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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 17330
North Carolina
High School
September 16, 2020 5:51 pm  

Years ago, I noticed at practice (where coaches who were teaching block deconstruction) was that their defenders were getting blocked more often than anything else (as well as yelled at).  They were taught to engage and then get rid of the blocker as the ball-carrier just came whizzing by.  I was wondering why the defender was willing to engage, if he just wanted to get rid of the blocker in the first place(?)  You can't engage a blocker and make a tackle at the same time.  It looked to me like a stupid way to do things, especially since the hardest block for most offensive linemen to make is in the open field.  Yet,  here was the defense making it easier for them because the defenders were willing to go to the blocker.

Meanwhile, I began teaching our Invisible Offense approach so that while our opponents were setting up to block our defenders, our defenders were running right past the blockers and making tackles.  We were teaching our defense to play as if there were no blockers.  It increased the overall speed of our defense, because we didn't play as if there was some sort of invisible bubble shield surrounding the ball-carrier.  We played 11 against 1 and would practice against 1 ball-carrier.  With each rep, we would add one offensive player, but regardless of whether we were 11 on 1, 11 on 2, 11 on 3, etc. not only did the defense win big every time (obviously), but by the time the numbers evened out (11 on 11), our defense was still getting to the ball-carrier with 5 or 6 at a time, because they now understood the objective, as well as how to execute it.  That's where we learned the advantage of playing on our opponent's side of the LOS.  And while that may sound obvious, we were teaching this, as opposed to simply hoping that would be a result.  So is this just a little-league approach?  Well, we taught it this way when I was a high school header in 2017 and we had the #1 defense of fewest points allowed in the conference.  If an opponent thinks you're going to play against him in a conventional manner, it's to his advantage.  Why give him that advantage?

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 17330
North Carolina
High School
September 16, 2020 6:58 pm  
Posted by: @32wedge

I have taught take on all blocks this or that way because that's how it's worded in the manuals and clinics.  What you are describing makes more sense to me.  Can you expand on block deconstruction and how you teach it?

Nathan, "block deconstruction" (and sending offensive linemen to block 2nd level defenders) are two of my major pet peeves.  I think it's foolish and a waste of time.  I'm not saying that a defender can't use "block deconstruction" to defeat a block.  Or that it can't be taught.  I'm asking why would you want to?  I simply don't think it's a good use of time for the bang for your buck.  I want 11 defenders on a ball-carrier as soon as is humanly possible. Teaching a defender some sort of dancing bear-technique is taking away from that.  Plus, defenders (especially at younger levels) are easily distracted by blockers coming at them.  (It's why my offenses call out the defender we're going to block, so that the defender is more concerned about who's coming for him and then defending himself, than he is about making the tackle or executing his assignment.  And yes, that works at high school.)  We use our Invisible Offense philosophy where our defense is lined up against 10 cones and a ball-carrier.  Our 11-on-1 Strip Drill, Torpedo Drill, Gap-Shoot Drill, Gauntlet Drill and Oklahoma's are common applications for implementing this.  We line up 11 against 1, which should be called "11 Against Me" because I am the ball-carrier.  But this drill is a WALK-THRU. As I take one step at a time (in whatever running play I've chosen), each of my defenders take one step at a time, pursing only through their lane of responsibility.  I yell "Step...Eyes" with each deliberate step, checking to see that their eyes are focused on the ball-carrier (me).  The drill continues until all 11 defenders have reached me.  As we add players and speed, initially the offensive players do not move (except for the ball-carrier) so our players are able to rush past blockers.  This is to teach the defense what it should look like at speed; i.e., all 11 defenders on the ball-carrier.  As we execute one play after another, I am shouting "Eyes!  Eyes!"  They are not creating relationships with the blockers; their eyes are focused on one thing; the ball-carrier.  (Dogs do this well when you hold a cookie in front of them, or wave it around.  Their eyes never leave the cookie.) We will eventually go full speed making it 11 against 1, 2, 3, etc.  We rotate the ball-carriers on every play and do not let them free lance the assignment.  Defensively, it's a race.  Who gets there first?  Play's not over until all 11 are there.  This can be a walk-thru, jog thru or full speed. "Eyes!"

