Let’s talk Special Teams

Discussion in 'Main Sports Forum' started by heversle, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. heversle

    heversle Baba Booey Tata Toothy
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    Although we avoided major blunders with sure-handed Freddie Swain as a returner, our punt return game has been underwhelming in recent years. Tyrie had some nice moments when given the chance, but we’ve lacked a game breaking return man in the kick return game as well. Who would you like to see take over these roles next season?
     
  2. Oscar the G

    Oscar the G Well-Known Member

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    I'd fair catch every KO and not waste a minute practicing it. Punt returns could get jazzed up, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
     
    • Towels 'N Sporks

      Towels 'N Sporks We R Bad Cause Urban Cheated on Wife

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      That seems almost like what we were doing this year. I would actually be fine with the strategy, but if we were going to do this, why is it that we rarely try to block punts?

      It's like we don't try to block punts OR return punts. When its 4th and long and your return game is as bad as ours is, shouldn't we be sending the house when there's little to no chance of a fake? As bad as our return game was this year you would think we would have at least tried to block a few punts every game.
       
      • FireFoley

        FireFoley Senior Member
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        If Toney is on the team, then he should be the kickoff returner. Toney should never return punts ever again. He proved his hands are unreliable in that role 2 years ago and he would constantly run sideways and backwards. But for those who want to fair catch every kickoff and punt, I have no issue with that either.
         
        • gingerlover

          gingerlover Junior Member
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          Last year Swain was a breath of fresh air back there after years of holding your breath on every return that we don't fumble. This year though I had hoped he would take more chances trying to break one, but at least he held onto the ball and other than one stupid play I can remember was reliable.

          That being said it would be nice to block a kick every now and then and actually be able to return a few.
           
          • Buckman2000

            Buckman2000 Well-Known Member
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            Copeland would be good on returns as well. If not him maybe Clement can find a place by being a returner.
             
            • soflagator

              soflagator Senior Member
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              My thoughts exactly. In addition to the fumble concern, his tendency to retreat and try to make something out of nothing would not only cost us yards at times but would also likely mean any time we had a positive it would also come with a block in the back or hold. I was definitely not thrilled at seeing Swain call a fair catch basically at the snap, but Toney is not the answer based on what I've seen.

              Oddly enough, along with KR it's probably the only area he can prove himself as an NFL worthy player, as he doesn't really have a position at the moment. So he should be fully committed to it. Guess we'll see if he wants to put in the work.
               
              • cover2

                cover2 I've grown old
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                I don't think it really matters who the returner is if we aren't going to hold up the gunners and the guys on the front line any better than we do. I know things have changed, but the old rule of thumb for a return was to hold up the gunners or at least delay their release and harass them all the way down the field. The interior guys should be engaged/held up and guided to which ever side of the field to create a lane for the returner. One or two players have to engage the up-backs and ensure that there will be a punt as quickly as possible. It is also imperative that the ball be fielded. We didn't execute the hold-ups and diversions very well at all. I do recall one game that we came close to blocking a couple of punts; otherwise, our primary purpose seemed to be simply to get the ball back wherever we could field it. PR can be a game changer if emphasized as such.
                 
                • Gatormac2112

                  Gatormac2112 The Voice of Reason
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                  Special teams have been boring since Meyer left. Back in the day blocked punts and big returns were the norm. He emphasized ST and coached it himself I believe. Apparently its not important to Dan.
                   
                  • UFHealthGator

                    UFHealthGator Well-Known Member

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                    Copeland had slippery hands this year. Would make me nervous.
                     
                    • soflagator

                      soflagator Senior Member
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                      I’m not always the best at judging these things, but Copeland seemed to make several really tough, contested catches, while his drops were easy ones that he would make 9 times out of 10. That leads me to believe it was more about first time jitters and not an inherent issue. I expect him to be fine next season and I think with enough focus on that position, he’d be ok at PR as well.
                       
