No one really knows where the “shield punt” scheme came from, but over the last few years it became very popular. The scheme features a seven-man front with wide splits and three players in the backfield that form a shield-type wall to protect the punter.
The Wisconsin Badgers used that scheme for years under Bret Bielema and Gary Andersen. However, it’s time to say goodbye.
According to jsonline.com, first-year head coach Paul Chryst and special teams coordinator Chris Haering have decided to switch back to the traditional punt scheme.
“I think it is a combination of factors,” Haering said recently when asked about using the pro-style punt scheme. “It is one of those things where you look at what you do well but more importantly what the players do well.
“And then, you try to develop your system and your rules and your teaching according to that. I think, just looking at our personnel and with the type of punter Drew (Meyer) can be, we thought that fit his personality and his strengths.”
Whatever scheme the team uses, the players must do their job to protect the punter at all costs. The team used a pro-style punt scheme in a 2001 game against Michigan when the Wolverines blocked two punts in a 20-17 victory.
In 2011, the Badgers were in line for a shot at the BCS National Championship. The team gave up blocked punts in consecutive weeks against Michigan State and Ohio State that ended up costing them a shot at the title.
“Well, having lived that one that year,” Chryst cracked when asked about why he prefers the pro style over the shield punt. “It is like anything. Whatever you believe in, you should do. I like what we do. I think it is one of those that our kids, once they understand it, can go.
“There are really good teams that use the shield punt and are good units. And I think there are really good teams that use the pro style. It is what you believe in, what you can teach and what fits your players. And then, you try to get good at the execution.”
The Badgers open the season on September 5 when they play Alabama at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports