Author Topic: Defensive Tackle Play  (Read 4183 times)

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Offline JrTitan

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Defensive Tackle Play
« on: March 07, 2010, 03:42:19 PM »
If you are blessed with big, strong and quick lineman, consider yourself lucky and play them at defensive tackle.  Most youth and middle school coaches are lucky if they get one of these.  This does not mean that you need studs at the defensive tackle position in order to play this defense.  Quickness, aggressiveness, and good technique (and coaching) can compensate for lack of size and strength at the tackle position.  The defense can also slant and pinch the tackles using a rip technique (aggressively penetrating the gaps) in conjunction with inside linebacker blitzes or linebackers playing a their base read technique to compensate for lack of size and strength at the tackle position.  To be successful, the tackle must be agile enough to squeeze the trap play and avoid getting reached or based blocked by the guard thereby controlling his gap.

In the base defense, the defensive tackle will align on the outside shoulder of the offensive guard (3 technique) in a three point stance with his near hand down and the gap side foot up.  The first step is with the near foot to the near shoulder of blocker through V of the neck.  The hit focus of the hands directed towards the edge of numbers and the V of the neck. The tackle neutralizes the guard and establish new line of scrimmage with his feet in the neutral zone.  The gap side arm, leg, and hip must be kept free, and the shoulders are kept square to the line of scrimmage keeping his pad level low. The tackle must adhere to four cardinal rules:  don’t get turned out, don’t get blocked one on one, don’t’ get reached by the guard, and squeeze the trap.

Versus the run, the tackle is responsible for the guard – tackle gap (B gap) and dive on the option.  His key is the near back.  There are only so many ways the offense can block the tackle.   We drill the tackle how to respond to the flow of the back and to defeat each type of block. If the near back dives at him, the tackle protects the B gap.  When running at the tackle, the offense will either base block with the guard or use fold and combo schemes with the guard and tackle.  The tackle must not allow himself to get base blocked and he must force a double team on any fold or combo scheme:

By jrtitan at 2009-03-07

When the near back flows outside, the tackle must secure the B gap before pursuiting inside out down the line of scrimmage looking for the cut back.  When running outside the tackle on a sweep or off-tackle power, the offense will try to use combo, fold and double team schemes.  To defeat the double team, the tackle must get off the ball as described above neutralizing the guard.  When he feels pressure from the tackle, he should sink his outside hip, continue to grab cloth of the drive block and work body through the gap.  If he feels he is giving up ground he should grab jersey, sit down, and a make pile.

The offense may also try to reach the tackle with the play side guard.  The tackle can not allow himself to get reached.  To defeat the reach block, the guard must get off on the snap as described above and:
  • lock out gap side hand (long arm) we lock it out.
  • pull shade hand (short arm) towards him to open the gate.
  • work near foot must up field.
  • escape with a rip move

On flow away, the tackle will face a cut-off block by the guard or tackle.  He must defeat these blocks and pursuit flat down the line of scrimmage.  He must across the face of the guard and not go around the block.  If the tackle tries to reach him, he must first neutralize the guard preventing the guard from jumping through to the inside linebacker and use a rip move with his outside shoulder through the tackles head to escape from the tackle.

The tackles work in concert with the inside linebackers to control the inside trap. The linebacker to the play side has the most difficult assignment because he must be concerned with the ball going outside while his near back key runs the midline.  The tackles and backside linebacker do most of the work to stop the trap since the play side linebacker can potentially get removed from the play with an influence block.   The offense will have the guard either veer release inside to the backside inside linebacker or influence out on the trap play:

By jrtitan at 2009-04-01

The play side tackle must never allow the veer release of the guard to the second level.  He must get off the ball and use the guard’s body to squeeze the A gap looking inside for the trapper.  If the guard releases inside and the dive back goes inside, he should immediately look for the trapper and take him on trapper with his near shoulder staying low, keeping shoulders square facing up field, and squeezing the trapper back into the hole.  The backside tackle also needs to get off the ball using his base technique to avoid the reach by the backside offensive tackle.  If the guard pulls across the center, the tackle works to get in the hip pocket of the guard and closing the hole hard from the backside.  If the center blocks his near hip, the tackle goes behind the center hip and chases the guard to the ball. If the center puts his face in the hole, the tackle works across his face and work down the line of scrimmage in the direction of the guard.  The key to recognizing the influence trap (near back dives and guard sets for pass or pulls outside) is the lack of pressure from the play side tackle.  After he reads trap, he should immediately look inside and defeat the trap block as discussed previously.

Against the veer scheme, the play side linebacker fills strong side A gap hard when the guard crosses his face to block the backside linebacker.  This should allow the linebacker to avoid the down block of the tackle and make the tackle in the backfield.  The backside linebacker attacks the play side guard with an inside forearm rip, squeezing the play inside maintaining outside leverage.  Against the influence scheme, the play side linebacker will react outside since he is threatened with outside flow.  The backside linebacker attacks the center and squeezes the play inside.

Against teams that like to trap and wedge, the defense can also use a pinch or trap alignment adjustment with the tackles:

By jrtitan at 2009-03-07

The tackles take normal 3 technique stances and alignment except they align their hips outside so that they are at 45° angle to the guard (tail out and head in).  The down hand is on outside foot of guard and feet outside hand crowding the ball. At the snap, the tackle drive through the near neck area of the guard using the guard’s body to squeeze A gap and his body to control B gap.  The tackles look inside for the trapper and squeeze the trap and follow any pulling guard.

Attached is our defensive tackle checklist we use when we install the base defense.

See archive for further discussion

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« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 09:05:14 PM by JrTitan »
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