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44 SWARM DEFENSE:

LINEBACKER PLAY

I. INTRODUCTION
A. Linebackers
1. Left Outside Line Backer
2. Right Outside Line Backer
3. Weak Inside Line Backer
4. Strong Inside Line Backer
5. In alignments these players do not flip sides of formation,
a. Will occasionally put superior OLB to offenses tendency side of formation.

B. Alignments

T G C G T TE

EMLOS
EMLOS

4X4
4X4

off LOS

off LOS
5 YDS

5 YDS
L R

W S
1. ROLB & LOLB
a. Base Alignment: 4 X 4 off EMLOS
b. Occasionally put superior OLB to offense tendency side of formation
1). Field / wide side
2). Right handed team?
3). Does offense like to run behind certain OL man?
4). Does offense like to run at favorite receiver?
c. Alignment with #2 receiver: 2 X 5 inside of #2 receiver

#2

#1 T G C G T TE
Inside
5x2

EMLOS
4X4
off LOS

off LOS
5 YDS

5 YDS

L
R

W S
2. WILB & SILB
a. Base Alignment: Over Guards, 5 yards off of LOS
II. COACHING THE OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS
A. Stance:
1. 2 Pt. stance
2. Outside foot back, inside foot at 4X4, or 2X5
3. Shoulders square to LOS
4. Vision: Looking at Offensive Tackle
5. In a position to get to pass zone drop quickly or to step up and to the inside to
squeeze, or to step forward and laterally.

B. Read:
1. Offensive Tackle
a. On TE side OLB may have to adjust alignment to see OT.
2. What the OT will dictate what the OLB’s first 2 or 3 steps will be, then read backfield
triangle.
a. 80-90% of time OT will dictate where offense play is going
OLB’S READ’S
O.T. & BACKFIELD TRIANGLES

T G C G T TE

L
R

W S
C. BLOCKING SCHEMES
1. vs REACH BLOCK: Play going outside
a. Reaction: 2 Shuffle steps b/c could still be pass or run,
1). If run probably going outside
2). Pass initial steps to getting to drop zone coverage
3). Alignment becomes 4 x 5-6 yds.
b. Eyes into backfield

OLB’S READ’S
O.T. REACH BLOCK

T G C G T TE

DE

L
2. vs PULL BLOCK: Play going away from OLB
a. Look inside and squeeze inside formation
b. 4X4 alignment shuffle to inside 4x2
1). Will enable OLB to get to pass drop on roll out away from flow
OLB’S READ’S
O.T. PULL BLOCK

T G C G T TE

DE

3. vs INSIDE REACH BLOCK


a. Reaction same as inside pull by OT
b. Shuffle & Squeeze to inside 2 steps to 2x4 alignment
1). As play continues to develop going away stack over DE and slow
man pursuit.
OLB’S READ’S
O.T. INSIDE REACH BLOCK

T G C G T TE

DE

L
4. PURSUIT ANGLE

OLB’S PURSUIT ANGLES

T G C G T TE

DE

a. The wider the play is going away from OLB, the deeper the angle of
pursuit.
b. Shallow flow away the more the OLB stays on track parallel to the
LOS
c. The further the ball is in the backfield the flatter the OLB stays to LOS
d. The wider the ball goes and gaining yards upfield the deep the angle
of pursuit.
e. OLB must be conscience of reading flow, is BC changing
direction/cutback, or flanker reverse, or QB Bootleg after really selling
the run.
f. OLB can not sell out and fly to backside pursuit.
5. Vs DOWN BLOCK

OLB’S vs OT DOWN BLOCK

T G C G T TE

DE

a. Block indicates an off tackle run


b. OLB shuffle down and inside to 2x2 off of EMLOS at 45 degree angle
1). Remain in stance and shuffle down and inside and settle at 2x2
c. When DL bounces BC outside, OLB attacks and contains BC to inside to
LANE created off of DE.
d. If BC goes away then pursue at appropriate angle.
6. Vs DOUBLE TEAM

OLB’S vs OT & OG DOUBLE


TEAM

T G C G T TE

DE

a. OLB react similar to Down Block


b. Shuffle at 45 degree angle to 2x2 off of EMLOS
c. Attack BC outside in
7. Vs PULL TACKLE TO OLB (FULL FLOW)

OLB’S vs OT PULL TO OLB

T G C G T TE

DE

a. BC trying to get to outside quickly - ie JET SWEEP


b. Attack LOS & Blocker with hands keeping outside shoulder free and square
to LOS.
c. Get width to contain BC, forcing BC back inside, without creating a huge
running lane back inside of OLB.

