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					                   A    common defensive philosophy asserts
                                                                           Diagram 2: Eagle Front vs. Double

 Def ensive
                        that the front four are responsible for
                   occupying blockers, allowing linebackers to


     Line:
                   come up and “make the play.” On the con-
                   trary, we believe that any defensive player in
                   the front seven should have an opportunity to

A tt a ck F a st   make the play at any time. More importantly,
                   defensive linemen need to believe that the
                   defense was built around them just as much
                   as it is designed for the middle linebacker.
                   This belief allows them to be more committed          backer reads a down block from the open side
                   and more excited to play defense.                     offensive tackle, he will settle his hips, read,
                       “Attack and Act” rather than “Read and            and squeeze the counter or outside trap.
                   React” is our defensive philosophy. Over
                   the past five seasons, our multiple eight-             Player Identification and Fundamentals
                   man front attack defense has produced                     Our teaching progression for defensive
                   exceptional tackle for loss and quarterback           linemen starts with breaking down the skills
                   sack records (at NAIA Southern Oregon                 required to play the position into only three
                   and NCAA-III North Central). Single-sea-              to five fundamentals. Our top three defen-
                   son and career sack records have been set             sive line fundamentals are take-off, change
                   by players who formerly were supposed to              of direction, and use of the hands.
                   be the “set-up” man for a second level play-              We identify our defensive line players first
                   er. However, we have also seen career and             by their quick take-off. We expect our defen-
                   single-season tackle records for our line-            sive linemen to get their heads across the
                   backers, pass-efficiency defense records              neutral zone when the ball is between the
                   and individual consecutive-game intercep-             center’s legs. If a player we are scouting (or
                   tion records in our secondary.                        an incoming freshman in fall camp) isn’t this
                        Our base front and adjustments are               quick, we believe he should be on the offen-
                   designed to get the best performance out of           sive line not the defensive line. There are
                   the talent available to us. At the small college      stance and technique teaching points which
                   level, it is more likely to find a recruiting class   we believe improve the skill of quick take-off,
                   full of “linebacker-type” athletes than to find a     however.
                   pair of All-American defensive tackles.                   Second, we expect our defensive tackles
                   Therefore, we emphasize quickness and                 to attack quickly on the motion of the offensive
                   athleticism over size. In our base Eagle front        guards. This is the second fundamental, we
                   (Diagrams 1 and 2) we have three defensive            call it “directionality.” Our time spent working
                   linemen (tackle, nose, tackle) and two out-           on the three technique (outside shade of a
                   side linebackers (left and right). This front         guard) not only helps us identify which players
                   tends to force offenses out of double teams           can move but teaches them what we expect
                   and into single man-blocking where our                from a reach block or scoop (outside zone),
                   quickness becomes our advantage.                      down block (trap or inside run), or pull away
                       Diagram 1: Eagle Front vs. Pro                    (trap or counter).
                                                                             We expect our three defensive linemen to
                                                                         react flat down the line of scrimmage in uni-
                                                                         son on the outside stretch play (Diagram 3).
                                                                         If the inside three defensive linemen are not
                                                                         relatively equal in change of direction skills,
                                                                         the offense is more likely to see the gaps
                                                                         they want for cut-back running lanes.
                                                                            Diagram 3: Flat Attack vs. Scoop

                       Our outside linebackers are primarily
                   edge pass rushers, whose responsibilities
                   change only because of two simple rules.
                   First, if an offensive formation shows a crack
                   threat on our inside linebacker (generally a
                   tight end, tight wing, slot, or flanker), our out-
                   side linebacker may pick up a flare route by
                   a back. If our five-technique outside line-
    While we emphasize pure speed take-          foot is back and the outside hand is down. The                      Unpredictability
off on the first step, our attack of different   up hand is the first to attack to aiming point,          There are enough blitzes with our inside
blocks are expected on the second step           generally the upper outside corner of the jer-       linebackers, and twists with our outside line-
(Diagrams 4 and 6). If our three-technique       sey number. This is under the outside shoul-         backers, that the change of feet in the
tackle gets too far up field without attacking   der plate or arm pit (outer pec and under delt)      stance is too difficult a predictor for offensive
quickly on the steps or hip of the offensive     of the offensive lineman. As the third funda-        personnel to know where defensive lineman
guard, he should not play defensive line in      mental of successful defensive line play, we         will attack (Diagrams 11, 12 and 13).
our scheme. We refer to these problems as        spend a little less than one third of our individ-           Diagram 11: Stack Front
“fish hooks” (too much depth on trap or run      ual practice time incorporating hand place-                       Monster Blitz
away, Diagram 5) and “trap bait” (not sink-      ment and replacement drills.
ing hips, making contact or “squeezing” on
a down block, Diagram 7).                             Base Stance and Stunt Changes
  Diagram 4: Attack Hip and Pursue                   In many cases, when our gap of respon-
                                                 sibility changes due to a line stunt, we
                                                 change our feet from our base stance. This
                                                 allows our players to take their first speed-
                                                 step up field, while the blockers take a pass
                                                 set and kick-slide. Our fast movement up                  Diagram 12: Weak Edge Twist
                                                 field, combined with the offensive line’s
                                                 pass set, creates the seams we want to
                                                 attack in a stunt or blitz. On the second
                                                 step, the defensive lineman executes the
                                                 stunt through the seam. In Diagrams 8, 9
         Diagram 5: Fish Hook
                                                 and 10, the defensive tackle making the
                                                 second move in the stunt has begun with
                                                 his feet opposite his base stance, allowing
                                                 him to take one step up field, plant and
                                                 change direction off his outside foot, cross-            Diagram 13: Strong Edge Twist
                                                 ing to his new gap of responsibility.
                                                            Diagram 8: Weak In


      Diagram 6: Attack Hip and
         “Squeeze” vs. Trap



                                                                                                         Our defensive package reflects the phi-
                                                                                                      losophy that we should attack and act upon
                                                            Diagram 9 Weak Out                        the offense rather than read and react. It
                                                                                                      helps our defensive linemen, and every
                                                                                                      member of our defensive unit, get excited
                                                                                                      about being playmakers at any time.
          Diagram 7: Trap Bait
                                                                                                               Improve Your
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                                                                                                           Ask your sports informa-
                                                          Diagram 10: Loop Weak                         tion director to mention your
                                                                                                        membership and invol-
    Hand placement is aimed at the outside                                                              vement in the American
shoulder of the offensive lineman if we are                                                             Football Coaches Associa-
aligned in an outside shade, and at the inside                                                          tion in your biographical
shoulder if we are aligned in an inside shade.                                                          sketch in the school’s annual
Initially, for outside shade alignment, the
inside foot is back and the inside hand is
                                                                                                        media guide.
down. For inside shade alignment, the outside

				
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posted:7/6/2011
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