October 29, 2011; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end Frank Clark (57) chases Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Robert Marve (9) out of the pocket in the fourth quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- Playbook X's and O's -- Fractured Football -- The Rush End Query -- Part I

Posted at 5:30am — 8/5/2012

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Playbook X’s and O’s — Fractured Football — The Rush End Query — Part I

Less-
CoachBt: Hello my name is Less Ron, and I like football. My father More Ron still thinks football is the game with the round ball where people run forever to score one or two goals.

I have learned much from your football brain and hope to learn more. I love Coach’s Corner but I am not sure why it takes an angle to learn football. I am sitting at a round table and have not yet found a square angle. So, I will now move to a corner and put on my special thinker hat and sit on my stool.

My first topic is the rush end. I see you are always saying this is an important position. I really do not quite understand the rush end, so I prepared some questions that I bet you can handle. Here go my questions.

Question 1- now this may sound a little silly, but what exactly is a rush end? I see stuff about strong and weak, stand-up and hand down.

CoachBt responds:

Thanks for the inquiry Less, we will see what we can do to help you out. Now for all you others out there, this is of course just a friendly refresher; we bet all of you except for Less knew the answers.

Question #1 we will handle this as a two-part question.

In an even front, or base 4, the rush DE can also be called a quick-side DE. This is the DE who will usually line up to the quick or open side of the formation. Frequently this is the side away from the tight end. Most defensive coordinators will also have the option of calling the defense to the wide side of the field. In an even front, the rush DE will generally use a three-point stance and lineup in an outside shade, sometimes called a 5 technique, on the offensive tackle, or wider if necessary. This is generally called a field defense. In this package the rush DE will usually go to the short side of the field regardless of where the TE lines up. This defense, the field defense, is used many times against spread formation teams that do not use tight ends.

In an odd front, either a two gap or an angles scheme, the rush DE is usually an outside linebacker who will line up opposite the tight end. James Harrison of the Steelers is an example of the above. The odd front rush DE has the luxury of being able to use a two-point or a three-point stance, depending on what is to be accomplished in the situational assignment.

Less-
Thanks Coach. I guess the next bunch topic is about a rushing lane. What is this and I have heard coaches get a little upset with ends and tackles that get out of their lanes.


Jan 24, 2010; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad quarterback Tim Tebow (15) drops back to pass under pressure from North squad Brandon Graham (55) during the first half of the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

CoachBt responds:

Front 7 play is all about alignment and assignment, that is, lining up in the proper spot and maintaining gap integrity. A defensive lineman’s rush lane is usually the same as his gap responsibility, which is the lineman’s three-foot area he is responsible for protecting. In pass rushing if the defensive lineman does not maintain proper rush lanes and gap integrity, he opens up an escape lane that can allow the quarterback to escape. I hate to bring up a bad subject, but think of Troy Smith in the UM game his sophomore season. The Michigan defensive tackles did not maintain their gaps and it opened up huge areas for Smith to exploit.

Less-
Thanks again Coach. I read a book once (I have read a few others) and I saw a chapter on technique moves. I saw words like bull rush, rip, swim, under, and speed rush. I will start with the bull rush. I think the bull rush is when a guy gets mad and starts to plow through the offensive player. It seems this is very common in high school and that big guys use this all the time. So, please Coach tell me what I need to know about the moves I mentioned. I bet a former bull fighter became a defensive coach.

I just do not get is the swim move. Is this move used when the rain is pouring down? Is a swim move good to have and what does a player do to make a good swim move?

CoachBt responds:

A swim move is a technique used by defensive linemen trying to get up field in a big hurry. A rusher must be careful, because if he does not properly set up a swim move, he opens up his ribs to be crushed by an offensive lineman. The key to successfully executing a swim move is to first get the offensive lineman off balance with either a club, bull, or another type of set up that gets the offensive tackle off balance enough that the defensive lineman can swim without ending up in the intensive care unit. After setting up the move with one of the techniques mentioned above, the rest of the swim in simple. The rusher takes his opposite arm (from the contact) and literally free styles it over the shoulder of the O Linemen. From a personal standpoint I have always preferred the rip move more so than the swim. In my opinion, the rip lends itself to both the pass rush and run defense. It also emphasizes and enhances physical line play.

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