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How to Maximize Tackling Efficiency within Scheme

We’ve gone through the era of the Hawk tackle and various certifications and made a ton of progress in the teaching of tackling in regard to safety.  Since then (2014), not much new knowledge has been shared, especially in terms of how the tackle fits into the scheme and how to be sure technique is married to scheme.

All of those techniques had a foundation in rugby. Rugby players don’t wear helmets so protecting their face and head with proper technique is critical, and the techniques made football safer.  The only problem, and this was said to me directly by a rugby tackling expert, is that rugby is not football. Rugby does not have the dynamic of the schemes which include blockers and fits.  So while the technique of the tackle is an upgrade, you still need to account for scheme.

In that regard, Fordham assistant Vince DiGaetano has put together an approach around a philosophy he calls the 3 C’s which he explains in the video (click on images to watch videos):

Coach Dig incorporates tackling basics that can be utilized to help develop a coaches eyes when making on field and off field corrections. Through the coaches eye we develop the ability to narrow the focus on tackling evaluation and incorporate our assessment into the defensive scheme to measure its effectiveness and get more players to the ball. It’s a principle he has borrowed from Bill Walsh:

This in depth system that Coach Dig has put together accomplishes the following:

1. incorporates scheme into skill keeping balance between the two 

2. Efficient in evaluation - not labor-intensive 

3. Can be infused into already existing practices without a complete overhaul to systems 

4. Allows coaches ownership and ability to coach faster 

5. Allows pinpointing schematic success and challenges with leverage 

6. Narrows focus on the most relevant part of skill to pinpoint corrections in pre or post-contact.

Being able to utilize tackling to play effective team defense leads to better leverage for your defense and decreased yardage for the offense you are facing. This resource helps to create value for your defense in three main aspects: Contact, Chase and Converge in simple terms that are relatable to your coaching staff and players. 

This Masterclass includes: 

Full Presentation 

Full Access to Slides from Presentation 

Videos of Drills Explained 

Individual Drill Video with point of Emphasis

Examples of Hit Chart for Use

Coach Dig also put together a resource focused more on the players in the box. Defense is about fitting gaps and defeating scheme. “Winning Gaps with Engaged Tackles” covers the ability to win a short area of space on the field within various schemes.  Most defenders in the box face situations when they are at short range and power is at not 100%, and they can’t cleanly get off of the block. Dig explains what an “engaged tackle” is here:

How important is coaching the engaged tackle?  70% of a defensive lineman’s tackle is made while engaged with a blocker. A linebacker will have this situation about 30% of the time. He shares how it’s important to understand how this works here:

Of course, taking this to the practice field and execution on game day starts with effective and applicable drills. The One Arm Tear Drill is one of Dig’s favorites. He illustrates it here:

What’s this look like in game? Dig breaks it down here:

If you follow coach Dig on twitter, you will know he’s been sharing his #TackleStudy clips daily for almost a year. Here is an example of Ndamukong Suh in an engaged block situation on #TackleStudy:

The primary focus of this resource is working with interior lineman and in box players that create leverage is short spaces. This masterclass covers purpose, concepts, drills and game film to find areas for this to be implemented into your existing tackle system. 

Full access to presentation slides 

Engaged Tackle drills explained and noted 

Game film evidence of Engaged Tackles 

BONUS: Clips from #TACKLESTUDY that cover scenarios of Engaged Tackles 

Both masterclasses are available in this bundle - Ultimate Tackling Master Class. Over 5 1/2 Hours of instruction plus downloadable resources.

I am very impressed by the depth and detail in this resource. If you coach defense, this one is invaluable to have in your library and implement.