8. Vs FLY/JET SWEEP
a. May have to stretch out width of alignment to contain BC
b. JOB OF OLB: Become new sideline for BC
E. PASS DEFENSIVE

1. Vs PASS BLOCK

a. Pass Drop defenders - get to drop spot on field.


1). Not reading patterns, but need to get to spot asap
b. OLB’S Landmark - Spot on field relevant to Field #’s and hash marks.
1). 12 yards deep and 2 yards inside of #’s on field (@10 yards from
sideline)
c. ILB’S Landmarks
1). 12 yards deep and 3 yards inside of Hash Marks.
d. On drop OLB’S keep eyes in backfield to QB so we can read screen, draw,
or QB Keep
e. REACT or break to receiver - When QB takes front hand off of ball, break to
direction QB is looking and turned
f. Every combo pattern vs Zone is to entice the defender to do one thing, and
then the QB throws to the opposite receiver.

LB’S DROP SPOTS


FOR PASS COVERAGE

30
30

40
40
2. Common Pass Combo Routes
a. OUT AND SLANT
COMBO ROUTES
OUT AND SLANT

30
30

40
40

1). OUT ROUTE: Trying to pull OLB out wide


2). SLANG ROUTE: Intended to fill huge how now created by OUT

b. GO AND CURL

COMBO ROUTES
GO AND CURL

30
30

40
40

1). GO ROUTE: Freeze OLB so the curl will be open when the OLB
reacts to ball late
3. OLB’S reaction or break to receiver
a. When OLB sees the front hand of QB come off of ball, breaks to wherever
the QB is pointing with his shoulders.
b. Technique allows for quicker / faster breaks to the ball and receiver.
c. If OLB gets to landmark before ball is thrown must keep feet alive, don’t stop
moving feet quickly, keep shoulders square to LOS, this will allow OLB to
break in every direction.

4. Vs QB ROLL OUT PASS ACTION

30
30

A B C B A

40
40

a. QB Rolls out to weak side with TE Drag


1). WILB = GREEN LIGHT - makes a bee line to inside out relationship
to QB - BLITZ automatically.
b. DE will Contain QB
c. When WILB Green lights you lose a zone coverage, now need to replace
with opposite ILB
1). ROLB drops to “C” spot on field
2). 12 yards deep over offensive center.
d. Vs THROW BACK PASS
1). ROLB redirects / retraces steps to get to throw back receiver know
that the CB is there for support too.
e. If you want to play a bit more conservative have the ROLB drop to SILB’s
spot 12 yards deep and 3 yards inside hash.

5. DROP SPOT LABELS


a. A = 12 yards deep x 2 yards inside of field numbers (base drop for OLB’S)
b. B = 12 yards deep X 3 yards inside hash marks on field (base drop for ILB)
c. C = 12 yards deep over offensive center
III. COACHING THE INSIDE LINEBACKER’S
A. ALIGNMENT
1. Weak Side ILB
a. 5 yards off of LOS
b. Over offensive guard
2. Strong Side ILB
a. 5 yards off of LOS
b. Over offensive guard
T G C G T TE

EMLOS
EMLOS

4X4
4X4

off LOS

off LOS
5 YDS

5 YDS
L R

W S
B. READS
1. Offensive guards to backfield triangle
a. Read OG for first 2 steps then vision goes to backfield triangle
C. CHARACTERISTICS
1. WILB - Faster, have more GREEN LIGHT BLITZES
2. SILB - Bigger, stronger - Plugger type of LB

D. BLOCKING SCHEMES
1. REACH BLOCK BY OG ON DT

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

W S
a. ILB - Automatically shuffle 2 steps to outside and feel what’s happening on
edge with TE & DE.
b. Beginning of every play ILB’s are doing one of two things
1). Two shuffle steps inside or outside
2). Vs Pass block shuffle steps to drop landmark
c. ILB’S do not plug DL gaps - the DL will force BC to bounce, DL will plug OL
gaps by their reads / reactions to OL blocks
d. ILB’s will fill alley created because of DL plugging OL gaps.

