Josh Kendall

The ‘old-school rule’ South Carolina special teams no longer follow

What South Carolina’s staff has seen from four-star Rosendo Louis

South Carolina Gamecocks football assistant Coleman Hutzler explains how USC locked in on early enrollee Rosendo Louis
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South Carolina Gamecocks football assistant Coleman Hutzler explains how USC locked in on early enrollee Rosendo Louis

There’s one in every crowd. Usually, more than one. The person watching the game from the stands or a living room who watches a player field a punt inside the 10-yard line and groans, “Everyone knows you never catch a punt inside the 10.”

Well, actually.

“Heels on the 10, don’t back up is the old-school rule,” South Carolina special teams coordinator Coleman Hutzler said.

That rule has changed, at least some, because of the prevalence of punters who now use a rugby-style kick and are adept at making the ball bounce backward or settle when it lands.

“Guys are doing a much better job of really dropping that ball on the 8-yard line or the 7-yard line,” Hutzler said. “Obviously, you don’t want to catch the ball on the 1, but I’ll take first-and-10 on the 8 before first-and-10 on the 1. It’s a little bit of a Catch 22.”

The Gamecocks coaching staff tells its players to drift no further back than the 10-, 9- or 8-yard lines, and the line changes each week based on the punter they are facing, Hutzler said.

“It’s getting harder and harder,” he said.

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