Linebacker Progression Drills

Linebackers should be in a
comfortable stance with feet just outside of shoulder                                   
width and good bend in the knees. 
The shoulders of the Linebacker should be over his knees & Chin over
his toes, with eyes up and arch in his back. 
He should be comfortable to run in this position in all directions.

 *Theory of the Machete:

Every Defensive player will adopt
the Machete theory when defeating a block form an offensive player.  Our philosophy will always be that 1st
and foremost we must defeat the blocker in order to get to the ball
carrier.  We must show him the respect he
deserves and focus our attention on this very important progression to our
defensive philosophy.
We will imagine the offensive
player has a machete in his hand and wants to use it on us!  This method emphasizes the importance of
defeating the block and allows us to coach the proper technique, commitment and
aggressiveness we will demand of every defensive player.
Steps in defeating the Block:
  • “Eyes
    right” – we must always focus our eyes on the blocker, (man with the
  • “Strike
    Zone” – every defensive player will know their strike zone.
  • “Strike
    Zone Execution” – We will break down the strike zone and rep it as a part
    of our EDD’s (every day drills), or POAD, (Principles of Aggressive
    Defense) time allocation at practice.  
  • “Aggressive
    strike, rip & disengage” – This will be a violent strike and an
    aggressive approach to defeating the block.
  • “Run
    Fits & Angles” – every defender will know their run fit and proper
    angle to the ball carrier.

Block Protection Drills

1 Strike Zone identifier:
Purpose:  Teach Linebackers
how to Strike the offensive player. 
Technique:     Pair up
linebackers facing each other.  The linebacker
will line up opposite a player simulating the blocker.  The linebacker’s right foot should be
slightly back and in the crouch of the blocker. 
The LB will match ear holes with the blocker.  On coaches’ command, Linebacker will take a
six inch POWER step with his right foot to the crouch of the blocker and Strike
with the right arm fully extended, (DO NOT BENCH PRESS THE BLOCKER), at the V
of the neck of the blocker.  The left arm
or outside arm should simultaneously strike the outside shoulder pad tip of the
blocker.  Eyes will be at contact point;
V of neck!  (Very Important).
The Power Step should make
contact on the ground at the same time the hands hit fully extended to the
blocker.  Coach should emphasize a quick power
step and contact and accelerate through contact. (Step progress the drill to
help defensive player become familiar with their “STRIKE ZONE” distance.  Repeat drill with left shoulder. 
Alternate Techniques:  Drill
can also be done versus a sled, or against a man holding a bag / shield.

Strike Rip Drill:

 Purpose:  Teach Linebackers
how to strike and take on a blocker & get rid of a blocker:
Technique:  Line up
Linebacker shaded on bag holder / another player, about 5 yards away.  On coaches’ command, have linebacker attack
the bag / player, identifying with their Strike zone distance; (full extension
of inside arm.)  The LB will then strike
with the inside arm fully extended to the V of the neck and with his outside
arm the outside shoulder pad tip!.  The
LB will then run through the blocker emphasizing the leverage and strike
velocity.  The linebacker will then pull
violently the blocker through their inside and ripping aggressively his right
shoulder / forearm at the hip of the blocker. 
Linebacker should look to make contact with his right foot, right
shoulder and forearm at the same time and get to the hip of the blocker.  Linebacker eyes will be on the blocker
defeating the blocker & then locating the ball carrier redirecting to the football.
Progression:   1. Bag holder
standing. (Move LBer to 3 yards) 
Bag holder takes two steps to shoulder. 
Redirect to football
Full pads: blocker full speed to contact. 
Redirect to football

4. Full Pads: blocker full speed to contact, Form
tackle ball carrier or Bag 

“Laying a Foundation 1 Brick at a Time!”

Up Next: Bobby Hosea Tackling Progression