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Reverse that kick-off.

The two deep backs (receivers) stay away from each other until the ball is caught

Since the kickoff return is one of the biggest plays in football, coaches are obliged to spend quality time on it.

At Currituck H.S., we have been enjoying a lot of success with a variation of the old but still highly effective reverse play.

We set up in the perfectly balanced 5-2-2-2 formation shown in Diag. 1. Our five linemen are set up on the 48 with the guards splitting the difference between the hashmarks and the center, the tackles just a yard outside the hashes, and the ends on the 40-yard line about five yards from the sidelines.

Our upbacks align on the 25-yard line five yards inside the hash, and our halfbacks set up on the 10-yard line one yard outside of the hash.

One of the major coaching points is the reaction of the two halfbacks. They stay away from each other until the ball is caught. Upon reception of the ball by one or the other, both start running toward each other, with the receiving back in front.

If, say, the right halfback catches the ball and we have a right return on, he will hand off the ball to the left half, who will go right.

If the left half catches the ball, he will go in front and fake a hand-off to the other half. The two halfbacks must practice this part of the return every day, as shown in Diag. 2.

On the kick [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAGRAM 1 OMITTED] the upbacks will drop back to a point about 10 yards from where the ball is caught. The right back will be the first man behind the wall and becomes a lead blocker. He must not pass up any defender behind the wall, and should try not to get too far in front of the ball-carrier.

The left back must drop back and sprint to the wall to block the first threat that shows. He must be careful to keep his head in front of any would-be tackler to avoid clipping.

The ends must drop back as shown, with the left end stalk-blocking the first defender he sees inside the hash, while the right end drops back to join up with the upback to become the second personal blocker for the ball-carrier. We like to see the end take the inside half and the upback take the outside half.

The linemen drop back almost 10 yards to make sure the ball goes over them, then sprint back to their landmarks on the five-yard hashes and turn back to face the wide side of the field in a football position.

The linemen are taught not to move out of the wall to block anyone. We want them to wait for the defender and to block the man as he crosses their (linemen) face, not behind him.

Once the ball-carrier has passed, the linemen are instructed not to block downfield (to avoid a clip on an otherwise good return).

The linemen practice setting up the wall with cones or dummies to simulate the wall [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAGRAM 3 OMITTED].

As a change of pace, we use the gut return shown in Diag. 4, especially when the defense starts covering the sidelines hard to stop the reverse.

These two returns have been very fruitful for us. Our opponents are now starting to squib the ball on us. When they do, we go automatically to our gut return as soon as we spot the squib - even if we have already called for the reverse. We are almost sure to wind up with good field position.
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Title Annotation:football
Author:Simpson, Donnie
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Dec 1, 1995
Words:613
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