Trends

There are some disturbing trends which I hope do not continue tomorrow but I feel warrant attention. The overriding bad trend is our present five-game losing streak to Texas A&M. In a series which we have dominated historically, we’ve now gone half a decade without a victory. Does anyone doubt that Aggie fans now assume a win in this game when evaluating their remaining schedule?

Other trends that have emerged in recent seasons:
• By any standard, our overall special teams play is poor. There are lots of successful kickers out there, but we haven’t been able to develop one recently. The TCU game was only the latest example of a problem that has persisted in the post-Hocker era. Our punt return and kickoff return games are practically non-existent. We allow too many punts to hit the ground and bound deeper into our territory, while trying to return far too many kickoffs from the end zone only to be tackled short of the 25 yard line. To the best of my recollection no punt or kick returner has distinguished himself since Joe Adams. That is entirely too long to go without a threat at this position. To be fair, we have had several good punters in recent seasons. Unfortunately, we’d like to see fewer opportunities for our punters.

• Half-time adjustments are not successful. Other staffs have generally had more success in adjusting their game plans for the second half than ours have. It’s true that we haven’t scored in the second half against our last three major opponents, but the trend of second half decline has existed for much longer than that.

• Maybe it’s just me because I’m old enough to remember being embarrassed by Randy McEachern repeatedly, but I have the sense that otherwise average (or worse) quarterbacks seem to perform at All American levels against our defense. Saturday, we’ll be facing a true freshman QB with no SEC experience; you’d think his best play would be to hand off to Trayveon Williams. Watch how their freshman QB compares to our senior QB.

• Disappointment. I’m a lifelong Hog fan. I live with it, but it’s one trend I’d like to reverse.

Special teams must improve. Better play after halftime is needed. Both of those are bad trends. Agreed.

I asked Coach B about special teams during his radio show. He usually expounds on any question, but he spent more time talking about kickers than anything else. When I asked the question, I actually excluded kickers from the question.

I have concerns about the lack of a punt or kick return game. Watching old video of Ken Hatfield or, more recently, Joe Adams, the returner is in position to run under the kick and then advance the ball. I don’t see that. I see returners camping under the kick and making fair catches.

Exactly. Rather than punt returners, we seem to have punt catchers.