Posts Tagged ‘defensive fundamentals’

Carlos Rogers executes a break using the T-Plant technique

We have been moving rather slowly in our spring ball drills.  When I say slow I mean we are doing a lot of things in repetition.  This is a good thing for building stimulus response.  We have established our Every Day Drills (EDDs) and are starting to get a little more in depth in terms of attaching the techniques to the scheme.  Everything that we have established to this point stems from an off-man or zone approach.  When we start competing in 1on1’s we will need to be prepared to work on press footwork and techniques as well.

We have been very deliberate in working on the T-plant break though, as I want them to be able to have something to hang their hat on.  We know, and can be confident in the fact that, through repetition, we will be quick and efficient when we react to those visual cues that tell us to break on the ball.  There is more than one way to change direction but I am adamant that we will do it one way as a group and we will become experts at using the T-plant technique.  I believe that this will help to establish a standard for what we expect in terms of execution and provide the framework for the importance of paying attention to even the smallest detail as we progress.  It is just as important to condition the athlete’s mind-set as to how he views (thinks about) learning, practicing and perfecting the techniques necessary to compete at a high level, as it is to condition the neuromuscular patterning required to achieve desired levels of execution.

Fundamental drills that we have progressed to:

1.Swipe and secure when breaking through the receiver

2. Weaving to maintain inside leverage against a wide receiver taking an inside release

3. House turn and playing the ball at the highest point

Some of the extended concepts/drills that we worked in our last session included:

1. Reviewed wide receiver splits and correlating assignments

2. Reviewed quarterback profile and 3-step and 5-step drop (gun and center) reads

3. Combined the T-plant drill with an angle break drill to break on a hitch and slant route

4. Expanded 3/5-step reads to incorporate sink technique and angle break (defending the smash combo)

Drills that we need to introduce next:

1. In/Out of phase

2. High point take away

3. Feet, hips and hands (press techniques)

4. Reverse creep, jam and sink (collision & vision – hang and robber techniques)

5. Breaking through the receiver and recovery on double moves (hitch-go, slant-corner, post-corner & whip)

Communication to be addressed:

1. Sink in base/quarters

2. Trade in quarters

3. Hang and rob in bandit

4. In call by corner to OLB/SAF

5. Cross call by SAF/OLB to ILB


This off-season marks my second year working with the defensive secondary after eight years of coaching on the offensive side of the ball. The experience has been very rewarding in terms of re-invigorating my passion for teaching and coaching as well as pushing myself beyond my own limits of comfort and knowledge.  The intensity and devil may care attitude that defines the appeal of the defensive side of the game has been not lost on me.  Breaking down offensive game film was second nature for me and I was able to contribute to the development of our defensive coverage schemes.

Still, however, there is that pull that tugs at me when I catch a glimpse of the offense throwing routes on air, spreading out in formation, working on timing and execution, linemen in the chutes and on the boards . . . there’s just so many moving parts to work together; I miss the conformity of it all.

When I first started coaching defense I got caught up in approaching the defensive back position like the wide receiver position.  I tried to diagnose specific techniques for specific scenarios; offensively, techniques are designed by assignment and assignment is defined by scheme.   It’s all very neat and orderly, in a way, and I was able to develop a sound schema for coaching several positions on offense based on learning and teaching the techniques that would help to increase the efficiency of execution.

I soon found out that it was more important on defense to focus on things like run/pass recognition, change of direction, pursuit angles and other more general skills that would allow the defender to be in position to utilize his athleticism within the scheme of the front or coverage.  I was taking for granted the reactionary aspect of defensive play early on and it made my foray into coaching defense akin to learning how to coach all over again.

In retrospect, that is exactly what I needed…

DB techniques drilled during the first week of spring ball:

1. Stance

2. Creep

3. Tempo

4. Weave

5. Ball Drills

6. T-Plant footwork