Don’t Be A 4th Down Punting Cop Out

By FirstDown PlayBook on Sep 3, 2021

FirstDown PlayBook cringes when we hear a coach say “We are so bad at punting the ball that we might as well just go for it every time. To us, that is just being a 4th down cop out as a coach. There’s a lot wrong with this statement but for starters it’s likely not true.

Before we get into the problems we see with this statement (notice we didn’t say philosophy) allow us to point out one thing. We are not talking about Kevin Kelly. Kelly is the new head coach at Presbyterian and highly successful former mea coach at Pulaski high school in Arkansas.

We have met Kevin when we were ate Tennessee and recruiting Hunter Henry out of high school. Kelly’s philosophy makes sense because he lives and dies by it. Right or wrong, he is doing it because he believes it gives his team and advantage. Kelly is not going for it on fourth down because “he might as well”.

The kicking game is just like any other phase of your football team. You have to look at what you do well and what your limitations are. Once you decide this you then decide how to utilize your strengths and hide your weaknesses.

Can’t Imagine A Coach Saying This About Their Offense or Defense

Can you imagine saying we are so bad on offense that we are just going to quick kick on third down every time. We might as well. Our QB gets sacked most of the time on third down anyway.” Or your defensive coordinator saying we might as well play our base defense on 3rd and 1. We never stop anyone in short yardage anyway.”Instead of coping out, why not find a solution and get better at it just like you will with your offense and defense.

Often times, we see a team go for it on fourth down in a ridiculous situation early in the game. They don’t make it. The coach is embarrassed because he just handed the opponent seven easy points. So when a similar situation shows up five minutes later, the same coach punts! And you know what? They punt it just fine and get a thirty some net yard from the punt.

Here’s one last thought on this on our way out the door. If you find yourself going for it because you might as well too often, you might want to consider this. The reason you are in a 4th down situation to start with is because your offense didn’t get it done.

So if you think you are going to rub little 4th down magic on that offensive call, we doubt it. The dirty little secret about Kevin Kelly is that his teams probably are good on offense and don’t get in 4th down much.

So, they call you head coach for a reason. You get to make the hard calls during a game and really every day of the week. We would just suggest that if you are going to go for it on 4th down as opposed to punting have a philosophy. Don’t be a 4th down cop out and do it because you have not put time into your special teams.

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