Punt? Field Goal? Go For It?
By FirstDown PlayBook on Oct 24, 2014

You see it a lot in college and professional football and even sometimes in high school. It’s 4th and long at the opponents 30 yard line or so. Your odds of converting that fourth down and keeping the drive alive are minimum at best. Kicking a field goal is a possibility but nobody on your staff is willing to bet the farm on that either. Punting is an option but if the ball goes into the end zone it’s a net ten yard gain or so. You’re in a close game and your defense is playing well so what do you do?

POOCH PUNTThere is another option that if executed properly can result in a big play and make their offensive coordinator’s life miserable by forcing him to call plays with his heels on his own goal line. By lining up in a field goal formation your opponent is going to have to assume that you are kicking the field goal and may try to mount a rush expecting a low drive kick because of the distance or they also may be looking for a fake because they understand the field goal is a long shot.

What they probably won’t be expecting is a direct snap to your Kicker who has worked daily on a soft easy pooch punt to the corner of the field inside the ten yard line. The defense probably won’t have anyone back there allowing you a chance to pin their offense inside of their own 10 yard line to start their next series. Most Kickers I have coached take great pride in this kick and work at it to perfection. It’s a lot like a chip shot in golf that some Kickers can get to lay down right at the 5 yard line.

Obviously, you have to coach your team to cover down in case one of their players runs back and tries to return the ball. Finally, if you get in a situation and the defense does surprise you by putting a returner back there instruct your Kicker to punch it out of bounds to avoid a return.

This is executed when the kick is longer and the chances of making it are outweighed by the advantage of
pinning the opponent back inside of their 10 yard line.
The ball is snapped directly to the Kicker and he executes a short pooch punt towards the pylon on the
-Execute direct snap to the Kicker & cover.
-Release outside and cover the ball.
-A rusher should widen with you as you release.
-Take the direct snap and execute a short pooch kick.
-The goal is to have the ball die inside of the 10 yard line.
Pooch Side End:
-Release immediately to the goaline pylon.
-Down the ball with both hands & hand the ball to Referee.
Pooch Side Wing:
-Block down to the hip of the Tackle.
-Block #2 and #3 then cover.
Guards Tackles & Backside End/Wing:
-Protect and cover.


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