We feel that the best fits can be accomplished by teaching multiple concepts to our players to help them filter through post snap chaos. Read the report...
By Kelly Carrier
Lansing Catholic High School (MI)
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Run and pass fits are essential to any defense. We feel that the best fits can be accomplished by teaching multiple concepts to our players to help them filter through post snap chaos. Although reading the offensive line is our primary key, we also rely on other concepts like pre-snap gap responsibilities to get the best fit possible.
To accomplish this, we start in the summer and work all season long teaching conceptual gap assignments based on stunt pre-snap and then progress to what happens post-snap when everything moves. When working with the linebackers, I will always include offensive line reads and clear/cloudy fits in individual, group, blitz, inside run and team.
Pre-Snap Gap Concepts
We begin teaching our gap concepts by using barrels to simulate an offensive line. To keep the players honest, we do not include a RB in our drills. Instead, we work on leveraging the ball carrier during our tackling circuit, inside run period and team period. This keeps the LBs focused on our task and does not confuse them with false steps by a back.
During our individual time, the first drill we introduce is based off our various alignments based on the front (20s, 30s, 40s or 50s) and we introduce alignment depth. We set our heels at 5 yards to give us time to read and react. During this time, the LBs are getting a taste for non-moving offensive parts and gap assignments. Because we angle our defensive line, the linebackers know pre-snap which gap is theirs.
Before the rep starts, linebackers give their pre-snap communication which will include our strength, stunt, and if they are a box or spill player (this is determined by the stunt that is called). I set up about one yard behind and in between the backers during this time so I can have the same view they have. On the “set, go” call, they will fire through their gaps ripping with their left or right arm. This becomes a foundation and a fail-safe as linebackers are instructed to fill their pre-snap gaps if they miss their read.
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- The reads and responsibilities he gives his linebackers on "no pull fits" including narrated game film.
- The reads and responsibilities he gives his linebackers on "pull fits" including narrated game film.
- How Coach Carrier adjusted his LB reads to account for teams that were false keying him by pulling Tackles and not Guards.
- The drill work he uses to train his LB's eyes in practice and why he doesn't use running backs or scout cards.
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Although we employ multiple approaches to teaching our LBs run fits, our foundation is reading the OL. We emphasize our reads and communication daily during indy, group, 7v7, blitz period, inside run and team. Never at any point in time during practice are the LBs not engaged in their learning of the reads, fits and how to fix mistakes. We also are not afraid of adjusting our reads based on scouting reports as each team is a little different. Finally, as a staff we believe in trust: the players must trust us as much as we trust them to make the final decisions on the field.
Meet Coach Kelly Carrier: Coach Carrier has been an assistant coach at Lansing Catholic High School since 2013. Before that, he was the defensive coordinator at Okemos High School for 10 years. He is also a science teacher at Okemos High School teaching biology and ap biology as well as an assistant coach for lacrosse at Okemos H.S. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.