cut Blocks are a primary weapon in an offense (i.e. – Option teams), they are a compliment to you; this means the offense is having a difficult time blocking you and are resorting to diving on the ground to get you blocked. To defend the Cut Block, you first must identify and see it (can’t defeat any type of block if you can’t see it!). Shoot your hands and place them on the helmet violently. Bend at the knees and protect the backside leg (leverage leg). Make sure to push the receiver down and don’t catch him. If you catch the block, he has a great chance of reaching your backside leg and you will be blocked.
Tackling is one of the most important and overlooked techniques in the secondary. Many people think because we like to run downfield and cover, that we don’t like to tackle. This is far from the truth! We will be a physical imposing secondary that strikes fear into the heart of our opponents. Tackling doesn’t start with simply being big, fast, and strong. These traits certainly help and play a large role. However, tackling starts with desire. Players that want to hit and thrive being physical are often the best tacklers. After desire, comes technique. The best tacklers have disciplined technique, no matter what the situation is. Many players see a big hit and become so excited that they forget to use their technique. The biggest hits and “picture perfect tackles” don’t come from wildly launching your body at a player; they come from the combination of desire, ability, and perfect technique. The only time you can just tee off on a ballcarrier is if the player can’t see you and you have help nearby. The less help and the more space the ballcarrier has, the more cautious you have to be (don’t confuse cautious with not being physical!). Picture perfect technique starts with having vision on the ballcarrier, in a bent knee position, with the arms and feet tight to the body. The power from a tackle comes from the ground up – the force is generated for driving feet and explosion in the hips – if there is no base, there is no power. We will examine generic coaching points of tackling by examining the Form Tackle. The Form Tackle is a head-up tackle where the ballcarrier and tackler are face-to-face, square in the hole.
FORM TACKLE – BEFORE CONTACT
The approach of the tackle, before contact, puts the defender in a position to make proper contact with picture perfect, bone-jarring hit. Here are the coaching points for the Form Tackle before contact. Head and Eyes Up: Keeping your head and eyes up helps you see the tackle and enables you to change direction if needed. The upper body and lower body are tied together. If the head goes down, the arms get out of
framework of the body, the feet widen out, and you lose your base of power. More importantly, if your head drops, you can be seriously injured (neck absorbs the impact). Guns in the Holster (Arms tight to the hips): Your arms must in a “holstered” position like a gun fighter in the old West. The arms must be tight in the framework of the body to prevent them from widening, along with your feet. Keeping the guns holstered helps keep a tight base on the approach and is the means to deliver the power on contact. Squeeze the Beach Ball: (Knees bent and slightly in) (“Squeeze the Beach Ball”) – To picture the correct knee and foot position on a perfect tackle, imagine taking a beach ball and sticking it in between your knees. This will keep your knees bent to be in an athletic position. Keeping your knees in, prevents your feet from widening out. If your feet widen, you will not be able to change directions or generate power on contact. Take the Air Out of the Ballcarrier (Chest-to-Chest): When making a tackle, you must “take the air out of the ballcarrier.” This means closing the distance between you and the ballcarrier, getting to a chest-to-chest position. Many missed tackles come from the defender not being close enough to the ballcarrier, which causes them to lunge with no ability to change directions or generate power. You should be close enough to the ballcarrier to spell their breath! Shimmy Down – Right before contact, shimmy your feet, accelerating them at a rapid pace. If your knees are in, and you shimmy down, you easily be able to change direction. For a long time, coaches used the phrase “break down.” This is incorrect because it gives you the idea that you want to stop your feet. Stopping your feet will prevent you from being able to change directions and will not generate power on contact.
FORM TACKLE – MAKING CONTACT
The techniques listed, before contact, will put you the perfect position when making contact. These coaching points should take place simultaneously to create the perfect tackle. Hit on the Rise – When tackling the ballcarrier, explode from the ground up. Generate the power from the Shimmy and explode your hips through the ballcarrier. Clubs Not Crabs – When making contact, shoot your clubs (arms) under the armpits of the ballcarrier with a double uppercut motion, and grab cloth (ballcarrier’s jersey). If you get under the ballcarrier and try to pick him up, he cannot move. If your arms get wide (picture a crab), the ballcarrier can easily get out of the tackle. You will not have power or a good grasp on him. This will also cause your feet to widen, further decreasing your power. Bite the Ball – When making contact, put your facemask on the ball (not the top or “crown” of your helmet. This will help you maintain a low pad level and hopefully cause fumbles. To and Through Contact – When you hit the ballcarrier, don’t just aim to him – drive THROUGH him. Imagine you are hitting another player behind him. This will cause further acceleration and prevent your feet from stopping your feet on contact. Accelerate Your Feet on Contact – Driving your feet on contact is one of the most important and forgotten techniques in tackling. You want to move your feet faster when you make contact than you did leading up to the hit. Your power is generated from the ground, through your feet, to your hips; and when you hit the player, you want to continue to generate power. To illustrate this, imagine a baseball player trying to hit a homerun if he stopped his bat as soon as he made contact. It simply can’t happen!
ANGLE TACKLE (SIDELINE TACKLE)
The Angle Tackle is made on a ballcarrier when you are headup with the player and he is running to your left or right. Most angle tackles will be made from an inside-out position. To make an angle tackle, track the near hip at a 45 degree angle, staying inside-out. I would rather let the ballcarrier get an extra yard, than have you overrun the ball and have him cutback. As you approach the ballcarrier, try to keep your shoulders as square as possible to prevent the cutback (sometimes this is harder to do).
The point of emphasis for contact is the same as the Form Tackle – the only difference is that the defender will have to adjust his angle on contact. Take a tight 45 degree and angle aim for the near hip. Get your head across and in front of the ball, and strike THROUGH the ballcarrier with the same hand and foot. If the player is near the sideline, execute the same techniques with a heavier inside position. Use the sideline as a 12th defender; because after all, Sammy Sideline has NEVER missed a tackle. Most Angle Tackles will be from an inside-out position. However, if you are outside leverage, maintain the same angle, outside-in, and execute the tackle.
This is the most difficult tackle for a defensive player to make. The openfield tackle involves a ballcarrier and defender, 1-on-1. Hopefully we will not see this situation. If we properly leverage the ball and swarm to it, we should be in a position where the openfield tackle is an afterthought. However, if this situation does arise, be smart. Don’t try to be the hero. Run right at the ballcarrier, keeping your shoulders square. Take the air out of the ballcarrier and get chestto-chest. When he goes to make his cut, shimmy down, and get him down by any means necessary. Just because you are in the openfield, doesn’t mean that you need to be desperate. The worst thing a defender can do is take a poor angle, open their shoulders, and dive at a player. There is no need to leave your feet – run, get close to him, and execute your angle tackle techniques.
TACKLING A BIGGER PLAYER
Sometimes, you are confronted with tackling a player who is much bigger than you. This could be a Running Back or a Tight End. At first, attempt to execute your proper tackling techniques. If you genuinely feel out-matched, grab onto the ballcarrier, hold on for dear life, and wait for your teammates to come. If you are in the openfield, and do not feel you can bring the ballcarrier down by yourself, aim an inch below the thigh pad and take them out. The key point is to keep your head and eyes up. If you try to cut someone with your head down, they can easily side-step you and continue running down the field.
Like tackling, effective blitzing begins with an attacking mentality. When you blitz, be prepared to make a play; expect that good things will happen. Don’t be scared or anticipate bad things happening. Attack 100 miles an hour, and dictate to the offense what is happening, instead of the other way around.
Disguising intentions is one of the most powerful tools that a defense has. Sometimes, the threat of the blitz is sometimes as powerful as the blitz. When we are good at blitzing, we will keep the offense guessing. They will be reacting to our intensions, worry about what we are going to instead of the other way around. We want to make it look like we are playing coverage when we are coming, and make it look like we are coming when we are playing coverage. And if they don’t respect our blitz alignments? Their Quarterback will be on his back! In the secondary, we want to give a consistent look. We want our stance to be the same playing coverage as when we are blitzing. If we are up near the line of scrimmage, we want a staggered stance with the weight on the balls of our feet ready to roll off, with our hands ready to fight. We want our feet shoulder width apart; this is because we can’t do anything athletically with your feet widen than your shoulders. If we are bluffing and showing blitz, be subtle. Don’t be overly dramatic (no Harry Highschool!). Take slow and steady steps while thinking in your head, “I’m coming… after… your ass!” If we are trying to time the blitz, hold your alignment until the QB puts his hands under Center. Many Quarterbacks will stand behind the Center, yelling a cadence, but not have their hands under Center. The Center can’t snap it until he puts them under, so make sure to not show your hand when it isn’t necessary. This is also true in the Shotgun. The Quarterback can’t catch a snap until his hands are up and ready to receive the ball. His hands going up may not signal that the snap is coming at that instant. However, I guarantee you the ball won’t be coming if his hands aren’t up, so don’t begin creeping until they do.
When blitzing, make sure to have the weight over the front foot, ready to roll off and attack on the snap. On the snap of the ball, come 100 miles an hour and hit the edge or your gap. Get ready to use violent hands! When taking on blockers, choose a side – do not take a blocker down the middle (rush half a man). The side you blitz is usually is determined by your leverage. Do not take a blocker down the middle. Refuse to be blocked! Don’t blitz like it’s freeze tag! (Oops, I got blocked… I’m out!) Use the block destruction escapes and keep rushing the passer. There are two types of blitzers: Contain blitzers and Spill blitzers. Contain blitzers’ aiming point is the deepest shoulder of the deepest back. They are responsible for containing outside runs and the Quarterback and take on all blockers with their outside leg and arm free. Contain blitzers never bite inside because there are other players responsible for the inside gaps. Continue to climb high and turn everything inside. Spill blitzers are responsible for pushing the ball outside. On all runs, they will take the blockers on with their outside leg and arm, keeping the inside half of their body free. On passes, they have a little more freedom. If a offensive player attempts to pass block them, they have a two-way go. They can pick a side and rush hard. However, they must be in an inside position to make a play if the Quarterback steps up from outside pressure.
On a Corner blitz, the Boundary Corner will blitz. Generally speaking, he will be an outside, contain rusher aiming for the deepest shoulder of the deepest back. The base alignment will be to show Press, with feet and shoulders square. Do not peak in at the Quarterback too much or you may give away that you are coming. Right before the snap of the ball, the Corner will begin to creep down the line of scrimmage, keeping his shoulders square. The timing of this is extremely important. If he shows it too early, the Quarterback can check the play and throw a Hot route to the receiver he is lined up on. If the offense quick counts or if he gets caught, roll off the inside foot and come from width. On the snap, he will roll off of the inside foot and blitz, aiming for the deepest shoulder of the deepest back. As the Quarterback drops, climb high and continue rushing at a wide, 45 degree angle. If a back shows to block you, rush the outside shoulder, escape, and tomahawk the Quarterback’s throwing arm. A sack isn’t good enough – we want the sack and the ball! The only time a Corner can come underneath on a spill path is if the End or another blitzer gets too high up the field. This is not an ideal situation, but if the other blitzer is up the field, there is probably someone blocking him, and no one blocking you. Adjust your angle as you rush and set your sights on the downfield shoulder of the Quarterback. We can play around with our disguises when we good at executing the blitz. For example, we can make “Show” calls. If a Show call is made with no other call, it means to show the blitz and bring it. However, if two calls are made (Show Corner blitz, Cover 4), we will show that we are coming, and then bail to coverage. When bluffing the Corner blitz, know the accompanying coverage call to determine the point at which you need to pop out. Disguising is great, but make sure to never align, or disguise yourself, out of doing your job. For example, if we call “Show Corner Blitz Cover 2,” we are trying to bait the Quarterback into making the quick (Hot) throw to the WR. We are calling Cover 2 because we think they will throw a Hitch or Slant to #1. Since you have the Flats in Cover 2, you can pop out on the snap. However, if we think they will check to Fade, we will call “Show Corner Blitz Cover 4.” Now, you have to pop out pre-snap because you have the Deep Outside 1/4. Experienced Corners will be allowed to play around with their alignments even if a call isn’t made. But to do this, you have to earn that right through proper execution, disguise, and understanding of the game. There are two issues that may happen if a Corner blitz is called and adjustments must be made. These adjustments will be based on gameplan. However, here are some generic options for us. The first is if you get 2 Wide Receivers into the boundary. We can still bring the blitz from the outside, align the Corner in the Slot, or call the blitz off altogether. The second situation is a running back running a Flare route into the boundary. We can either have Corner peel off with it, have the Inside Linebacker to your side read out of the blitz and cover it, or bring both you and ILB and rally to it if it’s thrown.
Cover 4 Safeties – must stay square to rob routes, pursue the ball not allowing cutback and to be able to tackle TAKING THE BALL AWAY
Important – it’s not a turnover, we are taking the ball away from them, whether they like or not
ROUTES – MAYBE INCLUDE SOMEWHERE ELSE?!
PLAYING OFF w/ SAFETIES
Let him come to you – don’t false step – know his skill Fight over the top of picks Get on upfield shoulder on vertical routes If you are in the Slot, expect Corner routes first
IDENTIFYING SPLITS/FORMATIONS/ETC. OTHER TECHNIQUES/DISGUISES – Blanket/Sticks
BLANKET Alignment – everyone lines up at 10 yards (great weapon); In the Red Zone, Blanket is at 7 yards Like to play Blanket on 3rd & Medium 4 Blanket o At the snap – Corners XXX, Safeties shuffle and sit flat 2 Blanket o At the snap – Corners creep up and see the 3 step; drive down as soon as you see your guy go flat, Safeties get depth STICKS Less than 3rd and 10, make “STICKS” call – line up @ Sticks and don’t let them pass you
PRESS & BAIL TECHNIQUES
PRESS AND BAIL
Press coverage (also known as bump and run coverage) is an aggressive man-to-man technique where the defensive back plays tight to the receiver. The goal is to disrupt the timing of the routes. This is key because the passing game is all timing. Bail is a technique used in zone coverage, where the defensive back shows that he is playing press man coverage, and bails to a zone.
