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Establishing a Dominant 4-Man Pass Rushby: RaShan Frost
Defensive Line Coach, University of Rhode Island
© January 2007
At the University of Rhode Island through our four-three defensive scheme we take pride in any opportunity to get to the quarterback. Being able to rush the passer can disrupt the effectiveness of an offense. As offenses put emphasis on the passing game, defenses in return must put emphasis on getting to the quarterback. An effective pass rush accomplishes three objectives:
1. Sack the quarterback.
2. Crush the confidence of the quarterback by hits and knockdowns.
3. Disrupt the timing and rhythm of the passing game (enhancing the opportunity to create turnovers).
One way to get pressure on the QB with four rushers is by using line games. Line games or twists are designed to disrupt the blocking schemes of the offense. To be successful we want to set a trap for the quarterback by getting someone in four quadrants (See Diagram 1). Getting an offensive lineman in each quadrant ensures that there is a rusher in each section of the pocket making it difficult for the offensive line to pick up the twist and pass it off to one another. No matter who is in the quadrants there will always be contain rushers and inside rushers. As long as we take care of our rush responsibilities, we can get to the quarterback.
Diagram 1: 4 Quadrants: The Trap
Here are some of the twists we use in our pass rush:
Tun (See Diagram 2) is a twist between the 3 Technique (DT) and the Nose Tackle (NT). It is predetermined that the DT is the penetrator and the NT is the wrapper. This is a great call if you find that the center sets to the NT in pass protection. The DT will initially take two to three hard steps up field to draw the block of the offensive guard. He will hit the center and ricochet to the quarterback. The nose tackle will rush hard in the A-Gap, drawing the double team of the guard and the center. The defensive tackle will wrap to the opposite A-gap and work to the quarterback. The Defensive Ends are contain rushers.
Diagram 2: TUN
Ted (See Diagram 3) is a twist between the 3 Tech and the DE. The DT is the penetrator and the DE is the wrapper. The DT will rush the B gap, drawing the block of the guard, aiming for the back of the offensive tackle. The DE will rush up field drawing the block of the tackle. When the DE closes the distance to the tackle, he will wrap inside off the butt of the guard. The DT will become the contain rusher. The nose tackle and backside defensive end will maintain their base rush responsibilities.
Diagram 3: TED
Ex (See Diagram 4) is a twist between the Nose Tackle and the DE. The DE is the penetrator and the NT is the wrapper. The DE will sell the up field rush drawing the block of the tackle. He will then dive into the B gap, aiming for the back of the guard and upon collision, ricochet to the quarterback. The NT will rush the A gap drawing the double team. Upon the collision of the DE to the guard, the NT will wrap for contain. The 3 Tech and DE to his side will maintain their base rush responsibilities.
Diagram 4: Ex
Texas (See Diagram 5) is a combination twist of a Ted and an Ex.
Diagram 5: Texas
In conclusion, it is important to teach and build confidence in defensive linemen that as a unit, we can single handedly impact the passing game. The proper execution of line games can make a defensive pass rush more effective with four rushers thus allowing a defense to devote the other defenders to coverage. Defenses can implement line games in many different ways; they can be two, three or four man games and they can come from the field or the boundary. The most important thing is to execute the twists with a sense of urgency. As long as the defensive line is sound in their rush, the sky is the limit.
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