Friday, October 14, 2011

Midseason Review: Special Teams

While the offense has been up most of the season and the defense has looked down most of the season (although didn't it feel good watching San Diego State score 41 on Air Force last night?), the Horned Frog special teams have been so up & down that they make your bipolar ex-girlfriend seem stable.

Field Goals/PATs:
-Ross Evans, for nearly his entire career at TCU, has been a whipping boy. He got off to a rough start to the 2011 season, missing three field goal attempts in the first three weeks of the season- including two misses and a blocked PAT in the two-point loss at Baylor. He's bounced back, though, making his last seven attempts including a 47-yarder in San Diego last Saturday. For the season, he's 9-12 on field goals and 25-26 on PATs.

-For the first time, Evans is also handling kickoff duties full-time. He's done a pretty good job in my estimation, averaging 65.1 yards per kick (meaning his average kick lands at the 5) and accumulating 5 touchbacks on 40 attempts. The coverage team is allowing 19.68 yards per return, good for 37th nationally.

Kickoff Returns:
For the most part, the TCU kickoff returns have been fantastic. Greg McCoy and Waymon James are averaging 28.54 yards per return (3rd nationally) and the Frogs are the only team to have taken two to the house so far this season. Without this unit, the team never would've had a chance to comeback in the Baylor game. Then again, McCoy's fumble of the opening kick of the second half against SMU, which was picked up for a Mustang touchdown, was an absolute killer.

-This has not been Anson Kelton's finest year punting the ball. Despite his physical stature, he's never really been a boomer- so his 39.7 average is not too far off from his career-best of 41.6 last year. But he also has not had quite the same precision, as he's only pinned opponents inside the 20 three times so far in 2011, compared to 17 a year ago. He's got a good coverage team behind him, though, as the Frogs are giving up just over 5 yards per return (38th nationally) and have made some big hits.

Punt Returns:
-In an area where TCU has shined for so many years, it would be easy to call this year's punt return game a disaster. Skye Dawson and Brandon Carter have combined to average 8.25 yards per return (56th nationally) and have both put the ball on the turf. But they've both also shown flashes of their extreme athletcism, so I expect this to be an area of great improvement in the second half of the season- even if they don't make us forget Jeremy Kerley just yet.


EdK said...

I've always felt that Anson Kelton doesn't get the credit he's deserved over the last four years.

True, he's not a boomer, but on those few occasions when TCU is deep in its own territory, he usually gets off a long one.

He has hit a couple of clunkers this season, but those have been extremely rare -- like hardly ever. He hits consistently high, unreturnable kicks. I'd rather have a 40-yarder with a small return than a 50-yarder with a 15-yard return.

Although he hasn't done much pinning inside the 20 as in years past, 5 yards a return is a credit to his hang time.

(Seems strange to me that surrendering an average return of just 5 yards is only good for 38th in the country.)

shortnkerley's said...

I feel like it would make more sense if that was a picture of Skye Dawson dropping the ball. Sorry, I woke up on the negative side of the bed.