April 10, 2013

Spring Practice Video: Defensive Line

EAST LANSING - Spartan defensive linemen have embraced the high energy, up-tempo coaching style of first-year Michigan State assistant Ron Burton.

They also like the on-field results of the drills that Burton brought with him from the Air Force Academy where he served as the D-Line coach for the past decade.

"All of the new drills that we've done produce results on the field," said senior defensive tackle Tyler Hoover. "As a D-Line, I think we are definitely playing with a lower pad level, we are moving better in small spaces, and we are more explosive."

Movement in small spaces is a point of emphasis this spring. One Burton's drills requires Spartan defensive linemen to fit through a rectangle frame constructed of 1" inch PVC pipe. The training aide is identical to the one that Michigan State assistant Terry Samuel began using with his wide receivers a year ago to promote breaks on routes.

"As a defensive line, good things happen when big people move well in small areas with non-stop movement of your feet," said Hoover. "That is what the game is all about. I think that is going to be one of our biggest improvements as a D-Line."

At 6-foot-7, 290, Hoover is the tallest defensive lineman in the Spartan program. That height can work for and against the senior, who has worked tireless to improve his pad level over the year.

"These drills work," said Hoover. "The more you work them, the better we are going to be and the lower we are going to play."

Another new drill incorporates a wooden dowel that promotes better hand targeting for defensive linemen.

"A lot of guys don't get their hand up quick enough," said Hoover. "When you give a target to someone, it is going to get them quicker, envisioning your target and shooting your hand a little bit quicker."

Each of the drills Burton has introduced this spring can be duplicated without pads during player-led summer workouts.

"We can continue to work on all of these things in the summer," said Hoover. "Whether you are in pads shells, you are getting the same benefit."

Click below to watch video of Burton putting his D-Line through an assortment of drills during practice on Tuesday.

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