Wisconsin special teams going lean to adapt to rule changes
- Published: Monday, 13 August 2012 13:49
- by Doug Samuels
Last season, Wisconsin's three shield protectors on their punt team averaged 6-6, 320 pounds, and all played on the offensive or defensive line.
However, with the new rule saying that defenders are no longer allowed to leap over the shield to attempt to block the punt, the staff at Wisconsin has decided to go a little leaner up front.
The new shield consists of two tight ends and a fullback, undoubtedly adding more mobility.
"We're still training the big guys. We'll have both sets of people into our arsenal and carry both groups into all games and react to what we're getting from the opponent." said assistant coach Charlie Partridge, who works with the punters.
The rule change is expected to force punt block teams to attack the edges of the shield, much like Michigan State and Ohio State did successfully last season when they blocked Badger punts.
"When the shield first came out people would take four bigger tackles or defensive end types and try to push the shield into the punter. When they realized there wasn't a lot of production to be had there they went to getting the fast guys to turn the edge or make them miss in the middle of the shield.
"It makes more sense to match that." Partridge explained.