2. DOWN BLOCK BY OFFENSIVE GUARD

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

W S
a. Two shuffle steps outside
b. Feel what’s happening on EDGE with TE/DE

3. GUARD PULL TO OUTSIDE

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

W S
a. Two shuffle steps to outside and react to TE/DE play.
b. Feel edge play
c. All three blocks by OG (Reach, Down, Pull Away) will take ILB to outside of
formation.

E. ILB EDGE PLAY


1. “FEEL” the edge, outside of formation
2. ILB reaction:
a. Shuffle steps to outside
b. Sneak a Peek off tackle to where the DE is playing
3. Wherever the DE is, the ILB goes opposite
a. Vs Reach block by TE: DE goes outside, stretching play, ILB attacks inside,
“open Door”

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

W S
b. Vs Base or Down Block by TE: DE squeezes down inside and ILB attacks
outside of DE to open door

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

W S
4. Main Idea of ILB = ILB replaces DE on LOS, becomes 5th DL on LOS
5. Because the DL forces the BC to bounce outside and OLB is outside to contain BC
back inside, the ILB will be at that point where the BC cutbacks (alley, seam) for
tackle.
a. A space of @ 2 yds in width that the ILB will be filling

F. BLOCKING SCHEMES THAT PULL ILB’S to the INSIDE


1. Inside Reach & Double team with OC

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

W S
2. Guard Pulls Across Formation

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

W S
3. ILB reaction
a. 2 Shuffle steps to inside
b. Read open door opposite A gap
1). If opposite DT squeezes down, ILB goes outside of DT
2). If DT goes outside, ILB goes inside

G. Difference between Down Block and Pull Across Block by Guard


1. Vs Pull Across -
a. ILB shuffles inside
2. Vs Down Block -
a. ILB shuffles outside
3. Both blocks look similar and will cause ILB’s to hesitate with reaction
4. Must practice these two reads.

H. ILB VS PASS BLOCKS


1. 2 types of blocks for pass protection
a. Straight drop back
b. Pull block to influence in or out.
2. Constant for both types of pass blocking are . . .
a. ILB Drop spot / landmark for pass coverage
b. Landmark is same no matter where play is on the field.
3. With ball on hash ILB furthest away from Hash mark has further distance to drop to
a. Seems too far, but not really, because only 50% of time is ILB actually
getting to his landmark / spot before QB turns to receiver and releases front
hand from ball, which ILB will break on.
LB’S DROP SPOTS
Ball on Hash Mark

30
30

40
40

4. Pass Block & Drop back by QB


a. ILB’s drop to B drop spots
b. B drop spots: 12 yards deep, 3 yards inside hash mark
5. QB Roll out
a. GREEN LIGHT - Play side ILB attacks inside underneath DE
b. Back side ILB drops to play side “B” drop spot.

30
30

A B C B A
40
40

6. GREEN LIGHT BASE RULE for Play side ILB vs Roll out by QB.
a. Variations can include
1). Green Light with Back side ILB
2). Designate ILB to always Green Light vs roll out.
I. Run Plays to Stop
1. Guard Trap
a. Offense must decide what to do with play side guard
1). Influence pull to outside or Block back side ILB?
b. With A & B gap alignment of NG & DT the ILB will be freed up.
c. If Influence pull - WILB will be freed up, reads open door in A gap away and
attacks BC

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

W S
d. If Guard blocks backside ILB -
1). WILB will blow up Guard’s block as close to LOS as possible and as
quickly as possible
2). DT will squeeze down LOS off of Guards butt and blow up trap
blocked by BSG and slow it down allowing other defenders to get to
BC.

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

W S
e. SILB vs. Guard pull

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

W S
1). SILB Reads influence pull to outside by guard, will shuffle out while
watching inside action
a). Fill where DE is playing off of edge.
2). BC goes outside, SILB will bounce to outside
3). BC goes inside, SILB will assist on tackle on inside.
4). Do not want SILB to shuffle out, read trap then automatically fly to trap.
a). Want SILB to get fooled by influence pull read b/c interior DL
will stop inside trap play and for BC to bounce outside where
SILB will be.

