Simple Defensive Line Stunts

D Line Disrupts


Today we are going to take a look at simple D Line stunts or games.  These are also known as disrupts because you are trying to alter or change the O Lines blocking schemes.  If you really want to affect an offense then get after their offensive line.  Movements and games are a simple way to do that while staying sound on defense.  It is also a good way to get smaller or less talented players to become more effective.  We will look at 1 man and 2 man games today.

For us as an Over Front most of our games come from the side with the 3 and 5 technique.  The gap exchanges are easier and they are closer together which makes the picks and rubs more effective.  Usually with two man games you talk about a penetrator first and a loop player second.  You can have the End penetrate first and the Nose loop behind him, or you can have the Nose penetrate first and the End loop behind him.  An important thing to understand is how the stunt affects the run gaps of the second level defenders.  If you simply gap exchange two defensive lineman there will be no gap changes for the linebackers.  But if you are changing gaps of players up front then you may be changing gaps of players behind them.  An inability to fit runs correctly will get you in a lot of trouble as a defense.  When you are changing gap assignments you must make sure it is taught and communicated to all involved.  Here is an example.  We like to take the 3 technique and 5 technique under 1 gap each vs. teams that like to run strong side inside runs.  By doing that we feel like we are eliminating the A and B gaps and forcing the ball wide so it is not gaining any ground.  When we do this the Mike LB now becomes a C Gap player on runs at him to the strong side.  The run fits to the strong side have changed and we must understand how to execute it properly.  The biggest problem a defense can run into is guys running around with no accountability.  You want to play fast and aggressive but also be gap sound with integrity.  We will also stunt the 3 technique and 1 technique 1 gap to the weak side.  Essentially the 3 becomes a 1 technique and plays the A gap and the 1 becomes a 3 technique and plays the B gap.  This changes the gaps of the Mike and Will so it must be understood by them so you can fit runs properly.  All of these things must be practiced and drilled daily to maintain proper run fits and gap integrity.

Teaching Movement
Another very important aspect of line games is teaching guys how to read and react while moving.  When a defensive lineman moves he must understand what his new visual key will be.  He must understand how to move with great body demeanor and leverage.  A lot of players want to stand straight up when they move and now will not play with pad under pad leverage.  Knowing their new visual key will be very important so they can understand how to react to blocks and maintain proper gap integrity.  For example, if a 5 technique is going to cross the offensive tackles face and become a B Gap player his new visual key will be the Guard.  If the guard was working out towards the 5 technique, the 5 technique needs to understand he must stay on the outside shoulder pad of that guard.  If he goes across the guards face he is now essentially in the A Gap and we are structurally unsound.  You never want to move just for the sake of moving.  Their must be a purpose and an assignment with the movement that must be executed.  You should always teach defensive lineman base block recognition and block destruction first, then use movement as your change up or off speed pitch.  It will muddy the water for offensive lineman.  It will also take advantage of offensive lineman with poor footwork and bad run blocking demeanor.

As always our main concern is getting our players to understand what they must do and do it as fast as possible with very little thinking.  If you can add simple movement to your defense that you can accomplish with very little thinking it will pay huge dividends.  Remember players that think too much play too slow.  Have a simple progression in your teaching and give them as many reps as possible covering all scenarios.  Until next time keep PLAYING FAST!!!



Today we want to talk about gaining your Weak Safety vs. single width formations.  If you have read any of my defensive blogs you will realize that my weak safety is in a down position most of the time vs. single width to his side.  It stems from an 8 man front theory and stopping the run first.  After doing a lot of research on my own tendencies and performance I came to realize that I am losing that player in certain situations and need to have ways to gain him back where I need him.  We will still use him down a majority of the time but situationally we will also now allow him to play on the hashmark to help vs certain route concepts.

One of the biggest issues we have is we are an 8 man front team that plays with the Middle of the Field(MOF) open most of the time.  20 personnel or twins open has become a more prevalent set for offenses recently.  This set puts us in Quarters to the twins side and Sky or Cloud to the single side by definition or rule.  When I say Sky I mean our weak side safety is down in a force/flat position.  This means the MOF is open and many teams will try to attack there in the passing game. I have never been a fan of quarters coverage to the weak side because that makes the Will LB responsible for #2 to the flat and on the wheel.  I'm not crazy about that with him also being a B Gap player. But if his leverage is good and he can see the angle the running back takes he should be ok.

This will allow us to be creative with our weak side safety.  We can still use him as a run defender, but if he gets pass reads we may be able to gain him where we need help.  The term I picked up at a clinic a few years ago was "vision and break".  Usually a quarters player with no threat of #2 vertical would rob the post, dig, curl routes of the #1 receiver.  What we are going to try and do is let the Weak Safety rob off the intentions of the QB.  After 16 years coaching in high school and intensive study of our last 3 years I have found that 95% of high school QBS will look where they are throwing the whole time.  I have found it very rare for a QB to look off of his intentions in High School.  You may get some well trained QBS that look down the middle first, but they immediately lock on to their progression side after that. So what we are going to try and do is let the Weak Safety play off the intentions of the QB.  This way he can help middle of the field throws, but also will be able to help on throws to the single.  Now we can help close the MOF without playing MOF closed coverages like 3 Deep or Man Free.  You have to be willing to play some press man on the single, and your Will LB on #2 man.  We are certainly going to look at it this spring.