Linebacker Team Objectives

Mental Discipline, Physical Discipline, Keys, Technique, Quickness, Tackling, and Consistency are the most important team objectives for building a great defense.

To be a great defensive line, work on these objectives everyday in practice. Yes, these exercises are repetitious. At times they’ll seem too big a project, but your linebackers must mentally prepare themselves to work hard on them everyday. If you loaf, toward the middle of the season your defensive line will go downhill. The only way to improve is to continually work on these priorities.


Discipline means that your defensive line does things the way you coach them. Discipline keeps your linebackers from acquiring bad habits that will in turn hurt your team's performance. Your approach to discipline will give your team the strength to overcome adversity.

As a football coach, do not demand discipline to build your image as a tough guy or to have a dictator atmosphere. Discipline allows you as a coach to be fair and honest with your players, whether they be starters or back-ups. If you require that every player practice discipline (be at practice on time, helmets snapped at all times, etc.), you can respond to all players in fairness and honesty.


  • Your defensive line must be ready to play mentally as well as physically.
  • Your athletes must be on time for meetings and practice. Punctuality carries right on to the practice field and will make you a better team.
  • You cannot make mental mistakes. One mental mistake by one player can mean giving up a touchdown or, at the very least, keep a drive going that results in a touchdown.
  • Demand that your athletes learn their assignments during the week so on game day or scrimmage day they won't be confused and become reactive or aggressive.


  • Discipline your defensive line to stay in shape throughout the year.
  • Push your athletes to work on sprints, endurance running, or any other type of running during the season.
  • No pain, no gain. Develop endurance. Stay strong. The fourth quarter must be yours.
  • Discipline your defensive line to play with pain. But don't expect your players to play with injuries. Remember, there is a difference between pain and injury. Great players and teams know the difference.


  • Your defensive line must know their keys on every play and concentrate on them.
  • Your athletes must be able to read their keys, understand the type of play which is developing. Keys must always be a part of your drill work.
  • Read on the run after attacking the line of scrimmage. A defensive lineman's ability to react to his secondary keys (blocking schemes, pass or run) will make him a sound defensive football player.


  • To be a great defensive football team, you as a coach must sell your players on understanding the need for great technique.
  • Don't just understand Xs and Os, but pride yourself in being a great technician of the game.
  • Be aggressive with your technique. Don't be satisfied with controlling your man—beat him.
  • Great technique is obtained through total concentration and effort in practice.


  • Always talk quickness to the football. After you key and play your technique, then quickness becomes of utmost importance.
  • You can never be too quick; work hard at practice and demand your coaching staff emphasize quickness.
  • It's possible to give up size and strength for quickness and play that way, but never give up quickness for size and strength.
  • Agility.  Work hard on agility drills, bags, ropes, and sprints everyday. Working on agility everyday creates greater team speed.

Courtesy Coach Jerry Campbell


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