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Video: Science shows that hopping may be the key to a better defense

120901-N-WL435-990 DUBLIN (Sep. 1, 2012) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert attends a reception aboard USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and the Navy versus Notre Dame NCAA Emerald Isle Classic season opener. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor/Release to Archive)

120901-N-WL435-990 DUBLIN (Sep. 1, 2012) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert attends a reception aboard USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and the Navy versus Notre Dame NCAA Emerald Isle Classic season opener. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor/Release to Archive)

Watch Auburn's softball team for an inning or two, and you'll notice something distinctly different about how they play the field. As the pitcher hurls the ball towards the batter, the entire infield can be seen doing a short hopping motion. It looks strange at first, but once you hear the explanation you'll see how it may fit into football as well.

Head coach Clint Myers explains that they stole the idea from tennis, and as you watch the video, you'll see that it also has some football applications as well.

"What the hop does is allows us to minimize, or eliminate any kind of false movement so that everything that we're doing is going directly to field the ground ball," Myers.

Dr. Wendi Weimar, the director of the sports biomechanics lab expanded on that thinking, in more scientific terms, in the clip.

"When a player hops, they take out the slack in the muscle, so that when the muscle fires for for them to move in a more aggressive, purposeful, ballistic motion it is more effective because they have taken any laxity that may be in the tendon and muscle structures and eliminates it so that they can move more quickly."

So does this fit into coaching and football? Well many programs already teach their linebackers to take a few quick "pop read" steps with their feet at the snap of the ball, and this research supports the validity of that coaching point. Surely there are applications at other positions as well, depending on your schemes and reads.

If you're not doing something like this already, the video contains some scientific and bio mechanical proof on how it can help your players react faster and that's one big factor in fielding a quicker, swarming, and more effective defense.

H/T Manchester College (D-III - IN) head coach Nate Jensen for the video