As a linebacker for your college football team, your teammates look to you to for defensive cover for their plays. A good understanding of defensive plays and having key defensive skills in your arsenal are crucial to fulfill your role in the team. Here are some things you should work on to develop well:
Work on the sharpness of your lateral movement
Linebackers are generally big and powerful, and they need quick feet to keep up with the opposing attack. Focus on improving the speed with which you change directions and how quickly you shift your weight. Also, work on combining lateral tracking of runners with quick shuffles forward to close them down.
Watch for holes in your defense and move to plug the gaps quickly
Plugging holes in defense during running plays is one of your primary defensive functions as the linebacker. You need to maintain awareness of the positioning of players and the flow of the play to maintain the defensive line.
Develop a firm guard to thwart offensive linesmen
Practice using your hands well to guard yourself from the offensive linesman's grip. Quick hands will enable you to fend off attempts to get a grip on you while strengthening you arms will help you maintain a solid guard in front.
Defensive skills are a linebacker's tools of trade and should be given priority while training. Follow these basic tips to improve your overall defensive play and excel as your team's guardian.