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B1G Roundtable - Preseason Power Rankings: Week #8 - Spec. Teams

  • SpartanTailgate

    SpartanRocky

    As fall camp is getting closer and closer to starting, we turn now to the oft-neglected third phase of the game: special teams.

    Here are the links to the previous weeks' roundtable in case anyone wants to read through it.

    Week #1 - QB Discussion: http://247sports.com/Board/30/B10-Roundtable-Pre-Season-Power-Rankings-Week-1-QB-18944777/1

    Week #2 - RB/FB Discussion: http://247sports.com/Board/30/B10-Roundtable-Pre-Season-Power-Rankings-Week-2-RBFB-19066542/1

    Week #3 - WR/TE Discussion: http://247sports.com/Board/30/B1G-Roundtable-Pre-Season-Power-Rankings-Week-3-WRTE-19209902/1

    Week #4 - OL Discussion: http://247sports.com/Board/30/B1G-Roundtable-Pre-Season-Power-Rankings-Week-4-O-Line-19357613/1

    Week #5 - DL Discussion: http://247sports.com/Board/30/B1G-Roundtable-Preseason-Power-Rankings-Week-5-D-Line-19494548/1

    Week #6 - LB Discussion: http://247sports.com/Board/30/B1G-Roundtable-Preseason-Power-Rankings-Week-6-Linebackers-19637395/1

    Week #7 - DB Discussion: http://247sports.com/Board/30/B1G-Roundtable-Preseason-Power-Rankings-Week-7-Secondaries-19764134/1

    Here's the Roundtable Conference Power Rankings so far:

    ............................ QB......... RB/FB ........ WR/TE ......... OL............ DL ......... LB......... DB ......... ST........ Coaches

    Illinois...................8.............12................12..................12.............12..............9...........12

    Indiana.................5.............10.................2....................10.............11............10...........11

    Iowa....................12..............7.................9.....................9...............9..............2...........10

    Michigan..............4...............5.................4.....................2...............4..............4............4

    Michigan State.....7...............9.................6.....................7...............3..............1............1

    Minnesota............11.............8................11.....................6...............7.............10............7

    Nebraska..............3..............2.................3......................4...............8..............8............3

    Northwestern........2..............4.................8......................8...............6..............7............6

    Ohio State............1..............3.................5......................1...............2..............5............2

    Penn State...........9..............5.................1.......................3..............1..............6............5

    Purdue................10............11...............10......................11............10.............11...........9

    Wisconsin.............6 .............1................7........................5..............5..............3...........7

    Note: This is meant to be informational and civil, and is not to be seen as a chance to flame your rival schools. Discussion and debate is encouraged; out and out baiting and trolling is not what this is about.

    This Roundtable is open to all Big 10 fans. Voting for the position groups stays open until Sunday evening, with the results posted that night or Monday.

    For the purposes of the special teams discussion, consider a team's Kick and Punt return offense AND defense, their field goal % and net punting.

    1) Who's returning for your team in terms of specialists? How did they do last year?

    2) Who are the return men coming back, and are there any RS or true freshmen that you expect to contribute?

    3) As above, give your squad's kick and punt return offense and defense, your field goal % as well as total # of makes and net punting numbers.

    4) Are there reasons you expect improvement compared to last year, or reasons that the position may be worse off?

    5) Finally, please rate the special teams units as a whole in the conference, team by team, 1- 12.

    This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by MalibuMan 9 months ago

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • PSU Special Teams: lol

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    #DicedPineapples

  • I second that.

    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.
    5.
    6.
    7.
    8.
    9.
    10.
    11.
    12. Penn State

    In all seriousness, I doubt we're last. But we're sure as heck nowhere near the top.

  • This. Actually, I bet we are last. I would be shocked if we weren't and would laugh at whoever was worse.

  • I wouldn't be shocked at all, I just have no clue what everyone else's special teams are like...can't imagine they can be much worse though.

