Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Defense Wins Championships!

Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant said, “Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.” The “Bear” was a famous college football coach and is still considered the world’s greatest college football coach by many. (Yes, he is up there with the Great Bo Schembechler.) He led the University of Alabama to six national championships, so he knows something about winning. Today, we will review the Defense and demonstrate how the players on this unit can have a major impact on the game without controlling the ball. After this lesson, you will understand what the “Bear” meant.

The main goal of the Defense is to stop the offense on the opposing team and get possession for their teammates on offense. Yesterday, we learned that the offense works to move the ball down the field and score. The Defense strategizes to prevent the offense from gaining yards, earning first downs and scoring.

The foundation to stopping the offense is tackling. Tackling is wrestling the offensive player carrying the ball to the ground. Once one or both of a player’s knees hit the ground, he is tackled and the play is over. When a quarterback is tackled before he passes or hands off the ball, it is called a “sack.” If the ball carrier is tackled behind his goal line the defense scores.

Scoring on Defense

The defense scores when they tackle the offensive ball carrier behind his goal line. This is called a safety and worth 2 points.

The Defense can also score a touchdown in the manner that the offense does by intercepting a pass or recovering a fumble and carrying the ball into the end zone. If the defensive player does not reach the end zone, the offense will come out and start their drive.

Players on Defense:

1. Tackles and Ends – First line of defense. They rush the quarterback and stop the running backs.

2. Linebackers – Second line of defense. Chase the running back, run back to defend against a pass or blitz the quarterback.

3. Cornerbacks – Closely follows the wide receivers and defends against the pass. Sometimes blitzes the quarterback.

4. Safeties – Views the entire field. Last person the offensive ball carrier has to pass. Primarily defends against the pass, but must be prepared for anything.

People love the excitement of seeing the offense go to work – long passes, great runs and amazing catches! However, a good defense prevents the offense from achieving their goal of scoring. Ultimately, offense can score all evening long, but if the defense does not stop the opponents, their offense will continue to score as well. I believe that this was Coach Bryant’s point. Now you should have a new appreciation for a good sack!


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