Football Spread Punt Formation
What is spread punt formation in football?
The spread punt formation is a special teams formation used when a team needs to punt the ball. With this formation, the spread punt formation is the most popular punting formation in football at all levels and it is widely used in the NFL.
The formation consists of positioning five linemen close to each other at the line of scrimmage, two tight ends to block the defense's tackles, two punt gunners, one personal protector (who will either call a punt or a fake punt) positioned about five yards behind the line of scrimmage, and of course a punter, positioned around 10 yards behind the personal protector. Inside the spread punt formation, coaches can either set a man-on-man or zone blocking scheme, with the zone being the most popular one.
The players in the linemen positions are not always the same ones that may play with a quarterback; coaches play linebackers and tight ends who after serving as linemen will look to attack the punt returner.
If the formation is executed well, a punt will hardly be blocked, as there are 8 players directly involved in protecting the punter. However, with this formation, punt returners tend to have longer returns. It is also easier to run a fake punt play with the spread formation, where the personal protector can run or pass the ball while tricking the defense into believing a punt is being kicked.