Punt Return & Field Goal/PAT

PUNT RETURNS

The starting defensive unit (d1 thru d 9) will remain on the field during punt returns. Insert player carded TA at d10 and TB at d11. If one player is carded TA/TB, insert TC at the d11 spot.  

FIELD GOAL/PAT

The starting offensive line will remain on the field during all extra point or field goal attempts.  If the long snapper is carded, insert him at 04.  Make every attempt to use the actual holder at o8, if unknown, use the reserve quarterback or punter.  In the NFL, receivers are usually removed and reserve linemen enter the game at the wingback positions. However, to abide by the APBA rule that a minimum of one receiver (EB) must always be on the field, I use a reserve EB at 01.

  • o1. Wingback – 3rd EB
  • o2. Tackle
  • o3. Guard
  • o4. Long snapper or Center
  • o5. Guard
  • o6. Tackle
  • o7. Tight End
  • o8. Holder
  • o9. Tight End – Reserve
  • o10. Wingback – Reserve OT
  • o11. Kicker

Kickoff Return

Alignment

  • The five front line players on the return team will line up 10 yards and six inches from the football.
  • The tackles align between the numbers and the hash marks. The guards align on each hash mark.
  • The center aligns opposite the kicker. 
  • The ends align at the 35-yard line, each two yards outside the hash marks.
  • The upbacks line up at the hash marks, just inside the 15-yard line.
  • The alignment of the returner varies, depending on the leg strength of the kicker, between the five-yard line and the goal line.

After the Kick

  • The front line turns and runs full speed toward the 35-yard line, each player ending up within arm’s length of each other and turning to choose a defender to block.
  • The ends run full speed to the 15-yard line, aligning on the outside shoulders of the upbacks.
  • The upbacks back pedal three yards and to the middle of the field.
  • The ends and upbacks form a secondary wedge and seek out defenders not picked up by the front wedge of blockers.
  • The returner not catching the football will move in front of the other returner and lead block.
  • The returner catching the football runs into the double wedge created by the blockers

I always try to use reserve players on special teams, however, if there are not enough players or particular reserve player is injured, I will use the starters for that position.  If a returner is carded OA/OB, use an OC carded player at 010. If I have a lot of players rated OC, I use them at the End positions.

Personnel

  • o1. End – Use  either a EB, DB, HB, or FB
  • o2. Tackle – ET
  • o3. Guard – Outside LB
  • o4. Center – Offensive Guard (OG)
  • o5. Guard – Outside LB
  • o6. Tackle – ET
  • o7. End –   Use  either a EB, DB, HB, or FB
  • o8. Upback – OC carded player
  • o9. Primary Returner – OA carded player
  • o10. Secondary Returner – OB carded player
  • o11. Upback – OC carded player

The next post will address Punt Return.

Punt Coverage

Let’s discuss the “Punt Coverage” positions and more importantly the concepts associated with each position.  Below is the basic formation for Punt Coverage. 

 

 

 

  • LR/RR. Usually this is the fastest player on the team who is a solid tackler.  This position is usually manned by either a wide receiver or cornerback.  This person’s job is to sprint to get as deep as the football, maintain outside containment and attack from the outside to the inside.  On NFL Sundays, this person is referred to as a “Gunner”.
  • LE/RE or Wings. Usually manned by the team’s Tight Ends and tasked to act as “Forcer”.   
  • Tackles.  Act as “Trackers” and must maintain a 5-yard relationship to the football.  All trackers attack from outside to inside position.
  • Guards. Act as “Trackers” and must maintain a 10-yard relationship to the football.  All trackers attack from outside to inside position.
  • Long Snapper.  Acts as “Head Tracker” and is responsible for sprinting under control, head up on the ball and attacking from an inside to outside position. 
  • Personal Protector. Use someone who can catch, run, and accurately throw the football. I always use the FB in this capacity.
  • Punter.  Act as safety.

