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January 10, 2017 • Football

Football: Tim Horton’s Angle Tackling Drill

Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton has coached his share of elite running backs throughout his career — Darren McFadden, Tre Mason, Felix Jones, Knile Davis.

The purpose of his Angle Tackling Drill is to reinforce techniques for making tacklers miss or breaking tackles through a competition drill against linebackers or defensive backs. Here is how it works:

  • Coaches create a group of offensive players (running backs) and defensive players (linebackers or defensive backs) and use just one football.
  • Start 10 yards away from a defender and 10 yards from the sidelines. The running backs carry the football with their outside arms.
  • The offensive player attacks the defender, who is trying to beat them down the sideline.
  • The offensive player must cut back or make a move without running over the defender.

Make sure that the running back performs the drill at full speed. The defender is responsible for sprinting to the spot and regaining control before making the tackle.

There is a winner on each play, and the running back must cross the goal line to be successful and win the down. Coaches can keep score.


This drill, and others, can be found in Horton’s book, “Complete Running Back” published by Human Kinetics.


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