PHILOSOPHY OF USING PRESS AND BAIL
Playing Press and Bail lets us dictate to the offense which routes can be run, instead of the other way around. These techniques are perfect compliments to each other. When you play Press technique, it is harder to complete short or routes that break back to the ball. Because of this, the offense will try to run Slants and Fades. Conversely, when you Bail, you can take away those routes (depending on the coverage), but are softer against Curls, Comebacks, Digs. If you mix up Press and Bail techniques, you dictate to the offense what routes you are “allowing” them to have. The deadly part is right until the ball is snapped, they both look the same. This drives Quarterbacks crazy and you can sometimes frustrate them into making bad decisions. For example, if we have been playing a lot of Press and the Quarterback sees that, he will audible to a Fade route. The Quarterback comes up, sees you pressed, checks Fade, snaps the ball, takes 3 steps, and lets it fly. The problem? You have bailed and are 4 yards on top of the receiver in a perfect position to intercept the ball. The disguise can be enhanced by tricking the Quarterback into thinking you are playing man, when you are really playing zone (and vice versa). For example, to mess with Quarterbacks, you can yell “I have number 19” when you are playing The other advantage of playing Press and Bail is that it forces your eyes to be disciplined. When you Press, you can only see the receiver’s belt buckle. In Bail, you are looking at the Quarterback and “feeling” your man out of the corner of your eye. Conversely, when you play off-man, you have too much to see. You have to slowly backpedal while looking at the Quarterback and then your receiver. Meanwhile, the receiver gets a free release and can run any route he pleases. Also, you are susceptible to a defensive back’s worst night mare – the double move. When you play off, you are reacting to him! When you Press and Bail, they are reacting to you! They never know which technique you are doing (which is why disguise is of the utmost importance!).
PRESS TECHNIQUE (BUMP AND RUN) PHILOSOPHY
Bump and Run is the most effective tool for a Corner. It allows you to play tight to the receiver, be physical, and disrupt the timing of the route. If it wasn’t effective, the NFL would not have banned it past 5 yards. It makes the receiver react to
you, rather than you react to him. Instead of coming off the line uncontested and simply thinking about his route, he now has to think how he is going to try to beat you. Plus, we all know receivers don’t like to be touched. TALK MORE ABOUT THIS XXX
MISCONCEPTIONS OF PRESS
Many coaches think playing Press is more difficult than other techniques like playing Off-Man. This is simply not true. In fact, playing Press is easier than Off-Man – it lets you play tight with the receiver with your eyes on him and only him. When you play off, you must transition your eyes, backpedal, and turn while judging his speed from a distance. By playing tight, we don’t have to practice all the extremely difficult techniques needed to play Off-Man and focus on the most important aspect of playing in secondary – playing the deep ball! These same coaches also think you need a superstar player with special ability and athleticism to play Press. This is not true – these coaches either don’t believe in it, or don’t know to coach it. These aforementioned traits make a good player even better, but they are not a necessity. Playing Press has nothing to do deep speed – it is about being technically sound and playing with no wasted steps. In fact, anyone can play Bump and Run initially with disciplined eyes and good angles. The player’s ability doesn’t come into play until you
are down the field (which is a factor in any coverage technique). If you are getting beat in Press, it is mostly because of undisciplined eyes or bad angles.
OVERVIEW – MAKE SURE I HAVE INCLUDED EVERYTHING XXX
The overall technique depends on the player. Some players play more with their feet and some use their hands more. Regardless, of the style of play, playing Press techniques is all about eyes, hands, and then feet. It all starts with disciplined eyes, a functional stance, and an inside leverage alignment. On the snap of the ball, the defensive back must keep their shoulders square for as long as possible, while denying the inside. Playing press is like drawing a charge in basketball – the emphasis is on bringing the feet, cutting the receiver off, then bringing your hands. Down the field, the defensive back wants to get hip-to-hip with the receiver and once he has cut him off, pin him and look for the ball. These phases are important because defensive backs get beat in Press coverage in three ways: 1) at the line of scrimmage, 2) in transition, and 3) at the point of attack.
STANCE: The stance is the first part of the pre-snap plan. In a good Press stance, the defensive back has bent knees with their feet and shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage (no stagger). They have a good body lean with the weight on the inside of the balls of the feet. ALIGN: The goal of press coverage is to take away the inside of the receiver. The base alignment in press is to split the inside crotch of the WR. Depending on the player’s comfort and ability, they can move more inside (your outside foot to their inside foot) or tighter to the receiver (more experienced players can align their outside eye to the inside eye of the receiver). They should take as much of the ball as they can, aligning as tight to the line of scrimmage as possible. However, this depends on the height and arm length of the defensive back. For example, defensive backs with longer arms want to play a little farther off (but not much). This is because if they get too tight, they won’t be able to deliver a punch with full extension. This will cause the arm to get jammed in, the feet might stop, which will cause their weight to get back on their heels. Based on a certain call or coverage, you can stem your alignment from outside to inside, and vice versa. ASSIGNMENT: In Press, you have your man with inside leverage all over the field (except certain coverages where we play Press and peel off on certain routes; i.e. – Cover 4 Press). If your man motions, you take him all over the field. We call this “Rodeo Rules” – in the Rodeo, you ride the bull you ride. You don’t get to swap, trade, etc. That is the same with this defense. When you banjo and bump, it ends up being the “Buddy system” – somebody is always open! KEYS/EYES: Pre-snap, the defensive backs’ eyes must be on the receiver’s belt buckle or bottom of the numbers. This is because the receivers will try all sorts of releases to juke you and get you to give up your leverage or open up your shoulders and hips to make their release easier. If your eyes come up and focus on the receiver’s eyes and/or shoulders, they will be able to fake you without moving their hips, which HAVE to move for them to move (especially vs. “foot fire” release). Thus, you must focus on the hips. Because like Shakira said, they don’t lie!
AT THE SNAP
The goal of playing press is to disrupt the timing of the receiver while keeping your hips and shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. This is accomplished by having disciplined eyes and feet first, and then using your hands second. This will help you be successful at the line of scrimmage – and the better job you do at the line, the better job you will do down the field. EYES: Again, the defensive back must keep their eyes down on the hips (belt buckle). If the eyes come up, not only will you possibly take a fake away from your leverage or open up, but your body can come up (where they eyes go, the body will follow) and your weight will be on your heels, instead of one the balls of your feet. This will make transitioning very difficult. FEET: Playing press is eyes, feet, and then hands. The common misconception is that playing Press technique is a super physical technique where the defensive back simply tries to beat up the receiver. It doesn’t mean we won’t have violent
hands when we deliver a blow, but the technique is more finesse than just jacking the receiver up (the exception to this is other techniques such as the Quick Jam or Trail Technique in Cover 2 Man Under). Again, playing press is like drawing a charge in basketball – it is eyes, feet, hands. The goal is to get the feet in front of the receiver and then deliver a blow. When playing Press, the weight must always be on the inside balls of the feet. Your weight can’t be on your heels or you won’t be able to transition. On the initial step, make sure not to false step (hopping in place or lunging forward). This is wasted movement and gives the receiver an extra step on you. Even worse, if you lunge at a receiver and you miss him, it’ll be like two trains passing in the night. This could be a critical mistake that is a sure-fire recipe for giving up a big play. Again, the goal is to mirror the receiver and disrupt the timing, not wrestling the receiver. Keeping your weight on the balls of your feet will prevent false stepping (hopping or lunging). In addition to stepping forward, the defensive back must not back up. Instead, be patient, sit down (don’t shuffle), and squeeze him based on his release. When stepping, the defensive back must keep the feet tight together. If your base gets too wide, you will get overextended, your feet will get outside of your shoulders and the framework of your body, and you will not be able to quickly move your feet and/or transition. A wide base will also cause your hands to drop because your upper body and lower body are tied together (addressed in the next section). When the receiver moves, you move. Get your feet moving – step and slide. Also, prevent your feet from crossing over. This will also prevent you from being able to transition and open up. Lastly, a key component of effective Press coverage is protecting the inside. The defensive back must avoid taking a fake against his leverage. This is accomplished with disciplined alignment, eyes, and footwork. He must be patient and cannot jump outside on and outside release. He is inside for a reason – hopping outside defeats the purpose of the technique. HANDS: Once you have disciplined eyes and feet, the hands can be incorporated into playing the Press technique. The most important thing to remember when using your hands is that they go together with your lower body. A wide and overextended base will cause your hands to drop. Make sure to have your hands ready on the snap of the ball – keep them involved and don’t drop them. With your first step, get your hands on the receiver unless he runs to the cheerleaders (takes a wide outside release). After all, the Press technique is also known as Bump and Run. You want to punch with your opposite hand (most of the time it is the inside hand, unless it’s an inside release). The idea is to stay square at the line of scrimmage for as long as possible, but once he makes a move, you can use your hands to open your hips to match his hips. When you get your hands on him, deliver a blow and punch, aiming for the breastplate. If you can get your hand on the breastplate, you will have a steering wheel to control the receiver. The key is to punch, not catch. If you catch the receiver, your feet will stop and your weight will be on your heels (making it hard to transition). Conversely, you don’t want to lunge towards the receiver. Again, you are punching the receiver to disrupt the timing; you aren’t trying to knock the receiver out. Lunging forward will make you false step and possibly miss the receiver. Also, remember to bring your feet with your hands. If you lean and reach for the receiver without moving your feet, your hips and feet will lock and you won’t be able to open up, transition, and the receiver will run past you. Lastly, remember to replace your hands on the receiver if he tries to knock them off of him. SHOULDERS: The key to playing the Press is keeping your shoulders square to the line of scrimmage for as long as possible and can be best described using a door as an analogy. You can’t go through a door if it is closed – the same is true is for a receiver releasing into a route. He can’t go up the field if you are in front of him. Staying square and keeping the door closed will not allow the receiver to freely release. This will disrupt his route, which is the exact reason we are playing the Press technique. On the other hand, if you open the door, the receiver will be able to run his desired route without disruption. Because of this, the defensive back must stay square to the line of scrimmage unless the receiver runs away from him for a fade release, which will be covered in the next section.
There are only so many releases that receivers can make at the line of scrimmage versus Press coverage. These include releasing directly at the defensive back, inside towards the ball, or outside and away from the ball (tight and wide). Off of these main releases, there are variations and counter moves such as foot fire, 1 and 3 steps out and in. Because we are inside leverage, the two most common releases are tight outside and wide outside (for Slants and Fades). The key to defending these various releases is film study. A receiver will not execute every one of these. The defensive back must understand the receivers’ body type, the offenses’ favorite routes, and the defensive coverage’s strengths and weaknesses to determine the release they will see. AT YOU: Bigger receivers will use this release against smaller defensive backs. They will try to drive you off the ball, get your feet to stop and/or weight on your heels instead of the balls of your feet, and get you to lunge forward to engage them. To combat this, match his steps backwards with a good base as you punch (picture an Offensive Lineman blocking a Defensive Lineman). Do not punch first, or lean. This will stop your feet and enable the receiver to use your momentum against you, allowing him to easily release. Conversely, do not back up too fast and take more steps than he does. If you do, this will cause separation and he will have an easier time releasing and getting into his route. Remember, Press is just like drawing a charge in basketball (feet then hands). Picture Muhammad Ali boxing – he was able to step back and punch with full force because he had a good base and his hips were coiled. FOOT FIRE: Foot fire is a release used by smaller and quicker receivers. The receiver will quickly chatter his feet and hands to get the defensive back to have undisciplined eyes, back up pre-maturely, or stop their feet altogether (hopping in place). Defending this release begins with disciplined eyes. If your eyes are on the hips/belt buckle, the shimmy of the hands or shoulders will not affect the defensive back. This is because all the action is happening away from the one body part that has to move for the receiver to make a move – the hips. Conversely, if the eyes come up, the defensive back will be affected. This will cause him to either lunge, stop the feet, back up, or open up pre-maturely for no reason. INSIDE: If the receiver steps inside right away, sit down, stay square, and be patient. You can be a little late reacting because you are already inside. If he continues to go inside and attempts to cross your face, get your hands in the breastplate and the tricep. Ride him down the line of scrimmage and flatten him out. An inside release lets you break a few of the key rules of Press coverage. This is the only release you can use two hands and be physical. The defensive back can even peek for a second because all of the action (QB and ball) is inside of you. However, if you peek and the ball hasn’t been thrown, get your eyes back to the receiver. This is to protect you from the Slant and Go (Sluggo). Again, this release isn’t as prevalent because you are in an inside position. If the receiver wants to get inside, he will usually give an outside move to try to open you up, to get back inside. TIGHT OUTSIDE: A receiver releases tight and outside for a few reasons. First, he may be running a vertical route (Post, Curl, Comeback, Dig, etc.). The other reason he may release outside is to try and open you up to go back inside (Slant). If the receiver releases outside, tight to you, stay square for as long as possible. Your footwork, angle of hips, and punch will depend on the width of the outside release. If the receiver releases tighter, punch with your outside hand and step with your outside foot, and drag your inside foot, simultaneously replacing it. If the receiver releases a little wider, use the same footwork and punch with your inside hand to help you open your hips if he continues to go outside. However, do not hinge and open up too quickly. This will give the receiver a free release and not disrupt the timing of the receiver, which is the purpose of the technique. Also, do not hop outside with your first step on an outside release. If you do, you open the inside and the receiver can easily get back across your face. You are aligned inside for a reason – be patient and don’t give up your leverage. WIDE OUTSIDE: The main purpose of a wide, outside release is to run a fade. The defensive back must recognize the difference between a tight, outside release (to run a vertical route or to come back inside to run a Slant) and a wide, outside release (for the fade). You will be able to tell it is a Fade, because the receiver will basically run away from you. If this happens the defensive back wants to roll over, open up at a 45 degree angle with the inside hand hitting the near breastplate and the outside foot drop stepping. The goal is to cut the receiver off down the field, intersecting his route hip-to-hip, and eventually widening him towards the sideline and hopefully out of bounds, in a position to become the receiver (Pin Drill).
