Principles of an Attacking Defensive Line

Kirby Cannon Head Coach, University of Missouri-Rolla Independent Football Alliance 2005 Coach of the Year Defensive Line Philosophy I. Toughness. We need to play when we are bumped and bruised. Physically and mentally we must go all out on every play, no matter how exhausted we are. Toughness does not just happen on game day. Toughness is developed and improved every day. Compete every day of your life. The harder you work, the tougher you become. II. Responsibility. We have a gap responsibility to fulfill on every call. We must fulfill that responsibility using great technique on every snap. The defense will not succeed if that does not happen. Consistency is the true measure of performance. III. Pass Rush. We must constantly put pressure on the quarterback. We want to be conscious of down and distance at all times. This dictates our initial thoughts. If called for, have a pass rush move planned, always being able to react to the run. Study your opponent for tips every week. Sacks result from great effort and planning. Know your opponent tendencies. IV. Unity. Take pride in the fact that you have the toughest job in football. You are in the middle of the action on every play. You must penetrate the LOS and stop the run. You must put pressure on the Quarterback every time he throws. You must defeat 1-2 blocks every snap you are on the field. It takes a special person to be a great defensive lineman. You must take pride and respect in our fellow linemen. Play as a unit; supporting each other, motivating each other, helping each other off the ground, and celebrating with each other after great plays. Realize that together as a unit, you can dictate outcomes. Stopping the Run To win, we must be committed to stopping the run. Run defense starts with the play of the Defensive Line. We will be aggressive, tough, and relentless in our task of stopping the run. We will develop an insistent work ethic. Every time we put our hand on the ground, we will play with 100% effort. We will play an attacking style of defensive line play and constantly attack the offense. I. Basic Front Information. Line of scrimmage discipline: A. Be in a stance and ready to play when center touches the ball. B. Be onside. C. Be aware and communicate pre-snap reads. D. An offensive lineman, from tackle to tackle, may not lift his down hand once it is set, prior to the snap. E. Remember - we move on movement! II. Defensive Line Teaching Progression vs. Run A. Knowledge: 1. Stance 2. Alignment 3. Assignment B. Technique: 4. Get off 5. First Step 6. Hat/Hand Placement 7. Separation 8. Escape

C. Effort and Pride: 9. Pursuit 10. Tackle Rushing the Passer I. Objectives. A. Force the QB to throw on time with only one read. B. Restrict the QB's vision. Make him throw through hands and bodies. C. Do not allow QB to scramble for yardage. D. Sack the QB E. Force Fumble F. Force him to throw bad balls. Create Interceptions. II. Rush Lanes. A. There are four rush lanes. Two outside contain lanes and two inside gut pressure lanes. Rushers must stay in their lanes and squeeze their lane as close to the next lane and the QB as physically possible. Never allow the QB to cross your face. Your rush lane is relative to your gap responsibility. Tackles needs to use there two way go whenever possible. III. Attitude. A. Be tenacious and relentless. Second and third efforts are what make great pass rushers. B. Believe you will get to the QB. C. All out effort on every play is a must. D. Be disciplined. Do not put your teammates in a bad situation because you were careless and undisciplined. IV. Necessary Skills. A. Acceleration: Both off the ball and to the QB. B. Hand, eye, and foot coordination. C. Always gaining ground up-field. Feet always going forward. D. Pass rush is a sequence. Use moves to set up other moves. You don't have to win every battle. Just the War. V. Pass Rush Progression. A. Attitude: Reckless and all out. B. Stance and Alignment: Heels up, tail up, forward lean, crowd the ball and loosen up alignment. C. Pre-determine your move: Confidence, cleverness, go with it. D. Locate your target: Zero in on it, aim, and get ready to pull the trigger. E. Get-Off: Read key and see ball out of the corner of your eye. Burst off the LOS. G. Accelerate: Close stance to QB, hips are pointed in the direction of the QB, feet are always moving to QB. Keep cleats in grass. G. 1/2 Man: Rush 1/2 of an O-lineman. Make O-lineman turn shoulders and move inside foot. H. Hands/Club: Use your hands/club. Grab Cloth. Grip like a vice. Be violent! I. Work a Move: Exaggerate it: Overemphasize flipping the hips. J. Get to QB: Don't be held, cut or on the ground. You have three seconds to get there. Be relentless. K. Collect your sack: Run QB down, hold on, and punish.

