Kickoff, Punt Coverage For Oklahoma State Has Been Vital To Success

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Kicking and punting is not sexy, but field position will win you Big 12 championships. This should be on a canvas in fancy lettering somewhere in Mike Gundy’s office (maybe it is). Gundy has long been a proselytizer of special teams success, and this year his team is realizing it. Here are a few numbers.Kickoff return yards allowed per kickscreen-shot-2016-11-01-at-8-06-43-amThe difference of three or four yards might not seem like a lot, but in 30-possession Big 12 games, it adds up. Field position matters and OSU is protecting it. This number, by the way, ranks in the top 12 in the nation.Punt return yards allowed per puntscreen-shot-2016-11-01-at-8-06-59-amAnother number that ranks in the top 12 nationally. Zach Sinor has been lights out all year and has given his punt coverage unit sufficient time to cover up returns. Taylor Cornelius has more rushing yards this year than opponents have punt return yards which is wild.It goes deeper than this, too. There is not a great way to find average starting field position for teams unfortunately, but a cursory glance at the last four OSU games shows it is winning that battle.Average starting field positionvs. Texas: own 27vs. Iowa State: own 36vs. Kansas: own 42vs. WVU: own 43Opponent average starting field positionvs. Texas: own 24vs. Iowa State: own 21vs. Kansas: own 19vs. WVU: own 24OSU has won every starting field position battle (many times due to interceptions and fumbles deep in its opponent’s territory). Even with a mildly better offense than your opponent, you’re going to win a ton of games like that. That could change this week, though.“This will be a real challenge this week,” said Mike Gundy on Monday. “Year in and year out, Kansas State will be one of the top special teams units in the country. They do a great job with their schemes and the players understand the coverage and have multiple reps in their schemes.“Hopefully we can keep that going this week. We have been pretty productive in our cover units and in our return game when opportunities are available. We’re better than what we have been in the past in our return game.”Hopefully it remains that way.last_img

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