The 45 degree, patient cut off angle is important. The first mistake defensive backs make when playing the wide, outside release is taking a 45 degree angle that is too fast down the field to cut the receiver off. If this happens, the DB can get too high on the receiver, allowing the WR to easily cut back across the defensive back’s face, opening up the Slant route inside (remember the receivers want to get you to open up against your leverage to get to where they need to go). The second mistake a defensive back makes on a wide, outside release is hinging and opening up at 90 degree angle. If the defensive back steps in the hole at a 90 degree angle, he will open up perpendicular to the line of scrimmage and the receiver will be able to run straight up the field. This will not disrupt the timing or path of the route (will not widen him). Also, this can open the Slant – the defensive back will be in a position that will be difficult recover back to the inside. Conversely, the third common mistake defensive backs make against the wide, outside release is chasing the receiver laterally. Avoid staying square for too long, reaching and going flat down the line of scrimmage. If this happens, your hips will lock, and you will be in a trail position, unable to cut the receiver off and get hip-to-hip. If the receiver quickly releases away from you, there is no point in chasing him down the line of scrimmage. No route is executed 3 yards outside of the receiver, 3 yards down the field. Here are some diagrams of proper and poor angles versus the wide, outside release: DRAW PROPER EXECUTION VERSUS AN EARLY 45/90 DEGREE DROP STEP/GOING TO FLAT
In addition to the main releases, there are two main counter releases that we will see. Because we are playing inside, receivers will try to release outside to get us to open up, and then come back inside. Also, if we get good at defending outside releases (tight and wide), receivers will try to release inside for a step or two, then go outside. When executing counter releases, the receiver will use some sort of move when changing directions. The two most common moves are the swim and the rip. In general, bigger receivers will try and swim over the defensive back by striking the DB with the inside hand and then “swimming over” with the outside hand. Smaller receivers will rip under the defensive back by striking with their inside hand and uppercutting with the outside hand. 1 OUT AND IN: The most common route we will see playing inside Press technique is the Slant (especially if we are blitzing). Since we are inside, the receiver will have a difficult time immediately running towards the ball. Because of this, he will try to release outside first to open our shoulders pre-maturely, and then rip or swim the defensive back to come inside. On the initial outside step, take a proper 45 degree angle, dropping your outside foot, while sliding your inside foot to replace it. Punch with the opposite (inside) hand to the inside breastplate of the receiver to open your hips. Once the receiver comes back inside, drop your inside foot straight back and slide with your outside foot. You will then punch with the outside hand to replace the initial hand and open your hips to the inside at a 45 degree angle, while keeping your eyes on the belt buckle. If you open your shoulders at a 90 degree angle, and the receiver releases back inside, immediately opening back up to the inside is not an option. You must execute a speed turn – this technique is when the defensive back plants off of whatever foot is in the ground, and spins back around to the inside. To help facilitate this, the defensive back must rip their elbow to get their hips around and snap their eyes back towards the receiver as quickly as possible. This is a less desirable technique than simply opening back up because it takes longer and the eyes come off the receiver for a split second. This is why executing a proper 45 degree angle is a must. 3 OUT AND IN: Like the previous release, the goal of the receiver is to get the defensive back’s hips and shoulders turned and beat them back across their face. The receiver will take three steps (stride length depends on the receiver) and will try and swim over or rip under the defensive back. This is a less common release because it takes more time. This will be executed when the defensive back has done a good job defending the “1 Out and In” release. The coaching
points for defending this release are the same as the previous release. The only thing difference is the footwork because the receiver is executing three steps instead of one. 1 IN AND OUT: This release is used when the defensive back has done their job and properly defended tight and wide outside releases. The receiver will release directly at the defensive back and then execute a move to get back outside. The goal of this release is to facilitate a free release for the receiver by getting the defensive back to pop or stop their feet, lunge forward, back up, or turn their shoulders. If the defensive back pops or stops their feet, the receiver can freeze them (much like Foot Fire) and make a quick escape. If the defensive back lunges, the receiver can use the DB’s forward momentum against him to easily release off the line. If the defensive back pre-maturely turns his shoulder, this opens the gate and the receiver can release straight up the field. This is why disciplined eyes, patience, and proper footwork is key when playing the Press technique – the goal is to disrupt the timing and make the receiver go through you to get to where he wants to go.
As we have seen with each release, the key to a taking proper angle at the line is to match the receiver’s hips: if the receiver is square (at you or foot fire), you stay square; if the receiver releases inside, you step down inside with him; if he goes tight outside or wide outside, you cut him off and match his angle based on the width of his departure; and on counter moves, the appropriate angle is made by matching his first move and mirroring the second move. After the defensive back has shown patience at the line of scrimmage and executed the appropriate reaction to the receiver’s release, he has to be able to open up and run down the field. This is done by using the receiver’s momentum to help open up your hips. This is especially true if the receiver is bigger. The defensive back can make his job easier by using the receiver’s big body to his advantage. For example if the receiver wants to take vertical path with an outside release, the defensive back will step and deliver a punch on the first tight, outside move. The defensive back will use the receiver’s second, vertical step to further open him up and get in a position to run down the field, hip-to-hip.
IN THE OPEN FIELD
In the open field, the defensive back must continue to keep good body position on the receiver, staying hip-to-hip, and on the upfield shoulder (the shoulder down the field). They want to be tight to the receiver with their eyes on the receiver’s belt buckle and their arm securing and controlling the receiver. In college football, the defensive backs can be as physical as they want (this includes pushing the receiver down as long as he is in front of you) until the ball is in the air. Being physical is good, but the defensive back must not get too concerned with wrestling with the receiver where his eyes become undisciplined. This can cause separation which will make the receiver’s job of catching the ball easier.
IN AND OUT OF BREAKS
When the receiver breaks, his hips will usually drop. The key to making breaks in man coverage is to keep your eyes on the receivers’ belt buckle. If you peek back towards the Quarterback, separation occurs, and this is how you will get beat. The angle that the defensive back maintains in and out of his breaks depends on the route.
AT THE POINT OF ATTACK
Finishing at the point of attack is the single most important skill that a defensive back must master. He must secure proper body position on the receiver before playing the ball. In general, he wants to stay on the receiver’s upfield shoulder. In man-to-man, the defensive back cannot come underneath the receiver to make a play on the ball unless he is 100% sure he can make the interception. This is because he may not have safety help, and if the receiver gets behind him and catches the ball, it could be a touchdown. The receiver’s position and accompanying technique depends on the length of route (short, intermediate, or deep) and the direction of the break (in, out, up, or back). SHORT/INTERMEDIATE ROUTES: The defensive back wants to finish through the upfield shoulder to the ball. He must finish on the upfield shoulder to prevent the double move. This is even more important if the route is an outside breaking route (Out/Comeback). Finishing on the upfield shoulder on an outside breaking route is more difficult because the defensive back is playing with inside leverage and can be easily baited into undercutting a route. If this
happens, the defensive back is susceptible to biting on a double move. This is the hardest thing for a defensive back to defend because it uses their aggressive nature against them, and can lead to a big play.
DRAW EXAMPLES – Hitch/Slant/Out/Curl/Dig/Comeback – three lines of 2
CROSSING ROUTES When you play a lot of Press coverage, the offense will start to run Crossing Routes. If the receiver runs a Crossing route (either short or deep), climb high and go through all of the trash. Maintain disciplined eyes on the belt buckle of the receiver and an upfield shoulder position.
DRAW EXAMPLES – Drag (Drive), and Deep Crossing Route
DEEP ROUTES – POST/POST DIG/CORNER ROUTES: On these routes, the defensive back must secure the upfield shoulder. The defensive back wants to cut the receiver off and play through the upfield shoulder to the ball. Again, he can’t come underneath the route unless he is 100% sure he can make the interception.
POST/POST DIG/CORNER ROUTE DRAWING
DEEP ROUTE – THE FADE (BOMB): On the Fade, the defensive back’s technique is different. He is not breaking up towards the Quarterback. In this situation, the defensive back wants to cut the receiver off, secure proper position on him, lean into him, and fade him out of bounds. This makes the Fade, which is a low percentage pass to begin with, and even more difficult throw to execute. The defensive back must keep his eyes on the receiver until he is hip-to-hip with him with his elbow on his hip. Once this happens, the defensive back can then look back for the ball. When the defensive back runs forward and looks back, he will slow down. Because of this, the ONLY way he can look back for the ball is if he is truly hip-to-hip and leaning into the receiver. If there is any separation, the defensive back must snap his eyes back to the receiver. If the receiver gets behind the defensive back, he must keep running and play through the eyes (when they get big) or the hands of the receiver (when they come up to catch the ball). If the defensive back is running forward while looking back, and is not leaning into the receiver, he will slow down. To illustrate this, imagine running the 100 meters looking straight ahead. Now imagine running the 100 meters looking over your shoulder. Even if the defensive back is running down the field next to the receiver, he must be hip-to-hip and leaning into the receiver to look back at the ball. If he does not do this, he will create separation and the receiver can catch the ball. He will have no point of reference and the receiver can fade wider or worse, run past him. Getting hip-to-hip and leaning into the receiver also helps protect against one of the more difficult situations a defensive back encounters: the underthrown deep ball.
FADE ROUTE DRAWING
FINISHING ON ALL ROUTES: If the receiver catches the ball, the defensive back must finish with VIOLENCE!!! If the receiver catches the ball, he must punch and rip at the football with violent hands, while securing the tackle. This mentality will be developed in practice, where we will finish on every throw, whether it is individual drills, 7-on-7, and team periods. WHERE SHOULD I PUT ROUTES? GENERAL OR SEPARATE BY MAN AND ZONE?
PLAYING PRESS IN THE RED ZONE
In the Red Zone, the route tree is cut down because the length of the field is reduced. The top three routes we will see are: 1) Slants, 2) Fades, and 3) Fade Stop/Backshoulder Fade. Once, the receiver takes more than three steps, it is either Fade or the Fade Stop. Because the field is reduced, the defensive can look back quicker – he wants to make
violent contact, roll into the receiver, and look back quickly. The defensive back must make sure to be hip-to-hip and lean into the receiver. If separation occurs, the defensive back is susceptible to the Backshoulder Fade.
OTHER PRESS TECHNIQUES
There are some supplemental techniques that experienced players may use in addition to the traditional Press technique. QUICK JAM: This technique is set up with a well played Press and Bail technique. If an offense begins to key on your Bail technique and adjust their routes, you can enhance your disguise with the Quick Jam. The defensive back will show Press, open towards the Quarterback by dropping their inside foot back and opening up at a 90 degree angle without actually backing up. On the snap of the ball, the defensive back will square back up, aggressively punch the receiver, and pop back to play with their feet. They key is to time up the jam, not allow separation, and to be able to play back and mirror the receiver. If the defensive back lunges or creates separation between him and the receiver, the receiver will have an easy time releasing. TWO HAND JAM: This technique is used on aggressive coverages such as Cover 2 Zone and Man Under. The defensive back will aggressively use both hands and be more physical than the regular Press technique. You can be more aggressive because you have help over the top, and are either playing zone (Cover 2) or trailing the receiver (2 Man Under). BUMP TECHNIQUE (BUSTER): This technique is used when a defensive back is playing the Press technique in zone coverage such as Cover 4. The defensive back will play man-to-man on the receiver, using the regular Press technique, unless the receiver runs a Drag route inside. In this case, the defensive back will communicate by yelling “In, In, In,” open up to the Quarterback, and continue to get depth while identifying the #2 threat. If the receiver runs a Hitch, the defensive back will play tight to the receiver, and look back to the Quarterback. If he his shoulders are down and wide to the receiver, be ready to break to the receiver in front of you. If he is looking down the field, and his shoulders are high, get ready to open up and play the deeper route.
Have list of Dos and Don’ts – separate by pre-snap/at the line/down the field by subtopic – eyes, feet, hands, etc.
BAIL TECHNIQUE PHILOSOPHY
Bailing allows the defensive back to be in a position to become the receiver. After you have beat up the receiver at the line of scrimmage and he is fixated on how to get off of the Press, you bail and run his route for him. It gives a consistent look, disguising your intention to the receiver and the Quarterback. It allows the defensive back to open up and run, instead of having to transition from a square to a flipped position (one of the most difficult techniques).
PRE-SNAP – STANCE AND ALIGNMENT
Make sure your alignment and stance is the same for Bail as it is for the Press technique. We want to make the offense think we are playing Press every snap to confuse them and control the route tree.
PRE-SNAP – “CREEPING OUT”
During the cadence, flip your hips open towards the Quarterback with your back to the sideline. As you creep, get outside and gain width. Make sure to time the bail (this will be emphasized during deep ball drills), “so when the Quarterback starts talking, you start walking.” Begin creeping in a bent knee position with your pads over your toes. Make sure your creep is confident. Bail like a pouncing, kick ass wildcat, not like you had too much gin and you came home to see Mama’s light is on and now you are trying to sneak in; you gotta bail like a tiger, not like you just stepped in dog shit.