When we teach Gauntlet and Oklahoma's my number one teaching point is "Eyes."  If a defender's eyes stay on the target he will continue on that path to get there as soon as he possibly can.  If he takes his eyes off the target to retaliate against a blocker or to "deconstruct," he will not get to the ball, period.  When I stand at the end of the Gauntlet, I tell the defender to keep his eyes on me.  As he takes shot after shot from those making the tunnel, he is not to get "distracted" and get involved with anyone.  He is ONLY to pursue.  Players are easily distracted when they aren't taught this because they want to retaliate against someone who gave them a shot.  That's why in youth ball you see 2 players butting heads against each other when they're 60 yards away from the play.  I don't mind if my blocker is doing this, but it makes no sense for a defender to do it.  But the blocker has now created a "relationship" with this defensive player.  The defensive player doesn't care about tackling a ball-carrier.  He only cares about pushing back against someone else who has pushed him.

The other main aspect of the Invisible Offense is a test I do with our defensive linemen.  I've done this drill with our teams and with other coach's teams:  I tell the OC to call out a play.  When he does, I ask each offensive player who it is that they block on this play.  They point out the position or say his name or number.  So I ask the Right End, "Who do you block?" and he replies "#78."  I ask the Right Tackle and he says, "#64," etc. as I ask each offensive player.  The I go to the defense.  I'll start with #78 and ask, "If the Right End has you on this play, who do you have?"  Most of the time, they'll respond by saying whoever has him.  In other words, #78 will say his man is the Right End.  Which of course is the wrong answer.  But before I tell him that his answer in incorrect, I'll ask each defensive player, "Who do you have?"  99% of the time, they respond that their man is whichever offensive player was going to block them.  For instance, #64 will say he has the Right Tackle.  After all of them have given me the wrong answer, I will tell them that their "man" is the ball-carrier."  "These other men cannot score.  These other men do not have the ball.  These other men cannot hurt us.  These other men are invisible."  They begin to understand that they are to proceed without contact with anyone except the ball-carrier.  And the best way to do that is through speed or quickness.  That's why MPRs excel with this approach.  They don't want contact anyway and here's a defense where they aren't to make contact with anyone except the ball-carrier.  It makes teaching them to gap-shoot very simple because all they are trying to do is shoot a gap quickly to avoid the contact of a block.  The quicker they shoot that gap, the quicker an MPR has blown up a play.

In a 2-on-2 Oklahoma, It's common for defenders to take on blockers as the ball-carrier runs right by them.  Then the coach yells, "You've got to get rid of him. Get him off you!" while still teaching him to engage the blocker.  Once we started teaching "eyes" as if there are no blockers, our defenders stopped putting on brakes, slowing down, getting tied up and getting juked.  They went for the ball-carrier straight away.  

Do we still get blocked.  Yes.  But the frequency in which it happens is less than if we were teaching how to deal with a blocker before you deal with a ball-carrier.

Do we change our lines of pursuit if there's a blocker in front of us?  Rarely, if at all.  The blocker is going to have to be great at what he does, because we're not taking him on.  Our eyes aren't even on him.  We're heading to the ball-carrier.

In the NFL, I can understand teaching deconstruction as a "finishing technique" when they've already been taught every other chapter on defensive play.  I mean, why not have one more tool in the box if you can use it and there's little time expenditure?  They don't have to concern themselves with teaching stance, a quick get-off, or other routine fundamentals.

I guess my real pet peeve is hearing coaches yell to a defender to "Get him off you!" when they were taught to engage him in the first place.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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32wedge
(@32wedge)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 686
Virginia
Middle School
Only / Head Coach
September 16, 2020 7:35 pm  

I can completely see that approach for defenders in inside to outside pursuit.  

 

How do you teach your edge defenders when the ball is coming toward them?  Do you have your defender maintain an outside leveraged position on a blocker to slow the runner or do you have them automatically go outside around the blocker or let them go inside if they want?   


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rpatric
(@rpatric)
Bronze
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 155
Maryland
6th - 8th
Head Coach
September 16, 2020 8:23 pm  

@32wedge

Nathan, I had a very long conversation with Dave about this, and it makes perfect sense. There are only 6 players on any given play that can hurt the defense(score). You have 11 defenders. Just by having your defensive linemen ignore the offensive linemen and not engage them makes it 11 on 6.
The odds are already drastically in your favor at this point. The vast majority of offensive linemen can't react to a defensive front that is trained to do nothing except fly across the LOS "WITH THE BALL". The blocking assignment becomes irrelevant and you end up with defenders playing in the backfield.


