Sunday, August 27, 2017

Special Teams Preview

As you know, I am a big believer in the importance of special teams.  They might not win you a game, but they can certainly lose you a game.  You need to be able to defend a kick, punt the ball, make a field goal to ice the game.  Or win it.  It's just important.  I still have PTSD from the Brandon years.

I think BG's special teams are in very good shape, in fact.

Start with the punting game, because it is the easiest.  BG simply has one of the best punters in the country.  Joe Davidson is just incredible.  He can punt it high or he can rugby punt it.  He is an athlete.  He gets it inside the 20.  He's also an academic all-american.  He's a credit to our program.

Next is placekicking.  Jake Suder--now the nation's most famous walk-on--is back.  He struggled early last year and BG spent a lot of time going for it on 4th.  However, late in the year, and in every live situation he's been seen in, he has really improved.  I feel a lot more confident with him now than I did mid-way through last year and I think the team feels that way, too.  I'm not sure he's going to be the best kicker in the MAC, but he's going to get the job done for us.

The return game should improve as BG brings more athletes in.  Matt Wilcox might be expected to make a contribution here.  BG was 5th last year in kickoff returns, so that's pretty solid already.  They were 4th in punt returns, which is also good.  Because punters kick to minimize returns, you don't see very many punt returns anymore.  BG had 15 in 8 MAC games last year.  It is still important.  One thing you don't measure is when a guy runs up to fair catch the ball before it hits the ground and rolls for 10 more yards.  And, in both cases, of course, not fumbling.  Don't make any mistakes, and once in a while break a big one.

Kickoffs.  This is interesting.  BG was 7th in kickoff coverage last year.  First, BG led the MAC with 15 touchbacks.  That's my favorite one.  They were 11th in depth of the kickoff for ones that ended up on the field...but allowed only 7.5 yards per return, which is the best in the a lot.  Just one thing to keep in mind...if you chip a high kick and the guy catches it at the 18 and you tackle him at the 23, that's the same as kicking it to the goal line and him getting to the 23 and maybe better.

In general, you'd expect kick coverage to improve as the depth and talent in the program increases.

So, I'm optimistic about the special teams.  They were above average last year and should be better this year.

1 comment :

Unknown said...

Thanks for all the previews. Definitely enjoy reading them and am hopeful the team follows through with them. Should then be a successful season.