The Special Teams: Virginia

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

Here is a look at what went right and wrong on Special Teams, against Virginia, followed by some conclusions (opinions).

Play #1

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 67 yards returned by Davon Johnson for 24 yards to the MiaFl 27.

Summary:  Not a bad play and resulted in decent field position.

Play #2

Dalton Botts punt for 58 yards, returned by Dominique Terrell for 2 yards to the Virg 6, VIRGINIA penalty 5 yard Illegal Block on Kyle McCartin accepted.

Summary:  Excellent punt and coverage resulted in Virginia starting the drive inside the 10.

Play #3

Jimmy Howell punt for 39 yards, punt out-of-bounds at the MiaFl 15.

Summary:  Benjamin let the ball bounce and it rolled out of bounds.  Nothing happening here.

Play #4

Dalton Botts punt for 44 yards, fair catch by Dominique Terrell at the Virg 26.

Summary:  Solid punt resulted in a fair catch and put Virginia in okay, but not great field position.

Play #5

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 70 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 17 yards to the MiaFl 17.

Summary:  Not a good return and poor field position to start the next possession.

Play #6

Jake Wieclaw 40 yard field goal MISSED.

Summary:  His only miss before this was a block, so it’s hard to get on him, but this was a huge kick for momentum and in the ultimate score line.  Just a bad miss on an easy kick.

Play #7

Jacob Hodges rush for 20 yards to the MiaFl 9 for a 1ST down.

Summary:  The special teams was caught of guard on a fake FG and allowed Virginia to get inside the 10.  With a shaky kicker, this possibly cost Miami 3 points, turning a 46 yard FG into a 22 yard FG.

Play #8

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 66 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 29 yards to the MiaFl 33.

Summary:  Good return by Benjamin resulted in solid field position.

Play #9

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 59 yards returned by Davon Johnson for 21 yards to the MiaFl 32.

Summary:  Another quality kickoff return.

Play #10

Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 70 yards returned by Darius Jennings for 17 yards to the Virg 17.

Summary:  Good kick coverage pinned Virginia inside the 20.

Play #11

Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 61 yards returned by Khalek Shepherd for 28 yards to the Virg 37.

Summary: Poor kick coverage gives Virginia good starting field position.

Play #12

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 65 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 54 yards to the Virg 41.

Summary:  Outstanding return put the offense in great field position.

Play #13

Dalton Botts punt for 27 yards, fair catch by Dominique Terrell at the Virg 15.

Summary:  Decent punt downed inside the Virginia 20.

Play #14

MIAMI FL penalty 15 yard Roughing the Kicker on Kacy Rodgers accepted.

Summary:  A brutally awful special teams play extended this Virginia drive for several minutes and yards, costing valuable opportunities for the offense to get the lead down.

Play #15

Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 62 yards returned by Darius Jennings, fumbled, recovered by Virg Darius Jennings at the Virg 10, Darius Jennings for 4 yards, to the Virg 14.

Summary:  More great kick coverage pinned Virginia deep.

Play #16

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 58 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 30 yards to the MiaFl 42.

Summary:  Another great return from Benjamin set up the ‘Canes offense.

Play #17

Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 70 yards returned by Khalek Shepherd, fumbled, recovered by Virg Khalek Shepherd in the endzone, Khalek Shepherd for 8 yards, to the Virg 8.

Summary:  More great kickoff coverage incredibly pinned Virginia inside their own 10 yard line.

Play #18

Jimmy Howell punt for 37 yards, fair catch by Travis Benjamin at the MiaFl 47.

Summary:  No opportunity to return this.  Golden had on a safe return with 2 returners back to ensure a fair catch.

Play #19

Jimmy Howell punt for 36 yards, downed at the MiaFl 35.

Summary:  Costly play took 13 of the remaining 38 seconds, after Benjamin let the ball bounce.  He couldn’t really get over to the ball though, and Miami went for the kick block, almost getting it.

Note:  The above plays exclude made extra points and FGs.

Overall observations

After being brilliant on special teams against GT, this was much more hit and miss.  Benjamin was outstanding in the return game, as was the kick and punt coverage.

Unfortunately, failures on the fake FG defense and roughing the punter collectively cost the ‘Canes possibly 3 points, great field position, and several minutes of game time.  Weiclaw missed an important and very makeable FG, that ultimately contributed heavily to the loss.

Overall, the special teams let the team down in critical moments, especially if you exclude Benjamin from the equation.

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