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32wedge
(@32wedge)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 686
Virginia
Middle School
Only / Head Coach
September 16, 2020 8:36 pm  

@rpatric

 

If your defenders are not disciplined in which side they go around those invisible blockers, there are going to be open gaps and big plays.  It cannot be just a wild 11 man mob chasing the runner.  

 


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rpatric
(@rpatric)
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Joined: 2 years ago
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Maryland
6th - 8th
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September 16, 2020 8:53 pm  

@32wedge. They have assigned gaps which they shoot every play. Against a balanced formation you wouldn't have any linemen shooting A gaps. If you are going to leave any gap open, the A gap is the best bet. Even if the offense gets 5 or 6 yds per carry, they still have to be good enough to execute an 11 or 12 play drive with turning the ball over or shooting themselves in the foot with penalties.

Aside from that, 11man mob pursuing the ball sounds pretty great to me.

 

 

 


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 17330
North Carolina
High School
September 17, 2020 12:54 am  
Posted by: @32wedge

How do you teach your edge defenders when the ball is coming toward them?

--We don't teach a passive contain.  Many coaches have contain players sit at the edge and wait.  We're attacking the backfield, from the outside in.

Do you have your defender maintain an outside leveraged position on a blocker to slow the runner 

--No, because there is no acknowledgement of a blocker.

or do you have them automatically go outside around the blocker or let them go inside if they want?   

--We don't care what the blockers do or where they go.  We attack from the outside in, and rarely do we see any offenses that lead with blockers from the inside going out.  Sweep ball is usually played (by the offense) as a one-on-one proposition.  But one absolute is that the ball-carrier cannot get outside of a defender.  So we "set the edge" without using a passive contain.  We set the edge, but it's a fluid edge that shrinks very quickly.  For instance, I want my Cornerbacks to meet each other in the backfield.

--Dave

 

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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terrypjohnson
(@terrypjohnson)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 257
United States
Head Coach
September 17, 2020 9:08 am  
Posted by: @rpatric

@32wedge. They have assigned gaps which they shoot every play. Against a balanced formation you wouldn't have any linemen shooting A gaps. If you are going to leave any gap open, the A gap is the best bet. Even if the offense gets 5 or 6 yds per carry, they still have to be good enough to execute an 11 or 12 play drive with turning the ball over or shooting themselves in the foot with penalties.

Aside from that, 11man mob pursuing the ball sounds pretty great to me.

In this scenario, is it better to lineup head up and stunt or put them in the gaps and shoot? Or a mixture of both?

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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terrypjohnson
(@terrypjohnson)
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United States
Head Coach
September 17, 2020 9:18 am  

 

rarely do we see any offenses that lead with blockers from the inside going out.

@CoachDP - just to make sure I understand what you mean: you attack from outside - in because it's rare that teams would ever do something like SAB out or use a "Part" scheme where the C and G would SAB left (in) and the RT and RT would SAB right (out).
 
Just asking in case I ever see it. Ever since I saw that snippet from Coach Bryant's book that said "prepare for everything", I've tried to do exactly that (realizing that a lot doesn't apply to me because the age group I coach).

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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rpatric
(@rpatric)
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Posts: 155
Maryland
6th - 8th
Head Coach
September 17, 2020 10:08 am  
  1. @terrypjohnson i would recommend lining up in the gaps. you don't want them thinking about anything other than the ball. Putting them directly in front of a lineman is likely to distract them from their assignment. They are taught to move with the ball and you have to incorporate that into every drill you can. Keep it simple. Same job every play. 

 


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Lunchbox
(@lunchbox)
Copper
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 45
Wisconsin
September 17, 2020 12:10 pm  

I used Coach DPs invisible offense philosphy when i ran JJs 33Stack.

Its not a run wild mentality, our defense still has there individual assignments pre snap but after the play has developed its 11 to the ball. 

We used a very simple pass/fail system. If you got blocked out of play you failed, if you didnt you passed. Even if its the backside cb, dont get blocked. We never keep any kind of score to this, didnt have to. Kids know if they passed or they failed.

Our Dogs were our bigger athletic kids. All we taught them was maintain your outside leverage and keep the ball carrier running sideways help is coming.

For years i wasted practice time teaching rip moves and the like, colossal waste of time and never seen one in game, ever!

