Each day I have my DE’s start on reaction drills. We play a 6 technique (nose to nose on the TE) in the split defense. We teach the kids to read the TE on most plays, that brings me to the reaction drills.
The drill is easy. I get my starters about a O-lines width apart in front of me. Facing me are the TE’s. I tell them where to go and the snap count. If the TE releases inside then the DE should take 2 baby steps so that he is now even with the LOS and he should squeeze the space where the TE just left. A great coaching point would be to have the DE tell you what he can expect:
1.A pulling guard on either a "G" block or a counter.
2.The QB’s back facing them which could mean a bootleg.
You need to see the player squeezing parallel to the line with his shoulders straight and his head looking for his keys. Being that we play the split we can not let a TE inside so we give him a good jam and squeeze. Hopefully the LB is a good enough athlete and can scrap over the top of any block.
Following the reaction drills I get my left or right starter facing a TE (my other starter) and I have a offside guard and a QB facing me (the back ups). We still work on the reaction drill and also work in the counter block, the base, and the bootleg. The DE attacks each block differently.
·The counter block: The ends main role in our defense is to wreak havoc and keep the pulling tackle away from our backer.
·When the TE inside releases we jack him up enough to help our backer scrape to the play. We squeeze and attack the pulling guards inside knee and cut him as hard as we can. This does two things,
1.It cause a pile and prevents the tackle from getting a block and makes the play bounce to the outside to our outside backer.
2.It puts fear in the mind of that pulling guard and prevents him from playing as aggressive in the future.
·The base block: When the TE comes out at us, we want to slam him and get extension and have a low base. Instantly our head goes to the backfield and we read the backfield. If it is a sweep we work parallel to the line down the LOS to keep containment. If the play goes inside we throw our man and try to help or make the tackle.
·Finally, we work on the bootleg. The TE releases inside and the DE squeezes and he looks for his keys and sees the QB's back and boot. We always want to keep a 3 yard radius from the QB to prevent him from jucking us, but as soon as he turns up the field we make him pay and hit him hard.
Other drills I do include tackling, our stunts, and the traditional pass rushes. I have found that putting my kids in as many game situations the better for them and the program.