Using The “Dent” Technique to Eliminate Vertical Seams in Gap Runs

Aug 9, 2020 | Defending Run Game, Position Groups, Defensive Line

By Alex Smith
Defensive Coordinator
Spring Lake High School (MI)
Twitter: @ASmith032



It is my firm belief that you will always get what you emphasize. At Spring Lake HS, our goal on defense is to keep things simple for our kids, present multiple looks to the offense, eliminate vertical seams in our defense, and force running plays to bounce to our perimeter players. For us to effectively execute this style of defense, we spend a lot of time working on what we call the “Dent” technique.

Before we begin talking about what a dent is and how we teach it, I’d like to define what a “Vertical Seam” is, and why they must be eliminated.

Diagram 1


VERTICAL SEAM = A gap that is created when an edge player runs upfield and is kicked out by a puller/lead blocker.

The clip below is an example of what we define as a “vertical seam”. As you can see, the right defensive end runs upfield and is kicked out by the pulling guard. This is where the vertical seam in our defense is created. It is also important to note our play side ILB and rolled-up safety in this clip. Notice how they are working towards the sideline on their pursuit path, expecting the ball to be sent to the perimeter by the edge player. If the edge player would've executed a dent technique, there would be no vertical seam and a minimal gain.