BAILING ON THE SNAP
When the ball is snapped, bail under control with your pads over your toes and a good body lean. Make sure to get width and have depth with a 3 to 4 yard cushion. This is so you can see the Quarterback and feel the receiver out of your peripheral vision. If you have to bail inside, you must gain even more depth. This is because now, the receiver will behind you. If you only maintain 3 or 4 yards of depth, you won’t be able to see him and you will lose your peripheral vision on the receiver.
PLAYING ROUTES – EDIT XXX
The technique and aiming point in Bail is the same as Press. The only exception is the Fade. If the receiver runs a Fade, widen out and fade with him, still eyeing the Quarterback. Maintain your depth and secure the upfield shoulder. When you bail, you will see a lot of inside routes and routes that break back to the Quarterback. If the Quarterback drops the ball, keep bailing. Don’t stop running and let the receiver behind you. SCRAMBLE DRILL!!!
AT THE POINT OF ATTACK – MAYBE MERGE WITH GENERAL TECHNIQUES!
Playing the ball at the point of attack comes down to getting on the upfield shoulder, closing the separation, and finishing at the highest point. Keep running, attempt to square up to the ball, go up, and get it! Take initiative because the ball is yours! This is the most important skill that a defensive back has!
PLAYING ROUTES – draw them from Press position (releases), Bail position???
Caveat: In Cover 4, you have the freedom to press or bail based on the situation. For example, if you just had to run 50 yards to cover a Fade and “Press” is called and you are tired, you can Bail. Just make sure to let the coach know between series. Lastly, if you don’t get a call or you are unsure what to do, bail to the Goal Line!
IDENTIFYING SPLITS SAMPLE OF COVERAGE TEACHING SHEET?
SAFETY FOOTWORK Cover 4 Man-to-Man
Kansas State University Defense
DESCRIPTION: Cover 4 is a 4 Deep, 3 Under, pattern matching zone coverage. Cover 4 is the best overall coverage in football because it has the smallest holes, is great against the run, play action, and the deep ball. RUN SUPPORT: Read Support (Safety Force) STRENGHTS: Vertical passing game Run Support – 9 in the box Playaction Pass WEAKNESSES: Strong Flat Out routes by WR Isolate RB 1-on-1 with Middle Linebacker COVER 4 – DRAW
DISGUISES/SUPPLEMENTARY CALLS: 4 Press: Press with Corners and peel on any crossing routes under 10 yards 4 Blanket: Secondary lines up at 10 yards, making it look like 4 across man. Corners are more patient in their Bail because they are already 10 yards off of the line of scrimmage. 4 Cloud: Make secondary look like Cover 2; Corners align 1 yard outside and 5 yards off the WR with the Safeties a little deeper than in normal Cover 4 (12-14 yards off). 4X: Used vs. 3x1 passing team. Backside Safety disregards the frontside #3 WR and doubles the backside #1 WR with the Corner
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 4 – CORNER PLAY
STANCE Functional stance – relaxed and comfortable ALIGNMENT Depends on the call; base alignment is inside leverage press man KEY Press: WR’s belt buckle Bail: See the QB/Ball and “feel” the WR with your peripheral vision ASSIGNMENT
Secondary Contain unless a crack block by #1; then become primary force. Secure Crack n’ Go by squeezing the upfield shoulder. Late to Pitch on Option.
Insurance (Last man to the ball)
Deep Outside 1/4 (Post and Bomb) COACHING POINTS When the Quarterback starts talking, you start walking. Turn your back to the sideline and creep out in a confident stance. On the snap of the ball, bail outside in a half turn run, with proper positioning, staying outside and high on the upfield shoulder. Your top two routes are the Post and the Bomb (Fade). If you get help on the Post, great. However, don’t expect it. The safety is playing aggressively inside and underneath – he may get sucked up or run off. Play Post/Bomb and react to Curls, Comebacks, and Digs. You are basically man-to-man on anything over 10 yards. If the WR runs anything under 10 yards, pass it off and look for work (identify #2). You are deep defender so do not bite on anything short. If you do, drive on the upfield shoulder to secure double moves. This way the WR has to go through you to execute Hitch n’ Go, Sluggos, Out n’ Ups. RULES AND ADJUSTMENTS BASE PRESS & BAIL RULES: The base rule for Cover 4 is this: 1 Quick (1 WR): Inside press man 2 or more Quicks (2+ WR): Bail These rules can be overridden with a Press or Bail call. For example, if a Press call is made and the offense comes out with 2 WRs to your side, you can press the outside WR, peeling off on any short routes. Conversely, if Bail is called, and only one WR comes out, you will still bail. These calls are made in certain situations (i.e. – a team comes out in a Pro set on 3rd & 8 and we think they will throw Fade).
TANDEM: Tandem is a call with 2 Tight or Stacked WRs. If we see this, we can play the routes as they unfold in more a true “zone concept.” BACKSIDE CORNER RULES: If a Corner has a nub TE, first route to expect is the Corner route from the TE. If he blocks, look across the formation to help and overlap on any deep crossers.
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 4 – CORNER PLAY
#1 POST INDIVIDUAL ROUTES CORNERS WILL SEE #1 BOMB (FADE)
#1 POST DIG
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 4 – SAFETY PLAY
STANCE Functional stance – relaxed and comfortable ALIGNMENT 10 yards off the LOS; outside shoulder of the TE (No TE, align on the “Ghost TE”). Width can very depending on the formation and gameplan KEY #2 ASSIGNMENT
Primary Force (Alley): Set the edge and turn the ball back inside. Must be able to adjust and fit off of the Outside Linebacker. If he fits tight, fit outside of him. If he is wide, be ready to fit tighter – “Make the OLB right.” Pitch on Option.
Cutback: Insert down and shuffle for Cutback, Counter, Boot, and Reverse. Do not chase the ball without coming down. If you do, you can open up a huge cutback.
Robber Technique (#2): Read #2 and react based on his actions: #2 Vertical – Take him Man-to-Man #2 Flat: Rob #1’s Curl #2 Drags: Rob #1’s Post #2 Blocks: Fill on Run (Alley) COACHING POINTS (DETAILED FOOTWORK IN DRILLS SECTION) On the snap of the ball, sit flat footed. You can buzz your feet, pop in place, or not move at all based on what is comfortable for you. No matter what your footwork you use, the key is to be patient and to stay flat and lateral with your shoulder square. You are a heat-seeking missile. If you read run, fly up and force the issue – do not be passive. The beauty of this coverage is that we are getting 9 guys in the box NOW! The Corner’s aren’t expecting any help, so don’t be passive On pass, the key is patience. If #2 comes up the field, shuffle out to your man and play him from an inside-out position. If #2 goes to the Flat, identify #1. If he is breaking towards you, it is a Slant. If he is up the field, expect the Curl. Jump underneath and rob it inside and underneath (The Corner is outside and over the top). If #2 drags across the formation, look out to #1, staying flat and lateral. Anticipate the Post – shuffle and roll inside and underneath the route. These route combinations are not 100% true every time, but give you the tools to anticipate route combinations. RULES AND ADJUSTMENTS 3x1 RULES: The backside Safety will rob frontside #3 to backside #1. TANDEM: True zone concept vs. 2 tight or stacked WRs (especially to the boundary); play routes as they unfold
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 4 – SAFETIES
#2 VERTICAL (SEAM) INDIVIDUAL ROUTES SAFETIES WILL SEE #2 POST
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 4 – ROUTE COMBINATIONS
2WR – 4 VERTICALS TOP ROUTE COMBINATIONS WE WILL SEE 3WR – 4 VERTICALS
2WR – CURL/FLAT
2WR – POST/DRAG
2WR – 1/4s BEATER
2WR – SMASH
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 4 – ROUTE COMBINATIONS
2WR – POST/DIG TOP ROUTE COMBINATIONS WE WILL SEE 2WR – DIG/SEAM
2WR – SCISSORS
2WR – SWITCH SCISSORS
2WR – SLANT/FLAT
2WR – POST/WHEEL
Kansas State University Defense
DESCRIPTION: Cover 2 is a 2 Deep, 5 Underneath zone coverage. RUN SUPPORT: Cloud Support (Corner Force) STRENGHTS: Horizontal/Quick passing game (5 Underneath defenders) Strong Flat (Weakness of Cover 4) Outside Runs Overlap on outside receivers Physical jam/re-routes on all receiving threats WEAKNESSES: Hole Shot (15-18 yards on the Sideline) Middle of the Field (Slot/TE Post) Vertical passing game (4 Verts) Playaction Pass Inside Runs
COVER 2 – DRAW
DISGUISES/SUPPLEMENTARY CALLS: 2 Engage: Corners begin to bail and engage WR at 5 to 7 yards, funneling him inside 2 Blanket: Secondary lines up at 10 yards, making it look like 4 across man. On the snap, the Corners creep up and see the 3 step pass, driving down as soon as you see #1 or #2 go to the Flat. Safeties get depth and bail out to the Deep 1/2.
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 2 – CORNER PLAY
STANCE Functional stance – relaxed and comfortable ALIGNMENT 1 yard outside and 5 yards off the #1 WR, cocked in at a 45 degree angle (can show Press) KEY End Man on the Line of Scrimmage (EMLOS) for run/pass key. Shift eyes to #2 and the ball once you realize it’s pass. ASSIGNMENT
Primary Force: Set the edge of the defense, keeping the ball inside and in front of you. Pitch on Option.
Cutback/Counter/Reverse/Cutoff: Sit, see, and play. Check faces and look for something coming back.
Flat: Line of Scrimmage to 15 yards deep (Wheel by #2) RULES AND ADJUSTMENTS
1 Quick (1 WR): Hard Squat Technique – aggressively funnel the WR, riding his upfield shoulder. There is no immediate threat to the flat so you can be more focused on him 2 Quicks (2+ WR): Play a little softer, but still funnel #1 inside. Key #2 and sink with him if he sinks. #3 WRs: Hold off Corner route by #2, rally up to RB in the Flat COACHING POINTS Reading #2: On the snap of the ball, funnel #1 inside while eyeballing #2. Match #2’s intention. If #2 is up the field, sink with him. If the offense tries to front and back you (Smash), always hold off the 2nd level ball (deeper route) and rally up to the one in front of you. If #2 breaks out, jump him in the Flat. If #2 goes inside, squeeze #1 inside, while looking for something coming out or across the formation. Outside release by #1: If #1 outside release, shuffle laterally and get your hands on him. If he continues to outside release, hinge, widen him, and half-turn with your back to the QB while avoiding separation. You are playing #1 like man-to-man. After you widen him and work hip-to-hip, get your eyes back to the Quarterback and #2. Other: In Cover 2, you must have width and always hold off 2nd level ball. Always assume someone is behind you. Get width like in Cover 4 to sink under the ball
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 2 – CORNER PLAY
#1 POST INDIVIDUAL ROUTES CORNERS WILL SEE #1 BOMB (FADE)
#1 POST DIG
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 2 – SAFETY PLAY
STANCE Functional stance – relaxed and comfortable ALIGNMENT 12 to 14 yards deep, 2 yards outside the hash KEY #2 ASSIGNMENT
Secondary Contain: Don’t have run responsibility until the ball crosses the line of scrimmage (LOS)
Secondary Contain: Don’t have run responsibility until the ball crosses the line of scrimmage (LOS)
Deep 1/2 #2 Vertical: Get depth and stay inside and on top of #2 #2 In or Out: Get depth and lean to #1. Stay square and do not get wider than 4 yards outside the hash until the QB takes his front hand off of the ball COACHING POINTS Pedal and continue to get depth. Depth is your friend in Cover 2 – you must keep everything in front of you. Want to be deep enough to react up to the ball, rather than having to react back to the ball. Make sure that your shoulders are square and that if #2 goes in or out to not go more than 4 yards outside the hash. If you lean too far or turn your shoulders, the outside receiver can run a Post back across your face in the hole of the defense. RULES AND ADJUSTMENTS 3x1 RULES: The frontside Safety will align between #2 and #3 and zone the two routes. Expect help from a Linebacker on #3s vertical route.
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 2 – SAFETIES
#2 VERTICAL (SEAM) INDIVIDUAL ROUTES SAFETIES WILL SEE #2 POST
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 2 – ROUTE COMBINATIONS
2WR – 4 VERTICALS TOP ROUTE COMBINATIONS WE WILL SEE 3WR – 4 VERTICALS
2WR – CURL/FLAT
2WR – POST/DRAG
2WR – 1/4s BEATER
2WR – SMASH
Kansas State University Defense
COVER 2 – ROUTE COMBINATIONS
2WR – POST/DIG TOP ROUTE COMBINATIONS WE WILL SEE 2WR – DIG/SEAM
2WR – SCISSORS
2WR – SWITCH SCISSORS
2WR – SLANT/ARROW
2WR – POST/WHEEL
DEFENSIVE BACK DRILLS
PUT DRILLS IN THE SAME ORDER AS THE TECHNIQUES ARE PRESENTEDXXX ADD GAME APPLICATION SECTION!!!XXX
Individual drills are where defensive backs will learn the tools needed to be a great player. My philosophy for individual drills is this: once we teach alignment and assignments and loosen you up, we will throw 100 deep balls. The game is not won and lost knowing what to do in the secondary – it is won and lost at the point of attack. A lot of game changing plays come down to you, the man, and the ball. Many players are in proper position, but get beat deep because their coaches don’t put them in the position to play the deep ball enough. On an average day, half our individual time will be spent going and getting the ball at its highest point because it is the most important and hardest skill to develop. Because of this, we won’t spend 15 minutes on footwork – we will spend a few minutes changing directions and the rest of our time on getting the ball and perfecting our Press techniques. Some days, the veteran players or true cheetahs will get to select certain drills they want to do so they can work on techniques that have been giving them problems.
GENERAL COACHING POINTS
Give Maximum Focus in Every Drill – when we are teaching a new skill, we will walkthrough every new drill, showing you how to do it and why we do it, before we execute them. If you are not sure what to do, ask me or use the veteran players as models. Learn From Your Teammates – If you are a young guy, go towards the end of the line and watch the veterans execute the drill. Don’t be in the fifth group to go in a drill and then mess up; you have had four groups to demonstrate the proper technique. You can learn as much or more from watching a teammate poorly execute a technique than you can from successfully doing it yourself. Mental Busts In Drills – mental busts will not be tolerated. Turning the wrong way in a drill is no different than blowing a coverage assignment during a game. This goes back to having great focus. Attention to Detail – always start with toes on the line; it shows me you pay attention to the little things and that is what makes you successful in life. Maximum Effort – Do not loaf! We will do critical footwork drills in small spaces to save your legs, so give maximum effort. If you loaf, you will go by yourself until you get it right. Over-exaggerate Technique to Get Better – over-exaggerate the movements/focus points in each drill to acquire or sharpen the desired technique or skill being taught. Use Your Imagination – people learn better when they include as many senses as possible when they are executing a skill. If you are breaking or catching the ball on air, visualize yourself the receiver running a route. Don’t Be Stiff – be smooth in your movements and don’t make noise. We are trying to sneak up on people’s asses, not alert them we are coming (ninja – solid death!). Making noise doesn’t show me you are working hard; it shows me you are stiff.
GENERAL FOOTWORK DRILLS (WARMUP/AGILITIES)
The goal of general footwork drills is to loosen the players’ hips and glutes (ass muscles). We will do critical footwork in small spaces to keep the players from getting tired (you will be in condition from our deep ball drills). Most of these drills will be conducted on the sideline, using the yard lines as guides going towards the numbers/hashmarks. ***Not a big cones/bags guy – I like to have guys covering – “On Saturday, there ain’t any cones or bags. I have a ball, a fast dude, and a guy covering down.”
WALK & PEDAL
Purpose: Loosen the player’s hips while training them to stay low in their backpedal, emphasizing proper use of the arms
Execution: On the coach’s command, begin walking backwards smooth and under control. On the second command, get into a full backpedal. Coaching Points: Feet should be 6”-8” apart, with weight forward Have flexion in hips and ankles, bend at your knees When backpedaling, push and pull with arms and feet When transitioning to a pedal, make sure to keep your shoulders at the same level as your walk
“FLIP HIPS DRILL”
Purpose: Teach the players to start square at the line of scrimmage and transition to a sideways run at a 90 degree angle. This is used for hip flexibility and to help simulate a Bail on the snap of the ball if the offense runs a quick count. Execution: On the coach’s command, the defensive backs will flip open and run down the line with facing the Quarterback with their back to the sideline. Coaching Points: Drop the inside foot back while simultaneously pivoting the inside foot On the turn, push off the front foot and run full speed down the field Do not waste any steps (false step) or hop Maintain a bent knee position with a good pad level and run – do not shuffle
Purpose: Use to teach Safeties (primarily Cover 2) to backpedal in different directions while keeping their shoulders square Execution: On the coach’s first command, the defensive back will pedal straight back. The coach will then give a left or right directional call and the defensive back will begin weaving in that direction. Next, the coach will give the opposite direction and the player will begin weaving in that direction (creating a snake-like effect). Coaching Points: Start with a disciplined backpedal with proper control, weight distribution, and pad level On the Weave, push off the inside part of the foot, opposite the direction you want to go. On the second step, drop the back foot at a 45 degree angle with your weight on the outside portion of the playside foot. Keep your shoulders square to the line of scrimmage Variations 1) Pedal, Weave, Pedal, Weave – creating a zig zag effect to overemphasize the initial steps of the Weave 2) Add a Plant & Drive element – simulate breaking to different angles
o Can include Man Turn
“QUICK FEET” DRILL
Purpose: To help develop foot quickness and agility Execution: The players will line up straddling the yardline. On the coach’s command, the players will begin quickly stepping and planting on either side of the line. The goal is to use the sideline as a ladder. Coaching Points: Make sure to stay in a bent knee position with your head and eyes up.
Variations: 1) Quick Feet and Drive Up
“QUICK HIPS” DRILL
Purpose: Increase hip flexibility Execution: On the coach’s command, the players will begin backpedalling. Once in their pedal, the coach will give a directional command and the players will flip at a 90 degree angle, either left or right. On the next command, the players will then flip back to a square position and continue to backpedal. The coach will then give another directional command, and the players will once again flip at a 180 degree angle. Coaching Points: Continue to stay low throughout the drill – avoid bobbing up and now when you transition Use your upper body to open up the lower body Variations: 1) Add an angle break element to the end of the drill (45 Degree Up, 90 Degree Flat, 135 Back, or 180 Down the Line)
CHANGE OF DIRECTION DRILLS
The goal of the change of direction drills is to help the players learn to break from a square position to different angles and routes. The angles are: 1) Straight Ahead; 2) Laterally; 3) 45 Degrees Up; 4) 90 Degrees Flat; 5) 135 Degrees Back; 6) 180 Degrees Down the Field; and 7) Counter Breaks. Variations of these breaks are included. We can change up how we want to start the drill depending on the emphasis. For example, we can: 1) Walk, Pedal, and then Break; 2) Walk and Break; 3) Fast Pedal and Break; 4) include a Half-Turn before the Break. The technique after the break depends on the nature of the drill. Also, make sure to not “play the drill.” For example, if we are a Post Corner drill, do not go half assed on the Post because you know you have to turn again. Remember, the point of change of direction drills is to defend routes, not run them, so there must be a sense of urgency because you are at risk.
PLANT & DRIVE UP
Purpose: Emphasize the transition from a backpedal to a forward, straight ahead run. For the Corners, this includes any routes directly in front of them (Hitches, Quick Screens, Stalk Blocks). For the Safeties, this includes any routes or run reaction directly in front of them. Execution: On the coach’s commands, the player will walk, backpedal (accelerate), and plant straight ahead on the yard line they are aligned on Coaching Points: Start with a disciplined backpedal with proper control, weight distribution, and pad level On your transition, replace your feet as quickly as possible and do not get overextended Plant & Drive drills are a competition to see who can get back across the line the fastest Variations: 1) Walk & Drive 2) Full Speed Pedal & Drive 3) Quick Plant & Drive – Fast pedal and quickly drive them up (simulates quick game)
LATERAL SHUFFLE (COVER 2 CORNER DRILL)
Purpose: Teach the Corners proper footwork at the line of scrimmage for Cover 2, by emphasizing a lateral, square shoulders shuffle with outside leverage.
Execution: The receiver will align between 2 yard lines on the sideline. The Corner will align 5 yards off in an outside leverage position. On the first command, the receiver will run (not shuffle) along the sideline. The Corner will shuffle laterally maintaining a cushioned position, with square shoulders, from an outside leverage position. On the second command, the receiver will turn up the field and the Corner will deliver an outside leverage shoulder blow, keeping his hands behind his back. Coaching Points: When shuffling laterally, focus on stepping and sliding while maintaining leverage. When the receiver turns up, brace for contact while moving your feet. This is like drawing a charge in basketball. Have proper body position with your hips square and coiled, ready to deliver a blow. If #1 comes in on his release, squeeze him and look for an imaginary back coming out to your side (or a Drive route from across the field).
45 DEGREE UP – LEFT/RIGHT
Purpose: Teach the defensive backs how to plant and drive up at a 45 degree angle. For the Corners, this includes any inside (Slants, Inside Hitches, Drags, Curls) or outside (Quick Outs, Deep Outs, Comebacks). For Safeties, this includes any breaks needed towards the ball (Cover 4 Run Fits) Execution: The players will walk, pedal, and break either in or out at a 45 degree angle on the coach’s command Coaching Points: Start with a disciplined backpedal with proper control, weight distribution, and pad level On the directional step, begin to point the toe in the direction you want to go – make sure you don’t false step – gain ground to where you want to go On the plant step, roll over, gain ground and accelerate When planting, your feet should be 6” to 8” apart Keep your pads over your toes as you transition Aiming point is the 5 yards where the sideline and yardline intersect in the direction you are going Plant & Drive drills are a competition to see who can get back across the line the fastest Variations: 1) Quick Plant & Drive @ a 45 – start at 5 yards off the line of scrimmage 2) Fast Pedal & Drive @ a 45 3) Pedal, Flip (to Bail position) & Drive Up @ a 45
“QUICK GAME” DRILL
Purpose: To combine the elements Plant & Drive Forward and Plant & Drive Up at a 45 Degree Angle in a fun, competitive drill, that emphasizes communication. Execution: Three players will be lined up on the sideline on a yard line, spaced 5 yard apart. The coach will declare the ball inside either to their left or right. The players will fast pedal on the coach’s first command. The coach will then give a direction, “In” (Slant), “Up” (Hitch), or “Out” in relation to where the ball is located. During their transition, the players will yell out the direction and drive as fast as they can, trying to beat their teammates across the sideline. Coaching Points: The defensive backs must utilize the appropriate transitional method for each accompanying route
90 DEGREE TURN DRILL (DIG/OUT)
Purpose: To teach a 90 degree angle break for the Deep Out and Dig for Corners, and robbing underneath routes for Safeties in Cover 4.
Execution: The coach will give the direction (left or right) of the break. On the first two commands, the defensive backs will walk, and then backpedal. On the third command, the defensive back will open up at a 90 degree angle either to the left or to the right. Coaching Points: Start with a disciplined backpedal with proper control, weight distribution, and pad level When breaking at a 90 degree angle, the player must begin by pointing their transition foot in the direction they want to go. After the directional step, the defensive back will rip his elbow to open up his hips and shoulders towards the 90 degree angle while simultaneously planting the back foot perpendicular to the line of scrimmage (at a 90 degree angle). On the third step, roll over the opposite foot to complete the turn. Variations: 1) Start with Fast Pedal 2) Start Flipped at a 90 Degree Angle – work from a Bail position
135 DEGREE TURN DRILL (POST OR CORNER TURN)
Purpose: To teach the players to turn at a 135 degree angle (downfield 45 degree angle). This would be versus a Post or Corner route for both the Corners and Safeties. Execution: The coach will give the direction (left or right) of the break. On the first two commands, the defensive backs will walk, and then backpedal. On the third command, the defensive back will open up at a 135 degree angle down the field. Coaching Points: Start with a disciplined backpedal with proper control, weight distribution, and pad level When transitioning, use your directional foot to point to the direction you have to go, while simultaneously ripping your elbow to open your shoulders and hips to the Post/Corner. On your plant foot, roll off, and explode your head and eyes to the Quarterback (for zone) or the receiver (for man) Exaggerating these movements during the drill Make sure to secure a wide, 135 degree angle (downfield 45 degree angle) to secure the imaginary receiver’s upfield shoulder – if your angle is too flat, the receiver will get behind you and you will be trailing him Finish on the next yard line (5 yards away) Variations: 1) Start with a Fast Pedal 2) Reaction Drill – have the players backpedal (with or without a walk) and flip to a direction based on the shoulders of the coach 3) Start flipped in a 90 degree turn – used to break to the Post from a Bailed position 4) Flip open to a 90 degree turn from a square position on the coach’s command 5) Pedal, Flip to a 90 degree turn, Break at a 45 for the Post/Corner 6) Execute the drill one a time and have the players high point the ball 7) Post & Drive – break to the Post or Corner and then drive forward 8) Post & Dig – works on Post/Dig route (one of the hardest routes for a Corner to defend)
135 TO 90 DEGREE DRILL (POST DIG DRILL)
Purpose: To teach a 135 to 90 degree angle break for the Post Dig route, one of the hardest route for a defensive back to cover.
Execution: The coach will give the direction (left or right) of the break. On the first two commands, the defensive backs will walk, and then backpedal. On the third command, the defensive back will break to a 135 degree angle for the Post. On the fourth command, they will then break flat at a 90 degree angle for the Dig. Coaching Points: Start with a disciplined backpedal with proper control, weight distribution, and pad level When making the transition to the Post, use your directional foot to point to the direction you have to go, while simultaneously ripping your elbow to open your shoulders and hips. On your plant foot, roll off, and explode your head and eyes to the Quarterback (for zone) or the receiver (for man) On the second break, point your inside foot at a 90 degree angle and break flat Again, make sure to keep your pads down and weight forward throughout the break Variations: 1) Start with Fast Pedal 2) Start Flipped at a 90 Degree Angle – work from a Bail position
180 DEGREE TURN DRILL (ZONE AND MAN TURN)
Purpose: To teach players how to transition from a backpedal to a downfield run, which is one of the hardest techniques for a defensive back to execute. The goal is to see the player’s initial burst out of the turn and is used for both Corners and Safeties to transition versus a vertical route. Execution: The players will backpedal facing the Quarterback, and flip either left or right (pre-determined before the drill) to a position where they are running with their back to the Quarterback. For the Zone Turn, the players will look back at the Quarterback. In the Man Turn drill, the player will open up, and look at the imaginary receiver’s hips. In both turns, the defensive back will secure the imaginary receiver’s hip with his playside arm. Coaching Points: Start with a disciplined backpedal with proper control, weight distribution, and pad level To begin the transition, rip your elbow to open up the hips and the playside foot. On the second step, pivot the opposite foot to turn to complete the turn When transitioning, burst nice and smooth keeping your pads at the same level, while exploding your head and eyes to the direction you are running (exaggerating your movements during the drill). Do not come up high or crow hop during the turn; this will get your weight on your heels. This will cause you to transition slowly and will get you beat because you will slow down as you run downfield. This is a common mistake which can be remedied by a good stance that is not too low. If you get too low, you will invariably hop up to turn. Stay on the line during the transition – this shows a tight turn and athleticism Take 3 hard steps after you transition and coast Variations: 1) Slow Pedal & Turn – this is to focus on taking the hitch out of their step; 2) Reaction Drill – have players pedal and then have them Man Turn to whatever direction the Coach gives
Purpose: Used to teach a defensive back to transition who has committed down the field to one direction at a 135 degree angle (downfield 45 degree angle) and needs to break back the opposite direction at a 90 degree angle. For Corners, it is commonly seen in Zone coverages when a receiver has run a Post Corner route, or if they have Bailed too far inside and the receiver has gotten behind them. For Safeties, it is commonly used on a Corner Post route (Cover 4) or if they have committed to wide towards the sideline and need to break back towards the middle of the field (Cover 2).
