Special Teams Confidence Level
If the Ohio State football team defensively is slightly better than Missouri offensively, and if the Buckeyes are also slightly better offensively than the Tigers defensively, the one area where Missouri seems to be head and shoulders better than the Buckeyes is on special teams. Missouri’s kicker is Harrison Mevis, who at one point this season successfully kicked a 61-yard field goal.
As I mentioned earlier, there will be some coaching changes made after the conclusion of the season following the Cotton Bowl. The first coach who should be released from his duties is special teams coordinator Parker Fleming.
Under Fleming’s leadership, special teams at Ohio State have been a train wreck. No blocked kicks or punts. No punt or kickoff returns for touchdowns. Unsuccessful fake punt attempts and miscommunication on fake punt attempts at some of the worst times possible. Missed field goals during the most important moments in the biggest games. And that’s just the obvious lowlights from the past couple of seasons.
Not to mention, because of his title and position, Fleming is tasked with going out and recruiting in person while linebackers coach James Laurinaitis is not. That is a mistake that needs to be corrected as soon as this game is over and Fleming cleans his office out. That is why for a second straight game, I am scoring special teams as my lowest category. My confidence level for this game is at a four.