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Monday, October 22, 2012

Irish Special Teams Report Card – BYU

While the Irish Defense cannot get much better and the Offense rides on the shoulders and play of the quarterback, Special Teams continues to struggle.  If the Irish expect to win in Norman they will have to bring the “A Team” and all of it.  This includes Everett Golson’s best effort to date, continued improvement in the secondary AND some help from Special Teams.


            Touchbacks:  2 (Brindza) 4 opportunities

Kick return yards allowed: 2-30 yds.

Kick returns:  2-37 yds. (Atkinson)
Kyle Brindza had an outstanding day from the 35 yard line.  Two touchbacks and two kicks that his teammates were able to capitalize on and corral the return guy for BYU.

George Atkinson III did not fare any better than the BYU return guy.  It appears that neither time was Atkinson given very much support in blocking.  All he needs is a little room to get going and a vision of the field.  He got and saw neither.
As a side note:  The Sooners ran a kickoff back for 100 yards against Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks.  Likewise they did the same thing with a punt return- a touchdown.

Kickoffs:  A   
Returns:  D


            Yardage:  4 – 175 yds. 43.8 avg. [1 TB 34 yds)] (Turk)

            Punt Return yards allowed:  1 - -5 yds.

            Punt Returns: 2- -3 yds. (Neal)

Ben Turk had his been game of the year punting with an average of 43.8.  Again his special teammates helped in allowing one possible return and it ended up being for a minus five yards.  Ben did draw the ire of coach Brian Kelly when he failed to kick the ball out of bounds inside the 20, resulting in a touchback and a net punt of 34 yards.
Devonte Neal was not given a chance and zero support from his punt return team.  It is one of the great mysteries of the year that the Irish punt return is a joke.  It is unclear why no reporters have broached the subject with Kelly during any news conferences, radio shows, or phonconferences.     

Punting:  B+
Punt Returns:  F


            Field Goals:  1-3 (24 yds.) (Brindza) Missed 40 yds. and Missed 28 yds.

            PAT’s: 2-2 (Brindza)
Those two field goal misses hurt after a couple of pretty nice drives that bogged down.  In a close game every point obviously counts and it appears the game this Saturday night fits the bill.

Place Kicking:  C+
While this was only one game, kickoff and punt returns have been dismal all year.  Atkinson has had a couple of nice returns however he did it all on his own.  Nothing like his two returns last year for touchdowns.  The best that can be said is that neither Neal nor Atkinson have had any muffs or fumbles.  Maybe that’s all Brian Kelly wants.

This statement is attributed to Kelly and is probably paraphased.  According to Kelly, with all the rule changes that the NCAA made to protect players, its 'almost' impossible to return a punt. He brought up the rule change about how players can come off the line, how they can no longer form a wedge, and pretty much said he has given up on the punt return, at least for now.

Tell that to Stoops and the Sooners.


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