Kickoff CoverThis is a featured page

Our kickoff formations and coverage schemes are very simple but look complex. On our coverage teams we have players assigned specific responsibilities and give them names to remind them of their responsibilities. These names are tracker, forcer, and safety.

A player becomes a tracker or forcer depending on their position on the coverage team. All trackers are players playing the two or three spot on either side of the football on our coverage teams. A one can either be a tracker or forcer depending on the kicker or the situation. Our outside forcers are the players playing the four and five spots on either sideof the football. Our kicker or punter and holder or personal protector is the safety to their side of the field.

We also have the capability to change responsibilities or alignment of our coverage personnel to confuse blocking schemes of the return team.


Kickoff Cover Highlights 1





Training video used to teach and motivate
special teams players on our kickoff units. Since
the video is updated every season, the players'
goal each year has been to make it into the top 5
all time plays.













Kickoff Cover Highlights 2





First season
New school. New Team. New players. New coaching staff.

Introducing special teams kickoff cover concepts into a new program. Basic coverage formations adopted (spread and trips) were influenced by overall team speed, personnel, and kicker's average distance.










Kickoff Cover Alignment

Base KOC Alignment
This set up is for a base coverage scheme and for clarity. This is how we teach our special team’s package to our lower levels. At the varsity level, we will misalign to disguise our player’s responsibilities.

From this base alignment we move into our multiple formations keeping the assignments for the individual players exactly the same. You may align your players differently, just as we do to confuse our opponents. Remember this is just our base package scheme.

Kickoff Cover Personnel
(1’s) Outside-In Forcer: Fastest players, usually corners or wide receivers, good tacklers.

(2’s) Forcers: Next fastest players, aggressive types that will sprint to the ball, usually Lbers.

(3’s and 4's) Trackers: Good speed players, nose for the football, good tacklers, usually DBs, Lbers or RBs.

(5’s) Head Forcer or Tracker: Same as 2’s, best hitters, usually ILBers or fastest O-Lineman.

(K) Kicker: Must have total control and skill to kick the football to assigned zone accurately.


Kickoff Coverage Responsibilities
(1’s) Outside-In Forcer: Sprint and get as deep as the football down the sideline. No one gets outside of you. Attack the
football outside in.

(2’s) Forcer: Sprint right to the football and make the tackle. You will not get blocked. Fight your way downfield
to the football. Attack the football outside in.

(3’s) Tracker: Sprint under control down the field keeping the football in a 10-yard relationship to your inside
shoulder. Fight your way to the football. Attack the football outside in.

(4’s) Tracker: Sprint under control down the field keeping the football in a 5-yard relationship to your inside
shoulder. Fight your way to the football. Attack the football outside in.

(R5) Head Forcer: On the side of the kicking leg of the kicker. Sprint right to the football and make the tackle. You will
not allow yourself to be blocked. Fight your way down the field and run through any blocks. Attack
the football inside out.

(L5) Head Tracker: On the opposite side of the kicking leg of the kicker. Sprints under control to the football. You are
head up on the ball. Fight your way to the ball down the field and run through any blocks. Attack the
football inside-out.

(K) Kicker: Kick the football correctly to the zone called. Call out the new zone if you kick the football to a
different zone. You are the safety at the opposite 45 yard line or 15 yards down field. Follow the
football. Fight through any blocks.


Kickoff Coverage Process

Kickoff Cover - Coach T's Website
Base KOC Alignment


Kickoff Cover Responsibilities






Teaching kickoff formations and coverage.
















Kickoff Cover Team Objective
To give the defense good field position by keeping the receiving team inside the 23-yard line. Create quick turnovers. Intimidate our opponent.

Specialist
A kicker who pounds the football to the goal line and lofts it high to delay the return and allow our coverage to get downfield. He must also keep the kick in bounds. (1991 rule allows receiving team to take the football on the 35 yard line.)

Team
Fast sure tacklers moving downfield evenly spaced with a burning desire to make the tackle!

Key Points
  1. Be onsides.
  2. Sprint.
  3. Stay in lanes. (If a blocker forces you out of a lane, get back in the lane.)
  4. Converge on the football and break down.
  5. We cover as a team.


Onside Kick Responsibilities

(1’s) Contain: Keep the football in play. Recover the football if you are the closest man after the football has traveled 10 yards or has been touched by our opponent. Tackle opponent trying to field or return the kick.

(2’s) Destroyer: Tackle or block opponent trying to field or return the kick. Be sure to avoid making contact with the football on your way past the onside kick.

(3’s) Thief: Trail the football and recover the football after the ball has traveled 10 yards or has been touched by our opponent. Tackle opponent trying to field or return the kick.

(4’s) Thief: Trail the football and recover the football after the ball has traveled 10 yards or has been touched by our opponent. Tackle opponent trying to field or return the kick.

(5’s) Destroyer: Tackle or block opponent trying to field or return the kick. Be sure to avoid making contact with the football on your way to the onside kick.

(K) Kicker: Kick the football properly to the zone called. Become a safety after kicking the football and checking the direction. Recover the football if you are the closest man after the ball has traveled 10 yards or has been touched by our opponent.


