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Friday, April 29, 2011

Football Defensive Linemen Keys and Tips

Defensive linemen are often the forgotten group in youth football. For the most they are usually the left over offensive linemen that are too slow to play offensive line and so are thrown out there with the "just hit somebody" philosophy. There are however simple keys and tips that you can give your defensive linemen that will make them effective run stoppers.

The most important key is that they need to know what their role is as a defensive lineman. Depending on your philosophy one of the roles you could implement for then is that above all and everything else they must be effective run stoppers first and foremost and they must take pride in this role and do it well.
The second key is alignment. They must know where to line up either right on the offensive linemen or on his outside or inside shoulder or even just right in the gap. Whatever it is they must know what they are to do, based on their alignment. Do they control an offensive linemen by aligning right over them and therefore have a two gap responsibility on either side of the offensive linemen, or do they control the offensive linemen's outside or inside shoulder and by doing so control that gap? Again, it depends on the defensive system you are running but they need to know what their assignment is on all alignments.
The third key is their eyes. After their alignment they need to know where to look and place their eyes. On a zero technique or straight on alignment, their eyes should be right on the linemen across from them. On the snap they should jam the offensive linemen with a two point punch technique in the arm pit area with thumbs up, lock out the arms to gain separation and then look for the ball. On an outside or inside shade alignment their eyes should be on their shoulder assignment of the offensive linemen and on the snap of the ball they attack the shoulder, with one hand shooting into the mid breast plate and the other hand on the bicep of their shade assignment. Again, they lock out the arms and only them do they lift their eyes up to look for the ball.

By simply giving them their assignment, whatever it may be, it makes it easier for your defensive linemen. By understanding what their role is each and every play it gives them confidence and makes them a more effective football player!