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By Rob Noel, Defensive Line Coach, Stony Brook University


With passing continuing to take over offensive strategy in the game of football, developing ways to pressure and impact the QB takes on a growing importance every day. While strategy and scheme can help in this endeavor, at the end of the day equipping your edge rushers with the tools to be successful is paramount to affecting the QB. Read the report....

 



By Rob Noel
Defensive Line Coach
Stony Brook University

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Introduction

With passing continuing to take over offensive strategy in the game of football, developing ways to pressure and impact the QB takes on a growing importance every day. While strategy and scheme can help in this endeavor, at the end of the day equipping your edge rushers with the tools to be successful is paramount to affecting the QB. This report will help to show some of the ways we develop our edge pass rush at Stony Brook.

Step 1: Identify Who Your Edge Pass Rushers Are

The first step in developing your edge pass rush is identifying which players are best equipped to win on the edge. A common misconception is that these players must come exclusively come from your DL pool. While we emphasize working with and developing our DL to be good edge rushers, we also look for players from other positions who have the length, twitch and agility to be effective attacking the QB. In our offseason training, we put all of our defensive players through agility drills used to simulate the skills required to be an effective pass rusher. Through evaluation of these drills, we create a pool of candidates to get after the QB. Once we have identified these players, we will use scheme, alignment, and sub packages to get them in position for success. This is especially true in obvious passing situations, but we will do some things on mixed downs to get our better rushers in positions to rush also.

Step 2: The Get Off

The first three steps are critical in the success of an edge rush and we work tirelessly at trying to make these as fast and explosive as possible. This comes from working on eliminating wasted movement and making our steps as fast as possible. Here are some drills we use to help us in developing this skill:

Rabbit Get Off: This drill teaches the DL to react to OL movement and explode off the ball as hard and fast as possible. The DL partner up with another player who simulates being an OL and is aligned 1 ½ yards away. The coach points at the OL to get him to start backpedaling at 75% speed. On OL movement the defender explodes out and runs as hard as he can to reach behind the OL and tag off on his opposite hip. This helps to train the defender to eat up the OL cushion and works to instill great get off.

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1 Legged Get Off: This is something that we will occasionally incorporate into our regular daily get off drill. The DL aligns like normal but get into a 4-point stance and take their back leg off the ground. A partner stands behind them and places the palm of their hand against the DL heel to help them balance. On movement, the DL uses all their weight on their front foot to drive out as fast as possible. We emphasize that they still gain ground on their first step even though their other leg is in the air. This helps to teach the DL to load weight on front foot and gets them used to driving off of the front leg.

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  • Coaching points and film of the Lean Drill that Coach Noel uses to teach edge rushers how to tighten their path to the quarterback.
  • Coaching points and film of the Pre-Fit Long Arm Drill that Coach Noel uses to teach edge rushers how to gain post-snap separation from offensive linemen.
  • Coaching points and film of the Spin Counter Drill that Coach Noel uses to teach when and how to spin effectively out of a speed rush.
  • Coaching points and film of the Four Square Drill that Coach Noel uses to teach the finish and burst for getting home.

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Conclusion

These are the drills we use to identify, develop and create an effective edge pass rush. We try to keep our process here very streamlined and focused in the hope that our players will become excellent at a few skills in order to be effective. When teaching your players how to be edge rushers be careful not to overcomplicate or confuse them by giving them too many options, or teaching too many moves. This reduces your teaching time for each skill and dilutes the product that you will be able to put onto the field. Quality over quantity is key. 

Meet Coach Noel: Rob Noel joined the Stony Brook coaching staff in the Summer of 2014 and enters his third season as the defensive line coach. Most recently, Noel served as a defensive graduate assistant at Northwestern University.

During his first season at Stony Brook, Noel guided Victor Ochi to All-America status and All-CAA Football honors while Ochi became the Seawolves' all-time leader in both sacks and tackles-for-loss. A 2009 graduate of Butler University, Noel spent three years at his alma mater as the defensive line coach and assistant recruiting coordinator.

Noel was a four-year letter winner for the Bulldogs, graduating with a school-record 44 games played, including 29 straight starts along the offensive line. He earned All-Pioneer League selection as a senior and was a two-time Academic All-Conference selection.

 

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