Shoot-Out Punt Return

About the Author of this post:

Jerry Campbell has over 30 years of high school and college coaching experience. He has experience as a head coach, offensive coordinator, and various position coaches. He has written numerous football coaching articles in various publications, is the author of over 30 books on coaching football, and has produced 12 coaching video series. Additionally, he is a nationally sought after speaker on the coaching clinic circuit.

The following is a recap of our base punt returns schemes that come after pressure.

• Jesse – after Jesse James is used with middle pressure and a middle return using a “punch, wheel and shadow” blocking technique. This style of return, though designed to initially hit the middle, can turn into a sideline return. This is our base scheme.

• Wyatt – after Wyatt Earp is used with pressure from the right (eaRp), but a picket return opposite the pressure. We add an “orange” for a pressure left, return right.

• Doc – after Doc Holliday is used for pressure from the left (holliday) and a picket return left. We add an “orange” for a pressure right, return right. This is an excellent return because most teams will run a picket opposite their pressure.

• Shoot-out – after the shoot-out at the OK Corral is used for middle pressure with a middle picket. This is an excellent return versus disciplined teams that run the lanes, especially versus a “big butt” punt formation.

PRESSURE LEFT – RETURN RIGHT: “ORANGE WYATT”

Coaching Points

• This is a return opposite pressure.

• Same coaching points as above.

• Important for coverage players to understand that the blockers want to release on wide arcs. Therefore, get the picket set a little wider than versus a spread punt alignment.

• Both techniques are used; the punch, wheel and shadow (“PWS”) and punch, release and wall (“PRW”).

 

Position Technique
1 Align in front of the end man on the line (“EMOL”); pressure side – attack the gap, cutting behind No. 2 with a low pad level, if clear path go to the block spot. Responsible for punter on fake. Return side – attack with PWS.
2 Align 9-technique; pressure side attack end man on the line with PWS, have him on fakes. Return side, double with #3 keeping coverage player on the LOS with PRW technique releasing (15-20 yards) to wall backside pursuit.
3 Align in B-gap; pressure side attack B-gap with low pad level, if clear path go to block spot, otherwise occupy protector. Return side double with #2 keeping coverage player on the LOS with punch, release and wall (“PRW”) technique releasing (15-20 yards) to wall backside pursuit.
4 Align in a 4-technique; Pressure side attack with PWS working in the middle of the field if blocked. Return side attack with PRW and then sprint to hash, you’re the lead (top of picket), so get 20 yards.
5 Align in a 2-technique; attack with a low pad level attempting to break clear to the block spot. If blocked, use PRW technique, and then sprint to the hash working to keep 5 yards apart.
Returner  Field all punts, except those beyond the 10-yard line. Make the first defender miss – the north-south, and then run between the numbers and the hash.


PRESSURE LEFT – RETURN LEFT: “DOC” HOLLIDAY

Coaching Points

• This is a return to pressure – excellent scheme.

• Returner must stay between the numbers and hash.

• The players bring pressure should use punch, wheel and shadow (“PWS”), wall players use punch, release and wall (“PRW”).

• Fours are responsible for run fakes.

• Punts into the sideline, set the picket half-way between the sideline and hash (top of numbers).

• An “Orange Doc” changes this to a pressure right, return right.

 

Position Technique
C Corners are aligned at 5 yards. Corners are responsible for the gunners (man), away from the return will use a shadow technique to ride gunners outside; to the pressure/return side will use an aggressive “bump & run” technique. Run with the gunners and be ready to wall them.
1 Align in a 9-technique; pressure/return side attack wing with punch, wheel and shadow (“PWS”). If clear, take a path to the block spot. Backside attack wing with punch, release and wall (“PRW”), then sprint to set top of picket at 20 yards along the hash mark. Responsible for wings on fakes.
2 Align in a 5-technique; pressure/return side, attack tackle with PWS. If clear, take a path to the block spot, otherwise shadow. Backside attacks tackle with PRW, and then release to the far hash to picket, setting 5 yards apart along the hash.
3 Align in B-gap. Pressure/return side, attack gap with a low pad level attempting to break clear to the block spot. If blocked, use PWS to block. Backside, if clear path go to block spot, otherwise sprint to the far hash to picket, working for 5 yards apart, along the hash.
4 Align in a 2i-technique; attack gap with a low pad level attempting to break clear to the block spot. If blocked, use PWS to block. Responsible for all run fakes.
Returner  Field all punts, except those beyond the 10-yard line. Make the first defender miss – the north-south, and then run between the numbers and the hash.

 

PRESSURE RIGHT – RETURN RIGHT: “ORANGE DOC”

Coaching Points

• This is a return to pressure – excellent scheme.

• Same coaching points as above.

• This pressure look can give the “big butt” alignment problems because the “shield” does not know which side to step to.

• Always if clear path to the block spot, take it.

 

Position Technique
1 Align as shown above. Attack with punch, wheel and shadow (“PWS”) keeping coverage player from releasing as long as possible.
2 Align as shown above. Pressure/return side attack with PWS keeping coverage player from releasing as long as possible. Backside attacks tackle with punch, release and wheel (“PRW”), and then release far hash to picket, setting 5 yards apart along the hash.
3 Align in the B-gap; pressure/return side , attack gap with a low pad level attempting to break clear to the block spot. If blocked, use PWS to block. Backside takes one step forward and sprints to the far hash to set top of picket at 20 yards along the hash mark.
4 Align in 2-technique. Pressure/return side, attack gap with a low pad level attempting to break clear to the block spot. If blocked, use PWS to block. Backside, attack with PRW and sprint 20 yards to the far hash to kick out first coverage player. Look to cover pass fake in direction your running.
5 Align in the A-gap; attack gap with a low pad level attempting to break clear to the block spot. If blocked, use PWS to block. Responsible for all run fakes.
Returner  Field all punts, except those beyond the 10-yard line. Make the first defender miss – the north-south, and then run between the numbers and the hash.

 

PRESSURE MIDDLE – MIDDLE PICKET : “SHOOT-OUT

Coaching Points

• Excellent returns versus tight and big butt punt formations.

• Good versus disciplined coverage teams.

• Players use punch, release and wall (“PRW”) technique. Best results forcing coverage to release outside.

• Fours responsible for run fakes, as well as blocking protector and punter.

• Returner must run north-south at full speed.

 

 

Position Technique
C Corners are aligned 5 yards off with their outside foot to the gunners’ inside foot. Corners are responsible for the gunners (man) and will use a shadow technique to ride gunners outside. The alignment and techniques can change based upon the scouting report.
1 Align in a 9-technique. Attack wings with PRW technique. Responsible for wings on fakes. Work along the insides of the hash, 5 yards apart.
2 Align in a 4i-technique. Attack tackles with a PRW technique. Force tackles to release outside, and then work along the insides of the hash, 5 yards apart.
3 Align in a 2i-technique. Attack guards with a PRW technique. Force guards to release outside, and then sprint to the top of the picket (your lead) at 20 yards along the inside of the hash marks.
4 Align in a 1-technique; attack gap with a low pad level attempting to break clear to the block spot or occupy the protector. Responsible to block protector and punter.
Returner  Field all punts, except those beyond the 10-yard line. Make the first defender miss – the north-south.
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