Now that you know the positions and the concepts associated with each, let’s break it out in APBA language.  I always try to use reserve players on special teams, however, if there are not enough players on the roster or a particular reserve is injured, I will use the starter for that position.

  • o1.  Outside-In Forcer – 3rd EB
  • o2. Tackle
  • o3. Guard
  • o4. Long Snapper if carded or Center
  • o5. Guard
  • o6. Tackle
  • o7. Wing – ET
  • o8. Wing – ET
  • o9. Outside-In Forcer – 4th EB or 3rd CB
  • o10. Personal Protector – FB
  • o11. Punter

Next topic of discussion will be the “Kickoff Return” roster.

Kickoff Coverage

APBA Football does a good job of addressing the various personnel packages associated with offense and defensive (i.e., 2-TE sets, 3-4-5 WR sets, nickel/dime defenses, etc.) alignments, however, I feel the game is lacking with regard to special teams.  Since the various “special teams” squads comprise a third of the game, I feel like it is important to address who should participate in performing those roles.

I would like to begin with the “crown jewel” of special teams – Kickoff Coverage.  Let’s discuss the “Kickoff Coverage” positions and more importantly the concepts associated with each position.  Below is the basic formation for Kickoff Coverage.  

  • “Outside-In Forcer” (L1/R1), usually this is the fastest player on the team who is a solid tackler.  This position is usually manned by either a wide receiver or cornerback.  This person’s job is to sprint to get as deep as the football, maintain outside containment and attack from the outside to the inside.
  • “Forcer” (L2/R2), this is traditionally an aggressive player with speed (a.k.a. outside linebacker) whose job is to sprint directly to the ball and make the tackle using an outside to inside attack. 
  • “Trackers” (L3, L4, R3, and R4).  The “Trackers” manning the L3/R3 spots, have very good speed and a nose for the ball and are usually manned with defensive backs, linebackers or running backs.  The primary difference between a L3 tracker and a L4 tracker is their spacing with regard to the football.  Both positions must run controlled downfield with L/R-3 trackers maintaining a 10-yard relationship to the football, while the L/R 4 trackers maintain a 5-yard relationship.  All trackers attack from outside to inside position.
  • “Head Forcer and Tracker” (L/R 5).  These are very aggressive players, usually the teams hardest hitters, normally this position is manned by an inside linebacker and the fastest offensive lineman which normally is a guard. The Head Forcer is on the side of the kicking leg of the kicker and the Head Tracker is on the opposite side.  They are responsible for sprinting under control, head up on the ball and attacking from an inside to outside position.  These two positions are your traditional “wedge busters”.
  • Kicker.  Act as safety around the opposition’s 45-yard line.

Now that you know the positions and the concepts associated with each, let’s break it out in APBA language.  I always try to use reserve players on special teams, however, if there are not enough players on the roster or a particular reserve is injured, I will use the starter for that position.

  • d1.  Outside-In Forcer – 3rd EB
  • d2. Forcer – 3rd outside linebacker
  • d3. Tracker – reserve SS/FS
  • d4. Tracker – reserve CB/FS/SS
  • d5. Head Forcer – 3rd inside LB
  • d6. Head Tracker – 3rd offensive guard (OG)
  • d7. Tracker – reserve HB/FB
  • d8. Tracker – reserve HB, FB, or db
  • d9. Forcer – 4th outside linebacker or starting outside linebacker
  • d10. Outside-In Forcer – 4th EB or 3rd CB
  • d1. Kickoff Specialist

The following is an example of the “Kickoff Coverage” team for 1965 New York Jets.

 

 d1. J. Evans

d2. O’Mahoney

d3. Hudson

d4. Gordon

d5. Atkinson

d6. Ficca

d7. Carson

d8. Smolinski

d9. Dukes

d10. Robinson

d11. J. Turner

This post will be located in the Special Teams Lineups hyperlink within the “Categories” widget. Next topic of discussion will be the “Punt Coverage”.