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The key to blocking kicks, punts and PATs, according to the team that blocked 4 last weekend

This past weekend, against UCF, Michigan quietly put together one of the most dominant special teams performances in recent memory, blocking a total of four kicks (two field goals and two punts).

Even more impressively, three of those blocks (two punts and a field goal) took place in a span of less than ten minutes, on three straight UCF drives. Michigan blocked Central Florida's first punt of the game, and it netted just 13 yards, the second punt was also blocked, and still somehow managed to go 27 yards. The first field goal blocked was a 50-yard attempt. The fourth block came later in the first half of play on a field goal, with the Wolverines already up 34-7.

Here's a look at all the blocks, rolled into a nice little GIF, courtesy of SB Nation.


Special teams coordinator Chris Partridge, who served as the head coach at Paramus Catholic HS (NJ) before coming to Ann Arbor, said afterwards that he had "never been a part of something like that."

Coach Partridge and assistant special teams coach Jay Harbaugh tell players that the biggest key to blocking kicks, especially, field goals, lies in the first three steps and understanding the course the ball needs to take to go through the uprights, according to a recent USA Today piece.

"What you've got to realize is there's only a certain area that your hands can go up that you'll block it. You don't want to throw your hands up for instance on the left side if the ball is on the offense right hash because that ball's going to be missed anyway. We kind of talk about the junction point of where the ball's going to go through the uprights and that's where we want to kind of make our block point up the middle and get their hands up.

"We tell them you have three steps, you've got to fire out as low as you can as hard as you can for three steps and then you get your hands up and eyes on the ball but it has to be at the junction point of when it's going to go through the uprights.”

Chris Wormley, the player responsible for two of the blocks last weekend, told USA Today that defensive line coach Greg Mattison preaches to players that you can tell how good a defensive line is by the number of blocked kicks and field goals.

“Our defensive line coach, coach Mattison, always preaches that you can measure how good of a defensive line you have by the blocked kicks you get and with the pride that you take on field goal. Most times, defensive lines will take that play off because they think it's just a gimme that they're not going to block the kick and the ball can be up in the air faster than they can get there and block it. Our defensive line takes great pride in attempting to block each and every kick, whether it's a 10-yarder or a 50-yarder.”

Head over to USA Today for more insight on Michigan's approach to blocking kicks and punts.