By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
As potentially elaborate as the simulated pressure scheme may be, its efficiency lies in drilling the fundamentals of both the cover defenders and rush defenders. Teaching simulated pressures require teaching defenders to perform skills that they are not accustomed to performing. In order to get this done, coaches must spend time working various defenders through each of these responsibilities. Louisiana State University defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who is credited for bringing the scheme to the NCAA level, credits the Baltimore Ravens as the model in the NFL for being efficient in switching jobs through the season and modeled his three-day installation after that blueprint. “On day one linebackers will do linebacker things, defensive backs will do defensive back things and bigs will do the defensive line things,” Coach Aranda told us. “Then in day two, the linebackers will switch with the defensive backs and in day three the linebackers will switch with the bigs. This way, everyone’s role is switched. Simulated pressures give you that ability. The coverage will always be the coverage, it’s the specific defenders that are executing that coverage that will constantly change.”
While we may not be able to document all of the drill work that the Ravens work through on daily, we are able to provide practice film of how both Coach Aranda and University of Louisiana safeties coach Patrick Toney teach their players the rush and cover concepts infused in these pressures. We segmented our research into both rush and coverage drills.
Curl/Flat Drill Progression (University of Louisiana):
In three-deep simulated pressures, there will be two curl flat defenders who will be asked to reroute the number two receiver if he’s vertical or look to get underneath the number one receiver if there is no other vertical threat. And because these curl/flat defenders can either be interior linebackers, outside linebackers or safeties in this system, Coach Toney will rep all potential curl flat defenders through the following circuit.
Curl/Flat Drop on Air for Second Level Defenders:
This drill teaches the drop of the curl flat defender if he’s positioned as a second level defender such as a linebacker. If on the hash, his drop needs to be eight yards deep and on the top of the numbers. If he’s in the middle of the field his drop should be between the numbers and the hash. All eyes should be on the quarterback, who will simulate throwing an interception.
To study film of this drill, click on the video below: