Football 101 | Chapter 7 | Special Teams

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The special teams segment of the football team is further divided into six separate groups of 11 players with a specialist within each group. The six major groupings are the kickoff team, the kickoff return team, the punt team, the punt return team, the PAT/Field Goal (FG) Team, and the PAT/Field Goal defense team. Each group will have a specialist for that particular phase of the kicking game. Special teams are used to try to score, PAT/Field Goal (FG), or to change possession of the ball and field position, punt or kickoff.

The kickoff team will be used at the start of each half and following a score by lining up across the field. The specialist for the kickoff team will be the kicker whose job it is to position the ball for the kick, line up correctly to make the kick and to kick the ball down the field. The other 10 players are responsible staying behind the kicker until the ball is kicked, then running down the field and tackling any opponent who tries to return the kick.

The kickoff return team will line up on the field when the opponent is kicking off. The players can be lined up in various locations on the field based on the return being used by the team. The specialist on the kickoff return team will be the two players lined up deep down the field whose job it is to catch the kick and return the ball as far as possible. The returner not making the catch will serve as a blocker. The other nine players on the kickoff return team will block for the player returning the kick.

The punt team will be used, usually on fourth down, when the offense has failed to gain the necessary 10 yards for a first down. Punting the ball causes a change of possession and field position. The punt team has two specialists; the long-snapper (center) whose job it is to snap the ball back to the punter and the punter whose job it is line up correctly to make the punt, to catch the snap from the center, and to punt the ball down the field. After the snap and the punt both specialists become active in tackling the opposing punt returner.The other nine players line up and block the opposing players until the punt is made and then run down the field to tackle the opposing punt returner.

The punt return team will line up on the field when the opponent is punting. The players can be lined up in various locations on the field based on the return being used by the team. The specialist on the punt return team will be the two players lined up deep down the field whose job it is to catch the punt and return the ball as far as possible. The returner not making the catch will serve as a blocker. The other nine players on the punt return team will force the punter to make the punt and then block for the player returning the kick.

The PAT (Point After Touchdown) and Field Goal team will line up on the field when one team is trying to kick the ball from a hold between the goal post and over the cross bar to score points. There are three specialists on the PAT/Field Goal team; the short- snapper (center) whose job it is to snap the ball back to the holder and then block. The holder who must catch the snap and place the ball on the kicking tee correctly. The kicker whose job it is line up correctly to make the kick, to signal the holder that he is ready and then to make the kick. The other eight players have the responsibility to block the opposing players until the kick is made.

The PAT/FG defense team will line up any time the opposition is trying to score by kicking a PAT or Field Goal. A majority of players will be assigned to rush the kicker through assigned gaps and try to block the kick. Certain players may have the responsibility to defend against any fake kick where the other team runs or passes.

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