I was talking to a friend of mine who is the head coach of the Big East about special teams. Specifically, punt coverage.
This particular article is about extended clearance.
The open punt is the easiest to teach. It can be divided into five S’s.
If you can master those five things, I think you can build your foundation for playing the punt game. Here are more details on the five S’s:
- Clearance and Clearance Coverage
- zone gold men’s set –
Our kicker lines up 15 yards deep. You have to have a center that can return the ball to him. If we can get the cross and kick in 1.9 seconds, I feel great. If the kick is far in 2.0, we’ve done our job. We break that down at center at .8 and 1.1 for the kicker. It’s hard to block the kick if you can get the ball out in 2.0 seconds.
Let me give you the two rules for the center of our open punt:
- The snapper moves away from the kicker either to the right or left.
- If a man calls (3-3) he can drop.
The personal protector is expected to count the defenders. He counts from our left to the right. He must declare in which direction he wants the center blocked. Here are the rules for the personal protector in our extended punt:
- The personal protector is responsible for overloading the player. The personal protector will always move away from the center on a 44 call.
- Count only those players whose feet are in the line of scrimmage with the linemen or in a threatening position.
- The personal protector is read from 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 on our left side. We have three defenders on the right side. Left tells center to block left.
The center hits the ball and then pulls back for a width that prevents a seam from forming. Everyone still takes a zone step to help the player enter. Once the wall is formed and secured, the blockers kick off their main defender. The left slot has the number one. Left tackle has the number two. The left guard has the number three. The center will always have the number five in a corner. The center throws the ball and then steps back to get big or wide to prevent a seam from forming. Each one still takes their zone steps and helps the player inside.
For example, guards help center, tackles help guards, and slot help tackles. Once the wall is formed and secured, you then kick off your main defender. Left slot is number one, left tackle is number two, left guard is number three, and center is number four on the left. The right guard has the number three, the right tackle has the number two and the right slot has the number one man. The personal protector has the fourth man on the right side. If we call three it’s automatic man block. If you are in a 33 protection you can drop the center. You have them outnumbered. You can block them man to man but you never change your steps. three yell torsion alert.
It may be intended for man protection, but you still need to take the steps in the area. If the defense is running a three-man run on one side, then they will try to run some sort of game on the overloaded side. If we get a 3-pointer, we communicate it from the outside guard to the tackle and slot back. When our blockers listen
This is an overload situation. The personal protector has the number four on the left. We only count players whose feet are in the line of scrimmage. We do not count stacked outside linebackers.
This is where zone and man protection come together. I made it clear in our special teams meeting that if you’re on the punt team, you better drop your three steps. You handle yourself in relation to the element of the area. You need to zone the area and stay square. You should use a good three-step mechanic. Now, from there, everyone is working together. If two defenders approach the blocker, he will help inside with his hands before getting to his lead man. The three steps help take the pressure off the man inside. After taking the three steps, we prepare to face the main corridor.
Most blockers tend to rush the block. Most of the time they want to go find their man. If they do, they leave the inner man on an island. If the slot goes after the number four man out, he leaves the tackle alone against the number three man. If the number four man comes in, the tackle has to face the number four and number three running backs. The tackle can’t let number three go because he has to help inside. I try to overemphasize zone steps before talking about man steps. If you talk about man steps, they will want to set a step and jump on their man. It goes against the principles of the three-step series and keeping your shoulders square.