By Mike Giancola
Defensive Line Coach
Bridgewater College (VA)
For the most part, playing defensive line is a thankless job. Masterful hand and footwork are not sexy. Absorbing a double team to allow a teammate to make a tackle never shows up on a stat sheet. The grueling, physical, violent nature of the position and what is asked of it usually goes unnoticed by a majority of people that watch the game.
However, the one thing defensive linemen are asked to do that everyone sees is getting to the QB in the pass rush. This is where “the money is made” at the position, literally and figuratively. Sacks can turn the tide of a series, and win games at the highest levels (think Von Miller in Super Bowl 50).
The art of the pass rush is not something most players are able to just show up and do. It needs to be approached in a methodical and precise way. Here is a base overview of coaching the pass rush that yielded success for our defenses.
Initial Twitch Drills
The mentality of the defensive line is passing situations needs to be focused on the get-off at the snap of the ball. This starts not only starts with quick recognition of the snap, but also an explosive first step. The coaching points we use are to drive the knee to the chest and gain two yards in the first step with violent arm action to put stress on the offensive lineman.
Working quick twitch and explosion drills into individual periods every day can help with this. Below are examples of a couple of those drills we do:
Long Bag Get off Drill