To be a successful defensive lineman on run plays, you need to get a good push into the offensive line and stop the running back from hitting the hole and gaining yards. Remember these three E’s to defending the run rush:
Start in your stance and on the whistle, take an explosive first steps to ENGAGE the offensive lineman. As you engage, drive with your lower body to push the offensive lineman back and create a new line of scrimmage.
After the offensive lineman has been driven back, EXTEND your arms and feel in which direction the offensive lineman is trying to block you. If the ball is going outside, you will feel the pressure going to the outside.
Fight the pressure and ESCAPE the block to get into the hole and slow down the play. If the ball is going inside, escape in the opposite direction.
Having a run-stuffing lineman is key to stopping the offense and setting the tone early in the game.