Punt and C ov er at Adams State C ol le g e

e first want to thank the AFCA Summer Manual Committee for asking us to write this article. We hope that we can give a brief glimpse into how we organize and practice the punt and cover aspect of our special teams. Philosophy Here at Adams State, we want to get our best athletes on the field for each of our positions. We feel that in order to be successful, we must win the special teams aspect of each game. This is not a time to have athletes not ready to compete on the field. We will first show our punt scheme, and then show what we look for in each position on the field. Scheme We utilize a slot formation, which encompasses three phases. First, and probably most important, is the protection of the punt, where the wings, tackles, guards and center will take three kick steps and press out. They will engage the defensive opponent with their hands. The bullets will release down field defeating the opponent’s attempt to block and squeeze the punt returner. The second phase is covering the punt. Each player should release outside having a five-yard horizontal spacing between each other. We want the covering players to be aware of their surroundings and keep the returner to their inside. The long snapper and personal protector control the mid dle of the field and can run directly at the returner. The final phase is squeezing the ball carrier. We want to keep shoulders square and keep the returner on our inside shoulder as we start to squeeze. If the returner runs toward you, you hold your lane and leverage. If the returner runs away from you continue to squeeze and close down your lane. We want multiple tacklers on the returner. Responsibilities/Alignment Punter: Get punt away, heels at 15 yards. Snapper: Perfect snap, listen to personal protector. He will take you to the nearest No. 4. Personal Protector: Identify front, count the number of men on each side of the center i.e.: 4-4 (Diagram 1), 5-3 (Diagram 2). Set blocking Scheme: Rachelle or


Thomas call; Identifying the nearest No. 4 for the snapper. Girl’s names takes snapper to the left, boy’s names takes snapper to the right. Overload call if needed vs. a 5-3 sending both personal protector and snapper to the same side. Block other No. 4 if not an overload, heels at six yards. Wing: Set width of pocket, block No. 1, no closer than six inches, no farther than a foot width from tackle. Three to four feet deep off the tackle’s butt. Tackle: Set front of pocket help with width of pocket, block No. 2. No closer than six inches, no farther than a foot away from the guard. Tackle’s front foot line up with guard’s front foot. Don’t let the tackles line up off the guard’s back foot, because you will not have enough men on the line of scrimmage. Guard: Set front of pocket, block No. 3. No closer than six inches, no farther than a foot from the snapper. Guard should line up with front in line with the snapper’s heel. Bullets: Fight thru blocker, squeeze punt returner. Middle of the field, bullets line up inside the numbers. If it is a hash punt, bullet to the field, split the difference between hash and numbers. Bullet to the sideline, stay at inside of the numbers.

Diagram 1: 4x4 Rachelle

Diagram 2: 5x3 Rachelle

Selection Long Snappers: The most important key of the punting game is having a snapper that can effectively execute three areas: snap, protect, and run and cover the punt. What we want out of our long snapper is a 15-yard snap that averages .75 from movement of the snap to the punter’s hands. Along with each snap, he must be

We line up cones spaced five yards apart. tackle and wing position. The whole team will cross the field kick stepping with the right foot. So on each command. Watch for the feet coming together. right foot back at a little more than a heel-to-toe stagger. Drills: Punt and cover is the first special team we practice during our spring practice. He needs to get the ball back to the punter in at least . right hip if the punter is right footed and left hip if the punter is left footed. We start with our three kick steps. We add in a scout team punt rush to give a live body to hit. we add a scout team to drill. Bullets: Fast. with the right foot up and left foot back in a little same technique as against press. Coaching Points: Do not let them rise up out of their stance when kicking back. We make them keep their inside hand up in ready to strike position to help with any inside moves. Their feet should be no closer or wider than shoulder width apart. Our next progression is three kick steps and press out. Bullets: We first practice on getting off press opponent by going against a stationary figure working hand fighting techniques. they break down and wait for a whistle to return to the line of scrimmage. then getting depth of at least two yards. Snapper’s work snapping to the punter ’s hip.5 seconds hang time. Do not let them drop their inside hand. Again. Snappers and Punters: Working snaps and punts relationship. we divide up each area of punt and cover special teams. We turn them around and change into a left side stance. Wings: Good athletes that have the ability to kick a vertical line. We make sure the back is straight. Tackles. Must be a good tackler. Due to depth issues at our level. He is the captain of the punt team. foot fires and getting hips through. we go to three kick steps then hold. We have two coaches for each position. From one kick step on command. we press the opponent out forming the pocket for the punter. We progress with our punters by working in directional punts. We work this on air until our players exhibit the correct technique. one kick step on command. Every coach is involved in this drill and has a line of players to watch. more than a heel to toe stagger. Will need to be able press out attacking opponents to start to create the front of the punter’s protective pocket. Against an off opponent. Each person in line is separated by about five yards. We will add live bodies to block when we feel our snappers are ready. We progress to using a scout defender for live action. Then we give the command for one kick step with a recovery of the front foot. When at the cones. As soon as we hit our third kick step and have engaged the opponent. watching for technique errors. Team Drills Our first team drill is a cover drill. The bullets will run directly at the returner. physical and tough athletes. Getting the ball off in 2. Guards and Personal Protector We split up into right and left sides with a coach working each position. The coaches will watch and correct them before mention coaching points. knees are bent and butt is down like an offensive lineman’s two-point stance. then settle back into a starting position.able to get depth for punt protection purposes. He sets the front of the protection pocket for the punter. have good vision and smarts in picking up twisting and stunting opponents. He must be a good enough athlete to react to stunts and not get blown back into the punter. snapper and personal protector (Diagram 3). we will do this across the field kicking with the right foot and come back across the field kicking with the left foot. our players will take three kick steps in a row. tackles and guards call out and point to identify their responsibility. The first thing we do is line the whole team up every five yards going east to west. Personal Protector: Must be a smart and athletic individual. and the right hand up in a ready position. Bullets must be able to fight through the opponent’s block and get to the returner. work- . Wings have to be strong enough not to get bent into the punter by the opponent. He sets the side of the punter’s protective pocket. Must be able to run and cover and be a sure tackler. and must be good tacklers. Jeff Williams was an all-RMAC and allregion punter for Adams State in 2002. 15 yards down field. the front seven will take their three kick steps and press out and run to their designated cone. Make sure the back is straight and not leaning forward.75 seconds. We make our wings. On the snap. we practice working through the weaker opponent using the Wings. Make sure they’re not lunging at their responsibility and their butt is down and their base and stagger are correct. Must be able to run and cover and be a sure tackler. and then cover down the field. we have also found that training everyone at first helps us in the learning curve when we have to dig deep into back-ups due to injury. tackles. we watch for our previous mentioned coaching points. Next. He must be able to identify various fronts and adjust the punt protection accordingly. we work releases. Each cone correlates with our wings. Then we progress to three kick steps on one command. Watch their technique so they don’t revert back to old ways as soon as there is a live body to hit. dropping the ball flat working for the perfect punt. Against a double team. The punter is working to keep head down. We put them in a right-side stance with their left foot up. either closer than shoulder width or breaking the heel to toe relationship. Tackle: Slightly bigger athlete than the wings but needs to be athletic enough to stay on the inside hip of the wing. foot fires and directional cuts down the field. guards. Creates the front of the protection pocket for the punter.2 seconds and having 4. In our next practice session. During spring drills we will run four to five punt teams so this is a great drill to teach a large amount of players and to evaluate the best personnell for the guard. Again. Guards: Needs to be physically able to handle bigger opponents and able to pick up inside twists and stunts from linemen to linebackers.

