Potential solutions to Florida State's punt return problem

Al Messerschmidt

FSU's punt return game is problematic.

Florida State is not consistently fielding punts.

This issue is important enough to merit its own article.

But it shouldn't be happening in Week 8 of the college football season.

Not for a team like Florida state, with 30 scholarship skill position players on its roster, most of whom were rated among the best recruits in the country.

But it is. And so we're here discussing it.

So far this year, Florida State has muffed three punts and misplayed several more. The biggest culprit is Rashad Greene. Greens is an electric receiver with excellent skills once the ball is in his hands. It's securing the football that's the issue. Greene is just not a natural punt catcher.

We thought this might be an issue when Greg Reid was dismissed, and even went as far as to say the biggest area in which FSU would miss Reid would be catching punts. Unfortunately, that has come to fruition.

I'm aware that FSU has tried out other guys catching punts in practice. Apparently, Greene has been the best.

But if the practice field doesn't translate to the actual game, a change needs to be made. That change could be putting another player back there to receive punts.

Or it could be a simple alignment change. One thing I've noticed with Greene is that, like most returners, he is much better coming up to catch a punt than he is going back. When backpedaling on his heels his eyes bounce and he does not track the ball well. It's like most center fielders cannot play as shallow as the great ones. I'd be very interested to see the results if the staff asks Greene to simply back up another 10 yards to virtually eliminate any chance of the ball being kicked over his head. He has plenty of speed to run up on balls, and this would reduce the need to backpedal.

What do you think? How would you handle this?

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