Special Teams Confidence Level
Ohio State’s special teams are a mess right now. Ryan Day was forced to address the apparent “miscommunication” on Ohio State’s fake punt attempt in last week’s win over Rutgers. This is the second time in the past two seasons that “miscommunication” has been the reason behind a special teams blunder. Last year against TTUN, Day had the perfect fake punt called. Everyone got the memo except the long snapper. Then last week, a fake punt was not called, but for some reason, Buckeye punter Jesse Mirco believed that was the call.
Ohio State is paying half a million dollars to Parker Fleming to be their special teams coordinator. Most head coaches run this unit themselves, opening up a spot and money for a position group to have a full-time coach who can travel and recruit. This should be the case at Ohio State as well.
Currently, linebackers coach James Laurinaitis isn’t allowed to travel for recruiting because he isn’t considered one of the full-time position coaches, but Fleming is. This needs to change. Fleming no longer deserves this position, plus Laurinaitis needs to have the ability to go recruit in person.
On the flip side, Michigan State has one of the better kickers in all of college football. Jonathan Kim nailed a 58-yard field goal earlier in the season, which is just three yards shorter than the season-longest field goal made by Missouri’s Harrison Mevis, and repeated by San Diego State’s Jack Browning.
Until Ohio State shows me that they are going to take special teams more seriously, this has officially become an area of concern. My confidence level in the special teams play of Ohio State is a 7.5 this week. Michigan State definitely has an advantage here, but it’s not enough to drop me lower.