Punt Return Team Need a Boost?

Build the "Brick Wall" for Special Teams Success

football punt return
Donte Deayon #5 of the Boise State Broncos eludes Kevin Davis #33 of the Colorado State Rams as he returns a punt at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Fort Collins, Colorado. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

The Brick Wall punt return formation is easy to install and can vastly improve your team's return yardage on punts. Solid punt returns will provide your team with good field position, and make the offense’s job easier.

Rocko & Leo

Rocko and Leo are code words for which side of the field a punt return is to. If the coach calls out ‘Rocko’, that means that the punt return is to the right side of the field.

On the contrary, if the coach calls ‘Leo’, the punt return is to the left side of the field.

Building the Brick Wall

L1 & R1 - These players are responsible for keeping the 'bullets' (punt coverage players aligned the widest) from sprinting down field to make the tackle. They align to the inside shoulder of the bullets, and bump-and-run with them all the way down the field. L1 and R1 are not to allow the bullets to get to the inside. They help to keep lanes open up the field for the return man.

L2 & R2 - These players are responsible for rushing the punter. Their main goal is to block the punt. If the kicker successfully punts the ball however, and Rocko is the return call, the L2 will continue running to the right side of the field. He turns up the field and runs behind the wall as it is being set up. He will block anyone trailing the punt returner after the returner runs behind the wall. R2 will do the same if Leo is the return call.

L4 & R4 - These players are the return team's linebackers. They must make sure there is no fake punt, and thus stay in coverage as such until the ball is punted. Once the ball is punted, they will run to set up the beginning of the wall which the return man will run behind.

Interior Line - These players will fire out and make contact with the punt team's blockers, making certain that there is no punt fake.

Once it is determined that there is no punt fake, they will quickly release and run to the designated areas down field, turn and look for an opponent to block. In order to create the wall, these players should be no farther than five yards apart.

LR & RR - These are the punt returners. One of the player receivers, while the other one blocks. The player not receiving the punt will lead the way to the wall for the punt returner, serving as an additional blocker.

Coaching Points

  • Remind the nose tackle that he cannot hit the center while he is snapping the ball. Some leagues protect the center totally, while others will allow the center to be hit after he lifts his head up and is looking forward. The rules vary be league.
  • Make certain that the interior line and the return team's linebackers do not leave too early to go down field to block. A tendency like that will lead to an opportunity for the opposition to successfully run a fake punt.