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Football2 2014By Shaun Weaver, Defensive Coordinator, Gettysburg College (PA)


You know you have to move your DL, but if they don't know how to vary their movements and react to what they see, the movement can create more problems. See how Coach Weaver teaches different movements against common blocking concepts.

 



By Shaun Weaver
Defensive Coordinator 
Gettysburg College (PA)

Insiders Members: Login here to access the full-length version of this report.

Introduction:

Football2 2014In today’s offense centric game, stopping an offense starts with what you do on the defensive line. No matter what scheme you decide to use, you must be able to stop the run and get to the quarterback. Your defensive line can and should be a big part of the production in your defense.

Part of giving defensive line the best opportunity to produce is moving them within the scheme. If you are aligning your guys in the same spot every single down, you are putting them at a competitive disadvantage unless they are just physically better than the other team. Having a good teaching progression and plan for teaching movement techniques is vital to being effective. In this report, I will go in detail about our gap step, penetrating, two gap and twist steps we use in our 3-4 scheme here at Gettysburg College.

Base and Pass Rush Stances

The key to being able to effectively move as a defensive lineman is having a great starting stance. We teach two different types of stances based upon the situation. Below are our teaching progressions for both our Base and

Pass Rush Stances

Right (Left) Handed Base Stance

  1. Feet shoulder width apart (under your arm pits) pointing straight ahead.
  2. Right foot should be back and at a toe to instep relationship.
  3. Put both hands on the ground 3 to 6 inches in front of your face mask.
  4. Pick your left hand or “Flash Hand” up off the ground and put it to the side of your face mask with your thumb pointing up in a position to strike a blow.
  5. Weight is slightly on the balls of your feet so you feel “air” under your heels.
  6. Good power angles in your hips, knees and ankles. Do not be stiff.
  7. Eyes up on the man across from you and butt up slightly above head level, while maintaining flexed hips ready to explode off the ball. Key the ball to the inside with your peripheral vision for a better start.

Right (Left) Handed Pass Rush Stance

  1. Feet slightly less narrow than shoulder width apart.
  2. Right foot should be back and at a toe to heel relationship.
  3. Put both hands on the ground 3 to 6 inches in front of your face mask.
  4. Pick your left hand or “Flash Hand” up off the ground and put it to the side of your face mask with your thumb pointing up in a position to strike a blow.
  5. Weight is heavy on the balls of your feet so you feel more “air” under your heels.
  6. Good power angles in your hips, knees and ankles. Do not be stiff.
  7. Eyes up on the man across from you and butt up slightly above head level, while maintaining flexed hips ready to explode off the ball. Key the ball to the inside with your peripheral vision for a better start.

Base Movement Steps and Technique

We teach four different types of movements to our defensive line. Each has a different role in our scheme. Each is specific but very easy to teach. Below, I provide an explanation of each movement as well as details of how we use each technique against common blocks that we encounter.

Spark Step

Slide1

Description:

This is a lateral 6-inch gap step. This will be used to move a defensive lineman into a new gap while keeping his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. This technique is excellent at limiting a player from being washed down by the OL and allows him to be square and fight pressure.

Technique:

It is critical for the player to stay square and keep his hips and toes pointed up field. The player needs to step and punch to the inside half man of the player he is aligned on to protect his new gap.

Slide2

With any block directly attacking or attacking the direction the DL is moving, they must fit on the inside half man of the OL protecting the new gap. On the base block shown above, the player should stay square and squeeze pressure controlling the gap and locate the ball.

On any reach that attempts to cut them off, the player must attack that new half man and press the OL vertical. At the same time, they must continue pressing their gap and getting their hip heavy in the gap. If they absolutely cannot get to their new gap, they then need to close the gap they were moving too with the offensive lineman’s body to cancel that gap.

Slide3

Once the spark step is taken and the DL recognizes that it is a pass, he must then press hard vertical to the front or back shoulder of the QB depending if he is an inside or outside pass rusher. Inside pass rushers have a two way go on any offensive lineman to the front shoulder of the QB. If they are doubled as an inside pass rusher, they must work away from the pressure to make it a single block while working to the QB’s front shoulder. Outside pass rushers must work hard vertical to the back shoulder of the QB while being sure to not rush past QB level (unless they have a clear path to the play). He must continue squeezing the QB to step up.

Slide4

 

 

 

What You’re Missing…

Join X&O Labs’ exclusive membership website, Insiders, and get instant access to the full-length version of Coach Weaver’s clinic report. Here’s a small list of what you’ll find in the full-length report:

  • The technique behind the stick step, used for two-gap movements and how the post-snap read of the adjacent lineman controls gap responsibility.
  • The technique behind the flash step, used away from a blitzer on a twist and how the stunting defensive lineman can protect himself from being washed.
  • The technique behind the stab step, used for single gap movements post-snap.
  • VIDEO: Narrated film clips on all these movements.

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Conclusion:

There are many positives to having different ways to move and attack with your DL. The most important piece is to find what you know your defensive line will be able to execute well and choose those movements as your primary focus in your scheme and your practice drills. That being said, players must first understand how to attack and react to blocks from a base alignment before you introduce movements. Once things are understood from a base position you can add as many movements as you feel your players can execute and is needed in scheme. Make things simple in drill work by breaking down things into the footwork repetitions and then the footwork with block reactions. Quality repetition adds confidence and instills aggression by coaching the players to naturally attack and react to what they have already seen and done in practice numerous times before.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this clinic report and am more than happy to help with any questions or clarifications on anything covered. Here at Gettysburg College, we are very open to coaching staffs coming in to visit and clinic on any phase of defense, offense or special teams. 

Meet Coach Weaver: Shaun Weaver enters his tenth season as a member of the Gettysburg coaching staff and his ninth as the defensive coordinator in 2015. Weaver will also coach the linebackers for the tenth straight season in 2015. In 2012, Gettysburg finished among the conference leaders in numerous defensive categories, including pass defense (second, 182.5 ypg), scoring defense (third, 19.9 ppg), and total defense (third, 316.5 ypg) en route to a 7-3 season, the team's best record since 1994. Under Weaver, Larry DelViscio '13 led the Centennial Conference and finished ninth in Division III in tackles (123) before picking up all-conference and all-region honors. The 2012 Bullets held four opponents to seven points or less and posted its first shutout in eight years when they blanked Misericordia.

 

 

 

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