Defensive Back Tips: How to Provide Run Support

On running plays, a cornerback has an important role in aiding his teammates on the tackle.

Even though the primary responsibility of a defensive back is to defend the pass, you also have to recognize a run and be a good run supporter on defense. Three important fundamentals to build for cornerback run support are:

  1. Proper backpedal on the initial read
  2. Shedding the blocker
  3. Maintaining body control

To master these skills, start in a comfortable, athletic stance. Keep your head on a swivel while you backpedal. Once you recognize the run, plant your inside foot — the foot closest to the ball — and move toward the ball, staying low and under control. Be ready to rip through a blocker’s outside shoulder, forcing the ball carrier back inside toward the pursuing defenders. As you shed the block, maintain body control so that you can get to the ball carrier and make a play.

Repetition is key in perfecting these skills. Practice your run support through a drill with a blocking dummy or coach acting as the offensive player. Backpedal three to five steps, plant your inside foot and move toward the ball carrier. Stay in control. Shed the blocker going through the outside shoulder and get ready to make the tackle.

A good run supporter will help the defense make big plays and get your offense back on the field.