Are you old enough to remember Dana Carvey doing his Church Lady bit, on Saturday Night Live? Remember her, err…his, famous line, “Well isn’t that SPE-CIAL?!” The Church Lady wasn’t a football fan or coach, but if the character were, the Church Lady would have quickly proclaimed that many games are won, or lost, with Special Teams play.
Hidden yardage, momentum changing plays, field position, quick points, short fields, the list goes on, are all parts of what Special Teams can do for, or against, your football team. A blocked field goal scoop and score, a fourth quarter punt return for a TD, a blocked punt, etc., are all Special Teams plays which Bobcat fans only have to think back to 2010 to recall the impact of Special Teams.
In close games, and I think the Bobcats will have their share in 2011, a Special Teams play can often be the difference between a W or L, or championships. In 2005, we had five games decided by a touchdown or less. In 2008, we had six such games. Case closed.
Coach Brad Franchione, who we already “met” when we reviewed the linebackers, is also our Special Teams Coordinator.
“I believe we made a tremendous amount of progress since the first day of camp,” is how Coach Franchione described ST’s so far. He continued, “I’m excited about what we’re doing kicking the ball, punting the ball. I think that Follis, Will Johnson, and Lloyd Chisum have shown themselves to be quality at what they do.”
Covering kicks is a part of the ST’s job description and Coach Franchione is getting happier by the day, “I’ve seen our coverage improve drastically, really in the last five days…probably because we’ve emphasized it more as a coaching staff.”
Make no mistake, there will be a lot of starters in on the ST units. According to Coach Franchione, “The precedent was set by the head coach many days ago…all the players in our program understand that quality effort, technique, execution on special teams, in some ways, is thought of higher than what they’re doing offensively and defensively.“ “If they can’t do that, then they may not be playing on offense and defense.“
Ben Follis, slated to be the Bobcat’s starting punter, is one of the veterans on the 2011 team and has punted (and run the ball!) for the Bobcats the previous three seasons.
According to Ben, it has been a building block process in getting the ST’s ready for 2011, “We’ve been breaking it down, doing one thing at a time, and then building on that at each practice.”
On the fifteen yard drop back from punt formation, “I haven’t done a fifteen yard drop back since high school. In the Spring, I was kind of struggling with it, getting my steps down. In Fall Camp, I’ve been a lot better.”
Spread the word! Bobcat radio can be heard on ESPN Austin, 92.5FM, starting with the season opener, this Saturday, at Texas Tech. “This Saturday”, can it be true?! We’ll speak with you beginning at 5PM with the pregame show. Note: You can also catch Bobcat football online at espnaustin.com or txstatebobcats.com.
In our next blog, we will run like the wind with the running backs.
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Eat 'Em Up!