                      • gatorev12

                        gatorev12 Well-Known Member

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                        It's always something that continues to baffle me: quite a few elite coaches place a premium on special teams specifically because it has the ability to influence games...and yet, so few coaches actually make an effort there?

                        Having a good punt return shortens the field for the offense and ensures that even if the drive stalls, you will pin them deep for your defense.
                         
                        • Oscar the G

                          Oscar the G Well-Known Member

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                          But is it overrated? Lsu was 20th in the nation, and averaged about 5 more yards a return than us. Bama is certainly an outlier this year, but not many elite coaches on the punt return list. At least this past year, I didn't look any further back.

                          I'm not opposed to spending more time on 3ed down defense and keeping a boring safe guy at returner. Think that would help more with field position.
                           
                          • ltraz

                            ltraz Well-Known Member

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                            You actually don't need to designate a ton of practice time to STs regardless of how much you emphasize it though. Largely, bc tons of STs players aren't starters so you can practice things simultaneously. Plus, installing a fake or a new punt block takes waaaayyyyy less time than installing 1 new defensive call. 'Emphasizing' STs really just means hiring a guy thats good instead of drawing straws to see what position coach also coaches STs.
                             
                            • gatorev12

                              gatorev12 Well-Known Member

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                              There's certainly merit to that argument too.

                              I think the main reason more coaches don't place an emphasis on it is the fear of turning it over on a return--or getting called for a hold that sets you back an additional 10 yards. Both are valid concerns, but I'm a big believer in the "Who Dares, Wins" mantra.
                               
                            • NOLAGATOR

                              NOLAGATOR Deep Behind Enemy Lines
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                              I'd like to see more blocked punts.

                              That was big under Urban.

                              Do we recruit speedsters like Meyer did?
                               
                              • AlexDaGator

                                AlexDaGator The Hammer of Thor
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                                We've always had good returners and we've often had elite returners.

                                Andre Debose, Chris Rainey, Brandon James, Bubba Caldwell, Bo Carroll, Lito Sheppard, Quez Green, Jack Jackson, etc.

                                It used to be when the other team was punting or kicking off, we were excited to watch the return. A fair catch was a disappointment.

                                Then, after Debose left, it became stressful, not exciting. I almost expected a bobble, a drop, a fumble, a loss of yardage every time. A fair catch was a relief.

                                These last couple of years with Swain, at least he secured the ball. It was neither exciting nor stressful.

                                I have to believe there is SOMEBODY on the team with the talent to be a threat in the return game. Maybe not as good as Debose or Brandon James, but good enough to make the other team sweat; good enough to help us out with field position. We need to identify that player (or players) and get them on the field.

                                As far as blocks go, I would like to see the running into/roughing the kicker rule modified for these rugby style kickers that run around back there. Keep the rule the same for the guys who kick from the "pocket". The edge rushers are coming around full-speed, they know where the kicker is going to be and they can time their leaps to avoid the kicker's leg. It's a fair system. However, once you roll your kicker out of that designated safe zone and he starts juking and dancing around, I think the defense should have more leeway. I'm not trying to kill Aussies and Kiwis (we're getting one of our own), I'm just trying to make it fair to the defenders.

                                Alex.
                                 
                              • heversle

                                heversle Baba Booey Tata Toothy
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                                I think I read an article recently that mentioned Dionte Marks may get a look as a returner. Can’t remember who said it.
                                 
                              • SeabeeGator

                                SeabeeGator Well-Known Member
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                                You mean fair catcher.
                                 
                              • Durty South Swamp

                                Durty South Swamp doodley doodley doo!
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                                They should be treated as a ball carrier as soon as they start running with the ball, as redundant as that statement may be.

                                There are advantages to the rugby kick - it can buy a little extra time, can make the D hesitate, allow the coverage group to get further downfield and better prevent/defend a return, but the real advantage is if you have a punter who can also run or throw a bit. There's nothing that says that punter cant rugby roll out, see an open man or an open lane, then sling it or take off running. If they are allowed to do this (and they are) then the D should be allowed to tee off too.
                                 

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