Special Teams Confidence Level – 3
My biggest fear is that the Ohio State football team is going to lose this football game because of a special team’s blunder. Last week we highlighted just how inept Parker Fleming has been as a special team’s coordinator for the past two seasons.
Last year, that ineptness was on full display when Coach Day called for a fake punt which would have been successful. Except Fleming didn’t get the call into the long snapper, who hiked the football to the punter instead of the up-back, who could have run the football for not only a first down but for a lot more yardage.
That “miscommunication,” is unacceptable. That was the reason given once again earlier this season when punter Jesse Mirco tried to get a first down on a fake punt against Rutgers on the minus side of the field, setting up an eventual Rutgers score.
It’s not like Fleming has a lot of communicating to do during the course of a football game. Outside of the kickoff, the punt, the field goals, and the returns, which constitute less than 10 percent of the game, he has about 10 to 15 plays he needs to be ready for.
I also believe that one of the reasons Day chose to kick multiple field goals last week against Minnesota instead of going for it on fourth down is because he wanted to make sure kicker Jayden Fielding was ready to go in case this game comes down to his foot.
I’m sure most of you are a lot like myself, and no doubt Day, and have a little PTSD after how last season ended in the Peach Bowl. The last thing I want to see is this game comes down to a field goal in order to win.
My confidence in the special teams’ play under Fleming is broken. I am at a confidence level of three this week. I hope I am wrong and the special teams come up with a big play that can break the game open or swing momentum in favor of the Buckeyes, but Flemings’s track record tells me otherwise.