Onside Kick Team Objective
To recover a deliberate short kick. Gain great field position for the offense.

Specialist
Kicker who is able to dribble the football a legal minimum of ten yards. MUST BE PERFECTED!

Team
Swarm the recovery man and get the football. We MUST recover all onside kicks.

Key Point
  1. Be onsides.
  2. ATTACK! (We want possession.)


Rules Pertaining to the Kickoff
  1. Once the kickoff travels ten yards it is a free ball and belongs to the recovering team.
  2. You can “fair catch” any free kick, including the kickoff.
  3. A kickoff recovered in the end zone by the kicking team is a touchdown whether the receiving team touches it or not.
  4. If the kickoff team touches the football before it travels ten yards, the receiving team has the option of taking the football at the spot of first touching or the result of the play.
  5. If the receiving team touches the football before it goes ten yards, it becomes a free ball and belongs to the team, which recovers it.
  6. A kickoff that goes out of bounds without touching any member of the receiving team can result in a five-yard penalty and the ball kicked again or the receiving team can take possession at the thirty-five yard line.
  7. The receiving team cannot block below the waist.
  8. The receiving team no longer needs to have five players within five yards of the fifty-yard line.
Stance
The kickoff team members will face and look at the kicker assuming the fundamental football position. The hips should be open slightly to the return team with feet staggered slightly to facilitate a smooth cross over stride at the start.

Starting Procedure
After the referee has signaled the ball ready for play, the kicker, with raised hand, will check to see that the team is ready and in the proper formation. When the kicker says, “shift,” we will shift into the called formation. We have 25 seconds to put the football into play after the whistle blows. When the kicker starts his approach, the team will take small steps (gather) to stay behind the kicker. Remind the players to time their approach to be nearly at top speed at the kick. As the football is kicked and we hit the line at nearly top speed, we must see where the football is kicked to and adjust our coverage lanes. The kicker needs to call out the new zone if he kicks the football to a different zone.

Coverage Principles
  1. It is imperative that we stay onsides. Stay behind the kicker. The kickoff team should hit the line as a unit. Gather and hit it!
  2. Our goal is to be aggressive and gang tackle. We will cause a turnover or we will make the tackle inside our opponent’s 23-yard line.
  3. The coverage must be an all out sprint from the start. Cross the 30-yard line when the football is caught.
  4. At the breaking point we must come under control to leverage the football outside in. Stay square. Come to balance and squeeze down the running lane.
  5. We must stay in our coverage lane. When an opponent attacks us early, we must avoid him by releasing past him and working quickly back into our lane. If the ball carrier is within 10 yards, we must stay in our lane and attack the blocker down the middle. Use our hands to control him. Shed him quickly and slide laterally to make the hit (2-gap technique), or run him into the returner if he is in a back pedal shoot and run technique).
  6. We must have the presence to feel where the football is being returned (direction indicator may help). This will give us a jump on adjusting our coverage lanes (avoid and find the return lane – window).
  7. If we get blocked, we cannot stay blocked. We cannot trade 1 for 1. Take out 2!
  8. Never follow a teammate downfield. If you come off a release and see a teammate crossing in front of you, work to the open lane (replace technique).
  9. If you are the first man to the football, take a controlled shot at him attempting to: First, make the tackle. Second, cause a fumble. Third, slow him by forcing him to change his course. This will give your teammates time to get there and clean up. Keep the football covered. Create turnovers!
  10. Tackle high with balance and control. Lock up and hang on. Gang tackling is simply a part of kickoff coverage.
  11. The kickoff is the best way to start convincing a team that we are going to attack them from beginning to end.
  12. The reason you are on the kickoff team is that you are one of the fastest, toughest men on the team. SPRINT AND GANG TACKLE!
  13. Get to the 20-yard line before the ball carrier does. Hustle!
  14. Cover every kick – even those that travel into the end zone.
  15. We will sprint past the returner on a touchback.

Types of Kick
  1. Fly: High deep kicks down the field. Usually to the deep zones.
  2. Pooch: High short kicks down the field. Usually to the middle zones.
  3. Squib: Low hard line drive kick to and through the proper zones.
  4. Onside: Slow tumbling ball on the ground to the proper zone.
  5. Arrow: Low hard line drive kick at a player in the proper zone.(front line player that retreats or has poor agility.)

Kicking Zones
Kicking zones are adjusted according to field position. However, the front three zones must always be 20 yards deep from the teed football. The remaining zones will be deepened or shortened depending on field position. This will enable us to onside kick from any position on the field.

Kicking Zones


Calling Kickoff Coverage
1. Formation called on the sideline prior to taking the field.
a) Could start by lining up in Base, Tight, Hurricane, Spread or Trips formation.
i. Vary starting alignment of kickoff team
b) Vary placement of the football. i. left hash, middle, or right hash
2. Signal or call kicking formation.
a) Can shift to different covergae formation
3. Signal or call type of kick and kicking zone.
a) If opposing team is starting to pick up your signals, telegraph (player's relay) this info from the sidelines.


Kickoff Coverage Drill

Kickoff Cover - Coach T's Website



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