Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Make Your Special Teams “Special”

Posted by admin November - 28 - 2017 - Tuesday

I love watching college football games! My Saturday’s in the fall start around 10 am when I tune in to Game Day and that leads to the first game at noon. Sometimes my tv watching doesn’t end until around midnight… IF there’s a West Coast game that I want to watch. I always enjoy seeing what coaches and their teams are doing with their kicking teams. They always seem to be so well-prepared. High school games that I watch… NOT so much! Special Teams appears to be the “stepchild” of too many high school programs. Unfortunately, it usually ends up costing them the game. I observed this happen last Friday night.

Attending a Regional championship game here in Tidewater Virginia that a former player and coach was participating in, I saw a team lose the championship on something that never should’ve happened. Let me set the scene:

“My” team jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Their kicker had put every kickoff into the end zone… unheard of in high school ball around here, anyway! The other team scored just before half to make it 14-7. The second half kickoff was returned to the opposing 30 and in 3-4 plays, my friend’s team scored again. The other team came back in the 4th Q to tie it and take it into overtime. They got the ball first and scored in 3 plays! UGH! They lined up to kick the extra point and “broke out” into a muddle huddle formation! I thought, “Wow! They DO spend time on their special teams if they know how to do that!” They shifted back; lined up for an easy kick and… 2 guys came right up the middle and blocked the PAT!!! “Come on, Man!!!”

My friend’s team got the ball, scored in 3 plays… kicked the extra point and now they are going on to the state semi-finals and the team that probably should’ve won turned in their stuff after the game. All because they didn’t emphasize to their players the importance of “taking care of the details!” Like… securing your gap on the PAT!

Championship Productions has a dvd that I did in the spring talking about “Making Your Special Teams Special.” They did a great job putting it together and I’m proud to recommend it to you. My point of emphasis is: too many teams don’t spend the time that they should on preparing their kicking game. Sooooooo… take advantage of that! Spend the necessary time and gain an advantage. I’ll never forget something that Lou Holtz told us years ago (I was fortunate to have been playing at William and Mary when Lou got his first HC job). He said, “A close game between two evenly-matched teams is usually going to come down to a play in the kicking game to decide the victor!” It taught me to never take the kicking game lightly. I encourage you to do the same!

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