Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by RSSBot, Aug 24, 2015.
<b>By Brian Howell</b><p><p><i>BuffZone.com Writer</i>
Really interesting stats. I remember when Roman would get a chance at 3 returns per game at least... now it seems like we are lucky to get one! I thought it was just because our defense was that bad, but it's more than that based on these numbers.
Yeah. That thing that gets re-posted every year about a high school coach who goes for it on every 4th down, goes for 2 every time and does an onside kick every time based on the advanced stats also addresses this. He doesn't return punts either. Statistics say to simply fair catch the ball or get away from it. The yards per return are far outweighed by the risk of penalty or turnover.
I look back at last season and think how much better off the Buffs would have been if we'd never returned a punt but had the defense out there instead to deal with a potential fake. Might have won us the Utah game and losing the punt returns would have cost us nothing.
When the chance for a block is taken into account, starts to make even more sense.
Football is ripe for coaches making decisions based on statistical analysis instead of tradition or the coach's gut. That is what the high school coach that Buffnik is referring to, Kevin Kelley, does. Real Sports on HBO recently did a segment on him (I think it was recent--at least I saw it recently, although it could have been a repeat). The show featured an economist who ran the numbers and concluded that it is almost never worthwhile to punt from inside the forties.
This year Kelly is apparently going to try a style of play akin to that of rugby with lots of downfield pitches to try to develop more offensive plays of 20 yards or more. That will be interesting to see.
Of course none of that would work with a team without a decent defense, so CU's teams for the past 10 years or so would not have been advised to use the tactic.
Big reason why I did and continue to support putting Spruce back there.
I know it's NFL, but I watched this earlier today. The guy will be fun to watch this season.
It is useful to look at overall statistics but I think if you have an elite returner and a coach who knows how to create opportunity for him it's worth the risk in exchange for his ability to turn a game for you.
Unfortunately we at this point seem to have neither so we may be much better off just using a guy with reliable hands and good judgement to mostly fair catch the ball when he safely can and let it go when he can't while the rest of the team plays defense against the fake and tries the pressure the punter into mistakes.
If I have a Ben Kelley or a Jeremy Bloom to put back there I'm not telling him to fair catch much.
You definitely want to field it unless it's like low and short with traffic around you or goes out of bounds. If it's a high punt that's gonna turnover, don't let that ****er bounce. It'll end up inside your 5.
I think we still see him back there, but will probably have the occasional Shay Fields as well.
9 returns in 2013. Good lord.
A look at combined kick and punt returns for touchdowns by conference in 2014:
Conference USA 18
Big Ten 15
Big 12 14
Sun Belt 6
"Besides claiming the nation’s top punter in Utah’s Tom Hackett, the Pac-12 led all conferences in combined kicks/punts returned for touchdowns, and its kickers were the most accurate in the country. With a combined 21 returns for scores last season, the conference trotted out some of the most dangerous return men in the nation."
Isn't that like 150 team games played for Pac-12 members? That's not a lot of returns.
...for touchdowns? That's not bad. It's better than not having touchdowns. I'm sure there were also some returns that gained a ton. And you can basically throw out all of CU's games.
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