By Jamison Bisch
Former Defensive Coordinator
New Mexico Military Institute Junior College, Roswell, NM
Since 2012, we have blocked/disrupted 31 punts with 3 TDs and multiple safeties. This success is not an accident. We believe that these results are directly connected to the detailed skill development approach that we use here at New Mexico Military Junior College.This clinic report will cover a few fundamental techniques used by players in our punt block unit. Those techniques include the Rush Technique, Catching Technique, Hold-Up Technique, and Blocking Technique(s). We will also examine our Base, Overload, and Hold Up schemes.
Punt Block Mission Statement
It is important to note that we work hard to combine multiplicity and simplicity to find an optimal balance for our freshman and sophomores to be able to execute at the highest level. Over time, we feel we have found a good balance in that regard and that should be obvious through this report.Here is the mission statement that we base this concept on:
“We will force mistakes and turnovers on this unit. It’s a race to the block point, don’t be last! We want our opponent to fear that if they don’t have a perfect snap, great protection, and a quick kick by the punter, then the result will be a blocked punt. Since 2012 we have blocked/disrupted 31 punts with 3 TD’s and multiple safeties.”
- Disrupt 1 kick per game
- Block a punt
- Force a poor punt
- Force a timeout
- Explosive return (>20 yards)
- We will place the best players who can block punts on this unit.
- We must have the Attitude, Desire, and Effort to get it done.
- Obtain and keep the football (100% possession)
- Field all catchable punts
- “Peter” calls from the returner to the rest of the unit when necessary.
- Obnoxiously Loud
- Visual Signals
- No Penalties
- Allow No Successful Fakes
- Average 10 yards per return
While there are certain situations where I have players align in a 2-point stance, the majority of the time everyone except our CBs align in 3-point rush stances. We give our players a number of coaching points for rushing the punter and much of this is covered during the first week of fall camp. During this time, I do not even install any type of schemes. Instead, I focus on teaching the technique and finding out who can rush. Coaching points for rush technique include:
- Concentrate on the ball with near hand down, near foot back (heal to toe), get off on the snap.
- Run over the leg of the blocker staying low. Pick up your feet.
- Take proper angles to the block point.
- Outside rushers must clear the blocker and drop the inside shoulder (dip/rip), and take the proper aiming point. Aiming points will vary depending on how deep the punter is aligned and how long his steps are. We must practice proper angles.
- Inside rushers must control momentum and beware of angles. Each week, we give our players a scouting report on the opponent’s punt unit and this report has a block point on it each week. We then build our practice around that block point. Things that go into the block point scouting report include:
- Depth from line of scrimmage (typically around block point is 10-11 yards).
- Horizontal location. In other words, if the punter ends up behind a guard, tackle, etc.
- Whether the punter is right or left footed.
- Never leave your lane. In other words we should not cross each other.
- The technique for blocking a punt involves putting your hands together in the shape of a diamond with index finger touching index finger and thumb touching thumb. Players are coached to look through the diamond to the ball and to keep their eyes open and hands together. It amazes me how many times guys get to the block point, form the diamond, and close their eyes!