2 Defensive Line Drills That'll Have You Wreaking Havoc in the Backfield

Practice these two drills to improve your ability to disrupt the offense from your defensive line position.

Defensive linemen: What's one of the best places you can find yourself? The offensive backfield. That's where you get a chance to sack the QB or tackle the running back for a loss. Whether you're a coach or just a player who wants to improve, these two drills from USA Football will have you causing trouble for the offense.

The Lift and Flip Drill

A good defensive lineman always has a plan for rushing the quarterback. This drill works on a specific pass rush move that'll come in handy.

  • Line up in a good stance over the shoulder of a teammate.
  • Have your teammate, acting as the o-lineman, extend his arms straight out.
  • Fire off the ball and put your hands on the underside of the o-lineman's arms.
  • Push him up violently while also flipping your hips toward the backfield.
  • Stay tight to the o-lineman as you get around him, ripping your inside hand through.

This can also be worked as a countermove or inside move when the o-lineman oversets. Simply stop your upfield rush, stick your outside foot in the ground and move back inside as you push the o-lineman's arms up and flip your hips.

A third variation can be done by first jab-stepping to the inside shoulder of the o-lineman, using a hand or head fake, then lifting his arms and flipping your hips back to the outside.

The Spill Drill

A good rule for defensive linemen: If you don't get blocked initially, a fullback or pulling o-lineman is coming. This drill works on technique for meeting that fullback or o-lineman and blowing up the play in the backfield.

  • Have six teammates line up on offense, five in a normal o-line pattern and one in the backfield as a fullback.
  • Line up on the outside shoulder of one of the tackles.
  • On the hut, the tackle steps away from you. Stop your upfield rush and stay tight to the tackle's hip, leaving no gap between you and him.
  • Get your eyes in the backfield and identify whether it's a fullback or a pulling guard coming to block you.
  • Once you identify him, meet the blocker by hitting his inside number with your outside shoulder and ripping your outside arm through. Called "wrong-arming," this will prevent the blocker from kicking you out to create a hole, forcing the back to either bounce it outside or put you in position to make a tackle if he tries to squeeze it inside. Work on wrong-arming both fullbacks and pulling guards from both sides of the line.

Check out more defensive line drills.

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