Today, I’m going to go over a number of defensive football drills that are ideal for running to get your players ready for pass rush situations.
Inside Counter Drill
This next fundamental drill is relative to countering on an inside rush. This is done mostly by our tackles, nose tackles, and inside rushers, but a defensive end could use it once in a while if he’s lined up tight on an offensive tackle.
The purpose here is to try to get the blocker to set wide, set laterally, to overset, to lean, to shift his weight so far that when we start up one way, we’re going to have an easy counter by clubbing him and coming back in the other direction.
You can learn this against these pop-ups. The coach can stand. You can check your guy’s head movement. Simulate that he’s going in one direction on the blocker and then a good footwork, club, and coming back with a rip or swim the other direction.
In talking about rip or swim, we prefer to use rips when we club. It keeps us lower, and it works under the pressure of the offensive blocker’s hands.
The only time we do a swim is if we knock the blocker completely off balance and we can get over the top quickly and get to the quarterback.
With this defensive football drill, start left and then go back to the right.
Rush Against the Pop-Up Drill
The next phase of the rush fundamental defensive football drills without using the offensive line or each other is going to be the rush against a short pop-up.
In this situation, we simulate ball movement. You, the coach, will snap the green football.
The players will take off, use whatever move they happen to be working on against the offensive blocker, and when they come off of the blocker, accelerate and finish the sack by spreading through and hitting the quarterback.
If you had your entire defensive line, you would simulate these blockers, for example, as the one on the right off the line of scrimmage is a right tackle, the next one’s a right guard tight to the line of scrimmage, the left guard tight to the line of scrimmage, and the left tackle set back off the line like they do.
Normally we’d have all of our defensive linemen, we’d go right down the line, giving one individual rush each. We’d give however many rushes, however much time we had. This drill ties everything together: great take-offs, the slap, the rip, the swim, the dip in the hip, and the acceleration to the quarterback.
After working down the line with your defensive linemen, both right and left side, and getting plenty of individual rushes, we sometimes have a game situation if we are a good rush team – which we hope we are – that they will keep running backs in to help protect. Especially if they see a pass rush game.
If a back sees a lineman go inside a tackle or an end, he knows the other one’s going to wrap around. He’s going to sit in there and be ready to block if one of the offensive linemen get picked off.
Now to work on this, the only way we can do it is with the dummies. We’re not going to hit each other live. We’re not going to run over a back in practice. We’re not going to risk the injury.
So now on the ball movement, our rusher will have great take-off and as he defeats his man, there will be that back sitting there that he’s got to be aware of.
We don’t care what he does to the back. He can jump over him for a sack, he can club him, he can butt him, run right over him with his face mask, swim, rip. We just want to make him aware that when they come clean in the pass rush, sometimes there’s going to be another blocker. In some situations, it could be another offensive lineman that’s kicked back off the line of scrimmage to help.
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