Shoot your gap and find the ball nothing else matters. Cause chaos. If you cant see the ball when u get through and someone has there back turned crush them. Everyone behind that line is fair game. If they wanna stand back there and try to hide the ball and fake make them pay. Eventually those fakes will stop.

Couple that philosphy with Coach DPs aggression stuff and JJs 33 and you youll have alot of fun and most importantly so will the kids. 

Keep it simple and kids will play fast.


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32wedge
(@32wedge)
Silver Moderator
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 686
Virginia
Middle School
Only / Head Coach
September 17, 2020 12:34 pm  
Posted by: @terrypjohnson
Posted by: @rpatric

@32wedge. They have assigned gaps which they shoot every play. Against a balanced formation you wouldn't have any linemen shooting A gaps. If you are going to leave any gap open, the A gap is the best bet. Even if the offense gets 5 or 6 yds per carry, they still have to be good enough to execute an 11 or 12 play drive with turning the ball over or shooting themselves in the foot with penalties.

Aside from that, 11man mob pursuing the ball sounds pretty great to me.

In this scenario, is it better to lineup head up and stunt or put them in the gaps and shoot? Or a mixture of both?

Ryan is probably correct in keeping it simple with younger ages and lining them in the gaps and just work on getting off fast and penetrating, but lining defensive linemen head up and slanting them into the gaps usually screws with blocking rules more and causes more trouble.

 


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Lunchbox
(@lunchbox)
Copper
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 45
Wisconsin
September 17, 2020 12:40 pm  
Posted by: @32wedge
Posted by: @terrypjohnson
Posted by: @rpatric

@32wedge. They have assigned gaps which they shoot every play. Against a balanced formation you wouldn't have any linemen shooting A gaps. If you are going to leave any gap open, the A gap is the best bet. Even if the offense gets 5 or 6 yds per carry, they still have to be good enough to execute an 11 or 12 play drive with turning the ball over or shooting themselves in the foot with penalties.

Aside from that, 11man mob pursuing the ball sounds pretty great to me.

In this scenario, is it better to lineup head up and stunt or put them in the gaps and shoot? Or a mixture of both?

Ryan is probably correct in keeping it simple with younger ages and lining them in the gaps and just work on getting off fast and penetrating, but lining defensive linemen head up and slanting them into the gaps usually screws with blocking rules more and causes more trouble.

 

What ages we talking? Alot of leagues dont allow you to line up in the gaps especially at the bobblehead ages. 

Last year our 5th/6th grade group had to play lbs 3yds off los so we just backed them up 2-3 steps and ran the 42 with 2 dts right in the A gaps. This did not slow down our outside stackers in fact we liked it, because they couldnt over run the play.


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rpatric
(@rpatric)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 155
Maryland
6th - 8th
Head Coach
September 17, 2020 12:43 pm  

@32wedge

I absolutely agree with you Nathan. What most of us see at the youth level is poor offensive line play. There are very few teams that actually execute blocking assignments well. If you can get the d line through their gaps immediately, it causes all sorts of mayhem in the backfield. Most youth teams are not capable of dealing with that. Well coached High School teams might be a different story

 


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spidermac
(@spidermac)
Gold
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 2440
September 17, 2020 12:57 pm  

Dave, going to "steal" another drill from you 🙂

Last night we were running half line from a defensive perspective, our 4 tech kept getting blocked by the Tackle, who he is obviously faster than...and when coaching him up I said "he doesn't matter, he cannot hurt us"...but I am not sure I got through to him...so going to steal your 11 v me drill 🙂

And this is real...rookie player working with him on the Dline...I get him lined up, explain taps and his responsibility and ask "any questions?" and he has one..."who do I block?"...I think this drill is going to help him understand a lot better than anything I have told him thus far 🙂

Some of the other questions that were asked...

We attack our area of the field, find the ball, kill the ball.

Our Force Players, their area of the field is the heels of the deepest back, coming outside in...and their path moves with the heels of the deepest back.

Our Force Players again, your width is something "you can adjust", you want to be just wide enough so you cannot be blocked by an offensive lineman, if you were blocked, you are too tight.

Our Reaper, his path is Inside Out, and he should arrive "angry, unblocked and with malice in his heart" 🙂

Our Corners are outside in, but we align them with outside leverage and tell them to attack with their eyes

None of them suck, they just haven't found what the kid is good at yet.


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