An Overview of the Linebacker Position in American Football

Ty Gregorak joined the University of Montana football program as defensive coordinator and linebacker coach in 2011. Ty Gregorak has also served the program as summer camp coordinator.

In the sport of American, or gridiron, football, the position of linebacker is occupied by one of the team’s defensive personnel. In many ways, the linebacker is the epitome of a defensive football player, as the position requires players to provide defense against both pass and run plays. It is not uncommon for the linebacker to lead defensive units, essentially serving as the defense’s quarterback.

Due to the diverse responsibilities a linebacker is tasked with, decision making is a trait that often distinguishes a great linebacker from a good linebacker. Blitzing, for example, is generally determined ahead of time by a defensive coordinator or head coach. However, a quality linebacker must be able to recognize when an opposing quarterback is vulnerable or preparing to make a run. In either scenario, the linebacker must abandon their position and apply pressure to the quarterback, forcing an errant pass, stopping the run, or making a sack or fumble.