Defensive Line: Varying Movement Steps

Apr 26, 2015 | Position Groups, Defensive Line

By Shaun Weaver
Defensive Coordinator 
Gettysburg College (PA)

Introduction:

Football2 2014In today’s offense centric game, stopping an offense starts with what you do on the defensive line. No matter what scheme you decide to use, you must be able to stop the run and get to the quarterback. Your defensive line can and should be a big part of the production in your defense.

Part of giving defensive line the best opportunity to produce is moving them within the scheme. If you are aligning your guys in the same spot every single down, you are putting them at a competitive disadvantage unless they are just physically better than the other team. Having a good teaching progression and plan for teaching movement techniques is vital to being effective. In this report, I will go in detail about our gap step, penetrating, two gap and twist steps we use in our 3-4 scheme here at Gettysburg College.

Base and Pass Rush Stances

The key to being able to effectively move as a defensive lineman is having a great starting stance. We teach two different types of stances based upon the situation. Below are our teaching progressions for both our Base and

Pass Rush Stances

Right (Left) Handed Base Stance

  1. Feet shoulder width apart (under your arm pits) pointing straight ahead.
  2. Right foot should be back and at a toe to instep relationship.
  3. Put both hands on the ground 3 to 6 inches in front of your face mask.
  4. Pick your left hand or “Flash Hand” up off the ground and put it to the side of your face mask with your thumb pointing up in a position to strike a blow.
  5. Weight is slightly on the balls of your feet so you feel “air” under your heels.
  6. Good power angles in your hips, knees and ankles. Do not be stiff.
  7. Eyes up on the man across from you and butt up slightly above head level, while maintaining flexed hips ready to explode off the ball. Key the ball to the inside with your peripheral vision for a better start.

Right (Left) Handed Pass Rush Stance

  1. Feet slightly less narrow than shoulder width apart.
  2. Right foot should be back and at a toe to heel relationship.
  3. Put both hands on the ground 3 to 6 inches in front of your face mask.
  4. Pick your left hand or “Flash Hand” up off the ground and put it to the side of your face mask with your thumb pointing up in a position to strike a blow.
  5. Weight is heavy on the balls of your feet so you feel more “air” under your heels.
  6. Good power angles in your hips, knees and ankles. Do not be stiff.
  7. Eyes up on the man across from you and butt up slightly above head level, while maintaining flexed hips ready to explode off the ball. Key the ball to the inside with your peripheral vision for a better start.

Base Movement Steps and Technique

We teach four different types of movements to our defensive line. Each has a different role in our scheme. Each is specific but very easy to teach. Below, I provide an explanation of each movement as well as details of how we use each technique against common blocks that we encounter.

Spark Step

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