Posts Tagged ‘Punters’

Often this vitally important aspect of the program is an after-thought.  This position can virtually be placed anywhere in your roster building after quarterback.  These young men have more pressure, scorn, ridicule, and lack of respect directed towards them that in a moment of a single contact of foot to ball, can turn them into heroes.  More than any position on your roster, they are taken for granted and are expected to be 100% each time they trot onto the field.

The “talking heads”  continue to make comments when a kicker or punter is drafted in the fourth round or higher and will be the first to comment if a team plays a game and is consistently losing the field position battle or a missed extra point or field goal is the difference in the score of the game.

Many programs recruit these players as “walk-ons” with the promise that if they win the competition in camp or spring ball, scholarship funding will be made available.  A pro player struggles in a game or two and the next thing that happens is competition is brought in and the player has to compete during the course of the week.  They can be the most under-coached or over-coached players in the program. Yet always, they are expected to be perfect when called upon.  After-all, it’s all they have to do, right?

Extenuate the positive with these men.  Build them up and let them know that you believe in them.  They NEVER mean to miss a kick or shank a punt…NEVER…so show them you care and empathise.  Send your recruiters and scouts out on the road with these tools in mind and find the right:

                                                                        KICKER/PUNTER

HANDS                          Type: soft, stiff, eye/hand coördination, extends hands to the snap or body catch, adjust to bad snap, is punter the holder for PAT/FG

GET-OFF                       PUNTER – 2 or 3 step, distance covered/time, snap = 0.8 seconds or less, tough to toe = 1.4 seconds or less, launch = 2.2 seconds or less     KICKER  – 1.3 seconds or less on snap, pin, to contact

LEG STRENGTH        Distance, explosion into the ball

HANG TIME                 Height of ball on punts and kick-offs (check for cover patterns on tape to determine hang time, ie. on kick-off cover the team should be across the 30 yard line when the ball is caught by the returner)

HANDLE WIND         Against wind, with wind, cross wind, can he “drive” the football

ACCURACY                  Leg control, placement, field goal percentage for kickers

PRESSURE                  Game intensity, rush, bad snap (hand and adjust to kick), general demeanor, composure

TACKLE                        Cover ability, courage, willingness to be the last line of defense

RUN/PASS                   Bonus, check high school positions played, athletic ability, other sports played

PRODUCTION            Statistics, opportunities, does he get the job done, consistency

MECHANICS               Smooth and fluid, consistent, athletic, flexibility, extension, plant foot, drop

NOTE:                             Soccer style or straight on conventional (the last conventional kicker drafted in the NFL was my good friend and fellow coach Manny Matsakis by the Philadelphia Eagles), shoe or barefoot (am I dating myself?), right or left footed

                                                                     CRITICAL FACTORS  

Leg Strength, Accuracy, Distance, Production