Discussion in 'NCAA Football' started by KnightNoles, Jul 7, 2011.
Mostly for DelZaster to help learn the game.
Back to Basics: A Detailed Look at Defensive Line Play
click link for a better read but here it is...
Like offensive lineman, defensive lineman typically don't attract much attention from the casual fan, seen as the brutes up front that simply run into each other over and over. As FSUn demonstrated so nicely in his recent piece, offensive line play is a coordinated series of movements based on real time interpretation of the defensive front. Without an understanding or appreciation the subtleties required to play on the offensive and defensive line, it's understandable why many overlook these players during the game, except when they make a significant error.
In this piece, we take a closer look at the subtleties of defensive line play, providing an understanding of what really goes on down in the trenches and some important things to look for when evaluating recruits.
If you can't control the line of scrimmage your chances of winning a football game significantly decrease. A dominating defensive line, or even lineman, will impact the outcome of a game. If a quarterback has no time to throw the ball, if the running back can't turn the corner, if the offensive line can't control the line of scrimmage, it's over. In this article, we will take a look at some of the basics about defensive line play followed by a discussion about effective line play.
In general, most teams will use 3 or 4 defensive linemen in their base defensive fronts. When announcers and coaches talk about a 3-4 front or 4-3 front, the first number refers to the number of true defensive lineman. The second number refers to the number of linebackers. Occasionally, teams will go to a five man defensive lineman front, but I would say this is exceedingly rare as most teams will walk line backers up to the line of scrimmage to load the line. A four man front typically includes two defensive tackles and two defensive ends. The three man front is a little more flexible, but will generally include a pure nose tackle, a defensive end and a defensive tackle. In a 3-4 scheme, a line backer typically walks up as the fourth defensive lineman. Again, this is a very basic discussion about basic alignment and the schemes and personnel will vary from team to team.
The Basics: Techniques and Gaps
Before getting into the details of defensive line play one must have an understanding of alignment. The image below illustrates the typical numbering system that is used to identify the position of the defensive lineman:
It's not the clearest image but it is probably the most comprehensive one that I could find. The circles represent offensive linemen, with the center being the filled in circle. The letters define the "gaps" between the offensive linemen. The numbers, also referred to as the "technique," identify the locations at which the defensive players line up. For example, a "0" technique is lined up directly on the center, the "1" technique is on the inside shoulder, meaning the side closest to the center, of the guard. You will frequently hear commentators say that a player lined up in the 3 technique or 1 technique; the above image illustrates to what they are referring. Many teams will use the numbering schems in play calling. For example, when I played, the initial part of the play call referred to the base front. If the coach called "431," it meant we were using a 4 man front with the strong side tackle in the 3 technique and the weak side tackle in the 1 technique. Strength refers to the balance of the offense and generally identifies which side of the offense has more players or the tight end or the best player or however the defense identifies strength for their particular scheme.
You will also hear that specific players are responsible for a specific "gap." The gaps are identified by the letters between the offensive players: A gap is between the guard and center, the B gap is between the guard and tackle and so on. Depending on the scheme, a player may be responsible for collapsing a specific gap, blitzing through a gap or occupying a gap. Most defensive line schemes will have the defensive tackles lined up in the 3 and 1 technique. Again, this varies depending on the type of personnel a team has. For example, with a BJ Raj like player, you may have that individual line up in the 0-technique, shaded to the strong side of the play with the intention of occupying the A-gap requiring a block from both the center and guard. I can't tell you how hard it is to play center with a guy right on top of the ball.
Stunts refer to predefined movements of the defensive line. Defensive linemen do not simply go straight ahead on every play. Sometimes they will play straight up and try to maintain their responsibility. On many occasions, a defensive coordinator will call for a specific stunt, making it more difficult for the offensive line to block. These stunts can be done as an entire defensive line with every player crashing to he weak or strong side, or it could be limited to the tackles or individual players. Stunts will change the specific gap responsibilities of the lineman as well as the backers behind them. Often a stunt will be used in combination with a blitz, using the stunt to pull a lineman away or distract the lineman from the linebacker that is now blitzing.
For example, here is a play in which all of the lineman pinch towards the center. This may be used in short yardage situations.
Here is another one in which only the tackles pinch:
And here is an example of a "loop" or "twist" play:
Here is an example of a play that demonstrates a stunt with the linemen combined with a linebacker blitz:
This play demonstrates some sophisticated line play. Look how far the Right defensive end (the one on the left side of the page) is expected to crash down the line. The purpose of this is to pull the offensive tackle toward the center, with the hopes of him turning his shoulders toward the crashing lineman, making it almost impossible for him to pick up either linebacker blitzing from the outside. The whole purpose of this play, if you look at the lineman alone, is to pull the offensive line to their right with the hope of leaving the left tackle alone to block two blitzing linebackers. Defensive lineman do a lot of dirty work to allow the linebackers to play free behind them. A good defensive lineman should be very difficult to block one on one. If a defensive lineman is able to occupy more than one offensive lineman, you are decreasing the number of players available to block the linebackers.
really really in depth.. ask if you have any questions on this one..
I love this post! Thank you for it. I exclusively control the D-line, (or a blitzing back 7 player) because I dont want to screw up any pass coverages. Only taking control of a defensive back or linebacker at the last moment, to attempt a user pick. This post will vastly improve my D. Thanks again!
Trying to stunt two gaps over always sucked, especially when they were down blocking... one way you get a head on collision, the other it's a pain to get in the right gap.
Thank you Mr Knight sir. Im working my way through stuff bit at a time n il get somewhere don't know where but somewhere LMAO.
Thanks for taking the time buddy
What are you trying to learn about the game? Defensive techniques?
Allsorts really. Learning to read plays etc and get a better understanding of the game in general. I am thinking of getting Madden 12 and joining a league but am cocerned il do something dumb and upset someone not on purpose but through lack of knowledge etc etc. Thats why I didn't join anything last year, I played a couple of game against Twister last night and learnt a few more bits and pieces. I am thinking this year by the time we get Madden 12 (September) il be at a much better level of understanding to join something.
Being a dumb Brit handball doesn't come easy LOL.
I was talking to him the other night about he has given me insight to soccer and FIFA so I thought I would return the favor. I'm just posting different schemes on defense and thee aren't the first 2 articles that I wanted but they were sufficient at the time. I'm still digging through archives to find the articles
I also need to watch what I commit to as Forza 4 both here and at Realistic Racing n Fifa 12 im sure will be a busy time for me
i like everything said here , it really does show someone how to read the plays from someone selected for that play during a game.
read this thread
Thanks.This is very useful
whatever else you need let me know
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