ver since starting my journey into coaching, I've looked for resources that could help me solidify my thoughts around D-Line play.

And as I scoured the internet for anything that could help, I kept stumbling upon the great Larry Johnson's clinics time and time again.

I've benefitted so much from his teachings that I thought, for D-Line Examples #083, I'd share the top 3 lessons I've taken from his material. Enjoy!

Lesson #1: Do the simple stuff every day

We all want to incorporate new and novel drills, but the key to great D-Line play is to practice the fundamentals like stance, get off and redirect everyday. Below are the drills and skills Coach Johnson uses for this...


In your stance you want your hips above your head so your can utilize your glutes to snap your hips on your take off.

6-point get off

D-Line is played with your shoulder pads low and forward. This drill teaches how to get your shoulder pads forward at full speed with 0 false movement.

1-leg explosion get off

D-Linemen need to cross the line of scrimmage on their first step to threaten their opponent. To practice this, Coach Johnson uses 1-leg explosion to practice pushing through the front foot and getting to full speed on your first step.

Mat hip snap

Coach Johnson uses Mat hip snap to teach engaging the glutes on your take off so you can easily generate power off the ball. To execute take one power step and snap the hips out.


When the running back makes his cut, you need to respond immediately with a cut and run through his earlobe. The below drill teaches this along with how to pursue to the ball.

Lesson #2: Develop hips and feet

If you've ever looked closely at Coach Johnson's drills, many of them look like DB drills. That's because Coach Johnson believes developing quick feet and loose mobile hips is core to great D-Line play. Here's a few drills he uses to do this.

3-level hip flip

Use this conditioning drill to practice lateral foot quickness and flipping the hips.

Open hip redirect

Practice dropping back and opening the hips on the point with open hip redirect.

Step over redirect

Practice getting low to defeat the cut, lateral movement and diagonal change of direction.

Lesson #3: Practice multiple skills in one drill

You don't have much time as a D-Line coach, so coach Johnson combines multiple skill sets into a singular drill (check out an example of this below).

That's it for this week. Thank you all for your support and feel free to reply to this email if you have any questions.

That's all for this week! See ya soon!

And whenever you are ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

  1. Learn how to turn your D-Line into a block destruction machine here (1,100+ students)
  2. Learn how to develop top tier pass rushers and a lethal pass rush attack here (1,000+ students)


Mar 2, 2022
Coaching tips

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