Developing Consistent Linebacker Play

William Inge - University at Buffalo - Defensive Coordinator

Fab 5 for Linebackers

4 Laws of Learning

  1. Demonstration:  Verbal explanation or physical demonstration.
  2. Imitation:  Try it, test the body's ability to comprehend.
  3. Correction:  Demand Perfection!  Teacher must know what he wants.  Habits are formed here.
  4. Repetition:  When they know what you expect, let them get as many reps as possible (including on their own)

Alignment (be very precise)
Stance (comfortable stance - wide is okay, too tight is not)
Key Reaction

You have to know what he's thinking in order to correct him. 

The reason for having a Primary and a Secondary Key - 1 offensive guy may lie, but 2 will not.

Linebacker Drills

Inside Zone Drill:  Should look just like the primary key (Running back) then fit into OL

Inside Zone Drill

Teach tools to players.  Attack Offensive Lineman with a backside arm rip, or attack & press.  Give them the tools and let them do what is comfortable.

Running Back never runs to darkness.

If you are on the back side of a Power - If you see color (one of your own players) in the gap, scrape over to stack the pile.  If not, you have to hold for cutback.  

Key 1-back or fullback.  Splitback is based on film study - who is going to get the ball?

1st step is always a power step in the direction of the back.  

Same on the Outside Zone:  Frontside backer is running to an area, and attacking who ever comes to him.  

The front side LB squares up the blocker, and the backside backer is runing pinned to his backside hip.  The Backside Linebacker needs to be able to pace the ball carrier, it may not be 100 mph.  

Hammer Drill (leverage)

Attack & Constrict the alley.  Stay square and squeeze. 

Hammer and Splatter Drills

Splatter Drill (Spill)

Force the ball carrier to the outside.  Attack, may the ball go where we want it to go, then run a half man inside out to make the play.  

Force the ball to run laterally, and backwards.

We are the aggressor in the Hammer and Splatter drills.  You can use either one depending on what you want and what your opponent does.  If a team wants to get outside, run Hammer.  If they want to run inside, use Splatter.  Take away what they want to do.  You can change it in the middle of a game.

The Inside Linebackers have to trust the Outside Linebackers and fit inside or outside.  Fit tight on the Splatter - "scrape paint off his butt cheek."

Outside Linebackers key the Tight End to Near Back.  Make sure they know all of their options and possibilities. 

Have as many "Just Like"s and "Same as"s as you can.

Close and Come to Balance

Works acceleration, decelleration and body position. 

Close and Come to Balance Drill
Coach is standing in front of 4 linebackers.  Stepto get them moving, then ball declares and they cage the football. 

1 to 4 drill ratio allows them to recover. 

Keep the inside foot up as you close.  Know where your help is coming from. 

Step / Separation Drill

Teach them how to catch up, when the Offensive Lineman already has beaten him.  Separate, steer him, throw him and get off.  First whistle starts it, second whistle signals disengage. 

Disengage with arm over or rip - depends on the guy.  If he brings his pad level up, he cannot use arm over. 

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© 2011