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Since I broke down a blocked shield punt the other day, I thought it only fair to show an example of a great one!
It’s from this years BYU – Notre Dame game. Watch the video of this punt here.
The goal of the shield punt is to get down the field very fast. It all starts with the alignment. The idea is to spread the field with your linemen by creating large gaps between each one of them. At the high school level, I’ve taught one yard splits for the last 10 years using this. The college level guys are starting to spread them out with even further splits. See the formation below.
What you are doing with these large splits is spreading the defenders out, therefore forcing them to try to block the punt up the middle, through the A/B gaps. It’s here where you will have your shield, normally your larger linemen type sized kids.
The other thing it does is spread the speed guys way out there to where they won’t be able to get in and block the kick off of the edge at all. In fact, with the one yard splits I’ve taught, I once measured it out. I put my punters heals at 14 yards. With the distance they go, a kid would have to run a 2.9 forty to get to the kickers foot. That ain’t happening! I had a physics teacher on my campus figure this out. (I just am not that smart!)
Here is what the formation and defense will look like after the snap. Notice the four guys coming through, usually just about untouched. And notice how stinking wide their widest guys are. They will NEVER get to the foot of the punter this wide!
Below will see four guys rushing the shield. With your big boys in the shield, at the high school level I use my offensive linemen, it’s pretty safe to say that you can create a wall about 4 yards wide. These boys need to be tough to absorb the blow! Notice the linemen on the bottom of that shield. Look at his left foot. Perfect. He has put that foot in the ground and he’s not giving up any ground. Again, notice how far away those edge guys still are, I love it!
The thing I love this most about the spread punt is that your kids get down field QUICK! You usually have 7 guys getting off of the line of scrimmage very fast. Here, Notre Dame brought 6 guys, and have 1 deep. That leaves only 7 to block BYU’s 7 guys coming down the field. I like that mismatch, don’t you?!
See some of my high school shield punt cut ups here to see how they get down field and create a turnover.
Notice all of these white shirts down the field with nobody to block them. This is the reason that this punt is being used so widespread across the college football landscape this year. It’s going to be interesting to see when it gets in to The League. It will be there soon!
With all of these defenders in his face, the returner doesn’t have many options. He just doesn’t have enough green grass in front of him to do anything with. I also love seeing this kid fumble the ball. It happens often. Those returners panic. They get scared. This is one of those tough things in practice many coaches don’t practice, 7 guys running full speed at you as you try to make a catch.
Look at the BYU defenders collapse on him to make the open field tackle. The Notre Dame returner actually loses yards this play.
There you have it! A picture perfect shield punt.
Read about how I install and teach it here. I’ve got in on this site in a three part series.