Execution: The players will begin backpedaling (with or without a walk). On the coach’s command, the defensive back will open at a 135 degree angle (downfield 45 degree angle). On the next command, the player will plant and open up to a downfield 90 degree angle, to execute the Centerfield Turn. Coaching Points: Start with a disciplined backpedal with proper control, weight distribution, and pad level Execute a down the field 135 angle break with proper technique When making the Centerfield Turn, plant on whatever foot you have in the ground, rip your elbow to open your hips and shoulders up, roll over the opposite foot to head to the downfield 90 angle Explode your head and eyes to the receiver’s upfield shoulder (man coverage) or the ball (zone coverage) Once you turn, sink your butt and don’t bend at the waist Take a wide, 90 degree angle when you make your second transition (Centerfield Turn). If you come out of their break too flat, the receiver can get behind you and you will lose the desired upfield shoulder position. Do not play the drill – run for the Post like your life depends on it. When you snap your head and eyes around, locate the ball and be urgent. You aren’t running the route – you are at risk! Make sure to run at full speed! Finish on the next yard line (5 yards away) Variations: 1) Start with a Fast Pedal 2) Start Flipped at a 90 degree angle – Bail position 3) Pedal, Flip, Post, Corner – adds another element to work hip flexibility
Purpose: Used to teach the proper turn to recover when the defensive back is playing the Press technique, and has opened their hips and shoulders at too wide of an angle (at or close to a 90 degree angle). Execution: The players will begin square and exit at a 45 degree angle either left or right. On the second command, the player will plant and open up to a downfield 90 degree angle, to execute the Speed Turn. Coaching Points: Start with a full speed, 45 degree angle drop When making the Speed Turn, plant on whatever foot you have in the ground, rip your elbow to open your hips and shoulders up, roll over the opposite foot to head to the downfield 90 angle Explode your head and eyes to the receiver’s upfield shoulder (man coverage) or the ball (zone coverage) Once you turn, sink your butt and don’t bend at the waist Take a wide, 90 degree angle when you make your second transition (Speed Turn). If you come out of their break too flat, the receiver can get behind you and you will lose the desired upfield shoulder position. Do not play the drill – run at the first angle like your life depends on it. When you snap your head and eyes around, locate the ball and be urgent. You aren’t running the route – you are at risk! Make sure to run at full speed! Finish on the next yard line (5 yards away) Variations: 1) Start with a backpedal 2) Speed Turn and Drive forward
DOUBLE MOVE DRILL (OUT N’ UP DRILL)
Purpose: When defensive backs get good at playing the quick game or become overly aggressive, offenses will try to run double moves to go against their aggressive nature. To combat this, this drill will incorporate the backpedal, angle drive forward, and the zone/man turn components of transitioning.
Execution: On the first command, the players will backpedal. On the second command, the players will drive forward at a 45 degree angle, yelling “OUT, OUT, OUT.” On the third and final command, the player will turn and run to the downfield portion of the route. Coaching Points: The defensive backs must utilize the proper techniques in their backpedal and angle drive forward When transitioning from the Out to the downfield portion of the route, they must execute the coaching points from the Zone/Man turn drill. They must plant off of whatever foot is in the ground rolling off of it, rip their elbow to open their hips, and explode their head and eyes down the field. Variations: 1) Walk, Pedal, Out, Up – incorporates walking portion into the drill
Pedal/Side-to-Side/Up (can finish with Post)
SHUFFLE AND ROLL??? BALL DRILLS – CORNERS/SAFETIES
Ball Drills teach the defensive back to get the ball at the point of attack, while focusing on the footwork needed to defend the accompanying routes. These drills are usually done on air because the emphasis is attacking the ball, not defending the man. This also encourages the defensive backs to use their imagination – this takes more mental processes and increases learning. A lot of these drills are also used for Safeties. Although the routes might not be the same, the Safeties use the same angles down the field (i.e. – Versus the Slant, Safeties still must exit at a 45 degree and angle and play the ball in the air). Also, these drills teach the defensive backs to run down the field, at different angles, while looking at the Quarterback. If the player’s eyes are down field while they run, the ball will not be thrown and the next player will go. Another benefit of these drills is to time teach the Corners how to time up Bails, by including and varying the cadence.
Purpose: Learn the angles and positioning to attack the ball on quick, 3 step, passing game routes Execution: On the snap of the ball, the defensive back will either backpedal or bail (depending on the focus of the drill). On the second command, react to the angle of the route. The defensive back will then attack the ball at its highest point. Coaching Points: If you are Bailing, make sure to time it up with the cadence. If you get caught square to the LOS, flip and run! Make sure to drive to the appropriate angle, closing the imaginary upfield shoulder of the receiver When breaking, accelerate to the ball out of your breaks, keeping your head and eyes up with your pads over your toes Finish on the ball and give 3 hard steps to the near sideline. If you drop the ball, scoop and score. Routes: 1) Hitch – Break straight ahead, back to the football, closing the upfield shoulder of the receiver. The Hitch is generally caught at 5 yards. 2) Slant – Break at a 45 degree angle towards the ball, closing the upfield shoulder of the receiver. The Slant generally breaks at 3-5 yards and is thrown at 10 yards on the hash.
3) Out – Break at a 45 degree angle away from the ball, closing the upfield shoulder of the receiver. The depth and break of the Out depends on the type of out: Square Out (generally breaks and is caught at 5 yards) and Speed Out (generally breaks at 6 yards and is caught at 8 yards)
Purpose: Learn the angles and positioning to attack the ball on intermediate, 5 step routes, that break back towards the football Execution: On the snap of the ball, the defensive back will either backpedal, bail, or begin running from a flipped, Bail position (depending on the focus of the drill). On the second command, react to the angle of the route. The defensive back will then attack the ball at its highest point. Coaching Points: If you are Bailing, make sure to time it up with the cadence. If you get caught square to the LOS, flip and run! Make sure to keep yours arms in tight as you run down the field. Make sure to drive to the appropriate angle, closing the imaginary upfield shoulder of the receiver When breaking, accelerate to the ball out of your breaks, keeping your head and eyes up with your pads over your toes Keep running until right before you are about to jump and get the ball at its highest point. Do not try dropping your arms and jump too early to try and make the Sports Illustrated, picture perfect leap – Run and get the ball! Finish on the ball and give 3 hard steps to the near sideline. If you drop the ball, scoop and score. Routes: 1) Curl – Get depth and break at a 45 degree angle towards the ball, closing the upfield shoulder of the receiver. The Curl generally breaks at 10-12 yards. 2) Comeback – Get depth and break at a 90 degree angle away from the ball (towards the sideline), staying on top and on a position for the upfield shoulder. This will protect you against the Double Move. The Comeback can break at varying depths, starting at a deeper position and breaking back towards the Quarterback (15 back to 12 or 18 back to 15). 3) Dig – Get depth and break at a 90 degree angle towards the ball, closing the upfield shoulder of the receiver. The Dig can break at 10-15 yards. Don’t let your eyes fool you; this is a difficult route to defend 4) Post Dig – This is one of the most difficult routes to defend out of Cover 4. On the Post, get depth and break at a 135 degree angle towards the ball, closing the upfield shoulder of the receiver. On the second move (the Dig), break flat a 90 degree angle towards the ball. On the Post Dig, the receiver generally runs to the Post for 3 steps and then breaks to the Dig (this can vary). The depth of the Post and then the Dig can vary from 10 to 12 (or 15), 12 to 15, or 15 to 18. The Post Dig 5) Deep Out – Get depth and break at a 90 degree angle away from the ball (towards the sideline), closing the upfield shoulder of the receiver. The Deep Out can break at a variety of depths (10, 12, 15, or 18). Drill Variations: 1) Curl and Comeback Drill – A cone will be placed 12 yards down the field, 3 yards from the sideline (depth and width can vary). The defensive back will pretend to Press for 5 yards (or Bail) and then run down field. The player will break outside of the cone and finish inside for the Curl route, or break inside of the Cone, open up, and finish outside of the cone for the Comeback route. The route will either be given before the drill or the players will read the coach’s shoulders to know which route to break to o C.P. – Keep arms pumping as you get to the cone. Do not chop your feet when you turn.
DEEP BALL DRILLS
Purpose: Train the players to play the ball at the point of attack down the field. These are the most important drills we will do because the game is won, down the field, at the point of attack. Because of this, we will spend half of our individual time going up and getting the ball.
Execution: On the snap of the ball, the defensive back will either backpedal, bail, or begin running from a flipped, Bail position (depending on the focus of the drill). On the second command, react to the angle of the route. The defensive back will then attack the ball at its highest point. Coaching Points: If you are Bailing, make sure to time it up with the cadence. If you get caught square to the LOS, flip and run! Down the field, keep your arms in tight as you run down the field. Make sure to drive to the appropriate angle, closing the imaginary upfield shoulder of the receiver When running down field, track the ball; it will take you to the receiver Keep running until right before you are about to jump and get the ball at its highest point. Do not try dropping your arms and jump too early to try and make the Sports Illustrated, picture perfect leap – Run and get the ball! Finish on the ball and give 3 hard steps to the near sideline. If you drop the ball, scoop and score. Routes: 1) Post – Get depth and break at a 135 degree angle down the field, closing the imaginary upfield shoulder of the receiver. This is one of the most important routes we will defend. Gain enough on your bail, because if you are too tight, you won’t be able to cut the Post route off and will be in a trail position. The Post will generally break at 10 yards and will be caught 30 yards down the field. The width of the route depends on whether it is a regular Post or a Skinny Post. We will vary up the width of the throw to enhance the drill and your ability to track the ball. 2) Fade – Get depth and fade with the ball as you track it down the field. If the ball gets behind you, Centerfield Turn and re-establish vision on it. The depth of the Fade depends on whether it is a 3 step Fade (around 30 yards) or a 5 step Fade (around 45 yards). Drill Variations: 1) Route Tree Drill – Mix up intermediate and/or deep routes by making the defensive backs read the shoulders of the Quarterback. It can either be a two route drill (i.e. – Fade & Comeback, Fade & Post, Post & Comeback) or mix in three or more routes (i.e. – Fade, Post, Comeback), depending on the desired emphasis. 2) Down the Field – Start the defensive back in a square or flipped, Bailed position, to simulate that they are already “down the field” at the top end of the route. This is used to save their legs (most often used during double days or before a scrimmage) or if we just want to emphasize their technique at the point of attack. Here are some examples: a. Down the Field Post – start down field at 5 yards, square (or flipped). Take one step and turn, catching the ball 5 yards past your break/10 yards down the field (almost looks like a Slant) b. Down the Field Fade – start flipped, 15 or 20 yards down the field. On the snap, run full speed. The ball will usually be thrown as soon as the defensive back starts running 3) Conditioning – pick a player and have them catch a deep ball. If he catches it, the players are done for the day. If he does not, there will be extra conditioning for the group.
RED ZONE AND GOAL LINE ROUTES
Purpose: Teach the different routes that will be seen in the Red Zone and Goal Line (+20 yard line and In). The field is reduced, so the route tree will be cut down. Execution: The routes will be done on air and pre-determined. Coaching Points: Once the receiver clears 3, wide steps it will either be Fade or Backshoulder Fade. This enables you to get your head and eyes around quicker than in the open field. Routes: 1) Slants – Break at a 45 degree angle towards the ball, closing the upfield shoulder of the receiver. The Slant generally breaks at 3-5 yards and is thrown at 10 yards on the hash.
2) Pivot Route – (West Virginia Bucketlilly Spin) – Receiver gets upfield and sticks the Slant for 3 steps. On his fourth step, he will plant off of his inside foot, and pivot to the outside at a 90 degree angle. To defend this, we will initially break inside at a 45, closing the upfield shoulder. This will force the receiver to go through us to break to the Out. If you get turned too far to the inside, speed turn to break back outside. 3) Fades (3 Step) – Quickly get depth and fade with the ball as you track it in the air. 4) Fade Stop (Backshoulder Fade) – This is the most difficult Red Zone route to defend. The receiver will begin to run the fade and stop at the front pylon of the endzone. The Quarterback will usually throw the ball once the defensive back is hip-to-hip with the receiver. This is why we must pin the receiver’s hip and fade into him as quickly as possible. If separation occurs, they will be able to easily convert this route.
