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Special Teams

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by Buff_since76, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Buff_since76

    Buff_since76 Still a fan... Club Member

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    We have had a thread looking at what to expect that is better/worse for offense and defense in 2010. This thread focuses on the third phase of the game, where the Buffs had their *****’s handed to them last year. We lost three big games last year due to interceptions and special teams (Texas , KSU, and NU) which I will detail below. The main question is how will the Buffs improve ST in 2010? We no longer have DiLallo punting, but we have a R-Fr now in control with no competition. One would have thought that with short punts we would have good coverage and almost no return, but that would be completely wrong. Last year we had Espinoza returning punts most of the time, and were almost the worst team in the country in returns. Also, who is going to kick FG for the Buffs? There is really no need to go into detail on this. I wish Vegas had a bet option on each kick as to whether or not he would hit the cross bar. If they did I would bet it every time if Aric Goodman is kicking for the Buffs.

    In the NU game they had 6 punts for a net average of 44 yards, and we had 5 punts for a net average of 28. In other words if we went three and out, and NU went three and out, NU gained 16 yards of field position in the exchange. The Buffs scored 2 legit TD’s and one end of game flub while missing two FG attempts (37, 52). NU scored two legit TD’s, one defensive TD off a pick (brought about after bad field position from ST), one punt return (more suckie ST play), and missed on FG (50). Out of the Buff’s 13 possessions in the game, 9 were at or inside the 20 with a game overage of our own 21. NU had only 3 possessions start at their 20 (none inside the 20), and averaged starting at their own 39 for the game. Special teams and turnovers favor NU, while all other stats favor the Buffs (other than completion %) and we lost.

    The Texas game was just a special teams joke. We had a punt blocked for a TD, and a punt returned for a TD (along with an INT in the red zone returned for a TD). We wasted a great first half performance due to poor special teams play. The defense was doing a great job against Texas (except for the last possession of the first half). The one good special teams play was a blocked FG, but we didn’t return it for a TD. The three non offensive TD’s that TU scored crushed the Buffs confidence. We averaged starting at our own 41, while TU averaged their 21. The starting point didn’t matter due to the TD’s.

    In the KSU game we were down by 7 instead of 6 (thanks to a missed extra point) with three minutes left in the second half when our punt return fumbles the punt. Up to that point I had told myself and my friend that Espy was just a guy who wouldn’t give you the big return, but wouldn’t screw up and fumble either. I said he was the opposite of Josh Smith, who was a heart attack for both teams (since he did have a tendency to put the ball on the ground) when he returned kicks. After the game was over he told a reporter that he decided that he needed to make a play when he walked onto the field, which is why he tried to run instead of fair catching it. KSU only had to go 20 yards to score and go up by 14, and we put in CH to run the 2 minute offense (and he throws a pick). In the game CU started on average at their 18 while KSU started at their 46.

    The Buffs were excellent at losing the third phase of the game in 2009, and putting themselves in bad spots that led to more errors. Is there a chance in hell that they improve in 2010, and how will that happen?
     
  2. The Guest

    The Guest Guest

    I've been dreading this thread.
     
  3. Daaah

    Daaah Club Member Club Member

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    Are you saying that a few plays here and there could have resulted in a much different season?
     
  4. The Guest

    The Guest Guest

    I calculate about ten.
     
  5. 96 Buff

    96 Buff Resident Commie Bastard Club Member Junta Member

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    I'm not reading that ****ing wall of text.
     
  6. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    Special teams, like offense, have been an issue from the very start of the Hawkins era. It took last year for everyone to see how bad they are, but we did not suddenly get terrible there. Good luck with seeing improvement.
     
  7. 96 Buff

    96 Buff Resident Commie Bastard Club Member Junta Member

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    Special Teams in 2006: They're ****ty.
    Special Teams in 2007: They're ****ty.
    Special Teams in 2008: They're ****ty.
    Special Teams in 2009: They're ****ty.
    Special Teams in 2010: They're still ****ty.
     
  8. Mick Ronson

    Mick Ronson Well-Known Member

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  9. Buff_since76

    Buff_since76 Still a fan... Club Member

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    I am saying we got the **** kicked out of us on special teams, and in a few cases 2-3 plays in the game really changed the momentum of the game. Would we have beat UT if we don't give up the 2 ST TD's and the INT TD? Maybe. Would we have beat KSU if Espy doesn't fumble? I doubt it because KSU still started on their 46 on average, and we averaged starting at our own 18. Why did we lose to NU? It wasn't cause their defense beat us down all game, or their offnese was a juggernot. They beat us on ST.

    The third phase of the game killed us all season. How do we fix it, or are we doomed to repeat it in 2010?
     
  10. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    Special teams have gotten progressively worse every year Hawk has been here. Last year was absolutely the worst I can ever remember seeing. Of course, the year before we had Aric Goodman miss something like 7 FG attempts in a row, so we probably it couldn't have gotten any worse. It did.

    We need Grossnickle to be the punter. Last year, during warmups, he was out-punting Dilallo by 10-15 yards and getting better hang-time on each kick. It was obvious who the better punter was. Grossnickle should have played last year - seriously. Punting should improve.

    Kicking - guh. I just don't see how this is going to improve. Goodman is still here, and is being pushed by Justin Castor, a Freshman from Arvada. The good news is that a Freshman kicker isn't necessarily a bad thing. The gold standard for kickers around here remains Mason Crosby, who took over as a Freshman and never looked back. I'm hoping Castor takes over and that Hawk doesn't get so caught up in recruiting gaps that he redshirts a guy who could really help this year. According to the offical roster, there are no less than five placekickers on the roster. Grossnickle is listed as both a punter and kicker.

