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ou need to identify those kids in January and spend some time with them.

Coach Em
Upfind 6 that you think can play the position and let the dust settle after the
summer. I would try to find 2 seniors, 2 Juniors, and 2 sophomores. That way I dont
have to start over the next year.
Sit down and think: What will they be asked to do on Friday night?
RUN DEFENSE with 1 WR on their side. This puts them in a 22/33
alignment off the Tackle or Tight End.
1. Contain vs sweeps/toss/Jet Sweep:
The initial read should be End Man on Line of Scrimmage (EMOL) is a reach step.
After getting this initial read, eyes snap to backfield to see full flow coming at you.
Set the Boundary Attack LOS but never go more than 2yds across unless you
are sure you can make the tackle. If RB gets outside you, you WILL COME OUT. This
is non-negotiable. Turn it back inside.
Take on all lead blockers with your inside shoulder. Cut blockers in half. Do not
try to go aroundripping through blockers sideline shoulder is OK if RB is trying to
get outside.
2. Option At You:
The initial read should be EMOL releasing inside. End is squeezing down hard.
Flow at you.
This is ASSIGNMENT as Set the Boundary, however there is no lead blocker,
just a pitch man.
The TECHNIQUE is to slow play the QB. Come at him to get him to make a
decision early, but keeping an angle so that if he pitches it you can get the pitch man
without the pitch man getting around you.
3. The Contain on the Edge vs off tackle:
The initial read should be EMOL is a base blocking. Might get pulling G trying to
kick out. Flow coming at you.
Squeeze the Window: Attack LOS while coming towards the RB. Dont come
upfield & give the RB a window to cut up into & then bounce.
Take Lead Blockers on with inside shoulder. Match their angleif you drew a
straight line between you & the blocker, then travel on that line full speed with the
intent of knocking the blocker back into the RB.
You cannot commit inside or cross face the blocker until the RB has 100% cut up.
When you get the RB to cutup, the ILB & F will probably make the tackle.
4. Fold Inside vs Belly type plays to their side:
The initial read should be EMOL is a blocking End out. Backfield flow inside the
VICE: Sit at a 11 off the DE hip. You cannot commit to the TB/FB inside
because the QB can pull & run around the edge. When you see QB empty hands
then go full force for the tackle in the b-gap.
5. CBR (Counter-Boot-Reverse) on flow away:
The initial read should be EMOL pulling. Or EMOL block the End with Guard
pulling. Backfield flow away.
STACK & STAY: Stack 5yds behind the DE. Find WR/Wing on opposite side of
formation. Look for pulling OL from other side. Make sure QB has empty hands on
his boot path.
In my defense, the backside OLB and DE are the only players responsible for CBR.
The other 9 players pursue flow.
RUN DEFENSE with 2 WR on their side. In my defense, we are 41 on the #2
slot receiver so that we can VIOLENTELY re-route vs pass. But they still have
to do all the above from a landmark that is farther away.
Repeat all the above drills but widen him out & put a slot receiver in front of him who is
trying to stalk block him the entire time.

PASS DEFENSE with 1 WR on their side.

1. PLAY ACTION. EMOL run blocks. Backfield is play action faking. If the playside
Tackle/Guard really sell their run blocks, then you have to honor the run. A give away
might be back coming out of backfield. Film study is crucial here.
2. QUICK PASS: EMOL fires out. QB in 1-3 step drop.
Find #1. Turn and get eyes on #1 WR while understanding that your landmark
is 10yds deep, top of numbers. The #1 WR route will 99% of the time stop you from
reaching this landmark.
QUICK/HITCH: run at him. Do not look for ball. Separate him from ball when
you arrive. Show up with a headache
SLANT: sit on slant route & find QB. Think of yourself as a soccer goalie
getting in the line of sight between QB & WR.
FADE: head on a swivel. Continue dropping, but looking for RB/TE out of
3. DROP BACK PASS: EMOL pass drops. QB in 3-5 step drop.
Find #1. Turn and get eyes on #1 WR while understanding that your landmark
is 10yds deep, top of numbers. The #1 WR route will determine the actual drop.
OUT: get under the man so the QB has to throw over.
IN: Dig/Curl. If there is a #2 threat from a TE or RB, pass it off to ILBotherwise
sit underneath the Dig/Curl. Squeeze the Zone if nobody is in your zone (flats)
DEEP: Continue dropping, but looking for RB/TE out of backfield.
4. SPRINT OUT PASS: EMOL reach blocks. Drop to flats. ILB has the QB.

PASS DEFENSE with 2 WR on their side.

