Bady Hoke - Special Teams

Submitted by m83econ on January 15th, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Next to abysmal defense, the next worst area of performance for Michigan football teams has come from Special Teams.  This is not just a recent phenomenon; special teams debacles have haunted Michigan for years.  Will Brady Hoke change this tradition?

Year    Team                        Phil Steel ST rank

2010  San Diego State      109

2009  San Diego State        94

2008  Ball State                    48

2008  Ball State                    17

2007  Ball State                    50

2006  Ball State                    28

2005  Ball State                    65

2004  Ball State                  114

2003  Ball State                     97

This seems to be lot like the Brady Hoke resume - a couple of good years among a sea of mediocrity (or worse).   Hopefully, there will be more of an emphasis on special teams, but then again, hope is not a strategy.



January 15th, 2011 at 10:17 PM ^

I don't believe you can accurately evaluate or project a coaches success.  So much of it has to do with the level of talent that he is working with.  People get this concept that year-to-year should get better and better and never retract.  That is just not realistic.  I think dips and spikes in team records are most often reflective of the recruiting classes of those who started that year, not necessarily the coach (they typically coach the same every year). 

This is not very encouraging when you consider the bulk of Michigan's recruits are 3 star players.


January 15th, 2011 at 11:28 PM ^

Maybe the reason there was so much talent there was because of Hoke and his staff "touching" these guys and molding them in to good players. 

There is talent that produces, and talent that goes to waste.  The former has a lot to do with coaching.


January 15th, 2011 at 9:21 PM ^

None of that stuff matters.  Got a million freshmen?  That's not a good excuse.  Got a highly-rated kicker who decided he was never going to make another field in a game?  Too bad.  You should have recruited three highly-rated kickers.  You should know by now that here at Michigan, all ST blame falls directly on the coaching staff regardless of circumstance.


January 15th, 2011 at 8:32 PM ^

Our special teams should be much better when injuries don't plague our depth chart, forcing us to start the freshmen and sophomores that should be redshirting and playing special teams. We actually had one of the best special teams units in the B10 in 09. It will get back there with more depth.


January 15th, 2011 at 8:48 PM ^

A comparison from 2008 onward. I'm not sure where he got the 2007 or earlier data from. I think Zoltan skews the results pretty significantly. As a reminder, these are Phil Steele rankings...


  Michigan Ball State/SDSU
2010 96 109
2009 5 94
2008 16 17


January 15th, 2011 at 8:53 PM ^

Per request


Year   Phil Steele ST rank

2010   96

2009     5

2008   16

2007   95

2006  60

2005  15

2004  26  (DeBord/Breaston)

2003   94 

Here's detail for the 2009 Phil Steele Special Teams Ratings:


  ST Net KR PR KR KR BLK/ ST ST Kick FG   FG's
  Team Name Inc K Punts Off Off Def w/TB TD RanK Rating Rating Total % 50+
1. Boise St 11.4 38.3 26.6 10.9 19.1 18.8 4 2 9.11 3.41 19-26 73% 1-1
2. Stanford 11.3 37.2 27.5 7.6 19.8 18.7 4 1 9.24 3.07 16-22 73% 1-2
3. Texas 11.1 33.9 26.0 13.2 21.4 19.0 7 8 8.66 3.69 24-27 89% 0-1
4. Air Force 11.1 39.5 24.4 12.8 19.5 18.0 1 4 8.93 3.24 22-30 73% 1-2
5. Michigan 11.1 40.9 23.8 8.7 22.3 20.6 4 6 8.82 3.34 11-15 73% 1-1

Just a bit frightening to think that San Diego State was rated worse on Special Teams than Michigan last year...a lot of that


January 15th, 2011 at 8:54 PM ^

The team seemed to get better with coverage and returns when healthy...kicking was horrible.  Wouldn't be surprised if Gibbons is a few adjustments away from getting confidence and becoming the kicker we think he can be next year...


January 15th, 2011 at 9:10 PM ^

according to Rivals, which has him ranked one place higher than Goudis for their position.  I remembered Stanford as being one of our rivals for his services, since he's a brilliant student and looking for academics, but though Stanford is on his list, he doesn't have a Stanford offer.  It was Harvard that offered (with many others, including Boise State!).  But he was thrilled with the Michigan offer, and can't imagine change in coaching philosophy would affect kickers.  (Except for the philosophy of NOT kicking because you don't trust anybody can kick.)   Rivals doesn't list any visits, so maybe he can be brought in for the mega-recruiting weekend(s) coming up.

The only negative could be that Hoke doesn't want to use a scholarship for a kicker, since Gibbons already has one. 


January 15th, 2011 at 9:11 PM ^

He did pretty well at Ball State. Obviously at San Diego State, his special teams have been a disaster.

I don't know how much punting distance and field goal accuracy factors into those numbers. Coaches can be held responsible for punt coverage/returns and kick off coverage/returns, but not so much punting distance or field goal kicking.


January 15th, 2011 at 9:16 PM ^

we have to do is hit every field goal inside of 40 yards,keep the ball inbounds on the kickoffs and hold on to the ball on the returns.


January 15th, 2011 at 9:22 PM ^

Think about how big difference a field goal kicker would have made this year... 

There was that missed field goal at the end of the 1st half against state and the fact that we had to go for it on every 4th down


January 15th, 2011 at 9:26 PM ^

5th. Are you serious? I don't care how godly zoltan was.....Thats only part of special teams. Our special teams was NOT good. Our returning was terrible, it was so bad that it far outweighs zoltans space ownage.

The program

January 15th, 2011 at 9:57 PM ^

San diego states kicker was 54/56 on extra points and 17/22 on field goals with a 53 yard long.  There punter has a 45.4 yard average.  There kick off guy has a 67.4 yard average(kicks it to the 3 yard line) and a 44 yard net (opponents start on the 26 yard line).  It appear that there punt and kick return games are not good with a  6 and 19.3 yard average but does that cause you to be ranked 109?


January 15th, 2011 at 10:00 PM ^

This past season clearly illustrated the importance of special teams. Still, most teams assign coaching responsibilities for special teams to one of the position coaches as a secondary responsibility; and seldom does that coach have any expertise in coaching kicking technique. So less than 1/18th of coaching resources are dedicated to special teams.

I would think that it would be worth hiring a dedicated and qualified special teams coach. That still leaves 4 full time assistants each on offense and defense, none of whom would have to be distracted with moonlighting as a special teams coach. Have any colleges tried this approach and has it paid off?


January 15th, 2011 at 10:20 PM ^

I kinda found the answer to my own question via the following link:

It's a little dated (from a time when Michigan special teams were good), but it claims 11 of 120 FBS teams have dedicated special teams coordinators. One additional benefit I hadn't considered is that having a kicking coach could help a lot with recruiting the best kicking prospects.


January 15th, 2011 at 10:35 PM ^

It seems to me that Broekhuizen has decent form but zero confidence. Maybe we'll receive a miracle and he'll have some sort of breakthrough. That's wishful thinking, of course. It'll take an even bigger miracle for Gibbons to ever be good, though.

I don't see why Hagerup never got a shot at kicking field goals. He surely kicked them in high school. It's not like we had much to lose by putting him in there.