Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chuck Amato - FSU Pass Rush

The Jimmy Johnson-era Miami Hurricanes established the even front speed defense that changed the course of defensive football we know today. However, during the 90's the Florida State Seminoles perfected that formula and demonstrated what type of devastation was possible when a program committed to stocking that side of the ball with elite athletes. 

The FSU defensive line became a factory of relentless pass rushers who disrupted the run game on their way to sack the quarterback. The man behind that chaos was Chuck Amato. Not only could Amato pimp the hell out of a Starter windbreaker, he also refined the method for attacking passers from the defensive line. 

Below is a clinic from these glory years. This is another video from the archives that is no longer available and required piecing together from some vintage footage and unfortunately, bottoms out at around 2 hours. 

Chuck Amato FSU Pass Rush from ragin caucasian on Vimeo.

For a great application of this clinic knowledge, enjoy the 1996 ass whooping put on Danny Wuerffel and try not to cringe.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Netflix for Coaches & Baby Saban

Netflix for coaches you say? 
A $12 per month service to stream a library of Coaches Choice productions. Seems like a bargain.

Semi-related, here is a film that apparently is no longer available anywhere commercially.  A young and slightly annoyed Nick Saban delivering coverage coaching points.

I have 4 separate copies of this DVD and I haven't been able to successfully rip the video for years.  This version is pieced together from a few different video clips and consequently cuts off the last 10 minutes or so.  The video makes a lot more sense if you follow along in his 2001 LSU Playbook.  The tenets of the video are carried through many of his concepts which can be read here: Nick Saban Posts

Friday, June 14, 2013


The following drill was stolen after visiting Vince Okruch’s Western Illinois 3-3 nickel practices as well as from Jeff Walker’s exhaustive work, “Coaching the 40 Nickel Defense”, which every coach absolutely needs to own. I find this drill to be the single most important technique reinforcement tool to develop consistent linebackers.  The drill can be conducted at varying levels of difficulty and lends itself to training many players in rapid succession.

The drill represents the run fits for your linebacker group, broken into 3 distinct reactions; In, At, and Out (represented here in green, yellow, red).

The IN area is any quick hitting play between the guards.  This is the responsibility of the middle or stack (inside) linebacker.  Plays represented here would be dive, trap, or wedge. 

The AT area is an immediate responsibility of the bubble (outside) linebacker sandwiched between the guard and inside the tight end.  Iso, zone, and power are common “At” runs.

The “Out” area is any play which leaves the box (outside the TE) towards the perimeter, such as toss, sweep, stretch.

We use this drill from day 1 after teaching stance and starts.  It is best when repped at a high-tempo, with verbal cues provided, but no stopping of the drill; make intensity the priority and discourage improper footwork.  Don’t try to over-complicate the drill or trick your linebackers. This should be an easy exercise to develop confidence in your players. Also, DO NOT use a ball in this drill, as it will only slow you down and isn’t what you are reinforcing with this drill.  

We introduce the drill using (single) back flow.  We don't exclusively read the flow of the backfield players, as linemen keys are essential, but for the sake of indoctrination we develop our linebackers in stages.  The natural way to play linebacker is to just chase after backs. The old school way of doing this was to line your linebackers in front of offensive linemen hoping one of them can provide a decent offensive lineman block (down, pull, base, scoop, etc).  This could be frustrating, because if your backer didn’t understand the block, he couldn’t progress in his development and damaged his confidence. Whether ingrained at the lower levels or not, use this momentum to build their skillset rather than trying to “break them” of bad habits. We start with a single back, then progress to adding guards with the read.  During camp, we actually paint the field for this drill, just like the (Texas vs. OSU) illustration above. 

To explain this drill, it’s important to first understand its benefits.  The purpose is to train your linebackers on the proper:
  •        Tempo
  •        Footwork
  •        Movement
  •        Reads
  •        Leverage
  •        Run support fits

For the entire article about how to run this drill and coaching points used, visit