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2016 FSU football special teams: Never a dull moment

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Will they help or hinder the Seminoles in Tampa?

NCAA Football: Charleston Southern at Florida State
Bobo Wilson
Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 season is still remarkably young, yet Florida State has already shown a propensity for dramatics. In just three games, the ‘Noles have authored a trio of program records: the largest comeback win ever (22 points), against Ole Miss, the most points allowed (63), vs. Louisville, and a tie for the most points surrendered in the season’s first three games (105).

Zeniths and nadirs have certainly characterized the early going for the Seminoles, and in no phase of the game is that demonstrated like it’s been on special teams, where it’s been a feast-or-famine kind of season. On the one hand, freshmen specialists Ricky Aguayo and Logan Tyler are leading the ACC in field-goal percentage (90%) and punting distance (45.43 YPP), respectively. Aguayo became the first Seminole ever to make six FGs in a game, while Tyler’s current punting average is more than a yard better than that of Florida State’s career leader in that category, Shawn Powell (44.2).

Also, FSU’s home opener saw Bobo Wilson take a punt back for a touchdown, the first time a ‘Nole has done that since Tyler Hunter in 2012. That 89-yard return is a big reason that the Seminoles are averaging 28 yard per punt return, the third-highest average among FBS teams.

But while their are promising highs, there remain troubling lows. Wilson’s long punt return is one of just four to be brought back for 80+ yards this year; the others belong to Alabama, TCU, and, you guessed it, Saturday’s opponent: South Florida. The Bulls’ explosive potential for returning punts gets even more prospectively problematic for the ‘Noles when you consider that FSU is the only team in the country to have allowed two punt returns of 60+ yards through the first three weeks. For as good as Tyler has been with distance, he needs to improve his hang time and location, and the coverage unit has to get off blocks better than it did against Louisville.