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By Dan Owen, Former Defensive Coordinator/Special Teams Coordinator, Keiser University (FL)

Your hands are your weapons in football, and you must be willing to use them. When we talk about using your hands here at Keiser, we call it “Striking” and everyone in our program must know how to strike.

By Dan Owen
Former Defensive Coordinator/Special Teams Coordinator
Keiser University (FL)
Twitter: @Coachowen561

 

 

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Your hands are your weapons in football, and you must be willing to use them. When we talk about using your hands here at Keiser, we call it “Striking” and everyone in our program must know how to strike.  Player safety is the number one goal for all of us and that is why we have adopted this block destruction technique. “Head to Head” or “Face to Face” collisions can have as much as an impact on your head as a tackle.  These old habits of banging facemask to facemask are engraved in young player’s minds just like tackling with the head is. We do understand that is not always possible to keep your head out of certain tackles or blocks, but here at Keiser we put maximum effort into breaking old habits.

Diagram 1

 

Just a humorous way of communicating to use your hands. We say would you rather have an ugly face and not remember anything or just some ugly fingers.

 

The striking technique does vary across the units. The offense strikes with their thumbs up at the lower outside peck near the arm pits. While on Defense, we strike 5 Fingers up aiming at the upper peck to the collar bone trying to cover as much surface area as possible. Even though the technique is different from offensive guys to defensive guys there are 4 main key ingredients in “Striking” on either side.

  1. Accuracy: You must be able to hit your designated mark in order to defeat your man.
  2. Quickness: You must be the first man to make contact and the quickest to reset.
  3. Violence: You must be able to cause some type of blowback when you’re striking.
  4. Leverage: You must be able to get your body position lower than your opponent. Even though we will focus more on the defensive side in this report.

 

I wanted to quickly reference three clips to explain the difference in an offensive and defensive strike. The first thing to understand is on offense you are trying to keep that man close to you and “hold” him from making a play. On defense, we are trying to create extension which will then create separation for us to defeat the block.

 

 

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  • The difference between “33,” “31,” and “13” strike point techniques and when to use each.
  • The “Violent Hands Drill” used to emphasize an upper pec strike point for defenders.
  • Coaching points and film of the “Strike, See, Throw and Go” technique in block destruction.
  • Coaching points and film of the “Dip, Rip, Stack and Go” technique in block destruction.
  • Plus, game film examples of these block destruction techniques.

 

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Conclusion

I had the privilege of working for two defensive coordinators in my student and graduate assistant years that were both brilliant, experienced, and quite different in their own way. However, the one thing they had in common is they both acknowledged that we were a very poor striking team on defense when they first arrived on campus. The ability to get off blocks, beat blocks, destruct blocks however you phrase it is an important key in being an elite defense.  Why were we so focused on use of our hands? Because we preach as a defense “To Keep the Ball Inside and In front” and in order to do that you have to be able to take on blocks and defeat a man besides Dipping, Ripping and Stacking.

There are several more clips to follow up this report of great strikes throughout the season and practice. Again, the number one priority is player safety and then the effectiveness of the technique. We have found our way of teaching block destruction to be very effective and safe. My hope is that you found something useful out of this report to take back to your team. My hope is one day when I am watching board drills at practices, I see the hands being the first point of contact. 

 

 

Meet Coach Dan Owen: Coach Owen was a junior college quarterback at LA Valley College in Southern California and played at Florida Tech in 2012 (DII in Melbourne, Florida). He then found himself became a student assistant on the defensive side of the ball, where he then transitioned into being a Graduate Assistant coaching the defensive backs.  By 2017, he was full time as the special team’s coordinator and corners coach. In February 2018, he took a job at Keiser where they were going into the first official season as a program. The team finished with a 6-4 season. The defense ended the season ranked 22nd in total defense allowing 22 pts per game and 13th in total takeaways with 17 interceptions. In the Fall of 2019, Keiser Seahawks went 9-1 losing in the first round of the NAIA Playoffs and clinched a Sun Division Championship. The defense took a few positive steps forward by allowing 19.1 pts per game and repeated with 17 interceptions in 2019. Following the 2019 season, Coach Owen took a job as a defensive GA at East Carolina University. 

 

 

 

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