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.