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am very excited to represent Middle Tennessee, our Head Coach Andy McCollum, the “Pride Team” staff, and all of our players on the Pride Team in presenting you our contribution to the 2003 AFCA Summer Manual. Our punt team, which we call the Pride Team, is made up of the best players on our football team. Our punter was ranked 17th in the country with a 42.6 yard avg. and No. 1 in the Sun Belt. We will work this unit everyday at practice. They will be called upon to perform at the most crucial times of the game. These players will take pride on wanting to be a part of this unit. If you are on this unit, then you know you are one of the best players and most reliable players on the team. On every punting situation, we will have a fake that we can run. If we don’t like what we see, then we will call off the fake and punt the ball. Philosophy There is no other play in the game of football that accounts for field position like the punting game does. It requires discipline, courage and speed to make the difference a “Winning Edge.” The importance of the punt team cannot be minimized. Like other plays in the kicking game, field position is involved. If our opponents are backed up because of great execution, we have greatly minimized their chances of scoring. Execution of the punt team is vital to our success. We have the ability to have a variety of fakes and unusual alignments on every punt to catch our opponents off guard. If we are successful in the execution of this weapon our opponents will be worrying about stopping us rather than setting up a return. Goals 1. No Blocked Kicks! 2. Average 39 yards net punting (not including sky punt). 3. Hold all punt returns under a five yard average. Theory of Our Protection 1. Our protection is based on a zone concept of blocking as a starting point and maintaining a solid pocket. Each player has a specific area that each is responsible for blocking. As a unit we will work to protect the block point. Example: Right guard’s zone is from inside leg of right guard to inside leg of right tackle (Diagram 1).
2. Each blocker’s zone is structured to enable them to block the rushers with inside/out leverage to increase the rusher’s distance to the block point and maintain the integrity of the kicking pocket (Diagram 2).
3. In using a zone concept, it is imperative that the blockers maintain their constant split relationship to each other. In order to avoid a loss in constant split relationship, it is very important for the blockers to set off the line of scrimmage fast on a vertical line (set) instead of a diagonal line (Diagram 3).
4. Stay square. Keep your shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage. Do not get turned. Let the blockers come to you. This insures protection. 5. Pushing off the line of scrimmage with your inside foot, jab tough, with your inside hand, any man, as he comes to you. Do not step to him. Let him come to you. Shuffle your feet (inside-outside-inside), keep your knees bent and head up. As you engage him, keep your hands inside his armpits, and as he comes to you, short punch him out from the cup. You reach a point where you feel pressure and must “take a stand.” Keep your shoulders square as much as possible.
Stance & Alignment Stance Center: Get in a good square stance to execute the perfect snap and vertical set (45 degrees). Guards, Tackles, Wings: Two-point stance with feet shoulder width apart. Bend knees with a flat back. Rest hands slightly on thighs. Inside foot should be up, outside foot back with a toe to instep stagger. Weight on balls of feet; push off with inside foot. Personal Protector: Two-point square stance, bent, weight on balls of feet. Sprinters: Two-point stance with inside foot. Stagger outside foot for a good take-off. Alignment Center: Over the ball with a good snapping position. Get your feet set. Guards: Take a six-inch split from the foot of the center. Align the toe of your inside foot on the heel of the center. You are responsible for setting the alignment. Coaching Point: Your helmet must break the plane of the center’s belt. Tackles: Take a one foot split from the guards. Align your inside foot on the inside foot of the guards. Wings: Take a one-foot split from the tackle one yard back. Do not shorten the corner on the vertical set. Personal Protector: Align directly behind guard (right guard for right footed punter left guard for left footed punter) with heels five yards from the ball. Never back up! Step up to give punter the pocket. Block inside rusher down the middle. Check all splits and adjust them accordingly.
We will identify the front from left to the right (just as we read a book). 3. Third call will repeat the color. 4. Fourth call will repeat the front. 5. Fifth call will be “set.” The Center will work in a non-rhythmic count to snap the ball. Coaching Point: If the clock is down to five seconds or lower “set-set” will be called to alert center to snap the ball now. F. If we are in muddle and the personal protector calls us back to a normal alignment, then it is a color call which is an automatic Color 44 blocking scheme. The line must get set for at least a count. There will be no set call. Snapper must give the line time to get set for at least a count. Formations
Diagram 9: Muddle
Diagram 10: Muddle Over
Diagram 5: Tight Diagram 11: Raider Stack
Diagram 6: Spread Diagram 12: Raider Stack Over
Diagram 4 Diagram 7: Over Right Diagram 13: Tiger
Cadence The searchlight will handle all communication on the field. All calls will be communicated from the sideline in signals and relayed to the Pride unit. The cadence will identify the front and direction the long snapper will work in the protection scheme. 1. First call will be color to inform, Pride of our scheme. 2. Second call will be a two-digit number to identify the front (box area) alignment.
