[PODCAST] Host Keith Grabowski talks about using a practice format for the kicking scrimmage

By Matt Reed | Posted 8/7/2018


On today’s Coach and Coordinator podcast, host Keith Grabowski goes into his coaching notebook to talk about practicing special teams. Specifically, running a whole scrimmage around third down offense, punting and the kicking game. This is a rarely used practice format designed to show the importance of special teams and to practice specific situations the team may see in-game. Grabowski talks about how he first heard the idea of a kicking scrimmage from retired football coach Wally Hood. Since then, Grabowski has implemented the scrimmage format at the high school and college level.

Here you can find a list of third down situations, as well as a script used for the kicking scrimmage.

“The kicking scrimmage will begin like a normal game, with a kickoff. The goal then, is to establish field position to the point where the offense has a legitimate shot at scoring a touchdown or the field goal team is in range. While offense and defense can be completely eliminated, we have used the kicking scrimmage to work third down situations. Depending on the year and how much work we want to get our offense and defense in this scrimmage, we may add or delete some third down situations, but we start with the following number of repetitions in each third down situation:

3rd & 1 (2); 3rd & 2 (2); 3rd  & 3 (4); 3rd & 4 (4); 3rd & 5 (2); 3rd & 6 (6); 3rd & 7 (4); 3rd & 8 (4); 3rd & 12 (2);3rd & 15 (2)

We mix the order up as follows:

3rd & 1; 3rd & 15; 3rd & 2; 3rd & 12; 3rd & 3; 3rd & 8; 3rd & 3; 3rd & 8; 3rd & 4; 3rd & 7; 3rd & 5; 3rd & 7; 3rd & 5; 3rd & 6; 3rd & 6; 3rd & 6

Each team is attempting to move the ball down the field with one offensive play. This is where we will utilize the plays we have for our third down package. If the offense converts, then they move to the next third down on the script. However, if the next offensive play results in another first down, the down becomes fourth and ten and part of the kicking game must be executed. Again, the emphasis is on the kicking game, so we do not want the offense on the field for more than two plays in a row.”

On today’s show, Grabowski breaks down the kicking scrimmage and how it can help your team win games during the season.

Show Notes

  • 0:56     Where he first heard about the kicking scrimmage
  • 2:44     Setting up the scrimmage
  • 4:31     Choosing teams for the scrimmage in a draft format
  • 6:33     Preparing for the kicking scrimmage with specific units
  • 7:36     Getting players to buy-in with an evaluation process
  • 8:41     Making the scrimmage a fun event for the community
  • 10:35   Evolving the format to include more third down plays
  • 12:00   Putting the emphasis on third down execution
  • 13:29   The use of the kicking game in the scrimmage
  • 14:28   Utilizing a half time in the scrimmage
  • 16:10   Practicing the fair catch, free kick and taking a safety


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