Next we don’t stop our front seven at the cones but we do make sure that when they release and start to cover that they run over their designated cone. Hofstra Division II. Mary’s Division II. the front seven will block their responsibility using correct technique then release to their cones. On the snap. Division III: Minnesota. Oregon. Hawaii. North Carolina. Division III: Maryland. We also check that the lanes away from the return side do squeeze and close down on the returner. Massachusetts. Navy. Gateway Conference Division II. Southern Conference. Rhode Island and Connecticut. Kansas and Missouri District 8 Division I-A: Western Athletic Conference. they will run to a stationary returner practicing squeezing their lanes to the returner. Division III: Pennsylvania. California. Maine. Wisconsin. Alabama. Notre Dame Division I-AA: Pioneer Football League. Our coaches make sure that we focus on fundamentals and will stop a drill any time that our players have a break down in their techniques. Diagram 3 technique then release to their cones. On the snap. Southwestern Athletic Conference. Our last progression is using a full scout team with different punt block and punt return schemes. Idaho and Montana District 9 Division I-A: Pacific 10 Conference Division I-AA: Cal Poly-SLO. Diagram 4 Using a scout team and cones. Mountain West Conference Division I-AA: Big Sky Conference. We watch the lanes to the direction of the return to make sure they do not squeeze down and keep their five yards of separation. Elon Division II. Division III: Arkansas. Division III: Ohio. Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Charleston Southern. Southern Utah Division II. Illinois and Michigan TM . Oklahoma. the next progression that we will work is our punt lanes and then squeezing the returner (Diagram 4). Nevada. Wyoming. We will always make sure that we are technically and fundamentally sound first and foremost. Mississippi. Liberty. South Dakota. Tennessee. the front seven will block their responsibility using correct We then add a return man that will run in a direction given to him by a coach. Northeast Conference Division II. Texas. South Carolina. Division II. They will break down at the cone then. Western Kentucky. and watch the fit and lanes of our cover team. Delaware and West Virginia District 3 Division I-A: Atlantic Coast Conference Division I-AA: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Georgia Louisiana and Florida District 6 Division I-A: Big Twelve Conference Division I-AA: None Division II. North Dakota. Mid-American Conference Division I-AA: Southland Conference Division II. St. New Hampshire. New Jersey. Indiana. District 2 Division I-A: Big East Conference. and District of Columbia District 4 Division I-A: Southeastern Conference Division I-AA: Ohio Valley Conference. Utah. This is a game speed drill that will test every position and many different scenarios that our punt and cover team will be competing against. Division III: Washington. Iowa and Nebraska District 7 Division I-A: Conference USA. Central Florida Division I-AA: Atlantic 10 Conference. Alaska District 5 Division I-A: Big Ten Conference. Division III: Colorado. Division III: New York. AFCA Districts District 1 Division I-A: Sun Belt Conference. Samford. Ivy League. Connecticut Division I-AA: Patriot League. New Mexico. Vermont. Division III: Kentucky.ing different fronts and twists. on the whistle. Arizona. Virginia.