November 2, 2006

Pitt notes: A unique way of punting

With much of the focus on how Pitt will counter South Florida's speed on offense on defense, the Panthers also have to be concerned about the Bulls' special teams units. Not only does South Florida haves some of the best kick and punt return units in the nation, but the Bulls also employ a rather unique approach to punting.

"They made a change about halfway through the year," Pitt special teams coach Charlie Partridge said this week. "West Virginia does the same thing: it's a roll-out punt, or a rugby punt. The philosophy behind it is really to give you balls that are hard to field and let it roll to get a good net punt. So we've had to work pretty hard this week on fielding some unconventional punts and making sure that we do our best to get the ball before it hits the ground and rolls for 20 yards."

The change in punting means that Pitt returner Darrelle Revis will have to adjust accordingly.

"They're going to be shorter punts," Revis said, "so my alignment is going to be closer to the line of scrimmage because they're going to fall fast. They'll probably take a couple bounces. The ball comes down quick."

Like Partridge said, the focus of the rugby punt is to get the ball to hit the ground quickly and roll for extra yardage. As such, the return team has to make its priorities equally focused.

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