Alignments and Techniques

I. Weak Shade on Center (WS). Alignment: Split the crotch of the center with inside foot with inside hand down. Key: Near shoulder of Center Responsibility: A Gap. Never allow center a clean route to 2nd level while still keeping gap integrity. Coaching Points: 1. Focus your punch on center. 2. Always stay low. 3. Work one man on double teams.

II. 1 Technique. Alignment: Outside foot splitting crotch of the guard. Outside arm down. Key: Near shoulder of guard. Responsibility: A Gap. Coaching Points: 1. Outside foot back and outside hand down. 2. Work on inside shoulder of guard if double teamed.

III. 3 Technique. Alignment: Your inside foot lined up to the outside foot of offensive guard. Inside hand down. Key: Near shoulder of offensive guard. Responsibility: B Gap. Two way go on pass rush. Coaching Points: 1. Always attack the guard. 2. Use two way go on pass rush. 3. 3 Tech makes plays.

IV. 4 Technique. Alignment: Outside foot splitting crotch of the tackle. Outside hand down. Key: Near shoulder of tackle. Responsibility: B Gap. Coaching Points: 1. Must always stay in gap 2. Focus on Tackle; do not let head go to the inside 3. Vs. Double Team/Power Scoop work on Tackle 4. No two way pass rush when in 4

V. 6 Technique. Alignment: Inside foot splitting the crotch of the tackle. Inside hand down (if on side with no tight end then inside foot to his outside foot) Key: Tackle. Responsibility: C Gap. Coaching Points: 1. Split crotch of end with inside foot 2. Vs. Pull away we will adjust on how we play it depending on opponent 3. Contain rush vs. pass 4. If on Open side: Loose 6 Alignment, inside foot to outside foot.

VI. 7 Technique. Alignment: Outside foot splitting the crotch of the TE. Outside hand down. Key: Near shoulder of Tight End. Responsibility: C Gap. Coaching Points: 1. Split crotch of TE with outside foot. 2. Focus on attaching the TE. 3. Contain rush vs. pass.

VII. 9 Technique. Alignment: Inside foot to outside foot of TE. Inside hand down. Key: Near shoulder of Tight End. Responsibility: C Gap. Turn everything to the inside Coaching Points: 1. Must be outside conscious 2. Stay square at all times 3. Be aware for Boot, Contain, and Reverse.

Defensive Line Drills 1. Get Offs.pdf: For players to get comfortable taking the correct first step and getting quickly off the LOS. 2. One-Man Sled.pdf: Improve arm explosion in conjunction with the first step. 3. Figure Eight Drill.pdf: Improve pass rush by utilizing inside learn and rip move. 4. Bad Block Drill.pdf: To teach how to escape after being reached by an offensive lineman. 5. Starts With Agile Bag.pdf: To work on basic agility movements that a defensive lineman must use. 6. Arm Explosions vs. Sled.pdf: To become accustomed to exploding their arms and rolling their hips through. 7. QB Reaction.pdf: For players to work a pass move off the LOS and then react to the football. 8. Pass Moves vs. Pop Ups.pdf: To get very comfortable with different pass rush techniques. 9. One-on-One Pass Rush.pdf: To become accustomed to pressuring the QB vs. an offensive lineman. 10. Quick Arms vs. Pop Ups.pdf: To keep arms extremely active vs. pass rush and to get hips turned vs. pass blocker. 11. Partner Pass Rush.pdf: To become accustomed to working a move vs. a pass blocker. 12. Cut Drill.pdf: To get players accustomed to playing off of a cut block. 13. Reads.pdf: For the defensive lineman to get used to various blocking schemes. 14. Bags.pdf: To improve foot speed and agility movements. 15. Strip Drill.pdf: To get used to forcing fumbles at every opportunity. 16. Form Tackle.pdf: To teach and practice proper tackling technique. 17. Zone Blitz Drops.pdf: For the defensive end to become accustomed to dropping in pass coverage. 18. Medicine Ball Toss.pdf: To improve arm explosion. 19. Medicine Ball Slide.pdf: To improve arm explosion while remaining in a good football position. 20. Games vs. Hose.pdf: To get players use to using proper footwork when working games with a pattern.

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