2. STOPPING THE POWER PLAY

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

W S

F
a. BC will be bounced to outside the DE to OLB where they become new
side line and force BC back inside, where ILB and FS can make play.
b. Blocks
1). DT vs double team: Don’t get pushed back and lose ground
2). TE release inside
3). FB kick out block
a). DE will force FB to log block instead of kick out b/c DE has
restricted the hole by jamming the TE and squeezing down the
LOS
b). When backside OG pulls to lead up hole he doesn’t have a
good angle to get good block on SILB unless SILB flies
upfield, then BSG will kick out on SILB and BC will come
underneath BSG block.
4). SILB shuffle steps outside
a). Replace DE outside
b). Should never be blocked if DE does job correctly
c). SILB scrapes off DE’s butt and settles once he gets to LOS
and not over penetrate, he now becomes the 5th man on the
“moving wall”.
d).
SILB scrapes tight off DE’s butt so as not to create a running
lane, get too wide and BC will run inside
5). OLB reads down block by TE, then reads BC as off tackle play,
a). Corrals BC, restricting running lane to 2-3 yard opening, which
will be filled by SILB and FS.
3. STOPPING THE WEAK SIDE LEAD PLAY

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

L R

W S

F
a. DE vs OT base block: Squeeze inside to next DL
1). FB will fight to get thru restricted lane by DE and will plug up hole,
forcing BC to bounce to out side where WILB, who is unblocked, will
be waiting.
b. NG vs Double team: Can’t lose ground, bear crawl or seat roll to pressure
read.
c. WILB: Sees down block or double team block
1). Shuffle outside
2). Fills outside or replaces DE who has squeezed inside
d. SILB will shuffle inside and fill open door “A” gap away, or scrape to “C”
gap.
e. ROLB proper pursuit angle,
1). Flat to LOS b/c the play is not a wide outside play.
2). If play goes wider then pursuit angle is deeper.
f. LOLB Reads base block by OT
1). Shuffle at 45 degree angle to 2x2 and attack BC outside in.
4. STOPPING THE OUTSIDE VEER OPTION PLAY
a. Inside release by TE
1). DE: Jam TE and squeeze TE down LOS to Dive back
2). SILB: Cover QB

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

L R

W S

F
b. Outside release by TE
1). DE reads outside release by TE will step outside reacting to a Reach
block.
a). Responsible for QB
2). SILB shuffle steps outside and replaces DE inside
a). Now has Dive back
3). FS, ROLB, CB have Pitch man
4). NG must step into OC and not get reached by BSG, if the BSG can
reach NG the OC will be freed up to get to WILB and open up a
cutback lane for BC

T G C G T TE

DE NG DT DE

L R

W S

5. STOPPING THE DRAW AND SCREEN PLAY


a. DL vs screen
1). Get “too good to be true block” by OL, see screen
2). Retrace/redirect steps to original spot on LOS
b. DL vs Draw
1). Penetrated and create new LOS in backfield
c. LB’S vs Draw
1). Drop to “spots” as far as they have to go before the sniff out screen
pass.
2). Retrace steps exactly to starting position
d. KEY: All defenders must not just wait for the BC once they have detected
screen or draw, must retrace steps, get back to original position and attack
BC as quickly as possible and corral BC.
IV. POSITION CHARACTERISTICS
A. LB’S are the most important athletic positions as far as choosing specific kids for specific
spots.
B. OLB: Almost like DB’s that are more physical players
1. Don’t have to be big
2. Must be smart
3. Fairly physical
4. Athletic
5. Taller type will force QB to throw over top of him, which is difficult for QB to do.
C. WILB:
1. Quick and tough
2. Must be able to take on blocks and be physical and take on things low
3. Doesn’t have to be “PLUGGER” type who takes on Guards or FB
4. Good speed because he has lots of ground to cover chasing QB
D. SILB:
1. Bigger of two ILB’S because he usually drops down to LOS in double TE sets,

or short yardage situations


2. Has more blockers to deal with, and OL will have bigger / stronger linemen to TE
side of formation.
3. Smart, loves FB, loves contact, tackles well, gets to ball carrier in BAD MOOD.