OLB is in a 41. If EMOL/QB gives pass read, turn all attention to the #2 slot receiver.
He has to come to you. Do not attack or lunge. If #2 WR gets to you (4-5 yds), then the
goal is to put him on the ground or out of bounds.
1. PLAY ACTION. EMOL run blocks. Backfield is play action faking. If the playside
Tackle/Guard really sell their run blocks, then you have to honor the run. A give away
might be back coming out of backfield. Film study is crucial here.
2. #2 breaks inside underneath 4 yards.
Find #1. Follow same rules as 1-WR. A #2 shallow route inside is ILB
problem. However, be an athlete & break on ball if QB has quick release.
3. #2 breaks outside underneath 4 yards:
Flats. Break out with #2 receiver but stay on top of him with a 2yd cushion.
Dont be a hugger because of wheel and your flat zone extends 10yds deep. Break
on palm off
If you get an IN call by CB, then sit on slant by #1 while CB jumps the out by
4. #2 gets to your 4yd landmark: violent re-route.
Eyes on #1, Hands on #2. If either one stops in the flats (hitch by #1 or
breaks out) disengage from re-route and sprint to the threat in the flats.
If #1 breaks in on deep dig/curlyou should sit on it but make sure CB gives
you an IN call so you know CB/F have #2 deep.
If both continue vertical (post/seam/fade) stay inside of #2 so the QB has to
throw it over you, giving FS time to get there. Also have CB help on 2-verts because
CB is closer to #2 than #1.

PASS DEFENSE with 3 WR on their side.

TRIPS involves no re-routing because you cant cover #3 speed out while re-routing #2.
We have a couple of trips calls:
1. RATTLE: Traditional , , vs trips. CB/F read #3 on their drops with no
backside help from Will OLB.
OLB is Flat-Curl-Seam. Slow backpedal, breaking on any out routes by #1, #2,
or #3.
Outside shoulder of #2 Collision #2. Backpedal to 12yds. Deny seam to #2.
#1 breaks in: IN call from CB with no flat threat from #2 or #3: OLB expand
under #1 dig.
#3 breaks out: PUSH call from F. OLB drop to #1, break on flats
#2 breaks out: OLB mirror flat route, over top while staying in seam as long as
#2 breaks in: Seam drop. Get #1 dig or break to flats if #3 out (#3 to flats is an
UNDER call from F)
2. ROLL: Trips side CB rolls down to play flats. F, W, & backside CB are deep 1/3
defenders. Good vs bubbles & perimeter runs to trips side.
OLB is Curl-Seam. Sits on digs, inside comebacks. Make QB throw over head
on seam routes.
3. SOLO: Backside CB plays man v single WR opposite trips. Will OLB drops to deep
middle, reading #3. Allows F to read 2 to 1.
OLB reads 2 to 1. Cover 2 puts OLB closer to box, splitting #2 & #3 or even
getting inside #3. Cover 4 puts Spur OLB in flats
4. SPECIAL: Trips side CB plays man vs #1 WR. F & Spur OLB play 2-read off #2 &
#3. Will helps backside CB on solo receiver.
5. SURVIVOR: Spur plays man on #3 trips receiver. F & CB play 2-read on #1 and
#2. Will helps backside CB. Mainly for Trey sets.

nside Linebacker Play & Progression

by: Van Vanatta
Defensive Line Coach, Central Methodist University

Like any position on the football field there are a lot of different ways to prepare your players for game
days. Of course linebackers are the backbone of almost every type of defensive scheme. They are
involved in every run and pass play and must have the skill to find the football on every play.

Since there are so many multiple defensive schemes a linebacker must be ready to line up in a three
point stance and stop the run or line up against a flanker and cover against the pass. Therefore,
today's linebackers must have the strength of a defensive lineman and the speed of a defensive back.
With this said, there are other qualities that I look at when evaluating players to fit the role of today's
linebackers. Each linebacker must meet certain qualities that we hope every student/ athlete strives to
maintain. They must have character, intelligence, dependability, attitude, intensity, and be a leader
(always ready for a challenge and follow the 3 T's- Tradition, Talent, Training).

Once you have established these types of characteristics in your players it is time to start teaching
them the game of football. I have broken down my practice progression into six parts, with each
section being emphasized every day. They are as follows:
1. Key Reads
2. Flow Reads
3. Pursuit/ Angles
4. Delivery of Blow (DOB)
5. Pass Drops/ Coverage
6. Tackling

Of course, each task depends on the offensive play and the defensive call. So the trick is to have your
linebackers prepared for every situation.

The first phase of practice is to teach your linebacker's Key Reads (See Diagrams 1-7) and explain why
the first step is the most important aspect to getting to the football. Key Reads are broken down into
down, base, pull, zone, scoop, and pass blocks and LB's have to learn how each block can get them
closer to the ball. All drills are taught progressing from one step to three steps to game flow. The
theory behind key reads is the read what coaches call the triangle: 1. read guard to 2. running back to
3. 3rd threat / Tackle, Tight End, Center, Crack Back Blocks.

