Please Help Your Punt Returner

By FirstDown PlayBook on Oct 23, 2023
State Champs

We all saw it multiple times this weekend. One college football team has another backed up and now it is time to punt. Your opponent punts the ball and it should be very easy to field for your punt returner. In fact, it should be a returnable punt; however, the ball hits the ground. Now it rolls another 25 yards from where it should have been caught.

A lot of work has been wasted and even the announcers understand this. They bemoan the error of the punt returner and how he should have fielded that ball. Well Captain Obvious is once again right, but why does this happen so often?

Your Punt Returner Needs Your Help Coach. Where Are You?

Yes, once again coaching comes into play, but before we get to that, let’s point out a few things. Returning punts is not for the feint of heart. Football is a team sport and we make a lot of this, but once the punt is in the air you are not playing a team sport anymore. It’s one player and after that ball is punted, no one can help them.

It’s one player looking at a ball dropping out of the sky. The crowd is roaring. Some want you to run it back. Others want you to fumble it or get instantly hit. You? If you’re the returner, you just want to be put in the most obvious place where that ball might land so you can at least field it.

That’s why they put “Coach” in front of our name. It’s our job to help that kid have a chance. Regardless of what level you compete, a coach should be assigned to tell that player where to line up. You have charted that punter’s kicks and if you haven’t you should have. Have a coach that gets the punt returner lined up in the best possible spot.

Your Punt Returner Needs Your Help.

Your Punt Returner May Have Just Been a Part Of A Big Defensive Play

That coach should be alerting your punt returner about the exact yard line they should be lined up on. This coach should also be alerting the punt returner if it’s a traditional punt formation or a rugby style formation. These two things alone will help your punt returner immensely. Also, help him out by forcing the punt to be kicked. That is critical.

Keep in mind that this player is likely coming off of the sideline as he is being coached by his offensive position coach. The other possibility is that he is actually on the field and was just involved in a defensive play. This player needs all the help they can get about where to line up on this punt return.

This short video covers this very topic. It’s a little over two minutes. Well worth the yardage you might save yourself if you help your punt returner keep the ball off of the ground in your next game.

Rusty Wright