Tackling and Ball Disruption
Presenter: Vernon Hargreaves (Defensive Ends/East Carolina University)
Tackling is all about an ATTITUDE.
Open Field Tackle
Tacklers want to stay on the backside hip and force it to the sidelines. Coach Hargreaves gives the command "FEET! FEET! FEET!" on contact, to remind players to run their feet through the tackle. This is one of the most important parts of tackling. When they hear that reminder enough, it becomes reaction, but you have to make it a reaction for them.
No Pads - Summer or early season with no pads on, players will rip off a bag and get to the backside hip of a ball carrier. They get used to being in the right position, but there is no contact.
To help Running the Feet - Use the One-Man sled, fit into it and give the "FEET! FEET! FEET!" command, they have to run their feet to move this one.
Working back off the block - Working against a cut-back by the running back. They take on an OL block as the RB moves one direction. RB then cuts back, they work off block and back to make the tackle.
Get leverage on your gap and the ball carrier is going to cut back anyway. Show color in the gap and you force a cutback.
Create drills that simulate game situations. For example, Coach Hargreaves created a Flare Drill for tackling a running back running a flare. He had LBs having trouble making the play. They had to learn to get their inside hip on a flared back, in open space. Usually when they had man coverage on him.
More on Tackling
The Hitting Area is within a yard, come to balance there and drive feet through.
If the ball carrier's shoulders are square, yours should be square too. If he turns to run, you have to turn your shoulders somewhat to run with him, but you don't want to turn and run all the way unless you have to. Keep position on the inside hip. Eyes are always looking at that inside hip.
Don't panic because a guy is fast. Just run him to the sidelines. Don't give him a two-way go by over running him and opening up the cutback. Use the sidelines as an extra defender. Coaches can help by incorporating real football into practice time.
Coach Hargreaves used a lot of footage from the video he made with the Miami Hurricanes in 2003. Hargreaves was with the Hurricanes from 1998 until 2006, including a National Championship in 2001. That video is available at the top of his page. All of the drills described were shown from that video as well. I think this would be a good video to show to your kids, not just from a technique standpoint, but from the standpoint of the attitude of tackling and gang tackling displayed in it.
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