The Archived Articles © 1998 Crystal Publications Company

The Trap Return

By John T. Bangley
Head Coach Smithfield High School Smithfield, NC

Add excitement to your kick-off return by trapping the contain man. Your chances of running back kicks will increase with each return. You can be successful using only average athletes as kick-off returners. Years in which you have a great athlete to return kicks,

the ball down the field with each cover player running a particular lane while ultimately converging on the ball. Rarely, however does this happen. There is usually a breakdown somewhere in the coverage. The weakest point in the kick-off coverage team is usually the sidelines. One aspect of the trap return is that nobody has to be a dominating blocker. Simply screening an assigned defensive player is all that is needed to pop a long return. The key block is the trap, which you can see in Diagram 3.

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OST TEAMS KICK

yard line just outside the hash marks. Two up-backs (FB’s) line up on the hash marks on about the 25-yard line. The two returners (RB’s) line up on the hash marks at whatever depth you think the ball will be kicked. (See Diagram 2.) On a “right” return, blocking should be as follows: The front five are responsible for #’s 3 through 7 of the coverage team. DO NOT count the kicker when he is the safety. Each of the front five should retreat to a position in which they can “catch” their assigned cover player and shield this player to the inside of the playing field. These blockers should keep themselves between the kick returner and the defensive player they are shielding. The TE on the side of the return will “catch” the “go-man,” or the player attacking the ball. Like the front line, the TE should shield this player to the inside. The backside TE needs to “find” his player as soon as possible. This should ALWAYS be the contain-man. As the ball is being kicked, the backside TE should sprint across the field (giving a little ground) and time his block to be just ahead of the wedge. This trap should take place around the 30-yard line. Making contact too soon gives the defensive player a chance to recover from the block. Therefore, it is important for the backside TE to adjust his speed so he does not get to the desired point of contact before the containDiagram Two

The first thing you need to determine is how your opponent covers the field on the kick-off. I have drawn up a basic coverage. (See Diagram 1.) On the Trap Return, you may return “right” or “left.” I will explain the “right” return in detail. (Diagram 4 shows the “left” return numbering order and the blocking assignments.) The front five players line up traditionally. The next two players (TE’s) line up around the 35the sky is the limit!
Diagram One

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9

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V 40 50 T 40

V

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K

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V

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40 50

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C

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T 40

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TE

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30 20 10 G

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RB

GRIDIRON
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Bangley has coached 14 years in Virginia. Archived Articles • 8. The three-man wedge is responsible for picking up anyone that has not been blocked according to the plan. someone may be able to go around the wedge and make the tackle on the return man.com/gridironcoach . the wedge will take care of them. When the returner catches the ball. the inside player on the wedge should be looking to the inside as he runs his tracks and peel off to block a threat from the backside. The aiming point of the wedge and the kick returner is the “numbers” on the playing field.” flip responsibilities of the front five and begin counting cover players from left to right.2 GRIDIRON Coach www. The two up-backs and two return men are responsible for setting the 3-man wedge and returning the ball. (“W” in the diagram designates the wedge blockers. Blocking assignments are numbered in Diagram 4 for the “left” return. (See Diagram 3. read more of the defensive articles in GRIDIRON Coach for ideas to solve your problems. make sure the deep man who does not catch the kick fills his position in the wedge. John T. If not. you do not have a team that has many opportunities to return kicks during a game. if the kicker is a Diagram Three: Right Return Diagram Four: Left Return 10 9 8 7 6 K 5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 K 6 7 8 9 10 40 50 40 50 7 6 5 4 3 40 3 4 5 6 7 40 2 1 1 2 30 30 W W W W 20 10 20 10 W G W G For a complete listing of GRIDIRON Coach archived articles. What about the backside players unaccounted for? Usually. n Coaching Points Determine who is the contain man and the “go-man” on the kick-off team. The most frequent breakdowns we have had in coaching the trap return is the wedge players. They proceed up the right side of the field leading the ball carrier. call (877) 262-2464. The TE on the backside will ALWAYS be responsible for the contain player. the trap return has been very successful for us in gaining much needed momentum for our offense.) Thus. He is the author of “The Two Minute Offense” published in Volume 6. cover player. Also.The Archived Articles © 1998 Crystal Publications Company man gets there. Issue 2. It is a pretty sight to see three of your men blocking the kicker on the 45-yard line.coachhelp. Many times these players do not form the wedge at the desired location (10-yards from the catch). they get caught up in the traffic in the middle of the field.) The players who do not catch the kick should converge to a point 10-yards in front of the catch and align themselves shoulder-to-shoulder. If you do. Do not count “safety” players.2. the return is successful. Also. he will yell “Go” to the 3man wedge. In the meantime. the trapping TE and the return-side TE should create a gap through which the ball is returned. In any case. When returning “left. Hopefully. The TE on the play side may have to take #2 if the contain man is #1. However. Washington and North Carolina. you should count him when assigning blockers’ responsibilities. this return may help you through some difficult times. When they get together properly and stay on track.

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