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?