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Monday, February 27, 2012

The New 35 Yard Line Rule And Notre Dame

Kyle Brindza
Well the NCAA is following the NFL and moving forward five yards the kick-off to the 35 yard line.  Additionally it is requiring the kicking team to a five yard running start.  This is all in the interest of protecting players from the collisions of racing at each other hell bent for leather full speed.  I have personally only known one legitimate NFL football player and that is exactly what he did.  They called it the suicide squad and this was 35 years ago.

So what does this mean for Notre Dame?
First off it can complicate the return for both the kicking team and receiving team.

Second, it is another good reason to have a full-time, knowledgeable Special Teams coach.

Kicking off:

Do you let Kyle Brindza kick it as deep as he can?  Last year Kyle kicked off 71 times for a 65.3 yard average, with 4 OB (that’s not good), and 12 TB’s.  He kicked 17 % out of the range and comfort zone of the opponent return guys.  Given five more yards that number will improve, he was injured some last year so his distance was not as good.  We are hoping for at least 90% TB’s.

An interesting possibility is Nick Tausch.  Nick did not step foot on the field during a game in 2011.  In 2010 he kicked off 8 times for a 55.4 yard average, with 2 OB (that is terrible) and 0 TB’s.  You can see why David Ruffer did most of the kicking off that year.  Anyway, Nick is a more directional and aerial type kicker.  This leads to the possibility of the perfect kick off, a high floater to about two yards deep in the end zone forcing the return man to make a tough decision.


The Irish are sitting in the cat-bird-seat with George Atkinson III.  Last year George electrified the fans with two returns for touchdowns and a couple of almost-bees.  With his great speed and teammates willing to block, GAIII could be taking it to the house and flipping the ball to the referee some more.  As member of the suicide squad you are a lot more willing to sacrifice your body if you know the receiver is running behind you with the ball.  Put a second speed demon back there with GAIII and kick returns still can be fun to watch instead of seeing the ball get blasted through the end zone like in the NFL.  They can accept a kick five yards deep in the end zone and still manage 20+.


1926 For kick-offs the ball was placed at the 40 yard line.

1986 Ball placed at 35 yard line.

2007 Ball placed at 30 yard line.

2012 Ball placed at 35 yard line.

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