Diagram 8: Over Left
Diagram 14: Cat
Muddle Huddle Get ready on the sideline on third down alert. This is a great alignment for a pressure rush team. We will go out and get aligned in our spread punt formation, except the wings and lineman will go to the top of the numbers to our sideline and get huddled up in a muddle alignment. If they don’t adjust to our formation then we will have fakes to take advantage of their missed alignment. If they adjust correctly to the formation then the personal protector will call the group over and we will be in a regular punt call. In this formation, we can be in an over look and then punt the ball or shift the line back and motion the sprinter across the formation. If the personnel protector shifts you over, the wings must stay on the line for protection. If we send the sprinter in motion, it will be with a RAC or LAC call. This tells the sprinter on the inside to go across the formation to the other side. The personnel protector will make his regular protection calls. Front Identification The front will be identified from a twodigit call. The first represent the number of potential rushers coming from the left A gap outward, and the second digit will represent the number of potential rushers coming from the right A gap outward. Possible Protection Calls 1. 44 2. 55 3. 35 4. 53 5. 26 6. 62 7. 33
Diagram 17: 35
Diagram 18: 53
Protection vs. Stacks Any player in the box is a possible rusher. You must vertical set and protect your area. Do not block and allow stack to run past you. 1. Allow stack to divide and block who shows. 2. Never chase. Let defenders come to you. 3. Be ready to handle down man first. 4. Be alert for push to allow stacked man to run through.
Diagram 23: The Box
Diagram 19: 26
Stress Call 1. Man in Zone: Two-man threat inside. Coaching Point: Keep inside split by losing ground vertically. Give help inside with inside hard blow delivery. 2. Two-Man Threat in Zone Coaching Point: Use both rushers by losing ground vertically off the line. Do not allow rusher to hold or cut you from losing enough ground to block the outside rusher. 3. Alert each other when you are stressed by calling “stress.” This should Alert each other where the help is needed. Punt Coverage Punt coverage is an area of strict discipline yet flexible adjustment. Each player has an assigned responsibility that can be altered according to where the ball is punted or the type of return being used. Our philosophy is to first run through your landmark and then converge on the ball. Do not overrun the ballcarrier — be gang tacklers — second and third tackles going for ball. Coverage: We will force the returners with our sprinters; contain the returner with tackles and cover the area in between with our center, personal protector, guards and wings. Coverage Principles 1. Protect the punter first, then cover! 2. Squeeze, gather, and breakdown. Our coverage squeezes on the return man. Leverage and contain principles are maintained. As we approach, we must come under control by gathering and breaking
Diagram 20: 62
Diagram 15: 44
Diagram 21: 33
Diagram 16: 55
down. Use a focal point of five yards in front of the returner as the area to be ready to tackle. 3. Know where we are kicking the ball from (hash/middle). 4. Find the ball in the air on +45 punts. Otherwise focus on the returner. He will take you to the ball. 5. Be alert of a bad punt. Immediately locate and front the ball. Avoid letting it hit you. 6. Feel hold-up as soon as possible. Fight through hold-up to release. 7. Do not follow teammate downfield. Adjust and fill another lane. Stay five yards apart from teammate. 8. Keep leverage on the returner. Keep the returner inside and in front of you (Not even with returner). 9. First coverage man downfield should make returner stutter (breakdown position) to let other cover people coverage on returner. If returner stumbles or muffs the ball, make a decision to take him out or recover the ball. 10. If returner signals for fair catch (normal field position) first man down must gather and except a fumble. 11. Punter gives direction of the ball (right, left, middle). Middle Coverage
Down the Ball When any Blue Raider downs the ball, we will pick the football up and hand it to the official. This is law. Pride Team Game Checklist A. Spread Punt 1. Spread Punt a. Six Man b. Eight Man c. Nine Man 2. Three for Three Protection a. Burst b. Twist c. Hold up 3. Coverages a. Spread b. Pooch Punt c. Switch Calls B. Tight Punt 1. Protection 2. Coverage C. Fake Punt 1. Run 2. Pass D. Special Situations — Team 1. Out of End Zone 2. Out of Bounds 3. Taking a Safety 4. Downing the ball inside the 10 5. Coverage against Fair Catch 6. Delayed Snap E. Special Situations — Punter 1. Out of Bounds 2. Pooch Punt 3. With Wind 4. Into Wind 5. Bad Snaps- High, Low, Wide 6. Wet Ball 7. Taking a Safety 8. Following a Safety F. Special situations — Snapper 1. Wet ball 2. Changing snap rhythm terminology 3. Silver G. Changing Formations 1. Regular 2. Spread 3. Over 4. Man in Motion 5. Muddle Left/Right 6. Stack/Over 7. Cat 8. Tiger Pride Team Terminology Pride: MTSU Punt Team. Zone: Designated blocking area. (I.e. your inside leg to the inside leg of the per-
Right Guard: Middle of field. Right Wing: One yard inside right hash. Right Tackle: In between hash and top of numbers. Personal Protector/Center: Right and left hand of returner. Right Sprinter/Left Sprinter: V of neck of returner. Right Coverage
Center/Punter: Left and right hand of returner. Guards: One yard inside hash. Wings: In between hash and top of the numbers. Tackles: Top of the numbers. Sprinters: V of the neck of the returner. Left Coverage Left Guard: In between the top of the numbers and hash. Left Wing: Top of numbers. Left Tackle: In between bottom of numbers and sideline.
