Defensive Back Stance and Alignment

The stance of a defensive back will vary depending on the coverage call ( man or zone ) and the type of assignment. In general, the defensive back stands in a two point ready position at a point of alignment defined by the type of coverage called.

A defensive backs stance should be with his knees dropped, knees slightly flexed and weight over the forward foot or thighs. The feet should be narrower than the width of the shoulders approximately 12 inches. Weight should be placed on the balls of the feet, never on the heels.

The feet should be positioned to a toe-instep stagger. Whether they are balanced or staggered a defensive back should always push off the front foot as he begins to backpedal or shuffle.

The hands, arms, and shoulders should be relaxed and hanging free in a natural position. Bend slightly at the waist with the head relaxed and focused. Don't force the body to coil down into an unnaturally low stance.


Anchor the outside foot at the alignment point and drop the inside foot with hips and shoulders square to the L.O.S. or slightly faced inward. Focus eyes to the total picture of keys with vision on the quarterback, receivers, and backfield.

The anchor point is determined by ability and assignment. It may be outside eye, outside shoulder, or 1 to 2 yards outside of the wide

receiver. The depth depends on the coverage and ability of the defensive back. For example, a cover 2 corner may align at two, four, five or seven yards off of a receiver, or on the L.O.S. in a press look. A man corner likewise will align at a depth he feels comfortable with.

A defensive back may disguise his coverage by alignment or stem to his alignment timing his movement with the quarterback's cadence.

A defensive back may show press and then bail to his coverage. The strategy of the game becomes apart of the alignment bluff, keep this in mind when determining your drills.


Anchor the inside foot at a point and drop the outside foot slightly. The anchor point will be determined by the coverage and ability of the defensive back. One reason for the inside alignments to establish leverage. Maintain inside leverage from this alignment.

Inside alignment is used in man coverage or into a boundary with restricted horizontal yardage. Outside leverage is generally used in zone coverage or man with inside bracket, etc.


1. If a receiver is aligned 6 yards or closer to the boundary, always align on the inside.

2. If a receiver aligns wide anticipate an inside release, he is making room for his route.

3. If a receiver aligns tight look for the outside release, key the receiver's splits.

Courtesy Coach Jerry Campbell

More Free Resources!


The Glazier Season Pass gives all your coaches from all your sports access to these resources:

2024Map v2 750x455 WEB

Unlimited Nationwide Clinics

Each clinic has 100+ sessions of practical Xs & Os for your entire staff. Network and brainstorm with some of the best speakers and coaches in the game.

Find a clinic near you
Drive desktop + mobile small

Digital Coach Education Glazier Drive

Join 15,000 coaches on Glazier Drive and learn anytime. Glazier Drive has 40 complete systems, live Q&As, networking events, 2,000+ videos and forums.

Learn more about Drive
Get Your Season Pass