Special Teams Coach
The Augusta Sports Council has announced the nominees for the 2011 Ray Guy Award, which identifies the nation’s top collegiate punter. Among the 53 candidates are 2009 winner and 2010 finalist, Drew Butler of Georgia. Candidates were nominated for the award by their school’s sports information department.
The list will be narrowed to ten semi-finalists to be announced on November 11. Following the semi-finalists announcement, a national body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors, coaches, media representatives, and previous Ray Guy Award winners will vote for the top three finalists, who will be identified on November 21. The voting body will then cast ballots to select the winner.
The presentation of the Ray Guy Award will be featured on The Home Depot College Football Awards live on Thursday, December 8 at 9:00 pm ET on ESPN. The show, hosted by ESPN’s Chris Fowler, Lee Corson, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard will feature live presentation of nine player awards, along with the recipients of Disney’s Spirit Award, The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award, the NCFAA (National College Football Awards Association) Contributions to College Football Award, and student-athletes selected to the Walter Camp All-America Team. Fans can visit the show’s dedicated web site at www.espncollegefootballawards.com to find the latest college football awards news, including show details, previous winners, fan voting, a photo gallery and video highlights.
2011 Ray Guy Award Candidates
Bryan Anger - California
Ben Armer - Western Michigan
Will Atterberry - North Texas
Trey Barrow - Missouri
Tyler Bennett - Utah State
Peter Boehme - Southern Mississippi
Dylan Breeding - Arkansas
Ben Buchanan - Ohio State
Drew Butler - Georgia
Ian Campbell - UTEP
Tyler Campbell - Ole Miss
Steven Clark - Auburn
Bobby Cowan - Idaho
Ryan Doerr - Kansas State
Ron Doherty - Kansas
Kyle Dugandzic - Arizona
Anthony Fera – Penn State
Will Goggans - Troy
Mickey Groody - Florida Atlantic
Eric Guthrie - Iowa
Johnny Hekker - Oregon State
Tom Hornsey - Memphis
Jimmy Howell - Virginia
Josh Hubner - Arizona State
Jay Karutz - Eastern Michigan
Anson Kelton - TCU
Alex King - Duke
Pete Kontodiakos - Colorado State
Scott Kovanda - Ball State
Chase Lansford - UNLV
Richie Leone - Houston
Jeff Locke - UCLA
Brett Maher - Nebraska
Kyle Martens - Rice
Austin McCoy - Wyoming
Brandon McManus - Temple
Kyle Negrete - USC
Brad Nortman - Wisconsin
Pat O’Donnell - Cincinnati
Shawn Powell - Florida State
Ryan Quigley - Boston College
Jackson Rice - Oregon
Matt Rinehart - Kent State
Brian Schmiedebusch - Bowling Green
Quinn Sharp - Oklahoma State
Brian Stahovich - San Diego State
Riley Stephenson – BYU
Ryan Tydlacka - Kentucky
Kirby Van Der Kamp - Iowa State
Cole Wagner - Connecticut
Cody Webster - Purdue
Kase Whitehead - Marshall
Brad Wing - LSU
Dawson Zimmerman - Clemson
Ray Guy Award
The Augusta Sports Council created the Ray Guy Award in 2000 to honor Thomson, Georgia native and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Ray Guy. The Ray Guy Award winner is determined by a national voting body of sports writers, college coaches, sports information directors, and past Ray Guy Award winners. Among the statistics used to identify the winner is net punting average, number of times a punt is downed or kicked out of bounds inside the opponents 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage, and percentage of punts not returned. The winner must display team leadership, self-discipline, and have a positive impact on the team’s success.
Augusta Sports Council
The Augusta Sports Council (ASC), a non-profit organization dedicated to marketing the Augusta area as a destination for amateur sporting events, celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2011. The ASC attracts, creates and supports dozens of sporting events and activities each year, generating a positive economic impact and enhancing the quality of life for residents of the greater Augusta community. To learn more, visit www.augustasportscouncil.org.
National College Football Awards Association
The Ray Guy Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official website, www.ncfaa.org.
A KICK IS BLOCKED! It’s recovered by the defense on your side of the 50 or even worse, it rolls into the end zone for an easy opponent touchdown. It may even be an extra point or a field goal that cost you a game. We are sure of one thing.
It must have been the kicker!
After all, it is called the kicking game so the problem must be the kicker. That’s what every one automatically thinks.
EVEN THE COACHES! The actual truth is the kicker is not at fault most of the time – yet he gets the blame almost 100% of the time. The true Special Teams Coach realizes the kicking game, both punt and kick, includes many elements and the actual kick is only one of them.
ELEMENTS OF THE KICKING GAME
- THE SNAP
- THE HOLD
- THE PROTECTION
- THE KICK
It’s easy to see that a blocked kick or punt could be the result of many problems. One of the definitions of COACHING is the identification and correction of mistakes. So before you can correct a problem you have to properly identify it.
IT’S NOT ALWAYS THE KICKER!
Actually most times its not. This is why the stop watch is a critical piece of equipment for the Special Teams Coach.
The clipboard and the whistle have long been accepted as standard coaching equipment but the stopwatch has achieved equal status in the modern world of High Tech Football. Coaches have long been aware that one of the best ways to spice up practice and drills is to add a stopwatch and the element of competition against time. Special Teams Coaches who have to deal with concepts such as hang times and get off times have learned the value of constant practice timing. A precision kicking game demands it.
