Florida state has a problem. A punting problem.
Here is last year's punting performance with All-American Shawn Powell, courtesy CFBstats.com.
|09/10/11||Charleston So.||Grass||W 62-10||2||89||44.50|
|09/17/11||16 Oklahoma||Grass||L 13-23||4||201||50.25|
|09/24/11||@ 22 Clemson||Grass||L 30-35||5||214||42.80|
|10/08/11||@ Wake Forest||Turf||L 30-35||3||139||46.33|
|10/15/11||@ Duke||Grass||W 41-16||2||78||39.00|
|10/29/11||North Carolina St.||Grass||W 34-0||3||124||41.33|
|11/03/11||@ Boston College||Turf||W 38-7||4||196||49.00|
|11/12/11||Miami (Fla.)||Grass||W 23-19||5||274||54.80|
|11/26/11||@ Florida||Grass||W 21-7||9||400||44.44|
|12/29/11||+ Notre Dame||Grass||W 18-14||8||378||47.25|
That was one of the finest punting performances in the country.
And here is 2012, under new freshman punter Cason Beatty.
|09/01/12||Murray St.||Grass||W 69-3||3||103||34.33|
|09/08/12||Savannah St.||Grass||W 55-0||1||46||46.00|
|09/15/12||Wake Forest||Grass||W 52-0||4||168||42.00|
|09/22/12||11 Clemson||Grass||W 49-37||3||106||35.33|
|09/29/12||@ South Fla.||Grass||W 30-17||5||152||30.40|
|10/06/12||@ North Carolina St.||Grass||L 16-17||7||247||35.29|
|10/13/12||Boston College||Grass||W 51-7||2||86||43.00|
|10/20/12||@ Miami (Fla.)||Grass||W 33-20||3||100||33.33|
|11/08/12||@ Virginia Tech||Grass||W 28-22||6||216||36.00|
That's a difference of more than 11 yards per punt. That might not seem like much, but against a good opponent, FSU may end up punting six or seven times. That could amount to almost 80 yards of lost field position.
Now, two punts were blocked and one of them went forward (N.C. State), which does skew the average.
Still, that's pretty bad. Only four teams nationally (of 124) average less yards per punt.
The thing is, I don't know much about punting. I'm smart enough to point out the problem, but clueless as to the solution.
I know you're not supposed to throw the ball up, but rather just drop it. Preferably straight.
And I know enough to know that this is not a coverage team issue. Florida State has freak athletes all over the field and covers both kicks and punts quite well. In fact, Florida State has allowed only 30 yards of punt returns all year.
I don't know how to get this fixed. But I do know that a very important game on the horizon could really magnify this issue: Florida.
UF has arguably the best punter in the country and a top-ten punting game by any measure.
|09/01/12||Bowling Green||Grass||W 27-14||5||169||33.80|
|09/08/12||@ 9 Texas A&M||Grass||W 20-17||5||236||47.20|
|09/15/12||@ Tennessee||Grass||W 37-20||5||243||48.60|
|10/06/12||8 LSU||Grass||W 14-6||7||344||49.14|
|10/13/12||@ Vanderbilt||Grass||W 31-17||5||231||46.20|
|10/20/12||12 South Carolina||Grass||W 44-11||7||380||54.29|
|10/27/12||+ 5 Georgia||Grass||L 9-17||3||140||46.67|
In a game that features two elite defenses and two decent (at best) offenses, punts are likely to be plentiful. It wouldn't be a surprise to see as many as 15 combined punts.
And if that happens, and if the margin continues to be more than 9 yards in Florida's favor, that is potentially a huge advantage for Florida. 14 combined punts at the current disparity (assuming Florida State actually finds someone to catch a punt), would be roughly 65 yards in Florida's favor.
A 65 yard pass is a huge play in a game. It might make Sportscenter. But 65 hidden yards won't get talked about. But it could make a big difference.
It needs to get fixed, and I'm sure Beatty will get better as his career progress he will as well (Powell's increased by three yards from 2009 to 2010 and three to 2011). But FSU needs this to improve by a decent bit in the span of about 12 days.