    Our kick and punt return game has potential depending who they put back there.

    Here are my cliff notes on our special teams:

    1. Sam Ficken- When you lose to Virginia by one, and your kicker misses 4 field goals, and an extra point...yeah. Although he was clutch for the Wisconsin game
    2. Alex Butterworth- Please no more rugby punts...that is all.
    3. Return game- Please no more Jesse Della Valle returning kicks...or linebackers for that matter.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by NittanyChuck15 9 months ago

  • SpartanTailgate

    SpartanRocky

    Here's the quick and dirty on MSU: I'll do the full on stats post later on tonight.

    Michigan State's special teams are a bit of a mixed bag. Great punting, probably #1 in the conference with true JR Mike Sadler.

    At K, 3 year starter Conroy graduated, but he missed 8 FGs last year after being about a 90% guy in his first 2 seasons. Oddly enough, he was perfect from beyond 50, but something like 3/10 between 30 and 49. MSU will likely start a true FR, Michael Geiger, who was the #1 K in the country on 247 and Rivals. Take that FWIW; the last true FR to start at K at MSU was Bret Swenson (#4 K nationally) and he was a FR AA in 2006. Geiger hit a 56 yarder to win a HS All-Star game, so the kid's got the leg. Poise, obviously, is the question and we won't know about that until he has to make pressure kicks.

    PR was terrible until the last few games when RS FR AJ Sims Jr. took over (44 yard return vs. Minny). I think he averaged in the 8 YPR range after taking over after multiple fumble problems from the previous guy; he has big play potential, but until he actually takes one to the house, I think it's fair to call him a "plus" player at the position, but not a stud.

    KR was also terrible. I mean, just plain awful. Nick Hill (5'7 188) is a power back in a scat back's body; he has great acceleration but no 3rd or 4th gear to speak of. Though he averaged a very respectable 23-ish YPR in 2011, that # dropped into the 20 YPR range this past year. With him going to RB full time, MSU will be looking for a new returner; look for true soph MacGarrett Kings or Sims Jr. to be in this role. Quite frankly, we are all expecting better #s out of here - really only place to go is up, and both Kings and Sims Jr. have the speed you look for in a KR.

    Coverage teams ranged from mediocre (72nd ranked PR D 8.84 YPR) to bad (107th ranked KR D, 24.21 YPR). Neither of those stats are particularly indicative of success; Alabama had the 66th ranked KR D and the 34th ranked PR D, while ND 77th ranked KR D and the 40th ranked PR D. Not sure what to say other than I'm thankful/surprised MSU didn't surrender a KR or PR all year; quite frankly, MSU was giving up a lot of 25-30 yard returns rather than big 60+ yard returns mixed with great stops behind the 25 yardline. Kickoffs have been so-so with Kevin Muma; he doesn't quite have the leg to consistently get touchbacks (29/60).

    I don't have a great handle on special teams in the conference, though I know Abdullah and Mark deserve a lot of respect for their accomplishments. I'd probably put MSU in the 4-6 range; State has a great history of special teams, especially kickers, and just 2 years ago had arguably the best special teams in the conference. MSU has been recruiting those speedy return-types in the last 2 classes, though they lost one to the rap game lol.

    This post was edited by MalibuMan 9 months ago

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • This is one where I just have no basis of comparison. I'll have to read the posts and will edit in some rankings.

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  • Same here. I will give my rundown on Michigan as soon as I finish a project here shortly.

