There are several high school teams in Illinois that are noted for their defense and Stevenson High School is one of those teams. Located in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Stevenson is one of the largest public high schools in Illinois at just over 4,000 students and play in the largest 8A division. Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Josh Hjorth has led a defense that is considered formidable year after year. His presentation on Defensive Line Fundamentals is intended to give the skills and techniques to be successful no matter the size of your players! He emphasizes that “We cannot lose the battle just because we are not as big!” For whatever reason, Stevenson has had small defensive linemen in the past few years but their technique is sound enough that they have still been able to be dominant. How small was their D line last year? They averaged 189.9 pounds up front and the offensive lines they played against averaged 281 pounds. Quite a difference. But whether you have a big D line, average, or small, this video is filled with techniques and skills that all of us will find beneficial. Click here for the video.
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D Line Fundamentals
Coach Hjorth begins with the “Sackmen” philosophy (that’s what the D linemen are called) and progresses to the necessary skills and strategies to be a dominant defensive lineman. To summarize, major points of emphasis in the video are:
- Use of hands
- Hand placement
- Stance (very important for Stevenson)
- Warmup drills
- Daily drills
- Reaction drills vs base block, vs down block, down block and unblocked, vs double team
- Hit and rip
The pass rush concepts that are taught include:
- Hit and rip
- Chop and spin
- Chop and flip
Hjorth does a great job of explaining and teaching all of the material and backs it up with plenty of diagrams and game footage. As a former D line coach I was impressed with the amount of beneficial instruction in this video. I can only say I wish I would have had this available to me when I was coaching. If you’re a D line coach this video is a must see and if you’re a head coach I would get this into my D line coach’s hands. But don’t take my word for it, see for your self. Click here for the video.
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Coach L. Albaugh DBLITY
Coach Albaugh coached high school football in Illinois for 28 years. During that time he coached at every level and on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive and defensive line coach for four undefeated teams and was a defensive coordinator in his last 11 years, twice reaching the semi finals of the Illinois state playoffs.