The Secrets to the Onsides Kick

There's a secret to successful onside kicks. The kicking team's head coach stands 10 yards from the spot of the kick. And the onside kick unit uses him as its guide.

It works two ways: One, the kicker has something at which to aim.

And two, as soon as the players on the outisde pass the coach, they know they can touch the ball. (That's why 99 percent of onside kicks are done to the kicking team's sideline, not the other sideline.)

Onside kicks have become quite a weapon for Navy, and not just in a 27-21 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday. The Poinsettia Bowl last year has a dramatic conclusion thanks to Zerb Singleton recovering an onside kick in the final minute. The onside kick against Boston College in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in 2006 was open, too, though it skipped over Jeremy McGown's head.

The two successful onside kicks on Saturday came down mostly to perfect execution by senior kicker Matt Harmon and senior outside linebacker Corey Johnson, the outside man on the kicks.

Some coaches are loathe to practice onside kicks too often, for fear of injuries to key players; remember, the "hands" team includes most skill position players. So Navy deserves a ton of credit for executing the onside kicks so well. Top Stories