Special Teams Confidence Level – 8.5
Can someone please tell me how in the world Special Teams Coordinator Parker Fleming still has a job? If Iowa can fire Brian Ferentz, USC can fire Alex Grinch, Penn State can fire Mike Yurcich and Texas A&M can fire Jimbo Fisher during the season, how in the name of Woody Hayes does Fleming still have a job with the Ohio State football program?
The special teams unit is a disaster. Outside of Jayden Ballard securing fair catches on punts, Ohio State’s special teams are a mess. Even our vaunted kick return unit has been gashed at times this season. I’m positive Jim Tressel must get sick to his stomach watching the Buckeyes bumble around on what Tress believed to be the most important play in all of football.
When asked this week about the perceived problems on special teams, Day stated, “We just need to do a better job. But like anything, we’ll continue to evaluate it and make sure we’re doing what’s best for the players.”
What’s best for the players is for Fleming to be fired and for Day to take over the unit. If you need any more evidence, just take a look at what Fleming stated on Wednesday night when he took questions from the media. When asked about the perception that fans are worried that special teams will cost them a win in a big game, Fleming’s response was a jumbled mess of shock, confusion, and denial.
"“Hmmm…I don’t know. That’s one of those things that feels to me that when you look back and cherry pick some certain specific spots, which they’re valid. It’s one of those deals where there are times we’re trying to make plays to help win the game, to push the envelope forward and we got to do better. That’s what it comes down to. I can’t say that we’re going to be perfect, that I’m going to be perfect. There are spots that we will learn from, and improve to the best that we can.’ “Who knows, maybe I go inside and take that, think about it, and digest that a little bit because that’s something we can’t have happen. That’s just the truth. We do everything we can to put our team in a position, our guys in a position, and they play really hard for this group inside the locker room. No one’s here trying to find ways not to execute. That’s the truth. That’s something we constantly look at and evaluate, and I don’t have a great answer for you other than it’s heard.”"
I give credit to Fleming for at least facing the media and taking the difficult questions in stride. But that doesn’t excuse where this unit is at under his watch. Saying that, the Ohio State football team can throw up all over themselves on Saturday when it comes to special teams and still win comfortably, which is why my confidence level in special teams is at an 8.5, but in a week, this could be under 5 given who the opponent is.