Defense: Pursuing the Ball for Takeaways and Scores (Part II)
By Will Pluff, Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach
“Pursue for Takeaways: Pass”
Drill Set Up:
* Set up drill on goal line to emphasize scoring after the takeaway.
* 3 Coaches set up between 20 and 30 yard lines, 2 coaches aligned outside the hash and inside the numbers, 1 coach aligned in between hashes.
* 2 Coaches on each side of the end zone. Each coach will be lined up where the numbers would be if they were extended into the end zone.
* Coach who runs the drill on 5 yard line faces out with football.
* 2 defensive linemen on 5 yard line, 2 linebackers on 10 yard line, 2 defensive backs on 15 yard line.
* 2 cones on hash at 7 yard line.
* 4 players with shields simulating offensive pursuit.
* The rest of the players not involved should be in the back of the end zone.
* 2 footballs.
* 8 shields.
* 2 cones.
Drill Procedure (Diagram 2)
* Coach with football starts drill by simulating snap so defensive line can go on movement.t
* Defensive line goes 5 yards then touches the goal line and turns to find interception.
* Linebackers on snap pass drop off of the QB’s (coach’s) shoulders.
* Defensive backs can open and use their preferred technique to cover ground reading the QB. We get extra repetitions of backpedal and weave.
* Ball is thrown at one of the coaches standing in the drill – ball should be thrown with over exaggerated arc.
* As ball is thrown, shields release into pursuit of ball carrier.
* Defensive back or linebacker should high point ball and return to end zone.
* Defenders without ball turn and block shields.
* Ball is returned to coach in end zone. All defensive players going through the drill finish on the coach in the end zone with a break.
Drill Coaching Points:
* This is a pass drill. Defensive line should work appropriate stance and get off to tag the goal line.
* Defensive linemen need to retrace and get around “DL CONES” before they get into pursuit.
* We do coach blocking the QB and the near OT but in this drill. We are simulating the defensive line on the far side of the interception.
* Ball needs to be caught at high point.
* Ball needs to be caught on first attempt or drill is blown dead to emphasize the focus on catching.
* Shields must leave when ball is thrown.
* Intended receiver is blocked by nearest defender.
* Ball returned up numbers to give space for one cut and score.
* If ball is caught in the middle of the field, ball carrier is responsible to commit to one side of the field and get to the numbers. There are no full field cutbacks.
* Blockers use hands, blocking up field shoulder, and clearing offensive players off the numbers.
* Drop the defensive line a fumble every now and then to keep their eyes honest.
* Ball carrier keeping ball high and tight.
* Finish drill through the end zone.