Keep This In Your Special Teams Back Pocket

By FirstDown PlayBook on Aug 6, 2019

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?

There is another option that if executed properly can result in a big play and make their offensive coordinator’s life miserable.  If executed properly it can force 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. Odds are they 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.
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