Top Defensive Back Technique - Alabama DB Drills

Defensive back is probably one of the hardest positions to play on the field. Defensive backs are constantly on an island and are often matched up against the best athletes on the field (wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs).  Defensive backs must have very strong mindsets on the field as they are often put into compromising situations as players. 

To help with this vulnerability, it is important to first put in the right amount of time in the film room in order to be able to hone in on the tendencies of the wide receivers and quarterbacks to allow for the defensive back to make the right reads come game time.  This not only includes truly understanding the wide receivers tendencies when they are running routes, but also how the wide receiver plays depending on the down and distance of the ball.   

The defensive back must also pay attention to the how the quarterback releases the ball and his footwork during quarterback drops, such that the defensive back can anticipate play situations.  After spending the right amount of time in the film room, the defensive back should simulate game play situations with a unique set of drills in order to prepare their mind & body for real plays in the game.   

The above video is the defensive back drills from University of Alabama.  As you can see in the drills, they work a ton on backpedal as well as transitions like speed turns and hip transitions.  It can be argued that the University of Alabama consistently has some of best defensive backs in the country.  If you are a coach, it’s a good idea to start to implement some of these drills into your practice regimen.  In addition to the standard pass coverage drills, you can also implement some of the displayed run support drills from the video.  As you already know, there is more to playing defensive back than just getting interceptions and pass break ups.  While those things are very important, it’s equally important to be able to support in the run game.  A cornerback or safety making a tackle at the second level is often times the play required to stop the team from scoring a touchdown on a long run.   

The University of Alabama has consistently put its defensive backs in a position to make it to the NFL, which is a clear indication that they truly know how to prepare their defensive backs for elite level play.  A defensive back should be well rounded in both the pass game as well as the run game.  A defensive back should possess a good balance of speed, size and situational awareness in order to perform at a high level.  Practice game situations in your drills to allow maximum preparation come game day.  The right amount of time studying in the film room alongside great on field practice will ensure that your cornerbacks and safeties are on point for each game situation. 

And remember that a defensive backs’ most important tool are their eyes.  It is important to keep your eyes honest and looking at the things that you are supposed to be looking at.  If you are to key in on the man, don’t let your eyes wander anyone else!  Honor your keys, because the moment that a defensive back starts to cheat with their eyes, that is usually when they find themselves in a bad situation!  Keep grinding!