  • Wolverine247

    Rabid

    I don't know where we are compared to other teams in the B1G, but I think our special teams are pretty good. We have three BCS level kickers/punters on our squad with Brandon Gibbons, Matt Wile, and Kenny Allen. Gibbons is our placekicker, and is darn clutch as VTech and MSU fans figured out. His leg isn't the strongest, but he is real accurate. Wile is our punter, but he also took field goal attempts last year that were out of Gibbons' range. His ability to double as a punter and kicker makes him pretty valuable. Kenny Allen has yet to see game action for us, but apparently he has a pretty strong leg. He'll be a great replacement should Gibbons or Wile go down with injury. The longsnapper position is also pretty well situated. Jareth Glanda is a RS senior, so we have good experience at that position. Incoming freshman Scott Sypniewski will back him up. Our KR/PR is Dennis Norfleet, who has the ability to take it the distance every time he touches the ball.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by TAMUWolverine 9 months ago

  • Unless this guy comes in and wins both the kicking and punting job and sets the world on fire...than what they said above.

  • We are pathetic here.

    Theres a reason OB went for it on 4th down about 50% of the time last year.

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  • I don't have a lot of knowledge of other teams either, but I'll give some insight on Nebraska:

    KR/PR: Abdullah has been fantastic, but I doubt that he'll be our regular return-man now that he is the starting RB. We have plenty of options for returners though, and I don't expect us to drop-off in that sense. I think the most likely candidates to return for us are Turner & Newby, with Abdullah and/or Bell being sent in for PR's when we just need a sure-handed fair-catch.

    Kicking: Mauro Bondi will be our kicker, he was the 4th ranked kicker in the 2011 class.... He's unproven, so it'd be unfair to rank him ahead of some of the returning kickers, but with NU's history of solid kicking I think its fair to assume he'll be among the top-half in conference.

    Punting: It sounds like we'll be using an actual punter this year rather than having Martinez just throw lob-passes as far as he can.... I kid I kid..... Our last two kickers, Maher and Henery, handled both Kicking & Punting, but it sounds like we'll be separating those duties this year. It'll be another unproven kicker/punter, so its hard to rank him very highly on this list, but there really isn't too much concern on my part. I think we will be in the top-half of the conference regardless of who wins the punting job.

    LS: We signed the 3rd ranked LS in last years class, he's expected to contribute from day one.

    Coverage: our kicking and punt coverage has been disappointing the past two years. I would rank us in the middle of the conference in this category, and until we go out and prove differently, middle of the pack is where we deserve to rank.

    Overall, I don't expect any drop-off in skill-level of our STs. Even with all the different faces on our STs, I think its safe to rank Nebraska in the middle or top-half of the conference, 4-7 range.

    No, the INS isn't chasing him; Taylor Martinez just runs like that. . . .

  • NW's returning kicker only missed one FG last season, so between him and Mark, I'd rank NW 1st or 2nd.

    No, the INS isn't chasing him; Taylor Martinez just runs like that. . . .

  • SpartanTailgate

    Final Countdown

  • So you're telling me it had nothing to do with the student section chanting "GO! GO! GO! GO!" everytime it was 4th down?

    -Though in all seriousness, if we're not 12th in this one, then these rankings lose all credibility.

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    "On paper they have nothing to play for– no bowl games, rankings, or championships– yet they play like they have everything on the line."

  • 1. Northwestern
    2. OSU
    3. Wisky
    4. MSU
    5. Mich
    6. Purdue
    7. Nebraska
    8. Indiana
    ***** EDIT FOR IOWA***** (my bad, was at work)
    9. Illi
    10. Minny
    11. Penn State (upon their request)

    This post was edited by gordo8471 9 months ago

  • SpartanTailgate

    SpartanRocky

    Just an FYI, there are 12 teams in the Big 10. Iowa fans are probably pretty sad you forgot about them.

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • 1) Who is returning and how did they do?

    Kicker: Brendan Gibbons, RS Senior, (2*, #8 kicker coming out of HS according to Rivals in 2009) Career FG 30-40, 75%. Last season FG 16-18, 88%. Career long of 52 yards. Was shaky to start his career, going 1-5 his soph year, but turned it around once Hoke arrived and told him to think of brunettes when lining up to kick. Named to the 2013 Lou Groza preseason watch list.

