The San Diego State Aztecs football team could soon be eliminating the punt team and kicking units. Head coach Rocky Long hinted that the Aztecs will consider going for every it on every fourth down once they are on the opponents side of the fifty yard-line. Long has been inspired by a “idiosyncratic Arkansas high school coach” that never punts, never attempts field goals and always kicks onside kicks with great success.
Long seems very serious and excited about the idea.
“It makes sense,” he said.
“Additional plays would allow you to score a lot more points,” he said. “It also puts a whole lot of pressure on the defense.”
It isn’t set in stone that the Aztecs will eliminate special teams in their opponents territory. It is just something the team is giving serious consideration to. They will test it out during their scrimmages and will see the success rate and how their team responds.
“It’s a day-to-day theory,” Long said. “I haven’t decided because we’re getting a feel for it out here. I just read about this guy, and I don’t know if I can do that because everybody in the world is going to say this is not Football 101, right?
“But there’s a reason why he’s winning those games. Maybe he just has better players than everybody else; or maybe it’s their team gets used to playing like that and the other teams don’t get used to playing like that. It’s fourth-and-seven — most defenses run off the field. And now they’re going to stay out there. ‘What? How come the punt team isn’t coming out?’”
The coach that has inspired Long is Kevin Kelley, who coaches private school Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas. Kelley has a 104-19 record over nine years and averages 51 points per game. Kelley has two state championships in the past three years and has punted a grand total of one time during those runs.
Kelley sums up his offensive theory very simply.
“Punting is offensive failure,” Kelley states. “It’s willingly giving the ball to the other team — a voluntary turnover.”
If the Aztecs and Long decide that the aggressive gameplan is what they will go with in 2012, they could have an advantage over opposing defenses. Knowing that you have four downs to pick up a first down can alter your play calling and open up more possibilities.
This could be a very exciting development for college football if Long decides to do away with the punt team. He seems thrilled about the idea so it is up to his team to convince him that they can handle the task.