Diagram 4. Pull Block

The second and third phase of practice is to teach the difference between fast and slow flow and how
the pursuit depends on the RB flow or the direction of the play. As I mentioned above LB's must pursue
the football depending on the action of the play. This is why I am going to go into the third phase of my
progression to help understand all types of pursuit and how LB's flow depends on each movement of
the running back. Remember, play together as a unit and realize that each LB might be seeing a
different read and flow depending if they are the play side or backside LB (See Diagrams 8-11).

The forth phase of LB play is to teach them how to take on blocks through a progression of drills I call
D.O.B. (Delivery of Blows). Each D.O.B. pertains to the different type of flow the LB will see, teaching
LB's the different techniques involved with defending a blocker (See Diagrams 12-13).

LB's must get hands in position on blocker to get them ready to scrape off block
Outside hand on blocker's outside shoulder, Inside hand on the middle of blocker's chest
Used with slow flow (Zone) to allow LB to stretch the play or to force RB to cutback.
Can use either rip technique or pull technique to get off blocker

Reduce & Rip (See Diagram 13)

LB must be prepared to rip though a block

Reduce means to explode on moment of contact with inside foot up, collision with inside shoulder. On
the moment of contact short step with the outside foot and rip with inside arm.
IMPORTANT to get outside foot up, helps to fight pressure with pressure.
Used against fast & direct flow (power, ISO, dive) Cut blocks -
LB must learn to play with their hands
Used on every play depending on offensive schemes.

The fifth phase of practice is to teach LB's the proper way to drop into pass coverage. Of course each
defense uses different coverage's and alignments when it comes to pass coverage. At this time I will
explain a couple of our pass drops, when to use them, and what types of techniques are used. (See
Diagrams 14-17)
Hash Drops (HTC - hook to curl)
Drops should be 8-10 yards on the hash, or take away the hook to curl zones. We just use hash
marks as a dropping point.
Drops change depending on ball location (right, middle, left)
We use these drops more in cover 3 looks
The key technique is to open to receiver strength to take away 1st threat.

Hash Drops

Stab Drops Used when other LB is blitzing or in certain cover 2 looks

Short stab- 8 yards in the middle of the field looking for TE dumps, drags, screens.
Deep stab- drop to the middle of field, keep going trying to take away backside post and to help the

The key techniques are to use swivel hips turning on QB eyes and remember that the only
Replacement Drops ( Used when an outside LB is blitzing, can be used with a zone blitz concept.
We use a + alignment, which means to take one step back and 2 steps over.
The key technique is to teach LB to buzz to their 1st threat to replace where the OLB would have
been. Once the area is clear drop into your normal zone.

Play side LB will attack the QB, keep him to our inside, while backside LB will replace into the hook to
curl coverage area (Watch for drag and never chase, stay in your zone)

Finally, the last phase and probably the most important phase is tackling. We do our own tackling
progression like all coaches do. Just remember it is important to teach your players proper technique
and not to think that your players know how to tackle. Do it everyday and do not be afraid to keep it
simple. No matter what drill you use teach LB's proper angles, head placement, correct body position,
and to never leave there feet (teach them to run through the ball carrier and that takedowns only
score point in wrestling). Once you feel your Linebacker's have the just skills necessary to understand
the simple techniques involved you can begin to design your drills using several phases of progression

Coaching Outside Linebackers

By Joe R. Daniel III

The hardest position on the field for most defenses is the Outside Linebacker. In a typical 8-man Front,
such as the 3-5-3 or 4-2-5 defenses, these players have dual responsibilities.


The Outside Linebacker is primarily responsible for containing the run, forcing the ball carrier to turn
back inside on edge runs. He can also force the ball carrier to bubble and work laterally to the sideline,
allowing pursuit to get there to help.

The second responsibility for the OLB is to cover the flats on the pass. Typically, 8-man fronts are going
to be running Cover 3 as the base coverage.

Most defensive coordinators use a mixture of Zone and Man coverages. The OLB will normally be
locked on the #2 Receiver to his side in Cover 1 or Cover 0, a slot or Tight End. When a player is locked
up in man coverage, he cannot be considered a part of the run defense.


The Outside Linebacker's alignment will depend on your defense and his abilities. Typically, he will be
somewhere in the range of 3-5 yards outside of the End Man on the Line of Scrimmage (EMOLS) and 2-
5 yards off the Line of Scrimmage (LOS).

If there is a #2 receiver, the OLB commonly uses an apex alignment, 5 yards off the ball and halfway
between the EMOLS and the slot. Depending on the team and the ability of the slot, you may choose to
align him closer to the slot to deter the pass or tighter to the EMOLS to help on the running game.