Right Guard: In between top of numbers and hash. Right Wing: Top of numbers. Right Tackle: In between bottom of numbers and sideline. Left Guard: Middle of field. Left Wing: One yard inside right hash. Left Tackle: In between hash and top of the numbers. Personal Protector/Center: Right and left hand of returner. Right Sprinter/Left Sprinter: V of neck of returner. Take It Communication Whenever the tackle gets double-teamed for a wall return and he cannot get off of the double team block for a release, then a “Take it, take it” call must be made. Whenever the wings hears the “take it” call he now becomes the contain from his coverage lane.
son beside you or from your nose to the person’s nose beside you.) Pocket: Formed by shuffling vertical and maintaining inside out leverage. Leverage: Refers to keeping the returner inside of you on the punt return. Jab: Punch tough with your inside hand, outside hand, inside hand. Shuffle: Refers to your foot action. Shuffle vertical with your inside foot, outside foot, inside foot. Spread Pooch: This is when we take our wings and move them out. If no one adjusts with them then the personal protector calls them back in. Creeper: This is when the corner on one of the spread guys is coming in to block the punt. The gunner and personal protector are alert of his threat. Middle of the Field: We consider this when the tackle is inside of the hash. Right or Left: We consider this when the tackle is on or outside the hash. Two Digit Numbers: Refers to the alignment of the punt block team. Will be called from left to right, just like reading a book. (i.e. 44, 35 and 53.) Spread Punt: Normal MTSU Pride Team. Tight Punt: Punt alignment used when we are backed up inside our own four-yard line. The left sprinter and right sprinter will move to a one-foot split, aligning outside of the wings and run through no. 2. Keep inside foot in. Everyone else six inch split. Take two steps and stop. Over Right: Punt alignment in which the right sprinter and left sprinter are aligned on the right side of the field. The left sprinter aligns inside of the right sprinter on the line of scrimmage. Over Left: Punt alignment in which the right sprinter and left sprinter are aligned on the left side of the field. The right sprinter aligns inside of the left sprinter on the line of scrimmage. Box: Area that extends six yards vertical from the line of scrimmage and three yards outside each wing. Stress: Refers to a call made anytime you have two rushers outside of you in the A, B or C gap. Pooch: Punt designed to be downed inside our opponent’s 10-yard line. Rover: Refers to a pooch punt with the quarterback and normal offense on third down. The pooch punt is designed to be kicked to the right side of the field. Lab: Refers to a pooch punt with the
quarterback and normal offense on third down. The pooch punt is designed to be kicked to the left side of the field. Take It: Call made by the left tackle or right tackle when he is double-teamed for a wall return. This call tells the wing that he now becomes contain on the punt return. Down the Ball: MTSU player must pick up the ball and hand the ball to the official. This is law. Slow Safety: Call used when we are backed up inside the minus five yard-line and are approaching the end of the game. The punter catches the snap and runs to the near corner of the end zone until he feels pressure. He then steps out of the back of the end zone for an intentional safety. The line lines up in a tight punt and tackles their man. Fast Safety: Call used telling the center to snap the ball over the Punters head for an intentional safety. Also used when we are punting from inside our minus five-yard line. Rac: Right wing motion across formation. Lac: Left wing motion across formation. Muddle Huddle: Unusual alignment placing six of the 11 players on one side of the field. Used to combat aggressive punt rush teams. Force: A player forces the kick returner to change directions or lose yardage. Timing: Refers to the execution time of the punt. Sufficient timing should be between 1.8 and 2.0 seconds. Pride Team Coaching Responsibilities
E. Two Man F. Inside Twist G. Outside Twist 3. Two lines on left; two lines on right. A. Cover down to the hoop (25 yards). B. Breakdown, pad level. C. Start cover in middle then goes to right hoop or left. D. Start man in hoop. Cover and breakdown. On whistle, runner try to split you or get outside of you. 4. Coverage Lanes
A. Right Punt B. Middle Punt C. Left Punt 5. Pooch Punt 6. Get Off Block Drill A. Swipe and Punch B. Chop and Flip 7. Fast Safety 8. Slow Safety (tackle your man). 9. Change Up Snap Rhythm 10. Formations and Fakes A. Muddle B. Raider Stack C. Raider Stack Over D. Raider Stack Rain E. Raider Stack Reno F. Lightning Left G. Lightning Right H. Lightning Gold I. Tiger Bait J. Cat
Pride Team Drills 1. Stance and Punch 2. Half Line Work A. Four Man B. Five Man C. Three Man D. Six Man
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