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Why Do Teams Ever Punt?


Clyde

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That's the question Pulaski Academy head coach Kevin Kelley asks. He says you are going against the odds by punting vs going for it on 4th.

 

He uses an example. 4th and 8 from his own 5. If he goes for it and doesn't make it the other team will have about a 95% chance of scoring. However , if they punt the ball and the team takes over at about the 35 or 40 that team STILL has a 70%+ chance of scoring.

 

He says he has a 50% of making it on 4th so why not.

 

Here's a video Grantland did.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGDaOJAYHfo

 

In the video you'll see a game where they went up 29-0 before the other team ever TOUCHED the ball. That team was a top 10 team in the state. Game over in 1/2 a quarter.

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What I don't get is why no one punts from a FG formation... There is no difference b/w a FG and punt in the rules, as far as returns. Plus, placekicks are faster, and can be controlled more easily. Just line up and kick it out of bounds .

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Sure if you've got a good team it may make SOME sense. If your team is terrible, how does this help you?

 

He would argue if you're terrible then you need as many chances to score as possible. If you're terrible why play conventionally and do what is probably going to happen - lose?

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This came up because HBO Real Sports did a segment on him last night.

 

He has 12 different onside kick plays.

 

He is also adding a rugby pass formation where after the catch there are multiple pitch options.

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....

 

Paul Daugherty wrote a great article on this, chockful of a ton of stats to back it up, about 5 years ago. Was really well done.

 

Coach Kelley started doing this after a Harvard researcher determined the odds of winning went down with punting.

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What I don't get is why no one punts from a FG formation... There is no difference b/w a FG and punt in the rules, as far as returns. Plus, placekicks are faster, and can be controlled more easily. Just line up and kick it out of bounds .

Because they are easier to block than a punt, and no hang time to cover it.

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Isn't the rule in KY HSFB that if you kick a field goal and miss the other team gets it on the 20 like a touchback? I remember reading that one coach did it everytime (assuming the rule got changed)

No rule for KY specifically, but a fg attempt is treated just like a punt. A missed fg is spotted at the 20 if it goes into the end zone. If it doesn't make it to the end zone it can be returned just like a punt.

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Interesting stuff and they are successful with what they do. When you look at all the percentages it really does make sense but you have to have thick skin to pull this off because of all the critics that would be on message boards calling you an idiot when it doesn't work lol.

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Stop punting and see how many more games you lose.

 

Look up the records for Kenton High School in Ohio from about 2002 - 2011 (give or take a year).

 

They also had Ben Mauk and Maty Mauk (currently at Missouri) playing QB during those years. But this philosophy worked extremely well for them.

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