Most coaches don’t actually know what a good “get off” time is for punts or kicks.
The total time from snap-to-kick should be 1.25 to 1.4 seconds for high school. 1.25 to 1.3 for college and pro.
The optimum time for punting includes:
Center Snap .8 seconds seconds for high school. .7 to .75 for college and pro (15 yards).
Handling Time (hand to foot) 1.3 seconds for high school. 1.2 to 1.3 seconds for college and pro.
TOTAL Get-Off Time 2.1 seconds for high school. 2.0 to 2.1 for collge and pro.
Like everything else in the game it becomes a matter of awareness through proper practice. Most coaches don’t even know the proper manner to time their kickers and punters.
Kickers and punters should be continually timed, not only to get the ball away quickly, but also to enable them to develop a proper rhythm and thus improve consistency. The goal is for OPTIMUM times. There is such a thing as getting the ball off too quickly when it is not necessary. Why put the football in the hands of a great returner too quickly before the coverage team has a chance to cover? Punters, like Quarterbacks, can develop a sense for feeling pressure. There may be times, when a receiving team has a return on, and the punter can even delay to allow his coverage team more time to spread and cover. If kickers and punters are timed regularly, they will know what their ideal time is and therefore maximize their effectiveness.
If you don’t have a coach to do it you can use a manager or injured player equipped with clipboard, charts and stop watch. Just follow kickers around practice from Specialty Period to the final whistle and time and chart each and every kick. The same people should be utilized as game timers.
The coach can then evaluate charts from the comfort of his office when time permits or immediately see the results after a play during the game.
Remember, you must have a stopwatch as your constant practice companion. In the Army it’s your rifle. As a practice coach it’s a whistle. (Some coaches feel naked if they ever found themselves at a practice without a whistle). For the special teams coach it’s a STOPWATCH! It should be around your neck at all times just like your whistle. Factions of Kicking Game Times should be constantly and consistently charted until they become as familiar as your offensive and defensive terminology. Hang Times, Get-Off Times, Hand-To-Foot times, Snap-To-Kick Times will become second nature to you and your kickers.
Continued timing and charting during games will let you know right away the real reason why a kick is blocked. The head coach should have someone timing the kicks at ALL Times in order to insure proper timing and to determine if there is a problem in the kicking game and where to find it. (An opponent may even be exposing a weakness - so make sure they are being timed too). A slow get-off time may prove the kicker was at fault – while an optimal get-off time (and a near block of the kick) may prove there was a breakdown in the protection. The quicker the real problem can be identified the quicker coaching can begin and game changing mistakes can be eliminated!
Excerpts from the book Getting a Kick Out of Practice by Coach Bill Tom Ross and Coach Rick Sang
Punting to the Corner (Coffin Corner)
The football is near the 50-yard line (figure 7.4). Because the football is near midfield, an intense punt rush by the return team is less likely because of the increased probability of a fake punt by the punting team.
The punter wants to angle his punting approach toward either sideline at a point between the 10- and 5-yard line markers to place the football inside the opponent’s 20-yard line at a position nearest the goal line.
The coffin corner is either corner of the playing field formed by the sideline and just in front of the end zone. A punter might try to place the ball so that it lands and goes out of bounds or is downed near the corner, thus forcing the receiving team to play very close to its goal line and maximizing the distance the receiving team must travel to score.
The coffin corner punt is a controlled drive punt normally driven at a lower trajectory out of bounds with the intent to pin the opponent deep in its own territory. The punter tends to hold the football on his approach slightly lower and longer before the drop. This natural adjustment produces more of a drive punt that’s more proficient in accuracy and distance. Because the objective is to have the football land completely out of bounds and off the field of play, minimal hang time is needed (because there’s no threat of a return).
Sometimes a punter attempts to punt for the corner when he’s outside of his range; in this case, the ball might simply roll dead deep in the opponent’s territory before going out of bounds. This might prove effective, but the coverage team must be alert in case of an attempt to return the football.
Punting to the Right Corner
When punting to the right corner, the right-footed punter needs to consider aiming at a particular point out of bounds that’s closer to the goal line, preferably the 5-yard line. When punted correctly by a right-footed punter, the ball will spin clockwise and tend to fade to the right as it noses over. By aiming tighter to the goal line, the punter plays the natural fade and allows room for the punt to be effective. For example, if the punter truly aims at a point directly over the 5-yard line, as the football turns over and begins to fade, it should go out of bounds within the 10-yard line, well within the 20-yard line objective.
By aiming over the 5-yard line, the punter gives himself a 5-yard cushion to either side. This allows him to play it safe and keep the football out of the end zone, avoiding a touchback. This strategy enables him to place the football well within the 20-yard line and actually closer to the 10-yard line.
Punting to the Left Corner
When punting to the left, the right-footed punter considers aiming at a particular point out of bounds that’s more away from the goal line, preferably the 10-yard line. Again this allows him to play the fade. As it noses over, the punt will fade naturally toward the right and go out of bounds, ideally near the 5-yard line mark or even closer.
A left-footed punter will need to reverse these instructions. The football will spin counterclockwise, tending to fade to the left as it noses over. This means a left-footed punter will need to aim closer to the goal line over the 5-yard line when going for the left corner and aim more toward the 10-yard line when going for the right corner.
Excerpt from Football Kicking andPunting by Ray Guy and Rick Sang. Published by Human Kinetics Publishers