1.This series of drills that we call Buddy (Partner) Drills will be done from the sideline, working towards the middle of the field.
2.Each drill will be done with a partner. Be sure that each Defensive Back works with
a different corner or safety each day you do the Buddy Drills. This will help build your
DBs communication skills and trust with one another.
3.Must teach the DBs how to work together when they perform buddy drills. Whether neither one is designated the offensive player, this is when they align shoulder to shoulder, or when the drill calls for one of them to be designated as defense and offense players, as in The Fade Drill, this is done by the DBs aligning with the offensive mans inside foots heel touching the defensive mans outside foots heel.
·The DBs must know that the offense already has three distinct advantages over them in the pass game. The WR has the benefit of knowing
1.Where and when he'll make his breaks and cuts
2.The QB knows precisely where and when cuts will be made by the WR, and when to throw the ball, and
3.While the DB is backpedalling the WR is sprinting.
Because of the Offenses advantages we must practice those breaks and routes that we'll defend every week. We can only develop these skills through drills!
·THE FADE DRILL
1.DBs are heel to heel with the defensive player predetermined by the inside man (closest to coach/QB).
2.Coach (QB) is inside either 5, 10, or 15 yards from the two DBs.
3.On offensive receivers movement he will stem his stem/finish his route out towards the sideline (use the lines-have WR run to a target of 5yds, a new line, at a 45 degree angle simulating getting seperation from the DB). The DB has to get out of his BP since his cushion has been broken, and turn and run. I call it a zone turn, this is where the DB will get his butt to the sideline.
4.Since his cushion is broken, and he does not want their to be any seperation from himself and the WR he must get his right arm and hand to reach back for the WRs inside pocket and hip ("pin position") while looking back for the ball. This is a Zone Turn. In simulating man to man the DBs man turn would put him in a position of being "cheek to cheek-chest-to-chest"
5.When the ball is thrown the DB should look to intercept at the highest point. Tell the WR to not go for the ball in order to get success first for the DBs. Later make it competitive for the DB by having the WR try to go for the ball too.
1.No contact by the DB and we lose, the WR gains seperation and cushion and the next thing you know our opponents band is playing the school fight song! We must feel the WR.
2.Proper body position in the Zone Turn would put the DBs upfield tip of his shoulder pad in the mid point of the WRs chest. The DBs outside hand should be reaching for the hip of the WR to insure contact and no cushion. Most often this is where the underthrown fade or "fade stop" is completed if not repped in practice.
3.Work on both zone and man turns.
4.Work catch up drill. The DB is beat badly and now without looking back at the QB he plays the WRs hands and eyes. Attackin his "catch hand", the WRs arm/hand closest to the sideline. The great WR can catch one handed fades, we must defeat the Catch Hand.
5.Utilize the Red Zone, inside the 20 ydl. so the DB gets to practice field position and his proximity to the end zone and sideline.
6.Must practice the "fade stop", under thrown ball, and the "hail Mary". This almost got the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in '96, but the Steelers knocked their last chance effort to score by knocking down the "hail Mary" ball in the end zone to end the game.
The main objective of the series of Buddy Partner Drills is for our Defensive Backs to get proficient at the skills they use on gameday, and to improve on those routes that we are most weak at. The Fade is only one route that we will work on defending in practice during the buddy drill segment of the DB breakdown session. We will also defend the Post, Post-Corner, Quick Slant, Out, Dig, 45 degree sideline out and in, and the snag. Each route will be done with a partner, either shoulder to shoulder or heel to heel to begin. It is up to each coach as to how advanced his players are as to how you will practice the opponents best routes.
In order to make the drills as competitive as possible I try to do as many buddy drills as possible without designating an offensive man until the break point.