FanPost

Special teams and D Hopkins

 

I've thought that the special teams of FSU this year have been just that.....special. I also thought it would be a good time to look at this after what many fans may consider the worst outing of the season for the special teams. We failed to cover on two onside kicks, D Hopkins struggled and this upset many of us and put coach Gran squarely on the hot seat for this week. Last week it was head coach Fisher.The week before it was coach Stoops. Next week it will be one coach and that may be a safer bet than FSU beating Maryland at home.  

Thanks primarily to our kicker and punter, we are #1 in net punting, net ko coverage and field goal %. The later mark is all J Hopkins but the first two include the efforts of the rest of the special teams. In the return game we are # 4 in both ko return average and punt return average. (All of the numbers and rankings are just for ACC teams.) Most of the foregoing numbers and rankings have more to do with our punter and kicker than anything else but I wanted to explore the data a little more closely and I also wanted to show something that is becoming a concern. The concern I'll cover a little later... but look at the following tables. I rearranged the rankings and data to focus on the numbers that reflect mostly on the guys other than the punter and kicker.      

Team

Kicks

Tb

Net

Return yds

avg

Trad rank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duke

27

3

24

387

16.1

3

FSU

41

17

24

418

17.4

1

UVA

31

6

25

441

17.6

2

Clem

52

9

43

783

18.2

5

UM

35

1

34

628

18.5

7

N Car

34

1

33

614

18.6

9

Wake

40

8

32

603

18.8

6

G Tech

52

3

49

943

19.2

8

V Tech

42

20

22

469

21.3

4

NC State

34

1

33

691

22.3

11

BC

28

5

23

520

22.6

10

Maryland

33

2

31

859

27.7

12

 (kicks,touchbacks, returns, total yardage, average return yardage, and traditional ranking-net kickoff average return)

 

 

Team

Avg Punt return yds allowed

 

 

VT

-.2

BC

.3

N Car

.4

NC State

.5

G Tech

1.7

UVA

1.9

FSU

2.8

Wake

3.0

UM

3.2

Maryland

3.5

Clemson

3.5

Duke

4.0

 Self explanatory hopefully

 

As you can see, when a kickoff is returned, FSU does a very good job at limiting return yards.Not as good as Duke (which is surprising when conventional wisdom says the team with the best athletes should be the best) but #2 is very good and combined with D Hopkins' range, FSU is #1 in the traditional category.

 

 

Net punt return yardage is not as good as I would have expected but it's still not bad when you strive to be below a 3 yard return per kick average. How much of the punt and kick yard return averages have to do with hang time is anybody's guess, but we'll have to proceed on the numbers as we find them.

 

Our numbers in the return side of the equation are less than what I would have expected but still not bad at #4 in both.

 

Now to the concern I have and it's about one of my heroes...D Hopkins.

He's still Mr. Automatic on field goals and same goes for PATs (even though he almost shanked one outside of the uprights). And the shank is compounded by putting two ko's out of bounds thereby giving Duke two possessions starting from the 40.

 

Was FSU trying to keep the ball away from one of Duke's return men? Not sure, but Duke ranks seventh in the ACC in ko return yards so I suspect not.

D. Hopkins' less than stellar ko performance yesterday is magnified by having 5 kicks returned in the previous game at Wake. The returns  in that game were from the 2,the 7, the 10, the 21 and the 3 yard lines. I may be wrong, but I can't remember a game where Hopkins had so many kicks returned. And I have seen teams take the ko from inside the endzone but none of theses were. Very bothersome indeed.

 

I have to believe J Hopkins is hurt in some respect. I even watched him walking around and didn't notice anything but sometimes a person doesn't always display a minor injury in such a fashion that you would notice.

 

Anyway, I still feel the special teams of FSU are very good and that includes all of them. I think we'll see more in the return game as Karlos Williams gets more acclimated to that job and G Reid goes from 95% healthy to 100%. And the timing may be perfect as Maryland shows up at Doak with the absolute worst kickoff team in the ACC (and no other team is even close to them in this dubious distinction) and the tenth rated team in average punt return yards allowed.

 

Memo to Karlos and Greg.........It's show time!

 

 

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