Purpose: To work the footwork and angles of attacking the football on double move routes. These routes are some of the hardest routes to defend because they go against the aggressive and attacking nature of our play. Execution: On the snap of the ball, the defensive back will either backpedal, bail, or run from a flipped or Bail position (depending on the focus of the drill). On the second command, the defensive back will react to the initial angle of the route. On the third command, the defensive back will re-direct to the double move portion of the route. The defensive back will then attack the ball its highest point. Coaching Points: The key points to defending the Double Moves are disciplined eyes (keeping them on the belt buckle in man) and closing on the upfield shoulder. If you are a deep defender, and playing zone, do not bite up on short routes. Deep defenders are never affected by short arm action (bite on pump fakes for shorter routes). If you are Bailing, make sure to time it up with the cadence. If you get caught square to the LOS, flip and run! Drive to the appropriate angle, closing the imaginary upfield shoulder of the receiver When breaking to the initial stem, close to the upfield shoulder. This will make receiver have to go through you on his second move Main Double Move Routes: 1) Hitch n’ Go – The receiver will drive hard up the field for a depth of about 5 yards, turn back to the ball for 1 step, and then pivot to run a Fade route. To defend this, drive hard on the Hitch, aiming for the upfield shoulder. Do not come underneath; make the receiver run through you to run the deep route. 2) Slant & Go (Sluggo) – The receiver will release up the field, break inside for the Slant 1 or 3 steps, and then break either straight up the field (Seam) or bend it outside (Fade). Defending this route begins with disciplined eyes – the Slant is one of the only routes you can peek inside for. However, if the Quarterback has not thrown the ball after the receiver has made 1 step, get your eyes back to the receiver. Play to and through the upfield and shoulder and make the receiver go through you. Do not come underneath unless you are 100% you can make a play on the ball. 3) Out n’ Up – The receiver will begin to break outside for the Out, plant off of his outside foot, and then run up the field. The difference between the Out and Up and other double moves is that the initial route looks different than the double move route. The Hitch/Slant n’ Go looks exactly the same which makes it more difficult to defend. However, on the Out n’ Up, the receiver will generally only take 1 step out. What does make the Out n’ Up more difficult to defend is that most of the action is inside. It is human nature for the defensive back to want to peek inside if the receiver goes out. To defend this route, Bail (zone) or stay tight to the receiver (man) and drive to the Out – Secure the upfield shoulder and then roll to the Up. This can drill can be done with the defensive back starting square to the LOS or flipped in a Bail position 4) Post Corner – The receiver will start upfield, break to the Post for 1 or 3 steps, and then roll of his inside foot and break to the Corner route (usually caught at 25-35 yards). To defend this route, the defensive back must get depth, with outside leverage, on the upfield shoulder of the Post. On the break to the Corner, the Corner should have enough depth where he would not have to Centerfield Turn. However, if he does, he needs to execute the Centerfield Turn, re-establishing a deep angle.
Other Double Move Routes 1) Stalk & Go – The receiver acts like he is going to stalk block the Corner, for about 5 yards, and then bursts upfield. To defeat the Stalk and Go, get outside leverage and play through the upfield shoulder. This way, the receiver cannot swim you, and has to go through your upfield shoulder to go vertically. 2) Crack & Go – The receiver will arc inside to act like he will block the Outside Linebacker or the Safety. To defend this, stay outside, secure the upfield shoulder, and bend in with the receiver. As he releases, stay high and outside 3) Slant/Out – The receiver gets upfield and sticks the Slant for 3 steps. On his fourth step, he will plant off of his inside foot, and pivot to the outside at a 90 degree angle. To defend this, we will initially break inside at a 45, closing the upfield shoulder. This will force the receiver to go through us to break to the Out. If you get turned too far to the inside, speed turn to break back outside. 4) Stutter and Go – The receiver will release off the line of scrimmage at half speed, make a quick (choppy) move, and break up the field. Continue to get depth, on the upfield shoulder, and do not have lazy eyes; you are deep defender so don’t bite up. 5) Post/Seam – The receiver will release up the field, break for a Post (usually Skinny) for 3 steps, and then run directly up the field. The Post seam is defended with depth (good Bail) and a proper upfield shoulder positioning. If we play the Post correctly, the defensive back should be in a position to intersect the Seam portion of the route with no additional work. 6) Corner Post (COP Route) – The receiver will release vertically, break to the Corner for 1 or 3 steps, and then break back to the Post. To defend the Corner Post, stay and keep outside leverage throughout the route. This will enable you to break back to the Post at ease. If he is you are too tight to the receiver, you may bite on the initial fake to the Corner and Centerfield Turn. If you do this, recovering to the Post may be impossible.
BALL DRILLS – SAFETIES
Safeties can execute all of the drills, usually reserved for the Corners, listed above. Although they will not see these routes in their exact form, they still need to break in a multitude of directions and attack the football at its highest point. The Safety-specific ball drills will be done on air, to execute deep, zone coverage concepts. The goal is to teach the Safeties to play the ball – routes can be added, but take away from the primary emphasis of attacking the ball at the highest point (route recognition is usually done in 1/2 Line Drills).
Purpose: To teach the Safety how to play Deep 1/2, reading the intentions of the Quarterback, to play the Post, Seam, Corner, or double move routes. Execution: The Safety will start on a hash. On the first command, the Safety will backpedal to get depth. The Safety will read the eyes and front shoulder of the Quarterback. He will either break to the Post, Seam, or Corner. Double moves by the Quarterback can be used (Post Corner/Corner Post). Coaching Points: Start with a disciplined backpedal, with proper control, weight distribution, and pad level. Keep getting depth – you are a Deep 1/2 defender – keep everything inside and in front of you. If the Quarterback begins to open, weave pedal with your shoulders square to the side of his shoulders. Do not open up your shoulders and commit to a side. Once the Quarterback’s front hand comes off of the ball, make the appropriate break and take a deep angle to track the football. Break up on the football, attacking it at its highest point.
Purpose: To teach the Safety how to play the Deep Middle 1/3, reading the intentions of the Quarterback, to defend the 2 vertical routes
Execution: The Safety will start in the middle of the field. On the first command, the Safety will backpedal to get depth. The Safety will read the eyes and front shoulder of the Quarterback. He will either break to the Seam route on either hashes on the throw. Coaching Points: Start with a disciplined backpedal, with proper control, weight distribution, and pad level. Keep getting depth – you are the Deep Middle 1/3 defender – keep everything inside and in front of you. Do not weave or open your shoulders based on the Quarterbacks eyes or shoulder position. The 2 Seam routes are close enough where you will not have to open and break until the front hand of the Quarterback comes off of the ball. When throwing 2 Seams vs. Cover 3, the Quarterback is taught to look off one receiver and throw the other. Thus, we must stay square and not move one direction or the other. When the Quarterback takes his front hand off of the ball, break in that direction and play the ball at its highest point.
1/4s DRILL (ROBBER TECHNIQUE)
Purpose: To teach the Safeties the correct footwork to play Cover 4 (Robber Technique) and attack the ball at its highest point. Execution: The coach will begin by telling the Safety the route he will throw. Generally, this will be Post, Seam, or Corner by #2 and Robbing underneath the Post or Curl of #1. Since Cover 4 is based on pattern reading, and we are doing ball drills, the routes will be pre-determined. If we want to include a “mental” aspect, the coach can yell out the route of the #2 receiver, post-snap, to get the appropriate break from the Safety. Coaching Points: On the snap of the ball, begin shuffling, bouncing, or sit flat-footed (depending on the Safeties’ comfort) Maintain square shoulders, working flat and laterally on initial breaks The downfield footwork is dependent on #2’s reaction. Again, this is a ball drill, so the accompanying route will usually given pre-snap. o #2 Vertical – shuffle laterally out to the #2 receiver, maintaining square shoulders. Once the receiver has broken your cushion, begin to shuffle backwards, giving ground. Once the receiver is close to your hip, roll by pushing off your outside foot and execute a Man Turn. Rip your elbow to open up your shoulders and hips, get hip-to-hip with the receiver, and run downfield #2 Seam: Shuffle to the hip of receiver and Man Turn down the field #2 Post: Shuffle to the hip of the receiver and execute a modified Centerfield Turn (starting square instead of at a 45 degree angle) and get to the upfield shoulder. #2 Corner: Shuffle to the hip of the receiver and break at a 135 degree angle (downfield 45) and close to the upfield shoulder #2 Out: Shuffle to the hip of the receiver and execute a 90 degree break to the Out o #2 Goes Flat – sit flat-footed and explode your eyes to the #1 receiver to your side. #1 Breaks In Now (Slant) – sit flat-footed (patient) and get your eyes back to the Quarterback for the Slant #1 is Upfield – begin shuffling out to #1 with square shoulders. Rob underneath #1s route from the Curl (top combination) and progressing to the Post or Fade of #1 o #2 Drags – sit flat-footed and explode your eyes to the #1 receiver to your side. Be ready to rob underneath #1’s Post.
PATTERN RECOGNITION DRILLS Half Line Walkthru - harder to walkthrough; have to use imagination Half Line 3/4 Speed Half Line Full Speed
One-on-One (Man, Cover 4)
HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT DRILLS (CORNERS)
Talk about progression MIRROR DRILL Purpose: Teach players individual routes Routes: Have KB show how to play the route, and then have him run the route and have the Corners defend it at teaching speed Teaching Releases o Do one at a time to teach different releases Tight Outside Wide Fade Inside Release Foot Fire o C.P. – If you sink your ass and drop your hands, you’re fucked Mirror Drill o All the players are on the Sideline arm’s length apart facing coach who is 10 yards down the field o Coach stands 10 yards back and goes through each release as the DBs mirror his feet Behind the Back Drill (Lateral) o Focuses on step and slide aspect of Bump and Run. Emphasize feet being tied together o The WR runs back and forth along the sideline (not a shuffle), while the Corner mirrors him, from a cushion position, maintaining leverage. The coach will tell the WR to turn up and the Corner will brace himself for contact while moving his feet. It’s like drawing a charge in basketball. o Make sure players don’t back up – squeeze him! Behind the Back Drill (Full Release) o Work releases with the DBs hands behind their back (can include a towel). This emphasizes the eyes and feet portion of Bump and Run One release at a time o Go through releases one at a time. The DB knows the release being done for teaching purposes Mix Releases – Left/Right – ON SIDELINE OR BY NUMBERS o On sideline, drill is done between 5 yard area until bottom of the #s; On numbers, it is also a 5 yard drill o Purpose: Teach Punch/Counter Punch o At the beginning, tell the “WRs” the release you want; after a while, let the “WR” choose their release Red Zone Releases o Work Slants and Fades; then incorporate some sort of Comeback (Fade Stops) o Emphasize that once it clears 3 steps, roll into him and make violent contact, then look back Pin Drill – Left/Right o Purpose: Used to teach positioning down the field (10 yards at most – this varies) o Let DB start a 1/2 step behind WR (staggered) and have the WR jog at 3/4 speed. DB catches up to WR – once he does, get hip-to-hip, armbar his ass, look back for the ball, and fade him out of bounds o Mix it up and have the WRs accelerate once the DB has gotten hip-to-hip. This helps teach the DB that once he loses the WR, he must turn his eyes back to him to catch him before he looks back again. o It is a fact that DBs slow down if they are looking back – so if they want to look back, they must be hipto-hip and leaning into the WR. To illustrate the point, tell the DBs you will time them running the 40 or 100m looking straight ahead and then time them looking back. o Down the field, it’s who is the strongest o Also have to have a sense of where you are on the field – if it’s past 12 yards, it’s deep o If you can look back – if you do, you will never get called for PI o Progress to full speed
Pin Drill with Comeback o Teach feeling breaks in Comeback Releases with WRs o Match up good-on-good o Usually done on the sideline (5 yard drill) o Mix in Safeties
1-ON-1s Can do Open field/Red Zone/Coming In Area Give offense advantage (put wind at their back) – make it tougher on them Know stance, split, releases, and routes each WR likes 1 out of 6 balls need to be on the ground Loser does pushups (KB and BB chose who they wanted to do the pushups) Finish hard, through the man to the ball with violence Give players instant feedback Can include bail, quick jams, fake quick jam techniques Alternate Safeties between 9-on-7 and 1-on-1s
BLOCK DESTRUCTION DRILLS
The purpose of these drills to teach the mechanics of the shedding blocks based on the different blocks they will see. The progression starts with fitting the players up and playing basic Stalk Blocks, and the moves to Crack Replace and Cut Blocks.
SHED & FINISH DRILL
Purpose: Teaches defensive backs the mechanics of shedding blocks from a fit position. The hand, head, and foot placement depends on the leverage of the player. Execution: Start the players in the fit position (inside or outside leverage), where they are already engaged. On the coach’s command, have the defensive back lockout on the receiver and execute an escape move to get off the block. Progression/Variations: 1) Start in Fit Position with no offensive resistance 2) Start in Fit Position with the offensive player trying to block the player (Reach or Turnout) 3) Drill Turnout and Reach blocks with a ballcarrier to emphasize positioning and timing of block destruction Coaching Points: Correct hand placement (V-of-Neck and Tricep) depending on the leverage Hit with the same hand and foot at the same time Fully extend and vary escape moves (push/pull, dip and rip, swim) When introducing blocks, ensure correct technique is used for accompanying block: Turnout (stun blocker back); Teach (steer technique) Finish by having the player rip off the block and form tackle on a air or on a bag
STALK BLOCK DRILL
Purpose: Teaches defensive backs the mechanics of shedding blocks from an off position. The Stalk Block Drill adds the element of the approach to the Shed and Finish drill. The hand, head, and foot placement depends on the leverage of the player. Execution: Have the players either backpedal, Bail, or start from an off position. On the coach’s command have the receiver (Outside for Corners/Slot or TEs for the Safeties) approach the defensive back and attempt to block them. Have the defensive backs execute their approach, with proper leverage, and block destruction techniques (mix up Drive, Turnout and Reach blocks).
