I was talking with a friend of mine who is a Big East Head Coach about Special Teams. Specifically, punt coverage.
This particular article is about the spread punt.
The spread punt is the easiest to teach. It can be broken down into five S’s.
If you can get those five things down, I think you can build your base for putting in the punting game. Here is more detail about the five S’s:
- Punting and Punt Coverage
- Zone or man set –
Our punter lines up 15-yards deep. You must have a snapper that can get the ball back to him. If we can get the snap and kick away in 1.9 seconds, I feel very good. If the kick is away in 2.0, we have done our job. We break that down on the snap at .8 and 1.1 for the kicker. It is difficult to block the kick if you can get the ball away in 2.0 seconds.
Let me give you the two rules for the center on our spread punt:
- The center blocks away from the punter or to the right or left call.
- If a man calls (3-3) he can release.
The personal protector is expected to count the defenders. He counts from our left to the right. He must declare which way he wants the center to block. Here are the rules for the personal protector on our spread punt:
- The personal protector is responsible for the overload player. The personal protector will always go away from the center on a 44 call.
- Only count those players whose feet are on the line of scrimmage with linemen or in a threatening position.
- The personal protector reads left to right.
- The personal protector scans if there is no man to pick up.
- The center is always counted.
The magic number is
We have five defenders to our left side. We have three defenders to the right side. Left tells the center to block to the left.
The center snaps the ball then steps back to get width that keeps a seam from forming. Everybody still takes a zone step to help the player to the inside. Once the wall is formed and secure, the blockers drive out on their primary defender. The left slot has number one. The left tackle has number two. The left guard has number three. The center will always have number five in anThe center snaps the ball and then steps back to get big or wide to keep a seam from forming. Everyone still takes their zone steps and to help the player to his inside.
For example, the guards help the center, the tackles help the guards, and the slot helps the tackles. Once the wall is formed and secure, then you drive out on your primary defender. The left slot has the number one, left tackle has number two, the left guard has number three, and the center has number four to the left. The right guard has number three, the right tackle has number two, and the right slot has the number one man. The personal protector has the fourth man to the right side. If we call three it is automatic man blocking. If you are in a 33 protection you can release the center. You have them outnumbered. You are able to block them man-on-man but you never change your steps. three they yell twist alert.
It may be conceived as man protection, but you still take the zone steps. If the defense is running a three-man rush on one side, then they are going to try to run some type of game on the overloaded side. If we get a three-man, we communicate it from the guard outside to the tackle and to the slot back. When our blockers hear
This is an overload situation. The personal protector has number four to the left. We only count the players who have their feet on the line of scrimmage. We do not count stacked outside linebackers.
This is where zone and man protection come together. I have made it clear in our special teams meeting if you are on the punt team you had better get your three steps down. You handle yourself relative to the zone element. You must zone the area and stay square. You must use good three-step mechanics. Now, from there everyone is working together. If two defenders come at the blocker he is going to help inside with his hands before he works out to his primary man. The three steps help take the pressure off the man inside. After we take the three steps, then we set up to take on the primary rusher.
Most of the blockers tend to rush the block. Most of the time they want to go get their man. If they do that they leave the inside man on an island. If the slot man goes out after the number four man outside, he leaves the tackle on his own against the number three man. If the number four man comes inside, the tackle has to take on both number four and number three rushers. The tackle cannot let number three go because he has to help out inside. I try to overemphasize the zone steps before we talk about the man steps. If you talk about the man steps they’ll want to one-step set and jump their man. It goes against the principles of the three-step set and keeping the shoulders square.