Sunday, June 3, 2012

Defense in Action

Get the ball carrier to the ground.  That's the role of the defense.  Simple.  Not easy. 

Every play begins with a wall of blockers determined to keep
the defense away from the ball carrier.  Every play becomes a
battle.  Isn't football a great game!

First you have to get to the ball carrier.  Through a wall of blockers.  Do you see any gaps in the wall above?  It is difficult to even see the ball carrier, much less find and tackle her.

I browsed my defense photos from the Mustangs game.  Did a little Photoshop magic to help see what is happening out there.  Because I'm an Outlaws fan, I selected photo sequences where the Outlaws make the tackle.   Where the wall comes tumbling down.  Or at least Outlaws find a way over, under, or through the wall...

First is a three-photo series.  Outlaws #12,  Tenea Clay, zeroes in on the Mustang running back.  Tiffany James, #41, is coming to help but won't be needed.

This looks like a difficult play because there are two
blockers closing in on #12, Tenea Clay.  She's going to
get one chance to pull the runner down.
Something difficult to see in still photos is the force of impact when a ball carrier is running one way and a defensive tackler is running the other.  In the photo below you'll see the impact spoiling a perfect shoulder-to-midsection hit.  But Clay gets a firm hold on the runner...

I'd like a lower hit, grabbing legs instead of waist.  But Tenea
gets hold of the runner and gets the job done.

...and drags her to the turf.  Not the prettiest tackle you'll ever see but it achieves the objective, stops the ball carrier.  Good job Tenea.

I think Tenea Clay must be very strong.  That isn't a perfect
grasp but she hangs on in spite of the runner trying to
pull away and the blocker trying to help.

Next is a series of three shots where Tiffany James - with red sleeves - grabs the runner from behind.  Sometimes in the jumble of players you block your own teammate.  You see another Outlaw behind the runner with Tiffany but she doesn't get hold of the runner because Tiffany is in the way.  In front of the runner is #29, Kelly Herbert, who is going to be instrumental in stopping this run.

Tiffany's left hand grabbing the runner's left arm, her right arm reaching around the middle.
#29 Kelly Herbert, eluding a large blocker and taking aim.

Next photo has Tiffany hanging on low with Kelly coming in high.  Coming from the right is #8, Ski Tejeda, who is about to collide with Mustangs #61, a large blocker.

Tiffany James slowing the runner down while Kelly Herbert is closing the deal.

In the following photo, the play is about over.  Notice that Kelly appears to have hold of the runner's face mask.  I don't know if the officials saw that.  If so, this would have been a penalty against the Outlaws. 

Tiffany has hold of the runner's legs - you can see her red sleeve and gloves.  Kelly Hebert
may be grasping the face mask.  Sure looks that way, although the camera just catches
a instant in time; it may not be a grab, just a hand passing by?

Okay, three more photos of the defense in action.  Once again Tiffany James is instrumental in the play.  Now you know Tiffany is a long time outlaw and one of my favorite people.  But I didn't just select photos because she was in on the play.  I select photos first and then notice which players are making the play.  Honest.

In the first shot Tiffany is adjusting her line of attack as the runner veers right to evade her.  Jennifer Chancellor, #11, is coming to help.

Tiffany, with red sleeves, and #11 Jennifer Chancellor, closing in on the runner.

In the shot below, Tiffany drives her shoulder into the runner midsection, just as I've taught her to do, while Jennifer grabs hold from the other side and #1 Fuller comes to help.

Tiffany and Jennifer make the grab.

In the following photo, Tiffany and Jennifer drag the runner down.  This isn't exactly how I've told her to do it.  She's on the bottom.  It is better to land on top of the runner. 

And drag the ball carrier to the turf. 

Okay, you know I didn't really give all that sage advice to Tiffany.  Or to anyone else.  I have lots of ideas about how the game should be played but I'm not a coach.  I might be good for a little Monday-night-quaterbacking but I'm no good at coaching.  Still, when viewing these photos on my photo editor, I often can see how maybe I would have done it if I'd been out there. 

Which is total nonsense.  When I was out there I was barely adequate.  That's why I'm shooting sports photos instead of retiring from a career with the Detroit Lions.

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