    I have no data to back this up, but I suspect we gave up an average of about 100 yards a game on special teams alone. We were flat out horrible. Quite possibly the worst special teams in the country. A solid special teams squad will win you 2-3 games a year. Conversely, a truly pathetic special teams squad will likely cost you 2-3 games per year. This is an area where CU needs vast, immediate improvement.
     
  11. leftybuff

    leftybuff Iconoclast Club Member

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    If ****ty means electric, we're good.
     
  12. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    Players have come and gone, but there has been one constant during the Hawkins era when it comes to special teams. So yes, we are doomed to repeat ****ty special teams. Just have to hope the offense and defense pick up the slack.
     
  13. Hugegroove

    Hugegroove Club Member Club Member

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    Don't get me started on this subject! I've railed about it before. It's not a weak link in the chain, it's the missing link! As Wally said, I've been dreading this thread. I don't like getting on specific players, but I hope EG got some very good kicking advice during the off season. OK, I'm done suger coating it, now let me tell you how I really feel...................................



    :pissed:
     
  14. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    Good special teams can cover for so many deficiencies in the other areas. Bad special teams magnify those deficiencies. For instance, if you are defensively weak, good special teams can tilt the field in your favor. It can make the opponent drive farther to score. The longer the distance to score, the less likely it is that the team will score. They'll fumble, or get a bad penalty, or drop a pass on 3rd and 4. Lots of stuff can happen if you force the opponent to drive 80+ yards. Bad special teams will give the opponent the ball at the 50 yard line, where they are nearly in field goal range already, without taking a snap.

    Special teams cannot be undervalued. At least they shouldn't be. I think that this staff couldn't care less, personally. That's just my opinion.
     
  15. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    fify.
     
  16. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    I am horribly horribly prejudiced about special teams so I will keep my comments brief.

    It will be better than last year. Again, that's like improving on a 3-9 record, but special teams will also be better. How much remains to be seen but there are signs of life.
     
  17. DBT

    DBT Club Member Club Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  18. Sexton Hardcastle

    Sexton Hardcastle Club Member Club Member

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    Doom?
     
  19. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    Dyslexia does that.

    It's MOOD.
     
    Daaah likes this.
  20. White_Rabbit

    White_Rabbit Club Member Club Member

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    This. When the Dolphins went from 1-15 to 11-5 it had a whole hell of a lot to do with improved special teams. Parcells came in and emphasized it and it paid off. I fully believe that in a close game the team with the better special teams will win the game. We have been bad in pretty much every special teams category except kickoff returns since Hawk got here. If he and Riddler can somehow stop being awful and fix the special teams, this team might be pretty good. Also assuming Collins keeps the defense performing like they were post Toledo.
     
  21. BuffLuKe

    BuffLuKe Club Member Club Member

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    This is the scariest area of the football team to me. We have lost our fair share or, it at least was a big part of losses, to ****ty special teams play. Id love to say, well **** it cant get any worse. I wish I believed that lol. Im just looking for anything positive in this area this year and that will be a huge improvement.
     
  22. Bolond

    Bolond Member

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    Is Ray Finkle still kicking for us?
     
  23. The Guest

    The Guest Guest

    Laces out!
     
  24. sliderNcider

    sliderNcider MacLovin Club Member

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    Our special teams are..... special
     
  25. buffaholic

    buffaholic Club Member Club Member

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    I have no explanation and I honestly am optimistic for improvement in all areas except ST's. I don't see what will change anything here.

    Sacky - I watched Punt warmups and I didn't see Grossnickel outpunting DiLallo. I wanted him to. I was desperate to see him in there, but he'd hit a couple good ones and then shank a few really bad. Plus he was very slow to get it off. I saw improvement in the spring, but he was not YET a finished product by any stretch.

    Field Goals - next question. I have more than an inkling that the staff won't trust Goodman no matter how great he looks in practice. They will take their chances with other guys.

    PR - it was bad, but unlike many on here, I don't think this hurt us as bad as the kicking/punting and defending returns.
     
  26. Daaah

    Daaah Club Member Club Member

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    I'll defer to AJ on the P/K stuff.

    Thanks AJ... We appreciate you.
     
  27. Clean Undies

    Clean Undies Flagship of the 12-Pac Club Member

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    It appears the new guy from SC, Travon Patterson, is going to be a contender for a spot as the return man.

    He's got a 10.4 sec 100 and presumably some soft hands. I hope that piece of the puzzle fits. We'll see.

    Giving McKnight or Espinosa or Lockridge return duty doesn't excite me. The job is about catching the ball and having some explosive speed and evasiveness. The combo of good hands and speed seemed to be missing. Putting Speedy back there seems like an injury risk. Maybe Patterson can immediately fill that hole and use that role to provide an immediate impact while he learns the offensive playbook.

    I like that Patterson is hungry, switching schools in his senior year for the sole reason of having an opportunity to impress NFL scouts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  28. AlferdJasper

    AlferdJasper Well-Known Member

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    Sadly, I disagree with this statement. That is not how the staff has handled it for past several years, why change now? He is inexplicably the despository of their hope and confidence.
     
  29. leftybuff

    leftybuff Iconoclast Club Member

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    I watched the warm ups v. aTm, ZG was out punting DiLallo by a noticeable margin, about 5 yards more distance and more hang time, FWIW.
     
  30. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    Yeah, the times I was watching warm-ups, Grossnickle was far and away the better punter. Maybe I didn't see them all, but I saw enough so that it left an impression on me.

    Of course, this is all just in warm-ups. It doesn't mean squat until it's in a game.

    I'm very concerned about our special teams.
     

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