Progression/Variations: 1) Start with a straight ahead (Drive) block 2) Progress to including Turn Out and Reach Blocks 3) Drill all blocks with a ballcarrier to emphasize positioning and timing of block destruction 4) Drill Corners and Safeties together with ballcarrier – mix up coverages to practice proper angles, approaches, and leverage 5) Add Stalk & Go to drill Double Move route and prevent the defensive back from “playing the drill” (if they start cheating) Coaching Points: Correct hand placement (V-of-Neck and Tricep) depending on the leverage Hit with the same hand and foot at the same time Fully extend and vary escape moves (push/pull, dip and rip, swim) Ensure correct technique is used for accompanying block: Turnout (stun blocker back); Teach (steer technique) When the ballcarrier is added, make sure the timing of the block destruction is correct to avoid prematurely giving up leverage Know your role in coverage (i.e. – the Corner in Cover 2 will attack now (Force), where as in Cover 4, he will wait until the ball crosses the line) Finish by ripping off the block and form tackle on air, a bag, or the ballcarrier (thud up)
Purpose: Teaches the Corners and Safety to properly defend the Crack block and the Crack n’ Go route (mainly out of Cover 4) Execution: Have the players either backpedal, Bail, or start from an off position. On the coach’s command have the receiver go inside to crack the Safety, Outside Linebacker, or Inside Linebacker. The corner must communicate and secure the Crack and react to the ball (Outside Run, Playaction Pass, or Halfback Pass) Progression/Variations: 1) Start with just the Corner and the WR 2) Add player that is getting cracked (Safety, OLB, ILB) 3) Add ballcarrier 4) Add the Crack n’ Go route (Quarterback or Halfback Pass) 5) Add other blockers and/or pullers 6) Add the Push Crack block (only vs. certain teams – not a prevalent block) 7) Vs. Option Team: Can add RB flare for Pitch on Option Coaching Points: Make sure to communicate, “CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!” to the Safety Corner secures the upfield shoulder of the Crack block (for Crack n’ Go) while the Safety identifies it Once the ball is crossing the LOS, attack with outside leverage and force the ball inside Finish by executing a form tackle on air, a bag, or the ballcarrier (thud up)
MIX BLOCK DRILL
Purpose: Practice different block reactions with an emphasis on the proper angle of attack and leverage Execution: Have the players either backpedal, Bail, or start from an off position. On the coach’s command have the receiver Stalk the Corner (Drive, Turnout, or Reach), Crack the Safety, or run a Double Move route off of each block. Include a coverage call and a ballcarrier to emphasize proper leverage techniques. Coaching Points:
Use proper techniques for each block reaction (Drive, Turnout, Reach, Crack, Stalk n’ Go, Crack n’ Go)
Purpose: To defeat the open field Cut Block Execution: Place 3 “offensive” players, spread 5 yards apart on the sideline, to serve as the blockers. The defensive back will be a yard in front of the first blocker with his leverage leg back. The offensive players will be on their knees with bags in their hand. On the first command, the defensive back will approach the blocker. The blocker will throw the bag at the defender’s leg. The defensive back will properly defeat the block and continue this pattern versus the next two blockers on the coach’s command. Coaching Points: Eyes on the man – can’t defeat a block if you can’t see it Shoot your hands and place them on the helmet violently Bend at the knees and protect the backside leg (leverage leg) Make sure to push the receiver down and don’t catch him. If you catch the block, he has a great chance of reaching your backside leg and you will be blocked. Variations: 1) 6 Point Dive Drill – To practice hand placement on the blocker’s helmet, have the three blockers get in a 6 point stance to dive at the players’ legs on each. Practicing cut blocks in the open field is dangerous. However the defenders are close to the blocker, the blockers will dive under control, and the defender is close to the blocker, knowing the block is coming.
TACKLING DRILLS FORM TACKLING
Purpose: Teach the mechanics of tackling (making contact) including eye, hand, and foot placement. Execution: Have the offensive player stand with his arms out by his sides. Start the defensive player a step away from him. On the coach’s command, the defender will take a step and execute the proper Form Tackle. The offensive player will relax and let the defensive player pick him up. Coaching Points: Start with your head and eyes up, with guns in the holster, squeezing the beach ball – this will allow you to change directions and hit with maximum power When making contact, hit on the rise bringing your clubs (not crabs) Bite the ball, going to and through contact, accelerating your feet Progression: 1) Start with the player already fit up – emphasizes the contact portion 2) Back the defensive player up 1 step 3) Back the defensive player up 3 yards Variations: 1) Porta-Pit – Have the offensive player stand directly in front of the track pit, with his arms up. Let the defensive player hit the offensive player and take him down onto the pit. This will help emphasize taking the player down in a safe manner.
Purpose: Teach taking the proper path on a ballcarrier when he is running at a 45 degree angle by tracking the near hip. This emphasizes the mechanics of making contact as well as teaching the player to get their head across and in front of the ballcarrier
Execution: Line up the offensive player halfway between the bottom of the numbers and the sideline. Line the defensive player 5 yards from the ballcarrier. On the coach’s command, the ballcarrier will take one step forward and aim for the sideline. The defender will take one step forward and track the near hip of the ballcarrier at a 45 degree angle staying slightly inside. To expand the drill, the back can go either direction. If the defenders begin overrunning the ballcarrier, let the ballcarrier make 1 cutback move to focus on redirecting to the ballcarrier. Coaching Points: Maintain all basic tackling techniques – start with your head and eyes up, with guns in the holster, squeezing the beach ball – this will allow you to change directions and hit with maximum power When making contact, get your head across, strike, and explode through the ballcarrier. Make sure when making contact, the same hand and foot are in the ground, and then accelerate. Do not drop the arms right before contact. This is a common mistake players make when executing this drill. This will cause the head to drop and the feet to widen. Another common mistake players make is that they begin to run high, dip down low, and come up too fast when they hit – maintain a steady pad level to avoid wasting steps (false stepping). Progression: 1) Let the player only go one direction 2) Let the player go either direction 3) Let the player go either direction and make 1 cutback (no dancing, stick your foot in the ground and go) Variations: 1) Openfield Tackling Drill (Angle) – Expand the drill from the hash to the sideline and increase the distance between the ballcarrier and the defender to 10 yards
Purpose: Practice taking the air out of the ballcarrier, shimmying down, changing directions, and shooting your clubs. Execution: The defensive backs will form a line, 5 yards away from the coach who will be holding a shield. On his command, the defender will run, take the air out of the ballcarrier, and begin to shimmy down. When the players get close, the coach will hold the bag out to his left or his right. The player will continue to shimmy, change directions, and over exaggerate shooting the club and accelerating the feet on contact by bringing their knees up to the chest. Coaching Points: Maintain all basic tackling techniques – start with your head and eyes up, with guns in the holster, squeezing the beach ball – this will allow you to change directions and hit with maximum power On the approach, run full speed to take the air out of the ballcarrier. As you get close, begin to shimmy down. As the coach moves the bag, continue the shimmy and shoot the clubs in an exaggerated fashion (picture doing a dumbbell curl), lifting the bag over your head with your arms tucked tight to the bag. While shooting the clubs and lifting the bag, accelerate your feet in an exaggerated fashion. This should look like a high-knee run. A common mistake players make is that they begin to run high, dip down low, and come up too fast when they hit – maintain a steady pad level to avoid wasting steps (false stepping).
Purpose: Teach openfield tackling in a 1-on-1 situation Execution: The defensive back will start in a backpedal, Bail, or flipped position. The coach will be the Quarterback and either use a Slot receiver running a Bubble route or a Running Back flaring out of the backfield. As the ball is thrown, the defensive back will re-direct and execute an Openfield Tackle on the receiver or back.
Coaching Points: The defensive back will plant and re-direct and pursuit the ball at the proper angle depending on his position and coverage. After he has established proper leverage, he will execute the Openfield Tackle with proper tackling technique Variations: 1) Openfield Tackling Drill (Angle) – Expand the Openfield Tackling Drill from the Angle Tackle section. The ballcarrier will align 10 yards from defender halfway between the hash and sideline. The ballcarrier can execute whatever moves he wants to get past the defender.
SHED & FINISH
Purpose: Combine the elements of block destruction and various forms of tackling Execution: The defensive back and blocker will align halfway between the bottom of the numbers and the sideline in a fit position (to a designated leverage side). The ballcarrier will be stacked 5 yards behind the blocker. His goal is to get 5 yards passed the defensive back. On the coach’s command, the receiver will begin to block the defensive back as the ballcarrier slowly approaches the line. As the defensive back sheds the block, the ballcarrier will accelerate and try to get past the defender. As this happens, the defender will try to tackle the ballcarrier. Coaching Points: Use correct hand placement (V-of-Neck and Tricep) depending on the leverage of the defensive player Fully extend and vary escape moves (push/pull, dip and rip, swim) As you approach the ballcarrier, use proper pre-contact techniques – head and eyes up, guns in the holster, squeezing the beach ball, while maintaining your proper leverage As you make contact, make sure to hit on the rise, shoot the clubs, and accelerate the feet to and through contact Variations: 1) Stalk Block and Swing – have the receiver stalk the defensive back while throwing a Swing route to a back out of the backfield
BLITZING DRILLS BLITZ DRILL
Purpose: Teach proper disguise, timing, footwork, block destruction, and angles when blitzing Execution: Line up a formation with a Quarterback and a Running Back in the backfield (the set will vary on the opponent). The coach can call out whatever blitz and have the defensive backs coverdown their responsibilities. On the snap of the ball, the players will blitz the correct angles with the remaining players covering their man or zone. Coaching Points: Have consistent stance when blitzing Hold your alignment until the QB puts his hands under Center or are up, reading to catch the snap in the Shotgun If you are bluffing, be subtle and under control – don’t be over dramatic (No Harry Highschool) Make sure to have your feet staggered, with your weight over your front foot, ready roll off on the snap of the ball (unless it’s a Corner blitz) When you blitz, make sure to take proper angles on the blocker and the ball (Contain – deepest shoulder; Spill – downfield shoulder) Escape the block and get to the Quarterback
“Knock the Shit Out Of Drill” Motion Drill – have Corners practice motioning while keeping inside leverage – PUT IN FORMATION RECOGNITION
MENTAL DRILLS – PRE-PRACTICE
MENTAL PRACTICE Pre-Practice Walkthru o Walk and Talk o Back Turn Drill Have offense lined up with defense’s back turned to them. The coach will make a call and the defense will flip around The DBs will look outside and the LBs will look in the backfield It is unrealistic but prepares you when they fuck up, have them run to the SL as a reminder (incorporate Option assignments) Mix it up – sometimes go on silent count Sometimes scheduled this in the middle of practice to save the player’s legs “Hands” Drill – use hands to ID formations “Helmet” Drill – set up helmets as formation – have one guy identify all player’s assignments PRE-PRACTICE (UNORGANIZED) Don’t just lay around and stretch – backpedal, work hand-to-hand, or catch some balls PRE-PRACTICE – KB 1) Soft Balls 2) High Point 3) Harder Balls PRE-PRACTICE INDO STRETCH 1) Walk + Lunge 2) High Knees 3) Toy Soldiers – touch feet to hands above head 4) Hard 5 in Stride – sprint for 5 yards
PRE-GAME WARMUP (An hour or two before Kickoff) Throw route tree – always do it in opposite endzone Never go in after warm-ups on a drop – KB made Lowery to a Post Out to catch it because he dripped the last deep ball thrown to him in warm-ups PRE-GAME (30-40 mins before Kickoff) 1) Plant + Drive 2) Man Turn – Left 3) Zone Turn – Right 4) Tackle Drill – Quick Tackle x 2 – w/ a ball carrier 5) Plant + Drive – 45 Degree angle – Catch 6) Fade – Boise/Post Corner – Hawai’i WALKTHRU WALK-THRU: Only travel squad does the drills – redshirts help simulate WR movement
PREPARING FOR AN OPPONENT – FILM STUDY
DEFENSIVE BACKS WEEKLY CHECKLIST
“Things to Work On”
1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13) 14) 15) 16) 17) 18) 19) 20) 21) 22) 23) 24) 25) 26) 27) 28) 29) 30) 31) 32) 33) 34) 35) Open Field Tackling Low Blocks Break on the ball (Footwork) One-on-One (Midfield, Coming In, Goal Line – Off & Press) Intimidate Receivers Perimeter Work (Sweep/Options) Adjustments (Formation Recognition) Communications (Verbal & Hand) Watch all films 2 or more times Corner Support Proper Pursuit Angles Finesse (Disguise Coverages) Deep Routes Playaction Pass and Boot – (Read lineman for high hat/low hat) Red Zone (25 yard line and in) Goal Line work; Corner contain Funnel Receivers Work on 90’s (3 Step Drop) Work on the Fade (Goal Line) Read Steps Cadence Work (Hard Count, Stem Alignments) Trick Plays (Reverses, Halfback Pass, etc.) Strip Drill Secondary Stunts Work on fighting through picks (Bunch, Posse) Work on ball on the line, ball off the line Screens Scramble Drill Ball Reaction Combination Routes Coming Out (Offense Backed Up) Sudden Change Hail Mary Mirror Drill – Motion (eyes) Man vs. Motion
Four Prongs for Evaluating a Corner or Safety 1) Feet o COD/Agility o Hip Movement o “Typewriter Feet” 2) Ball Skills o What does he do at the Point of Attack/Highest Point? o How does he catch the ball? 3) Toughness o Can he get the guy down? 4) Game Speed o Does he play fast? 5) UNOFFICIAL – Is he right? OTHER: o
Jam = Quickness, ability to get their hands on them
Kansas State University Defense
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.