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Often Overlooked, Special Teams Vital to Program Success

October 6, 2017

Special teams can change the whole complex of any given football game. They, “can always change a game good or bad, whether it can be, punt, kick return touchdown or make a big field goal,” special teams coordinator Jay Landstorm said, the for the football team, said. These situations certainly happen all of the time in the sport.

Every weekend there is some sort of ending to a football game that special teams are involved in. A game winning field goal requires precision and being able to control a players nerves. Being able to practice situations like that time after time, in front of the same coach, can essentially make a game winning field goal a routine, and as stress free as possible.

The punting game is also a very important part of special teams. Being able to flip the field on an opponent can change a game drastically late in the fourth quarter. Another play to be made on punts, is backing an opponent up as far as possible. Having the ball roll into the end-zone for a touchback, and downing the ball at the 2-yard line, is a huge difference. Not only does it make the opponent face a 98-yard field, a loss of at least two yards on the following play can lead to two points with a safety.

The part of the game that is important though, is avoiding the game deciding turnover. If, “you get a punt blocked, [that can turn] into points,” Landstrom said. Those points can be quite costly, and this has happened many times.

A part of the game that is often overlooked is the role of long-snappers and holders. The long-snapper is very important on any special teams play, that player needs to be able to properly get the ball to the holder or punter.

The holder has the exact same responsibility on a field goal attempt than the kicker. The holder is responsible for catching the snap, turning it to the proper angle, and setting the ball on the turf into a kicking position. All of this must be accomplished in the amount of time it take the kicker to run to the ball.

Another part of special teams is the kick coverage and return game. Kick coverage is significant when it comes to the field position battle. It is vital to not allow the opponent to get a short field. It is also the same importance to be able to field kicks and not face a long field. Landstorm said, “[special teams is] one third of the game, it’s important.”

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