The defensive line can and should control the tempo and direction of the game. Put your best athletes on defense. Qualities your defensive linemen should have are:
Be certain you give your defensive line the attention and priority they deserve.
These are some musts for quality defensive line play:
1. Stance – Everything begins with a proper stance. Must have proper body position with weight distribution in order to be able to move effectively on the movement of
the ball or the offensive man. Must have you feet well underneath you.
2. Alignment – Exact alignment according to the defense called. Never put a player in impossible situation.
3. Explosion – The ability to move instantaneously on the snap of the ball. Must have good hip flexion (lift with explosion).
4. Strike – Ability to strike and neutralize the blocker. Must use proper technique, elbows in, and keep your hands outside the body.
5. Separate – Get distance between blocker and himself. Hold ground. Keep your feet alive.
6. Reaction – Ability to read blocking combinations and react with proper angle of pursuit. Aggressive read, proper technique on the move.
7. Run – Read belt buckle of your alignment with the idea that on movement you want to react and stay in the same position you were in prior to the snap of the ball
(step and replace).
8. Pass – Have a move in mind. Ability to pressure the quarterback, develop rush techniques and counter moves.
1. Hand Shiver Technique
a. Blow is delivered with palms and heel of the hands to chest of offensive blocker (hands outside with elbows turned in)
b. Short jab step, mirroe step movement by offensive blocker – Square feet up as blow is delivered.
c. Lock the elbows when blow is delivered.
d. Drop the hips and pop the head back. Insure balance with feet under and moving.
e. Get seperation from blocker, remember his objective is to work as close inside as he can.
2. Double Team
a. Defeat post blocker.
b. Drop the double team shoulder and knee (reduce the blocking surface from horizontal to vertical).
Grasp the inside leg of the drive blocker (to prevent combo block), throw head upwards and drive legs up field.
3. Trap Technique
a. Cross arm or or wrong arm technique
1. Squezze the down block with eyes inside.
2. Do not over penetrate – Attack the trapper.
3. Reduce blocking surface by keeping feet, hips and shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage.
4. Rotate the shoulders just prior to contact and drive the head and outside shoulder through the trap blocker’s upfield knee. Then once you have player underneath the trapper square you shoulders with your feet underneath you to the line of scrimmage and find the football.
4. Contain Technique
1. Shuffle Down the line of scrimmage keeping the inside leg up, and outside leg back.
2. Do not penetrate, but attack the trapper (trap the trapper).
3. Squeeze and stay parallel to the line of scrimmage.
4. Drop inside shoulder and deliver rip with inside forearm and outside hand.
5. Force butt of blocker into the hole.
6. Read ball carrier – Contain first – Help inside only if certain that the ball is going in there.
5. Reach Technique
a. Mirror step making sure you are in the same position you were in prior to the snap of the ball.
b. Key belt buckle of offensive blocker for movement.
c. Lock the elbows and fight to keep your head outside.
d. Get separation and squeeze the blocker, shuffle down the line of scrimmage, fighting to get your feet outside, with eyes inside locating the football.
e. Keep outside arm locked, and drop or pull with inside arm ripping through the “V” of the neck of the blocker.
6. Down Block – Wrong Arm Technique
a. Try to anticipate down block through splits, leaning, eyes, feeling, etc.
b. Step to down block with outside foot. Lower outside shoulder and sink hips.
c. Strike with outside forearm and pull with off hand and then rip through the “V” of the neck.
d. By keying the belt buckle of your alignment this should take you to the down block.
7. Pull By Technique
a. Mirror step your blocker. Srrike a blow, pad under pad, bring feet underneath.
b. Allow blocker to reach you, but still maintain control.
c. With inside arm pull blocker tight off butt while pulling your self by.
d. Get eyes into backfield. Find the ball. Flatten down the line of scrimmage.
e. Never let the blocker release off on the Linebacker.
Note: The pull by technique is considered a back door technique that is explained previously. Your interior linemen incorporating this technique will mirror step movement and then play through the backside of the initial movement with responsibility of defending the cutback play.
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About the Author of this post:
Jerry Campbell has over 30 years of high school and college coaching experience. He has experience as a head coach, offensive coordinator, and various position coaches. He has written numerous football coaching articles in various publications, is the author of over 30 books on coaching football, and has produced 12 coaching video series. Additionally, he is a nationally sought after speaker on the coaching clinic circuit.