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Defensive Line Help

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I coach a team of 5 & 6 year olds. I've notices a problem with our defensive linemen in that they only seem to be able to focus on blocking their man. They don't watch the ball or the ball carrier and try to pull flags. Does anyone have any drills they could share that might help me get them in the habit of keeping their eyes on the ball while their blocking. I wonder if they are just too young to get this. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Thannks

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I'm assuming you meant your defensive line is getting blocked by the offensive line? I'm not sure what the rules are in your league, so this might be hard to answer.

If the D lineman are allowed to go right into the backfield, line them up in the gaps. You can have them fake one way, go the other, spin moves, etc.

If the D lineman are not allowed to go right into the backfield you could use a drill with the coach in the backfield and have him hold up fingers. The D lineman have to shout how many he has up at any given point. This is similar to having players keep their eyes up when dribbling in basketball.

You will have to re-emphasize the reason for being on defense which is: #1) to pull flags and #2) slow the runner down by getting in front of him. Maybe your lineman think they have to stay with the person blocking them for some reason. A quick drill with an offensive line and an object in the backfield they all have to touch (e.g. football on the ground, hat, etc.). Allow the offense to block and set a time limit for the D line. They all have to touch the object within X amount of seconds. Then you can teach from there on why they didn't get around their guy. Progress to a person in the backfield with movement.

Hopefully that helps

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