Kickoff Cover 2 Gap Technique
Using the 2 gap technique on kickoff coverage has several elements that need to be taught. The first one is when do you use the technique. If you are not careful your players will go down the field looking for contact when none is necessary. They will essentially block themselves.
You want to teach your players to avoid contact if possible until they get to the returner. We have covered how we teach this with our Rip and Whip techniques. This will be the technique we teach a player when they encounter a blocker more than 15 yards in front of the returner.
Today we will cover when your coverage personnel gets within 15 yards of the ball. The Returner has not declared a direction for the return. When this happens we teach a 2 gap technique. Here are some coaching points:
1. The cover guy cannot slow down.
A lot of players will slow down into contact because the Returner has not declared which direction he is going. This just puts him in a no win situation because the easiest player to block is one that is stationary or playing slow. His feet must stay active never ceasing to press to the football. He must accelerate through contact and create separation from the blocker as he determines the ball carrier’s intention. Also, the fact that he and his teammates are still pressing to the ball will also make the Returner flush one direction or the other sooner than otherwise.
2. Use The 2 Gap Technique To Create Separation
The separation that is created is no different than any other phase of football. The 2 Gapper must bend his knees and get under the blocker as he enters contact. Secondly, the cover guy must get his hands inside of the blocker’s hands. This is going to greatly increase his chances of getting separation from the blocker so that he can find the football. It is also going to allow him to get off of that block when he sheds to make a tackle.
3. Shed The Blocker To The Ball Side
After he finds the ball it is important that he violently gets rid of the blocker. We’ve all seen the coverage man who enters into contact on the blocker only to remain stuck on him. There are several techniques that can be used but it’s usually an individual decision.
The key is that the feet and hands stay active and he is violent. There is also a point to be made also that a 2 gap technique doesn’t always require the coverage man to lock up on the blocker. A lot of the best guys to the football shock the blocker and neutralize him. They hardly break stride to the ball.
The key here is to have two, three or four guys at the point of attack all taking on their blocks full speed and spending as little time as possible with their blockers as they press to the tackle. When this happens your Kickoff team will stop most returns before they ever get started.
If you find this article helpful, FirstDown PlayBook has an extensive special teams section. We also provide you with six special teams clinics where we cover each phase.