The most effective method of breaking up the play of an opposing team is illustrated when a team possesses forwards who are able to penetrate the opposing line, starting the moment the ball is snapped and either tackling the man with the ball or so throwing his interference into such confusion that the runner is tackled the moment he reaches the line of scrimmage or even before. Trouble without measure can be meted out to an opposing team in this manner, when there is a forward or two capable of breaking through, and every play directed by the opponents should be a signal for instant effort to this end on the part of the defensive team.
The ability to break through an opposing line is not one inherent on mere brute force by any means. It requires mental ability in sizing up the opponent in the way, skill in avoiding his attempt to block and, above all, rapidity in thought and motion. A mere "beefy" man will be made to appear a novice at the game by a strong, resourceful player, well versed in the art.
The forward whose line is on the defense should aim to keep his opponent at arm's length until the moment the ball is snapped. The team on the defensive has the use of hands and arms and should employ this advantage to the utmost. The standard method of breaking through the line is to charge forward immediately, the moment the ball is snapped, arms out stiff and body low down. The opponent should be pushed to one side and the runner is very likely to be at the mercy of the man who has gotten through. Another method is to catch the opponent by the outside arm. When this grasp is secured the opponent will jerk back, which will often pull you through. It may also be possible to pull him to one side, which will enable you to pass by. Still another plan is to strike the opponent on one side, immediately shifting the attack to the other. The same purpose is often attained by making a feint at one side and then changing the line of attack. If the opponent is playing very low he may be hurdled, caught by the head and pushed or pulled in either direction.
The tackle should keep the end away from him, also the tackle. This can be done if the hands are used skillfully.
All methods of breaking through, tried with success in the early stages of the game, may fail as the opponent learns to anticipate them. The forward should then vary his style, always producing some new trick which will constantly keep the enemy guessing.
Get the jump on the other fellow. Don't let your opponent get to your body. Don't go through too high. Don't forget to use hands and arms whenever their use will assist in getting through. Charge forward all the time.