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#pounditThursday, March 23, 2023

Video: Florida State coach uses water gun during punt return drill

Mike Norvell looking away.

Florida State University football coach Mike Norvell speaks during a collegiate athletics roundtable held by Gov. Ron DeSantis at the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility on the FSU campus on Aug. 11 in Tallahassee.
Mike Norvell 081220

Punt returners have to be able to keep their eyes locked on the football at all times, no matter what happens around them. As Florida State showed during Friday’s practice, that includes any wet conditions.

NoleGameday’s Logan B. Robinson tweeted a video on Friday of Florida State running backs coach and recruiting coordinator David Johnson working with freshman defensive back Azareye’h Thomas during a punt return drill.

In the drill, a person off-camera punted the ball to Thomas. While the ball was in the air, Johnson sprayed Thomas in the face with a large water gun from about five yards away.

Despite getting pelted in the face with water, Thomas was able to secure the catch.

Punt returners have one of the more thankless jobs on any team. It is expected that they will catch the ball in most circumstances, regardless of poor weather conditions. They also have to decide whether to signal for a fair catch by keeping an eye out for any opposing players bearing down on them. Returners have to do this while still prioritizing their focus on catching the ball.

Those plays can cause some pretty ferocious hits, such as one seen during a Marshall-Louisiana Lafayette game in December (see video here).

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