    Punter: Matt Wile, Junior, (3* to 247 in 2011) Career average of 39.2 yards. Last season averaged 35.9 yards. Also handles kickoffs with 156 career kickoffs and 47 touchbacks. Is a step down from Will Hagerup who is suspended for the season. Long distance FG kicker also, going 2-3 on his career with a long of 52 yards.

    Longsnapper: Jareth Glanda, RS Senior. Will be snapping for his 3rd and final season. Solid snapper that hasn't made news, which is a good thing. Did have a catch on a fake FG in the Sugar Bowl against VT.
    Backup was a recruit last season, Scott Sypniewski, True Freshman (2*, #7 LS according to the 247composite). Should RS.

    KR: Dennis Norfleet, 5'7" 168lbs, Soph (4* RB to 247composite). Electrifying with the ball in his hand. Seems to be on the brink of breaking a long one time and again. Returned 35 KOs for 827 yards, 23.6 ypr, and a long of 38 yards.

    PR: Jeremy Gallon, 5'8" 186lbs, RS Senior (4* to Rivals in 2009). 12 returns for 66 yards, 5.5 ypr, long of 26 yards. Doesn't seem to have the big play potential that Norfleet has, but he was a safe option compared to the freshman Norfleet. I expect Norfleet to handle PR duties this year, if he has gained the trust of the coaches. Norfleet returned 2 punts last year for 53 yard with a long of 42 yards.

    2: I don't expect and true freshmen to contribute in the ball handling department, but I would expect several to be on the coverage and return teams. Any number of the RB/WR/LB/DBs are possible.

    4: Who knows with the ST. I would think that they would at least maintain status quo, with the chance to improve. FG% is going to be hard to improve upon though. I think Norfleet returns one this year. Will probably be against CMU or Akron and won't be a key part of the game, just a highlight.

    Voting, Michigan should have one of the top groups, but I know nothing about the others. I will put Michigan #1 right now and wait to see what others say. I will look through the preseason mags also and give a round number if that doesn't work.

  • Took long enough for the comment. He's got the lax flow going.

  • I'm not going to give a long rundown, but I'll at least say something besides the obvious "PSU sucks at ST."

    Ficken was hands down the worst kicker in the country for the first half of last season. Statistically, the second half of the season was pretty good. The problem was he didn't kick anything that wasn't a gimme. I'll be surprised if PSU attempts a FG of 45 yards at all this season, even if it was meant a potential game winner or a hail mary pass. I think he'll be reliable enough to make all his extra points and the easy ones, but I won't breath easy when he comes out.

    Buttersworth is the punter. Hands down the worst rugby kicker in the country. He's not the worst punter, but he's terribly inconsistent and good for at least one shank a game. If he could cut those out, he wouldn't be the end of the world.

    After the LB kick returner disaster last season behind us, I actually expect PSU to be competent in the return game. Della Valle isn't a great punt returner, but Phil Steele gave him some credit which I think says more about the rest of the conference. Della Valle most likely will surrender those duties this year to a better return man.

    PSU has some of the better athletes in the conference and that should be enough to make them a decent kick returning bunch. Unfortunately the man we really want returning kicks and a guy who could make a super impact there still has another year of high school (DeAndre Thompkins).

  • About what my cliff notes said lol.

    As of now though JDV is listed as our #1 punt returner with Richy Anderson right behind him. Will be interesting to see if Richy or somebody else slides into that role.

  • Was Gallon the guy the entire season? I ask because only 12 returns seems like very few

  • SpartanTailgate

    Macks

    Looks like Norfleet and Dileo got 2 each.

  • Wolverine247

    Rabid

    No. Norfleet did most of the return work last year.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by TAMUWolverine 9 months ago

  • Yeah I realized I wrote your cliffs in longhand after telling myself I wouldn't. I couldn't spin it any other way even when I was trying. Do I think PSU is a candidate for last? yes, of course but I didn't want people to just automatically default PSU to last because of all the comments.

    And yeah that's one DC thing I really don't see sticking.