As a part of the 2012 season, the Buckeye Bloggers Network is pooling their expertise to give Ohio State fans the most in-depth coverage possible for Saturday’s game.
This week tBBC looks at the special teams matchup with the Miami University RedHawks . Be sure to check out the rest of this series via the links at the bottom of this post!
As the Buckeyes look to start the Urban Meyer era, there will be many changes that fans will experience.
However, the emphasis on solid special teams, a hallmark of the previous administration, will continue under the new regime… and perhaps even be more of a point of pride.
Like the Vest, Coach Meyer has called the punt the most important play in the game. Indeed, the fact that he has taken charge of the Special Forces’ planning and preparation highlights that the man is serious about the kicking game. While at Florida, this was certainly evident- the Gators prided themselves on their ability to aggressively get after the punt and the fact that their return teams were almost expected to score every time the ball was on it’s way.
Instead of being another time to gather a fresh beverage, Buckeye fans will need to stay glued to their seats during the specialists’ time on the stage.
But before we look at what the 2012 version of the OSU Special Forces will be, let’s take a gander at the visitors from Oxford. The RedHawks return a good portion of their specialists from 2011, including punter Zac Murphy and kicker Mason Krysinski.
Murphy, a former walk on who earned third team MAC honors as a freshman, averages 39.1 yards per punt in each of his first two seasons, as well as having a long of 66 yards to his name. He was also responsible for dropping 13 punts inside the 20 last year, but had two kicks blocked in the 2011 campaign.
Krysinski, a 3.98 GPA student, struggled a bit in 2011. To go with his season long 45 yard FG against Bowling Green, he averages 56 yards a kickoff with only one touchback. It will be interesting to see if his numbers improve with the change in NCAA guidelines regarding kicks this season… and no better time to experiment than the first game of the season. He was 2-6 in field goals, and missed four extra points in 2011.
At this point, return specialists have not yet been identified, although the Miami media guide indicates that 50% of the punt return yards and 98% of the kick return yards return for the 2012 campaign. My guess is that, barring a new face deep to receive (Freddie McRae?), we might see defensive back Dayonne Nunley or receiver Dawan Scott awaiting kicks.
The RedHawks coverage team excelled at times last year, holding punt returns to a 7 yard average and kickoff returns to just over 14 yards per attempt. They allowed one punt return for a TD, and scored none themselves.
Ok. Now to the good guys. Read More
Today, we join with racing fans in mourning the loss of Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon. As such, this week’s soundtrack has a bit of a somber tone. We give ESPN/ABC a lot of criticism, but they got this one right- Thoughts and prayers with his family and friends.
This week was very very special across the college sports landscape, as special teams highlights and gaffes were the order of the day across the nation. First, the “Woah! Did that just happen?” moments…
When Clemson and Maryland met, the undefeated Tigers should have known that something was swirling that could have put a blemish on their dream season. For starters, the Terrapins chose a uniform that didn’t look like a condiment tray this week, choosing instead the “Fancy Hot Sauce” look. Maryland opened up an eighteen point lead in the second quarter on the Tigers, and nothing in the Michelle Obama playbook was working at all. Then, Sammy Watkins happened, all 345 total yards of his offense, including a special teams play that turned the tide for good.
However amazing his individual performance was for the night, the special teams highlights for the day happened in the “Battle Of The Oil Money”, where T. Boone Pickens University traveled to Austin and found themselves in a shootout with the Longhorns. It was one of those games where you were certain that the last team with a series of possession would win… unless there was time for a kickoff or two: Read More
Against the Bobcats of Ohio, the Buckeyes saw a punt blocked; never a good situation. As Ohio State prepares to defend it’s Big Ten title, let’s examine what went wrong and what can go right for the punting unit.
Against Miami, the Buckeye’s problems on special teams made what should have been a blow out into a close game early on. Today and tomorrow we’ll be reviewing the two areas that Ohio State struggled with, and talk about how what adjustments they can make against Big Ten competition.
Since the first week of the season, the Buckeyes have had some struggles with the kicking game. Since “Tressel-ball” is based on solid performances in this area, let’s take a look at what happened and how Ohio State can address this heading into conference play:
Personally, I LOVE looking over statistics, doing a little analyzing, and seeing what comes as a pleasant surprise. Since I’ve had a little extra time this week, I looked over the Big Ten rankings and found a few facts about where the Buckeyes stand through 4 games against the rest of the conference.
Things that WON’T surprise you;
- Ohio State is ranked #1 in passing efficency
- Ohio State is ranked #2 in passing offense
- Ohio State is ranked #2 in net punting
- Ohio State is ranked #1 in scoring defense
Things that WILL surprise you;
- Ohio State is ranked 10th in rushing offense
- Ohio State is ranked 5th in scoring offense
- Ohio State is ranked 6th in both punt/kick returns
The punt returns and kick returns will get better. But that had better start happening soon, because we need that stage of the game to be a force. The scoring offense will go up, because we will continue to grab 32+ points per game, while teams who have feasted on lesser opponents will have a hard time keeping pace in the B10.
Most everybody expected our offense to be in high gear throughout 2006, and it has so far….but 10th in the Big Ten in rushing offense? I know it’s not Pittman’s fault, because he is the 11th-ranked rusher in the NCAA.
So where do I place the fault at having such a low Big Ten ranking in the ground game???
Jimmy, please….LET TROY USE HIS FEET! I’m hoping that you have been saving such a weapon while we fine-tune the rest of the game, and that you’ll open it up against Iowa. Iowa’s got a weak front-four on defense and it should get softened up by Pittman, leaving the option play wide open in the second half. And I know that Tress has been pushing Troy to stay with his passing game. But we are a MUCH bigger threat when teams don’t know whether or not he’ll take off or pass. ask Michigan or Notre Dame. But right now, they KNOW he’s only looking to run. Confuse them. Make them play on their heels. Now is the time.
But if you don’t heed my advice, I’ll understand. After all, between me and Jim Tressel, only one of us averages 10 wins a season and has a National Championship ring for each day of the work week.