The last line of your defense is your defensive backs. When defensive backs make a fundamental mistake the result can six points. Defending receivers is a difficult task. Without proper fundamentals it is nearly impossible. Techniques must be taught and drilled to produce the proper habits.
In the clip below from Glazier Clinics, Coach John Butler does a great job of breaking down the key fundamentals of a defensive backs footwork. Coach Butler discuss four key components: Stance, Start, Footwork and Transition. Coach Butler is currently the secondary Coach for the Houston Texans. He previously served as the defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator at Penn State.
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The YouTube video below has sound so please make sure that your sound is turned on and that you have access to the site.(Some schools block access to YouTube)
The following is a quick outline of Coach Butler’s presentation.
Stance – He teaches 3 different ones
1. Square- for press coverage.
2. Tilt – hips open at 45 degrees
3. Stagger – for a true off alignment
Start – 4 different starts. Key is making sure their pressure is in the right spot so they can respond appropriately to the receivers movements, thus eliminating false steps.
1. Press – use either leverage hand jam or mirror jam
Footwork – 4 different patterns
Transition – most important element in footwork
1. T Plant on all downhill or lateral breaks
2. Hip Flip on all vertical breaks
He uses a transition tree to work on breaking in all directions.
1. Back then straight forward
2. Back then 45-degrees up to left. Back then 45-degrees and up to the right
3. Back then 45-degrees downhill to the left. Back then 45-degrees to downhill to the right
4. Back then hip flip 180 degrees
5. Back then 90 degree to the right. Back then 90 degrees to the left
Coach recommends doing the Transition Tree daily. He completes the tree four times. Once for each footwork pattern.