Tips for Understanding Defensive Line Techniques


I find this as a common question, that really a lot of coaches can’t answer. What are the popular defensive line techniques, and why are they called that?

Well, great question. First of all, let’s find the “genius” (please notice the quotes…) of the system.

The Defensive Line Techniques Secret – Even Numbers

Defensive Line Techniques - Head Up

Even Numbers go Head Up on the Offensive Linemen, Including the Tight End

Here are defensive line techniques for everyone who is head up. Notice a trend? All the head up defensive line techniques are even… I know, mind blown right?

Whether it’s a 2, 4, or 6, they’re all head up on their respective offensive linemen or tight end.

Shocker, I know.

Now, let’s take it one step further. Inside shade of every OFFENSIVE LINEMEN has the letter i. This is where it’s clear to point out, the tight end is NOT an offensive linemen, he is different, so he begins to get classified as such here. Inside of him is the 7 technique.

Inside Shade Defensive Line Techniques

Tight End is NOT an offensive linemen so he is different

Okay, so now that we’ve got that understood, let’s go to the outside shaded techniques. Ready for the reveal?

The Defensive Line Technique Secret – Odd Numbers

They’re all odd numbers. Yep. 1, 3, 5 and 9. Another astonishment for everyone at home.

Outside Defensive Line Techniques

All Odd Numbers on the Outside

These outside shaded defensive line technique are some of the most popular, so why did I list them last? Because the even number head up technique stands out the clearest, and for players they can start on there and simply move a step to be shaded.

So where is the number 8? Their seems to be no true consistency for that. It might be head up on a wing, for some it’s the “wide 9″, for others it doesn’t exist.

Regardless, that’s the basics of the defensive line technique system. I hope revealing it like this provided some clarity for you that you can use, whether your teaching offense or defense this year.


2 thoughts on “Tips for Understanding Defensive Line Techniques

  1. Jay Mathews

    I asked Coach Pat Dye one day about the number system and how did the #7 come to be.
    He looked at me shrugged his shoulders and said, “It was just a 7.”

    I have often thought that was a late night meeting after a few Jim Beam’s. But the term has become universal- don’t even try to get away with 6i.

    1. CoachCP Post author

      Like I said, I think it has to do with the tight end not being a true lineman, and at least that’s how I teach it. But, if I could (maybe if I was a college or NFL guy), I would tell them it was b/c a bottle of whisky was involved.

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