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Installing the Middle Kickoff Return

Patience, Proper Alignment Key to Big Gains With Double Wedge


Middle Kickoff Return

Middle Kickoff Return

Sean McCormick

Developing a strong kickoff return puts the offense in good field position, and creates additional worries for the opposing team.

5-2-2-2 Alignment

  1. The five front line players on the return team will line up 10 yards and six inches from the football. The tackles align between the numbers and the hash marks. The guards align on each hash mark. The center aligns opposite the kicker.
  2. The ends align at the 35-yard line, each two yards outside the hash marks.
  3. The fullbacks line up at the hash marks, just inside the 15-yard line.
  4. The alignment of the returners varies, depending on the leg strength of the kicker, between the five-yard line and the goal line.

After the Kick

  • The front line turns and runs full speed toward the 35-yard line, each player ending up within arm's length of each other and turning to choose a defender to block.
  • The ends run full speed to the 15-yard line, aligning on the outside shoulders of the fullbacks.
  • The fullbacks back pedal three yards and to the middle of the field.
  • The ends and fullbacks form a secondary wedge and seek out defenders not picked up by the front wedge of blockers.
  • The returner not catching the football will move in front of the other returner and lead block.
  • The returner catching the football runs into the double wedge created by the blockers.

Coaching Points

  1. Make sure the front line players watch the football being kicked to avoid being victimized by a surprise onside kick.
  2. Make blocking adjustments according to the strength depth of the kicks.

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