We strongly emphasized throwing the ball deep, as most of our opponents did not believe we could throw the ball deep during a rainstorm. We were playing a rainy bowl game against a team that had led the nation in total defense for eight weeks during the regular season. We passed for six touchdowns. Our opponents did not believe we could throw with accuracy during a monsoon. Our receivers knew where they were going and the secondary defenders had to adjust in slippery conditions. Our game plan was to always force our opponents to make adjustments.
Windy days also present an excellent opportunity to practice all phases of the kicking and passing games. In the spring and during two-a-day practices, readjust your schedule to take advantage of windy days. At that practice, cut back on the running game. Emphasize punting and kicking into the wind, with the wind, and from the hash marks.
Practice kicking off into the wind and line-driving the ball low to the deep open spot. Practice the bloop kickoff into the wind by kicking the ball high across the field with kickoff team coverage. We had an automatic onside kick off against certain kickoff return alignments. If we saw a particular kickoff return alignment, the kicker made the call to the kickoff coverage team when the coach signaled an onside kick.
Windy days also present a great opportunity for the snapper to learn to keep snaps low to the punter. The punter learns to hold onto the ball and to place it on his foot, not drop it. The wind changes the ball’s position before the punter makes contact. Through the years our tight punt formation was most valuable during games played in wind and rain.
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We used the pro formation with the quarterback in his normal position behind the center and our punter nine yards deep. The ball is snapped between the quarterback’s legs to the punter. The punter takes a rocker step back and forward with his left leg and punts the ball with his right foot.
A sound offensive strategy for going into the wind has these three objectives:
- No turnovers or penalties—protect the football.
- Make a minimum of three first downs before punting when you takeover the ball inside your 20-yard line
- Run as much time off the clock as possible each play.
Follow these tricks and enjoy every pass. Let’s Enjoy!
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