Keys and Reaction

The OLB's primary key is the EMOLS, a Tackle or Tight End, for a High-Hat, Low Hat read. High Hat,
meaning the OT's helmet pops up as in a pass set, tells him the play is pass, and he should open up to
the flats (but this will be dictated by coverage call). On a low hat read, when the OT fires out with a flat
back, he is assuming run. The OLB should be thinking run unless he gets a definite high hat pass read.

You can help the OLB get his reads by studying the film of the EMOLS he will be reading. Different
teams employ different techniques for pass and run blocking.

After getting a low hat read, the OLB checks his secondary key - the running back. He needs to attack
the run appropriately by reading the run block and backfield action:

EMOLS hard down block inside, RB to you: Attack the line of scrimmage to replace where the EMOLS
left. Expect a kick-out block from a RB or pulling guard. Take it on with your inside arm, keeping the
outside arm and leg free and the shoulders square to the line. Constrict the running lane inside and be
ready to make the tackle of the Ball Carrier bounces outside.

EMOLS drive blocks the Defensive End, RB to you: Shuffle up and in, but do not close all the way to the
line of scrimmage. Maintain outside leverage until the RB declares inside, then fold in to make the
tackle. If he bounces outside, box the play.

EMOLS Reaches to you, RB fast flow outside to you: Attack to the line of scrimmage but keep your
width. If you have a #2 receiver, decide whether you can beat him to the point of attack or need to
defeat his block. If you have to defeat his block, go through him, driving him back and work to his
outside to contain the play.

EMOLS Zone or Reach away from you, Backfield flow away: Keep your depth, fold inside to stack the
Defensive End. Check for Counter, Reverse, Bootleg action and be ready to work back. Do not pass the
Defensive End until the ball declares away from you.

The Play Action Pass can put a lot of stress on your backers. If the OLB reads run, he should attack
because he is a run first player. But once he realizes pass, usually by the secondary key action, he
should bust it to get back out to his pass coverage area. Never give up on a play!

Coaching the Outside Linebackers

The individual techniques needed for the OLBs are similar to any defensive player. They need to be
able to read their key and react, defeat a block, make a tackle, pass drop and cause turnovers. All of
these skills should be worked in a collection of 5 Every Day Drills, if time allows. Add in other drills to
work your weaknesses.

Group work is crucial to the Outside Linebacker understanding his role. He will work with the Safeties,
Corners, Defensive Ends and Inside Linebackers. Set up group drills each week that allow him to see
his role in the defense with each of these groups. Make sure the group drills are relevant to the
opponent you will face that week.

Understand that Offensive Coordinators will be picking on your Outside Linebacker. They are the player
who is most easily put in conflict. Offensive schemes will try to frustrate him, and get him guessing.
Your Outside Linebackers will make mistakes! Train them to trust their keys, play physical, and run to
the football at all times to have the best OLB play possible.

Techniques: WIDER IS BETTER!!!!

1. Razor: 3x4 off of EMOL (TE SIDE)
2. Blade: Apex EMOL and #1 receiver. Single width = 3x4 off EMOL

1. Lane of Ball
2. #2
Razor = TE
Blade = I-back

Style of Play:
1. LOB = 1: Pitch or Option: FORCE. Attack LOS and hit FB outside hip. Pitch in option!
2. LOB = 2: Run, Pass, Play Action. Bounce and Read #2, VICE or FLAT
When you play the Vice technique you play a 5 yard fence deep of EMOL
and keep everything from bouncing outside you!!
3. LOB = 3: Pass, FLAT read #2 and drop flat.

IF the LOB is AWAY from you, you automatically become a VICE player using the 5 yard
Fence rule


#1 = READ KEYS (if in ZONE - read O-Lineman to Near Back; if in MAN - read Near Back to O-Lineman).
IMPORTANT: "DON'T GO UNTIL YOU KNOW" (where ball is headed).


#3 = DO NOT CROSS FEET (make tackle from INSIDE-OUT).




IF QUESTIONS = PHONE ME at 804-378-0116 (from 6 PM to 10 PM/EDT). No more typing time.

Leadership at its core is service. How you empower others to execute.
Good leadership can be quantified as

1) people - surround and develop the right people to do what it is you're after/goal

2) process - a clear system for indoctrinating those people with how to perform at a
high level to eliminate uncertainty.

3) Accountability - #2 doesn't mean anything if you aren't reinforcing it and auditing

#2 against its performance.

We can teach kids tenets of mature leadership (what to do, how to do....) but we
have to provide them avenues for them to demonstrate/participate in it. Off-season
community volunteer work and having them be responsible for underclassmen is
where you would do this, because being a leader isn't being a robot, but someone
who takes action.

GREAT leadership is the ability to stay ahead of the curve, anticipate your people's
pain points and build something no one else has.