Special Teams and Kicking Game

Obviously it is evident that we have struggled with our special teams and kicking game. The missed FGs were really bad, but how is it that we seem to never be able to get a kicker that can kickoff into the other teams end zone? Accurate field goal kickers are tough to find …I get that. I cant understand lack of leg though. Almost every other team that I watch…even if accuracy is an issue…they at least kick the ball through the end zone when kicking off. We are lucky to get the ball to the 10 yard line, and then the returner runs it another 20-30 yeards 70% of the time. Starting with our backs up against the wall every defensive set is tough no matter how susceptible our defense is. Is it just our luck of the draw with who we have recruited or is it bad coaching? I try not to get down on the Hogs often, but this Defense and special teams is hard to watch most of the time.

Connor Limpert is about 50-50 on getting the ball into the end zone. With the wind, he gets it there. Against the wind, he doesn’t. I have not seen that to be a problem for the opposition. That would seem to be a need for this team, a stronger leg for kickoffs.

Just to provide statistical data, the NCAA now charts depth of kickoff. The average depth for the Arkansas opposition is a 61.1-yard kick. Arkansas averages 59.8 yards. So the difference is 1.3 yards. Not sure they note the difference in when it goes 5 yards deep or out of the end zone.

And how about covering or returning those kicks. We have not been good at either. That is a real problem. Could have very well cost the A&M game. How many returns have they gotten out past the 25 (and God knows this defense allows for many kickoff to be received) v how many have the opponents (and our offense does not make for many kickoffs - a lot of punts).

I’m having trouble thinking of one thing that we are really good at.

Actually, outside of that terrible Christian Kirk 100-yard touchdown return, Arkansas has had opponents return 18 kickoffs for 320 yards for a 17.8 return average. Connor Limpert averages 59.8 yards per kickoff (I’d prefer 65 yards+), so the ball on average reaches the 5 and the return gets the opponent to the 22- or 23-yard line. Obviously that’s just an average and some kicks get to the 10 and the opponent returns it to the 36 and that’s bad. But overall, they have done a good job in coverage aside from the Kirk return.

Our special teams aren’t very special, but for the most part the kickoff coverage has been decent. It just seems the long returns come at the worst times.

BTW, the 100-yard kickoff return causes Arkansas’ average return to leap to 22.10 (19 for 420 yards). Just to show how big a difference one big kickoff return can make.

If that A&M kickoff goes out of the end zone, ther would have been no return. that is pretty simple. Do your job and tackle him and it is not 100 yds. All SEC teams have fast guys back there. Return coverage needs to be just as fast and never, never give up the sidelines. That did not happen.

I can agree with that. I said I’d prefer 65 yards+ kickoffs, preferably 75 yards. And I’d like to see the kickoff coverage team attack like players with their hair on fire. Even though we’ve been fairly good overall, it does seem we lack some enthusiasm in attacking kickoff returns.

If u have the lead late & know u can’t kick it out of the end zone or very deep in the end zone an option would be to pooch kick it to an up man to avoid what happened

Bama did not kick it into the end zone much, they just went through our kick return team like poop through a goose. If you are really good at coverage you can do that, but we are up and down in keeping teams inside the 25.

Man, this is so true. Seems like whenever we need to hold them deep…they end up breaking one off for 40 yards. Heartbreaking to watch.