Our defensive front will play from a balanced stance to accommodate the mirror step. We will balance our stance with no more than a half of an inch of the back heel off the ground, this will eliminate from putting to much weight on the down hand. When playing from our balanced stance this will accommodate the reaction to the Base, Reach, and Down blocks for running plays. We will adjust our stances when we attach the alert word “Jet” to the defensive
scheme. The “Jet” technique puts the defensive linemen in an elongated stance with responsibility to the pass first and the run second.
Run First, Pass Second
The base stance with feet parallel is used vs schemes that require the mirror step as the base reaction step. Whenever playing the run from a base stance our defensive linemen will not penetrate more than one and a half yards deep, looking to play of the back heels of the offensive lineman. When playing with a base stance you don’t want to over penetrate because this sets up trap schemes by the offense.
Pass First, Run Second
Our “Jet” technique will be used as a change up to the base stance. “Jet” technique elongates the stance of our defensive linemen with a pass first and run second response to movement by the offense. The “Jet” technique gives no initial run responsibility to the defensive front, must react to the pass first as the play develops. Depending upon alignment the defensive lineman will stagger their covered foot with the same hand as the staggered foot down on
The three step escape technique will be taught to all of our down linemen. After the initial mirror step our defensive linemen will escape their engaged lineman by their third step (3 step escape). Depending upon “Ball To or Ball Away” we will incorporate a three step escape.
Whenever the ball is run to, our defensive linemen will squeeze and read the type of block used by their offensive lineman and will escape on their third step. After reading the type of block and the ball goes away depending on their run responsibility of Chase and Collapse our defensive backside should be running to the play on their third step.
Another technique and stimulus would be on run to is once a defensive lineman engages an offensive lineman he would want to escape the block only when the ball carrier breaks the outside shoulder of the defensive lineman.
When teaching the 3 step escape method, all drills must teach the quick escape method so that it follows the teachings of the defensive philosophy of running to the ball. As a defensive line Coach we will use the 5 man sled on a daily bases to reinforce this technique.
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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.